By Arthur Z. Schwartz
Although I have withdrawn from the Assembly race for health reasons, I have not backed away from my fervent belief that Deborah Glick has poorly served our community for the last 26 years. Several letters in this issue of WestView “extol” her “accomplishments,” particularly in the area of education. The writers, who are fond of Deborah, are way off the mark.
The Loss of St Vincent’s and
Now Beth Israel
I have to start with health care, and not education. On Deborah Glick’s watch, under circumstances in which the State Health Commissioner undercut a solid proposal by Mt. Sinai to buy St. Vincent’s, back in 2010, Deborah Glick’s absence from the scene was remarkable. The most profound thing she did about St. Vincent’s was to stand on a corner in August 2013, across from the demolished St. Vincent’s, and announce to the world that we lost St. Vincent’s because Susan Sarandon had opposed the construction of a new hospital on the site of the O’Toole Building. Sarandon, of course, was standing one corner south with Mayoral Candidate de Blasio talking about the need to stop hospital closures in New York, and Glick was hoping to get Christine Quinn elected Mayor. And when George Capsis, whose wife had died days before, got into an argument at the Glick rally with newly-elected State Senator Brad Hoylman, Glick called for his arrest. Of course she never called for an investigation or arrest of the executives at St. Vincent’s who plundered and mismanaged that institution.
Fact was, that all Glick did about St. Vincent’s was (barely) give lip service to the “don’t close our hospital” sentiment in our community. She was a powerful member of the Assembly, who was already the Speaker Sheldon Silver’s right-hand deputy, and took no action, as a legislator or a political player, to get then Governor Paterson to reverse the Health Commissioner, when the Commissioner refused to allow Mt. Sinai have the same Medicaid reimbursement rate as St. Vincent’s. That refusal sank the hospital.
Fast forward to 2016. Beth Israel has announced that it will be closing its 850-bed hospital, which is the nearest hospital to the West Village, and replacing it with a small hospital at 2nd Ave and 14th Street, with 70 beds. Have we heard from Assembly Member Glick? Not really. Beth Israel isn’t in her district. (It is two blocks away). The fact that it leaves people in this community with even harder access to a full-service hospital doesn’t phase her. And her response to the proposal made by WestView that the new Beth Israel entity be built in the West Village? Silence.
The Intersection of St. Vincent’s
and the 75 Morton School
Deborah’s supporters like to give her “credit” for bringing about the new school at 75 Morton Street. But the real story shows that Deborah, to whom the site was suggested by parents back in 2008, hadn’t been able to move either the State (it was a State office building) or the City much on this, despite her powerful position as Silver’s deputy. The building was the locus of annual rallies, some of which Glick spoke at, along with every other elected official in the community.
The building was finally “delivered” by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as part of the deal to approve the Rudin Development at the old St. Vincent’s site. According to the Villager “as part of the deal [to get the Rudin development approved by the City Council] Quinn announced that the City would purchase 75 Morton Street.” It was a deal with the devil: The City (Quinn) was going to prettify the approval of a $3 billion project, by “giving” the affected community a new school. One week before, at a public hearing about the Rudin Plan, Glick stated, on record, that “at minimum” the Rudins had to make a “substantial investment” into the new school. After Quinn’s announcement she was silent.
And the claim that Deborah Glick got the Foundling Hospital turned into a school has no basis in reality. It was again purchased from the bankrupt St. Vincent’s estate, with the Rudin’s “facilitating” (guaranteeing) the purchase money to the Bankruptcy Court.
Not a Champion of Full Funding
for Public School Education
During Deborah Glick’s early tenure as an Assembly Member, Robert Jackson and his Campaign for Fiscal Equity were fighting in the Courts for NYC schools to receive the funds for an “adequate education” guaranteed by the State Constitution. In 2003, the Court of Appeals found that state funding for NYC schools was unconstitutional. In 2006, the Court set a $2 billion floor for the additional funding needed. The Assembly and Senate enacted a bill in 2007 to provide $5.4 billion in a four-year funding program called the Contract for Excellence. But in year three, that funding stream was massively cut by Governor Cuomo, and it has never been restored. Not a peep came out of Deborah Glick’s office. And when the Governor began his campaign in favor of Charter Schools, and saddled NYC with a $100 million per year bill for space for Charter Schools, no matter how well funded they were, Glick voted “yes” in favor of the bill.
When I deride Member Glick for her lack of support for NYC public schools, this is where I begin, not with her taking credit for Christine Quinn’s Rudin deal, acting as though neither Rudin nor Christine Quinn was there.
And then there is the decline of public colleges while Ms. Glick sat as Chair of the Higher Education Committee in the Assembly. That one I will save for next month.
Jim Fouratt has taken up the banner of making Deborah Glick explain her record, and defend it. I am happy that he has done so, and I urge WestView readers to demand a debate.
Arthur Z. Schwartz is the Male Democratic District Leader for Greenwich Village.