By Arthur Z. Schwartz
Sometimes following District Leader races is like reading tea leaves. The races are for insiders to evaluate and understand. But sometimes they explode with meaning. Like in 2013 when I was re-elected after an 8-year break and beat the candidate endorsed by Assembly Member Glick, State Senator Hoylman, and City Council Member Chris Quinn, by a 50-35 margin.
Well, it just happened again, in the southern half of our Assembly District (the 66th), sometimes known as Part B, generally known as South Village, Soho, and Tribeca. Two incumbents, John Scott and Jean Grillo, who had been District Leaders for eight years, were challenged by Terri Cude, Community Board 2 Vice Chair and a leader in the fight against NYU’s expansion, and Dennis Gault, a teacher, Community Board 1 leader, and United Federation of Teachers activist. They mostly ran a campaign focused on Council Member Margaret Chin’s failure to strongly oppose NYU’s expansion and unhappiness with her role in Tribeca and Soho. Scott and Grillo supported Chin and vice versa.
Our Assembly Member, Deborah Glick, jumped into the race big time. She donated $5,000 to Scott and Grillo so they could do campaign mailing, campaigned with them in parks and in front of supermarkets, called voters for them and lent her voice to one or more robocalls. State Senator Hoylman was less active, but also supportive.
On September 10 there was a surprisingly large turnout. Cude and Gault won 68-32! The vote was a significant rejection not just of John Scott (who, for the record, is my friend) and Jean Grillo (who, for the record, has been my client), but also of Assembly Member Glick. Her all-out effort could not even turn an election—in her home district—into a close race.
This rejection is one more in a long line—Cuomo over Zephyr Teachout, Kathy Hochul v. Tim Wu, Chris Quinn v. Bill de Blasio, Julie Menin v. Gale Brewer, Dan Squadron v. Letitia James, Hillary Clinton v. Obama, and, oh yes, Jonathan Geballe v. Arthur Schwartz.
Deborah Glick, who stood with Sheldon Silver to the end, who knew about the “secret” Pier 40 deal before anyone else, who failed to use her position as Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee to get NYU to the table, and who stood quietly as the Rudins built luxury condos where we once had a hospital, is no longer someone who commands respect in our community.
Perhaps spending too many years in Albany does that to elected officials.
Arthur Schwartz is the Male Democratic District Leader for Greenwich Village.