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Recent Feature Stories:
The Nod of the Bosses... Scramble for the City Council... Basic Training for Council Recruits... How They Stack up on Term Limit... Dynasties... The Speech that Saved Term Limits...


What is Searchlight on Campaign 2001?
Searchlight on Campaign 2001 is a guide to the political races in what many are calling New York City's most significant campaign season in modern history.

What is so significant about it?
For the first time in memory, most political offices in the city will be wide open to people who have neither money nor connections.

Why will the races be so open?
There are two reasons. This year, a new law goes into effect that limits the terms of New York City elected officials, forcing the mass retirement of most incumbents in the city - including the mayor, the comptroller, the public advocate, four of the five borough presidents, and 36 of the 51 members of the City Council. At the same time, a new campaign finance law kicks in, which allows any candidate who agrees to certain restrictions to collect four dollars of matching funds for every dollar they raise.

What does this have to do with this site?
As a public service, Searchlight on Campaign 2001 has a separate page for each race, including all the races for City Council, that not only sorts out the candidates -- many of them new and unfamiliar -- but also offers an opportunity to learn about the issues, and the districts themselves.

Who is behind Searchlight on Campaign 2001?
Searchlight on Campaign 2001 is a project of Gotham Gazette, a non-profit, non-partisan, non-ideological (but non-boring) web site about New York City news, policy and politics published by Citizens Union Foundation, part of the oldest and largest good-government group in the city (founded in 1897).

What's wrong with the way the regular press covers the races?
That is for you to decide. And one of our regular features, Campaign Trail, helps you to decide. Campaign Trail provides succinct summaries and links to campaign articles in the commercial press.

Who are we?


February Campaign Trail

March Campaign Trail

The City Council Voted 40 to 4 yesterday to uphold the current Campaign Finance Law formula, which provides four dollars in city money for every dollar that a candidate raises, up to $250. The vote assures that the Council could override a mayoral veto. (NY Post)

Bronx borough president Fernando Ferrer was as ecstatic about his recent endorsement by state comptroller Carl McCall as he was irritated by the virtually simultaneous, undercutting comments of two of his presumed allies, Reverend Al Sharpton and union leader Dennis Rivera. (Village Voice)

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said yesterday that the cost of the city's generous campaign finance program was approaching the "pig factor," and that it was feeding a rapacious industry of political consultants, advertising executives and pollsters. Although the mayor has repeatedly faulted the program, yesterday was the first time that his criticisms extended to a porcine metaphor. (NY Times)

Norman Siegel officially joins the race for Public Advocate. He said he has raised about $240,000. Scott Stringer and Betsy Gotbaum have each raised more than $650,000, and Stephen DiBrienza and Kathryn Freed more than $350,000 (NY Times) (Daily News)

The race to fill Public Advocate Mark Green's shoes is shaping up to be a surprisingly competitive, anyone-can-win contest - for a $150,000-a-year job (first in line of succession to the mayor) that critics say has no real power and should be abolished. (NY Post)

The children of at least a half dozen current City Council members are running for their parents' office. One, Joel Rivera, 22-year-old son of Jose Rivera, has already won in a special election. The others are: in District 40 (Brooklyn): Yvette Clarke, daughter of Una Clarke; in District 16 (Bronx): Helen Diane Foster, daughter of Wendell Foster; in District 37 (Brooklyn): Erik Malave-Dilan, son of Martin Malave-Dilan; in District 22 (Queens): Peter Vallone Jr., son of Peter Vallone Sr.; in District 42 (Brooklyn): Donald Wooten, son of Priscilla Wooten. Some fear that the parents are using the children to hold their office for them until they are eligible to run again. (Daily News)

The race for Bronx borough president is heating up, and is seen as a theatrical battle between two rival political organizations. On one side, State Senator Pedro Espada Jr, has already announced his candidacy. On the other, Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez and the Bronx Democratic organization is looking for a strong candidate. Among those interested are Assemblyman Jose Rivera, City Councilman Adolfo Carrión Jr. and Jose L. Ithier, former chief of staff to current borough president Fernando Ferrer. But adding to the political theater is some music: Willie Colon, the salsa musician who ran for Congress in 1994, said over the weekend that he, too, was a candidate. (NY Times)

