elections Tag All blog entries tagged as elections http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Sun, 13 Jul 2014 09:25:55 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Today's Lead: Primary Day Today http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/09/10/todays-lead-primary-day-today http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/09/10/todays-lead-primary-day-today

Today is primary day in the city. To find out who the candidates are, what offices they're running for, and which parties and districts they're in, check our Guide To The Last Minute Voter. You can view information on specific candidates or whole races, read exclusive interviews, find out what district you reside in, and more. Make sure you have all the details you need before heading to the polls.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) The Eye-Opener Tue, 10 Sep 2013 12:25:48 +0000
Board Of Elections Could Be Sued Over Lever Voting Machines Plan http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/07/16/board-of-elections-could-be-sued-over-lever-voting-machines-plan http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/07/16/board-of-elections-could-be-sued-over-lever-voting-machines-plan UPDATED: Board of Elections Says Disabled Voters Will Get Help-at Polls

The Board of Elections is bracing for any potential lawsuits over its plan to bring back lever voting machines for the primary and possible runoff.

The BOE's commissioners voted to pass a revised resolution on the plan for the lever voting machines at a public meeting today, with Board President Frederic M. Umane saying that new language would be "helpful" in case the agency got sued over the plan.

"It's been suggested that there could be litigation over this and it might be helpful to lay out and delineate, to a greater extent than what we did last week, some of the concerns and reasons why we want to be using the lever machines and not the optical scanners," Umane said earlier today before the commissioners voted to approve.

Civil rights and good government groups have criticized the plan for bringing back the lever voting machines. The BOE has said that the optical voting machines are too unwieldy to use for the mayoral primary this year or for the runoff.

James Weisman, senior vice president and senior counsel at the United Spinal Association, said his organization was considering taking legal steps to stop the BOE from using the machines that date back decades.

"It's definitely on the table," he said, adding that there were numerous reasons why the lever voting machines were problematic for people with disabilities. People without manual dexterity can't pull them down and blind people can't read them, for instance, he said.

"It's unfortunate that they just keep disregarding the needs and rights of people with disabilities," Weisman said of the board.

The United Spinal Association is currently litigating a federal case against the BOE. The organization has accused the city of failing to take steps to make sure disabled voters have access to poll sites and that poll workers are sufficiently trained to assist them.

Weisman recalled what it was like for disabled voters to go to the polls when they had no choice but to use the lever voting machines.

"Either they took a poll worker in the booth with them to vote with them and so they had no privacy, or they brought a friend with them," he said.

At today's hearing of the BOE commissioners, board attorney Steve Richman complained that the new language of the resolution was formulated with input from the city's Law Department.

"I think it's a bad precedent for the board to take direction from the mayor or the Corporation Counsel," he said at the meeting.

Richman authored the original resolution.

"They don't want to have their fingerprints on this," Richman added. "So I just wanted to put on the record that it's a concern for us — that an independent agency taking direction this way — that this was made through less-than open and free communication in public

Board spokeswoman Valerie Vasquez confirmed that the Law Department regularly provides advice as a preventative measure against lawsuits.

The Law Department said it did not comment on attorney-client matters.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 16 Jul 2013 22:23:22 +0000
Lawyer Tries To Win Lopez's Old Seat http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/06/11/lawyer-tries-again-to-win-lopezs-old-seat http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/06/11/lawyer-tries-again-to-win-lopezs-old-seat Lawyer Jason Otaño is giving it a second go. Otaño has officially announced his bid to fill the state Assembly seat vacated by scandal-plagued former Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

Otaño made the announcement on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall under an overcast sky and the patter of rain yesterday.

It is the second time in the past two years that Otaño has run for a seat that has traditionally been held by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez and his allies.

Otaño unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Martin Dilan for his seat last summer.

The recurring theme of his announcement was restoring integrity and respect in Albany.

“Having a government that we can trust in should not be a luxury; it’s a right for all of us,” Otaño said. “I will work tirelessly to bring back the public trust that has been broken.”

