District 3 Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Midtown, Clinton/Hell's Kitchen

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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?


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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002

General Election Results

x-Christine C. Quinn, Dem 28,515 - 74 percent
Michelle Bouchard, Rep 10,172 - 26 percent

Primary Election Results

Incumbent: Christine Quinn

The Candidates:

Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign Finance Board:

Contributors to Michelle Bouchard
Contributors to Christine Quinn

City's Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District 3

Issue Statements:
District 3 candidates' statements on the issues, at Savvyvoter.org

Campaign Feature:
[Campaign Update]

Problems in Bohemia?

For decades, the neighborhoods that make up district 3 were the heart of bohemian America, a beacon for rebels from the radicals of the 1920s to the hippies of the 1960s. Today, though, in the bistros and along the narrow streets, it is harder to hear arguments over art or poetry than it is complaints about loud nightclubs and looming real estate development. But while the area has become less avant garde than it was in its heyday, it remains one of the few places in America where a key political contest would pit a lesbian activist incumbent against a gay political organizer and former night club operator.

Incumbent Christine Quinn is running for re-election in a district that stretches from SoHo to 55th Street, but whose politics tend to focus around Greenwich Village and Chelsea, the gay center of New York. In February 1999, she won the special election for the council seat vacated by Tom Duane when he left for the New York State Senate. Quinn served as Duane's chief of staff for five years, then ran the New York Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. Challenging Quinn in the Democratic primary is Victor Mendolia, an activist who lists among his accomplishments helping to set up picket lines at age 14, organizing protests, and co-chairing the New York Outreach Committee of ACT UP, the AIDS activist group.

In an area that attracts people who want to be part of "the scene," the many nightclubs create tensions among club goers, the community and public officials. Mendolia, who used to own the Limbo Lounge, has said Quinn is too critical of the clubs and cites this as a key issue.

Area Profile
For a detailed profile of this district from City Project, click here.


  • White 64%
  • Hispanic 20%
  • Black 10%
  • Asian 6%

Median income:$47,899 (ranks 23rd out of 51)

Unemployment rate: 6%

For more information on this district -- its schools, its crime statistics and more -- click here.

"Because of the Giuliani clampdown on clubs," he says, owners won't allow information about safer drug use to be distributed. "This would help save lives. . . .We need to create an atmosphere where these issues can be discussed rationally." Mendolia proposes the appointment of mediators to settle disputes between clubs, community residents and the police and to encourage club owners to be more responsible for loud activity on their sidewalks. "Nine times out of ten, noise is the issue that disturbs residents," he says.

Outside of the conflict over the clubs, the two candidates share many views. Both agree that overdevelopment is a problem in the district. Concerns over this have reached as far north as Hell's Kitchen, the formerly low income neighborhood that has become the site of recent struggles over zoning changes that would allow skyscrapers.

Quinn has gone on record as opposing a 26-story residential tower in Hudson Square. She cites gentrification and displacement as threats to neighborhood residents and notes the "lack of open and recreational space" in the community.

Mendolia also stresses the importance of getting landmark status to protect areas such as the Village waterfront and the Meat Market around 14th Street.

The thriving heart of the gay community in New York, district 3 has the largest number of AIDS cases in the city. When asked about her accomplishments as Council Member, Quinn pointed primarily to her work to improve the city's delivery of social services to those infected with HIV/AIDS. The city's Division of AIDS Services (DAS) "is failing to meet its mandate of housing people with AIDS," she says. Quinn has worked to set up "DAS Watch" that brings community members into Division of AIDS Services offices to make sure the agency does its job right, and that "the office stays open until everyone is housed."

Other accomplishments she has cited: she was prime sponsor of a bill that would extend New York's Human Right Law to cover "gender identity or expression." She has also sponsored a bill that would require city contractors to offer full domestic partnership benefits to employees covered under that contract or living in New York City. Neither bill has yet to become law.

