By Carol Tannenhauser
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has filed papers to run for her old City Council seat on the Upper West Side, preparing for what would be her fourth term. The field of candidates for the District 6 seat (now held by Helen Rosenthal) is already crowded, with five other people having filed to run. But Brewer will immediately be a front-runner given her long service in the community.
Brewer, 69, has been living on the Upper West Side and working in city government for more than four decades. She served as the Upper West Side’s City Council member from 2002 through 2013. Known for a tireless work ethic, she regularly attends multiple meetings every night. As a council member, she was a consistent liberal voice in favor of things like rent regulation, and fought for rules that limited the size of storefronts on the Upper West Side — an attempt to reduce the spread of chain stores. Still, the neighborhood became increasingly unaffordable throughout her tenure.
We got a brief word with her on the phone on Saturday.
”Are you running, Gale?”
”I am,” she said. “Slowly, because I have a lot of Borough President things to do,” she added, “but I filed with the CFB (Campaign Finance Board). There’s no announcement yet, but I filed.”
Brewer has previously said that she thinks the council needs experienced people to run because there will be a lot of turnover next year. “The Council is an important body and, while I have no idea who is going to be mayor, I think it needs to be strong in terms of its knowledge,” she told Politico last year, before she had made up her mind.
Sara Lind, a member of Community Board 7 who is also running for the seat, told us that “new progressive leadership” is important.
“I have great respect for Gale, her decades of public service and her dedication to Manhattan and the UWS,” Lind wrote. “It’s critical that New York build a bench of new progressive leadership to address the realities at this moment in time and lead our city into the future. I’m ready to be part of that movement.”
Brewer opposed Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to run for a third term even after voters had approved a referendum limiting city officeholders to two terms. But she herself ended up running for a third term in the council. She won her race to become Manhattan’s 27th borough president in 2013 and easily won reelection in 2017.