City Council Speaker Christine Quinn took on the Bloomberg administration Wednesday over offering free breakfast in city classrooms: she wants to require it but the mayor doesn't. It might be just one of other political battles to come as Quinn plans a mayoral run. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
As 2013 nears, that may mean City Council Speaker Christine Quinn won't always be in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's corner.
Do you support the City Council’s push to provide free lunch in the classroom? Should it be mandatory or should principals decide whether to take part in the program? Read New Yorkers' thoughts.
On Wednesday, the City Council took a stand on free school breakfasts. Lawmakers want to make it mandatory in every classroom. It's now available in the cafeteria.
It's something that the Bloomberg administration has no appetite for. They contend the requirement might lead to childhood obesity, as some kids might have the day's most important meal twice.
"We are not going to mandate this," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. "It's something that our principals have the ability to opt into and so we want them to opt into it if that's what they want to do. Our goal is to increase the breakfast served, whether it's in the classroom or people walking in."
"So we've looked at that study and we think it is flawed and doesn't in any way support that the school breakfast is leading to childhood obesity," she said.
The move was symbolic. Because of mayoral control, the council can't require the department of education to provide free breakfast in every city classroom.
But there is another issue Speaker Quinn may have more control over and that's providing cab service to all five boroughs.
The mayor's five borough taxi plan was struck down in court last week because he didn't get the council's stamp of approval.
On Wednesday, Quinn said "We're absolutely open to considering a home rule that deals with a taxi medallion sale and a five borough medallion sale."
Pressed, the speaker would not say whether she would support the mayor's exact proposal.
"I am just not going to speak hypothetically," she said.
But already, other council members are planning to introduce legislation.
"They should be limited to neighborhoods in the city that can actually demonstrate a real need for it," said City Councilman Lewis Fidler of Brooklyn.
For now, the mayor's office says it is focusing on the appeal and not bringing legislation to the council.