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GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT ON CAMPAIGN 2001: CAMPAIGN TRAIL ARCHIVES

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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?
Masthead

 

March Campaign Trail

April Campaign Trail

3/31
All four major Democratic candidates for mayor denounced Giuliani's new decency commission. (Associated Press)

Alan Hevesi appears likely to get the Liberal Party nomination for mayor - but only if his poll numbers improve (NY Post)

3/30/01
The first ever "Big Apple Straw Poll" of the three city-wide races was held last night at the headquarters of the New York District Council of Carpenters in downtown Manhattan. Sponsored by more than 40 reputable political organizations (such as the Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century, the New York Young Republican Club, and the League of Conservation Voters), the event seemed like a combination political convention, quiz show and lottery. Each candidate spoke for seven minutes. Then hundreds of registered voters (many of them supporters who had been bused in) dropped little plastic apples into the clear plastic bins labeled with the candidates of their choice. The results were not only unscientific but may actually approach the world's most perfect illustration of "completely meaningless": William Thompson got the most blue apples for comptroller, Scott Stringer the most silver apples for public advocate, and Fernando Ferrer the most red apples for mayor. (Gotham Gazette)

At a forum earlier in the evening in front of members of the Service Employees International Union (which includes health care workers), the four major Democratic candidates for mayor "made a full-throttled appeal for the backing of New York labor, calling for more money for home health care workers, denouncing the policies of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and promising, if elected, to walk picket lines in support for unions trying to organize during the next four years." (NY Times)

Of the major candidates for mayor, only Peter Vallone says he has never smoked marijuana. Ferrer, Hevesi and Badillo all give a variation of: they smoked it once and didn't like it. Green will not say, but 30 years ago he did call the "joint-to-junkie myth" a "scare tactic." (Newsday)

3/29/01
Peter Vallone is making his commitment to city schools a centerpiece of his mayoral campaign. His alternative budget, released yesterday, calls for $548 million more for education than Giuliani has. But it is dependent on the New York State Legislature dedicating real estate taxes for education and abolishing the Board of Education, and even Vallone's allies say Albany is unlikely to do that. (NY Times)

Queens Democratic Party Leader Thomas Manton dominates the most disciplined party organization in the city, which considers primary contests strife, and avoids them. But this year, five people are vying for the open seat of borough president, all 14 City Council seats in Queens have no incumbent because of term limits - some have as many as eight candidates - and two Queens pols, Hevesi and Vallone, are running for mayor. Manton has a lot of deciding (endorsing) to do, but has not done it yet. (NY Times)

3/28/01
Twenty-six years ago, as a young member of the New York State Assembly, Alan Hevesi tried to make marijuana legal for New Yorkers over the age of 18. (NY Observer)

Michael Bloomberg took steps to counter the news that he and his firm were sued for sexual harassment. In a statement, he announced that he took a polygraph test, which demonstrated he was truthful in his denials of such allegations. He called three old lawsuits "out-and-out extortion."(NY Times)

The Rev. Al Sharpton said yesterday that while he enjoyed being courted by Democrats seeking his endorsement, he still had not ruled out a run for mayor. "I will not make a decision until April." (Newsday)

The New York Young Republican Club endorsed Herman Badillo for mayor. (Daily News)

Contrary to the way the Times has covered him, Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice says, Alan Hevesi is separating himself from Giuliani, , and attaching himself to the United Federation of Teachers. (Village Voice)

In the race to succeed City Councilmember Victor Robles in District 34, political heavyweights are lining up behind the different candidates-Assemblymember Vito Lopez behind Dominican-born Diana Reyna, Congressman Edolphus Towns seems to be leaning towards local school board head Juan Martinez, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez is likely to support her aide Evelyn Cruz if Cruz enters the race. Other candidates: Latino Police Association head Anthony Miranda and the Rev. Edward Norman, brother of Brooklyn Democratic County Leader Clarence. (Daily News)

3/27/01
There is rising concern among the four Democratic candidates for mayor of New York about how serious a threat the candidacy of billionaire communications mogul Michael R. Bloomberg might be in a general election campaign. (NY Times)

The Greens and the Sharptons attend opening night of "Judgment at Nuremburg" together (Daily News)

3/26/01
Teenagers have trouble finding jobs in New York City, Alan Hevesi said, and he wants to do something about it. Only 20 percent of people age 16 to 19 were employed in 1998 (the last year statistics are available) compared to 45 percent nationwide. Hevesi proposed tax incentives for businesses to create jobs and fill them with young people. (NY Post)

