Author Topic: Bill de Blasio's wife Chirlane McCray no stranger to politics, will be 'activist' First Lady if he's elected  (Read 4447 times)

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Offline happyg

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De Blasio and McCray first met in City Hall, and may return there soon if the Democratic mayoral nominee wins the election. From outing bullies in her high school newspaper to penning an Essence magazine piece titled, 'I am a Lesbian,' McCray has always been outspoken — and says she will remain that way if she becomes First Lady.

Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio (left) says wife Chirlane McCray is his 'reality check.'

She was a new assistant in then-Mayor David Dinkins’ press office, an “out and proud” lesbian with a nose ring and a passion for social justice.

He was a lanky junior aide in City Hall who was developing a reputation for taking on tough assignments and getting them done.

For him, it was “some version of love at first sight.” And for her?

“Chirlane felt absolutely nothing,” he now says with a laugh.

“The first time I met her, I remember vividly, it was partly look, partly style, and partly just the vibe,” Bill de Blasio says.

“I was totally struck, because she presented herself entirely differently than everyone around us. ... Wearing a nose ring (in 1991), in a place like City Hall, you had to be really different to do that.”

McCray has been by de Blasio’s side for 22 years. De Blasio says for him, seeing McCray was 'some version of love at first sight.' Here, the couple on vacation.

Two-and-a-half years later, de Blasio married Chirlane McCray. Today, they are on the cusp of returning to City Hall in roles neither could have imagined 22 years ago.

“Never,” McCray says.

With de Blasio the heavy favorite to become the city’s 109th mayor, McCray, 58, is on the brink of becoming First Lady — perhaps the most influential mayoral spouse in city history.

“Understand Chirlane and you’ll understand me,” says de Blasio, who promises his wife will be an “activist” First Lady if he’s elected.

“A lot of times I will turn to Chirlane whether it’s the most mundane thing, a family thing, a political thing. She is my reality check in the world. She is the person who interprets the world with me.”

One of McCray’s sisters, Cynthia Davis, an author and childhood educator in Boston, says it is a partnership in every way.

“They are one brain,” she says.

Those close to McCray describe her as a feisty and focused multi-tasker with a Zen-like air about her.

She is also extremely guarded and private, friends say, qualities that surely will be tested if her husband becomes mayor.

In an interview with the Daily News, McCray said her life has been turned upside down since “the surge” that vaulted her husband from fourth place in July to victory in the Sept. 10 Democratic Primary — and now a 40-point lead over his Republican rival, Joe Lhota.

“The things that drive me crazy are not things that I have a lot of control over,” she said.

“The pace of our lives, especially now. It is just hard to have a normal life, in short. The big adjustment is when you go to the store now, or walk down the street and people are either turning their heads or calling out to you or honking their horns. That’s different.”

McCray and De Blasio with young children Dante (center) and Chiara in 1997.

McCray’s journey to this remarkable point was not without loneliness, alienation and pain.

She grew up the eldest of three sisters in Longmeadow, Mass., a well-to-do suburb of Springfield where the McCrays were just one of two black families.

Her father was an inventory clerk at a military base; her mother was an assembly worker at an electronics factory. They moved to Longmeadow in 1964 for the town’s stellar public schools — only to be greeted by some neighbors circulating petitions demanding that they leave.

“We had nice neighbors, too, who embraced and welcomed us,” said Davis, her sister. “But there were incidents — primarily at school — which were challenging because we were different.”

The McCrays expected their three girls to keep their troubles to themselves and stay focused on schoolwork.

“You didn’t complain to our parents at home, you were just expected to deal with life as it came,” Davis said.

“There would be some perfunctory ‘How was your day?’ There were no raucous family dinners. We towed the line pretty much. There was a lot of silence around the dinner table.”

At Longmeadow High School, McCray was ostracized and bullied. She fought back, in an essay for the school newspaper.

“I could see a young person who was hurting, and many picking on one, so I went up to her in the hall and told her to stop by my home room to talk,” said Michael McCarthy, a Spanish teacher who remains in touch with McCray.

“She was feisty, the only African-American kid in the school, she was being picked on ... and she outed them in the paper,” McCarthy said. “She stood up to them all and said what you are doing is wrong. That is pretty tough stuff.”

Those experiences shaped the outspoken woman McCray would become, first as a feminist at Wellesley College, and then, in 1979, when she penned a piece for Essence magazine titled, "I am a Lesbian."

The purpose of the essay, she wrote, was to dispel the myth that there were no black gay people.

The essay re-emerged to headlines last December as the mayoral race was beginning. McCray and de Blasio unflinchingly explained her past and that sexuality for some people, like herself, was “fluid.”

