Gotham Gazette

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Gotham Votes 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Labor Leader Disputes Quote Used By De Blasio Campaign [UPDATED]

NEW YORK — One of Christine Quinn's biggest labor supporters is spitting mad with Bill de Blasio.

Hector Figueroa, president of SEIU 32BJ — the city's biggest service workers union — called the public advocate's divisiveness "sad and pathetic" today after the De Blasio campaign floated a quote from Figueroa after the Council's original vote on the racial profiling bill.

"For Bill, the issue is always about principle; we're about getting results," Figueroa said after a Quinn press event earlier today. After being shown the quote, which was distributed in late April, Figueroa told the Gotham Gazette that he had never seen the quote before.

"The membership of 32BJ is disappointed to learn Speaker Quinn will not be supporting the ban on racial profiling," Figueroa was quoted as saying in the written statement. "We live in communities where racial profiling is rampant and has contributed to the deterioration of trust between residents and the police. This hurts public safety and undermines communities. Working people of color should be able to travel in, out, and around their communities without fear of harassment."

The quote was distributed after the Council vote in April by the Communities United for Police Reform.

De Blasio's campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from the Gazette.

Quinn's campaign pulled a similar move last month when it floated an earlier quote from De Blasio labor endorsor SEIU 1199 in defense of Quinn's work to prevent the closure of St. Vincent's.

Standing by Quinn, Figueroa joined a handful of Council members to dismiss De Blasio's criticism of the speaker's opposition to the racial profiling bill. They all praised Quinn's ability to negotiate and compromise, even if when she disagrees with them on policy.

Most of the Council members there — including Julissa Ferreras, Carmen del Arroyo, Inez Dickens Diana Reyna and Donovan Richards — voted in favor of both the racial profiling and inspector general bills. The Council is slated to vote on the two bills again, this time to potentially override Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto.

Quinn only voted in favor of the inspector general bill. She again repeated her opposition to the profiling bill on the ground that it opens up the floor for competing orders between the federal and state courts.

As he walked to a second press event at City Hall ahead of the vote, Figureoa again defended Quinn from De Blasio's attack. He said De Blasio was disgraceful for trying to create a split between the candidate and the union.

If De Blasio keeps being disingenuous, Figureoa said, "There's no glimpse of hope he'll get our endorsement in a runoff."

Update: Clarifies that Figueroa called the public advocate's divisiveness "sad and pathetic."

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