(Quotes per Reid Pillifant on Capital New York). Christine Quinn has a good memory. After all, It's not the first time she's facing Bill de Blasio as a contender. In the last round, 8 years ago, she beat Bill de Blasio in a contested race to be the City Council speaker. At a mayoral forum in Brooklyn this week, after de Blasio criticized her stewardship of the Council's member items, Quinn struck back with a quote from the archives.
"Let's be clear, when you were running for speaker in 2005, you said the system we had then—your exact quote was—'Our current process is perfectly transparent,'" said Quinn, reading from some notes she had brought with her. "So when you were running for a position where member items were relevant, the system was great. When you were out of that job, in a different job, running for a different job, you want to change the system. Those are the facts."
De Blasio didn't dispute the old quote. "In 2005, people weren't going to jail who were sitting Council members," said de Blasio. "Things changed as we saw more and more abuses and that's why we need more and more reform."
In a later argument, when the candidates were asked whether they would pledge not to overturn any city referendum—"such as term limits," Mr. de Blasio took another shot at Quinn. "Democracy got suspended in our town in 2008," he said, as the crowd cheered him on. "I was proud to lead the opposition in the City Council against Mayor Bloomberg's proposal. Yes, the answer is yes, I will respect the will of the people in any referendum." Quinn, on her side, said she wouldn't rule it out. "Any referendum? No," she said. "Look at what's happened in California. They found the budget in their state destroyed by citizen referenda, often funded by big business interests. That state can't fund itself because of that. So I hope there is never that situation, but I'm not going to tell you 'no,' when I have no idea what could be put on the ballot years from now."
When the moderator asked if she had anything specific to say about term limits, she chose to channel de Blasio. "On term limits.. I made a decision a number of years ago based on the economic situation, I believed it was the right decision. And quite frankly, it was the same decision Public Advocate de Blasio advocated when he was running for speaker in 2005, at the debate we had as speaker candidates."
As Pillifant notes, at the time, the City Council was considering its own legislative changes to the term limits law, over the objections of Mayor Bloomberg. ("A spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Jordan Barowitz, said the mayor opposed any change in the term-limits provision," says this New York Times story from June of 2005.)
So, while Quinn has been on defense over her years as council speaker, her sharp arrows thrown back at de Blasio's attacks with his own words, if it wouldn't have an impact on the race it would definitely force him to lower the tone and seek other measure to increase his base of support.