Aug 24 2013

 

 

 

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The prestigious New York Times has endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to be the next Mayor of New York. The endorsement covers the Democratic primary to be held in early September. This follows closely on a powerful endorsement by the New York Daily News.

Read the full editorial but here are some excerpts:

We had already made up our own minds in favor of Ms. Quinn, but the Wednesday debate would have clinched it anyway. Candidates were asked what legacy they wanted to leave after two terms. “More people in the middle class,” Ms. Quinn said. It was a perfect answer, and she could have left it there. But, Quinn being Quinn, she threw in supporting details. She wants 40,000 more apartments the middle class can afford to live in. She wants to repair crumbling public housing, providing “quality conditions” for 600,000 people. She wants to make the school day longer and replace textbooks with electronic tablets. At the buzzer, she threw in: make the city “climate-change ready.”

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Ms. Quinn has been an impressive leader since her days as a neighborhood advocate and her early years on the City Council. We endorsed her for the Council in 1999 as someone “who can both work within the system and criticize it when necessary” — a judgment she has validated many times since. She has shepherded through important laws protecting New Yorkers’ health, safety and civil rights, including measures banning public smoking, protecting tenants and small businesses, and battling slumlords. She sponsored the sweeping 2007 legislation that made the city’s exemplary campaign-finance laws even stronger. She pushed successfully for a state law making kindergarten mandatory for 5-year-olds — giving thousands of poor and minority children a better start on their educations.

As speaker, Ms. Quinn has been a forceful counterpart to Mr. Bloomberg, and has turned the Council from a collection of rambunctious, ill-directed egos into a forceful and effective legislative body. In wrestling with budgets she has shown restraint that runs counter to lesser political instincts. She fought, for example, for a Bloomberg plan to keep a year’s surplus as a rainy-day fund. There was fierce opposition from Council members who wanted to spend the money. Ms. Quinn was right, and the city had a cushion when the recession hit.

Mr. Bloomberg has raised expectations that hard decisions should be made on the merits — that the city needs a mayor who is willing to say no. More than with the other candidates, that description fits Ms. Quinn. As an early leader in the campaign, with a target on her back, she has faced anger and derision without wavering. We admire her staunch support for the city’s solid-waste management plan, which is good for the whole city but bitterly opposed in some neighborhoods. She has been willing to challenge the mayor’s misjudgment and insensitivity, as when he tried to require single adults to prove their homelessness before they were allowed to use city shelters.

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A lot of good ideas that, in Ms. Quinn’s case, add up to an achievable vision, and one we would be glad to see come to pass.