By Keen Berger, Democratic District Leader, 66A
As District Leader of the Village, I confess that I am a political junkie, obsessed with national, state, and local government. Like many readers of WestView, I fear Trump and have doubts about many state leaders. I write now because I do not expect everyone to have followed the work of Deborah Glick, our local state Assemblyperson, as closely as I have.
Glick is diligent and dedicated. Her persistence has borne fruit. Many people remember that she was the first openly LGBT legislator in Albany. Soon after she arrived, she gave an impassioned speech defending legislation to extend civil rights to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. She lost that vote, but continued to work in every session. Marriage equality would not have happened without her.
Glick and her opponent in the September primary are long-time members of the Village Independent Democrats. At the endorsement meeting, many members spoke in detail about her role in the issue they know best—low-cost housing, women’s health, CUNY, tenants, NYU expansion, environmental protection, Dreamers, and much more. Neither Glick, nor her opponent, were at that meeting, so people spoke frankly. The vote was by secret ballot—unanimous for Glick.
The issue I know best, as mother of four public school children and past chair of the Community School Board for District Two, is public education, most recently 75 Morton Street.
The state put the building up for sale a decade ago. Glick spotted that in a notice in one of the reams of documents that the state is obligated to publish; she is one of the few legislators who reads them. She alerted me, and my fellow District Leader (then Brad Hoylman, now our state Senator). We were too late to stop the state from collecting sealed bids (some for luxury apartments), but all bids were rejected. I credit protests from Glick and several of us in the city.
Stopping the private takeover was only the first step. To get the school we had eight years of meetings, two large rallies, newspaper articles (many in WestView), TV coverage, postcards to Albany, resolutions from Community Board Two, three town halls, and a parent advocacy group. We had to convince Chris Quinn (then Speaker of the Council), the Mayor, the Department of Education, local churches, and advocacy groups. We had to work with architects, engineers, and the School Construction Authority. Glick spoke publicly again and again, but she also made dozens of phone calls to get the state to sell the building and the city to buy.
Over all these years, Glick has been steadfast and instrumental. The latest victories are a green roof, a great principal (Jacqui Getz), and hundreds of current fifth graders who will enter in September 2017. No one can dispute Glick’s crucial role; too many witnesses know the details.
One other issue troubles this political junkie—the ethics of state officials. Glick is working on that too. When I am cynical about that, I remember marriage equality. Ten years ago I thought it never could happen.