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Two Gay Men Explain their Beef with Quinn

Louis Flores and Donny Moss use the Internet and street protests to challenge City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. | DUNCAN OSBORNE

Louis Flores and Donny Moss use the Internet and street protests to challenge City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. | DUNCAN OSBORNE

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE | City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is facing opposition from a surprising quarter as she seeks the mayor’s office — gay men who charge the out lesbian has abandoned her progressive roots for political deal-making that advances her career and harms New York City.

“She has turned her back on everything she stood for,” said Louis Flores, who blogs on christine-quinn-sold-out.blogspot.com and has joined protests at Quinn fundraisers and appearances.

Quinn, who represents Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and the West Village, was first elected to the Council in 1999 and was elected speaker in 2006. Prior to joining the Council, Quinn was the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) and chief of staff for Thomas Duane, an openly gay man who represented the same Council district for two terms.

At AVP and in her earlier work as a housing activist, Quinn was more aggressive, more devoted to a single cause, and less likely to compromise to achieve success.

As speaker, Quinn has heralded the annual city budgets she has brokered with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She has supported the police department and made deals with real estate interests. But where Quinn sees reasonable compromises that maintain city services, create jobs, or keep taxpayers safe, others see betrayal of core principles.

Louis Flores, Donny Moss charge City Council speaker has sold out her progressive roots

“It’s her consistent record of violating the public trust,” said Donny Moss, who runs votequinnout.com and the “Defeat Christine Quinn” Facebook page. “She doesn’t listen to her constituents.”

Moss points to Quinn’s support for the expansion of Chelsea Market and New York University, the conversion of St. Vincent’s Hospital to condos, and the creation of a large Department of Sanitation waste transfer facility in the West Village as examples of Quinn running roughshod over her district.

Quinn has riled other gay activists by supporting ID scanners for city nightclubs and bars and backing a police department regulation that requires a permit for assemblies of 50 people or more. Housing Works, an AIDS group, locked horns with Quinn over a city bill that would have given people with HIV, even those without an AIDS diagnosis, access to city housing benefits.

Quinn’s 2008 support for altering the city term limits law to allow the mayor, City Council members, and other elected officials to serve three four-year terms instead of two had queer politicos who usually praise the speaker chastising her.

The scope of any anti-Quinn feelings among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender voters today is unknown. Moss and Flores may be the tip of an iceberg. In a surprisingly weak performance in her 2009 Democratic primary, Quinn faced Yetta Kurland, a lesbian, and Maria Passannante-Derr. Quinn’s opponents combined to win 47 percent of the vote.

The two gay men could also be a “fringe” element, as Quinn surrogates have called them in press reports.

Moss, who has “several hundred” people on an email list and nearly 1,100 likes on his Facebook page, does voter outreach at subway stops and Quinn events about three times a week and Flores sometimes attends. They get a “mixed reaction” from the public. They have been insulted or called “homophobes,” and they have been thanked by passersby. They attribute the negative reactions to voters not knowing Quinn’s record.

“That’s why we’re getting that mixed reaction because some of those voters are not informed,” Flores said.

Some gay voters are more interested in solidarity and making “judgments based on [Quinn’s] identity,” Moss said. He also hears from voters who cannot or do not wish to publicly oppose Quinn.

“One of the challenges we face is that people who are most affected by her are afraid to speak out,” Moss said.

Both men have been roughed up by police during their Quinn protests and put videos of that on YouTube.

“That’s why we have to ask which side is Christine Quinn on?” Flores said during a joint interview. Moss quickly added, “The police are on her side… She should be supporting free speech.”

Flores contrasted Quinn’s time at AVP to her time as speaker. Queer youth of color are among those who endure stop and frisk, a tactic that the police say aids in keeping crime down. Quinn has said she backs the continued use of the tactic, but with changes and more supervision. Proposals to codify such changes have not yet received Council action.

“If Christine Quinn was the head of AVP today, she would be fighting that,” Flores said. In his view, Quinn has become what the city’s reform movement once fought.

“Her strategy is to reward the district leaders and the county leaders all around this city,” Flores said. “She has become a political boss, which violates everything progressives stand for… We’re trying to fight for something better, a better government.”

The Quinn campaign declined to comment.

 

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20 Responses to Two Gay Men Explain their Beef with Quinn

  1. Dmarie January 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I'd like to thank you guys for all of your tiresome efforts to bring the truth to this election !

