Three Reporters, One Mayor's Race

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest host Anna Sale is also WNYC's lead reporter on the 2013 mayor's race. She talks with Azi Paybarah, Capital New York reporter, and David Chen, City Hall bureau chief for the New York Times, about the latest in the Mayor's race. Plus: the fallout from David's piece on Christine Quinn's temper.

This is a story we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It’s a story that a lot of people who cover City Hall have talked about in private or have tried to figure out how to package. We thought that in a field where most of the candidates are pretty unknown to the voting public, it was incumbent upon us to inform the public in as many ways as possible about all the different attributes of these candidates: including policy positions, including management style, including temperament. Because Chris (Quinn) is viewed as the front-runner, in some eyes it seemed like it was a natural idea to examine this really interesting part of her personality. I can say without getting into deep journalistic practices, (this piece) was vetted on a lot of different levels by a lot of different people in an attempt to be clear, and not be judgemental in any way, while also trying to marshal the different aspects of her personality.

-- David Chen of the New York Times on his Christine Quinn profile.

Exchange on Stop and Frisk Between John Liu and Bill Thompson

(video courtesy of Azi Paybarah)


David Chen and Azi Paybarah

Comments [25]


If you think she is a wacko, you should "experience" her sister.

Apr. 13 2013 06:59 PM
Victor from New York

I always figured there was something fishy about Quinn. The cat is now out of the bag! One can disagree with colleagues without being nasty, obnoxious . To compound matters she is vindictive. Allowing Bloomies 3rd term in order to run herself is totally hypocritical. She is partial to the real estate lobby and will continue Bloomberg's agenda with him pulling the strings in the background for another 4-8 years. Totally unacceptable. God save us from the likes of Quinn as mayor of NYC

Apr. 01 2013 09:29 AM
Jane from Harlem

Deputy Mayor Quinn will go the way of Vallone and Miller, the speakers before her who ran for mayor. everyone says yes they are with you give money and vanish on primary day because they really cannot stand you...

Mar. 29 2013 09:31 AM
Vicki from Queens with under-funded senior centers

Quinn's behavior is the kind of behavior that gets Kindergarteners in the NYC school system created by Bloomberg and enabled by Quinn hauled off by the cops (see link below).
I told this to a WNYC producer this morning, who took an angry and challenging tone of voice, she took offense, to my speaking the truth and put me on hold, never to speak on air during a program with few callers.
As a Queens taxpayer, I also want to know who paid for the soundproofing of Quinn's office even as she was cutting off funding for my senior neighbors?

Mar. 28 2013 07:52 PM
kevin from ULS

is it not artificial and strange,to not talk about her temper,simply because she IS a woman? i won't use the term "sexist",because that's such a loaded, mostly vague, overindulged smoke screen of a word. are we to assume, that she should get a pass on possible anger issues,simply because that's not copa, with the PC gender police? that's both silly and patronizing.

Mar. 28 2013 04:47 PM

Hey wow, even Jesse Jackson's comments about "gelding" some politician has been reported on extensively. The story, that all of the supposed "news" gatekeepers (including for example WNYC and its "partner", Mr. Chen's employer, the NYT) have failed to feature include the lack of reporting on the City Council embezzlement scam that Ms. Quinn confessed to in April of 2008 ( It appears that her spin on the practice of allocating City funds to non-existent agencies, to facilitate their later use at the discretion of the Council President and "co-operating" council members, has has been accepted. There has been no reporting on the results or more importantly the fact findings of either the investigations of the U.S. Assistant Attorney or the NYC Department of Investigations. I suppose that the shrinking monetary fortunes or the news reporting industry (or maybe the"sequester") has prevented any independent investigation by traditional reporters of the "tic toc" (isn't that the phrase the "spin-miesters" use to deflect particularized questions) of how the scheme operated and, as importantly, came to public knowledge.
The story would, of necessity, implicate all of the main mayoral candidates (by way of their former membership in the City Council). I guess that's why there is no reporting.
[Listener sponsorship has its occasional shortcomings.]