“Chirlane has been so frank, so candid and open about the personal details of her private life,” said Laura Hart, a friend since they worked in the Dinkins administration. “She stood up with incredible grace. To come from (a childhood) being that alienated, the ‘other’ really being bullied, she is courageous to not have bitterness or rancor.”

In 1991, Hart witnessed the moment that de Blasio met McCray. Hart remembers McCray asking her, “What’s up with de Blasio? He’s calling me and I don’t know what he wants.”

Hart answered, “He’s a cool guy, really smart, incredibly funny and in case you haven’t noticed, he’s really, really tall … Go out with him already.”

De Blasio poured on the charm to the understandably wary McCray.

“No one had ever approached me like that before,” she said. “He definitely had my attention. He is very smart — I like smart — and he’s funny and I also admired his work ethic.”

The couple married in 1994, just as de Blasio’s political career was beginning. They had two children — Dante, 16, and Chiara, 18, both of whom have been featured in campaign ads.

McCray’s own resume includes stints as a speechwriter for Dinkins and for the city and state controllers. She also worked in public relations for Citigroup.

From 2005 to 2010, she held a six-figure job in marketing at Maimonides Medical Center, which some criticized as a political quid pro quo between de Blasio and the Brooklyn hospital.

McCray has had a prominent role in the campaign, delivering speeches and making her views known through Twitter, where she has more than 3,700 followers. A former ballet dancer and debutante who swam competitively in her youth, she works out at least five times a week.

Neither de Blasio nor McCray will say whether she would be the first First Lady with her own City Hall office.

She told The News that if her husband is elected, she would like to use her new platform as a “voice for the forgotten voices,” focusing in part on women and children in need.

“I hope ... whatever I do, I do it in such a way that makes a positive difference in people’s lives. Especially as a black woman (because) black women do not have as many positive images in the media as we should. I just hope that I can be someone that young girls can really look up to, take inspiration from.”

If the election goes as polls predict, one of the couple’s first decisions will be whether to trade in their Brooklyn brownstone with one bathroom for historic Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side, overlooking the twinkling lights of the East River. McCray said she is torn.

“Dante loves Brooklyn and Brooklyn Tech, and his commute,” she said. “We haven’t had a family discussion yet, but when the day comes — if it’s appropriate — we will figure it out.”
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Offline mountaineer

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One member of the couple is homosexual, eh? Well, they do have something in common with the Obamas, don't they?

And then there's this little bit of Obamalike corruption:
De Blasio flouting filing rules on $1.1M rental pad
By Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein
New York Post
October 27, 2013 | 2:12am

Bill de Blasio, who owns $2.3 million in Brooklyn real estate, is violating the city’s housing rules, The Post has found.

The Democrat mayoral candidate has not registered his $1.1 million, two-unit Brooklyn rental property with the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development as required by law. He also failed to report the rental income he receives in his annual financial-disclosure filing.

Owners of buildings with one or two units must register annually with HPD if neither the owner nor any of his family members live there.

The city’s Administrative Code requires city officials to disclose outside income of more than $1,000 a year, including revenue from rent.

De Blasio, who has been the city’s public advocate since 2010 and before that served in City Council, has not disclosed any rental income on filings dating back to 2007, according to records from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.

He has one set of standards for himself and another for everyone else,” said a spokeswoman for Republican rival Joe Lhota’s campaign. “The level of corruption in New York is alarming, and the last thing we need is a mayor who is skirting ethics rules and hiding income. This is exactly what drives people crazy about politicians.”

De Blasio bought the rental property in 2004 with his wife, Chirlane McCray, and his mom, Maria Wilhelm. They paid $612,500 for the row house at 384 11th St., built around 1901. It is on the same Park Slope street where the couple lives with their two children.

Wilhelm, who was disabled, lived on the first floor of the two-family house, which was outfitted with a wheelchair ramp, according to John Hatheway, the architect on the project, who said he also worked on the kitchen.

Hatheway said the house was covered with asphalt shingles. He called it the “ugliest house on the block.” The shingles were removed to expose the original wood siding, he said.

City records show the renovation work cost about $40,000.

Wilhelm died in 2007, and de Blasio has rented out both units, public records show. The second-floor, one-bedroom, apartment is currently available for $2,200 a month. It is advertised as having stainless-steel appliances, granite counters, upgraded kitchen cabinets and hardwood floors.

De Blasio’s campaign spokesman, Wiley Norvell, claimed the building doesn’t make a profit.

“He declares the property as an asset on his filing, but the property has a negative income when you add up the depression of water and upkeep,” Norvell said.

Crain’s reported that de Blasio’s 2011 tax return showed $47,500 in rental income and $62,200 in deductions for the property.

A spokesman for the Conflicts of Interest Board said the agency could not comment on an official’s financial-disclosure report or whether it would take action against de Blasio.

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams, April 16, 1781.

