"This is the first time we've done this," said Chuck Perrin, manager of Dizzy's, a jazz club in East Village. The Seventh Avenue venue -- a converted trucking warehouse that was also the first stage space of the Fritz Theatre -- was a polling precinct on election day, November 2.
"Is this downtown's jazz scene performing a civic duty?" I asked. "How did your space become a precinct?"
"Oh, it wasn't me, I had nothing to do with it," Perrin said. "It was our landlord."
"That would be Fritz Ahern?"
"Yes. He thought it would be good for the area, to have it here. He's very involved with local politics."
In 1992 Ahern allowed a small group of actors and directors to use the space rent-free if the theater company was named after him; the troupe later moved to another property he owned on Third and J Street, and the warehouse was empty for a number of years; after that it was home to a coffee shop and a magazine, and now Dizzy's.
"So were there any problems? Voter harassment? Electronic machines that didn't work? Disenfranchisement?"
"I wasn't there," said Perrin. "Seems everything went okay."
Fritz Ahern owns quite a bit of property in East Village and the Gaslamp. One of his tenants, who requested anonymity, told me, "Fritz had some kind of agenda wanting that polling place there."
A Gaslamp resident said, "I was there [at Dizzy's] most of the day, and only 384 voters showed up and they were expecting 1000 plus. And they weren't allowed to play music!"