As Malcolm said in Macbeth, so we can say about the departing Speaker Quinn: “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.” Her departure is most welcome for those of us who have had the distinct displeasure to watch as she has devolved form a somewhat principled community activist into a blatant shill for the real estate industry-from the Bronx Terminal Market to Willets Point, she has never taken a stand for either small businesses or communities under siege from over-development.
Even when Quinn did take a stand in her career-joining opponents of Costco in Hell’s Kitchen and those fighting the Kingsbridge Armory development in the Bronx-she did so by being dragged, almost kicking and screaming, into the ranks of the opposition; compelled to do so be sheer political expediency. Her temperament and intellect were ill suited to any chief executive role, and the more the electorate got to know more about her, the greater the distaste she evinced.
Of course, her signature betrayal of the voters on term limits earned her the sobriquet, Quinnberg-and her actions through eight years simply enforced the perception that she was Bloomberg’s mini-me. It is fitting that the two of them leave office in tandem.
When it comes to the upcoming decision on Willets Point, no one should doubt that she is looking to bequeath one last gift to her patrons at Related-but that doesn’t mean that the other council members are obliged any more to follow her perverted priorities and ratify a deal that is a spit in the face of city council oversight. It is a moment when the council can recapture its independence from a mayor and a speaker that the voters have vehemently rejected. Let’s see if they are up to the task.