By Arthur Schwartz
The primary for City Council in Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen is largely over. Although Erik Bottcher did not get a majority, his margin of victory over me is large enough that it seems mathematically impossible for me to win once the Ranked Choice process begins.
I want to offer Erik my congratulations. He ran a positive, optimistic campaign, and I hope that his prediction of “better days ahead” comes true. I remain the Democratic District Leader in Greenwich Village, I am still in court challenging the constitutionality of the PACT/RAD program at NYCHA, and I remain the Political Director of the NY Progressive Action Network, so we will have lots of opportunities to work together. I consider Erik a personal friend, he has always been kind to my family, and I am happy that his dream has come true. I do hope he takes a stronger stand against luxury development in Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, the Village and Soho than Corey Johnson did; if he does he will be a hero.
I started running late last July, during a hiatus in the Pandemic lockdown. For me the end of the campaign feels like an opportunity, finally, to fully (I pray) move on from that horrible year. I am not going anywhere. I continue to be Special Counsel to TWU. I continue to be an activist lawyer. I continue to be a dad and a husband. Campaigns are periods (for me) of great learning: about the issues of concern to my neighbors, about the fairness of the process, about who my friends are, about the genuineness of people’s expressed political views, and about myself.
I won’t address all of that here. I can say that many WestView readers provided invaluable support, financially and emotionally. And for that I thank you. I want to especially thank my full-time campaign staff, Kyle Nash and Jason Coniglione, my Treasurer Penny Mintz (who worked scores of hours as a volunteer in the field), my Tweeter Jack McClatchy, my field support Dan Marcus, Bruce Poli, Jacob Schwartz (my son) and Nick Glasser, my graphic designer Andrew Jones, my daughter Devin (who organized high school students to work on Primary Day), Lucy Anderson who interned for us, my wife, Kelly, who tolerated all of this, and last but not least, Jacob Chen, a rising star at Beacon High School, who not only interned but became a key cog in our last few weeks of the campaign. He has “future leader” stamped all over him. Also, my other opponents, Leslie Boghosian Murphy, Phelan Dante-Fitzpatrick, Aletta LaFargue, and Marni Halsa, all turned out to be wonderful friends, who I will, I hope, work with on issues in the future.
I won some nice battles along the way. Beth Israel Hospital isn’t closing. Full service has been restored to the F and C lines. Elevators are coming to two 14th Street stations. Tenants at 401-419 West 19th Street have had their gas restored. And Ranked Choice Voting, which I defended in court, seems here to stay.