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Anti-vax blowback: WestView News slammed for backing RFK Jr. for president

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | WestView News is making waves again — but it could be getting itself into hot water with liberal Democratic readers — which, as everyone knows, makes up most of the Village.

The newspaper — one of at least five papers currently covering the West Village — has been giving glowing coverage to the insurgent presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And, in a front-page article in WestView’s September/October issue, its publisher, George Capsis, 96, came out with an early RFK Jr. endorsement.

The Page 1 article, written by Kelly Gallagher, ends with a quote by Capsis, saying, “The mainstream media keep ignoring [RFK Jr.], which only further exposes the censorship that is currently running rampant in the land of the free and the home of the brave. That’s not Democratic. There comes a point in life where you have to take a stand. For me, that time is now. It’s time to take a stand. I stand with Bobby Kennedy.”

As for Gallagher, she describes herself in her bio on X (formerly Twitter) as “an intergalactic communicator sent to this planet to shake up the status quo.”

For some Village readers, the article definitely did seem to come out of left field — if not out of “Star Trek”’s Gamma Quadrant.

One outraged reader at Westbeth Artists Housing scrawled his or her reaction in red magic marker in all capital letters on a copy of WestView, and indignantly left it in the complex’s mailroom, where stacks of local newspapers are distributed.


WestView’s motto is “The Voice of the West Village.”

At the recent ribbon-cutting on Oct. 2 for the new park on Gansevoort Peninsula, one local Democratic politician — requesting anonymity — told The Village Sun he was puzzled by the newspaper’s RFK Jr. endorsement, among other things.

“Hey, what is going on with WestView?” he asked, with concern.

On Oct. 9, RFK Jr. announced that he is now running for president as an independent.

And he’s polling surprisingly high for a third-party candidate — at 14 percent, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, which found former President Trump polling at 40 percent and President Biden at 38 percent. Kennedy has carved a niche for himself as the anti-establishment, anti-corporate candidate.

Asked about the backlash, WestView’s Dusty Berke told The Village Sun regarding RFK Jr., “They just think he’s an anti-vaxxer. They’re not listening to what he’s actually saying.”

Berke was briefly listed as the paper’s editor for its November 2022 issue, after former managing editor Kim Plosia split to help start up Village View. Berke’s name no longer appears on the masthead.

Berke said her having the editor title had become a distraction. Yet, she clearly continues to exert major influence on the newspaper’s content and direction. Capsis, who founded WestView News in his 70s, remains atop the masthead as publisher and executive editor.

WestView News reprinted RFK Jr.’s entire speech announcing his presidential campaign in a special 12-page insert in May that was almost entirely text. (Photo by The Village Sun)

In its May print issue, WestView reprinted, word for word, RFK Jr.’s entire, lengthy April 25 speech announcing his candidacy, filling an entire 12-page special insert.

“George, as a rule, doesn’t support anybody, ever,” Berke explained back then. “George listened to the speech. He said, ‘I don’t think he can win but he did a great job cleaning up the Hudson.’ George said he wanted to run the whole thing.”

Berke, not surprisingly, is also backing Kennedy.

“He has unassailable facts,” she said. “I think Bobby Kennedy doesn’t put anything out with his name on it that he doesn’t have bulletproof facts to back it up.”

Meanwhile, Arthur Schwartz, the senior editor of the WestViewNews offshoot The Village View — motto: “The Voice of the Village and The Lower West Side” — declared the rival publication is now “irrelevant.”

“I think WestView has become irrelevant — as predicted,” he scoffed. “RFK Jr. is running a fringe, anti-vax, anti-science campaign which does a disservice to the wonderful environmental work he did on the Hudson River. Dusty played up RFK because he is an anti-vaxxer who looks liberal. I think he has moved from being a hero to being cuckoo.

“I think Village View and The Village Sun are the joint Voices of the Village,” he continued. “The View has longer opinion and in-depth pieces and the Sun gives us news updates frequently about stuff not read about elsewhere. What we have clearly tried to do is be intensely local, like The Village Sun.

