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Rookie Candidate, Perennial Challenger Take on Kallos in UES Council Race

By Shaye Weaver | August 30, 2017 11:50am

UPPER EAST SIDE — A worker on Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign and a former candidate who challenged the City Council speaker are taking on incumbent Upper East Side Councilman Ben Kallos in this year's primary race.

Patrick Bobilin and Gwen Goodwin both hope that their advocacy on issues like affordable housing and equality can help them beat out Kallos, who has held the District 5 office covering Yorkville, Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Roosevelt Island, Sutton Place and East Harlem since 2013.

Both candidates will sit in on a small business forum at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the East 85th Street bar Ryan's Daughter to take questions from small business owners in the district. Kallos has been invited, but his camp said he would not be participating due to a prior engagement. 

Here's what you need to know about each candidate:

 Ben Kallos (Incumbent)

Credit: Facebook/Ben Kallos

The 36-year-old Upper East Side native has pushed for more universal pre-kindergarten seats,more frequent bus service, affordable housinga law requiring an attorney for tenants in housing court, and more open park space, among other issues.

If re-elected, he plans on continuing his work in those areas, according to his spokesman. 

'We've fought for and won Universal Pre-Kindergarten and more than 400 pre-kindergarten seats in the neighborhood, secured $150 million in public and private funding to rehabilitate and expand the East River Esplanade, cleaned up our streets with a new covered trash can on every corner, improved commutes by opening the Second Avenue Subway with Governor Cuomo, added off-board payment to the M79 and M86, won 79 new buses to replace every M15, secured ferry service that will start this summer on Roosevelt Island and next year on the Upper East Side, won two rent freezes for over one million rent-stabilized tenants and so much more," he said in a statement.

Kallos has raised roughly $188,126 for his campaign, according to the city's Campaign Finance Board.

Patrick Bobilin

Credit: Facebook/Patrick Bobilin

Bobilin, 34, is a former art and music teacher and software engineer from Chicago with roots on the Upper East Side. Since moving back to the neighborhood last year, he has worked as a political advocate and community organizer on issues ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement and reproductive rights to LGBT discrimination, his website says

His first time vying for public office, the former Bernie Sanders campaign worker​ is running on a Democratic Socialist-leaning platform.

If elected, Bobilin plans to take on developers and luxury condo owners to make sure they're stopped from pushing up the Area Median Income (AMI), while assuring affordable housing for all. He also wants health care for all, better police-community relations, and to help ensure cleaner air and water.

"Together we can direct this city toward our shared ideals where we're no longer relying on the 1 percent to be nice, but demanding that they are instead committed to justice, human rights and a world where our goal isn't a visual representation of diversity but a cultural and ideological example of inclusion," he said.

"As the first member of my family who could afford to live in Manhattan in a generation, I came back to a city administration that insists we should pleased with bare minimums, housing lotteries, tax write offs for developers in exchange for what lobbyists and elected officials consider affordable. We need to fight for true affordability. The affordability curve should not be bent by the great wealth of the 1 percent."

He's raised roughly $3,477 in campaign funds, records show.

Gwen Goodwin 

Credit: Facebook/Gwen Goodwin

Activist and community organizer Gwen Goodwin, 56, of East Harlem, unsuccessfully ran for the District 8 seat in 2005, 2009 and 2013, but has now set her sights on District 5 following a redistricting of the area three years ago.

In 1999, the East 100th Street resident created the Coalition to Save P.S. 109 from demolition and also helped landmark the building. Additionally, she rallied to get the gas turned back on at the Lexington Houses in 2013 after it had been turned off for two months and has fought against infill projects on public housing land.

In 2014, she made headlines after filing a lawsuit against her former District 8 opponent, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, claiming the speaker put a hex on her by helping get a large mural of a rooster painted on the side of Goodwin's apartment building. 

If elected, Goodwin will fight for tenant protections for seniors, the disabled and other special-needs residents, as well as citywide rent regulations and the preservation of historic buildings, according to her campaign site.

"In this 'Year of the Woman,' there is also an appeal in being the only female on the ballot," she said. "I believe that there is an increased popular frustration with political insiders who have done little or nothing with their offices. In contrast, I have accomplished many feats of public service, even without yet holding office. Churchill and Lincoln each lost five elections before winning the first."

She's raised about $995 for this year's campaign, records show.

The primary for the City Council District 5 seat is Tuesday, Sept. 12.