Both Peter Vallone and Mark Green reacted to a report in the Daily News yesterday that subway ridership reached 1.38 billion last year, and the subways are more crowded than ever. Vallone called for hearings into subway crowding. Green called for a Subway Riders Bill of Rights, which would include a refund of the fare for anybody who had to wait for a train more than half an hour.(Daily News)

3/25/01
Herman Badillo criticized Michael Bloomberg, his likely rival for the Republican nomination for mayor. "He has never issued a position on anything, and he has no background in city, state or federal government.The only reason for him running is that he can afford it."(Daily News)

Peter Vallone and Alan Hevesi disagree over how to pay for improvements to the city's schools. Hevesi proposes the possibility of a tax increase for those earning more than $1 million a year. Vallone said new taxes would not be necessary. (NY Times)

But he did say he would dedicate the city's real-estate taxes to education. The two were among five candidates for mayor (the four leading Democrats and Herman Badillo) at a forum on education. (NY Post)

St. Albans Councilman Archie Spigner is poised to deliver his potent Guy R. Brewer Democratic Club to aid Helen Marshall's bid for Queens Borough President. (Daily News)

3/24/01
Though Alan Hevesi and Mark Green are similar in many ways --Jewish, with advanced academic degrees, supporters of abortion and gay rights, and opponents of the death penalty -- the recent attack and counter-attack over campaign financing comes as no surprise to those who know of their history.(Newsday)

Peter Vallone next week will propose boosting tax rebates for co-op and condominium owners. (NY Post)

3/23/01
Twenty-five weeks before the Democratic primary, Alan Hevesi is launching the first television commercials of the race for mayor. The initial ad is biographical, and sprinkled with Hevesi's quirky campaign slogan, "mebq" - more experienced, better qualified. (Daily News)

City Councilman Mike Abel dropped out of the race for Queens borough president yesterday, leaving only fellow Councilman Al Stabile running on the Republican line. (Daily News)

In the first heated exchange of the mayoral race, city Controller Alan Hevesi called on front-runner Mark Green yesterday to disclose fully how much cash Green's millionaire real estate brother Steve Green has raised for the campaign. (Daily News) Green attacked Hevesi for going negative. (Newsday)

Where is Queens Democratic boss Tom Manton on the mayoral race? No one seems to know, and he is the only Democratic county leader not to endorse one of the four major candidates for mayor this year. The topic popped up yesterday when Assemblyman John Lavelle, Staten Island Democratic chairman, endorsed Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer for mayor. (Newsday)

Another article about the relatives of incumbents running for office. (NY Times)

3/22/01
Hevesi has unveiled his plan to improve the city's public school system, by calling for a tax increase if necessary to help pay for higher teacher salaries, new school construction and reductions in class size. (NY Times) The teachers union likes his plan. (Daily News) His rivals have similar proposals, since education has become Topic A in the race for mayor. (Newsday)

An advocacy group against the death penalty calls for Speaker Peter Vallone to allow for a vote by the City Council to call on the State Legislature to put a moratorium on the death penalty in New York. Vallone and Ferrer support the death penalty; Ferrer has come out for a moratorium. Green and Hevesi oppose the death penalty. (Newsday)

The mayor and the members of the City Council have no actual power to enact or defeat any measures on capital punishment, which is determined on a state level.

3/21/01
Declaring that New York City was heading largely in the right direction under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Alan G. Hevesi announced his candidacy for mayor yesterday. He lamented the condition of New York's public schools while praising its police force as he sought to make his case for winning the Democratic nomination to succeed a popular Republican mayor. (NY Times) (Daily News)

City Comptroller Alan Hevesi received more than $40,000 in campaign contributions from contractors building a water tunnel for the city while his office was auditing the project (NY Post)

Tony Seminerio decides not to run for Queens Borough President. (Newsday)

3/20/01
Alan Hevesi is planning to announce his candidacy for mayor formally today in a midtown hotel. (NY Times) (NY Post) (Daily News)

Critics blasted a mailing by City Council Speaker Peter Vallone to an estimated one million homes, at a cost to the taxpayers of $300,000, as a veiled campaign ad at public expense for Vallone's bid for the Democratic mayoral nomination. (Newsday)

3/19/01
The four Democratic mayoral candidates do about six forums a week together (Crain's NY Business)

