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Citizens Union

Gotham Votes 2013

Lawyer Says State Is Playing Word Games With Casino Proposal

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Voters this November will be asked to decide in a referendum whether to allow up to seven new casinos to be built in the state. Thankfully, the ballot proposal has some positively glowing things to say about the plans. For instance, it states that casinos will help with "promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools and permitting local governments to lower property taxes." Which all sounds wonderful, except that some opponents of gambling think casinos contribute to problems like addiction and poverty and constitute a "regressive tax."

One of those opponents — a bankruptcy lawyer from Brooklyn — has now sued the state over the language of the referendum, calling it blatantly promotional. “The Constitution is pretty clear that you can’t use public money to sway or influence a vote,” said Eric J. Snyder in The New York Times.

Read more: Lawyer Says State Is Playing Word Games With Casino Proposal

James Takes Public Advocate Runoff By Large Margin

City Councilwoman Letitia James will likely become the first black woman to hold citywide office after winning last night's Democratic primary runoff for public advocate.

The race with state Sen. Daniele Squadron ended with a 20-point spread between the two, a wider margin that even those close to the James campaign weren’t expecting.With 99 percent of precincts reporting, James had about 60 percent of the vote, The Associated Press reported last night. Results are unofficial until certified by the Board of Elections.

After the results showed she had 60 percent of the vote, James took to a small stage set up in a Times Square club, surrounded by supporters. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Comptroller John Liu, she held back tears and clasped her hand to her chest as cheers filled the room. 

Read more: James Takes Public Advocate Runoff By Large Margin

Heated Public Advocate Runoff Ends Tonight

New Yorkers might not know it, but today’s another election day.

Last month’s Democratic primary left the city with a tossup for who the next public advocate would be. Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James took a small lead just shy of the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff with state Senator Daniel Squadron at second place.

But Squadron hasn’t been playing like a runner-up in the last days ahead of the election. If anything, the lead up to the runoff has been nastier than what any of the candidates experienced in the primary.

Read more: Heated Public Advocate Runoff Ends Tonight

Brooklyn Candidate Alleges Dirty Tricks In Council Race

The Democratic primary for Brooklyn's 48th district may be over, but one of the candidates is crying foul over what he alleges were dirty tricks used in the race.

Ari Kagan, who came in second in the race to represent neighborhoods like Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, says one of his rivals was behind a campaign to disinform Russian-speaking voters in the heavily Russian immigrant neighborhoods.

Read more: Brooklyn Candidate Alleges Dirty Tricks In Council Race

After 17-Day Recount, A Winner In Central Brooklyn Council Race

There's a winner in the race to replace Brooklyn City Councilman Albert Vann: District leader Robert Cornegy Jr. eked out a win over Kirsten John Foy for the 36th district seat that includes the historic neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The result came in on Friday after a 17-day recount. Cornegy, who was endorsed by Vann and other Brooklyn politicians, won by a 68-vote margin.

In a statement, Cornegy said he was "deeply humbled and honored" by the win, The Daily News reported.

Campaign Trail: Weekend Update

Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota needs to "persuading an overwhelmingly Democratic electorate to pick a leader who cites Barry Goldwater and Margaret Thatcher as his intellectual forebears." (The New York Times)

Lhota criticized the plan for an Upper East Side waste transfer station. (The Daily News)

Republican comptroller candidate John Burnett is "a dose of the real thing." (New York Post)

More than two weeks after the primary, the Board of Elections finishes counting the ballots. (NYT)




Squadron, James Face Off At Final Public Advocate Debate

The two Democratic candidates for the office of public advocate — the job currently held by mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio — are scheduled to face-off tonight in a televised debate.

Brooklyn City Councilwoman Letitia James and Sen. Daniel Squadron will try to convince voters to cast their ballots for them during the run-off on Oct. 1. James edged out a win against Squadron during the primary on Sept. 10, with 13,539 votes separating the two.

Read more: Squadron, James Face Off At Final Public Advocate Debate

Campaign Trail: Weekend Roundup

GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota has raised more money from business and finance sectors than rival Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio. (Newsday)

Despite his long resume, Lhota faces "long odds" in the race to be the next mayor. (The Associated Press)

De Blasio's name changes. (New York Daily News)

EDITORIAL: Maybe a de Blasio administration can redo the Willets Point plan. (New York Daily News)

EDITORIAL: End of ethnic politics in the race for mayor? Not so fast. (The New York Post)

A Tainted Outcome In Bronx Assembly Race?


ALBANY, N.Y. — Victor Pichardo was a relative outsider with an unblemished reputation who entered the race to replace disgraced former Bronx Assemblyman Nelson Castro with a promise of a fresh start for the district. When the polls closed on primary night, he was narrowly winning by 82 votes.

It didn’t take long for the image of an untainted fresh start to be attacked. A day after the votes came in on Sept. 10, opponents complained that Pichardo's presumed narrow win at the polls had been tainted by at least one broken voting machine and his mother’s presence as a poll worker at one of the busiest polling sites in the district. Then Pichardo was accused by his former treasurer of running his campaign in an improper manner.

Read more: A Tainted Outcome In Bronx Assembly Race? 

Campaign Trail Update: Lhota Wants Debates In 5 Boros

GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota challenges Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio to weekly debates. (Daily News)

Quinnipiac poll: More confirmation that Bill de Blasio in the lead for the mayor's race. (Politicker)

Report: Vallone wins the 19th district. (Queens TimesLedger)

City Council speaker race heats up. (The New York Times)

Some Council members want to limit the powers of the next speaker. (DNAInfo.com)

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