Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Johnson Blasts Pro-Business Group As Race for Quinn's Seat Heats Up

Johnson Blasts Pro-Business Group As Race for Quinn's Seat Heats Up
By Colin Campbell 5/02/12 3:15pm

The race to replace term-limited Council Speaker Christine Quinn looks like it's already well underway. Two of the four likely candidates, local community board chairs Corey Johnson and Brad Hoylman, have already registered campaign committees and Mr. Johnson recently sent out a statement indirectly criticizing Mr. Hoylman over his day job, where he works as the executive vice president and general counsel for the business friendly lobbying group Partnership for New York City.

"Anyone who decides to run for office has a responsibility to tell the voters where they stand on key issues," Mr. Johnson declared, noting the Partnership's opposition to the living wage bill passed earlier this week. "This is especially true for a candidate who serves as a paid lobbyist for the 1%. If that candidate can't -- or won't -- answer questions on where he stands on core issues of economic justice, voters have little choice but to assume that he stands against the 99%."

City & State already speculated the organization could force an interesting balancing act for Mr. Hoylman, as the "personal politics he espouses are liberal" while his employer opposes much of the prominent progressive legislation going before the City Council. As the Democratic primary electorate is likely to be even more liberal than the district as a whole, Mr. Johnson undoubtedly hopes the Partnership's conservative positions on business regulation becomes a key issue in the race.

"The greatest threat to New York's long-term economic viability is the growing income inequality that is exacerbated by the Partnership's efforts to stop working people from earning a fair wage," Mr. Johnson also said about the group. "While they're lobbying to maximize profits for Wall Street and wealthy developers, middle class people are struggling to pay their rent and household bills. On this issue, and on all issues that affect people's livelihoods, the Council needs to listen to working families -- not the paid lobbyists for the 1%."

Attempts to discuss the Partnership's potential impact in the campaign with Mr. Hoylman over the past week were unsuccessful as they were repeatedly rescheduled.

It should be noted, of course, that neither Mr. Johnson or Mr. Hoylman are official candidates in the race yet, and much of the campaign back-and-forth is still to come. Other likely candidates included civil rights attorney Yetta Kurland and Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation.

Update: As a point of correction, Mr. Hoylman previously worked as a lobbyist for the Partnership, but doesn't currently do so.

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