Is the real Brad Hoylman the squeaky clean, Human Rights Campaign poster ideal for the assimilated gay male? Holyman, who has a back story that many a politician would wish was his or hers. He was the youngest of six children in a female headed family living in poverty in West Virginia and worked his way through public school and college becoming Phi Beta Kappa before ending his remarkable academic journey with a law degree from Harvard and becoming a Rhodes scholar. His 14 year long relationship with film producer and director David Seigal, his lower Fifth Avenue Gold Coast co-op and a dream job at the Partnership for New York City has put him on both a personal and a professional track with some of the richest and most powerful business people in the US economy. Recently, with his partner, though a surrogate mother, he fathered a little girl. Picture perfect, no?
Well yes and no!
However, if you were to read his recently edited Wikipedia biography, you would think he spent 24/7 being a community organizer. There is no listing of employment, but a collection of accomplishments he claims to have achieved that benefit the residents of his City Council district. So much for transparency.
Consider, is Brad Hoylman the insider machine candidate hand-picked by out-going State Senator Tom Duane and Boss Christine Quinn to replace Duane in the New York State Senate?
Duane, in classic machine behavior, waited until the very last possible moment to announce he would not run. Despite Hoylman’s denial that he knew in advance, petitions magically appeared almost as soon as Duane stopped speaking. Hoylman stopped his City Council race to replace Christine Quinn to run.
Rather than speaking out against how Duane’s act seemed timed to exclude anyone else from running and made a mockery of progressive political practice, Hoylman could only blush and state “Duane shoes would be hard to fill.” Oh really? Duane was Chair of the Senate Health committee when NYS Department of Health refused to allow Mount Sinai to acquire and keep open St. Vincent’s Hospital. He endorsed the building of luxury condos on the site as well as testified in favor of the conversion of the former O’Toole building into a high end, profit driven, two 23 hour bed urgent care center. In practice, Duane did nothing to actually keep a hospital on the St. Vincent’s site, despite his continual political rhetoric of saying,”we need a hospital.” If he ran, he would have have faced the wrath of angry voters on the West Side who saw through his false promises to what he actually did to facilitate the closing of St. Vincent’s.
Hoylman has nothing but praise for Duane.
Over the course of the next three weeks, every local elected official and almost every Democratic operative and political club raced to anoint the Quinn-confidant with endorsement snake oil. This was the Boss Quinn machine, the new Tammany Hall who put self interest above constituents’ needs in action. None of them had done anything practical to save a hospital in the West Village or actually stood up against NYU’s destructive community development plan or stood on the spot where the Spectra pipeline was to enter Greenwich Village and say, “No fracking in NYC. No pipeline with radioactive radon in my district.” While they will ALL say there was nothing they could have done, their actions under the leadership of Boss Christine Quinn are in fact the record – no hospital, luxury condos everywhere, no affordable housing being built, a venerable pipeline carring hydrofracked natural gas with radioactive radon into Greenwich Village now a potential blast zone and the destruction by NYU of the West Village and SoHo as we have historically know them.
Hoylman could have chosen to distance himself from these elected officials
and the political machine that supported them in their betrayal of their responsibility to their constituents. Instead, he courted and welcomed their support.
The two time chair of Community Board 2 (thank you Boss Quinn who actually vets all the CB2 and CB4 appointees before Borough President
Scott Stringer appoints them) blushed again and said something like, “I am not worthy of your affection.” He could have said “No thank you,” and shown himself independent of this development crazed political machine, but he did not.
Furthermore, there was no mention in his campaign literature of he was high six figure salaried Senior Vice-President and Chief legal counsel for the David Rockefeller founded pro-business Partnership for New York City for over 12 years. Hoylman did resigned to run for City Council as the chosen candidate of Boss Quinn.
Let’s look a little closer look at the roles Brad has actually played.
As head of the CB2 Omnibus Committee on St. Vincent’s, he never once raised as an issue, the financial malfeasance of senior staff management team and their looting of the resources of St. Vincent’s for personal gain. On the Board of Directors of the Partnership for New York City, sat Bill Rudin, Hoylman’s employer. The Rudin Real Estate Corporation had been trying for over six years to build condos on what was St. Vincent’s property and finally won all the property at fire sale price in a controversial Bankruptcy Court judgment. Hoylman takes credit for standing up to Bill Rudin when he wrote the draft resolution that passed CB2 allowing blood condos over a hospital with a trauma 1 emergence room.
