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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?


June Campaign Trail

July Campaign Trail

In a 70-minute interview, Republican mayor candidate Michael Bloomberg outlined his position on a number of city issues. He supports surveillance cameras in parks. He thinks pedestrian barriers to control jaywalking have not worked. He would push for salary increases for teachers, police officers and other public workers. And tax cuts will not be a priority. (New York Times)

Three Bronx politicians imprisoned for trespassing during a protest of the Navy's bombing exercises on Vieques were freed after serving 37 days of their 40-day sentences. Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Bronx Democratic chairman Roberto Ramirez and City Councilman Adolfo Carrion left the Metropolitan Detention to cheers from supporters.(Daily News)

Offering his position as a sane alternative to Mayor Giuliani's war on the Port Authority, Mark Green yesterday said that the agency's lease on the airports should be extended, but that the Authority should be restructured to allow it to help for such city projects as a Second Avenue Subway. (NY Times)

Three of the Vieques Four leave jail today, and "step into one of the toughest political wars the Bronx has seen in a long, long time. "(Daily News)

"It's nice being an incumbent. You can spend money in the name of the taxpayers, and then take credit for looking out for them." Examples: a Peter Vallone invitation, a Fernando Ferrer advertisement in the Amsterdam News, a Mark Green newsletter, an Alan Hevesi event at City Hall. (Newsday)

Three Bronx politicians, arrested for trespassing to protest the Navy bombing range on Vieques, say their jailing and their release tomorrow could mark the beginning of a new political era. Bronx Democratic Party Chairman Roberto Ramirez, Assemblyman Jose Rivera and City Councilmember Adolfo Carrion Jr., a candidate for Bronx borough president, say they hope to use the public attention they gained from their arrest to galvanize black and Latino voters, among others, into a powerful voting bloc for this year's city elections. (Newsday)

A number of key labor organizations, including the United Federation of Teachers, have not yet endorsed anyone in the mayor's race. This may partly be due to internal divisions in the municipal employee unions over whom to favor as well as fear of alienating the members' next boss. But some experts see groups as delaying their endorsements until they might do the most good. The teachers, for example, are expected to back Comptroller Alan Hevesi but could be waiting to do so until that announcement would give Hevesi the biggest boost, probably in August. (Newsday)

In the public advocate race, though, one union has made its choice. District 37, which with 125,000 workers is the city's largest municipal union, decided yesterday to back City Councilmember Stephen DiBrienza. (Daily News)

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer formally announced his candidacy for mayor yesterday, making the speech on a South Bronx corner near where he grew up. Ferrer, who is hoping to attract a coalition of black and Hispanic voters, criticized Mayor Giuliani, calling the last eight years "the era of the clenched fist, the closed door, the locked gates at City Hall, the harsh rhetoric and mean-spirited policies that divide people and communities." And he assailed his Democratic opponents for saying "in effect, that they'll be Rudy lite, or Rudy with a smile, or a kinder, gentler Rudy." (Daily News)

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer officially announces his run for mayor today in Huntspoint.(Newsday)

The mayoral campaign of Michael Bloomberg has already hit some early bumps in the road, according to this Times article. Bloomberg has distanced himself from his own television ads. He praised the political skills of Hillary Rodham Clinton then recanted and began attacking her. And he gave an interview to gay newspapers in which he gave support to extending domestic-partnership benefits to employees of city contractors, but then appeared to back away from that position during the gay pride march. (NY Times)

Republican mayoral hopeful Michael Bloomberg yesterday pledged to appoint a deputy mayor and a special multi-agency task force to focus solely on affordable housing if he is elected. (NY Post)

Bill Thompson, former Board of Education President who is running for city comptroller, knew about cost overruns that escalated into a $1.9 billion school-construction crisis, according to the schools chancellor's office. Deputy Chancellor Tony Shorris said Thompson was notified in December that building costs for new schools at the time were "hundreds of millions of dollars" over budget. Thompson admitted the chancellor's staff informed him about cost overruns, but said it was not a problem of "this magnitude." (NY Post)

City Council district 37 in Brooklyn has a five-way race for the Democratic primary. But much of the focus of the campaign is on candidates Erik Malave-Dilan and Ricky Perez, and a feud between the two men who back them. (Daily News)

City Comptroller Alan Hevesi said yesterday that on the major issues, there's virtually no difference between the four Democratic candidates for mayor - a remark that drew the wrath of his rivals. Hevesi unveiled a housing policy Council Speaker Peter Vallone accused of stealing from him.(NY Post)

