Embattled Mayor Bill de Blasio Takes Aim at Chick-fil-A
When Chick-fil-A announced that it would be opening its third New York location in Queens this fall, many city officials -- including Mayor Bill de Blasio -- recoiled in horror. The mayor is thus urging New Yorkers to avoid eating at the offensive new restaurants, although he does grudgingly acknowledge that they have a right to exist.
"What the ownership of Chick-fil-A has said is wrong," the mayor told reporters on Tuesday. "I'm certainly not going to patronize them and I wouldn't urge any other New Yorker to patronize them. But they do have a legal right."
Via Grub Street:
The Queens location is still months from opening, but Councilman Danny Dromm, who's gay, says it's nevertheless time to boycott. Dromm held a completely unrelated press event of his own yesterday criticizing Chick-fil-A for "forcing their employees and volunteers to adhere to a policy that prohibits same-sex love," and for funding anti-LGBT organizations. "It is outrageous that Chick-fil-A is quietly spreading its message of hate by funding these types of organizations," he said.
Yes, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy publicly voiced support for “the biblical definition of the family unit” in 2012 and years ago donated millions to conservative organizations that opposed same-sex marriage -- but to say that he forces employees and volunteers to adhere to anti-gay policies is just bizarre and completely unsupported.
Chick-fil-A has in fact gone a long way in recent years to make amends with the LGBT community:
Chick-fil-A's socially conservative agenda, which formally led the company to donate millions to charitable groups opposed to gay marriage, has been tempered. This, just as the company aims to quickly expand into Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Southern hospitality must give way to urban reality as the 1,800 store chain moves to compete with big city success stories like McDonald's, Panera Bread and Chipotle.
If nothing else, Cathy has listened. In 2012, Cathy not only heard from some unhappy consumers about his comments against gay marriage, but also from some store operators and employees. Now, he says, "I'm going to leave it to politicians and others to discuss social issues."
That's precisely what experts are advising. "He should put this as far behind him as fast as he possibly can," says Gary Stibel, CEO of New England Consulting Group.
One past critic has even become an unlikely fan. "Dan and I have an ongoing friendship," says Shane Windmeyer, executive director of the gay rights advocacy group Campus Pride. "I am appreciative for the common ground we have established in treating all people with dignity and respect — including LGBT people."
"The dirty little secret," according to "agnostic queer" Samantha Allen, is that most LGBT people love Chick-fil-A. In a piece published in the Daily Beast last fall, Allen urged gays to forgive and forget Chick-fil-A's "anti-gay" past and move on, because the company has. Those who keep flogging the issue, she wrote, risk being seen "as censorious, religious-freedom denying, anti-Christian bigots."
But Mayor de Blasio et al. did not get the memo, apparently. They are either still stuck in 2012, or are perhaps deploying President Obama's deceptive tactic of "stray voltage" to take the heat off the mayor as numerous investigations swirl around him.
"Stray Voltage" is the brainchild of former White House senior adviser David Plouffe, Major Garrett explained in National Journal two years ago.
The theory goes like this: Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness. This happens, Plouffe theorizes, even when–and sometimes especially when–the White House appears defensive, besieged, or off-guard.
It's basically a way for leftists to continue their assault on traditional values, while drawing attention away from their own corruption and/or criminality. Mr. de Blasio apparently "plays fast and loose" with campaign finance regulations. He's in trouble with the city's Conflicts of Interest Board for soliciting donations from entities that have matters “pending or about to be pending” before the city.
Via the New York Observer:
There’s the investigation into his State Senate fundraising—subject of a leaked state Board of Elections memo and several subpoenas. There’s the investigation into corruption at the NYPD, where officers accepted gifts from two business who also donated handsomely to Mr. de Blasio. Then there’s the look into Rivington House, a former AIDS hospice where the city lifted a deed restriction that will ultimately allow for the development of lucrative condos at the site, where developers were at times represented by a lobbyist tight with Mr. de Blasio. And there’s also inquiries into Mr. de Blasio’s non-profit, the Campaign For One New York, and whether donors got favors from City Hall.
According to Politico New York, a whopping "62 percent of donors had business or labor contracts before the city, or were trying to get a project approved."
While de Blasio would not offer an explanation for how accepting donations squared with COIB rules, he does have a lot to say about how New Yorkers should treat the nation's largest chicken fast-food chain.
A Chick-fil-A rep responded to the mayor's attempt to drum up controversy by simply stating that the company's policy is "to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."