Editorial from the Daily News:
This is the day when the City Council feasts on lulus. Members who stand securely in the good graces of Speaker Christine Quinn will get the first of two installments of the annual bonuses by which she rewards loyalty.
The Council justifies awarding the stipends - on top of the legally set salary of $112,500 - by depicting them as added compensation for committee work. Virtually everyone gets some such task, along with yearly payouts that range from $4,000 to $28,500. Most typical is a $10,000 boost.
Members of Congress, no matter how senior or how hefty their committee loads, get no added compensation. And for a very good reason. Legislators who are beholden to their leaders for big chunks of money will be far more likely to do as they are told rather than buck the bosses.
Quinn, who gets the biggest lulu, is foursquare behind the system. Others recognize its corrosive influence.
Before the 2009 election, the good-government group Citizens Union surveyed Council candidates. One inquiry read: "What is your position on eliminating or limiting stipends for committee chairs and leadership positions?"
Most of those who were elected backed dropping or reducing lulus. Some have lived up to their word. Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan, Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan and Brad Lander of Brooklyn are refusing the money. Good going.
Thirteen say they'll donate their lulus to charity: Gale Brewer and Rosie Mendez of Manhattan; Mathieu Eugene, David Greenfield, Letitia James, Steven Levin and Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn; Karen Koslowitz, Eric Ulrich, Jimmy Van Bramer and Ruben Wills of Queens; Debi Rose of Staten Island, and James Vacca of the Bronx.
Then there are the hypocrites who said they opposed lulus but are taking the money: Fernando Cabrera and Helen Foster of the Bronx; Margaret Chin of Manhattan; Daniel Dromm and Julissa Ferreras of Queens; Sara Gonzalez and Diana Reyna of Brooklyn.
For the record, Foster insists she never filled out a questionnaire expressing opposition to lulus. Strange. Someone signed the name "Helen Diane Foster" to such a document. You can look it up on the Citizens Union website. Foster should check it out herself.