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Gotham Votes 2013

Schedule Of Official NYC Debate Program For Citywide Offices

From the press release:

Today, the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) announced the sponsors and schedule for the New York City Debate Program for the 2013 elections. The CFB has administered the Debate Program in every citywide election since 1997. The debates are a core component of NYC Votes, the CFB’s nonpartisan voter engagement campaign.


Queens Election Roundup: Katz Gets WFP Endorsement; Vallone Family Matters

Rounding up Queens election news so far this week:

The Working Families Party has endorsed Democrat Melinda Katz in the highly contested Queens Borough President race.

“If you’re fighting for good jobs, affordable housing and quality schools, there’s no better ally for working families in Queens than Melinda Katz,” Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor told the Daily News in yesterday’s edition.

The endorsement could mean a lot for Katz since an increasing number of New Yorkers are voting along the Working Families Party line. The third party claims on its website that 240,000 New Yorkers voted for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand along the party line in the November 2012 election — a record number for the WFP.

This news, along with the Queens Democrats’ endorsement of Katz in May, strengthen her bid to replace the term-limited current Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.

Democratic Councilmen Leroy Comrie and Peter Vallone Jr. are also running for borough president, along with fellow Democrat State Senator Tony Avella and Republican Tony Arcabascio.

The Vallone name is becoming synonymous with Queens politics.

The bi-partisan Italian American Political Action Committee endorsed Italian American candidate Paul Vallone (brother of Peter) in his bid for the 19th City Council District, the Queens Gazette reported on Monday.

The 19th district in northeast Queens — which was reworked during the districting process last year — was held by Republican Daniel Halloran, who announced in May that he wouldn’t be running for re-election following being charged in a corruption case.

The crowded race for the City Council seat includes Democrats John Duane, Paul Graziano, Austin Shafran, Chrissy Voskerichian, Hank Yeh and Republican Dennis Saffran.

Meanwhile, Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat is up for grabs as he eyes the borough presidency.

Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas has declared he’s officially running for the 22nd City Council District.

Prentzas is a Community Board member and small business owner who will be vying for the City Council seat that encompasses Astoria against a number of rivals.

"Many in the community have been urging me to run to replace him (Vallone Jr.) to continue the progress of our community and build on his successful record,” Prentzas told the Queens Gazette in yesterday’s edition.

The other contenders for Vallone Jr.’s seat are Democrat Costa Constantinides, Independent Danielle De Stefano, Republican Daniel Peterson, and Green Party member Lynne Serpe.

—By Daniel Stein-Sayles

A Guide To City Council Candidates In The 36th District

Haven’t had the time to tune into the upcoming City Council elections?

Well, if you’re in Council District 36, which encompasses Brooklyn’s Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, The Power Lever Project by the Brooklyn Movement Center has your answers.

The Center has compiled a site that has a list of the candidates running with a bio, the issues they stand for and the campaign money raised.

“We want to shine a bright spotlight on our Council candidates who routinely struggle to be heard above the press buzz of the mayoral campaign,” James Subudhi, the political engagement fellow at the Center, said in an email.

The district’s current Council member, Albert Vann, is term-limited this year, and so the cup of candidates runneth over.

The candidates include Robert Waterman, Conrad Tillard, Akiel Taylor, Kristen John Foy and Robert Cornegy, Jr.

“The online voter guide is about bringing transparency to the local electoral process and deepening the voters’ understanding of their political choices,” Subudhi said.


The site allows for comments and, so far, residents in the district have responded very well to having all the candidate information in one place, Subudhi said.

In case you are not sure if you fall within the district, there is also an embedded map on the page with clear district lines drawn. The primary for all the elections is on September 10.

— By Latima Stephens

Endorsement Watch: Schumer Endorses Squadron For Public Advocate

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has endorsed Daniel Squadron for public advocate, giving the state senator’s campaign a boost in the packed Democratic primary.

This is the first time Schumer has endorsed in the city’s pivotal elections, and his support for Squadron carries considerable weight among fellow Democrats.

"Daniel has a proven record of getting results for everyday New Yorkers. From passing landmark new gun laws to rolling up his sleeves to help New Yorkers impacted by Sandy, he knows how to deliver,” Schumer said in a statement earlier today.

Squadron is up against Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, City Councilwoman Letitia James and former teacher Catherine Guerriero for the Democratic nomination. Others registered for the race with the city’s Campaign Finance Board include police community affairs liaison Sidique Wai.

While the office of public advocate is sometimes maligned for being a powerless position, it is a citywide office and can bring the officeholder name recognition. The public advocate’s main responsibility is serving as a watchdog for residents in city government, but also can introduce legislation and weigh in on matters of the budget. The current officeholder is Bill de Blasio, who is running for mayor.

Squadron also received the endorsement of fellow state Sen. Adriano Espaillat yesterday. Espaillat represents Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. Espaillat highlighted Squadron’s support of the DREAM Act in his endorsement.

"Daniel is committed to passing the DREAM Act, so all New Yorkers have the opportunity to go to college,” Espaillat said in a statement.

By Daniel Stein-Sayles


Elections Roundup: Mayoral Candidates Respond to Bloomberg Climate Plan

Rounding up the #NYC2013 news from around the Internet:

Mayoral candidates responded to the wide-ranging climate change adaptation plan unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday. Politicker has most of them here. But of particular interest are the comments from Democrats Anthony Weiner, who was gracious (“There is usually little reward in politics for thinking big thoughts about the distant future.") and Christine Quinn:

"As I’ve said before, strengthening our City against future climate risks, such as the devastation we experienced after Sandy, is this is the single most important infrastructure challenge of our time."