Dusty Berke read the April WestView News at the East Village’s Earth Church earlier this year after watching Malachy McCourt being sainted by Reverend Billy. In the newspaper’s main Page 1 article, Publisher George Capsis attacked Arthur Schwartz, the senior editor of the breakaway newspaper The Village View. (Photo by The Village Sun)

“Next month — November — by the way, we hope to start a monthly column from [City Comptroller] Brad Lander and one from [radical attorney] Ron Kuby,” he added.

Because Village View is a 501c3 nonprofit, it is barred from endorsing political candidates — unlike WestView News and The Village Sun.

“Note: We had four pieces written by candidates in the upcoming election,” Schwartz added. “No favoritism — we are a 501c3.”

Schwartz has previously declared that the “war is over” between the now nearly one-year-old breakaway Village View and WestView News.

“We are not at war,” he recently reiterated.

However, Berke isn’t exactly feeling so kumbaya about the upstart challenger. Over the summer, she charged that the competitor was continuing to imitate design elements from WestView News — which is not so surprising since the same designer, Plosia, who used to create WestView is now doing Village View.

“When he’s saying, ‘The war is over,’ I just have to smile,” Berke said. “He rekindled it by stealing our [Gay] Pride template and putting it on Page 1. They stole our Pride template.”

One Westbeth resident, who spotted the angrily marked-up copy of WestView in the complex’s mailroom, told The Village Sun, “Between the support for RFK Jr. and weird cures for COVID, this paper is really off the wall. I think people keep picking it up out of habit and it’s got a nice look but… .”

The newspaper’s September/October issue also includes a lengthy discussion of columnist Gary Null’s June article claiming that ivermectin — a drug approved to treat parasitic worms and head lice — “could have saved millions of lives” during the COVID pandemic but was “suppressed.”

In another eyebrow-raiser, one WestView article a few months ago said kids with braces were at greater risk from harmful radiation when walking past 5G cellular towers.

In related news, Jim Drougas, the owner of the former Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books, on Carmine Street, has expressed a desire to buy Berke’s “Tiles for America” bus that was formerly parked at Seventh Avenue South and Greenwich Avenue at Mulry Square. Police towed the vehicle back in January — and arrested Berke in the process — saying they had gotten “multiple complaints about an unregistered bus” at the spot. The vehicle, in fact, had sat there for six years. Berke — who frantically rushed over and protested that the bus’s unsecured 9/11 tiles would be damaged if it was towed — was charged with obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct for refusing police orders to exit the vehicle.

However, she says she does not plan to sell the bus — which was originally used as a mobile library in the Midwest — and plans to spiff it up with fancy hubcaps and bring it back possibly as a solar-powered emergency command center.

Berke told the Sun at the time that she furious at her nemesis Schwartz for calling out the long-entrenched bus on the letters page of the January issue of Village View, which at the time was called New Westview.

“I have never had anything to do with her bus,” Schwartz retorted at the time. “Never spoke to anyone official about it. … I was not involved.”


  1. Joel Edwards Joel Edwards November 6, 2023

    Westview News is the voice of the future of the West Village, of New York City, the nation, and the world. BTW, Kennedy is now at 22% and rising, not 12% as you erroneously report.

    The ideas promulgated by Westview News’ imitators are relics of a bygone era, circling the drain along with other obsolete, ridiculously transparent idiot propaganda like ABC, CBS, CNN, Time Magazine, etc.

    It’s a new world now. Good luck.

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | November 6, 2023

      Umm, perhaps he was 12 percent when the article was actually posted. The article does not automatically self-update, but at some point we might do a NEW article with the latest poll figures. And, yeah, WestView News uber alles!

  2. lynn pacifico lynn pacifico October 23, 2023

    WestView News tells the truth but, sadly, newspapers telling the truth is “news” nowadays.

  3. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz October 22, 2023

    Really tired of mean-spirited attacks on Shelly Silver, who did a lot of good things, and is now dead. He died in prison as I recall. If Mr. Flash had a shred of class, he would try to give his grossly biased account of Shelly’s career more balance. I say this as a senior tenant in a rent-stabilized apartment which Shelly helped to save when conservatives and editorial writers at the dailies, including the NY TImes, were all in support of rent regulations “sunsetting” for more 1 million NYC residents back in 1997.