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilwoman Diana Reyna have endorsed Otaño.

“The bottom line is that he will bring a refreshing voice on behalf of his constituents,” Markowitz said. “Which will be necessary in that community after years of the domination of an individual.”

Otaño worked as general counsel for Markowitz.

Lopez resigned his seat last month, hours before the Assembly was set to vote on expelling him because of a slew of sexual harassment claims against him.

Otaño was the only person at the event to mention Lopez by name.

“We cannot and will not allow the repugnant behavior of those like Vito Lopez or the sleazy grimy politics of his obsolete machine to define our communities,” he said.

Along with bringing trust back to New York State government, Otaño pledged to fight for jobs, housing and education.

This will be a crowded race with Charvey Gonzalez (an aide to Dilan) and Maritza Davila (a Democratic district leader) also running for the seat.

The falling rain was symbolic for Frances Lucerna, the co-founder and executive director of El Puente. “It’s about cleansing,” she said.

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lastephe207@gmail.com (Latima Stephens) Elections Tue, 11 Jun 2013 21:51:38 +0000
Quinn Gets Endorsement From NOW-NYC http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/06/11/quinn-gets-endorsement-from-now-nyc http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/06/11/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.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Elections Tue, 11 Jun 2013 16:43:26 +0000
An App To Engage Voters #NYC2013 http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/05/14/an-app-to-engage-voters-in-this-years-pivotal-election-nyc2013 http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/05/14/an-app-to-engage-voters-in-this-years-pivotal-election-nyc2013 The city hopes to get more people engaged in this year's pivotal election with a new web app that aims to benefit both campaigns and voters.

The web app, named NYC Votes, will streamline campaign donations and also serve as a resource on candidates and the election.

NYC Votes Candidate Contribution ScreenAn early version of the software was demoed at a public hearing last night where developers showed a simple interface that included a step-by-step process for making donations.

The software draws from the city's campaign finance data and is expected to be released in two weeks. It will be available on most browser-enabled devices, including phones and tablets.

"We started from the premise of creating a much more seamless, end-to-end experience for participants in the voting process," said Art Chang, the chairman of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee of the city's Campaign Finance Board, which held the hearing and is in charge of developing the software.

The initial goal of the tool, Chang said, was to make "life easier for candidates, for constituents and for the CFB's audit staff," particularly surrounding small donations.

The city's 6-to-1 public matching system is designed to encourage a broad spectrum of people to contribute in small amounts; a $10 donation, for instance, could be worth as much as $70. In 2009, contributions of $175 or less made up nearly 70 percent of all contributions, according to the CFB.

"In the past these contributions have caused a lot of headaches," said Chang, whose firm lent a project manager to the app effort.

NYC Votes overcomes this by handling the credit card processing while also verifying addresses for compliance, enabling virtually any candidate to start taking plastic.

A magnet card swipe reader can also be used with the software, so that even campaign staffers at fundraising events can use their mobile devices to record contributions.

While initially aimed at helping campaigns to deal with donations, developers say they plan to add features in the coming months that will allow voters to find and research candidates; interact over social media; localize their ballot; and get elections results.

The app was developed by the VAAC with the assistance of partners from the city's civic-oriented tech developer community, including Pivotal Labs and Method. TekServe, an Apple sales specialist, has agreed to help candidates get swiping technology working on their devices.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 14 May 2013 20:20:31 +0000
Today's Lead Story: Race A Factor In Corruption Cases? http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/05/13/race-a-factor-in-corruption-cases http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/05/13/race-a-factor-in-corruption-cases

Political observers are beginning to ask whether race or ethnicity are playing a role in the state's most recent corruption cases. All five lawmakers charged in the growing corruption probe are black or Latino. So, too, are the eight people recorded for the FBI by state Sen. Shirley Huntley.

