District 35 Central Brooklyn
GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT ON CAMPAIGN 2001: DISTRICT 35

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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.

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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002

General Election Results

x-James E. Davis, Dem 12,295 - 55 percent
Letitia James, Wor 9,269 - 42 percent
Sidique Wai, Ind 604 - 3 percent

Primary Election Results

James E. Davis 6,691
Letitia James 5,746
Abraham E. Wasserman 1,754
Peter Williams 1,823
William J. Saunders 875
Sidique Wai 556
Robert A. Hunter 462
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)

Incumbent: Mary Pinkett (can't run in 2001)

The Candidates:

General Election Update

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

Contributors to James Davis
Contributors to Robert Hunter
Contributors to Letitia James
Contributors to Bill Saunders
Contributors to Sidique Wai
Contributors to Abraham Wasserman
Contributors to Peter Williams

City's Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District 35


TRANSCRIPT OF DISTRICT 35 CANDIDATE FORUM

Campaign Tangle:
Imogene Baldwin-Ferguson and Barbara Smith-Boyd have been knocked off the Democratic line. Robert Hunter was knocked off, but was reinstated. Letitia James was kicked off the Working Families line, appealed the Board of Elections ruling and is now back on the ballot. For more details, see the Campaign Update. Posted 8/28/01


Campaign Feature:
[Campaign Update]

New Prospects

The people in 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. And they can take in a dance performance entitled, "Falling Down the Stairs," an avant-garde interpretation of the works of Chopin, Bach, and folk-rocker Michelle Shocked in Brooklyn's cultural district, then walk down the street and dance down the avenue in the Caribbean Day Parade, which is now the largest ethnic gathering 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; middle-class African-American communities near Prospect Park; immigrant communities from Haiti, Sierra Leon, Nigeria, and Trinidad; and in Crown Heights, an uneasy mix of Hasidic Jews and poor blacks.

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

Race:

  • Black , non-Hispanic 63%
  • Hispanic 17%
  • White , non-Hispanic 17%
  • Asian 3%

Median income: $36,018 (Ranks 36 of 51)

Unemployment rate: 10%

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

If the disparate residents do not always achieve peaceful coexistence, there is one thing on which many seem to agree: the area as a whole is too often neglected.

Take the water-main break. It happened over five years ago, says Joe Pressley, one of the nine candidates for the district 35 City Council seat. And while the area around the Brooklyn Museum has seen recent improvements, the nearby water-main, he says, has still not been fixed

"We need to make sure needs of the area moves forward along with cultural district," said Pressley, who works as policy director for the New York AIDS Coalition.

Most of the 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, from police officer to minister to youth organizer to Democratic district leader -- and that's just one of the candidates. The others include professor, union leader, community organizer, AIDS activist, government staffer, and president of the African United Congress.

One issue that many of the candidates agree on is the need for housing. Over 80 percent of the people who live in the area are renters.

Candidate Imogene Baldwin-Ferguson spent much of her career with the New York City Housing Authority and has directed community centers in several local housing projects.

"I am running a really grass-roots campaign that is connected to where people live on a day-to-day basis," said Baldwin-Ferguson, who hopes to funnel funds to local non-profits that can bring direct improvements to the area.

She will be pitting her ideas against Bill Sanders, a local district leader who has already helped the area gain grants to build senior housing with his work as an aid to the 18th Senatorial District.

Making constituent's feel like they are being heard is almost an issue in itself for this district.

To that end, Errol Louis, a professor of urban studies at Pratt Institute, who garnered 30 percent of the vote when he ran for City Council in 1997 against incumbent Mary Pinkett, wants to institute town hall meetings as well as have two district offices to reach all of the constituents.

"The people in Crown Heights have been ignored for 27 years," said Louis. "The current district office is buried in Clinton Hill and not close to subways, and so there are people in Crown Heights who don't know Mary Pinkett is their representative."

Labor organizer Edward Wright said he would meet the needs of his diverse constituency by creating advisory committees of residents and a large district neighborhood association.

"I am also concerned about the people in my district who are not involved in the political process or feel their vote does not count," said Wright. "I believe it's a correct response to the current political climate."

The startling differences in the district came to a violent peak in 1991 in the Crown Heights riots. It began when a car in a motorcade of a grand rebbe hit a black child. A few hours later, a group of black men fatally stabbed a Hasidic scholar. The three days of violence left tensions not only between residents, but also toward the police who tried to control the violence.

Two candidates, who have direct experience in police-community relations, hope their experience can help ease these tensions.

James Davis is the one who is a police officer himself and has also worked as a minister, youth organizer, and Democratic district leader. Now on his second attempt to win the City Council seat, Davis has a platform of improving relations with police, combating graffiti, and aiding senior citizens.

Another candidate familiar with high-profile police cases is Sidique Wai, president of the United African Congress, who organized "community healing" service after the shooting of Amadu Diallo. Wai has been criticized by some for being too conciliatory toward the Mayor and police, but he cites the need for unity, specifically among African immigrants, as a motivating factor.