  4. Arthur Z Schwartz Arthur Z Schwartz October 21, 2023

    First time anyone has ever called something I am involved in “safe.” My pieces about race in the Village haven’t been safe.
    WestView no longer publishes George’s “unique perspective.” It is Dusty and her friends’ perspective. What she does, I believe, is senior abuse, at least intellectually — although he is her prisoner. He can’t venture anywhere without her, he doesn’t answer his own calls, even on his cell. And she is probably using his bank account to peddle her garbage. Remember, I wrote 2 to 3 times a month in WestView, and tried to be pretty unique and challenging.
    By the way, you are welcome to publish your material regularly in Village View. We distribute 11,000 copies by hand and have growing traffic on our web site.

  5. Chris Flash Chris Flash October 17, 2023

    This editorial slam disguised as a “news” article reminds me of the time when the “East Villager,” run by Lincoln Anderson as Editor, endorsed corrupt Christine Quinn for mayor because “she gets things done” – like her cutting a deal with the Rudin real estate family that resulted in the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital in favor of yet another yuppie ghetto “luxury” housing complex, among other “things” she got “done.”

    Under your watch, the East Villager continually ENDORSED corrupt-as-fuck NY State Assemblyman Sheldon Silver. Could it be that his PAID ADVERTISEMENT in EVERY issue influenced your love for him??

    By jumping on the HATE wagon, you conveniently IGNORE Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s lengthy experience as an environmental defender who has successfully sued cities, states and corporations, instead focusing on his opinion regarding forced innoculations that have already been declared as “ineffective” against “covid” and which have been PROVEN to be UNSAFE for some and DEADLY for others.

    George Capsis should be PRAISED and ADMIRED for “taking a stand” while Arthur Schwartz should be CONDEMNED for pathetically attempting to HIJACK a community newspaper and then trying to COPY it.

    WHY do you present this CRAP when you ought to know BETTER, Lincoln? Are you really that desperate for content??

    Chris Flash
    The SHADOW

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | October 17, 2023

      Chris, that editorial endorsement of Chris Quinn for mayor was not just me — it was a bunch of other people involved, including the publisher at that time, her husband (a big NYC daily newspaper guy, who warned us that electing de Blasio would be a disaster for the city, taking it backwards — he referenced the Dinkins years — some would say he was right). The argument was made to me that all of our news group’s papers had to have a unified endorsement — as in, back the same candidate, i.e., Chris Quinn. I didn’t see why that had to be the case, but I was asked — after having a long conversation with my publisher’s husband and with further emphasis from my publisher — to “take the night and think it over.” I honestly wanted to endorse de Blasio, because he was being seen as the “anti-Quinn” at that point. There was a lot of anger over St. Vincent’s Hospital’s closing, and Quinn was being blamed for it, that she did not fight to save it (a massively debt-ridden institution that NY State Dept. of Health did not want to save). The sentiment in the community was for de Blasio, it was clear. People felt Quinn, in her ambition to run for higher office, had taken her focus off of Council District 3. Anyway…I don’t know what would have happened if I had persisted in backing de Blasio, who I was strongly backing at that time. Our company had just been purchased by new owners — it’s always an uneasy moment when you have new owners, because you want to keep your job and are feeling the new owners out and vice versa — and they were putting pressure on me to back Chris. So that added to the pressure of the situation. We had Gay City News in our news group, and Chris was a hero to the gay community, so they were of course backing her and that influenced the push within the company for the “unified endorsement.” It wasn’t an easy position to be in. I felt that people in the office were actually eavesdropping on my conversations (it was a small, open office… Troy!!!! calling you out!) — and, when I seemed not to be budging, I got a barrage of phone calls from people like Assemblymember Deborah Glick, state Senator Brad Hoylman, other local politicians like State Committeemember Rachel Lavine, maybe Tony Hoffmann of Village Independent Democrats, local activists, like Zella Jones from Noho, I think, etc., I can’t remember them all but I am now remembering this in general, sitting there and getting these phone calls, all urging me to back Quinn. It was a concerted effort to tip me over to the side of backing Chris — these were all people that I knew and respected as leaders in the community and also as friends and colleagues I’d known for years through working at The Villager. At the end of the day, I tried to write a balanced editorial (for Quinn), and, yes, there certainly were a lot of good things that she did do. My previous publisher would probably, I’m guessing, have let me endorse de Blasio — but we would have had a very thorough and vigorous discussion about it — something that he loved to do. But I think he would have allowed the papers to each have their own voice on that endorsement, if they wanted to. He respected our judgment and our right to express that in the editorials, for the most part — unless it was something he really disagreed with. Just different styles / editorial philosophies by the owners. At the end of the day, the publisher owns the paper and you work at his or her will. It was a very important election, and I can understand why the latter owner wanted to do it the way they did it. It is what it is.

