Christine Quinn is totally fine with most of the New York Times' recent report on her short temper, she said in two television interviews on Wednesday. But she took exception to the charge that she withholds funding for those who cross her, so that's where the Times is doubling down. "I have always said I’ve had a big personality, and I’ve always said I’m a pushy broad, and I’ve always said I want to get things done," Quinn said on MSNBC. But when CNN asked her if she had "pursued political revenge against people that wronged you," as alleged in the Times' original report, she said "Absolutely not," and, "it’s not a fair statement about me." Two City Council members the Times talked to later couldn't disagree vehemently enough.
Toward the end of the Times' Tuesday piece, reporters Michael Grynbaum and David Chen recounted an incident in which Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley incurred Quinn's wrath with a premature press release, earning a tongue-lashing. "Days later, she learned that Ms. Quinn had cut the Council contributions to senior centers and youth sports programs in her district." In the original article, which did not quote Crowley, Quinn did not confirm or deny whether that was an act of retribution, saying only, "It is what happened that year."
But after Quinn denied to CNN that she had acted punitively, Crowley did go on the record with the Times: "It was so brazenly vindictive, I don’t know what else to call it," she said. "She’s not hurting me ... She’s hurting the people I represent, the people of the city of New York." A spokesman for Quinn told the paper, "Chris’s job is not to make everyone happy all the time; her job is to lead the City Council." He added, "It has nothing to do with retribution."
Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. also went on the record with the Times, telling the paper Quinn "had slashed city contributions to his district and allowed cuts to a college scholarship fund named for his father after the younger Mr. Vallone opposed a proposal by Ms. Quinn to name thefor former Mayor Edward I. Koch." The plan went through in the end, but Vallone told the Times, "it was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that there would be retribution for my vote."
It's unflattering stuff, to be sure. But as Capital New York's Azi Paybarah points out, the ongoing flap is also keeping Quinn's name in the headlines for yet another day for stuff that, on balance, is probably good for Quinn: Being powerful, decisive, and a strong leader. Even if it's not all glowing, it's still more attention than Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Bill Thompson, and Sal Albanese are getting.