Mar. 28 2013 01:16 PM
David from Manhattan

God I hope Quinn NEVER becomes Mayor!!! I don't want to wake up every morning hearing her scream at the top of lungs on my television or radio. That's the only way she is capable of "communicating." She's never run anything in her life--just a patronage, old school politician who's default will ALWAYS be to raise taxes! In the greatest city in the world, we have an incredibly mediocre bunch running for Mayor! It's really a shame.

Mar. 28 2013 12:13 PM
lcruz from brooklyn

why would anyone vote for Quinn, is ironic that she would seek voters mandate on an election, considering she disregarded voters referendum outcome.
how can anyone that takes democracy seriously, consider Quinn as a legitimate candidate.

Mar. 28 2013 11:48 AM
JoanL from Brooklyn

What matters is not personality, but character and the facts reported in the NYTimes article bring to light character flaws that make Quinn wholly unsuitable to be mayor of NYC.

Most of us have tempers; some of us, men and women, are volatile. What's important is how one channels one's anger. It does not appear that Quinn is unable to control her aggressive and abusive side--rather, like any bully, she chooses when to “open up the bitch tap and let the water run.” And she chooses not to open that tap to let the water run over those who could harm her self-aggrandizing interests. I can't imagine her lashing out at Mayor Bloomberg or any of the real estate developers who have contributed so generously to her campaigns. Only those less powerful than she or those who do not have the voice to harm her upward climb on the ladder of power get bathed in the water of her wrath.

Apart from her tirades, there is also the matter of her vindictiveness and the way she has wielded the power of her office in service, not in the interests of the public in general, but in service of her own ascendancy. Withdrawing funding that would go to senior centers in Queens because the counsel member for that district did not give Quinn homage in a press release? Please. Saying how a major hospital in her own district was important while allowing it (St. Vincent's) to be closed to make way for the construction of luxury condo towers? Not someone I want to have as mayor of NYC.

True, some leaders have used some not-so-nice personal qualities to advance social justice. LBJ and the Great Society comes to mind. This does not mean, however, that having those personal qualities makes someone a good choice for elective office. It is one's character and deep values that matter.

Regardless of her personality, Christine Quinn lacks the character to be worthy of her current position, much less that of higher office.

Mar. 28 2013 11:44 AM
RJ from prospect place

What does it mean to "tame" the City Council? Don't people vote their councilmembers into office to express their opinions? Does it mean refusing to bring the paid sick leave bill to a vote on her own--from one person from one district--when the majority of the Council agrees with it?

Mar. 28 2013 10:55 AM
Bob from Huntington

It's a no-brainer: Christine Quinn was born on Long Island where patronage politics and political reprisals are in the water.

Mar. 28 2013 10:53 AM
Karen Hawkins from Brooklyn

I appreciate the NYT and these reporters attempting to report fairly on CQ and also represent, as David said, "all her aspects." But is this really a story? CQ said herself she makes no apologies. As a forty-something woman who's been called (by men) a "strong flavor," "difficult to get along with," pick your euphemism, I am here to tell you, anyone who knows her knows "how she is" and she knows it herself, knows how to deal with "it" and hopefully deploy "it" effectively.

By contrast, men who lead quietly and gently are unusual, although surprise, surprise, you hear less about it. A lot less. There are some in education (my field), some in business, fewer in finance, and I would venture to guess, a very precious few in politics. But maybe this crew of journalists could write a real man-bites-dog story and go find one of them?

Mar. 28 2013 10:53 AM
Mike from Tribeca

Nancy from Manhattan -- you took the words right out of my keyboard.

Mar. 28 2013 10:53 AM
Robert from NYC

Quinn = Bloomberg term 4.

Mar. 28 2013 10:52 AM
Robert from NYC

Vote for De Blasio.

Mar. 28 2013 10:50 AM
Tony from Canarsie

I'm not a Quinn supporter (too much Bloomberg rubberstamping for my tastes), but I recall that much of the NYC press reveled in the fact that Koch or Giuliani were bullies, and didn't mind that character flaw until they were in their second terms. Is it because she's a woman?

Mar. 28 2013 10:50 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I understand the narrative of the unfairness towards women in power being treated differently than men if they "have a temper" - fair enough.

