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Upper East Side City Council Race: Menin And Foley Face Off

Patch logo Patch 10/22/2021 Nick Garber
Mark Foley (left), running on the Republican and Liberal Party lines, will face Julie Menin (right), a Democrat, in the District 5 City Council general election. © Campaign courtesy photos Mark Foley (left), running on the Republican and Liberal Party lines, will face Julie Menin (right), a Democrat, in the District 5 City Council general election.

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — This year's election season on the Upper East Side didn't end with the June primary. Starting Friday, voters will cast ballots in general elections across the five boroughs — including the District 5 City Council race between Julie Menin and Mark Foley.

Menin, 54, won a hard-fought primary this summer against six other Democrats, emerging with 56 percent of the vote in the final ranked-choice voting round. A longtime city official, Menin most recently served as New York's census director, helping the city achieve its better-than-expected count.

Foley, 60, runs a consultancy and real estate firm. Though he is not personally affiliated with any party, he will appear on the ballot on the Republican and Liberal Party lines.

He faces an uphill battle on the Upper East Side, where Democrats have an overwhelming registration advantage. Foley has focused much of his campaign around public safety, pledging to increase police funding after last year's City Council vote to shift about $1 billion from the NYPD.

"I intend to RE-fund, restore, reform and respect the police," Foley wrote in a Patch questionnaire, also expressing interest in reinstating the NYPD's troubled plainclothes anti-crime unit. In several instances, Foley has posted photos to social media showing Menin campaigning with District Attorney nominee Alvin Bragg, alleging that his reform-oriented policies will "destroy NYC."

Foley has also expressed opposition to vaccine mandates, saying the city should stop requiring proof of vaccination to dine indoors.

In her own set of responses, Menin highlighted Foley's position on mandates, contrasting Foley's affiliation with the Republican Party to her own participation in the successful lawsuit against the Trump Administration's bid to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

"I believe there are several critical differences between myself and my opponent," Menin said, also touting her vocal opposition to the New York Blood Center rezoning and her longtime advocacy for public schools.

During the primary, Menin staked out a more moderate position on policing than some of her more progressive rivals, saying she was among the only candidates who did not wish to cut the NYPD budget by $1 billion.

a group of people sitting at a table in a room: The District 5 Democratic City Council candidates (from left): Tricia Shimamura, Rebecca Lamorte, Marco Tamayo, Kim Moscaritolo, Billy Freeland, Julie Menin and Christopher Sosa. (Courtesy of Sachyn Mital) © Provided by Patch The District 5 Democratic City Council candidates (from left): Tricia Shimamura, Rebecca Lamorte, Marco Tamayo, Kim Moscaritolo, Billy Freeland, Julie Menin and Christopher Sosa. (Courtesy of Sachyn Mital)

Despite its liberal leanings, the Upper East Side has shown a conservative streak compared to nearby neighborhoods. Republican Lou Puliafito earned 33 percent of the vote last year in his unsuccessful challenge to State Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright — a stronger showing than any other GOP candidate in Manhattan.

And Republican Bill Green represented the Upper East Side on the City Council until 1993, when he was defeated by now-U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

Early voting for the general election runs from Oct. 23–31, with election day on Nov. 2. Find your polling place or view a sample ballot on the Board of Elections website.

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