      As for Shelly Silver, yes, there was a relationship there between The Villager’s owner at that time and Shelly Silver. Silver played an important role in rebuilding Lower Manhattan after 9/11 and the publisher at that time was more than grateful for Silver’s efforts, as were many others. I honestly think a colleague of mine — the editor of Downtown Express at that time — may have written the editorials endorsing Silver. Again, those editorials followed discussions between that editor and the publisher at that time. Silver later got caught in a scandal that was his undoing — but, still, he also did a lot of good for his district and beyond during his many years in office and as Assembly speaker. It’s not all black and white.

      RFK has done a lot of good, too, including helping clean up the Hudson. But as one East Village journo I was talking to said, “Just when you’re starting to think that RFK is a good candidate that you might support, he comes out and says something wild.” He’s the anti-establishment, anti-corporate candidate, for sure. His health views don’t sit well with a lot of folks. Hey, the race is still going on, let’s see what happens.

      • Chris Flash Chris Flash October 20, 2023

        I will gladly send you the issues of The SHADOW that DETAIL Sheldon Silver’s corruption and how hundreds of thousands of rent-stabilized apts were LOST forever and poor residents removed from the Lower East Side due to his corruption and collaboration with real estate vultures.

        A shining example of Silver’s corruption was the SPURA scam, now known a ESSEX CROSSING, in which he PURPOSELY kept several city-owned lots VACANT since the 1970s. Those lots once contained rent-regulated apt housing as well as local businesses along DeLancey Street (you can see them in the 1948 film NAKED CITY as the camera hidden in a car follows an actor walking on the sidewalk) that were destroyed in the 1960s under the URBAN RENEWAL scam.

        Problem was that those displaced residents, all of whom were promised housing in the new buildings to be constructed on those lots, were mostly Black and Hispanic. Silver, who took office in 1973, made sure that that did NOT happen.

        Strangely, as soon as Silver was indicted, construction on those lots began at TOP SPEED, indicating that plans and financing had already been in place. Do you think that the housing built there has ANY truly “affordable” units?? You KNOW the answer to that.

        The point being made is that you have DIRTY HANDS calling out Capsis and his West View News for endorsing RFK Jr, a TRUE progressive person with an AMAZING track record of public service, when you and the Villager have supported politicians who have actually DAMAGED our community.

