Revenge Doesn’t Explain Contractor Bill

Post claims miffed Democrats only support domestic partnership to spite Bloomberg

The New York Post’s jihad against the queer community turned bizarre on November 13 when the right wing tabloid published a story claiming “miffed” City Council Democrats had revived the Equal Benefits Bill to exact revenge against Republican Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for backing Republican candidates in the recent City Council races.

The bill would require some city contractors to give the same benefits to the domestic partners of their employees that they give to their workers’ spouses.

Frankie Edozien, the reporter who authored this latest piece of Post fiction, wrote that “Councilwoman Christine Quinn… would not comment on why she was reviving the bill now––just a week after the council elections in which the mayor backed her unsuccessful Republican rival.”

Having asserted that the Manhattan Democrat had no comment, he then quotes Quinn in the next paragraph explaining why she was pushing the bill now.

“We were spending the time doing education, reaching out to members, making sure we had a veto-proof majority, which we do,” Quinn told the Post.

So how does Edozien know that the Democrats are out to get Bloomberg?

“Other sources said the bill was being fast-tracked because of council resentment that Bloomberg backed GOP challengers to incumbent Democrats,” Edozien wrote.

It is standard in journalism to give readers some information about anonymous sources. Do Edozien’s sources work for Bloomberg or the City Council?

Perhaps they work for the New York Post.

Of course, the Post’s coverage of any issue, and the queer community in particular, is driven by right wing ideology. The tabloid wants to represent the Democrats as petty and vindictive. If Edozien had told us about his sources, assuming they exist, that agenda would be exposed so he can’t tell us anything about his sources. Edozian referred a call seeking comment to a Post spokesperson, who did not return a call.

On its face, Edozien’s assertion is idiotic. Only the race between Letitia James and Geoffrey Davis, brother of slain City Councilman James Davis, for the 35th Council seat was perceived as competitive and that perception was wrong. James won handily. Neither candidate ran on the Republican line.

In all of the other Council races, Democratic and Republican incumbents won easily.

I wonder if they even knew the names of their opponents. In any case, given Bloomberg’s low approval ratings, his endorsement is closer to the kiss of death than a boost. I’m sure the incumbents would have been delighted to have the mayor back their challengers.

The stupidity in this story doesn’t stop there. Edozien described the legislation as “a controversial gay-rights bill.” Edozien’s story, of course, had little evidence of controversy. He quoted one Bloomberg press aide speaking against the bill.

Currently, the bill is sponsored by 37 members of the 51-member City Council. At a Council hearing on the bill, held on November 13, the Bloomberg administration sent two minor aides to say that the legislation is illegal. None of the usual right wing suspects have said they oppose it. If controversial is defined as having little opposition, then I suppose the bill is very controversial.

Edozien’s final weird touch comes towards the end of his story with this gem: “But Bloomberg aides said yesterday the mayor’s position had not changed.”

This is Orwellian.

On June 19, 2001, candidate Bloomberg said “I guess I’m in favor of the city insisting on certain standards for its suppliers… I’m a little bit troubled when you come to domestic partner benefits in the sense that I think the city should offer them and [my company] does. What do you do with a Catholic hospital is where you get to the problem.”

Bloomberg said he would exempt such institutions from the law, but five days later he said “I don’t think that the city should insist that all its suppliers have domestic partner benefits. I do think that it is something that should be considered, but the city has to be free to deal with everybody.”

The story is that Bloomberg hasn’t shown a consistent position on this bill over the years, but we’re talking about the New York Post. So instead the story became an opportunity to help a weak Republican mayor and attack the gay community. For the right wing Post, that’s irresistible.

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