At a forum on Friday night titled "Attack on Black Leaders: Corruption or Conspiracy?" state Sen. James Sanders of Queens raised questions about whether black leaders were being targeted. “Why aren’t we hearing about other people wired and looking at different communities? Why is it seemingly a focus on this community?”

But experts and lawmakers tell The Associated Press that the current batch of cases may involved people of color, but that has not been the case in the past.

“People are going to think what they think, but it’s important to understand that what is going on in Albany transcends race, gender or party,” Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told The AP. “While this current wave has involved mostly people of color, prior to this it captured people across the aisle who were not people of color.

Federal corruption cases between 2009 and 2011 involved were all white, and half were Republicans. The most recent cases involve Democrats.

Weekend Roundup

Mayoral candidates discussed education policies at a forum hosted by the United Federation of Teachers on Saturday night, where Democratic frontrunner and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn tried to distance herself from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's policies (The Daily News, CBS). The Rev. Floyd Flake, who leads the largest church in the city, was said to be backing former comptroller William Thompson for mayor (Daily News).

In non-election news, the Brooklyn district attorney is reopening 50 murder cases brought by a decorated police officer whose record was recently tainted (). Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the state will pay for relocating power lines for homes that need to be raised after codes were changed following Hurricane Sandy. The Associated Press reported that a group that backs Cuomo went from reporting $17 million to zero after being required to name donors.

Policy Agenda

Council Speaker Christine Quinn announces new legislation to raise maximum product prices at newsstands at 11:30 a.m. (5 Park Place.) Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes an announcement at noon (201 Butler Street, Brooklyn). State Sen. Liz Krueger testifies at East Midtown rezoning hearing at 6 p.m. (Lighthouse International, 111 E. 59th St.)


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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) The Eye-Opener Mon, 13 May 2013 15:51:19 +0000
New Investigative Unit To Focus On Fraud, Waste At NYC Board Of Elections http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/24/new-investigative-unit-to-focus-on-fraud-waste-at-nyc-board-of-elections http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/24/new-investigative-unit-to-focus-on-fraud-waste-at-nyc-board-of-elections The Department of Investigation says it is establishing a six-person unit to focus on "fraud, waste and corruption" at the city's Board of Elections.

The DOI, the city's 140-year-old agency dedicated to rooting out corruption, announced today that it got $824,000 to start up the investigative unit and has begun filling positions.

Because the Board of Elections is staffed by city employees, the DOI has jurisdiction over the agency.

DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said in the announcement that the decision to create the unit followed the agency's review of the November 2011 election. That investigation was labor-intensive and pointed out the need for more consistent oversight of the BOE.

"The newly created unit will provide the capacity to investigate possible waste, fraud and corruption in an expanded way that was not possible before," she said in a statement.

Alex Camarda, the director of public policy at Citizens Union, a good government group, commended the DOI for establishing the unit.

“While there are hard working staff at the Board, we also know that many jobs are awarded based on patronage rather than merit," he said in a statement emailed to the Gotham Gazette. "A top-to-bottom review needs to be done to ensure the city only spends money on employees and positions that are necessary to carrying out an effectively run election. The DOI should start by getting a listing of every position within the Board and the responsibilities for each."

Citizens Union is the sister organization of Gotham Gazette.

Hearn said the DOI was "not casting aspersions on anyone."

"The NYC BOE plays a very important role, and many people do their jobs at the BOE well and honestly," she said in a statement emailed to the Gazette.

Michael Benjamin, a former state Assemblyman and co-deputy of the Bronx Board of Elections, said fraud, waste and corruption weren't a problem at the Board. Instead, he pointed to the need for funding of the BOE.

"We have a city comptroller's office who does audits. We have an [Independent Budget Office]. We have five district attorneys," he said. "There's enough oversight."

Instead, he said that funding "should be given to the Board of Elections to properly run elections."

