By George Capsis
Oh wow! Jumaane Williams won as Public Advocate and we interviewed him a few weeks ago as he sat in “my reading the New York Times chair” in our kitchen conference room at 69 Charles Street.
We did not exactly endorse him as attorney Arthur Schwartz did, but asked him questions mostly about the NYCHA mess and printed his answers (he calls NYCHA one of the worst landlords in the city).
Arthur kiddingly introduced him as being arrested like me in the cause of justice and the Times indicates it was six times (me only once).
How important is the job? De Blasio had it before becoming mayor.
And the Times reminds us that Mark Green, who previously held that post, tortured and emasculated Giuliani by cutting the budget to $3.6 million (doesn’t leave enough for a Christmas party).
Funny thing—when I started to write this the night before the election I got a call from a for-hire call service asking me if I would vote for another of the candidates. When I explained I was a publisher just writing an article on Jumaane’s victory the caller became testy and rang off.
Here is this strange improvised political office of Public Advocate sitting alone out there, whose sole function is to throw verbal darts at the Mayor and if he, the Mayor, gets run over or is found taking money from an Iranian billionaire, the Public Advocate becomes the Mayor. Oh wow!
Corey Johnson will not take $250 from any one person so as not to be bought. Hmm, I mean, he made a big thing out of this so we must have a lot of shopping for politicians going on. Fortunately Jumaane is near broke so he can’t be influenced but he did voraciously dive into the finger food Dusty set out just before he left and I will remind him of this when I call for a favor.
With the short month I drafted this piece on Jumaane Williams winning the election as Public Advocate 48 hours before it happened, and I watched his acceptance speech on WPIX when he talked about a child crying themselves to sleep—and as he did he hopelessly succumbed to tears and was taken into the arms of his mother.
Last night I noticed that his voice is very much like Martin Luther King, and to inspire his Brooklyn constituents he evokes the rhetorical chants common to King—“Do we want better housing”…“Yes we want better housing.”
His father was a doctor, his sister a nurse, and they lived in a brownstone in Brooklyn. The family was and are leaders—a voice that has earned being listened too. Now he may be speaking for you to the Mayor, to the City Council and, who knows, to Trump. It will not be a loud voice, but IT WILL BE a compassionate one.