Your Lying Eyes

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04 January 2006

Lesbian To Head NYC Council!!!

You probably don't have to live in the NY Metropolitan Area to be sick of hearing about the new lesbian speaker of the New York City Council, but I can assure you that I am. Even before the New Year, local public radio station WNYC was breathlessly informing us of the exciting possibility that the next speaker of the city council could be not just the first woman but the first "openly gay or lesbian" one. I personally found this to be as startling as the Yankees announcing, say, that there next equipment manager would be the first Hispanic equipment manager in their history. But over the next few days even the intrusion of actual news didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of our local news media. Even the fact that the Speaker's position has only been around since 1989 and that there's only been two speakers since did nothing to constrain the trumpeting of her "first" status. So it's been Christine Quinn week here in the NY region.

The New York Times assures us that "as an openly gay woman, she could become a trailblazer for other gay politicians" because, presumably, being gay is such a terrible handicap in New York.
"This has extraordinary significance in its own right: Chris will be the second most powerful person in the largest city in America," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "In terms of raw political power, the size of the city budget and the Council's powers, she will become the most powerful openly lesbian or gay official in the country."
And that means...what? She's going to apply lesbian accounting standards to budget management? New York is already about as pro-homosexual as a city can be - what more can she do? She gained the spotlight in 2004 opposing the building of a new west-side stadium for the Jets, a position which made sense given the presumed lack of interest in the NFL found in her district (Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Clinton, parts of SoHo and Murray Hill). Her ascendancy is clearly due to her being one tough politician.
"She's a person who's not afraid to stand up for what she believes in," said George Arzt, who has known Ms. Quinn for more than a decade. Mr. Arzt was press secretary for Mayor Edward I. Koch. "But she tries to sit down and reason with you. If not, she will go her own way."
In a more insensitive era, cruder voices might have simply characterized her as a "pushy broad." The Times attempts to paint her as a lesbian Henry Clay: As chairwoman of the Health Committee, she has sponsored legislation to provide health care benefits to domestic partners and grocery workers over the objections of Mr. Bloomberg. But she also provided support for his ban on smoking in most restaurants and bars. Gee, what a sport; it must have killed her to give in on that smoking ban.

My fear now is that this hype will never fully dissipate. All year long we will be reminded of Ms. Quinn's trailblazing achievement, the role-model she provides other Openly Gay or LEsbian (OGLE) politicians. Each and every controversy, from police brutality to garbage pickup, will require that we consider that the speaker of the city council is the most powerful lesbian politician in the country. If Salt Lake City elects a lesbian, then let's by all means recognize it as big news, but in New York City there ought to be a little higher bar for defining something as a major news event.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for females in management but sometimes they are overbearing. Where I work we have names for them:

FLIC - Fat Lady In Charge
PBIC - Pushy Broad in Charge
and appropriately,
LIC - Lesbian in Charge

January 06, 2006 7:45 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

I'm awfully tempted to delete the prior post for crossing the line or at least editing it for content - but I think I'll let it stand!

January 06, 2006 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Salt Lake City" comment clearly emanates from a heterosexual idiot. Remember, New York City's municipal government is the third largest local OR state government in the entire country, budget-wise -- the Council votes on a budget that is larger than that of every state except California and New York, in other words. Electing an openly lesbian Speaker of the New York City Council *is* AT LEAST as noteworthy as electing a lesbian to entry level office in Salt Lake City! It's a groundbreaking step on the macro scale. We're in the big leagues now, boys and girls! Let's take a moment to celebrate before the cynics set in on the blogosphere!

January 06, 2006 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If NYC is better for her having served on the council, then more power to her. On the other hand, if she uses her post to disproportionately aid the cause of a small percentage of the population (i.e. gay), then she's no better than any other rotten politician.

January 06, 2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

We're in the big leagues now, boys and girls! Let's take a moment to celebrate before the cynics set in on the blogosphere!
Sure, that's great - no quarrel here. But in NYC, the fact that she's a lesbian is of no consequence - no more than that she's Irish-American. There's no reason for this to dominate the local airwaves for the better part of a week. That would, I think, be even more reason for you to celebrate.

January 06, 2006 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the NFL stadium--a lot of us New Yorkers didn't want the congestion. Manhattan is REALLY overbuilt. We already have two baseball stadiums within the five boroughs.

January 07, 2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

I think the rejection of the stadium was true democracy in action - with a little help from MSG. It's not like NYC needs the extra revenue from a bunch of football fans streaming in each Sunday stuffing down dogs and beer before the game and carousing the streets afterwards. Quinn definitely deserves credit for her steadfastness here.

January 07, 2006 9:18 AM  

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