However, Ms Quinn is a fake and a fraud, and has been downright nasty. We have seen glimpses of that throughout the years:

"call me madam speaker"

Dragging her father out to her candidacy announcement yet - rudely stopping reporters from asking him ANY questions.

Mar. 28 2013 10:48 AM
Kraig Swartz from west village

Total Double Standard. Koch and Guiliani were both EXTREMELY combative. Both given to angry outbursts. But they were regarded as "men who spoke their minds and "told it like it was". Quinn gets the hysterical woman treatment. It's appalling.

Mar. 28 2013 10:46 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

Quinn's personality is irrelevant to me, since her support of Bloomberg's 3d term (getting around term limits; not that I support term limits, but it was the law) renders it impossible that I would ever support her.

Mar. 28 2013 10:45 AM
Lee from Queens

This article completely changed my feelings about Quinn, she comes across as a bully and vindictive. Threatening to "cut their balls off'? Regardless of gender...this is not someone who can sit and negotiate. She lost my vote.

Mar. 28 2013 10:43 AM
antonio from baySide

Let's stick to the race (more specifically all the candidates).
This is very "Rupert Murdochesque," kind of subpar journalism, which promotes the idea any attention is good attention...This is rubbish.

Let's talk about John Lui's idea about having a real minimum/living wage, and making the hack corporations pay there share...

Mar. 28 2013 10:14 AM
Brooklyn_Mom from brooklyn

I think Extreme Anger can seriously cloud a person's judgement (particularly if is often runs out of control). Regardless of gender, it is important to know if a politician/person running for major office suffers from Anger Management issues as their job is to constantly mediate and manage conflict. If they are prone to extreme reactions it could get in the way of meaningful progress. (full disclosure - I suffer from extreme anger and know my ability to act rational is imparied when 'it hits.')

Mar. 28 2013 10:11 AM
art525 from Park SLope

I can't believe in your teaser that you put forth the possibility that Christine Quinn is being treated differently that the other cnadidates because she is a woman. The fact is that she is a hustler whose only interest is angling to advance herself. In her CNN interview she said that she behaves the way she does(bullying, brash, aggressive) because she is passionate to help her constituents. But in the NY Times article it points out tht she cut money for services to seniors and others in a council woman's district becuase that council woman had challenged her.I am not alone in disliking her immensely and it has nothing to do with her gender.

Mar. 28 2013 10:09 AM

Perhaps the media should reserve itself to reporting on her temper, as well as other Pol's tempers, and leave the question of criticism or not to the reader.
I am glad this side of her personality is being brought to light, and I wonder deeply why it took this long for the media to discuss this trait.
She's a third term speaker, after all.

As for cutting people's balls's an expression of speech. I don't think it's meant to be placed along side rape or present a real and viable threat. BTW: I am very distrubed that Joe Lohta had no regrets on his efforts in blocking the virgin Mary at the Brooklyn Museum.

Mar. 28 2013 09:30 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

“She has threatened, repeatedly, to slice off the private parts of those who cross her.”……………New York Times 3/26/13

(Can you imagine the political career of a straight male who threatened to rape poorly performing female staffers?)

“Ms. Quinn is by no means the first hotheaded politician in New York — Fiorello H. La Guardia and Rudolph W. Giuliani, both former mayors, were famed for their outbursts.”

(...and Rudy was then relentlessly characterized and attacked by the NYT as a dangerous bully.)

“But those who have felt Ms. Quinn’s ire up close say they are often stunned by the intensity of her episodes...They offered nearly identical accounts of their altercations, describing a rapid escalation of voice and vitriol, occasionally laced with vulgarity.”
““She screamed at me for 10 minutes, uninterrupted, and used the ‘F’-word at least 20 times. I was just so startled, I didn’t know what to do.””

(Wow… how much of a pass does this nut get just because she is gay?)

“Even those subjected to a Quinn dressing-down say that, in happier times, the speaker is also unusually adept at turning on the charm. Her anger can be followed by bursts of ingratiating sweetness.”

(Er, like in hypomania or an unstable personality disorder?)

Mar. 28 2013 07:48 AM

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