Taking their cue from the role that black churches have played in past elections for African-American candidates, a group of Hispanic evangelical leaders who say they represent 350,000 voters announced yesterday that they were endorsing the Bronx borough president, Fernando Ferrer, for mayor of New York City. "It is a reality that we oppose gay marriages and abortion and that all the candidates support those issues," said the Rev. Adolfo Carrión, a respected figure among Hispanic evangelists in New York and the father of the City Council member with the same name. "But there are other things that are important in life, like the education of our children, and we have to be pragmatic." (NY Times)

A second Queens Assembly member, Ivan Lafayette from Jackson Heights, has bucked the borough's Democratic machine and endorsed Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer for mayor. (Daily News)

The six men vying to take over City Hall each reached to embrace the rainbow flag yesterday, as the Democratic and Republican mayoral candidates joined in the annual celebration of gay pride that once again turned a large swath of Midtown and Lower Manhattan into a pulsating, gyrating party. The main mayoral candidates, particularly the Democrats, agree on most of the gay issues facing the city today. (NY Times)

Michael R. Bloomberg, a Republican candidate for mayor, criticized one of his Democratic opponents Fernando Ferrer yesterday for suggesting blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants, saying that local politicians should stick to local issues (NY Times)

The Department of Youth and Community Development apparently has no problem getting by without three of its top eight officials. Mario Bruno, the $70,000-a-year assistant commissioner for intergovernmental relations, quit on May 25 to work on Jim Molinaro's campaign for Staten Island borough president. Joseph Kovac, the $56,000-a-year special assistant to Commissioner Jerry Cammarata, is currently "on vacation," also working for Molinaro. So is Cammarata holding the place together? When a reporter tried to reach him Wednesday, he was told to call the Board of Education, where Cammarata serves on the board and has a second office. (NY Post)

Mayoral candidates Alan Hevesi and Mark Green are returning about $77,000 in campaign contributions delivered in batches by a prominent New Jersey developer and a Manhattan hotel executive after ethical questions surfaced about the gifts. (NY Times)

Mayor hopeful Fernando Ferrer yesterday called for blanket amnesty for undocumented aliens - including an estimated half million in New York City - and blasted the nation's immigration policies as a "joke." (NY Post)

Bundlers, people who amass campaign contributions for a particular candidate, are playing a major role in this year's mayoral campaign. These collections, which are legal but under scrutiny because of the city's tough campaign finance law, have so far accounted for 43 percent of the money given to Comptroller Alan Hevesi's campaign and for 37 percent of contributions to Council Speaker Peter Vallone. Many of the bundlers have a link to city government. The biggest was Steve Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board, who lined up $176,775 for Vallone. (New York Times)

Democratic mayoral hopeful Alan Hevesi will return more than $25,000 in contributions raised by Vijay Dandapani, a hotel executive who in 1993 pleaded guilty and served a year in prison for his involvement in an international bank fraud scheme. (Daily News)

Investigators for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau are talking to two business executives about their fund-raising efforts for Comptroller Alan Hevesi's mayoral campaign. The investigators are trying to determine whether donations were improperly "bundled," or collected from individuals without their knowledge or consent, a misdemeanor under state election law. One of the executives is Vijay Dandapani, chief operating officer of Apple Core Hotels, who has bundled more than $25,000 for Hevesi since 1999, according to campaign-finance records. Campaign Finance Board staff has asked Morgenthau to look into fund-raising by Democratic mayoral candidates Peter Vallone and Fernando Ferrer, but the investigation of Hevesi is farther along. One source told the Observer that Hevesi's fund-raising statements contain more possible discrepancies than those of his opponents. (New York Observer)

A former consultant at the center of an investigation into corruption in the city Buildings Department testified yesterday that he had given gifts to and arranged trips for Thomas Ognibene so that the Republican City Councilmember would help an associate get an influential position in the Buildings Department. Ognibene denied the allegations. The councilman cannot run again because of term limits and had been hoping for a state judgeship. He has not been charged in the investigation, though eight other people have. (Newsday)

Public Advocate Mark Green charged yesterday that the mayor and police commissioner tainted, subverted and undermined the NYPD internal investigation of the four cops who fatally shot Amadou Diallo. (Daily News)

