Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quinn Co-opts NY-CLASS

New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets, an animal rights organisation which supports a full ban of horse carriages in New York City, is now pushing New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's electoral agenda.

Last week, animal rights activist Donny Moss sent an e-mail to fellow activists, bloggers, and to the media, which is being widely circulated. Below is the full text of the e-mail, including the full e-mail chain, with redacted e-mail addresses and telephone numbers :

------ Forwarded Message
From: Donny Moss
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 09:35:48 -0500
To: Donny Moss
Subject: Christine Quinn has co-opted one of our groups

Dear fellow activist:

We've been undermined. And we can't be silent about it.

Christine Quinn has co-opted one of our own groups, NY-CLASS, to both work against us and build support for her in the animal rights community. She's even provided them with the tools to do it -- the licensing and tethering bills.

Here are the facts:

1. NY-CLASS was founded by the CEO of a real estate development company whose business depends in part on a good relationship with the Speaker, Christine Quinn. In 2009, he helped Quinn get re-elected by donating $2,000 to her campaign --

2. The founder of NY-CLASS has told me several times since 2009 that Quinn is holding him personally responsible for our campaign against her, and he has implored me -- with a sense of desperation and urgency -- to suspend the campaign. (Our campaign aims to protect the horses, not business interests.)

3. NY-CLASS is promoting Quinn's licensing and tethering bills as "exciting" and "groundbreaking" "animal rights" bills. At best, these bills are a major disappointment (See e-mail from me at the bottom of this chain).

4. In a separate message to supporters, NY-CLASS suggests that we should vote for Quinn: "If Quinn believes that this change will give her votes, she will continue to react positively to more important . . . animal rights legislation." If Quinn wants our votes, shouldn't she build our trust by passing a "more important" bill first -- perhaps one of the many bills that she has blocked?

Christine Quinn and NY-CLASS appear to have struck a deal: If the founder of NY-CLASS silences the anti-Quinn activists and builds support for her in our community, Quinn will protect his business interests in the City Council. But what happened to the horses in this deal? NY-CLASS' effort to ban horse-drawn carriages has been compromised.

Here are some other questions we should be asking:

1. Why is NY-CLASS working on licensing and tethering bills, which have nothing to do with their mission or area of expertise?

2. What is NY-CLASS doing to help the carriage horses? Their website contains no information about their activities and simply directs people to send letters to City officials.

3. What happened to NY-CLASS' electric antique car prototype? Activists have been promoting this humane alternative (and the corresponding bill at City Hall). Does it even exist?

Quinn's deceit surrounding these bills and her attempt to generate support among activists through NY-CLASS reinforce the need for us to educate the public about why she should be voted out of public office for good.

See you in the streets.

Donny Moss


Begin forwarded message:

Date: January 20, 2011 11:38:29 AM EST
To: donnymoss
Subject: Groundbreaking News for all Animal Rights Advocates!
Reply-To: newyorkclass

Big Wins for the Animal Rights Community

Members and Friends,

It is my pleasure to announce some very exciting and encouraging news for the entire animal rights community. On Tuesday, January 18th, the City Council passed two animal rights bills that acknowledge the importance of curbing abuse, neglect, and overcrowding in New York City's animal shelters.

It is time to encourage and push our City Council to continue passing legislation that protects the animals of our great city. If we keep the pressure on, the City Council will have to pass a bill protecting horses and stopping the carriage horse industry in New York City!

Thanks so much for all of your support and please continue to spread the word!


Laura Eldridge
Executive Director

Contact us today at XXXXXXXXXXXX or via email at XXXXXXXXXXXX.

