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Quinn losing ground in NYC mayor’s race: polls

De Blasio leads by 15 percent in new Quinnipiac University survey

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Christine Quinn, New York City, gay news, Washington Blade
Christine Quinn, New York City, gay news, Washington Blade

Christine Quinn (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Two new polls suggest New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s lead over her Democratic challengers in the mayoral campaign has evaporated less than two weeks before the Sept. 10 primary.

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted between Aug 22-27 found New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio leads Quinn by a 36-21 percent margin. Twenty percent of likely Democratic primary voters backed former New York City Comptroller William Thompson, Jr., while former Congressman Anthony Weiner received 8 percent.

Another Quinnipiac University poll released on July 29 showed Quinn ahead of de Blasio by a 27-21 percent margin. Thompson came in third with 20 percent, while 16 percent of respondents backed Weiner.

An amNewYork-News 12 poll that Pen Schoen Berland conducted between Aug. 22-27 found 29 percent of likely Democratic voters support de Blasio, compared to 24 percent who back Thompson. Quinn came in a distant third with 17 percent.

Quinn needs at least 40 percent of the vote in the Sept. 10 primary to avoid a run-off.

“The polling in this race has been topsy-turvy for months,” Quinn campaign spokesperson Mike Morey told the Washington Blade. “We expect a tight race and we expect that on primary night Christine Quinn will be in a runoff, because New Yorkers want an effective progressive who can actually get things done.”

Quinnipiac University and amNewYork-News 12 released their polls four days after the New York Times endorsed Quinn, who would become the city’s first female and first openly LGBT mayor if voters elect her to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg in November. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund; the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City; the New York Daily News; Empire State Pride Agenda and Edith Windsor, the Manhattan widow who successfully challenged the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court, have also endorsed Quinn.

De Blasio and Quinn have clashed over the New York Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy a federal judge last month found unconstitutional and other issues on the campaign trail and during a number of recent debates. Quinn continues to face criticism over her decision to support the extension of term-limits in 2008 that allowed Bloomberg, herself and other city officials to seek a third term in office.

Quinn in 2008 also acknowledged a City Council slush fund had since 2001 appropriated more than $17 million to community organizations that did not exist.

Brooklyn, N.Y., attorney Garfield Heslop in June asked the New York City Campaign Finance Board to investigate Quinn over the more than $20,000 in campaign contributions she received from donors in Houston, San Diego and Chicago after she attended Victory Fund events in the three cities in 2011 and 2012.

Pauline Park, a transgender activist in Queens who frequently criticized Quinn, told the Blade she feels the latest Quinnipiac University poll shows “the more the voters see of her the less they like.”

“Voters just aren’t buying Quinn’s phony baloney about being the one who’s delivered for New Yorkers,” Park said. “This survey also shows that 65 percent of Democratic primary voters want real change and a clean break with the plutocratic policies of the billionaire Bloomberg. And that is damaging Quinn, who as Council speaker has acted as a de facto deputy mayor in the Bloomberg administration.”

The Victory Fund did not respond to the Blade’s request for comment.

Paul Schindler, editor of Gay City News, which endorsed Quinn last month, noted to the Blade the polls have “bounced around a lot this year.” He said de Blasio’s numbers have only been good for the last few weeks, and he has come under more scrutiny as the current frontrunner ahead of the Sept. 10 primary.

“Clearly, de Blasio has made big strides,” Schindler told the Blade, referring to contributing factors that include Weiner’s growing unpopularity among voters and de Blasio’s position against the closure of St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in lower Manhattan and other city hospitals. “He, Quinn and Thompson all remain in the mix. I’d be surprised if there is not a runoff.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Craig Howell

    September 4, 2013 at 10:26 am

    “Quinn needs at least 40 percent of the vote in the Sept. 10 primary to avoid a run-off.” That should read de Blasio, not Quinn.