It was the same Bill Rudin who sought CB2 approval for the St. Vincent’s site luxury condo development. Rather than recusing himself in voting because of his professional relationship with Rudin and perceived conflict of interest , Hoylman wrote the resolution that passed approving Rubin’s plans after reducing the never serious zoning pie in the sky zoning application Rudin had requested. The resolution that passed CB2 gave Rudin the zoning he required to build; it also violated the historical district zoning rules. In addition, it gave Rudin a private commercial developer additional footage that had been given as an exception to St. Vincent’s to expand the hospital. Despite the denial spin by Hoylman, he set a precedent that undermined the historical district’s zoning rules.
Partnership for New York City, Hoylman’s employer, supports private development as an economic stimulus and supported the conversion of a hospital into condos. Holyman also actively participated behind the scenes in the brokering of the “gift” by Rudin of the land and property of the O’Toole building to Long Island Jewish Hospital(HTTP://youtu.be/pwoc6LM_RxE) to build not a smaller hospital but a so called Comprehensive Care Center qualifying for a higher reimbursement from private and federal insurance including Medicare and Medicaid.
Despite most Village residents and many doctors seeing the building as yet another urgent care center, Rudin and LIJ refused to build a smaller hospital on the site that would conform to the health needs of community and satisfy the historical district’s zoning rules. Rather than being motivated by altruism or any sense of community care, Rudin needed to make this “gift” to satisfy the concerns of the Bankruptcy Court. Holyman, instead of re cusing himself, guided CB2 board through the difficult legal ramifications of approval. It would have seemed that a politician such as Hoylman, who likes to project an image of being conscious of the economic diversity of CB2, would have made affordable housing a break point, but he did not. He furthermore helped negotiate a million dollar fund to be used to help regulated tenants to fight landlord harassment. Nice, but not one unit of affordable housing is to be built.
Hoylman’s nice guy image evaporated when he was confronted in public by questions that would reveal his duplicitous role. When a senior at a public Omnibus meeting asked a direct question of Brad, he was ignored. The senior insisted Hoylman answered. Holyman called for the police to eject the senior. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOEtzt4fi0g&feature=share&list=PLDEBFBAA3855D4F89).
As Chair of CB2, Hoylman said at the public public portion he thought the AIDS memorial park was an important idea and than at the closed portion of the meeting responded to public member and Block Association Chair Marlyn Dorado who objected to the education and historical component of the memorial and proposed instead another children’s park in the small triangle. Holyman assured her there would be no museum, no underground education felicity and than wrote the resolution that killed this most important component of the Aids Memorial Park. Bill Rudin was opposed to this kind of use of land he refused to hand over to the NYC Parks department.
Holyman, as Chair of the St. vincent’s Omnibus refused to allow the video testimony from Elizabeth Adam, a save St. Vincent’s community activist and lifelong village resident who wanted to testify but was in the hospital rehab recovering from a recent stroke, to be shown. Brad said she had to testify in person or not at all. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT8cSMfcfUo ) Meanwhile, the Rudin legal team was preparing at the same meeting a multi-media presentation of their conversion from hospital to condos.
Bill Rudin also sits on the Board of Directors of NYU. While CB2 did pass a resolution against the NYU plans authored by Hoylman, The Partnership for New York City supported the NYU plan, he did nothing publicly as District Leader to enforce the resolution.
As District leader, Hoylman along with Keen Berger, was supposed to be the voice of the community to the politicians on community issues. Yet when the Caring Community closed it’s senior center in the First Presbyterian Church in Quinn’s district on lower Fifth Avenue, a block away from Hoylman’s residence to an uproar from seniors who used it, he did nothing except pass a meaningless resolution after the fact. He neither held a public meeting with seniors nor attended any of the Coalition for a New Village Hospital rallies and forums against the closure of St. Vincent’s.
