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Deborah Glick, in reelection bid, touts her ‘strong record of progressive action’

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | With just days to go until the start of early voting, Assemblymember Deborah Glick is counting on her record as an Albany veteran to give her the edge in a rare primary challenge.

She faces Ryder Kessler in the Democratic primary election scheduled for Tues., June 28. (Early voting starts June 18 and runs through June 26.) Kessler is a bright and articulate opponent but the election will ultimately boil down to whose positions on the issues best represent and connect with the West Side district’s voters. The 66th District includes Greenwich Village, Hudson Square, Tribeca, Soho and Noho.

A trailblazer as the first openly gay member elected to the New York State Legislature, Glick has represented the district for 31 years. Kessler is also openly gay.

“I have a strong record of progressive action,” Glick told The Village Sun in a recent phone interview. “I have a record of getting things done. The Assembly has been the place where, for the last 10 years, we put forward a very strong progressive agenda. And we’re very happy that the [state] Senate become Democratically controlled, so that many of the bills that we had pushed for years were able to be passed and become law.”

Kessler, a first-time candidate, previously claimed to The Village Sun that the state Senate, not the Assembly, is now the more progressive wing of the state Legislature, while things now get bogged down in the Assembly.

However, Glick, the Albany veteran, shrugged off that charge by explaining of the Assembly, “Because we have internal discussions and there are more of us, it sometimes takes longer.”

She’s the chairperson of the Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education, as which she has fought to make colleges more accessible and affordable.

In general, among the chief issues Glick has worked and advocated on over the years is reproductive health and fighting against rollbacks of access to women’s healthcare. Thanks to Glick, among others, Roe v. Wade has been codified in New York State.

“So, regardless of what the Supreme Court might decide, New York is on strong footing, and I’m proud of that,” she said.

While Kessler is an unabashed bike-lane and busway proponent, Glick touts her own credentials on pedestrian and cycling safety.

“I’ve been the leader on red-light cameras, speed cameras,” she stated. “I support bus-lane cameras.”

As for the new 14th Street busway that has, without a doubt, sped up bus trips along the crosstown thoroughfare — with the side effect of creating a surreally quiet street in the heart of Downtown Manhattan — Glick said, in general, she supports the idea, but that major traffic changes like this must be “reviewed carefully.”

“I think that it has worked well,” she said of the busway. “But every time that you change traffic patterns, it does have other impacts. For people who can’t use subway steps, the bus is more advantageous for them. Buses are very important. So I’m supportive of that and I’m supportive of bus-lane cameras.” But, she added, “All transportation has to be reviewed carefully.”

On housing, the differences between Glick and Kessler are particularly stark. Kessler is endorsed by Open New York, a pro-real estate group whose credo is “housing abundance” as a way to create a measure of affordable housing amid a boom of market-rate construction. In other words, to sum up the group’s philosophy: “Build, baby, build!” Glick has not been endorsed by Open New York nor does she seeks the group’s support.

Similarly, Glick strongly opposed Mayor de Blasio’s contentious Soho/Noho rezoning, aligning her with most of the targeted area’s residents. Kessler, on the other hand, supported the rezoning, bucking Community Board 2, of which he is a member, which, like local residents, overwhelmingly opposed the scheme.

“There’s no question Open New York has a very real estate-friendly perspective,” Glick said. “And there are many programs, many rezonings, and we’ve seen more displacement than affordable housing [from those rezonings and programs]. So I don’t think that’s an effective approach. And I don’t think you can jeopardize lower- and middle-class people that are currently living in an area. I think it’s a false narrative that they’re proposing. And I think that the people who live in Soho, who have made their home there for 30 years, should not be sacrificed for a plan that might result in affordable housing.”

In short, Glick said that, in terms of affordable housing creation, she supports “reality rather than theory” — as in, plans that actually guarantee the creation of affordable units, as opposed to speculative schemes, which is how she would describe the Soho/Noho rezoning.