The mayoral agenda of candidate Michael Bloomberg may still be a work in progress, but he apparently has some distinct ideas about where the political press should be: far away from him. Bloomberg joked yesterday that he would like to see City Hall press room, commonly known as Room 9, moved to Staten Island. He has also suggested that the role of mayor should be something more akin to chief executive, which he now happens to be, than civic shepherd. (NY Times)

Until last week, Dennis Gallagher was a good pick to replace his term-limited boss, City Councilman Thomas Ognibene. But the campaign for the Middle Village seat has turned after revelations that the Manhattan district attorney's office is investigating Ognibene's and Gallagher's ties to a Buildings Department scandal. (Daily News) And after a week of media silence, Councilman Ognibene said yesterday that he did not accept free trips, money or gifts. (Daily News)

With term limits forcing many City Council members from office, the few who are eligible for reelection enjoy the fact that incumbents seldom lose.(Daily News)

Though Fernando Ferrer is leading among Latinos, who make up about a quarter of the city's voting-age population, the other mayoral candidates are actively courting Latinos, who are seen as pivotal in the race. (NY Times)

Ferrer is gaining strength and Hevesi losing it, according to the latest poll, by NY-1, which reported Green at 23 percent; Ferrer, 21; Hevesi, 10; Vallone, 9. The poll found that each of the four would defeat Michael Bloomberg. (Daily News)

Democratic mayoral hopeful Alan Hevesi is paying people off the street $10 an hour to collect signatures to get his name on the ballot, breaking a longstanding tradition of using volunteers. (Daily News)

Sandra Roper, a lawyer in private practice, is planning to challenge incumbent Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes in the Democratic primary. Roper, who originally planned to run for the City Council, said she decided to run after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police can arrest people accused of an offense punishable only with a fine. "At the district attorney level," Roper says, "there's so much you can do to stop this kind of thing from getting out of hand." She also cited Hynes' opposition to repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws as a reason for her candidacy. (Courier-Life Newspapers)

The NYC dailies have become a variation of Bloomberg News Service: Michael Bloomberg appeared for the first time in a debate with his Democratic rivals for mayor. (NY Post)

Michael Bloomberg said he would probably not move into Gracie Mansion if he wins the mayoralty of New York. (NY Post)

He has been on the campaign trail for merely a dozen days, but Michael Bloomberg already has shown that he can be a man of contradictions. Bloomberg characterized the city's campaign-finance program as giving "career politicians tax dollars to get a new job." Two days ago, he insisted the ad did not criticize his rivals or the system but merely stated why he was funding his own campaign. As the only major mayoral candidate who has never run for office, Bloomberg is a political neophyte - a fact he paints as an advantage. But his inexperience has left him vulnerable to misstatements and awkwardly delivered remarks. Yet in a race devoid of much star quality, Bloomberg is trying to fill the void. (Daily News)

Under attack by his Democratic opponents and proponents of campaign finance reform, Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday backed away from his criticism of the city's campaign finance program, in which all the major mayoral candidates except for Bloomberg are participating. (NY Times)

Republican mayoral hopeful Michael Bloomberg enjoyed an unusual, publicized sit-down yesterday with Board of Education president Ninfa Segarra, who then praised the billionaire media mogul's education plan. (NY Post)

State Sen. Marty Markowitz rounded out the race for Brooklyn borough president yesterday with an official announcement of his candidacy. (Daily News)

The convictions of the so called Vieques Four--Rev. Al Sharpton, City Councilman Adolfo Carrión Jr., Assemblyman José Rivera and Roberto Ramirez, the Bronx Democratic Party chairman--were upheld in a federal appeals court yesterday. (New York Times)

Surrounded by men who have battled prostate cancer in recent years, Herman Badillo, Republican mayoral candidate, announced yesterday that 18 months ago he was told he had the same disease. (New York Times)

Michael Bloomberg faces two big obstacles as he seeks to become New York's second Republican mayor in a row. For one, he's not Rudy Giuliani. For another, he's not running against David Dinkins. (New York Observer)

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer today launched a series of radio ads for his mayoral campaign that focus on his differences with Mayor Giuliani. (Newsday)

Michael Bloomberg's latest television ad highlights his not-quite rags-to-riches story. It relates how the Republican mayoral candidate went from being an accountant's son who parked cars to help pay his college expenses to billionaire media mogul. (Daily News)