3/18/01
In a profile of undeclared Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg (who declined to be interviewed), David Saltonstall paints a picture of an incautious, in-your-face maverick who has no experience with "consensus-building" in the public sector, but who has assembled a daunting team, and has four billion dollars in the bank. He has begun to campaign here and there, and is holding "get-to-know-you meetings with a broad range of city powerbrokers." (Daily News)

Of the major candidates for mayor, only Peter Vallone marched in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. The three other Democratic candidates stayed away because the parade organizers again banned gay and lesbian Irish from participating as a group. Undeclared Republican candidate Michael Bloomberg also did not attend.(Daily News)

Alan Hevesi is trying to line up more support from African-Americans (Daily News)

Noach Dear says his wife Rickly will not run after all for his City Council seat when term limits force him out. (Daily News)

3/17/01
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani yesterday vetoed legislation intended to protect one of the nation's most generous campaign finance systems, just a day after an effort to repeal term limits failed and galvanized dozens of candidates vying for open City Council seats. Members of the City Council, including Speaker Peter F. Vallone, immediately pledged to override the veto. (NY Times)

The fees that the Democratic mayoral candidates are paying their political consultants vary, according to filings at the Campaign Finance Board. David Doak, Peter Vallone's consultant, had not received any payments as of the most recent filing deadline, January 16. David Axelrod said that his monthly retainer for his client Fernando Ferrer will be $3,000 a month. Hank Morris charges his client Alan Hevesi an average of $5,000 a month. Hank Sheinkopf is charging Mark Green $10,000 a month. Green aides say Sheinkopf's fee is higher because he was hired as a political adviser, not a media consultant, and thus will not get paid the going rate of six to ten percent of the TV ad campaign. (Crain's NY Business)

3/16/01
The four major Democratic candidates are beginning to make veiled attacks against one another in an effort to differentiate themselves to voters. (Daily News)

3/15/01
The recent ruling by the city Conflicts of Interest Board that is forcing Board of Education President Bill Thompson to resign could have wide-ranging implications in future elections. The board ruled that high-ranking, appointed city officials cannot raise money if they are candidates for a city office. Since most prospective candidates begin raising money years before an election, the ruling means future candidates who are top city employees will either have to quit years before they run or hold off raising money until closer to the election. The ruling affects up to 2,000 city officials. (Crain's NY)

The Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, the Democratic club that mayoral candidates Alan Hevesi and Mark Green tried to pack with supporters (many of them straight), in hopes of influencing its endorsement, voted narrowly last night to back Hevesi, 188 to 160. Ferrer got three votes and Vallone just one. (Daily News)

3/14/01
The New York City Campaign Finance Board yesterday ordered Alan G. Hevesi, the city comptroller and a Democratic candidate for mayor, to return $67,600 in campaign contributions that the board said had exceeded the limit allowed by law. (NY Times). In other campaign finance news, at least 42 employees in Hevesi's office have contributed money to his mayoral campaign (Daily News)

The Democratic mayoral hopefuls were given permission yesterday to start raising campaign funds for a likely runoff contest Sept. 25. A runoff between the two top vote-getters is required if no one wins more than 40 percent of the ballots in the September 11 primary. (Daily News)

On an almost daily basis, the two Democratic candidates for New York City comptroller, City Council member Herb Berman and Board of Education President William C. Thompson Jr. wander from one political function to another, hoping to entice any who will listen to pay attention to the race for the city's No. 3 job. The city comptroller regularly performs audits of the city budget and makes budget recommendations, as well as approves all city contracts. The annual salary is $160,000. No Republican candidate has materialized. (NY Times)

Hopefuls to replace Mary Pinkett in City Council District 35 in Crown Heights and Clinton Hill include a police officer, Democratic district leaders, a former aide to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, a longtime social critic, a Pratt Institute professor, an African immigrants, a storeowner, members of a community board and a Hasidic man who works for a downtown developer. (Daily News)

3/13/01
Governor George Pataki said Michael Bloomberg would be "an excellent candidate" for mayor. (Daily News)

Hevesi too (as well as Green) has packed the membership of the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats with his supporters, many of them straight, in the hopes of winning the club's endorsement. (Daily News)

3/12/01
Four years ago, when Fernando Ferrer ran for mayor, he positioned himself as a centrist, coming out for the death penalty and against abortion, in orderto win with a coalition of Hispanic and white voters. Now, "he is trying to building a coalition of Hispanics and blacks. He is, as a consequence, less interested in seeming sensible or centrist than in seeming passionate and radical." (The New Yorker Magazine)