It is only with your help that we can continue to strengthen our grassroots support to phase-out the use of horse carriages in New York City. Do not forget to TAKE ACTION and lobby the city council and Mayor’s office to support the alternative by signing up on our website,

NYCLASS | 1120 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 4172 | New York, NY 10036 | XXXXXXXXXXXX | XXXXXXXXXXXX


From: donnymoss
To: donnymoss
Subject: Emboldened, not silenced
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2011 12:54:07 -0500>

Dear all:

On Tuesday (1/18), Christine Quinn pushed a bill through the City Council that makes it illegal for NYers to tie up their dogs more than 3 hours. On its surface, this law sounds like a godsend for dogs because chaining is unspeakably cruel. But if you scratch the surface just a little bit, you'll see why the only one who truly benefits from this new law is Quinn herself.

If dogs are, in fact, chained to backyard fences in NYC, they won't benefit from this law because it is unenforceable, as Quinn admits during her press conference about the bill:

Because chaining is not a major problem in NYC compared to other forms of animal abuse, local animal rights activists have not made this issue a legislative priority. Instead, they have worked tirelessly for years on meaningful bills that would, in fact, reduce animal suffering in the City -- bills that Quinn has blocked in committee.

So, if the tethering law won't actually help animals and is not a legislative priority for the community, then why did Quinn push this bill through the Council at lightning speed?

Here's why: Quinn is actively campaigning to be NYC's next Mayor, and this bill does the following:

1. It gives NYers the misimpression that Quinn fights for those who are most vulnerable. Hundreds of thousands of NY voters must have seen Quinn's charade on the news and thought, "Thank god she's putting an end to this abuse."

2. It helps her fight criticism that she's blocked every animal protection bill introduced at City Hall since becoming Speaker. Check your mailboxes for one of her letters: "I love dogs; I listened to you; vote for me if you care about animals."

3. It potentially weakens the animal advocacy's campaign against her. Some advocates who aren't familiar with Quinn's modus operandi will "give her a chance" because they see this as a "first step" which could lead to other bills. This bill is not a first step; it is a political tactic that enables her to add animal legislation to her campaign resume and cross it off of her "to do" list. We've given her way too many chances already.

Quinn picked this particular animal bill to push through the Council because it's compelling on the surface, and it required her to expend no political capital. Why would anyone stand in the way of a bill in which no people or animals are affected in any way? But, at the end of the day, this bill is harmful because it makes the passage of other (meaningful) animal bills more difficult, as the City Council can only spend a finite amount of resources on animal-related legislation. Quinn squandered this opportunity on a bill that helps no one but her. It's so manipulative, deceitful and typical.

The only way Quinn is ever going to move the many meaningful animal bills that she has blocked in committee is if it becomes politically expedient for her to do so. That's where we come in. If you'd like to join a growing group of NYers from the animal rights, human rights, gay rights and good government communities in the campaign against Quinn, please send me an email. We'd love to have you. And please share this email with anyone who might be interested.

See you in the streets.

Donny Moss

------ End of Forwarded Message

Christine Quinn : Mayoral ''Drop-Out'' or ''Run-Off'' Queen ?

''Countdown to 2013: The Muddled and Messy Start to a Mayor's Race Still Two-and-a-Half Years Away''

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a close political ally of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is a risky bet in the crowded Democratic field to become the next mayor of New York City, wrote David Freedlander in a political analysis for The New York Observer.

Although Speaker Quinn is described by one anonymous political insider as being in a ''first tier'' of likely candidates for the Democratic mayoral nomination, along with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Representative Anthony Weiner, Mr. Freedlander observed that, ''in a crowded field, none of the six own a slice of the electorate all to themselves, and it is impossible for anyone to plausibly claim that he or she has even an inside edge, let alone be considered the front-runner.''

Two issues resonate strongest in Mr. Freedlander analysis of Speaker Quinn's mayoral prospects. First, Speaker Quinn has ''hitched her wagon to Mayor Bloomberg...,'' an act that has risked ''angering'' her ''progressive base.'' Second, ''eight years of City Council shenanigans-even if she was not very involved in many of them-can inspire attack ads that nearly write themselves.'' Presumably, Mr. Freedlander is describing Speaker Quinn's slush fund scandal, the investigation of which continues to claim City Councilmembers two years after news broke of the Speaker's discretionary use of budget appropriations.