In its review of the November 2011 election, the DOI found that the city could have saved $2.4 million if the BOE had effectively managed the process, including by consolidating election districts.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 24 Apr 2013 16:32:58 +0000
Cuomo: Create Independent BOE Enforcement Agency, Open Primaries http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/16/cuomo-create-independent-boe-enforcement-agency-open-primaries http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/16/cuomo-create-independent-boe-enforcement-agency-open-primaries

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has unveiled three new proposals to deal with corruption in Albany.

Cuomo's first proposal would create an independent enforcement arm in the State Board of Election that is overseen by Democrats and Republicans, who would be able to block investigations.

The governor said the BOE's enforcement has been "toothless," adding that the agency needs reforms "above and beyond this" but said an independent enforcement arm would be a good place to start.

Secondly, Cuomo proposed ending the Wilson Pakula law.

"You've heard of pay-to-play, this is pay-to-run," Cuomo said of the recent case of Sen. Malcolm Smith, who was arrested on allegations he tried to bribe his way onto the Republican line for New York City Mayor.

Cuomo said eliminating Wilson Pakula would allow candidates to run in open primaries. The proposal would not end fusion voting — where candidates can run on multiple party lines.

The governor's third proposal would expedite voter party enrollment, which typically takes until after the next election for a voter's registration to change. Cuomo has proposed making a registration change take three months no matter when it is submitted.

Cuomo indicated that he will be unveiling more proposals and said he has been working with legislators on a campaign finance overhaul. "There is no silver bullet," Cuomo warned.

Meanwhile, the Independent Democratic Conference, Senate Democrats and Assembly Democrats have come out with proposals for reforming election and corruption laws in the state. Senate Republicans have so far said little.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) Elections Tue, 16 Apr 2013 19:28:13 +0000
Following Scandals, A Bunch Of Plans For Reforming Albany http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/16/following-scandals-a-bunch-of-plans-for-reforming-albany http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/16/following-scandals-a-bunch-of-plans-for-reforming-albany Legislators returning from a spring break that saw the arrest of two of their colleagues on corruption charges find themselves in a new Albany where ethics reform is at the top of everyone's to-do list. And everyone has got a plan.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver unveiled his plan for public financing of campaigns today that includes six-to-one matching funds that would be paid for by taxpayers who opt in on state tax forms and with money recovered from securities fraud.

Silver's plan did not address the Wilson Pakula law that allows for cross-party endorsements. The law has come under scrutiny since state Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, was arrested on corruption allegations that he tried to bribe his way onto the Republican line for New York City Mayor.

The group that took perhaps the biggest hit from the recent scandal was the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference that had appointed Smith the chair of their five-memmber conference.

The IDC expelled Smith and, last Friday, issued its own campaign finance reform plans.

Those plans include a comprehensive public campaign finance system with a six-to-one match for candidates that opt into the system. It also establishes a minimum threshold a candidate must raise to opt in to the system while running for different elected positions. Meanwhile, candidates who choose not to opt in to public financing would face a system with far more restrictions and on corporate donations and contribution limits. The IDC plan would also create a statewide database to track campaign finance data and do away with the Wilson Pakula law.

For their part, Senate Democrats unveiled their own plan yesterday, which calls for the passage of a number of bills they have previously proposed. Among the proposals: Legislators convicted of corruption would lose their pensions, legislators could not use campaign cash for defense lawyers or for expensive meals and cars, and lobbyists would have to better document their spending. The Demcorats' proposal did not deal with fusion voting or restricting corporate donations.

IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein responded harshly to the proposals from Silver and the Senate Democrats because of their lack of action on Wilson Pakula.

"The IDC appreciates Speaker Silver's commitment to public financing," said Klein in a statement today. "Nevertheless, our members believe that unless we repeal Wilson Pakula, eliminate party slush funds, and prohibit multi-million dollar transfers from party committees to individual candidates, then we will fail to address the fundamental problems of our current campaign finance system. The proposal put forth by the IDC last week accomplishes all of these goals and will finally deliver the type of reform that voters demand."

