Quinn’s Pedicab Problem: Personal or Political?

City
Council Speaker Christine Quinn is reportedly pressuring — some might
say coercing — council members into backing her effort to override of Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of stringent pedicab restrictions. Tony Avella of Queens talked to the Sun about Quinn’s anti-pedicab campaign among council members.

Mr.
Avella said his colleagues are following Ms. Quinn’s wishes because her
support is essential when trying to introduce legislation or secure
funding for projects in a member’s district. "The
power of the speaker is incredible when used in this type of
situation," he said. "And that’s a situation that really has to change.
We talk about three men in a room in Albany. Well, the City Council is getting just as bad."

Of
course political blackmail among elected officials is nothing new.
What’s noteworthy here is that, according to the Sun:

A lobbyist at Bolton-St. Johns, Inc, a group hired by the Committee for Taxi Safety to lobby the council, Emily Giske,
is considered by many to be close to the speaker. She and Ms. Quinn
lived, and may still live, in the same apartment building on West 24th
Street, according to a recent address listing.

After Ms. Quinn, who is a lesbian, gave her first speech as speaker last year, Ms. Giske told a weekly newspaper of Lower Manhattan, Downtown Express: "As a lesbian and as a Democrat, I’ve never been more proud of anything in my life."

Regardless
of any possible personal link between Quinn and Giske, pedicab industry
founder and spokesman George Bliss suspects the speaker’s motives are
patently political.

"She
wants to be mayor, she needs their money," Mr. Bliss said, referring to
Ms. Quinn. "It is clear there is a quid pro quo between the speaker and
the taxi lobby."

Could Quinn,
a Democrat, be short-sighted enough to lobby against clean
transportation for New York City at a time when the Republican she
hopes to succeed is speaking — if not always acting — on reducing emissions? Not
according to a Quinn spokeswoman, who claims that no one on the council
"was urged or pressured to vote one way or another on the pedicab bill."

For his part, David Pollack, executive director of the Committee for Taxi Safety ("Helping NYC’s Safest Drivers"), says pedicab regulations would "keep the bicycle taxis from clogging midtown Manhattan." Pollack receives "daily complaints about reckless pedicab drivers," the article says.

A vote on the pedicab regs is set for April 23.

Photo: nycbone via Flickr 

  • brent

    How do we stop this moron?

  • ln

    Express your feelings for Quinn with those that gave her a start in politics! Pedicabs will also be at:

    ***PARADE WITHOUT A PERMIT!***
    An Un-Permitted Queer Parade to Call Out Christine Quinn and Defend Free
    Assembly

    THURSDAY, APRIL 19th @ 4PM
    City Hall Park, NYC

    Calling All Queers, Allies and Anyone Effected by NYPD’s New Rule (AKA
    Everyone in NYC)!! Join us in the streets as we challenge the NYPD’s new
    law preventing assembly. Or cheer us on from the sidelines.

    We’re going to assemble at City Hall Park to PARADE WITHOUT A PERMIT! Let
    Speaker Quinn and the rest of City Council know that the police don’t
    write laws! Bring your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers! Bring
    noisemakers, signs, and singing, dancing bodies to reclaim our streets and
    pronounce a big FUCK YOU to politicians like Quinn who sell our rights
    down the historical river for political gain!

    In February 2007, the NYPD published new regulations attacking freedom of
    assembly in New York City, unilaterally amending the definition of a
    “parade.” ANY public gathering of 50 or more people – whether on foot,
    bicycle, or rollerskates – now requires a “permit” from the NYPD. And,
    just as the police have the power to grant permits, they also have the
    power to deny them.

    Why do the police decide who can assemble and who cannot? And since when
    do the police write laws?

    We—a contingent of the NYC queer community—are outraged that City Council
    Speaker Christine Quinn, who claims to speak for *us*, has endorsed this
    plan, calling the new permit regulations “a practical approach to traffic
    and public safety issues” (NYT 10/18/06). The same Christine Quinn who
    claims to speak for the queer community is now attacking the very civil
    rights gains that have made it possible for her, an out lesbian, to become
    speaker.

    The Radical Homosexual Agenda calls upon all queer New Yorkers, our allies
    and everyone effected by the NYPD’s new rule to show Christine Quinn that
    she does NOT represent us and that we will NOT stand by while our rights
    are trampled! The Stonewall veterans never asked for a permit and neither
    should we!

    Subway directions to City Hall Park:
    J/M/Z train to Chambers St. N/R to City Hall. 4/5/6 to Brooklyn
    Bridge-City Hall.

    For more info, contact the Radical Homosexual Agenda at
    wewantyou@riseup.net or visit http://www.radicalhomosexualagenda.org

    Check out AssembleForRightsNYC.org for the latest in repealing the NYPD’s
    rule.

  • I love these statements about pedi-cabs potentially “clogging midtown Manhattan.” It’s clogged dufus! It’s been clogged for decades – with cars. It’s going to get worse, and not because of pedi-cabs. Time to make some choices.

  • We Aren’t Traffic

    If you take Quinn’s statement and substitute the word “cab” for “pedicab” it becomes far more accurate.

    She seems to be triangulating from the right on pedicabs and freedom of assembly. Like Clinton’s attack on Sister souljah, a politician picks a marginalized group or cause on what is perceived to be their end of the political spectrum and attacks in an attempt to pull some votes from non-traditional constituencies. In Quinn’s case she knows that black and latino voters have a lot on their minds and arent going to care much about pedicabs or critical mass, but it makes the cops and cab industry happy to support them on this, plus shows she’s not a knee jerk Manhattan wacko liberal. Instead, she’s just a good old NYC identity politics hack, but her base is gay instead of some ethnicity.

  • Mark Davis

    the biggest supporters of the regulation bill were also the biggest supporters of the failed ban bills. If the Bill Quinn likes really is good for pedicabs why would peopel who want to outright ban pedicabs be in favor of this bill? Counsel member Gerson, who wrote the first regulation bill abstained from voting because the bill introduced was awful, but he was still in favor of a bill to help protect New Yorkers and the pedicab industry.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    If we had gay marriage, Quinn and Giske might be married, and then we wouldn’t have to speculate. Like Schumer and Weinshall, the connection would be obvious.

    On the other hand, maybe they wouldn’t be married, just like Bloomberg and Diana Taylor. Maybe they’re even just friends, in which case it would still be inappropriate for Quinn to allow her friend the lobbyist to influence her legislation.

  • ddartley

    Any way you slice it, pedicabs make any mass of congested traffic MUCH MORE efficient at moving numbers of people than yellow taxis.

    I’m sick of the total B.S. that pedicabs “congest.” They @#$% DILUTE congestion.

  • Mark Davis

    How can a vehicle that moves through congestion cause congestion?

  • ddartley

    Taxis: phlegm.

    Pedicabs: Mucinex!

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