''Political insiders are most divided on the prospects of the speaker of the City Council, with some seeing her as likely to drop out of the race altogether and aim for a lesser office, and others seeing her as a veritable lock for a run-off.''

While the status of the investigation into Speaker Quinn's role of making these secret budget allocations and reallocations is unknown, The New York Times exposed in a late New Year's Eve story that Speaker Quinn continues dipping her hand in the cookie jar, contrary to her 2008 public vow to end the ''tradition.''

Monday, January 24, 2011

More City Hospital Closings

Christine Quinn to City : Drop Dead

UPDATED : As more hospitals in New York City are at an increased risk to be closed, four community activists were arrested on February 8, 2011, following a sit-in at the former site of St. Vincent's Hospital.

St. Vincent's closed in 2010 under shady conditions. The arrests were largely ignored by the mainstream media. Why ?

In the time that Christine Quinn has been Speaker of the New York City Council, at least eight city hospitals have closed. In 2010, North General Hospital in Harlem declared bankruptcy and St. Vincent's Hospital in the West Village shut down after shady backroom meetings. In 2009, two hospitals in Queens – St. John's Queens Hospital in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica – went bankrupt. In 2008, Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan, Parkway Hospital in Queens, and Victory Memorial Hospital in Bay Ridge closed. And in 2007, St. Vincent's Midtown in Manhattan was closed. Separately, one other hospital in Brooklyn, Long Island College Hospital, was recently saved : it had been on the brink of closing, and the only way the hospital was saved was by merging it with SUNY Downstate.

From The New York Post :
Governor's Medicaid cuts may kill 10 city hospitals
Last Updated: 10:12 AM, January 22, 2011
Posted: 12:53 AM, January 22, 2011

One-third of New York City's private hospitals could lose their life support and shut down if Gov. Cuomo goes through with his vow to cut between $2 billion and $3 billion from the state's massive Medicaid program, The Post has learned.

"There are 10 to 12 hospitals that are teetering on the edge [statewide]," said Stephen Berger, a member of Cuomo's Medicaid redesign team, who previously headed a state hospital restructuring panel.

"How many of them are really necessary? How many can be saved? How many can be merged? That's what we have to ask," added Berger.

"Given the amount of money we are spending, we ought to be putting together a much more efficient health-care system with better patient care."

Many of the hospitals teetering on the brink of financial collapse are located in the city's poorer neighborhoods and serve a high number of patients covered by Medicaid, the public insurance program for the needy.

Steep reductions in Medicaid could disproportionately impact these hospitals, possibly forcing institutions to enter bankruptcy or to shut down permanently, advocates warn.

Hospitals considered to be in the fiscal intensive care unit include Brookdale, Kingsbrook, Wyckoff, Interfaith and Brooklyn in Brooklyn, Jamaica and Peninsula in Queens and many institutions in The Bronx including Westchester Square.

"It's no secret that a lot of hospitals in the New York City area are struggling financially, and the worst budget outcome for them would be straight reimbursement cuts, which has happened nine times since 2007 and contributed to several closures," said Brian Conway, spokesman for the Greater New York Hospital Association.

The closure last year of the storied St. Vincent's Medical Center in Greenwich Village as well as North General Hospital in Harlem put everyone on notice that Albany -- facing a $10 billion budget shortfall -- is unlikely to save chronically ill institutions.

"Although eight hospitals have closed since 2007, nearly one-third of the surviving voluntary nonprofits, most of them 'safety net hospitals,' are in jeopardy," the United Hospital Fund says in its semi-annual "Hospital Watch" report.

Poor prognosis

Among hospitals in danger of closing if major cuts in Medicaid funding come down from Albany:

  • Brooklyn Center
  • Brookdale
  • Interfaith
  • Kingsbrook
  • Wyckoff
  • Jamaica
  • Peninsula
  • Westchester Square
  • St. Barnabas
Eight city hospitals have closed since 2007.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is Gov. Cuomo Circumventing Christine Quinn On Gay Marriage ?