However, ending the law would effectively destroy third parties like the Conservative and Working Families parties.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo previewed part one of his anti-corruption plans last week. You can expect that he has been negotiating with legislators on some sort of package. We could hear an announcement from him as early as today. Cuomo has championed public financing but Senate Republicans have stood firmly against it.

Republican Spokesman Scott Reif told the Times Union earlier this week that "allowing politicians to use taxpayer money to finance their campaigns is not a solution."

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) Elections Tue, 16 Apr 2013 18:22:17 +0000
Quinn Calls on Fellow Mayoral Candidates To Condemn Outside Groups' Ads #NYC2013 http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/09/quinn-calls-on-fellow-mayoral-candidates-to-condemn-outside-groups-ads http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/09/quinn-calls-on-fellow-mayoral-candidates-to-condemn-outside-groups-ads Democratic mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn is calling on her fellow candidates to "pledge to condemn and reject all independent expenditures" in the race to lead City Hall.

Quinn, the City Council speaker, said in a letter to nine other candidates that a television ad attacking her was "an all-out effort to undermine New York City’s public campaign finance system, the most progressive system in the county."

Quinn repeated her position against independent expendiatures during a press conference at City Hall today. She also defended her support of a bill the Council passed in March that excluded union communications from being considered independent expeneditures. The law drew criticism from the city's Campaign Finance Board when the bill was first floated in late 2012.

"What we did was just relation to member to member communications," she said, and defended the bill by arguing it received support from the city's leading good government groups. She said the TV spot against her was different because it was created for a general public and its backers refuse to disclose who is paying for it.

The ad in question was released yesterday and accuses her of back-room deals and putting politics before people. It was the first television advertisement to be released in this year's mayoral race.

A group of left-leaning labor groups and Democratic activists working under the moniker New York City Is Not For Sale 2013 is funding the over $1 million campaign against Quinn. The group says it has no connection to any candidate.

In the letter she sent today, Quinn points out that two of her fellow Democratic candidates — former Comptroller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio — had condemned independent expenditures in the past.

Quinn has asked TimeWarner Cable to take down the ad.

NBC-TV spoke with some of the other mayoral candidates to get their thoughts on the advertisement.

"I think it's a bit much, and very much over the top," Thompson said. "I think it's wrong."

Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion said he understood Quinn's "outrage."

"She's going to have to fight back and explain how she's managed the affairs of the City Council," he said.

De Blasio said he was not surprised Quinn is "in denial about how upset people are at the positions she has taken."

Republican John Catsimatidis said Quinn had a right to fight the ad in court if any facts were wrong. But, he said, "We do have freedom of speech in our country."

UPDATE:

Republican Candidate George McDonald, who has had his own problems with the campaign financing system, has released a statement about the Quinn attack ad. Writing to his opponent, he writes: "It’s a sad statement that having rigged the rules in your favor, you now want to only abide by those rules that support your candidacy."

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 09 Apr 2013 19:14:58 +0000
Today's Headlines: Malcolm Smith Arrested In Mayoral Plot http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/02/todays-headlines-malcom-smith-arrested-in-mayoral-plot http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/02/todays-headlines-malcom-smith-arrested-in-mayoral-plot

The New York Post reports that State Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested today for trying to bribe GOP leaders into getting his name on their mayoral ballot. He allegedly had Councilman Dan Halloran, a Republican, meet with party leaders and negotiate thousands in bribes. Halloran was also arrested today and is accused of collecting thousands in bribes for himself.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Tue, 02 Apr 2013 12:15:14 +0000
VIDEO: Dem Mayoral Candidates Talk NYPD, Paid Sick Leave On MSNBC #nyc2013 http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/25/video-dem-mayoral-candidates-talk-nypd-paid-sick-leave-on-msnbc-nyc2013 http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/25/video-dem-mayoral-candidates-talk-nypd-paid-sick-leave-on-msnbc-nyc2013

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg took Sunday morning airtime to discuss his new $12 million gun control ad campaign, four Democratic mayoral candidates touched upon a range of issues, including the New York Police Department and paid sick leave.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former Councilman Sal Alabanese, and current and former Comptrollers John Liu and Bill Thompson, respectively, all appeared on MSNBC’s "Up with Chris Hayes."

