on the pull-down menu and select your district
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
What is Searchlight on Campaign 2001?
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?
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?
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
What does this have to do with this site?
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?
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?
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
Who are we?
[Question: What would your approach be as mayor
to meet the needs of the city's large and growing
First of all, I promise you that after the primary
I will be coming back to debate whoever my opponent
is. Secondly, in view of the fact that Mr. Bloomberg
could not make it, and the two of us are the only
ones running as Republican candidates, if there
is a convenient date for him before September 11th,
I'd be glad to come back and debate him, just the
two of us. In Spanish or in English.
Now, my broad approach is based to a large extent
on the article by Angelo [Falcon], "De Tras Pa -
Lante." The problem that I see is that while I understand
that many Puerto Ricans have done well, that they
have gone back to Puerto Rico after having become
part of the middle class , or they went to New Jersey,
or they went to Westchester, I feel we have not
done well enough, and we have to go back and continue
what we started a long time ago when we set up the
Puerto Rican Community Development Project, except
this time we should include more than Puerto Ricans.
Some of you may remember that in the 1960s we had
the Puerto Rican Community Development Project led
by Antonio Canchola who created the Puerto Rican
Legal Defense and ASPIRA, and we developed a program
for the improvement of the Puerto Rican community.
But unfortunately we got bogged down into a fight
between Valentin and Ramon Perez, and the thing
went down the drain.
[Question: A major issue facing Latinos across
the country is under-representation, especially
when it comes to decision making levels, and New
York City is no exception. How would you specifically
address this issue? What are your thoughts about
city affirmative action programs? ]
I would look at the entrance requirements of every
agency because the fact is that it is the entrance
requirement that discriminates. For example, when
I was the housing commissioner, I was dealing with
moving poor people into public housing and other
housing. The requirements for my department were
three years experience of buying and selling real
estate which made no sense, so I set up a trainee
program so we could bring in people who really understood
We find when we look closely that in every agency
the requirements tend to discriminate. When I started
working in the police department, you had to be
six feet one and the police commissioner himself
was not six foot one. We gradually worked to lower
the requirement so that more of our people could
be policemen. This is what needs to be done at every
agency. I have said that at John Jay College of
Criminal Justice we have developed a training program
for police cadets under which we would be able to
train people that are residents of the city to go
to a high school of criminal justice, into John
Jay so they graduate and are able to pass the police
exam in that way to have a diverse police force
that is made up of city residents and police force
that understands the problems of the city because
they come from the people of the city. That is the
approach I would take as mayor.
[Question: Mr. Badillo, you have come under
fire for some insensitive remarks toward Mexicans
and Central Americans. How do you respond to these
The remarks that I made were not attacking any
groups. What I said has been proven to be true.
Three years ago I said that we had a new migration
of people that were coming from Mexico, Dominican
Republic, and Central America, who were coming here
without any education, many of them were Indians
, and they required a different bilingual program
than the bilingual program that I had set up while
I was a member of Congress. I was the chief sponsor
of the bilingual program in the Congress of the
United States. I said we had to do that because
it is different from my experience. For example,
when I came here from Puerto Rico at the age of
eleven I couldn't speak English, but I had been
in school in Puerto Rico and I could write and speak
Spanish. When you get someone that has never been
in any school, you cannot use the same form of the
bilingual program because it is a different group.
I was attacked then. What I meant was we have to
develop new programs. When the census came out a
few months ago, it was revealed that what I said
was true, that there has been a new migration of
people who come here from other countries, who don't
have the benefit of an education, therefore they
need special programs. That's exactly what I said.
We have to oppose bigotry in whatever form it takes,
and it takes place in many forms. I'll give you
examples of what I have done at the City University,
because we had a white bigot, Professor Levitt,
and we had another black bigot, Professor Jeffery.
For twenty-five years Jeffery was the head of the
Black Studies Department and nobody dared take any
action because he was against Italians, he was against
Jews, and he was against white people. Professor
Levitt was against blacks and Latinos. We removed
them as chairmen of the departments. We couldn't
remove them as professors because they had the right
of tenure, but action was taken against them.
The other system that I developed is that when
a group wants to come to the university to speak
against another group, we can't keep them from doing
that because of the first amendment, the right of
free speech, but I set up a counter-demonstration
of people who would be speaking against them and
when people realized that they were not going to
be given a free ride attacking one group, they decided
it was not worth doing it. So the best way for fighting
bigotry is to be alert and to have a group ready
to fight back against them.
[Question: What are the most critical problems
you think are faced in the Latino immigrant population
and how would you address them as mayor?]
The most critical problem in the immigrant population
is the same problem as before. Many of the people
are treated as inferior citizens, and we can no
longer continue to accept the fact that we have
a city that has a double standard, one for whites
and one for blacks and Latinos, because if we fall
into that trap we are not going to be able to progress.
We have to insist that we can meet the same standards
as everyone else. We cannot allow a school system
that is segregated so that the white kids go through
their curriculum and the blacks and Latinos go to
another and they are automatically promoted through
the system of social promotion which results in
their dropping out when they get to be in ninth
and tenth grade without getting a high school diploma,
or with a high school diploma that doesn't mean
anything. We have to insist that we can meet the
same standards as everyone else. We have to help
the immigrants because many of them come here without
any documents and they are the most exploited group.
Sweatshops hire all the immigrants who don't have
any documents and they pay them once a month and
they fire them on the twenty-eighth day. They call
Immigration so that the people are driven away.
That's what's going on in large parts of the city.
The ones who suffer the most are exactly the immigrants
and they need the help from all of us. And that
is one of the areas that I will give priority.
[Question: What would you do specifically for
I was the chief sponsor of the Bilingual Education
Act in Congress and I was also the chief sponsor
of the first bilingual community college in the
State of New York. But bilingual education means
two, it does not mean mono-lingual education and
I do not support the idea of having our children
learn only in Spanish and go on for eight years
without learning English . The purpose of bilingual
education is to help young people like me to pick
up the English language so we don't lose the opportunity
to move ahead and therefore I believe in bilingual
education. But it's real bilingual, education where
both English and Spanish are taught and with a limited
period of time that does not go on for eight years
. Two or three years. If there's real bilingual
education we are performing a service. If we have
only mono-lingual education we are dooming our children.
That's my view and that's what I support.
[Question: What initiatives would you take in
city government to address the problem of AIDS and
HIV in the Latino community?]
We have to provide more funds for research and
I think you may know, I am trying to set up an AIDS
program at Queens College exactly to do that. We
have to ensure that some of the conditions that
are going on don't take place. For example, you
may know that in Bronx ⤳Lebanon hospital you have
a whole unit of babies that are born with AIDS,
and that is a tragedy, not only for the parents,
but for the children as well. That means that we
need to spread the word in every part of our community
the dangers that exist in the contagion of this
epidemic so that it doesn't spread as it has been
spreading in recent years throughout our communities.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
enndorsed 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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
for Party Affiliation
Dream Party (AMD)
Better Schools Party (BES)
Friends United Party (FUN)
Fusion Party (FUS)
Harmony Party (HAR)
Marijuana Reform Party (POT)
Natural Law Party (NLP)
Party of Ethics and Traditions (PET)
Reform Party (Ref)
Right to Life (RTL)
School Choice Party (Sch)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
Working Families (Wor)
1 -- Deadline for candidates to join the Campaign Finance
program, qualifying for the four-to-one match of contributions.
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
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
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.