The battle over term limits in New York is making news out-of-town, where the two sides are sometimes depicted as extreme: "That referendum was bought and paid for," said City Councilmember Kathryn Freed, opposing term limits. "No one, given the choice, would have chosen these Draconian measures. It's a recipe for disaster and chaos." "Is there no shame in that chamber?" said term limits supporter Michael Meyers, executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, who called Council members "a collection of total embarrassments who've been in office forever." (Washington Post)

Vallone and Ferrer: Eliminate tolls on bridges and tunnels (NY Post)

Green presents plan to make Queens Boulevard safer. (NY-1)

Does New York's election system need fixing? Critics fault old voting machines and old-style patronage; the Board of Elections is only city agency that runs openly on a system of old-style patronage, doling out jobs along party lines. (Newsday)

Clyde Haberman column on term limits: "Poor New Yorkers. How many unwanted civics lessons must they endure?.Odds are that terms limits will not be repealed." (NY Times)

Though all of them say they are not fans of school privatization, the four mayoral candidates refused to take a stand yesterday on the plan to put five of the city's worst schools under the private management of Edison Schools. (NY Post)

Legal experts say the City Council has the power to overturn the term limits law, which was passed by referendum, but if they did so, they would surely be taken to court. (NY Times) Meanwhile, the Council is not taking the bait from Mayor Giuliani, who has hinted that he would sign a bill repealing term limits, if in turn the Council supported his effort to scrap the latest version of the Campaign Finance Law. (NY Times) Instead, the Committee on Governmental Operations yesterday unanimously approved an effort to reinforce the 1998 law, which provides four dollars in city money for each dollar raised by candidates if they agree to certain restrictions. (NY Times) (Daily News)

22-year-old Joel Rivera savors his win as the youngest person ever elected to City Council. "I am nothing but a child within the village of the 15th Council District," he told supporters at Bronx County Democratic headquarters. "This campaign was 22 years in the making." Meanwhile, state Sen. Pedro Espada, who backed his rival, announced plans to run for Bronx borough president, in a continuing showdown between the Espada and the Ramirez political factions in the Bronx. (Daily News)

Haydee Zambrana, a bilingual education counselor in Corona, becomes first Hispanic, ninth candidate, in the race for Queens Borough President. (Newsday)

In the special election in the 15th City Council district in the Bronx, a 22-year-old junior at Fordham College has been elected to his father's old seat. Joel Rivera received 2,937 votes, or 57 percent, while Edwin Ortiz received 2,246 votes, or 43 percent, according to unofficial tabulations by the City Board of Elections. It is a win as well for the Bronx Democratic Organization and its leader Roberto Ramirez. (NY Times) (Daily News)

Dennis Rivera, the president of the hospital workers' union, 1199, may stay neutral in the mayoral race, as may teachers union president Randi Weingarten and Lee Saunders, executive director of District Council 37, the largest municipal union. (NY Times) (NY Post)

Michael Bloomberg has hired David Garth, who has helped elect mayors since times, John Lindsay twice, Ed Koch three times, Rudy Giuliani in 1993. (Daily News)

Surprising her supporters, Margarita Lopez, vehement activist turned City Council member, is one of those trying to repeal termlimits. (Village Voice)

Without a real crisis facing the city, the four Democratic mayoral candidates are in search of issues. If they are having trouble "capturing the mood of the city, it might be because there isn't a mood." (New York Magazine)

The four candidates for mayor of New York City and virtually everyone else who is even considering being a Democratic candidate in the next two years paraded through the hotel corridors in Albany at the annual President's Day weekend gathering of the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus. (NY Times)