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone's political aides have engaged for more than a year in a testy tug-of-war with campaign-finance regulators over a fund Vallone directed as council leader (Newsday)

There is a new TV ad, financed by businessman Ronald Lauder, against the City Council's effort to repeal term limits. (Daily News)

Ferrer, reversing course again, says he now supports a moratorium on the death penalty. (NY Times)

Siegel announces yet again for public advocate. (Daily News)

3/11/01

The possibility of a mayoral campaign by Michael Bloomberg, the head of a financial-news company, raises serious questions of conflict of interest. Bloomberg has already ruled out selling his company or putting it in a blind trust. So, if he were to become the mayor: 1. How would city financial incentives for his business - millions of dollars worth are now on the table - be negotiated? 2. How would he prevent special interests from currying favor with him through his firm, by buying advertising or other means? 3. How would his own reporters cover him? (NY Post)

Poll shows New Yorkers would favor Bill Clinton for mayor (WCBS)

Yet another article talks about how boring the mayoral candidates are. (The Economist)

Add Susan Lasher to the list of family members seeking City Council seats held by mothers, fathers and now husbands. Lasher wants to succeed her term-limited husband, Howard Lasher, in district 47 in Brooklyn, which covers Brighton Beach, Coney Island and part of Midwood. Other candidates for the seat: Alex Brook-Krasny, the Russian-born operator of Funorama, school board members Brian Gottlieb (who is an aide to Congressman Anthony Weiner) and Domenic Recchia, veteran Brighton civic leader Pat Singer, and Inna Stavitsky, who works for a Jewish social service agency. (Daily News)

Former Republican chairman Fran Werner's planned fund-raiser for Democratic borough president candidate Carol Gresser is causing a ruckus among Queens politicos, especially Republicans. (Daily News)

So far, only Pedro Espada Jr. has formally declared his candidacy for Bronx Borough President. But others known to be considering running include City Council members Adolfo Carrion, June Eisland and the Rev. Wendell Foster; Assemblyman Josť Rivera; Bronx Overall Economic Development head Joe Ithier; former state Sen. and City Councilman Israel Ruiz, and salsa legend Willie Colon. The reason why the Democratic party organization has not narrowed the field down, some say, is based on the strategy that the more candidates running, the more incentive for their supporters to go to the polls - and also vote for current Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer for mayor. (Daily News)

3/10/01
Mark Green, the New York City public advocate who worked for ten years for Ralph Nader, has moved to distance himself from the man he describes as his mentor, declaring that Nader will not come to New York to campaign on his behalf in the mayoral race. Green said Nader shared much of the blame for Al Gore's loss to George W. Bush last year. (NY Times)

At least a third of Public Advocate Mark Green's staff joined an influential gay Democratic organization, the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, last month to help Green win the group's endorsement for the mayor's race. Several of the employees and campaign workers who joined are married, and few are known within the gay community as activists. (NY Post)

City Councilmember Julia Harrison did it again, insulting Asian-Americans as she had five years ago, even though the 80-year-old legislator represents one of the city's largest Asian communities. At the City Council hearing on the bill to repeal term limits (which Harrison supports), she said that Asian candidates were trying to "buy the council seat" and said of Asian-Americans: "They're not citizens. They're not registered. They don't vote when they are registered." (NY Post)

3/9/01
Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a likely Democratic candidate for mayor, delivered a State of the Bronx speech yesterday in which he took credit for the creation of thousands of jobs and $3.2 billion in new construction in the borough. (Daily News) He also blasted the policies of Mayor Giuliani, and took a swipe at one of his opponents, Alan Hevesi. (Daily News)

Ferrer has returned $7,000 in contributions to one of the three scandal-plagued construction companies who have donated to his campaign, poi nted out that none of the companies have been charged with doing anything illegal, and said the contributions have not stopped him from criticizing one of them. (NY Post)

A report by the Independent Budget Office concludes that spending for the Board of Elections has not increased with the need. (Newsday)

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a likely Democratic candidate for mayor, delivered a State of the Bronx speech yesterday in which he took credit for the creation of thousands of jobs and $3.2 billion in new construction in the borough. (Daily News)

He also blasted the policies of Mayor Giuliani, and took a swipe at one of his opponents, Alan Hevesi (Daily News)

Ferrer has returned $7,000 in contributions to one of the three scandal-plagued construction companies who have donated to his campaign, pointed out that none of the companies have been charged with doing anything illegal, and said the contributions have not stopped him from criticizing one of them. (NY Post)