    Reply
  2. Simon January 31, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I'm convinced that Quinn will lose the Democratic primary. Many of the reasons for this — like her relative conservatism and the fact that the prospect of a Quinn administration seems like a kind of Bloomberg 2 scenario — have been mentioned before. It seems to me that two points will cause Quinn particular problems and sort of doom her candidacy: First and foremost, her despicable role in the flouting of voter approved term limits. This will fly in her face during the primary campaign (this alone is a knockout punch — Democratic voters are still fuming over this). Secondly — and this rarely gets mentioned in the mainstream media — the city's white population is a minority (44% of the total population) and after 20 years of white mayors there will be enormous pressure to have a a non-white mayor. Quinn and her supporters (& her team) always strike me as "very white." Moreover, her idiotic intention to retain police commissioner Kelly — who stands for the oppression of non-white males in this city (aka stop-and-frisk) — simply reinforces the notion that she doesn't understand the issues of people living in Brownsville or the South Bronx. This will be a major issue during the primary campaign and she can only lose this debate.

    Reply
  3. LittlebearNYC January 31, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Keep up the good work men- we can't allow her to continue to claim to be Progressive with her Bloombergian policies and Koch/Guiliani inspired campaign tactics.
    May of us have not forgotten how she served as Handmaiden to Mayor Moneybags- as the Mayor said she is the main reason he got to serve a third term!

    Reply
  4. Carol Demech January 31, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Lesbians don't think much of Quinn either!

    Reply
  5. Goodluck! January 31, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    She's a racist.

    Reply
  6. Anthony Trocchia January 31, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    She's been extremely quiet on the issue of wheelchair accessible taxis in NYC. I applaud Louis and Donny!

    Reply
  7. Stuart Baanstra February 1, 2013 at 5:21 am

    She sounds extremely insecure and unloved. Hence the domination.

    Reply
  8. LInda February 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Please let the public know that her opposition to shutting down the carriage horse industry is a big issue to animal rights advocates! An overwhelming majority of NYC residents are opposed to this inhumane practice. She is catering to tourism, not to animal welfare!!!! I am a gay woman and I am telling everyone I know NOT to vote for her. Her sexuality should NOT be a factor in the election!!!!

    Reply
  9. Seth Bookey February 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Let's not forget her helping Bloomberg overturning term limits, voted in TWICE by the people of New York City. Not happy about someone who subverts democracy being Mayor.

    Reply
  10. andy February 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Bill De Blasio is such much better not only for LGBT, but for all of NYC.

    Reply
  11. AlanS February 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I was hoping there were others that felt this way. Quinn has ridden long enough and far enough on simply be out. There were many other "straight" politicians that did more for us than she did.
    While I am all for solidarity withing the Gay community, we need to unify to tell the candidates that if you want to court our votes, show us what you have actually done for us…NOT what you say you will do!

    Reply
  12. charlton February 4, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I agree with her aligning with real estate interests. There is a ongoing pressure from the community for her to allow the long awaited land marking of the south village area. But till now, there has been no movement on her part. Is she really going to let highrises come up in the south village just for making the rich real estate developers happy?

    Reply
  13. A. McManigal February 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Quinn signing on against a presentation about the International Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel movement at Brooklyn College is also disagppointing. Seems like whenever she turns she turns to the right!

    Reply
  14. Pingback: LGBT protestors fight NYC Council Speaker Quinn mayoral bid | Wolf In Pig's Clothing

  15. Dubya March 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I feel compelled to comment here, especially on the day of Christine Quinn's formal announcement to seek the office of Mayor of New York City.

    Firs of all, thank you for doing all that you can to spread the truth about Christine Quinn, a career, old-school politician. I, too, hail from a large, Irish-Catholic family (like Quinn), and quite frankly, there's no need to be a loud, brash bully just to be heard or be an effective politician. She has become (and I suspect, always was and will be) "that kid" we all grew up hating during our formative years. I also resent the fact that because she is openly gay, she feels entitled to the support of the LGBT community. While LGBT issues are obviously very important to me, my partner and our collective community, I am even more motivated NOT to vote for Quinn for her actions, or lack thereof.