In that vein, she mentioned the St. John’s Terminal site at Houston Street and Washington Street. The southern half of the former High Line railroad terminal, under an agreement hashed out in the City Council, was expected to include a signficant amount of affordable housing, but will now be a new Google office campus, slated to open mid next year.

“People said, ‘We will accept large, luxury housing in order to get affordable housing,'” Glick said of the various housing schemes and rezonings. “That’s always what’s promised to communities. And communities have not seen the affordable housing that’s been promised — which is why there have been objections to zoning all over the city. It’s not just in our part of town.”

Meanwhile, Glick has been endorsed by leading tenants group TenantsPAC and received praise from other prominnent tenant activists.

Joyce Ravitz, the chairperson of the East Village’s Cooper Square Committee, said, “Deborah helps to fund programs for real affordable housing.”

Hank Dombrowski, a member of Cooper Square Committee’s Steering Committee, said the experienced politician’s effectiveness is partly due to her already knowing the issues through and through.

“I’ve lived in the 66th District for a long time and have had my share of bad landlords,” he said. “Deborah and her team are always eager to help and address the root cause of the problem. Most elected officials come into a community and ask, ‘What are the issues?’ So it’s rare and refreshing that Deborah tends to already know what’s happening and comes with solutions.”

Glick also strongly diverges with Kessler on Open Restaurants — the city’s pandemic-emergency outdoor dining program — which is still going strong despite opposition from the majority of the city’s community boards. There are 12,000 of the road sheds across the city, with Downtown Manhattan neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, the East Village and Lower East Side especially heavily inundated by them.

“I think there are negative ramifications that are not being discussed,” the assemblymember said of the COVID-driven dining program. “I think it puts every business that only needs indoor business at a competitive disadvantage. And nobody who supports Open Restaurants talks about the fact that the use of that outdoor space [for dining and/or drinks] can only be paid for by people that can afford it. Government has to think about balance.”

On the issue of the waterfront, over her years in office, Glick has also kept careful watch on the extent of commercial development in Hudson River Park, which was intended to be financially self-sustaining “to the extent practicable.” Construction of the 4-mile-long park started around 2000.

“I feel very proud that the park has been built,” she said. “I’m disppointed that we haven’t come up with a better plan for Pier 40. But by all measure, what we need is open space not commercial development. And I think that there is enough development adjacent to the park. If someone is upset that I blocked housing in the park — fine.”

The Hudson River Park Act of 1998 forbids residential housing in the park, though there have been efforts in the past to modify the founding legislation to allow it. Even the Downtown youth leagues — Greenwich Village Little League and Downtown United Soccer Club — at one point proposed building twin residential towers at the foot of Pier 40, at W. Houston Street, to fund repairs for the aging pier, plus provide a revenue stream for the larger park. Glick stood firmly against the plan.

Glick said she agreed with former Governor Cuomo when, at the end of 2019, he vetoed the latest development plan for Pier 40. The legislation Cuomo canned would have allowed up to 800,000 square feet of office space on the massive pier, allowing structures as high as 88 feet.

In addition, Glick is very concerned about climate change and thinks this global condition must be factored more into the Hudson River Park Trust’s planning whenever the state-city authority considers redeveloping its piers.

“We should all be rather concerned about building along the waterfront at this point,” she warned.

Bail reform, on the other hand, is one issue on which she and Kessler are on the same page: They both oppose any rollback of the contentious policy that many charge has increased crime and reduced safety in New York City.

“I think everybody is very concerned about instances that seem not just dangerous but scary,” Glick said. “And New York’s recovery is dependent on people feeling that their streets are safe. On the other hand, there is no evidence that bail reform has made cities anywhere — all cities — less safe. The New York Post, which is not the most liberal of bastions, indicated that only 4 percent of those who had been released on bail reform reoffend. Bail is meant that you return to trail. It is not meant to be pretrial detention, unless the crime is severe enough.

