Gwen Goodwin's Bio:
Next Stop, City Council

Gwen Goodwin is now running to be the City Council member from District 8, which is composed mainly of East Harlem and the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.

Gwen’ s campaign is largely focused on the emergency faced by public housing residents, which arises from INFILL, the current Bloomberg-NYCHA plans to lease portions of public housing lands to developers for ninety-nine years for the purpose of building market-rate luxury housing. Huge profits are to made, at the expense of NYCHA residents. For example, in Washington Houses, the luxury housing is to replace the Community Center! Green space, parking lots and other areas are targeted. Moving in a large number of luxury tenants will not only cause congestion, but will change the whole balance of the neighborhood, and cause pressure for current residents to be displaced. Residents already speak of increased police harassment and a new degree of gang presence. The official rationale for INFILL is to make up for a NYCHA deficit of $60,000,000, but this can easily be covered by 1) Rerouting $75,000,000 which NYCHA turns over to the Police Department, without any added services, 2) Generating more rent revenue by filling vacancies, or 3) By increasing the appropriation from general revenues. These measures would not disrupt the life of the community or lead to displacement.

Gwen Goodwin was born on June 8, 1961. She arrived in New York, East Harlem in 1985. She has made her home in East Harlem going on 28 years.

It's no accident that Gwen was right up there with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gail Collins. Gretchen Dykstra, Tina Fey, Caroline Kennedy, Bette Midler, Eva Moskowitz, Rosie O'Donnell, Sara Jessica Parker , Susan Sarandon, Sue Simmons, Nydia Velasquez and Randi Weingarten, to name a few, recognized by the Daily News of April 24, 2004, as the "100 Women who Shape our City"!

Gwen's focus has been to preserve East Harlem as a place where regular people, and particularly, those who face systematic discrimination, can continue to live. In her 2009 campaign for City Council (District 8), Gwen stood out in fighting the "River-to-River Harlem Rezoning" plan, spearheaded by Mayor Bloomberg and shepherded through to City Council approval by Gwen’s incumbent opponent, Melissa Mark Viverito.

This plan could erase Harlem as we know it, driving its current populations out. The plan uses the threat of eminent domain to coerce people into relinquishing community based business and property. Gwen is completely opposed to the abuse of eminent domain. The main impetus to Gwen's City Council race is to reverse the ongoing damage by incumbent Melissa Mark Viverito, who actually promotes this plan. Fortunately, the economic slump slowed down the implementation, and on a practical level, the rezoning can still be repealed. Gwen pledges that as the new City Council member representing District 8, she will fight to get the rezoning repealed.

Gwen is most widely known since 1999, for Founding/Coordinating the Coalition to Save P.S. 109, reversing an already ongoing, illegal demolition by the NYC Board of Education. The Coalition to Save PS 109 went on to landmark PS 109 with the help of the NYC Landmarks Conservancy. Gwen won the first Grassroots Preservation Award by The Historic District Council. Unfortunately, instead of restoring the building as a school that could serve 1,200 East Harlem/El Barrio children, the incumbent and her political allies are converting it into a specialized artist residence, at many times the cost. That “Artspace” as it is called has already created an atmosphere in which INFILL (see above) has gotten off the ground in NYCHA’s nearby Washington Houses.

In 1997 when the Rent Stabilization laws were threatened by abolition , Gwen singularly saw to it that the tenants' movement provided free bus travel for the East Harlem residents to Albany. She also arranged free lunches, as well as mobilizing a significant contingent. Gwen was able to acquire the services, pro bono, of the prestigious law firm, Davis Polk and Wardwell to oppose the reopening of the 100th Street Bus Terminal in 2000. The suit alleged environmental racism. East Harlem suffers from the highest rate of asthma in the USA.

Gwen, initiated the "A Breath of Fresh Air" campaign after 9-11. The program was dedicated to and for the New York City Fireman and Policeman. Gwen asked the resort owners of Cape May, NJ, to give first responders free rest and recuperation weekends in the beautiful bed and breakfasts of Cape May . Thirty-five inns and hotels participated as well a five restaurants. Gwen was honored both by the New York Daily News , “Spotlight on People” as well as Channel 7 News, “New York City’s Hometown Hero“, for her effort.

Adaptable and versatile, communicative and witty, intellectual and elegant, youthful and lively, Gwen has extraordinary intensity to get things done. Gwen is a great listener, exploring all sides of a question before taking a stand without ambiguity, wishy-washiness or sellout compromise. Gwen will harness a Gemini-like wisdom and inquisitiveness to be able to master rapidly the procedures in City Council and develop effective strategies. It is not often that a candidate is so made-to-order to serve the broad public.

But, as Gwen says, inspired by the 2008 Barack Obama campaign, "We will be waiting forever, until we realize that 'We are the people we've been waiting for!'"