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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Gale A. Brewer, Dem 30,988 - 73 percent
David R. Herz, Rep 9,031 - 21 percent
Anna R. Lewis, Ind 1,877 - 4 percent
Gary Snyder, Lbt 631 - 1 percent
Gale A. Brewer 13,512
Anna R. Lewis 4,473
Michael E. Brown 1,648
Larry Sauer 1,641
Jason S. Haber 1,334
Ron Foley 488
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Ronnie M. Eldridge (can't
run in 2001)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
to Gale Brewer
to Michael Brown
to Ronald Foley
to Jason Haber
to David Herz
to Anna Lewis
to Larry Sauer
to Gary Snyder
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
6 candidates' statements on the issues, at Savvyvoter.org
Ever since Ronnie Eldridge was elected to represent the Upper
West Side in 1989, she has often taken the role of political maverick.
She has called Rudy Giuliani "maybe the most uncivil mayor New
York City has ever had." Of City Council Speaker Peter Vallone,
she has said, "he's the only one with power. The rest of the council
members lie at his feet or have his feet on their throats."
But some wonder if her outspokenness, especially towards Speaker
Vallone, may have hurt her district.
In a district with residents concerned about over-development
and a lack of affordable housing, Eldridge admitted, "I've been
trying to get a major chairmanship for years now," particularly
on the Land Use committee. To some political observers, her
criticism of the city council may have cost her political
With a new council speaker slated for next term and 35 new council
members, the candidates hope that there will be a new openness
in the body, and thus not as much reason to criticize it -- and
when there is a reason to criticize it, that the critics will
no longer be punished as they have been in the past. It remains
to be seen, though, which of the four candidates would be willing
to fight and which ones would be committed to compromise.
"Ronnie represents the best of the liberal tradition," candidate
Eric Nelson said. "But we need balance... |I don't know if the
community has gotten everything they deserve."
Candidate Larry Sauer hopes to follow in the Upper West Side
tradition of "having a higher standard of moral responsibility."
At the same time, though, Sauer says he wants to avoid Eldridge's
experience of being shut out by the leadership."I think the speaker
marginalized her for a number of years for her attempts to democratize."
Gale Brewer said, "I'd like to continue the line of people who
speak their conscience. I would speak out in the way Ronnie has
Candidate Anna Lewis said, "I see myself as a leader of the Council
as Ronnie was. I also see myself as an advocate, getting things
"There's a very rich tradition of our council members being the
independent voice, the critic of the government," said Ethel Sheffer,
who had considered running for City Council but did not. "But
at the same time it's essential to be able to work within the
system and to maximize your power within the legislature."
All of the candidates said that Eldridge, who has yet to endorse
any of them, was a powerful advocate for the district. Despite
her inability to get on the Land Use Board, the candidates say
that she effectively fought development in the district, something
that has become a major issue.
A number of luxury high-rise buildings have sprung up in recent
years. All the candidates say this has led to over-development,
which is changing the community and putting a strain on services.
In one of the most publicized examples, Donald Trump has built
three towers 50 stories high along the Hudson River and has said
that he plans to build as many as 15 more towers between 59th
and 72nd St.
"The West Side is a beautiful place. But buildings are going
up without regard to aesthetics," said Anna Lewis, pointing to
a high-rise at 94th and Broadway which she calls "inconsistent
with the neighborhood".
"We're talking about the atmosphere in the community. The Upper
West Side has always had a very distinctive feel, and we're fighting
to preserve that," said Gale Brewer, who nevertheless says she
wants to look at any new development on a case by case basis.
All of the candidates are concerned with affordable housing,
saying there is a need to encourage more middle income apartments
to be built and to pr eserve the affordable housing that is in
"Over the past 15 years, this community has changed tremendously,"
said Brewer. "A prime issue is affordable housing and preserving
The new buildings are also bringing thousands of new residents
that candidates say are stretching services in the Upper West
"There are transportation issues, sewage issues... It's a failure
of city government not to plan better for all of these new people.
There is no planning to speak of in this neighborhood," said Eric
Nelson. "I don't want my children growing up in a mall."
"We need to say, 'If you want to build here, you have to give
back to the community by building schools or parks,'" said Lewis.
Though some candidates say that it is too early to determine
who is leading in the race, some residents say that Brewer is
the apparent favorite. "Brewer appears to be the frontrunner,"
said Sheffer who stressed that she is not endorsing any candidate
yet. "She's certainly the one who has been working at it for the
longest amount of time." Brewer also has worked under Ruth Messinger
when she was the outspoken District 6 representative before Eldridge.
Larry Sauer feels that his experience on the local school board
3 makes him an education candidate. "I'm well known as an advocate
for the schools," said Sauer. He has gotten attention in the media
as a school board member when he introduced a
resolution condemning the Boy Scouts for discriminatory practices.
Most recently, Sauer has made the papers by criticizing school
leadership for threatening
to cut the number of teachers in his district.
He is not above criticizing one of his opponents as well, accusing
Anna Lewis of not living in the district.