Offline mountaineer

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Or this:
HUD region lost $23M to scams while de Blasio was in charge
By Michael Gartland
New York Post
October 27, 2013 | 12:24am

Bill de Blasio presided over millions of dollars in wasted taxpayer money when he oversaw the federal government’s public-housing programs in New York and New Jersey, records show.

He served as director of the New York-New Jersey region for the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 1999. In that time, HUD’s inspector general reported that the region lost about $23 million to scams perpetrated by public-housing officials, mortgage companies and nonprofits that got grants from HUD.

Other accounts put the loss much higher. In a Dec. 14, 2000, article, The New York Times reported that several people defrauded HUD of $70 million in federally insured loans on more than 250 New York properties from 1998 to 1999.

Susan Gaffney, HUD’s inspector general, described extensive illegal activity by nonprofit groups at the time as “unique to New York.”

New York City — by far HUD’s largest grantee — received $1 billion annually from the agency during de Blasio’s tenure.

“It’s very frustrating and disappointing,” said Mark Calabria, who worked in HUD’s regulatory-affairs division from 2002 to 2003. “[De Blasio] had a responsibility to make sure that money wasn’t stolen or misused. He was supposed to be the first line of defense as far as protecting HUD money in the region.”

In one alleged scam, a Brooklyn realty company took money from “eight HUD-insured, low-income assisted housing developments for their own use and embezzled Section 8 housing assistance payments,” said a March 1998 inspector general’s report.

Losses from the “equity-skimming” scam totaled $10.8 million, it said.

A year later, another IG report found that 57 out of 84 units at a Staten Island apartment complex “failed to meet housing quality standards” and that bringing them up to snuff would cost $533,000.

One Section 8 landlord in Garden City, LI, Dennis Horak, extorted jacked-up rent payments from an 82-year-old widow totaling $3,400, the report said. The woman, who lived in the apartment for 17 years, was threatened with eviction if she didn’t pay up.

Those findings and others released between 1997 and 1999 only scratch the surface, Calabria said.

De Blasio campaign spokesman Eric Koch defended the mayoral candidate, saying he “defended taxpayers by working hard to aggressively root out waste and fraud while at HUD.”

Koch declined to specify how de Blasio did so.

De Blasio began his tenure at HUD in 1997, a year after running the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign in New York. He served under the future Gov. Cuomo, then HUD’s secretary under Clinton, for two years and left in November 1999 to run Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate campaign.

In his own run for mayor, de Blasio has cast himself as a savior of the poor in his “Tale of Two Cities” narrative. His Web site touts his experience with HUD and credits him with working “for affordable housing throughout his career.”

He’s also described himself as a “fiscal conservative.”

But records from his time at HUD tell a different story.

An IG report issued in 1996 — a year before de Blasio’s tenure began — recommended the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority reduce its staff. But the authority, which receives millions of dollars from HUD annually, did not reduce staffing by as late as 1999 — two years after de Blasio took over as regional director.

In fact, staffing levels exceeded “HUD’s guidelines by 169 maintenance and administrative employees,” a 1999 report said.
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams, April 16, 1781.

Offline happyg

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The Lesbian Past of Bill de Blasio’s Wife
By Hunter Walker

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, an all-but-officially announced mayoral hopeful, has prominently featured his wife Chirlane McCray in his campaign literature and on his web site. Despite Ms. McCray’s front-and-center role in his campaign, for which she also serves as an unpaid advisor, one aspect of her life has thus far remained out of the public eye.

Prior to meeting Mr. de Blasio, Ms. McCray identified as a lesbian and had several long-term relationships with other women. In a seven-page essay she wrote for the September 1979 issue of Essence magazine entitled “I am a Lesbian” she frankly discussed her sexuality and expressed gratitude that she came to terms with her preference for women before marrying a man.

“I survived the tears, the isolation and the feeling that something was terribly wrong with me for loving another woman” Ms. McCray wrote. “Coming to terms with my life as a lesbian has been easier for me than it has been for many. Since I don’t look or dress like the typical bulldagger, I have a choice as to whether my sexual preference is known.”
She added, “I have also been fortunate because I discovered my preference for women early, before getting locked into a traditional marriage and having children.”The Lesbian Past of Bill de Blasios Wife
Today, Ms. McCray is very much inside of a traditional marriage with children. She and her husband met at City Hall in 1991 while she was working as a speechwriter for former Mayor David Dinkins and Mr. de Blasio was the mayor’s assistant for community affairs. The pair were married in 1994 at a ceremony in Prospect Park that included a gay, interracial, interdenominational pair of ministers, an Italian folk band and African drummers. Since then, Ms. McCray has had two children with Mr. de Blasio and, in her words, spent “almost 20 years of living with a campaign in my house.”
Before entering the political realm, Ms. McCray spent more than a decade working as an editor, magazine writer and poet. In her essay for Essence, she was identified as a  24-year-old “free-lance writer” and “former editorial assistant at Redbook.” At the time she published her “I am a Lesbian” article, which was featured on the magazine’s front cover with the tagline “BEYOND FEAR—Lesbian Speaks!,” Ms. McCray was also a member of the Combahee River Collective, a landmark group of black, feminist lesbians that was active from 1974 until 1980. One of her most famous poems created while she was a part of the group references having a female “lover.”

