Last week’s fiery “environmental racism” dispute between two mayoral campaigns doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
The alleged offense in question came when Council Speaker Christine Quinn was asked about one of her rivals, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, and his decision to oppose the controversial proposed waste transfer station on the Upper East Side.
“The days of environmental racism have to come to an end,” Ms. Quinn replied, according to her campaign. “We have, for far too long in the City of New York, put all the municipal refuses into low income neighborhoods of color … No community, regardless of how much money that community has, is going to be exempted from its municipal responsibility.”
Mr. Thompson, who is the only black candidate in the race, jumped on the remarks and held a press conference demanding an apology.
“To utter that, and direct it at a black person, at a black man in New York City … those words hurt,” Mr. Thompson intoned at the event. “Those words are damaging.”
Ms. Quinn’s campaign responded by stating they never called Mr. Thompson “an environmental racist” and released a series of statements from black and Latino officials in support of the transfer station. The Quinn camp argues that all neighborhoods should handle their fair share of waste, lest the city’s trash be dumped on poor neighborhoods in the outer boroughs. The Thompson team counters that those affected by the East 91st Street station include many minorities and public housing residents.
Regardless, Mr. Thompson clearly believes he has an edge on this issue and released an email to his supporters today using the most racially-charged rhetoric to date.
The email, from Thompson strategist Jonathan Prince, asks recipients to sign a petition demanding Ms. Quinn “apologize to New Yorkers of color who actually have to deal with racism.”
“We can’t let these wild attacks go unanswered,” Mr. Prince further declares.
Read the full email below:
Speaker Quinn lashed out at Bill this week, accusing him of “environmental racism” for opposing the plan to dump garbage and exhaust fumes on top of the 91st Street Asphalt Green.
We can’t let these wild attacks go unanswered.
The Speaker’s comments are way out of line. Her facts are wrong, but her words are worse. Here is the truth: more than 22,000 people, 1,000 kids and 6,500 minorities live within a quarter mile of this site.
New Yorkers are right to argue for equality and fairness in waste distribution, but this plan doesn’t achieve this goal. In fact, no site in the city’s proposed waste plan exposes more children or more minorities to environmental hazards than the 91st Street location.
Bill Thompson strongly believes minority communities should not be targeted with waste sites, truck traffic and other burdens. As Mayor, Bill will lead a comprehensive review of the citywide waste management plan based on two principles: every borough does its fair share and no site exposes families and children to unnecessary risk.