At press conference today in West Harlem, the first openly gay New York State assemblyman, Danny O’Donnell, endorsed the woman who is vying to be the city’s first openly gay mayor.
But he had more than his endorsement to offer.
In addition to touting her record and agenda, Mr. O’Donnell handed down some advice–as a fellow LGBT official–for Ms. Quinn if she wins.
One candidate meowed. Another, taking a page from the Anthony Weiner playbook, rose up to denounce most of his rivals. And a third claimed his Russian opponent, a fellow Soviet émigré, was engaging in Communist class warfare.
The Democratic candidates for the open 48th Council District seat squared off in Flatbush last night, and made it clear, early and often, that they do not like each other.
pulling out the pink
Standing alongside her rivals at the first broadcast debate of the mayor’s race, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the contest’s former front-runner, seemed like a candy-coated version of herself.
Suited up to stand out in a bright pink dress and powder-pink jacket, the famously brash Ms. Quinn spoke slowly and softly, her head cocked slightly to the side, seemingly coached to dig into her opponents and deliver repeated talking points with a frozen smile.
“Quinn trapped in consultant Saran Wrap,” remarked one noted columnist of the wooden performance. One stunned Democratic operative described “a Stepford wife version of Chris Quinn.” A writer, pegging Ms. Quinn “the grinning assassin,” suggested she was “smiling and speaking slowly, as if trying not to alarm the audience.”
In an interview with Politicker after the forum, Ms. Quinn ascribed the observations to nerves ahead of the biggest primary debate yet.
Adventures in Social Media
Councilwoman Inez Dickens is openly jockeying to be the next speaker of the City Council, but it appears one Twitter account has already beat her to the punch.
Ms. Dickens recently revamped her re-election website, embedding a Twitter account called “SpeakerDickens.” The only problem is that the account is a parody feed that skewers Ms. Dickens.
City Councilmembers and advocates announced a plan today to slap a 10 cent charge on all plastic and paper carry-out bags at grocery and retail stores across New York City.
Customers would be required to bring their own bags or pay the fee, which stores would get to pocket, according to the proposed legislation, unveiled this afternoon at City Hall.
The controversy never seems to end in New York City politics.
Upper East Side Assemblyman Micah Kellner–one of the few Assembly Democrats to criticize Speaker Shelly Silver’s handling of the Vito Lopez scandal–is now facing sexual harassment allegations of his own.
The City Council candidate was allegedly the subject of a sexual harassment complaint made by a female staffer four years ago. But, according to the New York Times, the complaint was never referred to the Assembly’s ethics committee, prompting the dismissal of a top Assembly lawyer, Bill Collins.
The Battle for Bushwick
While two scandal-scarred pols hog the media spotlight, another fallen candidate is laying the groundwork for a return to power.
Vito Lopez, the former Democratic boss forced to resign his Assembly seat in disgrace, raised almost $20,000 during the latest filing period and has filed the necessary signatures to make it on the ballot. And–observer say–he just might win.
“Vito is a highly formidable candidate,” an ally of Mr. Lopez’s opponent, Antonio Reynoso, told Politicker today. “He is the favorite in this race.”
Earlier this year, Michael Kimmelman, the chief architecture critic at The New York Times since 2011, wrote a column addressing Madison Square Garden’s request that its special permit to operate an arena atop Penn Station be renewed in perpetuity. In it, Mr. Kimmelman suggested that the City Council grant the Garden a 10-year permit, enough time for the various stakeholders to plan for both a renovated Penn Station and a new location for Madison Square Garden. In a show of Mr. Kimmelman’s relative influence, the City Council did just that. Now the clock is ticking on finding a solution for the futures of both the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and the city’s busiest rail hub. Nicknamed “The People’s Critic” by New York magazine for his insightful focus on the New York Public Library, redevelopment after Hurricane Sandy and affordable housing, Mr. Kimmelman spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the viability of a 10-year term and what can be done to convince stakeholders to come to the table.
Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the case that lead the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, formally endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn tonight during a jubilant celebration rally in front of the historic Stonewall Inn.
“I wasn’t going to announce who I was going to endorse until a decision was made … and it’s Christine Quinn!” said Ms. Windsor of the woman who–if elected–would become the city’s first female and openly gay mayor.
The good news is that the City Planning Commission does not agree with those who want Madison Square Garden to disappear from its current location within 10 years.
The bad news is that the commission wants the Garden gone in 15 years. The Dolan family, which owns the Garden and its teams, had been hoping for a permit that would have allowed the Garden to remain on its current site in perpetuity.
This page supported the Dolan family’s position, but it appears to be doomed. Despite investing hundreds of millions in private funds to renovate the Garden in recent years, the Dolans apparently are no longer welcome to operate the world’s most-famous arena above Penn Station.