Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of Sept. 6, 2018

Possible council contenders: We’re already hearing some names who might be interested in running for City Council in District 3 in a few years. Corey Johnson will be term-limited at the end of 2021. District Leader Arthur Schwartz said he’s among them. He’s a little concerned about his health, especially after having a heart scare a couple of years ago when he campaigned against Assemblymember Deborah Glick. “Three years is far away, but I will probably file a committee soon,” Schwartz told us. “I’ll wait until after November elections.” Schwartz said he assumes Terri Cude would seek the Village / Chelsea seat, as would Erik Coler, current president of the Village Independent Democrats club. However, Cude told us, “At this time, I am 100 percent focused on serving the community in my current roles as chairperson of Community Board No. 2, and female Democratic district leader in the 66th Assembly District, Part B.” As for Coler, he told us, “I’ve heard people tell me Arthur says that. I’m not sure why, though, considering we don’t even live in the same City Council district.” It sounds like Coler may live in District 1, which is currently represented by Margaret Chin and also includes part of the Village. Another name, of course, is Erik Bottcher, Johnson’s affable and capable chief of staff. Bottcher didn’t respond when we asked him if he’s interested in succeeding his boss. Schwartz suspects Coler might even try to challenge him for district leader, noting that the upcoming young politico is ambitious and well-funded.

Will snub hearing: The word now is that the City Council’s Small Business Committee plans to hold its hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act in late October or early November. Meanwhile, members of the Small Business Congress — a group of leading advocates who have been pushing for the S.B.J.S.A.’s passage for years — are actually planning to boycott the long-sought hearing because they are certain the “fix is in” to water down the legislation. The S.B.C. wants Speaker Johnson to have the Council’s legal department issue a statement beforehand, once and for all, on whether it thinks the bill passes muster or not. However, we’re told, in so many words, “That just isn’t how it’s done.” Regardless, everyone knows that, were the full City Council to approve the bill, there’s no question the Real Estate Board of New York would immediately sue. Some say that it would partly be through the court process that any legal issues with the bill would actually eventually get resolved. At any rate, for now, the S.B.C. does intend to shun the hearing. “That’s their plan — if the legal issue is not resolved prior to the hearing!” reported Villager contributor Sharon Woolums, who writes about the S.B.J.S.A. issue. “I may go to explain their rationale, for the record — will decide when the time comes.” Or, as the group put it, “The S.B.C. will not participate in any way addressing any bogus claims against the S.B.J.S.A. We will only respond to any recommended amendments to the bill made by the speaker’s legal counsel. They are rigging things and plan to change the bill. Just resolve the legal issues and there will be no problem.” The S.B.J.S.A. would give all commercial tenants — yes, all…from ground-floor bodegas up to huge financial firms on the 50th floor — a chance to renew their leases for 10 years, by means of mediation and, if necessary, binding arbitration, with their landlords. The rent would have to be at least market rate.

Superfast shutdown: The Noho Gristedes supermarket, at Mercer and W. Third Sts., across from Washington Square Village, suddenly closed without notice and “zero fanfare,” we’re told, around last Thursday. “There has been a market on that corner for as long as 50 years. Previously, it was Sloan’s,” a Villager reader told us, requesting anonymity. “Gristedes customer service gave only nebulous responses about the reasons for the shutdown and possible resuscitation.” It’s not clear what might be coming into that empty space now. As for where locals will shop, there’s always the Morton Williams supermarket, just one long superblock away, at LaGuardia Place and Bleecker St. … Meanwhile, as for the former Associated supermarket space on W. 14th St. near Eighth Ave., last time we checked it was something called SLT, where folks can do “strengthening and lengthening” exercises on things that look like racks. But you need affordable food or you can’t strengthen and lengthen!

Clothing store closing: In another retail ending, a bit sadder one, Star Struck, the longtime vintage clothing shop on Greenwich Ave., shuttered on Fri. Aug. 31. After a 38-year run at the spot, the owners said they are looking forward to kicking back and just enjoying life a bit more now. “We will be forever grateful to all of our customers, for you have shown us the true meaning of loyalty,” they wrote on Facebook. “Many of you have become part of our family over the years; and although we will miss you all very much, we are looking forward to retirement.”

Close, but nope: Penny Mintz will not be on the primary ballot for Democratic state committee woman versus incumbent Rachel Lavine on Sept. 13. Arthur Schwartz, who is also an attorney, represented her in her case that went to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, but they lost 5 to 2. “Great dissent,” Schwartz noted of the two justices who felt she should be allowed to run. Basically, Mintz’s campaign was canned on a technicality because she failed to note anywhere on her ballot petitions that she was running for “female” state committeeperson. There is also a Village male Democratic state committee person.

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