"It's a technicality," replied Lewis, who said that she has lived
in the district for many years but has moved one block outside
the district while her apartment is renovated. "I have a direct
involvement in housing issues," joked Lewis.
Lewis thinks that her combination of community activism and understanding
of city housing laws make her a strong candidate for the seat.
Jason Haber, who is 24, lives just one block outside the district
too, but that does not stop him from taking on the attack mode
of the other candidates. "I seriously wonder if I have four people
running against me or just one four-headed candidate."
Eric Nelson sees himself as something of a political outsider,
though he's been on the Community Board for eight years. He also
points out that he is the only candidate with children in the
district, giving what he calls, "more than an academic interest
in these issues" -- which sounds like a dig at his opponents.
However the next council member from the Upper West Side chooses
to approach the new leadership, then, it seems clear from their
approach to each other that these candidates have been taking
at least a few lessons from Ronnie Eldridge.
The race for Council district 6 has grown more competitive as
four new candidates have joined the race. Two Democrats -- Ron
Foley and Michael Brown -- are aiming for the September primary,
while Republican David Herz and Libertarian Gary Snyder are looking
to challenge the Democratic winner in the November General Election.
Two candidates have also dropped out. According to other candidates
and the latest information from the Board of Elections, Democrat
Eric Nelson has dropped out of the race, although Nelson could
not be reached to comment. Lawrence Cinamon, the 18-year-old student
who was running as a Republican, recently dropped out of the race
when he learned of Herz's candidacy. On his web site he writes,
"The only reason I started my campaign was to see an "R" on the
ballot in November, not my name."
Despite the increasing competition, and the combative nature
of the district, the race has turned surprisingly civil. In June,
all of the candidates agreed not to challenge the voter signatures
on their opponents' petitions. In most races, challenging opponents'
petition is a regular (albeit ethically impaired) part of the
competitive political process in New York. (See
The candidates who more recently joined in the race tend to focus
on the same issues in the district.
Democratic candidate Ron Foley says he is concerned, as are the
other candidates, with the changing commercial face of the neighborhood.
"I would like to fight to preserve the look and feel of the community,"
says Foley. "Pretty soon, there will be a Starbucks on every corner.
I don't want this to become the Upper East Side." If elected to
the Council, Foley also plans to focus on gay rights and park
Republican candidate David Herz cautions about letting new developers
like Donald Trump build freely. "Developers must take responsibility
for what they're doing," says Herz. "Trump must provide community
enhancement first, then he can develop. If you tax our resources,
our traffic, and our sewer system, you have to give the community
something in return." Herz also advocates eliminating the Board
of Education and cutting taxes.
Democratic candidate Michael Brown is also concerned with development,
but has a slightly different tack. "There's always going to be
development," Brown says. "New York is a changing city, so what
can you say to a developer? However, I believe that community
residents should get preference above everybody else for housing
in new developments. I want to keep residents in this community,
not push them out."
Brown says if he is elected he will work on two issues of immediate
importance: preventing the elimination of tollbooth clerks from
subways in the district, and releasing information about the health
risks of pesticide spraying that happens in subways, parks, and
Libertarian candidate Snyder wants to focus primarily on drug
law reform, which he believes is the number one issue in the city,
and on cutting the costs of city government. "New York City has
some of the highest tax rates in the country, and I want to change
that," says Snyder.
The Republican and the Libertarian candidates concede that their
chances of winning the seat in this overwhelmingly Democratic
district are slim, but both hope to have an impact on the race.
"This district is an area that has benefited greatly from the
Giuliani administration," says Herz. "And people should know that
Republicans have done some amazing things for this country." Gary
Snyder, running on a Libertarian platform, believes many Democrats
are willing to support a Libertarian candidate. "Do you know how
many people say to me, 'I'm a Democrat, but I'm fiscally conservative,'
or, 'I'm a Republican, but I'm socially liberal?'" says Snyder.
Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates are looking for one thing
that might give one of them an advantage over the rest: an endorsement
from outgoing Councilmember Ronnie Eldridge. Eldridge is currently
conducting interviews with the candidates.
Gale Brewer has been a community activist for many years
and active in New York's nonprofit community. She began her career
in the city government working as former-Councilmember Ruth Messinger's
Chief of Staff for eleven years. She has worked under the Public
Advocate office on intergovernmental affairs, and under Mayor
David Dinkins between 1990 and 1994. She is currently the Project
Manager for the New York City Nonprofits Project, a census on
the economic and service impact of the nonprofit sector on the
city. She is married and has two adopted children.
Michael Brown works with the New York City Administrative
Services as an examination proctor for police officer and transit
employee exams. He has lived in the district for over twenty years.
Ronald Foley, 32, is on a "sabbatical" from Princeton
Review, the test-prep company, in order to finalize a deal to
publish his book, The Girls Guide to the SAT. He has ran several
Stanley Kaplan test-prep centers throughout the country. He has
also worked on various campaigns, including Jim McGreevey's bid
for Governor of New Jersey. He is openly gay.