“In some of these instances, it’s ‘Why didn’t the judge ask for a psych evaluation?'” she noted of reoffenders. “I’m in favor of more services for people with mental health issues where jail is not the place for them. But a major rollback of bail reform just to have a rollback of bail reform, I don’t support.”

Glick backs congestion pricing for Manhattan south of 60th Street — though with a few specific “carve-outs.”

“I support congestion pricing both as a way to encourage the use of more eco-friendly modes of transportation and also as a mechanism to increase funding for our public transit system,” she said. “Though I think it is appropriate that the M.T.A. is considering exemptions for low-income residents living in the congestion zone. Also, my office has worked consistently with God’s Love We Deliver, which supplies food and nutrition to aid terminally and seriously ill New Yorkers in Downtown Manhattan, and as it stands would not be granted an exemption. In my opinion, this organization provides assistance as vital to the community as emergency services and should not have to pay the congestion fee during their deliveries.”

In March, former mayoral candidate Maya Wiley, left, gave her enthusiatic support to Deborah Glick in her reelection campaign as Congresmember Carolyn Maloney, right, and Village Independent Democrats club members cheered. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Of the two candidates in the Democratic primary Glick clearly has the lion’s share of political support. She is backed by various local political clubs, including Village Independent Democrats, Downtown Independent Democrats and Stonewall Democratic Club, seven labor unions, including the United Federation of Teachers, DC 37 and 1199 SEIU, and 10 elected officials, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressmembers Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, state Senator Brad Hoylman and Councilmembers Erik Bottcher and Chris Marte. Additionally, she is supported by former mayoral candidate Maya Wiley, Downtown Women for Change, the National Association of Social Workers and the New York League of Conservation Voters.

She knocked her newcomer rival as a candidate “with no record.”

On the other hand, Glick said the community sees her as “someone they know, that they have access to, and they know the kind of commitment and dedication I have with which I perform the job.”

In summing up, she said, “I’m passionate about public service. I know I have served the community well. And I want to continue to serve that community as I have in the past.”

25 Comments

  1. Patrick Shields Patrick Shields June 16, 2022

    Any new officeholder is to some degree someone “with no record.” This charge is the privilege of a career politician who has no more history in the actual real-world job sector than Kessler does. And then uses that fact to condescendingly dismiss him. Typical.

    Her support and lack of genuine speaking truth to power regarding Silver and Cuomo is everything a district in desperate need of new ideas needs to know. She tolerated corruption in her own party. The idea that she had no indication of what was happening is nonsense. After that long in office, she has no sense of what’s going down? Please. If that is the case, she should have been recalled for lack of ability. She’s part of that team, and therefore part of the problem.

    Term limits, with some allowance (three terms?) for institutional memory, should have been enacted a long time ago. Lifetime officeholding always leads to corruption.

    The 66th District continues to vote for mediocrity and the status quo. Anyone in that seat should be expected to do the important social and equality work of the progressive left. It’s the nuts and bolts of leading the way into the future. And actually increasing housing and saving small business or getting any money at all for Pier 40 or the Hudson River Park she has failed at.

    She voted against the Hudson River Park’s creation but had every responsibility to find funding when it became obvious the dream of a publicly funded park was dead. Her district, her responsibility.

    It’s long past time for political change Downtown. But I’m not expecting much. No district in the city is more afraid of, or more resistant, to change. Just watch the defensive responses pile up.

    It’s a different district today. Trading on the ’60s heroics has long gotten in the way of meaningful and creative advancement.

    And don’t get those of us who oppose her reelection started on the merits of the volume of her animal legislation. It is not the first or most pressing priority for a damaged and desperate district.

    It is where she should look for her inevitable post-elected office lobbying job.

    • Je Je June 17, 2022

      Patrick,
      With all due respect, Hudson River Park has turned out to be an ever-growing public amenity for the benefit of nearby luxury housing and affluent residents.
      Yes a “nonprofit” — and thus benefits from taxpayers. Plus, City and State contribute millions.

