All Politics Is Local... UPDATE

In what seemed a quick resolution, NYState Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was found guilty Monday on multiple charges of corruption. Surprising, because at least two jurors asked out after deliberations began. The judge denied their requests. It looked to be a hung jury after what might have been several weeks of deliberations. Didn't happen.

Why surprising? His constituents loved him, who presumably were not among the jurors (but who knows?). The very local downtown Manhattan daily newspaper, The Broadsheet, surveyed the reactions of residents, local politicians, officials, and do-gooders. They think he was great.

Not sure that Silver, a la Tammany, delivered turkies [turkeys!] and jobs, but he delivered.

A sample: "Pat Smith is a longtime Battery Park City resident who, as part of a committee representing condominium owners, worked closely with Mr. Silver in 2011 on negotiations that led to a 30-year, $280-million rollback of previously scheduled increases in ground rents for homeowners in the neighborhood. Mr. Smith reflected that, "the jury has spoken and we must accept the verdict. But we must remember Sheldon Silver, and the good he did, as well. In the ground rent negotiations, he sought no compensation or upside for himself. He did this because it was what his constituents needed. He also made important contributions to the recovery of Lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001. My mother always told me to say, 'thank you.' And all that Sheldon Silver ever asked of us was our thanks."  The whole story: "Tarnished Silver."

Is all News local? The Broadsheet cited in the Silver story follows up today with the rundown of possible replacements for Silver; their backgrounds; the rules that obtain for replacing Silver (the governor has some choices); and somewhat surreptiously the class issues that may be in play: Battery Park City v. Lower East Side. The Broadsheet only covers Lower Manhattan news, probably a population the size of most middle-sized U.S. cities.

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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