Mayor Giuliani will reappoint Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to a five-year term this week, though it is up to the next mayor whether to keep him in office. The four leading Democratic candidates and Republican Michael Bloomberg said it was too early to say. (Daily News) Deputy borough presidents in Staten Island and Brooklyn, both running for their bosses' jobs, are looking for a way around the recent ruling by the Conflicts of Interest Board that they could not keep their current jobs if they wanted to raise campaign funds. (Daily News)

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone "used several recent committee appointments" as a reward to opponents of the bill to repeal term limits. Stephen Fiala from Staten Island, who has reportedly promised to vote against the repeal, was named to the Government Operations Committee, which will hold hearings on the repeal bill. (Crain's NY)

Term limits may weaken the next Council Speaker's check on the mayor (NY Times)

At least three current Council members are vying to be the new Speaker: Bill Perkins, Gifford Miller, and Angel Rodriguez. A fourth, Adolfo Carrion, says he'll be in the running for Speaker if he does not run for Bronx Borough President. (NY Post)

The candidates for City Council "who have listed the most money, the best consultants, and are given the best chance to win are the candidates with the best political connections" - top aides, current public officials, and members of "powerful political families." (Daily News)

Clyde Haberman column on mayoral forum at the City University of New York Graduate Center: Hevesi and Vallone, the more right-leaning Democrats, criticized Mr. Giuliani but in language not remotely inflammatory. Ferrer and Green, tilting left, did not flinch from testing verbal bombs for possibly permanent slots in their arsenals. "I'm not Rudy Lite," Mr. Ferrer said. "I'm not a kinder, gentler Rudy, or Rudy with a smile." As for Mr. Green, no one had to scratch his head over whom he had in mind when he denounced "government by tantrum, government by vendetta, government by enemies list."(NY Times)

Mark Green talks tough on crime: "In a serious riot situation, helicopters and tanks arguably could be appropriate." (The Guardian of London)

"The four Democrats running for mayor announced yesterday that they would join the City Council and 21 other candidates for city offices in court to try to block Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's bid to revamp the city's campaign finance system." (NY Times)

Special Election in District 15 in the Bronx next Tuesday pits two political science majors against one another for a seat on the City Council. (Daily News)

Green says MTA should hold hearings on the proposed changes to subway lines. (Daily News)

Fernando Ferrer has lined up endorsements from State Comptroller and gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall, and more than a dozen mostly African-American legislators, including City Councilman Philip Reed of Manhattan and Assemblyman Darryl C. Towns of Brooklyn. (NY Times) (Daily News)

"He hasn't formally announced his candidacy, but billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg finally appears to be off and running for mayor," appearing last night at the Lincoln Day Dinner, one of the Republican Party' s biggest annual events in the city, on the occasion of his 59th birthday. Bloomberg has met with many politicos lately, including Al Sharpton. (Daily News)

Republican Assemblyman Bob Straniere (R,C-South Shore) will announce his candidacy for Staten Island borough president today at City Hall. (Daily News)

Michael Hardy, best-known for his defense of Al Sharpton in the defamation lawsuit over the Tawana Brawley matter, is reportedly planning to run for Manhattan district attorney against long-time prosecutor Robert Morgenthau. (Newsday)

City Council's push to repeal term limits is self-serving and poorly timed. (Village Voice)

The real industry favors Green in its donations so far, but contributes to all the mayoral candidates (Village Voice)

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer calls for major election reforms: raising the pay for Election Day workers, replacing New York's outdated voting machines with ATM-like machines or Internet voting, allowing same-day voter registration and moving primary day from September to June. (NY-1)

Mayor Giuliani hints at a deal to support the repeal of term limits for members of the City Council in exchange for the Council's support for changing the campaign finance law. (NY Times)

G. Oliver Koppell, former New York State Attorney General, formally declares for a City Council seat in District 11 in the Bronx (Daily News)

Former police commissioner Bill Bratton, who considered running for mayor, formally endorsed Public Advocate Mark Green for the job, saying Green had the best ideas to continue to reduce crime while improving community relations. (NY Post)

