Monday, December 5, 2011

Quinn Seeks Distance from Bloomberg on Homeless Rules

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn seems to be having a change of heart related to her undying loyalty to Mayor Bloomberg.

Homeless Shelters

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has supported Mayor Bloomberg through thick and thin. She led the fight to give him(and herself) an additional term in office - in direct opposition to the will of the people of New York City as expressed in two referenda. She has remained quiet as Mayor Bloomberg has defied federal courts and worked tirelessly to avoid racially integrating the Fire Department of New York. She has provided her tacit approval of his race-based policing approach (more on that is discussed below). 

But, after Mayor Bloomberg decided to require single adults to prove that they have no alternative place to live before they can enter a homeless shelter, he was opposed by Speaker Christine Quinn. She led the New York City Council to oppose his change in homeless policy. The City Council sued the Mayor for the first time in Speaker Quinn's tenure.

It is a good sign. Although she should not have waited until the Mayor implemented as absurd a policy as requiring homeless people to prove that they are homeless, Christine Quinn should be commended for opposing the Mayor in this case. One wonders how a homeless person proves he or she is homeless. Is it a letter from every friend and family member? Is it an eviction notice. Perhaps the best evidence of a lack of other options is the presence at a homeless shelter. Perhaps the Mayor will ask patients in emergency rooms to prove that they don't have friends who could save their lives outside of the hospital.

Stop and Frisk Record Pace

After all of the controversy surrounding Mayor Bloomberg's racist stop-and-frisk approach, this year, his Administration will set a new record for the number of stops. In fact, more than four million stops have occurred under the racist Bloomberg approach since 2004. Nearly all of the stops are stops of people of color, and very close to all of those stopped are completed innocent and are never given a summons or arrested.
Despite a lawsuit against the department claiming the stop-and-frisks discriminate against minorities (in 2008, 80 percent of those stopped were black or latino) and a call from city officials, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, for the federal government to investigate the program, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne defended the practice this week as a success in curbing crime.
Based on Mayor Bloomberg's record at the FDNY and his approach to policing, he should resign immediately. There is no place for his type of policy approach (skin color defines all outcomes and determines rights and opportunities) in 2011. In fact, our country rose up and outlawed his style of governing in 1964 . . . nearly 50 years ago.

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