The four candidates took up five segments of the Sunday morning cable talkshow, with each candidate doing their best to distinguish themselves from the others as they reiterate their opposition to the New York Police Department’s policy of stopping, questionioning and frisking people on the street. Liu was the only firm opponent to the policy, with his fellow candidates adopting nuanced, critical stances on the subject.

"This is not America," Liu said, pointing to stop-and-frisk as institutionalized racial profiling. "This is not democratic."

De Blasio, Thompson and Albanese repeated their support for a reformed stop-and-frisk program with a greater emphasis on constitutional limits and community engagement. De Blasio went a step further, however, and blamed the lack of police oversight for the current state of affairs.

"There has been an absolute deference to the police commissioner of New York City in a way that we haven’t seen anywhere else in the country," he said. Three of the panelists agreed on one thing: Ray Kelly wouldn’t continue to serve as the city’s police commissioner if they were elected. De Blasio, Liu and Thompson all said they’d find a new NYPD chief, while Albanese said he wouldn't make a decision until after being elected.

Hayes then brought up the proposed inspector general idea as a possible oversight, which Albanese called an outright shell game. The former Bay Ridge councilman argued that the City Council already has the power to call NYPD policies into question, repeating the mayor’s argument that an inspector general would be redundant to existing checks on police.

"This is political theater," he said. "That’s what this is, because they’re punting the ball to an unelected official."

De Blasio struck back, arguing that most of the existing checks against police misconduct have been hampered by the current and former mayoral administrations.

"There has been an absolute deference to the police commissioner of New York City in a way that we haven’t seen anywhere else in the country," de Blasio said.

While the four candidates couldn’t agree on stop-and-frisk or the inspector general, they all said they support the Council's stalled paid sick leave bill. Thompson brought up his letter to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whose spokesman said she was unable to attend Sunday’s TV panel. Quinn has prevented bills on paid sick leave from going to a vote since 2010, often saying she supports the intent of the bill, but that the city’s economy was too delicate for it go to a vote at this time.

"If you’re concerned about the economy, where things are at now, put a year delay in," Thompson said. "But let’s move the bill. And what we’re seeing is one person, one individual blocking the wishes ... of the people of the city of New York."

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Mon, 25 Mar 2013 20:01:56 +0000
Tom Allon Drops Out of Mayoral Race http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/03/18/tom-allon-drops-out-of-mayoral-race http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/03/18/tom-allon-drops-out-of-mayoral-race Tom Allon has dropped out of the mayoral race, ending a long-shot candidacy to devote his energies to publishing.

His campaign announced early this morning that he would withdraw as a candidate because Allon had acquired the publisher of City & State, a political newspaper. A message left for his spokesman was not immediately returned.

"When I decided to enter the mayoral race in July 2011, I had a deep desire to lead this wonderful and unique city and to finally fix our crumbling public education system," Allon said in a statement released to the press.

He said that he would continue to "pursue a reform agenda as an education activist, a columnist and blogger, and parent of three teenagers."

Allon was running as a Republican and was endorsed by the Liberal Party, which released a statement saying that it respected his decision.

"One of the major reasons we endorsed Tom Allon for Mayor was that we knew he understands the priorities in life," said Liberal Party Executive Director Martin I. Hassner. "A family man with obligations and an outstanding background in the business of journalism and media, Tom stepped into politics with carefully selected priorities."

Hassner said that they would field other candidates for mayor and other contests in the city.

For more information about candidates, check out Gotham Gazette's Who's Running For What?