Race for special election to the City Council in District 15 in the Bronx exposes rift in Democratic Party. (Daily News)

Republican Assemblyman John Ravitz announced Monday that he has decided to withdraw from the race for mayor. (NY-1)

They are calling it the bore war: "After eight years of being outshouted by Rudy, the Democratic reliables angling for this fall's primary -- Mark Green, Alan Hevesi, Peter Vallone, and Fernando Ferrer -- have been upstaged again, by a governor's race that's a full two years away. They're the four horsemen of the anticlimax." (New York Magazine)

Councilmember Gifford Miller, who is hoping to become the next City Council Speaker, has formed a political organization called Council 2001, and raised $80,000 out of a hoped-for $200,000 for it. Council 2001 will "raise money and give advice to prospective council candidates in this year's campaign," in hopes of currying favor with them. Other current members of City Council who would like to be the next Speaker: Bill Perkins and Philip Reed of Manhattan, Adolfo Carrion Jr. of the Bronx and Tracy Boyland of Brooklyn. (Crain's NY)

About 1.8 million New Yorkers do not have health insurance, though many of these are eligible for government coverage. The number of uninsured New Yorkers is twice the average national rate, and some say that they "are part of a looming city health crisis that will emerge as a major theme in this year's mayoral campaign." (Newsday)

If the City Council is successful in repealing term limits, many members say they would not run again anyway, others "waffle," but several say they definitely would: Bedford-Stuyvesant's Annette Robinson Cypress Hills' Martin Malave-Dilan and Ozone Park's Alfonso Stabile (Daily News)

Manhattan 10021: "Residents of that posh 20-block stretch of apartment buildings on the Upper East Side gave more money to the four mayoral candidates than all the residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island combined," $1.46 million so far. Just blocks away in East Harlem (zip code 10039) the total so far is just $2,175. Hevesi is the leading fundraiser in all boroughs except the Bronx, where Ferrer leads. (NY Post)

The recent ruling by the Conflicts of Interest Board that bars appointed officials, but not elected ones, from campaign fundraising unless they resign, will affect several races: Brooklyn Borough President (where deputy borough president Jeannette Gadson is a candidate and has been actively promoted by her boss Howard Golden); Staten Island Borough President (where deputy borough president James Molinaro is a candidate and has been actively promoted by his boss Guy Molinari); Comptroller (where Board of Education President William Thompson, who sought the ruling from the Conflict of Interest Board, will now step down three months before his term ends); and at least four races for City Council: district 24 in Queens (Barry Grodenchik), district 29 in Queens (Melinda Katz), district 45 in Brooklyn (Chris Hylton), district 49 in Staten Island (Michael McMahon and Jon Del Giorno) (Daily News)

"Randy Mastro, former deputy mayor for Mayor Giuliani, is throwing his support behind former Dinkins Parks Commissioner Betsy Gotbaum for public advocate." (Crain's NY)

City Council hearing on voting: "The city, which relies on 40-year-old voting machines that regularly break down and where other polling glitches are routine, is not about to see election reform or new voting technology any time soon." (NY Times)

The Council's introduction of a bill to repeal term limits is the occasion for columnist John Tierney's attack on the Council, quoting Cooper Union Professor Fred Siegel: "The role of any city council is inherently limited because it's a legislative body in what is essentially an administrative government. City councils are always prone to provincialism, and they're rarely composed of people capable of doing other jobs." But term limits will make it even worse, because of the greater chance of electing "loco local activists . At some point we're going to run out of streets to rename, and the new Council could start doing something dangerous." (NY Times)

Opponents and proponents face off in City Hall before 22 City Council members introduced a bill to repeal term limits for City Council members. (NY Times)

City Council Speaker Vallone introduced a bill to keep the current campaign finance formula, allowing candidates to collect four dollars for every one dollar they raise. The mayor has sued to overturn the formula. (Daily News)

