“Sometimes government moves slow, but we run sure,” said Hiram Monserrate, councilman from Queens, on Monday afternoon. The Veteran’s Committee, which he chairs, was passing a Berkeley-esque resolution calling (again) for the federal government to repeal the “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue” policy and replace it with a policy of equal rights for homosexuals in the military.
Now government is moving slower than ever.
This resolution was introduced by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was, except for maybe U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, the city’s only solid candidate for mayor next year.
She was not in attendance. (Nearly no one was: a few veterans—one of World War II, drafted in the spring of 1941, now dressed in a natty three-piece summer suit—and one young former Marine who had to hustle back to work. “Semper fi,” said Mr. Monserrate, who is also a former Marine. Later, Councilwoman Letitia James came in: “You’re so sweet,” she said to the elderly gays, getting kisses on both cheeks. “Can I have a photograph please? I want this in my newsletter. Gorgeous!”)
Around then, Ms. Quinn was sitting, and then standing, various awkward distances behind Mayor Bloomberg, first on a boat to Brooklyn and then in Brooklyn. Ms. Quinn, who famously went on a housecleaning spree when she arrived in City Hall, seems to have become paralyzed in the mess that has seized the City Council over the revelation that discretionary funds have long been parked in fake nonprofits. You might think that it was time again for some people to be seriously fired.
But Ms. Quinn can’t even shake the domain squatters that plague her at ChristineQuinn.com—a marked contrast to the mayor’s regular purchase of or demand for nearly any Web site that contains his name. (Amusingly, the 2001 Bloomberg arbitration decision for MichaelBloombergSucks.com—one of the few times he was not successful—concluded that “the ‘sucks’ suffix precludes any reasonable person from believing that the domain name is associated with or authorized by Complainant.”)
And although use of Ms. Quinn’s last name is not trademarked, as the mayor’s is, the site may have stepped over a line by claiming that she “runs a shell game of fake groups to hide her political slush fund.”
Or that may be an accurate assessment. Quinn, and the Council, have two weeks to answer a demand for a judicial hearing, a demand entered in New York State Supreme Court by Norman Siegel and others, on behalf of a motley crew of plaintiffs.
(That group includes Rafael Martinez Alequin, a reporter or former reporter who made a big to-do when his NYPD-issued press pass was not renewed early last year; he now runs a site at yourfreepress.blogspot.com, which lifts the content straight from newspaper Web sites—right down to the in-house keyword links of The New York Times.)
No one is in charge now.
There’s no obvious choice to succeed the mayor next year, and with Ms. Quinn scrambling, the Council is in conspicuous disarray.
Some council members are going about looking for reporters to write about their stellar—which is to say allegedly non-slushy—practices in distribution of city funds. At the same time, some of the usual operators around City Hall are going around telling reporters that those same members are dirty crooks.
It is a bad time. Can you imagine who loses?