      Truly unbelievable to see all the expansion and more and more upscale amenities — the carousel, the “needed” new science playground, the luxury landscaping, etc., while low-income areas and underserved areas in the boroughs have nothing.

      • Patrick Shields Patrick Shields June 17, 2022

        Are you suggesting only luxe locals use this park?

        One’s nearly getting run down by a high-speed motorized or delivery vehicle, or domineering corporate race team type proves otherwise.

        And that NYC has contributed millions to the park? Or state, for that matter. How much, and when, above and beyond the strings attached pittances we know of?

        Who would argue that there is parks funding injustice in NYC?

        Manhattan is a borough. Not the sun around which all the lesser “boroughs” orbit.

        • Patrick Shields Patrick Shields June 17, 2022

          And I appreciate your (hopefully, I return mutually) respectful response. Hope that last bit made clear that I have always found the historically easy-to-say phrase “the boroughs”
          sometimes Manhattan-elitist and sometimes white-centric.
          Never personal for me with someone I can’t lay claim to having met. No personal judgement, always the danger in social-media engaging.

  2. redbike redbike June 16, 2022

    My enthusiasm for Assemblymember Deborah Glick is no more than lukewarm but she’ll get my vote because she’s shown herself to be a *legislator* … and that’s what the job is. In NY State’s Assembly, she was key behind the legislation expanding camera-based speed enforcement to 24 / 7 / 365. Is this “progressive”? I don’t know … or care. There’s lots of ways to achieve safer streets; reducing unenforced speeding is high on my list. And Assemblymember Glick helped do that.

  3. LES3025 LES3025 June 17, 2022

    Glick’s record on housing basically speaks for itself. She’s been in the Assembly since 1991. Over that time the city has gotten less and less affordable every year, yet she continues to push for basically the status quo. Clearly her ideas aren’t working.

    • Je Je June 17, 2022

      LES3025,

      It is one thing to not favor Deborah Glick in this race — but entirely another thing (and, as you know, completely unfair and incorrect) to blame her for the City being unaffordable. Wow.

      As I am sure you know, “knowledge” cities all over — SF, Seattle, London, etc — are not affordable.

      In NYC there are multiple reasons for where things are, not limited to: big millennial demographic cohort; technology that has transformed life, as well as making it possible for some young people to make a lot of money; global wealth; Airbnb and pied-a-terre; rezoning and policy decisions by Bloomberg and de Blasio; REBNY runs NYC; and other factors.

      • LES3025 LES3025 June 17, 2022

        It’s obviously not her fault alone that the city is unaffordable. It’s a massive decades-long policy failure and there’s a lot of blame to go around.

        But the reason is pretty clear. There’s a massive housing shortage, which means the monied millennial cohort returning to the city, like you mention, can bid up the cost of the limited supply and displace lower-income people. Large global cities that have built more housing, like Tokyo or Houston, don’t have our problem (not to say they don’t have their own), whereas cities that have taken the same path as us, like Seattle and San Francisco, do.

        Deborah Glick has watched this happen for 30 years and still opposes even modest attempts to build more housing in wealthy neighborhoods, like the SoHo rezoning. She’s not someone with the kind of ideas that are going to solve this problem.

  4. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg June 17, 2022

    Glick’s office wouldn’t even respond to my pleas for help during my last lengthy Verizon outage. She obviously cares jack about her constituents. I’m giving Ryder Kessler a chance. Adios, Deb.

    • Patrick Shields Patrick Shields June 17, 2022

      Nor did she reply when I reached out in 2011 and again in 2012 for help with the Mike Quashie Surrogate Court senior-assets theft case, nor when we tried from 2012 forward to rename Bedford Triangle to Engine 24/Ladder 5 Park. Zip. No response. All because I criticized her for not supporting a plan for a pro soccer stadium on Pier 40 as a potential solution for the pier and Hudson River Park.