In one of the first major endorsements of the mayoral race, State Comptroller Carl McCall, New York's highest-elected black official and a candidate for governor, plans to endorse Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer's mayoral bid next week. Ferrer and Hevesi have both endorsed McCall over his rival, Andrew Cuomo. (NY Post)

A new poll by Marist College reports that "undecided" still leads in the mayoral race, with 29 percent of the respondents, followed by Public Advocate Mark Green, the choice of 26 percent. The next highest is Vallone with 18 percent. (Daily News)

Green launches political offensive to prove that he too, despite his image, can be tough on crime. (NY Observer)

The battle to repeal term limits for members of City Council begins today, when 22 current members plan to introduce a bill to repeal the law first passed by voter referendum in 1993. They have scheduled a press conference on the steps of City Hall this morning. Ninety minutes later, their opponents will hold their own press conference there. (Daily News)

Twenty-three people have contributed to all four leading Democratic candidates. The list includes City University of New York Chancellor Michael Goldstein, publicist Howard Rubenstein, Lee Perlman, the chief financial officer of the Greater New York Hospital Association, and George Marangoudakis of Manhasset, whose Marangos Construction Co. of Queens has had about $40 million in contracts with the city over the last 10 years. Their contributions are clearly not about ideology, as one good-government advocate observed, but about access. (NY Post)

More repercussions from the ruling by the Conflicts of Interest Board that bars top city employees from raising campaign funds. Conservative James Molinaro, who is running for Staten Island Borough President, may have to resign his job as Deputy Borough President. (Staten Island Advance)

Green: Give cops higher pay and free tuition, and repair their precinct houses. (NYTimes)

Candidates for City Council are reacting angrily to the council members' proposed bill to overturn term limits. ".this last ditch attempt to overturn term limits demonstrates why term limits were necessary in the first place," said Eric Gioia, a lawyer who is running for the Council seat in Queens currently held by Walter L. McCaffrey, one of the bill's sponsors. Former Mayor Ed Koch said, since term limits were decided by voter referendum, they should only be overturned by referendum. (NY Times)

Legal experts say that the Department of Justice would have to review the City Council's plan to repeal term limits, since three of the city's five boroughs fall under the supervision of the Voting Rights Act. (Daily News)

Board of Education President William Thompson, running for city comptroller, said yesterday he would resign his post to comply with a ruling made last week by the Conflicts of Interest Board barring top city employees - but not elected officials - from raising campaign funds. (Daily News)

Donors to Giuliani's 1997 re-election campaign have already given a combined $1.67 million to the four Democrats running for mayor, with Hevesi receiving 44 percent, Vallone 26 percent, Green and Ferrer each 15. So far, Comptroller Hevesi has raised a total of $6.1 million, far more than his rivals. (NY Post)

Who will be the first Asian-American member of the City Council? While Margaret Chin and Rocky Chin are both well-known and respected in District 1 in Lower Manhattan, it is likely to be John Liu in district 20 in Flushing. (City Limits Weekly)

Helen Marshall wants to be the first black borough president of Queens. (City Limits)

The special election to fill the vacant City Council seat in district 15 in the Bronx, set for February 20, "has developed into a high-stakes political battle by warring Democratic factions fighting to determine who has greater heft in the Bronx." (NY Times)

Mayor Giuliani says he may not veto the City Council's bill to overturn term limits if it comes to his desk. (NY Post)

Will the budget for the police department become an issue in the campaign? Yes, crime has been reduced, but the police department now costs $3.1 billion a year, which is nearly twice what it was a decade ago. Can a future mayor afford to touch a police budget that is larger than the entire state of Vermont's? The mayoral candidates seem to agree that some jobs currently performed by officers should be done by civilians, and none are looking to expand the budget. (Newsday)

Hevesi has given $300,000 in raises and bonuses to staff at Comptroller's office, including 11 who have contributed to his campaign for mayor. (NY Post)