The biography of Ms. McCray on her husband’s campaign website notes her affiliation with the Combahee River Collective, however it omits any mention of the group’s lesbian roots and simply refers to it as “a pioneering black feminist collective.”

Though Mr. de Blasio and Ms. McCray are outspoken supporters of gay rights, the couple has not discussed her past publicly. Last June, after New York legalized same-sex marriage, Mr. de Blasio and Ms. McCray co-authored a piece for GO! magazine praising marriage equality and reflecting on their own position as an interracial couple. In the article, they discuss their own marriage and describe having “gay and lesbian friends and family members,” but make no mention of Ms. McCray’s former identification as a lesbian.

“We both believe passionately in the rights of our gay and lesbian friends and family members,” they wrote. “But on a more personal level, we are deeply conscious that there was a time not long ago when our own marriage would have been impossible in much of the country.”

Ms. McCray’s Essence essay describes several women she met during her college years at Wellesley and the Radcliffe Publishing Course who were unwilling to be open about their sexuality including one who avoided “relationships with women” because she “intended to have a political career.”

“I realized that it takes a certain courage and strength to be visible,” Ms. McCray wrote.

As of this writing. neither Ms. McCray or Mr. de Blasio’s campaign has responded to multiple requests for comment on this story.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 12:48:02 PM by happyg »

Offline mountaineer

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I thought just about everyone at Wellesley was "LUG" (lesbian until graduation).  ^-^
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams, April 16, 1781.

Offline mountaineer

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Reviving this old thread because an article in the  NY Post is on point:
De Blasio ‘fully behind’ wife’s attendance at NYPD meeting
By Yoav Gonen
September 23, 2014 | 11:52am

Mayor de Blasio is defending his wife’s attendance at a closed-door NYPD crime-statistics meeting — saying it was “very important” for her to be there because she is his most trusted adviser.

Other officials have observed the internal CompStat crime-statistics powwows over the years, but First Lady Chirlane McCray is believed to be the first family member of a mayor to do so.

“It was very important for the first lady to see it because, as I’ve said probably a thousand times, she’s my most important adviser and the person I’m closest to in the world — and the person I listen to the most,” de Blasio said Tuesday, shortly after giving a brief speech on the environment at the United Nations.

“I encouraged her to see it for perspective,” he added. “I wanted her to see it so she could understand just how extraordinary it is — and she came away deeply moved by it.”

The couple’s teenage son, Dante, also sat in on a CompStat meeting during his internship this summer with the first deputy mayor.

Introduced in 1994, CompStat — short for “Compare Stats” — tracks crime figures so cops can identify hot spots quickly and target outbreaks with additional resources. It’s been hailed as a pivotal crime-fighting tool.

Since his first day in office, de Blasio has been unabashed about his wife’s close involvement in the operations of City Hall. McCray has weighed in on most high-level appointees — even sitting in on a host of final interviews — and the mayor in February appointed her as chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The Fund serves as the nonprofit arm of City Hall.

Additionally, The Post revealed last week that McCray exchanged nearly 1,200 e-mails with de Blasio and other top City Hall officials during the first five weeks of his administration. Despite repeated requests, City Hall has refused to release those e-mails — which were exchanged when McCray was still a private citizen — in violation of public-disclosure laws.

Yet the first couple got support Tuesday for McCray’s actions from an unlikely source — former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“I remember letting some Hollywood people in who were doing movies about crime. I remember letting, I think, ‘Law & Order’ [actors] come see it,” Giuliani said on Fox 5’s “Good Day New York.”

“We often let officials — you know, police officials from other places — see it. Although it’s strategic . . . you can be careful not to give up really sensitive information. And after all, she is the first lady.”
It's the Clinton co-presidency all over again!
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams, April 16, 1781.

Offline Fishrrman

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[[ Bill de Blasio's wife Chirlane McCray no stranger to politics, will be 'activist' First Lady if he's elected ]]

Absolutely amazin'.

Amazing that it can even be suggested that deBlasio -- an out-and-out communist -- could be considered as a potential candidate for the presidency.

But then again, who could have believed that only 7 years after the World Trade Center attack, a muslim would be elected as president?

Maybe we ought to steel ourselves for a potential deBlasio presidency after over-the-Hillary has had her run…

(On the road tonight, posting from Rutland -- beautiful town in a beautiful (but leftist) state…)

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