      Her surrogate on the community board called naming a park after 16 deceased, heroic firefighters a “slippery slope.”

      That firehouse remains unhonored to this day.

      #Engine24Ladder5

        • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | June 17, 2022

          He was the Limbo King and a buddy of Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix would crash at his place in the Village. Patrick was a friend of Quashie.

  5. savenycjobs savenycjobs June 17, 2022

    Walk down any business block in her district at anytime since she has been in office and see the empty stores and try to remember all the businesses that were once there. You will not find one single statement from her ever saying, “Something should be done to stop the closings of our long-established businesses.” On the other hand, how can any opponent run to represent a community and not once even mention the local economy has faced a crisis for over a decade? It will make no difference who wins. They both would serve the same masters: the party machine and lobbies.

  6. I am a strong supporter of Deborah Glick and hope she continues to serve our community for many more years.Marguerite martin I am a strong supporter of Deborah Glick and hope she continues to serve our community for many more years.Marguerite martin June 17, 2022

    I am a strong supporter of Deborah Glick and hope she continues to serve our community for many more years.

  7. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz June 17, 2022

    Seems to me that term limits should apply for the NYS Assembly where Glick has served for 31 years.

    • redbike redbike June 17, 2022

      We already have term limits, which I wholeheartedly support. We call them … elections.

  8. msl msl June 17, 2022

    I don’t necessarily agree with Deborah Glick on everything but have found her to be a diligent and helpful elected official and I definitely support her reelection.

    On a related matter, I would add that it is depressing to see some nasty attacks on Glick by some supporters of Ryder Kessler.

    Thinking about many critical issues facing this country, such as voting rights, abortion access and others, I am sure that both Kessler and Glick share the same outlook.

    So very scary to see RK supporters attack DG….

    • LES3025 LES3025 June 17, 2022

      What kinds of nasty attacks have you seen? I’m curious to see them.

  9. Patrick Shields Patrick Shields June 18, 2022

    Many of us used to strongly support this ideal, but watching money, gerrymandering and incumbents using the power of that incumbency to assure their reelection has turned us.

    This egregious self-protective and self-dealing ducking, and all the horrible culture it has entrenched in Albany, demands term limits.

    No one should assume those of us supporting a change support or even know her challenger. We factor in two things, her record on urgent district matters and the entrenched and ongoing culture of corruption in Albany.

    With all due respect to the good intentions and hard work of the assemblymembers in the 66th and 75th Districts, thirty, forty, fifty years in this office is madness. Not openly and forcefully condemning corruption should have been enough for what has become a Downtown which accepts the status quo and shrugs at corruption. The “well, they did good things” excuse is political self-preservation and cowardice. And proof of a tired and apathetic local electorate.

    Did we learn anything from Bloomberg manufacturing and manipulating his way into an additional term? Downtown says yes, but continues to reward silence when Albany needs anti-corruption warriors.

  10. Patrick Shields Patrick Shields June 19, 2022

    Hey there.

    Friend, yes, but in legal capacity his healthcare proxy from 2011 until 2016, and then guardian from that point forward when he became in need of one, until his death.

    Issue was and is that the West 10th Street “eldercare advocate,” actually a lifelong recipient of public subsidy I succeeded as his proxy and POA, was stealing from him. Then through her attempts to have him declared incompetent when he wasn’t (physically or legally) enabling the Bronx Supreme Court and is various “appointees” to bleed him of 100% of his cash assets by getting a “special property guardian” appointed.

    (Mr. Quashie was a 40-plus-year Village resident who she moved to the Bronx for care, against his wishes)

    The issue, ultimately, is the legality of the type of layperson legal action this individual took to try and have Mr. Quashie declared incompetent in opposition to his clearly stated wishes.