A couple of lefist activists have Republican Ronald Lauder to thank for term limits. One-time Black Panther Charles Barron is running in City Council district 42 in East New York, and is given good odds to take over from current Council member Patricia Wooten, who cannot run this year. Erica Ford, who blocked subways during Days of Rage 14 years ago, is running in Council district 27 in St. Alban's to take the seat currently occupied by Archie Spigner. (Daily News)

George Spitz, 78-year-old retired state auditor who is the only candidate who has formally announced for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City, has run for office a half dozen times since 1968, never winning. "This is going to be my best race," he says. "I'm the only vegetarian, only road runner, only veteran of World War II, only senior citizen, only union person, only Orthodox Jew and only high school dropout in the race." (NY Times)

At least 22 members of the City Council have announced they are sponsoring a bill to overturn term limits for the City Council, though city voters approved term limits by referendum twice, in 1993 and 1996. The bill will be introduced at a full Council meeting on Wednesday. (NY Times) (Daily News)

In what is being called continuing machinations in the Staten Island borough president's race, there is increasing speculation that Republican leaders are moving to clear the way for Deputy Borough President James Molinaro, a Conservative Party member, to run in the GOP primary. This would involve easing out the county Republican chairwoman, Leticia Remauro, who is believed to oppose Molinaro's participation in the party primary. Remauro, an assistant to the president of the Battery Park City Authority, has been mentioned for a possible job with the Bush administration in Washington and more recently for county clerk. Molinaro's candidacy has the backing of Mayor Giuliani and the outgoing borough president, Guy Molinari.(Crain's NY)

McCall, kicking off campaign for governor, calls Pataki detached and lethargic. (NY Times)

The ten candidates who have raised the most money for their various races for open City Council seats are: John Liu of Queens, $131,370; former Assemblywoman Melinda Katz of Queens ($113,995); former community board Chairman Alan Gerson of Manhattan ($106,615); labor leader Arthur Cheliotes of Queens ($101,635); civil rights lawyer Rocky Chin of Manhattan ($94,617); Michael McMahon of Staten Island ($89,960); Legal Aid lawyer Steven Banks ($81,160); district leader Tony Avella of Queens ($78,680); Peter Vallone Jr. of Queens, son of the council speaker ($75,495); and Board of Elections official Jon Del Giorno of Staten Island ($72,479) (Crain's NY)

Congressman Eliot Engel discouraged Terry Bastone from running for City Council district 11 because she used an anti-Semitic slur, not because she is not Jewish, Engel says. (Daily News)

Green: Create youth courts, with teen jurors, to combat juvenile crime. (Daily News)

Political consultant Hank Morris, described as ruthless and messianic, has been helping mayoral candidate Alan Hevesi's rise in politics for more than a decade, and is now trying to make him more acceptable to African-American voters (NY Observer)

Latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Public Advocate Mark Green ahead in the race for mayor with 27 percent of likely voters saying they would choose him, a full ten points more than his nearest rivals, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and City Council Speaker Peter Vallone. Comptroller Alan Hevesi trails with 10 percent. (Daily News)

State Comptroller Carl McCall, one-time president of the city Board of Education and a former state senator, will tonight officially declare himself a candidate in the 2002 race for governor of New York. (NY Post)

January Campaign Trail


My Street Address:

My ZIP Code:

Find what city council district you are in -- and learn more about what's going on there, and who's running.

What is this?
Gotham Gazette's Searchlight on Campaign 2001 offers a comprehensive look at what is being called New York City's most significant campaign season in modern history. (See the left-hand column for an explanation).

Districts of the Week

District 1 -- Lower Manhattan
Whoever wins the election in district 1 will represent immigrant Chinese garment workers, as well as Wall Street traders living in Battery Park City. There are several candidates hoping to be the council's firsts -- the first Asian-American man, the first Asian-American woman, the first gay Rhodes Scholar, the first dot-com guru -- running against some politically well connected opponents. Endorsements and fundraising will play a big role in this race. But voter turnout could be the main determinant of who will next represent district 1 on the council. The key question is how many voters from each community will come out on Election Day.