Brad Hoylman takes credit for persuading Rudin to put a school on the former Foundling Hospital on 17th Street and Sixth Avenue. What did Rudin actually do? He financially guaranteed the project if there were problems. He donated not a penny. The City will pay for the school at the Foundling Hospital which is to be built below the condos Rudin is building in the same building. Again, he assumes responsibility as part of the CB2 negotiation with Rudin over their approval of his condo development on the St. Vincent’s site on the acquisition of 75 Morton Street for a school. Hold it! This was a hard fought fight by parents over three years. Quinn had worked out a deal a year before the bankruptcy of St. Vincents and held it from public knowledge until it would become politically expedient to announce at a time that would help Brad in his City Council race when his role and Quinn’s St Vincent’s approval needed a PR cushion.
The people who fought the Tishman acquisition of Stuyvesant Town know a different Brad Holyman. He supported the Bloomberg/Quinn/Partnership for New York endorsed sale by Prudential to Tishman. This sale later was rejected by the Courts.
The residents of Independence Plaza also had their Brad experience when he intervened, on a pro bono basis, when the Mitchell-Lama expiration date put their tenancy at risk. He negotiated a resolution that was to have protected Independence Plaza residents by granting them rent stabilization status. It is now falling apart because of real estate management resistance.
Those who use the Hudson River Park at night, particularly in the summer, may be surprised to learn that Brad and his partner, David, and new born baby, along with Tom Duane and his Chief of staff, Laura Morrison,
participated in a community march led by Christopher Street businesses and residents to CLOSE the Park at 9PM each night. The march ended at the local police precinct with a rowdy crowd of 50 people demanding
early evening Park closure and the creation of a Quinn supported satellite police station at the bottom of Christopher Street. Many LGBT activists saw this march as having both homophobia and racism fueling the tea party like rage that was palpable from people in the march.
Some have raised the issue that this is a gay seat in the State Senate and reason alone to vote as a litmus test. Certainly, in the early days of post-Stonewall electoral politics when there were no elected out politician,
representation was a critical issue. However today, as we have seen on local issues like the closing of St. Vincent’s, the NYU development plan, the hydrofracked gas pipeline and the AIDS memorial, being LGBT does not mean necessary being progressive. We have Quinn as the best example of this change. I suggest the district’s Senate seat is a progressive seat and if there is to be a litmus test it be not on sexual orientation but on actual progressive political practice.
That is why examining what Brad Hoylman actually did rather than what he says he will do is essential in deciding how to vote.
It is my position that the Quinn machine, every single one of them, must be put under the same scrutiny as I am doing to Hoylman to see if in fact they have served the needs of their constituency or simply pursued their own self-interest.
There are two other candidates running: Tanika Inlaw, a middle class, educator from the Lincoln Center area on the West Side (http://tanikainlaw.org/) and Tom Greco (http://grecoforsenate.com ), a small business owner of gay bars and restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen who jumped in, even though he was getting married the week Duane announced his not running. Interestingly Greco has the support of both the McManus Democratic club and the Chelsea West Side Democratic club.
I suggest strongly that anyone who wants to return the concerns and needs of the people who live in this district as central to any politicians political agenda look very closely at all three candidates. In particular, readers need to learn about both of these non-machine, grass roots candidates before deciding on who to vote in the primary.
Hoylman on the surface looks good. His skills as a lawyer make him articulate in a way that perhaps the two grass roots candidates who jumped in at the last moment are not. Yet looking beneath the campaign spin that money can buy, to the actual people who are running is the responsibility of every voter.
Become informed and do vote or things will continue with politicians’ private interests above the needs of constituents.
I know for me it is critical to stop the Quinn/Duane machine and return the districts to representation that reflects the needs of residents and businesses and not the power-broking, real estate lubricated, career boosting machine that Christine Quinn has built.
If you care about affordable housing, the lack of a hospital, the building of a fracked oil carrying pipeline with radioactive radon spewing and public education, you must ask yourself just who is Brad Holyman when you decide to vote in the primary September 13th.
Do vote if you want change and authentic representation in the NY State Senate.
Please understand, I like Brad personally, but I will not vote for BRAD HOYLMAN because of his actual political actions, his refusal to be independent of the Boss Quinn machine and his lack of transparency over his employer.
(cc) jim fouratt september 01, 2012