People in the community have now had a little bit of time to process yesterday’s conviction of Sheldon Silver on federal corruption charges. Here are some of the comments we’ve gathered in the past 24 hours from local politicos.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron:
From the facts in the trial to the fact that our community has joined the growing list that has lost a representative to criminal conviction, this must be another urgent call to change how Albany works — closing the LLC loophole, campaign finance reform, and more. It’s certainly somber for many in Lower Manhattan, where he was a stalwart on issues like rebuilding after 9/11 and school overcrowding, and across the state, where there is no joy in again being reminded just how broken our state government is.
City Council member Margaret Chin:
As an elected official who proudly represents some of the same people who repeatedly put their faith in one man to further their best interests in Albany, I have been troubled by the steady stream of revelations regarding Mr. Silver’s conduct. Today’s verdict by a jury of his peers confirms the worst of those allegations. By committing the crimes of which he now stands convicted, Mr. Silver betrayed the trust of voters who have the right to expect honesty, integrity, and ethics from their elected representatives.
John Quinn, Lower East Side Democrats:
We’ve lost a stabilizing force in our community. No matter what you might have thought about him, Shelly showed up. He was there when we needed him. The guy has done a lot of good things — from bringing new schools downtown to keeping senior centers open. It’s sad. I think we’re all in shock.
Virginia Kee, United Democratic Organization/Chinatown activist:
I feel very sad about it. Sheldon Silver has always been very helpful to our community. I think political leaders should be accessible and Sheldon Silver was always accessible to us. Whether it was improving the Grand Street subway or helping to fund our senior lunch program, he did a lot. I don’t know about the case, about the trial and the accusations. But I think he should not just be judged (on the details of the case) but also on the good that he did over many years.
And finally, Sean Sweeney of Downtown Independent Democrats (DID), noted that the citywide and statewide press are having a field day denouncing Silver. While pointing out that Silver was never particularly supportive of DID candidates, Sweeney said he always found him to be courteous and respectful. Silver, he added, was not someone you wanted to cross and could be ruthless. But, Sweeney concluded, it’s undeniable that he did good things for Lower Manhattan.