District 7 -- Washington Heights, Manhattan
The northern tip of Manhattan has become one of the most popular places for new immigrants to call home. The northern tip of Manhattan is a place that today's new immigrants call home. The majority have come from the Dominican Republic, but also from countries in South America, Eastern Europe, and Asia. But it is not just new immigrants that are moving in. Students, artists, and other Manhattanites looking for less expensive rents and larger apartments have also moved north. Ten Democratic candidates are competing for the 15,000 voters expected on primary day. The winner who emerges from a crowded field of candidates will have to balance the needs of the newcomers with those who have lived there for years.

District 16 -- Highbridge, Bronx
The neighborhoods of district 16 are the city's poorest, with the highest rate of unemployment and the lowest median household income. But those who live there also point out that much is positive and stable about the area, thanks in large part to local organizations, not-for-profit agencies, and houses of worship that help hold the neighborhoods together. Each candidate for City Council believes that through his or her connections to churches and local organizations, they can help empower the community toward a better life. Helen Foster, the current council member daughter, will face Michael Benjamin, who has worked as an aide to several government officials and Anthony Curry, a Bronx neighborhood activist.

District 20 -- Northeast Flushing, Queens
This year district 20 may elect the first Asian-American ever to the City Council to an area which now has the second highest number of immigrants from Korea and Taiwan in the city. There are three Asian candidates in the Democratic race who have each drawn big endorsements. Council Speaker Peter Vallone endorsed Terence Park, City Comptroller Alan Hevesi endorsed John Liu, and the New York Times recently endorsed Ethel Chen The campaign has also drawn national and international press coverage

District 25 -- Jackson Heights, Queens
Thirty-seventh Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens is one of the most diverse streets in the world. Little India quickly blends into Little Colombia, with vendors selling Latin American food to Colombians, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Mexicans, and Uruguayans. And each summer, the Queens Pride Parade fills the same street with rainbow banners. So it is no surprise that this election year the district produced a diverse field of candidates. A number of them, however, found out that getting on the ballot is not an easy task, especially when the Queens Democratic organization sends teams of lawyers to challenge petitions. But five Democratic candidates survived and will face off on September 11.

District 31 -- South East Queens
When a heavy rain hits southeast Queens, many residents in neighborhoods like Springfield Gardens, Laurelton and Rosedale head to the basement with a bucket in hand. And it has been that way for the last 50 years. In the rush to build housing in the area after World War II, developers overlooked the need for storm drains in hopes that the city would eventually build a city-wide sewer system. The plan never materialized and the area has experienced "100-year rains" three times in the last decade. The eight Democrats -- all with little experience overseeing massive infrastructure projects--will try to convince voters that they can finally solve the flooding problems.

District 35 -- Central Brooklyn
The residents in council district 35 have some of the highest incomes in Brooklyn and some of the lowest. They can play in a famous park and a beautiful botanical garden, and live in the city's most crumbling public housing. They can attend one of the four institutions of higher learning in the district, and the worst-scoring high schools in the city. Such juxtapositions are a way of life for a district that includes the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens; mid dle-class African-American communities near Prospect Park; immigrant communities from Haiti, Sierra Leon, Nigeria, and Trinidad, and in Crown Heights, a mix of Hasidic Jews and African-Americans. Seven Democratic candidates are campaigning in hopes that they can bring some kind of unity, and attention, to the area. Their backgrounds are as diverse as the neighborhoods themselves.

District 39 -- Park Slope/Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
The candidates in district 39 include a chief of staff for an Assemblywoman, the husband of a member of U.S. Congress, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, an attorney and president of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, the district manager of Community Board 6, and a labor organizer. This is the race to watch this year. The group of high-profile Democrats have raised a lot of money, almost $1.4 million combined.

