In Divided Council, Quinn Likely Survives as Speaker

Christine Quinn delivered enough votes yesterday pass Michael Bloomberg's term-limits extension. But does she have enough votes to remain speaker?

Quinn became speaker in 2006, and during her tenure has drawn criticism from other Council members about her particuarly close relationship with Michael Bloomberg–since the Council is supposed to act as a check on the mayor–as well as criticism about the way she handled the slush fund scandal, and because she led members into a controversial vote on congestion pricing not long before an election.

But even the most vocal critics of the term-limits legislation that passed yesterday say Quinn will likely remain speaker through this term and into the next mayoral administration, which begins in 2010.

“Yes, no question about it,” said Letitia James, a City Council member from Brooklyn who, with Bill de Blasio, filed an injunction to try to get the court to stop the Council from voting.

David Weprin, another outspoken critic of the bill, said Quinn is “the favorite for re-election.” (“If there is one,” he said.)

Weprin said the fact is that Quinn has been transformed. “She is not just the speaker for another year, but speaker for another five years,” he said. “Anytime you have a new speaker, or a renewal of speakers, things open up.”
“Knowing Christine the way I do–look, you’re never going to have a perfect speaker, but she’s a very smart politico and I’m sure she’ll adjust to whatever feedback she gets,” he added.

“There are a lot of people who voted yes who have issues with the speaker,” said lobbyist Richard Lipsky. He noted that the Quinn's opposition is missing a key ingredient: a viable candidate to defeat Quinn.

One person I spoke with floated Letita James as a possible next speaker, so I asked her about it.

“What?"she responded. "They’re on crack. That’s my quote.” In Divided Council, Quinn Likely Survives as Speaker