The best laid plans in City Council District 30 seem to have gone awry. Incumbent Republican City Councilman Thomas Ognibene was to have been named to a judgeship on the state Court of Claims and leave office early, paving the way for a nonpartisan special election this summer. The thinking was that, as the lone Republican, Ognibene aide Dennis Gallagher would have an easy time against a field of Democrats in the race, keeping the seat in GOP hands. Now, however, both Ognibene and Gallagher have been implicated, though not charged, in a criminal investigation alleging that the councilman received favors from a building consultant in return for exercising his political clout at the city Buildings Department on the consultant's behalf. An unnamed official says Governor Pataki is aware of the charges, originally reported in this week's Village Voice, and has no immediate plans to name Ognibene to the judgeship. Gallagher was not available for comment. (Newsday)

The Conservative Party yesterday announced its candidates for the three city-wide offices, and none are exactly household names. (New York Post)

Likening himself to John Kennedy, Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg told a London newspaper that his big bank account gives him an appeal and glamor his less wealthy opponents can't match. (Daily News)

Al Sharpton made it official yesterday that he's not running for mayor. In a jailhouse interview, Sharpton, who is serving time for trespassing on Navy land to protest the Navy bombing of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, said he would, however, endorse a mayoral candidate. As for himself, Sharpton says he can have more impact on the national front and so is exploring a run for the White House (Newday)

Signatures are the hottest political commodity as some 349 candidates continue their frenzied drive for enough names to qualify for September's ballot. The pen-bearing citizens who accost you as you go about your daily business see themselves as the foot soldiers for democracy. (NY Times)

Michael Bloomberg gave his first policy speech yesterday as a candidate for mayor, about education. He favors abolishing the Board of Education and handing over failing schools to private companies. He would require students to wear school uniforms, and order teachers or other school employees to make home visits to every student. (NY Times)

Terrance M. Gray, a registered Republican and a lawyer from Queens, announced yesterday that he was running for mayor with the support of the city's Conservative Party. He lost no time in attacking the candidate whom he clearly sees as his major rival, billionaire Michael Bloomberg. "He's a Democrat running for the Republican nomination," Gray said. "Hillary Clinton's been a New Yorker longer than he's been a Republican.(NY Times)

Mayoral candidate Mark Green calls on the governor for ten million dollars to convert diesel school buses so that students with asthma are less at risk. (Daily News)

Senator John McCain said yesterday he disagreed with mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg's criticism of New York's campaign-finance program but would support his campaign anyway.(Daily News)

The four Democratic mayoral candidates jostled for support before the city's largest municipal union, District Council 37, last night. (Newsday)

Story of Felipe Luciano, running for City Council in district 8 (Daily News)

Senator John McCain said he hopes to campaign for Michael Bloomberg in Ne York. (It is not clear whether McCain is aware of Bloomberg's stand against the public financing of campaigns) (Time)

The city's six major mayoral candidates courted Hispanic voters as they marched up Fifth Ave. yesterday in the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade.(Daily News) (NY Times)

With all the mayoral candidates in agreement that fixing the schools is their No. 1 mission, they have been dueling for months to see who can find the most school crises, who noticed them first and who has the best answers. How would they fix the schools? Although the four Democrats largely agree about what needs to be done, each has a magic bullet that he uses in virtually every speech: Public Advocate Mark Green talks about how he'll shift money from jails to schools in order to lower class sizes. Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer calls for a 30 percent raise in teacher salaries. City Council Speaker Peter Vallone says he can increase education funding by $500 million a year using real estate tax revenues. City Comptroller Alan Hevesi wants to extend school into the evening, the weekend and even the summer. For Republican candidate Herman Badillo, it is to end "social promotions." Michael Bloomberg's first policy speech, Monday night, will be on education. (Newsday)

The Hispanic Society, the New York Police Department's oldest Hispanic officers organization, yesterday endorsed City Comptroller Alan Hevesi in his run for mayor, over the two Hispanic candidates in the race, Fernando Ferrer and Herman Badillo. (NY Post)

Thomas Ognibene will not leave the City Council early for a judgeship, in a strategic move seen as intending to help keep the seat in district 30 Republican. (Daily News)

A group of the city's largest developers and landlords have pledged to raise $250,000 for each of the four major Democratic candidates for mayor. Contributions from brokers, developers, lawyers and landlords account for more contributions than any other single industry. (NY Times)

Billionaire mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg's third television commercial attacks the city's campaign finance program to which all five of his major rivals for mayor subscribe. "I'm not a professional politician, and I intend to finance my own campaign," he says in the commercial. Good-government groups accused him of taking the low road in attacking what is often held up as a model campaign finance program. (NY Times)

