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Quinn, Rivals At Odds Over Paid Sick Leave At Mayoral Candidates Forum

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The fight over mandatory sick days became a flash point in a Democratic forum of candidates for mayor Wednesday night, with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at odds with her four rivals. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

There wasn't much the five candidates disagreed on at a mayoral forum for Democratic candidates Wednesday night, except for Christine Quinn's resistance to bringing paid sick leave up for a vote in the City Council.

"Speaker Quinn, you need to stop blocking this bill right now and allow it to move forward," said mayoral candidate William Thompson.

"It's been three years we've been waiting for a vote," said mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. "That is a lot of research and that's a lot of obfuscation in the end. Look. There's a million New Yorkers who do not have paid sick day coverage, who are suffering for the lack of it."

The forum was before several clubs for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Democrats.

In a fitting comparison, considering the setting, longshot former Brooklyn councilman Sal Albanese even tied sick leave to gay rights.

"That's how the gay rights bill was bottled up for years and years, where we couldn't get it to the floor because the speaker of the City Council was against the bill."

Quinn said the economy is too soft now to move ahead, a stance that drew boos.

"Think about your household budget," Quinn said. "You can take on another bill if you have a little money. You can restructure your budget. You can't do that if you don't have any money. So it's not a question for me of if. It's a question of when."

Police policy also brought out differences. City Comptroller John Liu said he'd ban the New York City Police Department's stop and frisk tactic.

"It distracts resources from police strategies that actually have been proven in other American cities to reduce crime," Liu said,

There weren't any differences seen on issues related to gay, lesbian and bisexuals. All want more support for gay runaways and more money for HIV protection.

If elected, Quinn would be the first openly gay mayor. But as has been the case on the trail, she didn't bring it up at the forum

She had some visible opponents outside, although they were outnumbered by her backers. Apart from her stance on paid sick leave, she was also booed by those criticizing her for not keeping St. Vincent's Hospital open.

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