It’s Time to End Sheldon Silver’s Reign of Shame, Part I [OP-ED]
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Photo: Arlene Schulman
He stalled development for nearly half a century in exchange for locking down Grand Street votes and securing his position as an unchallenged political power broker. In addition, the latter enabled Silver to deliver Grand Street to fellow Democrats running for office both city- and statewide.
As Grand Street waned from the Jewish diaspora following the privatization and selling off of the co-ops, he cut backroom deals in Chinatown with AAFE, U.D.O, and Chinatown Chamber of Commerce (among other local groups) to gain a foothold in this vote-rich area. He curried favor with NYCHA voters in large part with showy displays of funding to residents and community programs serving youth and seniors, yet substantive improvements to NYCHA housing stock languished. The developments became ripe for predatory privatization by developers that would include those linked to Goldberg & Iryami, the law firm Silver received referral fees in the hundreds of thousands.
In heavily gerrymandered districts like the 65th Assembly District, pols like Silver were able to remain a powerhouse by choosing their voters instead of voters choosing them. Despite the corruption charges, Silver is banking on staunch support from Grand Street, Chinatown, and the NYCHA complexes, specifically, Laguardia Houses, Rutgers Houses, Hernandez Houses, Meltzer Towers and Smith House.
The bottom line here is that our democracy has been so critically wounded that we need to turn up the volume and come out in droves to the voting booth in September in support of incumbent District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar in her race with the Silver-compromised challenger, Gigi Li.
To Be Continued, Part II: Gigi Li’s CB3 Reign of Shame…