Billionaire Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg yesterday promised to release his tax returns next month - but his chief spokesman later backpedaled, promising only to release "financial disclosure" information that candidates must file by July.(NY Post)

Republican mayoral hopeful Herman Badillo discovered a year ago that he had prostate cancer. His spokesman showed letters from his doctors that he is now cancer-free and medically fit to serve as mayor. (NY Post)

Herman Badillo, Puerto Rican orphan turned first Puerto Rican Congressman, Bronx borough president, city commissioner, deputy mayor, formally announced his fourth run for mayor of New York City. The themes of his campaign will be crime reduction, educational reform and urban renewal. He challenged his rival for the Republican nomination, Michael Bloomberg, to weekly debates in English and Spanish. (NY Times)

In his second day of campaigning, Michael Bloomberg said that the race for mayor of New York City should be nonpartisan, that the candidates should appear without party affiliation on the ballot. "This is about delivering services, rather than ideology," he said. (NY Times)

Conservative Party chief Michael Long said a "real Republican" will step forward next week as the Conservative Party's mayoral candidate. That could siphon votes from Bloomberg, who would already lose against any of the Democratic candidates, according to the latest poll.(Daily News)

Mayoral candidate Mark Green still leading in latest poll. (Newsday)

Adolfo Carrion, who just finished a week-long hunger strike, has some trouble running for Bronx borough president stuck in jail serving 40 days for protesting the Navy bombing exercises in Vieques, Puerto Rico. But his incarceration could inspire the Latinos of the Bronx. (NY Times)

The Queens district attorney is looking into allegations that Queens councilmember Al Stabile, candidate for Queens borough president, mishandled hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Little League he ran for 23 years. "There's no money to take,"Stabile replied. (NY Post)

Jeannette Gadson officially announced for Brooklyn borough president. (Daily News)

In his first official day on the campaign trail, Republican mayoral candidate and billionaire Michael Bloomberg made an array of stops, visiting every borough but Brooklyn. The media mogul received lots of attention but at times demonstrated how new he is to politics. In an appearance at a city-funded senior center in Queens, one of the locales Mayor Giuliani has declared off-limits for Democratic candidates, Bloomberg said cryptically that "everybody is a human being, and I think we have forgotten that. We all want to watch TV and not talk to other people." More substantively, Bloomberg said he wanted to do for schools what Giuliani has done to crime. Bloomberg's challenger for the Republican nomination, Herman Badillo, is expected to formally announce his candidacy today. (Daily News)

Adolfo Carrion Jr., who is running for Bronx borough president, says he doesn't doesn't want his Vieques jail term to become an issue in the campaign. Carrion, along with Rev. Al Sharpton and two other Bronx politicians, is serving a prison sentence for trespassing May 1 during a protest of Navy bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican island. Although he is the Democratic Party organization1s candidate for the borough presidency, Carrion faces a stiff challenge from State Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., as well as City Councilmember June Eisland and Ronald Law, a onetime aide to former Sen Daniel Moynihan. (Daily News)

Although the City's Uniformed Firefighters Association is not set to endorse Alan Hevesi's mayoral campaign until today at earliest, the union has already gathered at least $16,000 in contributions for the comptroller. Some of the money comes from investment advisers to firefighter and other city pension funds, a practice that could be banned under legislation pending before the City Council. City campaign finance records show that union vice president Michael Carter was an intermediary for donations made to Hevesi by executives at Alliance Capital Management and the Cypress Group, which handle millions of dollars in city pension funds. Carter and a campaign spokesman said the contributions are entirely legal. (New York Times)

The Republican primary for mayor of New York City lost all the tidiness that party leaders had hoped for yesterday as two men, Herman Badillo and Michael Bloomberg, one a perpetual candidate and the other a billionaire political neophyte, announced that they were entering a now messy, peculiar race. (NY Times)

Herman Badillo resigned yesterday as chairman of the City University of New York board of trustees, saying he wanted to focus his energy on campaigning for mayor. (Daily News)

Bloomberg has been trying to entice one of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's deputies, Rudy Washington, to become his running mate as public advocate if he wins the GOP primary, sources say, a move that would racially integrate the ticket while promising continuity with Giuliani's administration. (Newsday)

The Independence Party has chosen Assemblyman Robert Straniere (R-S.I.) as its candidate for Staten Island borough president, guaranteeing him a place on the ballot in November. (Daily News)

