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Reforming Senate Rules
February 27th, 2009

Critics of New Yorks state government have not shied away from calling the legislature dysfunctional. To change that opinion, members of the State Senate are now taking advice from their critics on how to make the government more effective.

Its not as if any of the good government advocates pointed their fingers directly at the state senators of the Temporary Committee on Rules Reform. But at the third of four public hearings on rules changes last night, advocates lamented the operation of the State Senate as a whole and offered recommendations on how to better serve the public by reforming their rules.

Eric Lane, senior fellow at the Brennan Center, suggested the senate more equitably allocate funds among senators and their committees. Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has said each senator will receive a base budget of at least $350,000, more than what some Democrats received when they were in the minority and less than what some Republicans received as the former majority. Enough money for each senator means a better chance of addressing constituent needs and potential legislation.

Republican committee member Joseph Griffo said he supports equal resources. To invigorate the senate and better serve the public, he had a recommendation of his own on senate leadership rules: Id put term limits on him, he said, referring to Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. Leaders, Griffo said, have too much power over members and changing leaders more frequently could improve the legislative process.
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By on February 27, 2009, 4:31 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | Comments Off

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Tabacco Loses Ballot Spot
February 12th, 2009

Talk about flip-flop politics.

The citys Board of Elections removed John Tabacco today from the ballot for the City Council seat from the 49th district . The board decided that Tabacco did not have enough signatures to qualify for the Feb. 24 election.

Last Friday, the board had said that even though Tabacco did not have enough signatures, he could be on the ballot.

Upset after today’s hearing, Tabacco said he felt partisanship on the board raped and pillaged the democratic process.
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By on February 12, 2009, 1:45 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Governing | Comments Off

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Tabacco Stays on the Ballot
February 10th, 2009

Update: It seems Tabacco may not be on the ballot after all. Late yesterday, the Board of Elections decided it would hold another hearing on his candidacy — this time on whether he has enough signatures. That will take place Thursday, the Staten Island Advance reports.

John Tabacco has finally made his spot on the ballot permanent. After an uneasy week with the New York City Board of Elections that included three hearings on his ballot status, Tabacco now has a real shot to be the council member from Staten Island’s North Shore .

Tabacco’s name on the Feb. 24 ballot, though, will not be accompanied by the five-pointed star he originally chose. For the non-partisan special election, each candidate must create a new party name and symbol. On Friday, the board argued that Tabacco’s symbol resembled the symbol of the New York Democratic Party and thus he could be removed from the ballot. The Staten Island Advancereports that the board decided not to boot Tabacco but instead will create a new symbol for him.

The 49th district city council seat was previously held by Michael McMahon,who was elected to Congress in November. Tabacco will face off against Deborah Rose, Donald Pagano, Tony Baker, Paul Saryian and Kenneth Mitchell.

By on February 10, 2009, 6:08 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Governing | Comments Off

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Curitore Off, Tabacco On For Now
February 7th, 2009

Simple arithmetic almost got John Tabacco. He only collected 912 valid signatures, according to New York City Board of Elections, and needed 1,367 to run as a candidate in the special election for the City Council seat from Staten Island’s 49th district.

Things were going down hill for Tabacco. He grimaced often as he sat behind his lawyer at a hearing of four commissioners on the Board of Elections. But then his lawyer argued that signatures that should have been counted by the clerks were excluded because signers printed their names instead of signing in cursive.
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By on February 7, 2009, 4:20 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Governing | Comments Off

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North Shore race loses two
February 3rd, 2009

Last week, Rajiv Gowda called objections to his place on the Staten Island special election ballot a distraction. Today, that distraction proved the end of his bid for the vacant City Council seat.

Gowda, along with Anthony Cosentino, were knocked off the 49th District City Council ballot after the New York City Board of Elections determined they did not comply with election rules. The board found that Gowda only had 1,010 valid signatures on his petitions; the candidates needed at least 1,367. Cosentino had errors on his cover letter and submitted a designating petition, not a nominating petition.

Kenneth Mitchell, former chief of staff to Michael McMahon who left the council position vacant after winning a congressional seat in November, raised objections to the petitions of Gowda, Cosentino, Tom Curitore and John Tabacco.
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By on February 3, 2009, 7:28 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Governing | Comments Off

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A Crowded Council Race
January 23rd, 2009

Five of the nine candidates vying for Staten Islands 49th district City Council seat took turns pushing their political ambitions to 75 members of the Staten Island Democratic Association Thursday night. All are running in the special election to fill the seat previously held by Mike McMahon, who was elected to Congress.

The candidates were hoping to earn an endorsement from the Democratic club by the end of Thursday’s late night forum.

None of them got it.
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By on January 23, 2009, 3:44 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | Comments Off

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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