Is a rift opening up between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn? The two have worked closely but are disagreeing sharply over council legislation that would create an independent monitor for the New York Police Department. It’s one of a number of issues that are showing a rift between the mayor and the woman who hopes to replace him.
Mayor Bloomberg sharply criticized the inspector general bill on Wednesday.
“We cannot afford to play election year politics with the safety of our city,” he said. “And we can't afford to roll back the progress of the past 20 years Make no mistake, this bill jeopardizes that progress and will put the lives of New Yorkers and our police officers at risk.”
A couple of hours later, Quinn held her own press conference and most of the questions were about the mayor's comments, including one about whether it helps her to be facing off with the mayor on this issue.
“It's irrelevant,” she said. “ The mayor's going to have what ever position he's going to have and I'm going to have whatever position I've going to have. I mean I've been saying for months that more legal infrastructure was needed around stop question and frisk.”
Quinn, who looked weary at the press conference, has tried to walk a fine line, says WNYC’s Brigid Bergin. She’s been trying not to distance herself too much from Bloomberg, while staking out specific and nuanced positions on issues related to the police department, such as the inspector general or the use of stop-and-frisk.
The council speaker has also repeatedly said she or whoever the next mayor is would be lucky to have Kelly as police commissioner. It’s a statement goes over well with business leaders.
But she has been criticized for this by her opponents. At a mayoral forum on public safety earlier this week, the moderator asked her directly to explain why she would keep him on. And, Bergin says, her answer essentially was that just because people work well together doesn't mean they have to agree on everything. She also said Kelly has "over relied massively" on the stop question and frisk tactic.
Listen to Soterios Johnson’s full interview with Brigid Bergin above.