UPPER WEST SIDE — Five candidates are taking on Upper West Side Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal in this year’s heated District 6 election.
Rosenthal is running for a second term to represent her district, which covers the Upper West Side from West 54th to West 110th Street, including Central Park. Cary Goodman and Mel Wymore are challenging her in the Democratic primary on Sept. 12. The winner of the primary will face off against independent candidates Bill Raudenbush and David Owens, and Republican candidate Hyman Drusin in the general election on Nov. 7.
The candidates recently all gathered at a meeting with the West Side Spirit and will meet again at a forum at JCC Manhattan at 334 Amsterdam Avenue on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each candidate:
► Helen Rosenthal (Democrat)
As the incumbent, Rosenthal's campaign has drawn on her support of the “Stand for Tenant Safety” laws that were recently signed, increasing accessibility at public hearings for those with disabilities, and getting more high school kids to vote. Rosenthal was also the sole elected official to support the rezoning of three of the district's elementary schools.
“Over the past four years, I’ve kept the promises that I made to the voters in 2013,” Rosenthal, 57, said. “I use every tool in the toolbox and when there’s not another tool, we go to City Hall and change laws.”
The most pressing matter in the district, Rosenthal said, is the preservation of affordable housing, adding that 80 percent of the people who visit her district office are worried about being harassed out of their homes. Rosenthal said she’s also going to continue her work on trying to reform the red tape that has caused many small businesses to shutter, advocate for public school funding, and work to keep residents in their Upper West Side homes.
Rosenthal has raised $140,356 in private funds and received $95,095 in matching public funds, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
► Mel Wymore (Democrat)
Wymore, 55, would become the first transgender city councilmember if elected. Wymore faced off against Rosenthal in the 2013 Democratic primary and finished a close second. The challenger is the executive director for TransPAC, a political action committee for transgender rights, but also served on Community Board 7 for several years. As a CB7 member and two-term chair, the challenger boasts of his role in the negotiations for Riverside Center that yielded 600 units of affordable housing and the new Riverside School for Makers and Artists.
Wymore said he would focus on keeping seniors and low-income families in their homes, addressing the empty storefronts in the district, and be a more responsive councilmember.
“We need a councilmember that reflects the progressive values and activist qualities of the Upper West Side,” Wymore said. “This is a community that wants someone to make a difference and I’m that person.”
Wymore raised $85,306 in private funds and received $95,095 in matching public funds, according to the CFB.
► Cary Goodman (Democrat)
Cary Goodman, 66, has lived in the Upper West Side for 43 years and works as the executive director for The Bronx’s 161st Street Business Improvement District. His early community advocacy involved creating afterschool programs and senior health initiatives, but more notably protecting parks. In recent years, Goodman has been a vocal opponent of the American Museum of Natural History’s Gilder Center expansion plans.
When asked what the most important issue in the district was, Goodman said, “No question the attack on Teddy Roosevelt Park, which represents an assault on what I consider the glue of our democracy, our parks.”
Goodman has raised $12,098 in private funds and received $34,895 in matching public funds, according to the CFB.
► Bill Raudenbush (Independent)
Raudenbush, 39, moved to the Upper West Side three years ago from Denver, Colorado. After getting involved with Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park against the Gilder Center and the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development regarding 200 Amsterdam Ave., Raudenbush wanted to further his pursuits of bettering the Upper West Side’s quality of life.
The main issue Raudenbush wants to tackle as councilmember is the real estate lobby’s grasp on the neighborhood and the burden they place on subways, public schools, and city infrastructure, he said.
“I see no suitable candidates who have the clear and strong voice to go after the strong reforms that we so desperately need to save our quality of life,” Raudenbush said when asked why he chose to run.
Raudenbush has raised $1,505 in private funds, according to the CFB.
► David Owens (Independent)
Owens, 49, has been an Upper West Sider for 46 years. He moved from real estate to founding and directing the New York Grays baseball club, an independent youth baseball organization. Owens says this first foray into politics was sparked after the 2016 presidential election left him with a desire to contribute to his community.
Owens said he wants to maintain the affordable housing stock through converting old, unused properties and incentivizing developers coming into the neighborhood with affordable housing allocations.
Owens raised $850 in private funds, according to the CFB.
► Hyman Drusin (Republican)
Drusin, 70, has lived in the neighborhood for 48 years. A retired computer programmer, Drusin said he decided to run for the District 6 seat after being approached by the Manhattan Republican Party
The Republican candidate is on the executive board of the West Side Republican Club and a member of the West Side Community Garden, where he has a plot of tomatoes.
Drusin acknowledged that the district was majority Democratic, but said if elected, he wanted to address three specific issues in education: bolstering charter schools, vouchers and tax credits for private or religious schools, and cracking down on “those who called themselves anti-Zionist who are terrorizing Jewish students,” at public and private colleges.
Drusin had not filed with the CFB as of its Sept. 1 deadline, but could still appear on the ballot in November if he meets other required deadlines.