Jason Haber, 24, graduated from George Washington University
in 1999 with a major in political communications. He has worked
for various candidates, and served as an aide to Lanny Davis,
special counsel to President Clinton. He is now employed by journalist
David Herz is a real estate attorney in a private practice.
He lives on the Upper West Side with his wife and two kids. He
has previously run for State Assembly and the local school board.
Anna Lewis is a community activist who is a member of
various community groups such as the Mitchell-Lama Resident's
Coalition and the Concerned Citizens for Community Action. She
is a Democratic District Leader and has run tenant seminars over
the years. Over the past decade she served as Lead Counsel to
the New York State Assembly Committee on Oversight, Analysis and
Investigation, and as an Administrative Law Judge for the NYC
Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Larry Sauer has been a representative of School Board
District 3 for the past five years. He is a leader in his block
association and a tenant activist. He also is active in the local
chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, training
teachers, guidance staff and parents in the schools to make a
more welcome environment for young people. He owns a small graphic
design business in Manhattan.
Gary Snyder is a business analyst for a New York City
investment bank. He is one of ten libertarian candidates running
for city council throughout the city.
The battle for City Council on the Upper West Side, experts say, is being waged between one steamrolling competitor and just a challenger or two. This dynamic was nowhere more apparent than at a recent forum in the Sixth Council District, when each candidate chose to fire a potentially damaging question at the same competitor, Gale A. Brewer. Her two main competitors are seen as Larry Sauer and Anna Lewis. The candidates trace many of the district's problems, like high asthma rates, traffic congestion and school overcrowding, to the influx of residents in luxury buildings. (New York Times)
The New York Times today endorsed a candidate in this race.
Sixth District (Upper West Side): The two main candidates are
Anna Lewis, a lawyer and law judge, and Gale Brewer, who has experience
at several levels of city government. Ms. Brewer has worked for
Public Advocate Mark Green on voting issues, former Mayor David
Dinkins as the city's federal lobbyist and Ruth Messinger as her
top aide at the City Council a decade ago. Ms. Brewer recently
completed a much-needed study of 30,000 nonprofit organizations
in the city. With a nod to Ms. Lewis's effort to bring new ideas
into the debate, our endorsement goes to Gale Brewer.
Profile of Republican candidate David Herz. "Herz,
a Republican, campaigns on a platform that would make Mayor Rudy
Giuliani proud." Indeed, Herz advocates some conservative ideas,
such as abolishing the Board of Education, which, he claims, is
not effective. He also talks about the praise he receives from
some residents in the district. (The Westsider)
6/21/01 Profile of Democrat Larry Sauer. "If the race
for the Upper West Side's City Council seat were only about education,
Larry Sauer would be the man to beat." Sauer talks about his experience
with the public schools from serving on Community School Board
3. He cites the improvement of the schools in his district since
becoming a member. (The Westsider)
6/14/01 Profile of Democrat Jason Haber. "The youngest
candidate in the race...is also the most historically-minded."
He cites Roosevelt as his model, because he ran successfully for
State Assembly when he was 23. Haber proposes some ideas for improving
education, such as contracting corporations like IBM to supply
schools with computer technology, in exchange for allowing the
contributing corporation a chance to advertise in the schools.
Plans such as that are in effect all over the nation right now.
6/07/01 Profile of Democrat Anna Lewis. She talks about
the weaknesses of some of her opponents, and her unique experience.
"Lewis said working at the [Ivan Merber Community Assistance Center]
has prepared her for the constituent services a City Council position
entails." (The Westsider)
5/31/01 Profile of former Democratic candidate Eric Nelson.
"Bus service, trash collection, and parks and recreation facilities--the
bread and butter of a council members' constituent services--are
the sorts of topics Nelson addresses everyday on the community
board." Nelson proposes several laws that he would try see passed,
such as a law to equalize tax rates between apartment-dwellers
and single-family homeowners. The tax rates are currently slated
against apartment-dwellers, he said. (The Westsider)
5/24/01 Profile of Gale Brewer. Brewer embraces the label
of a progressive. "Brewer said one of her goals, if elected, would
be to work to rationalize the many disparate city agencies and
programs that address similar city needs but don't work together."
She also talks about the issue of race in the district, an issue
that she knows well and which some of her opponents seem to neglect.
She vows to work hard to improve racial harmony. (The Westsider)
04/09/01 An interview with Ronnie Eldridge. She reflects
on her time as a Councilwoman for District 6 and about the current
state of politics, citywide and in her community. (NY Times)
Trump is in the process of building a huge apartment "village"
in District 6. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day--and
it's going to be big. (Daily News)
An overview of the Council race, with all the candidates weighing
in on the issues that are important to them ( West Side Spirit)
The race on the Upper West Side pits Gale Brewer, who has worked
for a mayor, the public advocate, and for a city councilmember,
against Anna Lewis, who has worked for a member of the State Assembly,
against Larry Sauer, a graphic designer. Sauer says "he's the
only one of hte three ever elected to office in a competitive
race: for the local school board. 'Speaking on behalf of someone
else is different [from] speaking on behalf of yourself,' he says.(NY-1)
Candidate Gale Brewer is named as one of the 50 New Yorkers to