Quinn criticizes Bloomberg over ‘Giuliani’ homeless policy

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The City Council and mayor are back in court today fighting over the city's new and stricter rules vetting single homeless men seeking to enter shelters.

When asked about it at a press conference today in City Hall, Quinn invoked the name of former mayor Rudy Giuliani, three times, to underscore how wrongheaded she thought the Bloomberg administration's position is.

Quinn, normally an ally of the mayor and certainly not given to sharp criticism of him, accused Bloomberg of "unilaterally" trying to make homeless policy without checking with the Council.

"If the administration is not going to respect rule-making, we as the legislature have to stand up," she said.

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Quinn said reducing the homeless-shelter population, as a policy goal, misses the point.

"I'm not happy if the number of people in the shelters is down significantly and then they're sleeping in the street or in the subways at night," Quinn said.

The speaker said she was "sympathetic" that "due to the economy, homelessness is at an all-time high. But homelessness is also at an all-time high because we have eliminated much of the exiting plan that existed in the homeless system," she said.

Quinn said the next mayor will have to conduct a "soup-to-nuts" review of homeless programs and services.

"Clearly the problem is not getting solved," Quinn said.

Quinn's likely 2013 mayoral rivals have described her as too subservient to the mayor. 

Criticizing Bloomberg by associating him with Giuliani demonstrates a certain degree of independence from the current mayor, and is also an implied shot at her possible Republican rival, the former Giuliani deputy mayor Joe Lhota.

Giuliani is positioning himself as a high-profile surrogate for Lhota, even as Lhota tries to maintain a plausible distance.