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World

Italian senators block bill to make anti-LGBTQ violence a hate crime

Advocacy group will hold protests across the country

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(Bigstock photo)

The Italian Senate on Wednesday blocked a bill that would have classified anti-LGBTQ violence as a hate crime in the country.

Senators by a 154-131 vote margin thwarted the measure that would have also classified violence against women and people with disabilities as a hate crime. The Italian Chamber of Deputies previously approved the bill, despite opposition from the Vatican and center-right political parties.

Arcigay, an Italian LGBTQ rights group, has announced it will hold a series of protests across the country on Friday.

“Now is the time for anger,” said Arcigay General Secretary Gabriele Piazzoni in a press release. “Yesterday’s vote will return like a curse on this political class: We will no longer be satisfied.”

ILGA-Europe Advocacy Director Katrin Hugendubel also condemned the vote.

“It is sad and extremely worrying to see the Italian Senate saying no to better protection against hate for women, LGBTI people and disabled people,” said Hugendubel in a tweet. “Have you asked yourselves what signal that sends to haters and more importantly to the concerned communities?”

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National

Activists demand ICE release transgender, HIV-positive detainees

Protest took place outside agency’s D.C. headquarters on Wednesday

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Jessycka Ckatallea Letona, an indigenous transgender woman from Guatemala who spent nearly two years in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, participated in a protest in front of ICE's headquarters in Southwest D.C. on Oct. 27, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Jessycka Ckatallea Letona is an indigenous transgender woman from Guatemala who fled persecution in her homeland because of her gender identity.

She asked for asylum in the U.S. in 2016 when she entered the country in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Ckatallea on Wednesday told the Washington Blade that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials placed her in a pod with 70 men at a privately-run detention center in Florence, Ariz. She also said personnel at another ICE detention center in Santa Ana, Calif., ridiculed her because of her gender identity and forced her to strip naked before she attended hearings in her asylum case.

Ckatallea spent a year and eight months in ICE custody before her release. She won her asylum case and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“It was a very traumatic experience,” said Ckatallea as she spoke with the Blade in front of ICE’s headquarters in Southwest D.C. “I came to a country thinking that it would take care of me, that it would protect me because of my gender identity.”

Ckatallea is one of the more than a dozen immigrant rights activists who participated in a protest in front of ICE’s headquarters that Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Immigration Equality and the End Trans Detention campaign organized. Ckatallea, Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron Morris and other protest participants demanded ICE immediately release trans people and people with HIV/AIDS from their custody.

The groups placed on the sidewalk in front of the building a Day of the Dead “ofrenda” to honor three trans women—Victoria Orellano, Roxsana Hernández and Johana “Joa” Medina León—who died in ICE custody or immediately after their release. The “ofrenda” also paid tribute to Pablo Sánchez Gotopo, a Venezuelan man with AIDS who died in ICE custody on Oct. 1.

Immigrant rights activists on Oct. 27, 2021, placed a Day of the Dead “ofrenda” outside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Southwest D.C. that honored three transgender women and a man with AIDS who died while in ICE custody or immediately upon their release. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Ckatallea, Morris and the other protesters approached the building’s entrance and presented security personnel with a petition that calls upon President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to “immediately release all transgender people, people living with HIV, and people with medical conditions from ICE custody.”

ICE has repeatedly defended its treatment of trans people and people with HIV/AIDS who are in their custody.

The Blade in July 2020 interviewed a person with HIV who was in ICE custody at the Adams County Detention Center, the same privately-run facility in which Gotopo was held until his hospitalization. The person with whom the Blade spoke described conditions inside the detention center as “not safe” because personnel were not doing enough to protect them and other detainees from COVID-19.

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) is among the dozens of lawmakers who have called for the release of all trans people and people with HIV/AIDS from ICE custody. The Illinois Democrat on Tuesday reiterated this call during a virtual briefing that Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Immigration Equality and the End Trans Detention Campaign organized.

