By Arthur Z. Schwartz
April, for me, was a month of highs and lows—in the political arena. Since I like to be transparent now in the manner I will be a public servant, I want to share my thoughts.
I debated Deborah Glick two times in April. The first time was on April 9th before about 100 people. I was nervous, even though, as a trial and appellate lawyer, I have appeared in court hundreds of times. But here I was facing a 26-year veteran of political debates. However, as I greeted people at the door and got many warm receptions, my nervousness abated. Once the debate started, I experienced an epiphany:
For 26 years, I had never challenged Deborah Glick head-on, not for her lack of support for Hudson River Park, not for her slavish support of Sheldon Silver (despite his indictment), not for her failure to stand against the gentrification of our neighbor-hood, not for her “all talk, no action” on St. Vincent’s. Like many other active members of the community, treating her with “respect” meant being uncritical to her face.
But on April 17th, after she told the crowd that she had “no idea” that Sheldon Silver was corrupt, I opened up. Hadn’t she, like me, known that he paid $100,000 in hush money to staffers harassed by Assemblyman Vito Lopez? Hadn’t she read in the Times about his collecting legal fees without ever having his name on a piece of litigation? And why, I asked, after all this came out, did she insist that he stay on as Speaker—one of the three men in a room allocating billions of dollars in budget money?
Two days later, I debated Glick again, at the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, and I looked her in the eye while being critical. After 26 years of being unopposed in an election, she was smart but not all-powerful. After that debate, the Gay and Lesbian Club endorsed me. I must have said something right.
A few days later came the primary. Except in the East Village, Bernie got his ass kicked. We had a record turnout in our district: 24,000 out of 33,000 eligible voters voted. West of Broadway, the margin was almost 2-1. Even though I was unhappy and fearful about a Trump win, I respect what my neighbors said: The chance to elect a liberal-minded woman as president pulled out my neighbors in record numbers.
I will be a delegate to the Democratic Convention, as will Deborah Glick. I plan to share my experiences with the readers of Westview.
Arthur Z. Schwartz is the Male Democratic District Leader for Greenwich Village and is a candidate for the Assembly in the District which includes Greenwich Village, Soho, and Tribeca.