By Arthur Schwartz

Our City is a mess!

Our Community is a mess!

WestView readers for the past ten years have read hundreds of articles I have written about problems facing our community and work being done to make our community better. In fact, for 30 years I have been a leader in our community:

  • as a parent/neighbor who cleaned up and got City funding for Bleecker Playground, Abingdon Square Park, J.J. Walker Park, Jackson Square Park, Seravalli Playground in the 1990s.
  • as a community activist who fought for and helped create Hudson River Park, and Chaired its Community Advisory Council for a dozen years.
  • as a lawyer who won a pro-bono case which resulted in a multimillion dollar field being built on Pier 40, and then a Board member of the Little League.
  • as a neighbor who organized the West Village Partnership, which worked with the police and social workers to rid West Village parks of drug dealers and homeless encampments in a humane and effective way.
  • as the attorney for countless older residents being victimized by their landlords, including one, Ruth Berk, whom I got out of a nursing home, and got myself arrested for protecting her from unlawful surveillance.
  • as a Community Board member who chaired the Parks and Waterfront Committee for nearly 20 years and worked with numerous groups to improve Parks throughout the Village and Soho.
  • as a litigator who brought suit to compel a new hospital to replace St. Vincent’s, and then again against the closure of Beth Israel Hospital.
  • as a lawyer who stopped a COSTCO from being built on 14th Street west of Sixth Avenue.
  • as an activist who has fought for smaller classes, for the rights of students with disabilities, and against the encroachment of Charter Schools in our school district.
  • as the attorney for a dozen block associations and people with disabilities challenging the 14th Street busway, its elimination of bus stops, and the failure to install elevators in subway stations.

I could go on and on. I have never sat on my hands and I have never feared angering the “powers that be,” even as I sat at their table. I am not someone who just yells loudly and bangs a drum—I am effective.

Our community and our City are in crisis. Our schools are underfunded. It has become too expensive to live here. At the same time, business after business closes. There is a protest citywide about racial injustice that needs to be addressed. Our local public housing is a mess. Our mistreatment of homeless people—shoving them into unused hotels with no social services and allowing them to then flow into local residential communities—needs to be stopped. Our subways and buses are underfunded as fares go up and up. Hospitals continue to merge and close, at a time when we need them more. This is not a time to just go along and not break with the failures of the de Blasio-Corey Johnson Administration.

So—I am running for City Council—father of four, homeowner, busy lawyer, and community activist—to set a new tone in our community and at City Hall.

I hope you will support me.

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