In reaching a compromise on paid sick leave legislation, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is scoring a big political win, and she seems to be putting to rest an issue that has dogged her on the campaign trail, the second time in less than two weeks that she has attempted to do so. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
When the Democratic candidates for mayor share the stage, Christine Quinn often finds herself under attack. Her longtime refusal to advance legislation requiring businesses to give their employees paid sick leave has made her an easy target.
"Speaker Quinn, you need to stop blocking this bill right now and allow it to move forward," Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson said on March 20.
The paid sick leave fight has loomed large over the race for weeks, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio made the speaker's position a centerpiece of his campaign.
"This is the first time I can remember something of this importance not being allowed even a vote," de Blasio said on March 15. "And the folks affected deserve a vote."
But now that Quinn has reached an agreement that labor and business groups are backing, she is taking the wind out of her opponents' sails.
"It gets this issue off the table," said George Arzt, a Democratic consultant. "It's very early in the race, and she wants it out of the way, and it's out of the way now. Her opponents can't use it, and unions can't use it against her."
It's the second such issue she has tried to dispose of in as many weeks. Quinn recently announced her support for an inspector general to keep tabs on the New York City Police Department. She was getting hammered by critics for being too supportive of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Quinn's opponents, however, will still try to use these issues against her. De Blasio took to the steps of City Hall after Quinn's victory lap to denounce the sick leave agreement for not going further.
"If Christine Quinn had had her way, there would not have been a paid sick leave bill," de Blasio said. "And the bill she finally agreed to leaves out 300,000 New Yorkers."
But Arzt, who is not working for any of the candidates, thinks it is clear that Quinn won the day.
"Bill de Blasio, find another issue," Arzt said.
Another flash point in the mayor's race is sure to surface soon. Perhaps Quinn's support for extending term limits will take center stage now that paid sick leave is behind her.