Tony Avella, a Democratic candidate for the 19th City Council District seat, proposed a 10-point plan to solve neighborhood traffic problems that includes permitting a task force of citizens, transportation experts and officials to determine ways to crack down on aggressive drivers and speeders in residential areas.(Daily News)

Democratic mayoral candidate Alan Hevesi was eased through a Long Island Expressway traffic jam with an emergency siren sounding and lights flashing yesterday-in apparent violation of the law. Hevesi wasn't on city business, he was headed to a midday interview with Gabe Pressman on the mayoral race in a chauffeur-driven city car, his office confirmed.(Newsday)

The text of Michael Bloomberg's television commercial announcing his run for mayor, airing on NY1, WCBS-TV, WNYW-TV, WNBC-TV, WABC-TV & WB11:

"There's no place like New York -- I love this city. But we know, this town's a tough place to govern. A strong mayor at City Hall has made a big difference. Today, crime is down; New York City is doing better. My name is Mike Bloomberg - and I'm running for mayor -- to build on what's been accomplished -- not tear it down.

I've spent my whole adult life in New York City, raising a family, creating jobs, helping others. Managing. Teaching. Leading. My experience has taught me how to get things done: bring people together, solve problems; be honest, shoot straight; hold myself accountable for results. When you make a promise, you keep a promise.

Going back to politics as usual in New York City is crazy.

Together, we'll keep making progress on crime. And if we bring the same energy and same focus that made our streets safer and use it to improve public schools and public health care, this great city will be even better. Thank you."

Petition season begins today. As of yesterday, 348 candidates have filed with the Campaign Finance Board for matching funds. They will now be going door to door to get enough signatures to appear on the primary ballot. (Daily News) As Michael Bloomberg begins his campaign for mayor, by running 60-second television ads today, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he "would certainly know how to run the City of New York." (NY Times)

Mark Green greeted rival Michael Bloomberg's entry into the campaign with a "Dear Mike" letter yesterday, asking the billionaire why he left the Democrats to join "the party of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney." (Daily News)

Bronx borough president candidate Adolfo Carrion, one of the Vieques 4 jailed for a protest against the Navy bombing of the Puerto Rican island, is ending his hunger strike. (Newsday)

Ellen Raffaele has dropped out of the race for City Council in district 25, Jackson Heights. Insiders say the Queens machine has offered her a district leadership as well as future consideration for her husband for a judicial post. (Daily News)

Analysis of the race for mayor of New York City from a conservative perspective: "It was corruption that the New York City Democrats stood for even more than liberalism," and the reason why Giuliani won. So whoever the new mayor will be, while personally honest himself, he may usher in a new era of corruption. (Weekly Standard)

The Liberal Party has endorsed Alan Hevesi for mayor (NY Times)

The choice of Hevesi could create a three-way race in November and splinter the Democratic vote. The party also endorsed City Councilman Herbert Berman for comptroller and Assemblyman Scott Stringer for public advocate.(Daily News)

Mark Green marched with striking maintenance workers in East New York. (NY Post)

The municipal elections in New York City this year have attracted a record number of candidates to the campaign finance program, with 324 enrolled as of the deadline yesterday, although that total will most likely jump even more once applications in the mail are counted. As of yesterday evening, 16 people had signed up to run for mayor, 8 for public advocate and 2 for comptroller.(NY Times)

Michael R. Bloomberg, the Republican billionaire, plans to announce his candidacy for mayor on Tuesday in a 60-second television commercial on channels 2,4,5 and 7 in which he introduces himself to voters.(NY Times)

State Assemblyman Scott Stringer formally announced his candidacy for public advocate yesterday, the third candidate to do so. (NY Times)

Peter Vallone officially announced his candidacy to be the mayor of New York City yesterday. (Daily News)

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has been buying air time for a TV blitz that will begin Tuesday and last at least three days. (Daily News)

Willie Colón, the salsa performer and onetime candidate for Congress, withdrew from the race for Bronx borough president and endorsed a former rival, State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. Colón said he had decided instead to run for public advocate. (NY Times)

Comptroller Alan Hevesi insists his audits netted the city many millions of dollars in savings over his two terms, citing "recurring" benefits such as those from a major review of school-bus contracts. (Newsday)


May 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

Voter Registration Forms
After printing and filling out the voter registration form, please send them by mail to:

Board of Elections
32 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, NY

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Poll Worker Applications

After completing the forms, please send them to the address on the form.

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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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