By Joanna Fantozzi
Noah Gotbaum, former president of District 3’s Community Education Council, has announced that he is pulling out of the race for public advocate, and is instead running for the City Council seat in District 6 to replace Gale Brewer The decision, he said, was one rooted in a desire to create change on a more local level.
“This is my home and my neighborhood, this is my district, being able to live and work here, make a difference here is great,” said Gotbaum.
Gotbaum began his career in the private sector, working in real estate and finance for over two decades. He co-founded New York Cares, one of New York’s largest volunteer service organizations. He had always been interested in politics, and in 2007, when his wife died, he took the opportunity to become more involved.
“My children and I were so taken in and so nurtured by this community, that I wanted to give some back,” he said.
Gotbaum is well known for his work in education over the past five years. He rose through the ranks from his children’s PTAs, to becoming a member and president of the Community Education Council. Naturally, reforming and shaping the schools on the Upper West Side is an important part of his platform as city council candidate.
“We have over a dozen schools and we have not added a single new seat despite our school population growing by double digits, and that is really hurting us,” said Gotbaum.
Gotbaum wants to create responsible community development that would require developers to create structures that the community actually needs.
“We have to stand up and say, ‘you want to build luxury high rises? Then they have to be in scale, and if they don’t make sense for our community then you’re out of luck.”
It is also very important, according to Gotbaum, to be able to stand up to corruption and questionable policies like those that resulted in the emergency homeless shelters being placed on West 95th Street.
“These shelters are bad policy, dangerous, wasting millions of dollars,” he said. “We have to have leadership and the courage to say this is wrong, corrupt and unethical and unsafe.”
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