        Chris Flash

        • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | October 20, 2023

          Chris, No. 1, I don’t work at The Villager anymore. Your criticism of a piece we ran in The Village Sun about local reaction to the recent endorsement by WestView News of RFK for president has gotten pretty far-flung, and you are throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at me for it! Isn’t the issue here RFK and his politics / positions on the issues? Why is this going in so many different directions? If you do not support the COVID vaccine, fine — or other vaccines, fine — that’s your choice. And you can vote for RFK, fine… As for Essex Crossing (going back into the time capsule here), that plan came about through a lot of meetings at Community Board 3, etc., with a lot of community input. The city jumpstarted this long-stalled process under Mayor Bloomberg, and Madelyn Wils had a key position at the Economic Development Corp. at the time and was working on this issue. Wils was a board member on the Hudson River Park Trust, a longtime chairperson of Community Board 1, a Tribeca resident — she called my publisher at the time and told him, I’m paraphrasing, “The city finally is putting together a plan for SPURA, it’s something everyone in the community can get behind, we need you to help us push for this.” The city finally put together a plan that they thought could work and, with a lot of meetings and back-and-forth and protests and anguish, some sort of consensus was finally reached, with a 60/40 mix of residential and commercial space, 500 units of permanently affordable housing for low- moderate- and middle-income households, and senior housing — which I believe is at least half of the total amount of housing in the whole development project, the rest being market-rate. There were many people who were demanding 100 percent affordable housing there (no market-rate housing), but that didn’t happen. Actually, Councilmember Margaret Chin then unilaterally (basically, without telling Community Board 2) designated the Elizabeth Street Garden as a place for an affordable housing project, trying to make up for not getting 100 percent affordable housing at SPURA — which eventually led to a new struggle. P.S., Shelly Silver was still the Assembly speaker when this plan was hashed out and finalized — it didn’t “suddenly happen” after he was indicted, etc. It just takes time for any development project to get going and move forward, even once the plans have been approved. Some, a few, of the original SPURA residents have moved back, but obviously not all of them. The project was delayed, was tied up in lawsuits — for decades — so yes, people move on with their lives, find someplace, anyplace, to live. Yes, Shelly and his allies didn’t want all low-income housing there. Shelly once told me during an interview that he felt that “a lot of affordable housing had already been built” in the area in the years since the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area had been bulldozed — NYCHA Seward Park Annex, a Chinese group’s senior housing development, etc. He and his allies instead wanted “commercial development” — not housing, because they felt if housing was built, affordable-housing activists would fight and fight for low-income housing, file lawsuits, etc. One of Shelly’s allies, Heshy Jacob, once told me about his vision of a sprawling “world food hall” there, or something like that — they just didn’t want affordable (really, more like low-income) housing there. The final plan (Essex Crossing) turned out to be a sort of compromise that all the competing parties, including CB 3, could somehow get on board with, and something was finally built. But yes, my editor at The Villager when I started there, Tom Butson, referred to the area sardonically as “Shelly Silver’s parking lot.” Yes, Shelly was a roadblock on that project — which was in his own backyard. Nevertheless, to many he was a Democratic champion, played a key role in the recovery of Lower Manhattan after 9/11. … Not sure what all of this has to do with RFK Jr. and HIS policies and HIS campaign! Also, do you endorse every article that has ever run in WestView News??? They have had some “doozies” over the years.

          • Chris Flash Chris Flash October 20, 2023

            The “affordable” housing you speak of is not TRULY affordable – the city simply changed the definition of “affordable” – and those units are TEMPORARILY “affordable” before being reverted to “market rate.” This is a SCAM that is always used by the city in order to get the public to accept taxpayer-subsidized and funded construction of new “market rate” housing for the benefit of the wealthy.

            The point is that you shouldn’t be slamming West View News for endorsing a candidate who is far SUPERIOR to the slime-balls endorsed by the Villager.

            I think you are a good person, Lincoln, but, for whatever reason, you are going overboard on attacking West View News’ choice for president and you seem to be gloating over the battle between West View News’ originator George Capsis and West View News’ would-be thief Arthur Schwartz. Isn’t there some REAL NEWS to report on??

            If YOU don’t like RFK, Jr, that’s fine. You don’t have to endorse or vote for him. As his hands are CLEAN compared with Biden and Trump, and his track record of public service is UN-questionable, he IS a MUCH more desirable candidate who may actually be our last hope to turn things around.

            Chris Flash

  6. Tal Tarcov Tal Tarcov October 13, 2023

    I’m not crazy about Mr. Capsis’s political endorsement & I usually don’t agree with him on anything — but, as the comment above states, there should indeed be room for his “unique” views in the West Village.

  7. Suzan Mazur Suzan Mazur October 13, 2023

    With Lincoln Anderson at its helm, The Village Sun continues to be a superb paper publishing in the true classical “form” of good, scrappy, effective journalism serving the community and beyond. WestView News editor/publisher George Capsis has a unique perspective and likes to shake thinks up with his paper’s coverage of the West Village, which I very much admire. Village View is way too safe in its reporting.

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