    As a long-time resident of the West Village, native New Yorker and lifelong Democrat, I am appalled with Quinn's inaction (and that of all our city & state politicians, mind you, but hers especially…and I'll get to why) with respect to the demise of our community hospital, St. Vincent's. Admittedly, the hospital's finances were abysmal — no doubt weakened by mismanagement, a poorly conceived merger with other Catholic hospitals and that it was among the leading providers of healthcare services to the poor & homeless (read, those without insurance!) — but the institution provided a critical service to NYC and the Lower West Side of Manhattan. Perhaps not as important as marriage equality or other critical LGBT achievements in recent years, we must not forget that St. Vincent's was a beachhead in our community's fight against the epidemic once known as "gay-related immune deficiency" (GRID), which later became known as AIDS. Certainly, growing public awareness and the availability of live-saving medications have thankfully helped bring this under control, but where were our gay leaders (Quinn?? There were others, State Senator Duane, but he's not seeking re-election…) on a long-term healthcare solution for our neighborhoods, when it needed one? A reorganization of the hospital? No, her answer (and, to be fair, our state & local government's answer, which she made no attempt to differentiate herself from): let developers have a shot at otherwise prime, valuable real estate in the West Village, with a wink and a nod to create luxury condominiums and "an outpatient clinic" to minister to the urgent care needs of our neighborhood. Lining her pockets with contributions from Rudin Management (http://www.nyccfb.info/searchabledb/AdvancedContributionSearchResult.aspx?ec_id=2013&cand_id=204&cand=Quinn%2c+Christine+C&emp=rudin+%28contains%29&emp_name1=rudin&emp_exact1=C), the real estate firm is now developing the former hospital site into multi-million dollar apartments. Goodbye, critical care hospital…hello, Rosie O'Donnell (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/rosie-odonnell-nyc-apartment_n_1680576.html). What's second prize?!

    The problem still remains: the Lower West Side of Manhattan (Chelsea, West Village, Tribeca) no longer has a hospital with a level-1 trauma center, which not only puts additional stresses on existing NYC hospitals, but leaves our community without critical care services…unless, of course, you get into an ambulance or cab and hike uptown to St. Luke's-Roosevelt in Midtown West/Hell's Kitchen or across town to Beth Israel near Stuy Town (neither of which are Level-1 trauma centers, by the way….you'll need to either go to Bellevue — good luck there — or NY Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center on the UES for that). Call me crazy, but in a life or death situation when minutes & seconds matter, I'd rather not have to worry about getting the proper treatment at an "outpatient clinic," the horrendous traffic which already clogs our city streets or the available capacity at another hospital.

    For this reason, I can confidently say I WILL NOT be voting for Christine Quinn. A vote for Quinn is a vote for patronage politics as usual or, dare I say, I the return to bully-pulpit, Tammany Hall-style politics. For what it's worth, I WILL be supporting Yetta Kurland — a well-educated, outspoken activist and lawyer — for City Council in District 3 (Quinn's soon-to-be former seat), for the herculean efforts she made on all our behalf to save St. Vincent's and her ongoing work, not only for the LGBT community, but for all New Yorkers.

    I would encourage others out there, especially other LGBT NYCers, to learn more about Christine Quinn, her record and her backers, before casting a blanket vote for the only LGBT candidate for Mayor: http://www.nyccfb.info/searchabledb/AdvancedContrhttp://westviewnews.org/2013/03/trading-our-liveshttp://westviewnews.org/2012/02/why-quinn-must-go

    Reply
  16. Dubya March 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    ** To be clear on my above post, I should have said "that bully" (not kid) and I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. **

    Reply
  17. Pingback: LGBT Activists Accuse Christine Quinn Of “Selling Out" | シ最愛遲到.!

  18. Pingback: LGBT Activists Accuse Christine Quinn Of “Selling Out” | Classic Soul Radio

  19. @tynkyr_belle July 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

    She is "…supporting ID scanners for city nightclubs and bars…"

    OH MY HEAVENS! She wants to insure that no underage drinking is going on, which directly correlates to a lessened frequency of drunk drivers! OMG THAT IS SO HORRIBLE THAT SHE WANTS TO MAKE SURE THE UNDERAGE DRINKING LAWS ARE ENFORCED!

    What a complete and utter bitch!

    What? That would be a GOOD thing? Because underage drunk driving is BAD? (It is?) Oh yeah, right, because underage drunk driving leads to traffic fatalities, and we don't want our youth DEAD, do we?

    Yeah, we tell them not to commit suicide, because "it gets better" when they go to bars when underage, drink, get drunk, and then go out and kill themselves (or worse yet, innocent others).

    RIght…

    Reply
  20. @tynkyr_belle July 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Ah – I see that you only allow comments that dislike Ms. Quinn, not any that would support her.

    I'm sorry I wasted my time on your site.

    Reply

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