Mendolia charges that Quinn's leadership style has "alienated many in the community and on the City Council," and that Quinn has had differences with the influential Village Independent Democrat. In previous campaign she snubbed the influential club. This year, though, she extended the olive branch and received the group's endorsement.

For her part, Quinn says she welcomes Mendolia's challenge as being good for the democratic process. She says she looks forward to seeing the "new energy" that will come into the council after many of her colleagues leave because of term limits, but also points out the importance of having the City Council run efficiently after the big changeover.

Quinn has the obvious advantage of being one of just 16 incumbents eligible to seek re-election. Mendolia acknowledges that he doesn't have the support of the political establishment, but sees support from the grassroots community as his biggest asset.

posted 6/4/01

Campaign Update:

Quinn's only Democratic challenger, Victor Mendolia, dropped out of the race. "I had sudden medical problems that came up that made me unable to continue," Mendolia says. "I regret it, because I really believe the incumbent is running in an improper manner. It's political machine politics of the old school." But Quinn's path to reelection is not totally unimpeded, as Michelle Bouchard has joined the race for District 3, running as a Republican.

The single mother of an eleven-year-old son, Bouchard advocates paying teachers more and requiring good teacher performance. She sees a stronger role for community involvement in education. "We should get the theater and not-for-profit communities involved" in helping to provide arts education in the schools, she says.

Bouchard, who has been technology director for two on-line companies, believes the Internet can help improve city services, making it easier for people to report problems and get information. She even envisions on-line parent-teacher conferences, where possible.

Although running as a Republican, Bouchard points to her "liberal stances" on issues like same-sex partner rights and adoption and says that half of her campaign staff are registered Democrats.

Posted 7/18/01

Candidate Biographies

Michelle Bouchard was born in Liberty, Texas but has lived in New York City for 17 years. She has worked as director of technology at Hoover's Online, an Internet business information provider, and The REALM, a real estate software company. Previously she was founder and director of the 42nd Street WorkShop theater company. This is her first time running for public office, although before entering college she was a page for the first President Bush. She has a BA in political science from Wellesley College, and has one son.

Christine Quinn was elected as Council member for district 3 in 1999. She served as chief of staff to Councilmember Tom Duane for five years, working on housing, eductation, environmental issues and sexual harassment. Prior to that, she was the lead organizer for the Housing Justice Campaign, an activist project of the Association for Neighborhood Housing Development. She grew up in Glen Cove, Long Island, and has a degree in Urban Studies and Education from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.


Campaign Trail

As one of only four incumbent Council members who could keep office until 2009, could Christine Quinn become City Council's first openly gay Speaker? ( The Villager)

Quinn takes part in union rally at Jefferson Market. (The Villager)

Quinn attends announcement of new mayoral funding for the Chelsea Rec Center. (The Villager)

After some fierce political squabbles, Christine Quinn makes peace with the Village Independent Democrats. (The Villager)

Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats have endorsed Christine Quinn for the 2001 election. Both candidates' responses to the group's questionnaire is on line.: Quinn: Mendolia

Quinn opposes 26-story building at Hudson Square. (The Villager)

Quinn takes the Waverly Division of AIDS Services to task for allegedly leaving confidential files of clients with AIDS out on the sidewalk. (ACT UP)


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

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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.

Abbreviations for Party Affiliation

American Dream Party (AMD)
Better Schools Party (BES)
Communist (Com)
Conservative (Con)
Constitution (CST)
Democratic (Dem)
Friends United Party (FUN)
Fusion Party (FUS)
Green (Gre)
Harmony Party (HAR)
Independence (Ind)
Liberal (Lib)
Libertarian (LBT)
Marijuana Reform Party (POT)
Natural Law Party (NLP)
Party of Ethics and Traditions (PET)
Reform Party (Ref)
Republican (Rep)
Right to Life (RTL)
School Choice Party (Sch)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
Working Families (Wor)

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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