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Elections Mon, 18 Mar 2013 15:01:53 +0000
VIDEO: Mayoral Forum On Issues Facing Low-Income NYers @CSSNYorg http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/15/video-mayoral-forum-on-the-issues-facing-low-income-nyers-cssnyorg http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/15/video-mayoral-forum-on-the-issues-facing-low-income-nyers-cssnyorg

Community Service Society of New York held a mayoral forum with seven candidates last month to discuss the issues facing low-income New Yorkers. The organization made available this video of the forum earlier today. CSS also published online a voter guide to the candidates — who were asked questions on topics ranging from health to affordable housing — to coincide with the Feb. 28 event.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Fri, 15 Mar 2013 17:41:50 +0000
Weekend Roundup: #NYC2013; National Urban League In Harlem http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/02/25/weekend-roundup-nyc2013-national-urban-league-in-harlem http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/02/25/weekend-roundup-nyc2013-national-urban-league-in-harlem

NYC2013: Seven mayoral hopefuls gathered to discuss transportation policy at a forum on Friday night. Christine Quinn, the presumptive Democratic frontrunner, suggested she would like to see the city have more control over mass transit. Rival Democratic candidate Sal Albanese went further, suggesting he'd fight for control of it. Some of the presumed candidates rehashed the idea of a commuter tax to raise funds for the mass transit system. (The New York Times; The New York Post; Capital New York)

Notably absent from the forum was Joh Lhota, the Republican candidate who resigned from his job overseeing the mass transit system to run for mayor. Organizers said they couldn't reach him; a Lhota spokeswoman told the Times they didn't even try.

The next night, Quinn was booed at another mayoral forum by Upper East Side residents angry about her ongoing support of a waste transfer station in the neighborhood, even though the facility now sits in a flood zone. "I am not changing my position," Quinn declared. (The New York Post)

NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE IN HARLEM: Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Friday that the National Urban League was planning to move to Harlem and to open a museum about the American civil rights movement. Local leaders had proposed an annex of the Jazz at Lincoln Center, along with other amenities, at the same site, currently a garage (DNAInfo).

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Mon, 25 Feb 2013 12:07:54 +0000
Koch: 'Before Me It Was A Radical Left-Wing Town' http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/19/koch-before-me-it-was-a-radical-left-wing-town http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/19/koch-before-me-it-was-a-radical-left-wing-town

Partner MetroFocus sat down with former New York City Mayor Ed Koch to get his thoughts on Superstorm Sandy, his legacy and next year's election for mayor.

Koch, who remarked that part of his legacy was having lead the city to oppose the strike by transit workers in the 1980s, told the television show he is concerned about the undue influence of unions on the candidates for mayor.

"Before me it was a radical left-wing town that was being destroyed by the municipal unions and their demands for pensions and wages and so forth, and they brought us to the edge of bankruptcy," he told host Rafael Pi Roman. "Now we're a tower of strength again, but I worry about the impact of those same unions who are now making demands on all the candidates who are running."

Original link

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 19 Dec 2012 17:31:17 +0000
Today's Lead: MTA Chief Quits for Mayoral Bid http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/19/todays-lead-mta-chief-quits-for-mayoral-bid- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/19/todays-lead-mta-chief-quits-for-mayoral-bid- Joseph Lhota, the M.T.A. chairman, will step down on Friday and is expected run for mayor as a Republican. A law prevents him from entering the race while holding the chairmanship. He's received widespread praise for his response to Superstorm Sandy. But the agency will adopt its new budget on Wednesday, and is expected to vote on approving a slate of fare and toll increases. It is likely he'd face primary challengers as well.

In the Press...

No Clear Link Between Cancer and 9/11 Debris, Study Finds (NY Times)

9/11 Cancer Study Won't Settle Debate Over Risks (Associated Press)

Flood Insurance Program Provides Money to Elevate Homes Above Flood Level (Daily News)

In Staten Island, Sandy Victims Struggle With Housing Options (WNYC)

Life in the Projects: A Shift to Violence (WNYC)

Cost-Cut Ideas Forwarded to Governor (Albany Times Union)

Task Force Report Tells of Danger, Cuomo Lauds His Administration (Associated Press)

