It’s big news locally when the City Council Speaker attends a meeting of the City Island Civic Association, as was the case with Speaker Christine Quinn at its July meeting.
But what really drew a crowd – and a phalanx of TV cameras and reporters there July 30 was the evening’s final speaker.
The swarming media hoard was there to catch the bizarre media spectacle of mayoral contender Anthony Weiner.
The candidate gave them what they came for, responding to CICA president Bill Stanton’s question of whether he was fit to govern, given his online-relationships with three women after he resigned from Congress over a lewd messaging scandal.
“These are things in my personal background, that occurred in my personal life that became very public,” responded Weiner. “That is the price I pay as a public official. I don’t wish it on any of you – I don’t wish any of you having everything about your background come back to haunt you.”
He also admitted that he violated the trust of his wife. But he felt that New Yorkers should be given the chance to vote for him, and that they could decide at ballot box whether he should be mayor or not.
Weiner admitted he was an “imperfect messenger” for his platform, emphasizing helping the struggling middle class of the city, and the small businesses like many on City Island that are “getting crushed,” not accidentally, he said.
“Slowly but surly we are losing…stable middle wage jobs that supports a family – jobs with benefits,” Weiner said, adding that jobs are being added by firms in the city are often either high-wage or low-wage jobs, with much fewer middle-wage jobs created.
But he also seemed to stopped short of blaming the Bloomberg Administration by name for what he sees as city’s problems several times during his remarks.
He said that the people of City Island are not asking much from the city, and said they wanted simple things, referencing an ongoing campaign to save the island’s Ladder Company 53 as one of those simple things that most City Islander want.
For her part, Speaker Quinn, thanked the CICA for reaching out to her office on a plan the organization opposes for an assisted living facility (proposed by the Italian Hospital Society) .
She noted that the Board of Standards and Appeals, to which the IHS has applied for a zoning variance, has responded favorably, at least initially, to the concerns raised by the civic organization.
“I understand something’s happened that is almost miraculous,” said Quinn. “The Board of Standards and Appeals, at least in this [one instance,] has listened to the voice of the community. That is good news, the kind of thing you will see more on when they are Quinn appointees on the BSA. But right now, it is a surprise.”
She also pledged that if elected mayor, the plan to replace the characteristic City Island Bridge with a controversial modernist cable-stay bridge would be a priority in her administration.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393