HELP US HELP YOU FIGURE OUT WHO TO VOTE FOR


A non-glamour shot of the candidates for the City Council seat now held by Gale Brewer. From left to right, Marc Landis, Noah Gotbaum, Debra Cooper, Tom Siracuse, Helen Rosenthal, Ken Biberaj, and Mel Wymore.

As we’ve said before, this is a very big year for city politics, and not just because of the perversions of  some of the candidates. When the dust is settled, we’ll have new city council members and borough presidents, and a new mayor, public advocate and comptroller. Upper West Siders have real political clout, which will dissipate when the politicians aren’t desperate for our votes. The primary election is on September 10 — less than 60 days away!

We need your help to help winnow the field. For the city council seat that represents much of the Upper West Side (96th street and South, along with some areas farther North), there are six Democratic candidates and one Green in the race (Any Republicans running? We haven’t heard of any yet, but we’ll check.) The candidates have similar opinions about issues from development to taxes to the environment, but it’s time to figure out how they differ so you can make a choice. Similarly, the 7th District (representing the Northern part of the District as well as Morningside Heights and other areas) has a very crowded field. Here are the district maps as of February 6, which we think is the final map.

We plan to send out questionairres to all of the candidates, and we already have a lot of questions in mind. But we’d like suggestions from our readers. So include them in the comments or send them to info@westsiderag.com by Tuesday at midnight. We should be sharing the candidates’ answers in a few weeks.

We’re also considering sending questionairres to the mayoral and borough president candidates. If anyone wants to help us get all of their emails, there’s a special prize in it for you, and the satisfaction of knowing you helped your community.

Lastly: please don’t use the comments to tell us which candidate you like, or why they all stink. That’s not what this post is for and we’ll probably just delete your comment.

NEWS | 20 comments | permalink
    1. Ricki Segall says:

      Do you support the existing bike lane on Columbus Avenue? Would you SUPPORT ELIMINATING IT OR EXPANDING IT OR LEAVING IT AS IS?

      (I will vote for the candidate that has the guts to want to eliminate it, if there is one, otherwise, I don’t see many differences between them.)

    2. There is an abundance of homeless shelters in the 90s on the
      Upper West side. John Liu, the current Comptroller, has refused to sign the latest contracts with the Aguila group for many legal reasons. There is no talk of closing these two on W 95th Street. How do the candidates feel and what actions can they tell us they will take?

    3. Cato says:

      Is there room on the Upper West Side for the middle class anymore?

      Or must it continue to become available only to bankers and their lawyers on the one hand, and the poor and homeless on the other?

      What would *you* do to help those of us who don’t drive SUVs, and who don’t have three kids in private schools, and whose families are willing to live in only one apartment (each), remain here?

      • Cato says:

        And so, before you give us your politician’s canned answers to those questions, would each of you please disclose the following about yourself so that the rest of us can know where you’re (really) coming from:

        1. What kind of car do you drive?
        2. How many kids do you have, and where do (or did) they go to school?
        3. What do you do for a living? What does your spouse do for a living?

    4. Scooter Stan says:

      Here is a topic to which they should respond – in detail…no glib sound-bites:

      “Today’s UWS is very different from the UWS of the 60s-80s…at least the ‘Lower-Upper West Side’ (LUWS??)- that portion between Columbus Circle and W. 79th – is, as any trip aboard an M104 bus from W. 60th to W.96th will demonstrate.

      SOME bemoan the change. OTHERS applaud it. Some like the idea of high-rises making their architectural statements and of pricey boutiques bringing a sort of Madison Avenue classiness to Columbus, Broadway, etc. (but this does not mean YOU, Duane Reade, Chase Bank, Bank of America, etc.)

      Others bemoan the loss of the mom-n-pop stores (although they still can be found above W. 79th)and the loss of that “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood/Jane Jacobs’s West Village” feel that they offer(ed).

      BUT NEW YORK HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT CHANGE. AND DEVELOPERS HAVE ALWAYS HAD THE RIGHT TO SEEK A RETURN ON THEIR INVESTMENT. AND MAYOR BLOOMBURG IS NOT THE FIRST MAYOR TO BE ACCUSED OF GIVING-ALL-AWAY TO REBNY.