Former subways chief Joe Lhota, the Republican frontrunner, said this:

I commend Mayor Bloomberg for putting in place a roadmap for dealing with the realities of climate change and the impact it will have on our communities. The mayor laid out an ambitious plan that will proactively protect the city in the event of future natural disasters.

See more reactions to Bloomberg’s plan at AdaptNY.com, a project of Gotham Gazette, veteran journalist A. Adam Glenn and DocumentCloud.

The New York Times looks at the re-election campaign of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and finds that, in spite of bad publicity, the incumbent seems to be gaining momentum:

Mr. Hynes has appeared increasingly confident on the campaign trail, racking up endorsements, trumpeting his accomplishments and offering well-honed rejoinders to the criticisms. And, at 78, he has used his longevity to his advantage, frequently noting Brooklyn’s 80 percent decrease in crime since he took office in 1990.

Hynes is facing two competitors in the Democratic primary: Abe George, a former assistant district attorney from Manhattan; and Kenneth P. Thompson, a former federal prosecutor. But the Times reports that both Hynes’ rivals have “have so far struggled to capitalize on his apparent vulnerabilities."

The New York City Campaign Finance Board has a new YouTube channel with video clips from past mayoral debates going back to 1997.

Send tips, questions and updates to info@gothamgazette.com.

Se Puede? Latino Political Power In The 2013 Mayor

By Chester Soria, City Government Reporter

NEW YORK — On a recent Sunday in April, state Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Democratic mayoral nominee Christine Quinn were standing in front of a Bronx bodega when they were approached by a father and his 10-year-old son.

The father, Javier Perez, knew the senator from his work in the neighborhood — and his son had even gone up to Albany to rally against school budget cuts. But Perez didn’t know who Quinn was until Rivera told him.

"I want to introduce you to the next mayor," Rivera said to Perez in Spanish as the father then shook hands with Quinn, who was surrounded by her supporters carrying signs.

Perez praised Rivera’s work in the Bronx and said he trusted the state senator’s judgment. Seeing Quinn walk side-to-side with the Bronx leader convinced Perez that she would also look out for his and his family’s needs.

"Very much so, of course." Perez said in Spanish. “She’s a good candidate."

Quinn’s endorsement from Rivera was the opening salvo in what has become a string of endorsements from Latino politicians and community leaders north of the Harlem River. Last week, Herman Badillo, the first Puerto Rican to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, endorsed former Comptroller Bill Thompson as the candidate to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has the support of Bronx Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, and former Congressman Anthony Weiner wooed onlookers during this past weekend’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. In fact, all the candidates — Republican and Democratic — were out with flags and campaign signs down Fifth Avenue yesterday.

The city’s Latinos are an increasingly important voting bloc, accounting for almost 30 percent of registered voters. Mayoral candidates, and Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nomination in particular, know this — just as they know that they need the influence of political leaders in the Bronx to sway Latinos in their favor.

At least two candidates have already declared that the Latino vote is vital for their campaigns if they stand any chance of making it to City Hall. Democratic upstart Erick Salgado and independent candidate Adolfo Carrión are two Latino candidates who think they can break through to what may be their most natural base.

Their challenge is the same one that their fellow rivals face: how do they drive a divided Latino electorate to the primary, much less the general election without a clearly defined, signature issue the way immigration has been on the national level.

Without that singular issue, Latino leaders are divided on who they think can best address their community’s needs, making their endorsements all the more important as a means to turn out the vote.

"What you have now is a very disorganized, fragmented kind of political situation," Angelo Falcón of the National Institute for Latino Policy. “There seems to be no real coordination or strategic thinking about the role of the Latino vote."

Continue reading on the Gotham Gazette

Quinn Gets Endorsement From NOW-NYC

"What I can tell you is we’re going to have a woman mayor," City Council Speaker and Democratic mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn declared with confidence at City Hall yesterday.

She was, of course, speaking about herself, as she recognized the endorsement of the local chapter of the National Organization for Women.

"If you look at my record and what I’ve done on issues that matter to all New Yorkers, and issues that matter particular to women, I don’t think anyone else in the race has the same kind of record that I do," Quinn, who is running for the Democratic nomination, said.

With less than 100 days to the primary election, mayoral candidates have been announcing endorsements almost daily. The endorsement from NOW-NYC is important for Quinn, since she has been criticized in the past for holding up the passage of a paid sick leave law that was supported by prominent women activists.

Quinn managed to hammer out a deal on the bill in March, and the Council passed it 45-to-3 in spite of the mayor’s promise to veto it (he did last week).

Quinn and NOW-NYC President Sonia Ossorio ran down the list of the work the Council has undertaken on issues important to women under the speaker’s leadership: establishing penalties for drivers involved in sex trafficking; passing laws protecting access to a reproductive health centers; and supporting the growth of women- and minority-owned businesses.

Contributed by Maya Miller

FiveThirtyEight: Quinn 'Very Likely' To Win Democratic Nomination

FiveThirtyEight has taken a look at public opinion polls going back to 1989 and found that the early Democratic frontrunner in the mayoral race has “a near perfect record" of winning the party’s nomination in the primary. That means, according to the author’s analysis, that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is “very likely" to win the Democratic nomination — given her lead in the polls so far.  MIcah Cohen writes:

In five of the past six Democratic primaries for mayor, the candidate who led in an average of polls conducted in the first six months of the election year advanced to the general election. The only exception was in 2009, when then-Represenative Anthony D. Weiner led William C. Thompson Jr., the New York City comptroller, by five percentage points but decided not to formally enter the race.

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