Vol. 14, No.8   April 19 - May 2, 2001


Spalter Announces City Council Bid 


It's no secret that Norwood teacher and Riverdale community activist Laura Spalter is running for City Council. She has been raising money, attending candidate seminars, and reaching out to constituencies throughout the 11th Council District.

But Spalter, a Democrat, made it official last week as she formally announced her campaign with a press release and a packet of news clippings detailing her activities and that of the Riverdale Community Association which she heads and helped to found in 1993.

Spalter, who has taught social studies at MS 80 in Norwood for the last 13 years, said she doesn't consider herself "political" and wouldn't be running were it not for the term limits that prevents Council members from serving more than two consecutive four-year terms. Spalter says her independence - she is not a member of a political club - will allow her to work with people of all political persuasions to get things done

"I work with both sides of the aisle. Garbage is garbage," she said, echoing a well-known political refrain that there is not a Republican or a Democratic way to collect trash."

Spalter, a Hunts Point-native who has lived in Riverdale with her husband, Robert, since 1967, stresses her record on quality-of-life issues. She implemented a graffiti removal program, which employs a contractor to clean and maintain buildings in commercial and residential areas. And she developed a court monitoring program, whereby community members have attended court appearances of defendants arrested in the 50th Precinct to combat what she calls "turnstile justice," particularly in car theft and graffiti cases.

These local issues are what people care most about, Spalter insists. "They want excellent schools, safe streets," she said. "These are the issues I've been involved with."

The race is likely to be a tough one for Spalter, considering that G. Oliver Koppell, a popular former state assemblyman and state attorney general from Riverdale, is also making a bid for the seat. Asked if she thinks she can win under these circumstances, Spalter said, "You know the story of David and Goliath?"

Spalter will also go up against Democratic district leader Terry Bastone and Van Cortlandt Village resident Mark Vogel.

Spalter said she is encouraged by the results of a poll taken by her campaign and that she has so far raised $25,000 from over 170 supporters.

The veteran educator also believes her experience in the classroom makes her especially qualified for the Council.

"It's time for a teacher," she said.

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