“ICE’s clear inability to do better leads me to seek to end of ICE’s detention of all trans migrants,” said Quigley. “During both the Trump and Biden administration I led dozens of my colleagues to demand that ICE release transgender detainees and end its practice of holding trans migrants in custody. We had hoped that things would change with the new administration, so far I’m disappointed.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) also participated in the briefing alongside Immigration Equality Legal Director Bridget Crawford and Sharita Gruberg of the Center for American Progress and others.

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Local

17th Street High Heel Race draws large crowd

D.C. Mayor, three Council members, police chief mingle with drag queens

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34th annual High Heel Race. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Close to 1,000 spectators turned out Tuesday night to watch D.C.’s 34th Annual 17th Street High Heel Race in which several dozen men dressed in drag and wearing colorful high heel shoes raced along a three-block stretch of 17th Street near Dupont Circle.

As she has in past years, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, whose office organizes the annual event, gave the official signal for the runners to start the race from a stage at the intersection of 17th and R streets, N.W. 

Joining the mayor on the stage was Japer Bowles, who Bowser recently named as director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, which plays the lead role in organizing the High Heel Race. 

Also appearing on stage after being introduced by Bowser were D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and Council members Robert White (D-At-Large) and Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2).

Bowser, who along with the three Council members delivered brief remarks before the start of the race, said the event highlights the city’s diversity and resilience coming after over a year of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What we want the world to know – that even in a pandemic, even when we had to trim the budget, we stayed focused on how we can make life better for our LGBTQ community,” Bowser told the crowd. “And we’re going to keep on doing it,” she said. “We’re investing in making sure everybody in our community is accepted and safe.”

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee, who walked along the three-block section of 17th Street before the race began, was greeted warmly by bystanders, some of whom called out his name to welcome him to what has become the city’s largest Halloween celebration.

“This is a great event,” Contee told the Washington Blade. “I enjoy coming out to be among D.C. residents and all who find our D.C. culture,” he said. “It’s just a great evening, so we’re happy to be out here supporting our community.”

Members of the D.C. police LGBT Liaison Unit were among the police contingent on duty at the event and overseeing the closing of the streets surrounding 17th Street.

Like past years, many of the race participants and dozens of others dressed in Halloween costumes paraded up and down 17th Street beginning at 6:30 p.m., more than two hours before the start of the race, which was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m.  

However, the mayor this year gave the signal to start the race at about 8:35 p.m. Although a large number of drag runners participated in the race, some who planned to join the race didn’t make it to the starting line in time because they expected the race to begin at 9 p.m. as advertised, according to people in the crowd who knew those who missed the race.

To ensure that everyone had an opportunity to participate, Bowles and others from the mayor’s office agreed to hold a second race about a half hour after the first one. The number of participants in the second race appeared to be about the same as those who joined the first race, indicating many of the drag participants ran twice.

“This is a special treat,” said one bystander. “We got to see two races instead of one.” 

The High Heel Race was cancelled last year due to restrictions related to the COVID pandemic. Many in the crowd watching the race on Tuesday night said they were delighted the city decided to go ahead with the event this year at a time when other large events continue to be canceled or postponed.

Also similar to past years when the High Heel Race took place, the restaurants and bars that line 17th Street were filled on Tuesday night, including the gay bars JR.’s and Windows as well as the longtime LGBTQ-friendly Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse.

Prior to the mayor’s arrival, gay local radio and TV personality Jimmy Alexander of DCW 50 TV served as host to a drag show and costume contest on the stage. DCW 50 also set up and hosted a separate stage on the sidewalk next to JR.’s bar in which race participants and others dressed in costumes were invited to have their pictures taken and provided with copies of the photos of themselves.

“I think it’s amazing,” Bowser told the Blade after the completion of the first race. “It’s good to be back. It was tough missing a year of activities,” she said referring to the business shutdowns brought about by the pandemic. “We had a lot of great, beautiful racers. And so, I’m really excited about it.”

To see more photos from this event, click here.

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