The Obstructionist : Sheldon Silver in NY Mag
Check out the best article I’ve ever seen by far on the enigmatic Speaker of the NY State Assembly, Sheldon Silver; one of the most powerful men in the state and one of the few to have every opposed Mayor Bloomberg’s pet initiatives – like building a stadium on the West side of Manhattan; or Joel Klein, in his attempt to put the Ross charter school into a NEST, a public school in Silver’s district.
Though the article is called “the obstructionist”, Silver has been a consistent supporter of more resources for NYC schools, and still sees getting funds for preK and class size reduction as one of his proudest accomplishments. He remains front and center in this year’s battle over school budget cuts, having used his muscle to make sure the state fulfilled their promise to fully fund our schools this year. His leadership will also be key in terms of the future of Mayoral control.
According to the article, he still lives with his wife in a one bedroom apartment in the Sidney Hillman houses, the modest projects on Grand St. in which he grew up, and drives his own car, without security or a chauffeur. He is a constant target of the editors of the NY Times. See excerpt below – but the whole article is well worth reading.
Silver took a beating in the press after the [congestion pricing] scheme died, though. Bloomberg said, “It takes a special kind of cowardice” for Silver to not have his members vote on the plan, a sentiment echoed by the Times’ editorial board, which declared that Silver, once again, “failed to put New Yorkers’ needs before his personal agenda. That makes him unworthy of his office.”
Silver says he is unfazed. “I have broad shoulders,” he says. “I have thick skin.” He thinks Bloomberg just can’t handle rejection. “I’m probably the only person in life who told him no that he didn’t take over, that he didn’t buy …” And the Times’ editorial board is stuck in “their ivory tower.” He’s had it with the Times. “I stopped meeting with their editorial board.”
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