Council Passes Bill to Increase City Contracts for Minority Businesses (Gotham Gazette)

City Council to Fight Extreme Weather With Legislation (Gotham Gazette)

Frank J. Macchiarola, NYC Schools Chancellor From 1978-1983, Dies at 71 (NY Times)

Today's Report

Sandy's Impact on Immigrant Communities in NY Area
More than a month after Superstorm Sandy, many New Yorkers continue to struggle with the devastation of their homes, neighborhoods and livelihoods. One group that has faced particular challenges, but has received little attention, are the region’s thousands of immigrants. (read the full report)

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Wed, 19 Dec 2012 13:13:20 +0000
City Council On Board of Elections Reforms http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/05/city-council-on-board-of-elections-reforms http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/05/city-council-on-board-of-elections-reforms Members of the City Council have called for an overhaul of how the Board of Elections administers elections following the chaos at the polls seen this past November during the general election.

The Council announced the following recommendations during a committee hearing today on the BOE's performance during the election, which was complicated by Superstorm Sandy:

  • Early voting at poll sites
  • Easier access to absentee ballots
  • End the use of voter cards
  • Begin using electronic poll books
  • Better training for poll workers
  • More oversight of poll workers
  • Split shifts for poll workers
  • Larger polling locations
  • Hire an executive editor for the Board
  • Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act

Here is Speaker Christine Quinn's statement, sent by the Council's press office:

The New York City Board of Elections must take responsibility for systemic problems and fix them immediately. Poorly trained poll workers and chaotic polling place procedures have been recurring issues, election after election. Implementing the reforms we are announcing today is a step towards bringing about the change voters expect and deserve.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 05 Dec 2012 16:22:36 +0000
Headlines: Polling Site Mess; Nearly 1M Still Without Power http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/07/headlines-polling-site-mess-1-million-still-powerless http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/07/headlines-polling-site-mess-1-million-still-powerless Yesterday’s election saw long lines, jammed ballot scanners and shortages of affidavit ballots. Few voters used shuttle buses to get to substitute polling sites. Scanners were broken at polling sites in Gramercy Park and Park Slope. Two of three emergency sites in Coney Island opened over two hours late. Some poll workers at sites had no idea that people could vote using affidavit ballots, and the city printed up only 250 per election district. According to unofficial results, the state Senate is now tied, but thousands of absentee ballots still need to be counted in very close races. Even if the Democrats win a majority, a number of Democrats say they'll back Republican leadership. Meanwhile, embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez won re-election with 89 percent of the vote despite the scandal swirling around him.

In the Press...

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Wed, 07 Nov 2012 13:35:09 +0000
Civil Rights Group Calls for US DOJ to Monitor Election in Queens http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/31/civil-rights-group-calls-for-us-doj-to-monitor-election-in-queens http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/31/civil-rights-group-calls-for-us-doj-to-monitor-election-in-queens

A civil rights organization is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to monitor the general election in Queens County after the city announced it would not provide Bengali-language ballots as required under federal law.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund announced today that it had submitted a letter to the DOJ requesting that monitors be deployed to oversee voting in six states, including New York.

AALDEF has been at the forefront of underscoring the failure of the city's Board of Election to adhere to federal law requiring language assistance for Asian voters in Queens.

The BOE says it has a plan to provide translators and some materials in Bengali for the general election on Nov. 6. But it blames technical problems with the voting machines for being unable to provide ballots translated into Bengali.

"Although the Board of Elections has offered to provide translated sample ballots, comparing a Bengali ballot to an English ballot is cumbersome for voters," AALDEF attorney Glenn D. Magpantay said in his letter to the DOJ. "The use of translated sample ballots is a new and completely untested procedure in New York City. Moreover, there is little assurance that such translated sample ballots will even be at poll sites for Bengali-speaking voters to access."

During monitoring of the primary election on Sept. 13, AALDEF reported various problems with the availability of interpreters and lack of information for Bengali speakers.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 31 Oct 2012 15:31:29 +0000