      So…Dear Candidate – HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO THE ABOVE? WOULD YOU SEEK TO PRESERVE EVERYTHING AND END ANY DEVELOPMENT? WOULD YOU PERMIT LIMITED DEVELOPMENT? AND IF SO, HOW WOULD THAT BE ACCOMPLISHED? CB7? CITIZEN’S COMMITTEES? PUBLIC REFERENDI?

      IF FACT, WHAT IS YOUR VISION SO THAT THE UWS RETAINS ITS UNIQUE FLAVOR AND CHARACTER AND NEVER BECOMES AS FACELESS AS MIDTOWN-SOUTH?

    5. EL says:

      What would you do to insure that the City’s Department of Consumer Affairs protects consumers rather than big business?

    6. Ellen says:

      School District 3 currently has no district preference high schools, while School District 2 has something like 5. How would you help to assign a district preference high school to our district, or remove them from other districts, in order to make the high school admissions playing field more balanced?

    7. Anni says:

      Over the years, Gale Brewer, BP Stringer and others have said it would require a change in legislation to hold all developers responsible for having their projects contribute to & enhance local services, including buildings that are constructed ‘as of right’. What WILL you do to ensure that the builders of ALL new apartment buildings contribute to the construction of new schools seats (and the improvement of existing ones), to upgrading subway facilities to meet the ever-increasing local passenger load, etc?

    8. jan says:

      what are the three most important issues that motivate your candidacy, and what are the substantive differences betweeen your position and solutions and the other candidiates’?

    9. robert says:

      To the Editor and the public at large.

      You have done the community a disservice by leaving our major party candidates. You may not want to hear it but there is a Republican in the race for then in the 6th.
      He is Harry DeMell, win or lose you should have info on ALL candidates.

      Also you mention that the 6th is “96th street and south”, after redistricting it goes up to 106 street.

    10. robert says:

      To the Editor and the public at large.

      Updated: 109/110 Street, not 106 as I previously posted

      You have done the community a disservice by leaving our major party candidates. You may not want to hear it but there is a Republican in the race for then in the 6th.
      He is Harry DeMell, win or lose you should have info on ALL candidates.

      Also you mention that the 6th is “96th street and south”, after redistricting it goes up to 109/110 street.

    11. Dan Grayson says:

      One of the traits that characterizes, and adds vitality to, a neighborhood, is the variety of businesses present. Most long-term UWS residents bemoan the proliferation of banks, large pharmacies, (and, more recently, frozen dessert eateries) at the expense of other types of establishments. What ideas do you have and what steps would you take to improve the variety and scope of local businesses?

    12. Elena Fiegel Picinich says:

      1. What measurable things have you done for the Upper West Side?
      2. Do you now have or have you had real estate developers as your clients?

    13. rhubarbpie says:

      What will you do to press the city to protect pedestrians (and bicyclists) in our district? While the bike lanes are smart because they reduce the amount of space of autos, there appears to be almost no speeding enforcement. Cameras aren’t enough: What’s your plan?

    14. Cato says:

      How about:

      Do you read the West Side Rag religiously?

      How else can you claim to take the pulse of this community??

    15. Liz says:

      Question for city council candidates:

      There are a lot of new buildings under construction on the Upper West Side all along Broadway, Amsterdam, Columbus and the streets in the 60’s through the 100’s.

      However, very little of this construction includes low income or moderate income housing. In fact, a lot of low or moderate income housing has been lost in the past 10 years.

      If elected, what are your plans to insure that the Upper West Side does not become an area where only extremely wealthy people can live?

    16. Ken says:

      The mosquito problem continues to worsen in all portions of the UWS. Children need to be painted with repellant chemicals to play outside. Corrective action to date has not worked. What will you do to reverse this growing problem?

    17. Scooter Stan says:

      Re: the above “How about: Do you read the West Side Rag religiously?”

      From right to left ??

      And what about agnostics/atheists/etc. ?

      🙂

    18. Snowy says:

      The demolition/rebuild of PS 199/191 was a major discussion point that has since been resolved in the favor of those against the idea. How will you ensure this is OFF THE TABLE for the long term? What are your feelings in general about the education-related issues facing the neighborhood? What are your thoughts about lack of middle/high schools for the district?

      Additionally, what are your thoughts about development – and over development – in general? Several candidates have strong ties to developers – if you are one of these candidates how do you plan to reconcile this and ensure this does not become a conflict of interest for you?