Gov. Cuomo Signals That He Might Make Marriage Equality A Priority For His Administration ; The New York Daily News Describes Marriage Equality As A ''Civil Rights Issue.''

Erik Bottcher, who has been working as City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's liaison to the gay community, has just been named by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be his community affairs aide -- an appointment that The New York Daily News has reported to be a hint that Gov. Cuomo will try to legalise gay marriage.

To make marriage equality a reality, Gov. Cuomo appears to be recruiting a dedicated team. If Gov. Cuomo is successful, New York will join a handful of other states, where gay marriage is already legal.

''Plenty of people - gay and straight - have been asking for years what is taking New York so long,'' observed Celeste Katz, a reporter for The Daily News.

It is a poor reflection on Speaker Quinn, a high profile gay leader in New York City, that Mr. Bottcher would be leaving her side. Although an approach of how to make marriage equality a reality already exists, based on the Gavin Newsom model, seeing as how Speaker Quinn has not been the source of any marriage equality effort in New York City, hopefully, Mr. Bottcher will have a greater impact on marriage equality now that he begins working for Gov. Cuomo.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

If Gay Marriage Ever Becomes Legal In New York City, It Certainly Won't Be Because Of Christine Quinn

Christine Quinn Has a Backward Idea for Marriage Equality

Instead of introducing a law that would create marriage equality in New York City, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn ''wants the city clerk to inform those who apply for domestic partnerships that Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., all allow same-sex marriage.''

Presumably, by telling LGBT New Yorkers that you can get married in other states, this way, Speaker Quinn doesn't have to do anything about making marriage equality a reality right here in New York City.

Here, in New York City, we have grown accustomed to seeing Speaker Quinn showing up at gay rights events -- or gay engagement announcements, like the one that took place on the evening that this YouTube was made -- even though Speaker Quinn has never introduced any law to establish marriage equality in New York City.

In contrast, Gavin Newson helped to reshape marriage equality for the United States by allowing same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses in San Francisco. What comparable action has Speaker Quinn taken ?

At the announcement of the wedding engagement between Sean Eldridge and Chris Hughes, which took place on the evening that this YouTube video was made, Mr. Eldridge said, "As you know, we can't get married in New York, so there is more of an urgency to approve gay marriage, so we can get married here." Mr. Eldridge could conceivably call Speaker Quinn the marriage blocker responsible for this. Speaker Quinn is never going to lead us to a national LGBT civil rights breakthrough, considering she hasn't done anything about LGBT civil rights, much less marriage equality, right here in New York City.

Questions Surround Needs Assessment - St. Vincent's Site

Why Are City Officials Not Restoring
a Hospital On The Site of St. Vincent's ?

The Hedz-Up Report covers the joint public meeting between Community Boards 2 & 4. At issue is a proposed needs assessment report that will gauge the necessity for a hospital at the SVH site. In this clip, attorney/community activist Yetta Kurland presents the community's concerns to the panel.

Why Are They Closing St. Vincent's Hospital? (Pt. 15) - Clip 1 - Joint Public Meeting on the Community Health Needs Assessment from g. sosa on Vimeo.

Visit the Hedz-Up Report blog.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Christine Quinn Corruption Protest

About a dozen activists protested against New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn outside the SoHo apartment of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and his boyfriend, Sean Eldridge.

New York voters, open your eyes !

Speaker Christine Quinn shows up to gay rights events -- or gay engagement announcements, like the one that took place on the evening that this YouTube was made -- but Speaker Quinn has never introduced any law to establish marriage equality in New York City.

In contrast, Gavin Newson helped to reshape marriage equality for the United States by allowing same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses in San Francisco.

What comparable action has Speaker Quinn taken ?

Besides being a do-nothing gay leader, look at some of the other unacceptable lows in Speaker Quinn's political record :

See also :