A report by the Independent Budget Office concludes that spending for the Board of Elections has not increased with the need. (Newsday)

3/8/01
The latest poll, conducted by Marist College, shows Public Advocate Mark Green leading for mayor at 31 percent, with City Council Speaker Peter Vallone at 15 percent. Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and Comptroller Alan Hevesi trail with 12 percent each. Thirty-percent of voters surveyed were undecided. (NY Post) In that same poll, support was shallow and voters found the candidates boring. (Daily News)

Fernando Ferrer took $55,150 in donations raised by executives of three scandal-plagued construction companies (Worth, Diamond Asphalt, HRH Construction) that have left several major botched projects in their wake. (NY Post)

In response to complaint by Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari, the Board of Elections is making the absentee ballots clearer to read. (Daily News)

3/7/01
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media mogul who is considering a run for Mayor on the Republican line, is conducting a series of focus groups to determine, in part, whether New Yorkers will buy his main selling point: that his experience as the founder of a global financial-news service gives him the management experience necessary to run the unwieldy enterprise known as City Hall. (New York Observer)

Rabbi Milton Balkany, who has been at the center of an investigation into how families in four politically connected Brooklyn communities won the lion's share of subsidized day care vouchers, shutting out thousands of others across the city, has raised some $28,000 for Alan Hevesi. Six of his children and some of their spouses have all contributed to Hevesi's mayoral campaign. (Daily News)

A prominent local Republican, former Queens Republican head Fran Werner, endorses Democrat Carol Gresser for Queens borough president. (Daily News)

Three residents of Co-op City looking to succeed Lawrence Warden in District 12: Co-op City boss Iris Herskowitz Baez, former state Sen. Larry Seabrook and Shirley Saunders, an aide to Rep. Eliot Engel. (Daily News)

3/6/01
Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire communications entrepreneur who is considering a run for mayor of New York City, announced yesterday that he was stepping down as chairman of his board. Bloomberg, who will remain as chief executive officer, said yesterday that he would have made the changes regardless of whether he were running for mayor this year. But if he were to become a candidate, he said, the changes would be necessary. (NY Times)

Richard Lowry, 32, the editor of the National Review, is mulling a run for mayor as the Conservative candidate. (NY Post)

Hevesi filming TV campaign ad in a Catholic school. (Newsday)

3/5/01
With Hevesi coming in fourth of four candidates in the latest Quinnipiac poll, there is talk that he will launch a TV ad campaign as early as this week. (Newsday)

3/4/01
None of the mayoral candidates call for postponing the closing of Fresh Kills, which opened in 1948 and became the bane of Staten Islanders and environmental advocates long before Gov. George Pataki signed legislation in 1996 mandating its shutdown by Dec. 31, 2001. Three of the five candidates who responded to questions on sanitation (all but Vallone and Hevesi) underscored what they saw as serious faults in the current plan. And all the candidates said it was important to improve recycling. (Newsday)

The race for mayor is pitting two "outsized political consultants - once partners, but today rank enemies" - against one another: Hank Morris, who is working for Alan Hevesi, against David Garth, who hopes to work for the prospective campaign of Michael Bloomberg. (NY Times)

3/3/01
There is already petty squabbling and posturing in the race for Staten Island Borough President (Staten Island Advance)

3/2/01
Palmer Doyle, who announced yesterday that he would run for City Council in district 30 in Queens, became the first NYC firefighter in 100 years to be a legal candidate for office. A 1998 law allows members of the Fire Department of New York to keep their jobs while serving in public office. Previously, firefighters had to resign within 10 days of being designated a party candidate. (Daily News)

3/1/01
Three of the four major Democratic mayoral candidates said last night that they support allowing same-sex marriages. The fourth, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, drew hisses at a candidates forum sponsored by a gay and lesbian political club when he stated his opposition to such a law. (Daily News)

February Campaign Trail

 

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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.


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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
SavvyVoter.org
NYVote.com
Votesmart
NYPIRG
NY League of Women Voters
Common Cause New York

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

NAACP Voter Empowerment
Vote Smart

E-Voting
Election.com

Political consultants
Amer. Assc. of Pol. Consultants

Prime New York

Media
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
Conservative
Democratic
Green
Independence
Liberal
Republican
Right to Life
Working Families
Communist
Libertarian
Marijuana Reform
Natural Law Party
Socialist
Taxpayers Party

Political clubs and groups
Blueprint Camp. Finance Reform
DL21C
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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