    The Bronx court appointees, and the judicial fundraising and patronage leading to this organized theft was well covered by the Riverdale Press and Shant Shanrigan and graduate school journalists.

    It is in every way something only Albany can stop, but the flow of mutual back-8scratching and campaign funding has caused a corrupt Albany and every party entity below to completely ignore.

    One of the many reasons, both performance and institutionally, I believe the time for term limits is long past. Add that to being ignored by Glick on this most pressing matter because I criticized her Pier 40 failures and lies. Being able to compartmentalize seems a necessary tool not in her shed. Time for the next generation to have a go at it. Pier 40, of course, still remains unresolved, something the assemblymember never talks about except when to show up for Little League opening days.

    Our case for the return of Mr. Quashie’s property on behalf of his brother, his beneficiary, is again developing now that the courts are open. Question has been the appropriate venue. Stay tuned. Items include a guitar Jimmy Page donated to Mike for a health fundraiser, his entire collection of rare vinyl, and a trophy Mr. Quashie owned which had been given to Jimi Hendrix by the Salvation Nightclub. The individual who stole this from Mr. Quashie claims to have sold it to Tish and Snooky Bellomo of Manic Panic, while producing no bill of sale, receipts or proof of deposit to Mr. Quashie’s account for the court. And with differing accounts of the sale, all in court under oath.

    As per assistance regarding the court on these matters, and possible legislation to prevent such abuse in the future, we were ignored by the offices of Glick, Silver, Cuomo, as well as both Cuomo and Schneiderman as Attorneys General. Chris Quinn’s office was helpful for a brief time until she announced her mayoral run.

  11. Seth Seth June 20, 2022

    I have lived in the Village for 39 years, and Deborah Glick is one of the few commonsense public servants that we have. Unlike many other Downtown representatives over the years, her positions always seem to align with mine on almost every issue. She makes it her business to get involved in local issues that matter to the people who live here, whether restaurant sheds, Dept. of Transportation issues, or zoning. She deserves to be reelected. I question some of Mr. Kessler’s positions, but the main thing I question is why he would challenge Deborah Glick.

  12. JF Hyer JF Hyer June 20, 2022

    Why did WFP endorse Kessler? The study Village Preservation released points out the flaws in the Soho/Noho rezoning plan. Flaws that seem to expose the fair-housing intention as a smokescreen. So what do they like about him? Really looking for help on this as I have always voted on the WFP line and this guy seems like a REBNY supporter.
    Thanks for the insights.

    • LES3025 LES3025 June 20, 2022

      I can’t speak to why WFP endorsed Kessler, but I can say that the Village Preservation claims about the SoHo/NoHo are misleading and dishonest. Happy to provide examples if you’re interested.

      More broadly, the “progressive” consensus is increasingly and rapidly shifting toward favoring producing more housing. That includes both subsidized housing and market rate. For example, AOC conditioned her endorsements on support for increasing zoning even in situations where the local politicians oppose it (https://twitter.com/jccoltin/status/1481347940035743747).

      I’m not saying this to try to convince you that this view is correct on the merits. I believe it is and am happy to discuss it if you’re interested. My point is that progressive-leaning groups like WFP increasingly see the platform Kessler is running on as being aligned with their goal of helping make housing more affordable rather than as being a handout to real estate interests. So their endorsement seems to be consistent with that view.

      • JE JE June 21, 2022

        While I assume Ryder Kessler is sincere about his beliefs, it seems beyond unfair for him to suggest that Deborah Glick represents rich people as Ryder Kessler himself is not poor. (Family had second home on Shelter Island, parent was in real estate, private school, etc).
        Also Kessler has the support of some very rich people, like celebrity Andy Cohen, some big-name restaurant folks, some real estate and others.

    • WFP? WTF!!! WFP? WTF!!! June 24, 2022

      Follow the Money.
      The WFP often has an arrangement that their endorsement translates into the candidate using WFP’s field operation, which brings tens of thousands into WFP’s coffers.

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