District 45 -- East Flatbush
In no place in the city are the effects of campaign finance reform and term limits being felt more than in East Flatbush. The seven Democratic candidates seeking to represent this largely West Indian district come from a number of Caribbean nations. Many have been working on politicians' staffs and serving with community groups, clearly hoping someday to win their own elected office. Term limits has presented them with that opportunity, and they want to make the most of it. But this race that usually draws only about 8,000 voters could be decided by just a few votes. The candidates are attempting to come up with anything that will separate them from the pack.

District 49 -- North Shore, Staten Island
Staten Island has always been somewhat of a suburban stepchild to New York City. When a 1998 survey asked New Yorkers why they go to Staten Island, the top two responses were ''visiting friends and relatives" and ''passing through.'' But in many ways, the north shore has more in common with areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn than with the rest of the Staten Island. The top priority for all the candidates -- Jon Del Giorno, an administrative manager for the Board of Elections, Mike McMahon, an attorney and counsel to current Councilmember Jerome O'Donovan, and Debi Rose, an administrator at the College of Staten Island and the first African-American candidate in Staten Island politics -- is to make sure that the island becomes more than just a turn-around-point for the over one million tourists who ride the free ferry from Manhattan each year.

Register To Vote or Be A Poll Worker

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Links You Can Use

Government sites
NYC Campaign Finance Bd.
NYC Board of Elections
NYC Voter Assistance Comm.
NY City Council
Federal Election Comm.

Local non-partisan sites
NY League of Women Voters
Common Cause New York

National non-partisan sites
Ctr. for Responsive Politics
Common Cause
League of Women Voters

NAACP Voter Empowerment
Vote Smart


Political consultants
Amer. Assc. of Pol. Consultants

Prime New York

Gotham Gazette
The Empire Page
Campaigns and Elections
Legislative Gazette

Political columnists
Andrea Bernstein
Joe Conason
Mario Cuomo (radio)
Rudy Giuliani (radio)
Clyde Haberman
Nat Hentoff

Joseph Mercurio
Joyce Purnick
John Tierney
Michael Tomasky

Political parties
Right to Life
Working Families
Marijuana Reform
Natural Law Party
Taxpayers Party

Political clubs and groups
Blueprint Camp. Finance Reform
Central Queens Greens
The Jefferson Democratic Club of Flushing
NY Young Republican Club
Stonewall Democratic Club
Village Independent Dems.

2001 Election Calendar

June 1 -- Deadline for candidates to join the Campaign Finance program, qualifying for the four-to-one match of contributions.
June 5 - First day for candidates from the eight major parties (Democratic, Republican, Indpendence, Conservative, Liberal, Green, Working Families, and Right to Life) to circulate petitions. Candidates running for City Council must collect the signatures of at least 900 people living in the district for which they are running in order to appear on the Primary ballot. Candidates not running under these eight major parties do not appear on the Primary ballot and have a separate set of deadlines.
July 12 - Deadline for major party candidates to file petitions.
July 10 - First day for unaffiliated candidates to circulate petitions, in order to appear on the ballot in the General Election. They must collect the number of signatures equal to five percent of the total enrolled in that party.
August 7 - Board of Elections announces candidates appearing on the Primary ballot.
August 17 - Last day for non-absentee voters to register to vote in the Primary Election.
August 21 - Deadline for non-major party candidates to file petitions to be included on the General Election ballot.
September 4 - Last day to postmark application for absentee voting in the Primary
September 10 - Last day to personally deliver application for absentee voting in the Primary Last day to postmark absentee ballot for Primary
September 11 - Primary election; Polls open at 6:00a.m. and close at 9:00p.m.; Absentee ballots must be hand-delivered by 9:00 p.m.
September 25 - Runoff Primary election for Mayor, Comptroller and Public Advocate, if needed
October 12 - Last day to for non-absentee voters to register to vote in the General Election
October 30 - Last day to postmark application for absentee voting in the General Election
November 5 - Last day to hand-deliver an application for absentee voting, or to postmark an absentee ballot for the General Election.
November 6 - General Election; polls open at 6:00a.m. and close at 9:00p.m. in NYC; Absentee ballots must be hand-delivered by 9:00 p.m.

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