Certainly the challenges for the next Council representative, who will replace Councilwoman Mary Pinkett after 27 years of service, will be challenging. Pinkett feels she has met these challenges in many ways. Some of her critics may see those ways as part of the problem. When asked some of her proudest accomplishments over the years, Pinkett mentioned two: putting in tennis courts and changing street names in honor of prominent Brooklyn residents.

Posted 2/21/01

Campaign Update:

The field of candidates in district 35 has changed several times. Two early candidates -- Errol Louis and Joe Pressley -- both dropped out. Louis was reportedly offered a job from Democratic District Leader Clarence Norman. Norman denies that such an offer was ever made. Joe Pressley is now the director of the New York AIDS Coalition.

And the list of recent candidates has changed again after a volley of petition challenges.

Imogene Baldwin-Ferguson and Barbara Smith-Boyd have been knocked off the Democratic line, according to the Board of Elections. Robert Hunter was knocked off, but was then reinstated. Letitia James, securely on the Democratic line, was at first kicked off the Working Families line, appealed the Board of Elections ruling and is now back on the ballot

Smith-Boyd, Robert Hunter, and James Davis all filed objections to James' petitions, but were unsuccessful. In retaliation, James filed objections against Smith-Boyd and Baldwin-Ferguson. Boyd's campaign declined to comment.

After spending weeks shuttling between court hearings and the Board of Elections, Robert Hunter has been reinstated on the Democratic ballot for City Council in District 35. Hunter's petition was challenged for having improper signatures, but he was eventually able to prove they were valid.

"I can't describe how frustrating and tense it was," said Hunter, shortly after being reinstated on the ballot.

Hunter now faces the challenge of reviving his campaign, which has stalled for the past three weeks while he faced the challenge to his petition in court. "I1m energized for the campaign," said Hunter. "I have a very strong work ethic, and I will make it up by working hard, and putting myself out there for the voters. It's up to me now to go out and win this election."

Imogene Baldwin-Ferguson said she will now mount a write-in campaign, mailing illustrated instructions to the people who signed her petitions. She will also station volunteers at the polling places with pencils with her name written on them. "We're trying to make this as painless as possible," said Baldwin-Ferguson. "I'm still campaigning. I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing"

The remaining Democratic candidates in district 35 include James Davis, a police officer, Letitia James, a staff member of the office of the state Attorney General, Robert Hunter, CEO of Concerned Citizens for a Better Brooklyn, William Saunders, leader for the 57th Assembly District, Sidique Wai, president of the United African Congress, Abraham Wasserman, the first member from the Lubavitch Hasidim community to run for City Council, Edward Wright, a labor organizer, and Peter Williams, director of housing for the National Urban League.

Letitia James has the endorsement of the Democratic organization. "We've been endorsed by just about every union in the city because they recognize my leadership, record, and qualifications," said James.

Peter Williams is campaigning on the idea that he can help bring better services to the area. "I grew up in this district and in public housing developments," said Williams. "As I've grown up, I've watched neighborhoods like the Upper-East Side, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst receive better services, better police protection, and better schools. We only spend $8,000 [per child] in education, but we spend $100,000 to put a kid in jail."

Bill Saunders is banking on his experience as a district leader. "We all have visions of what we want our communities to look like," said Saunders. "But what have you done for our community? Have you built any houses? Have you walked the picket lines making sure that the subway shuttles stay open? Where were you? I can tell you all the things that I have done."

Abraham Wasserman is the only Jewish candidate running in a district that also includes a portion of Crown Heights. "What we have to understand is that the mainstay of economic development in a neighborhood in the 35th council district is small businesses," said Wasserman. "If we have avenues with viable small businesses, the neighborhood grows and flourishes."

Posted 8/28/01


Candidate Biographies

Imogene Baldwin-Ferguson graduated from Brooklyn College with a major in sociology, and resident of Brooklyn for forty years. She has held a wide variety of jobs and positions, from survey interviewer and postal worker to cab owner/operator and radio talk show hostess. She has a history of public service in the Brooklyn community, serving as a poll site coordinator and election inspector for the Brooklyn Board of Elections. She has also served as the coordinator of Health Education for the Brooklyn chapter of the March of Dimes, and was the co-founder of the Central New York Minority Contractors Association. Imogene has also served as a youth coordinator on Community Board 17, and Community Board 8. Currently, she is a caseworker for the Human Resources Administration, serving on the Substance Abuse Services Center. Imogene has been a member of District Council 37 and Local 371 for the past 23 years.

James Davis is a police officer, and the chair of a youth organization called Stop the Violence, a non-profit organization, which he founded in 1990. Davis has also fought against youth violence, child abuse, domestic violence and police brutality, winning widespread media attention for his efforts. In 1994, he helped stop the sale of "look-alike" toy guns following the shooting of two children by police officers who mistook their toys for real weapons. He has also campaigned successfully to have MTV change its broadcasting policies, arguing that the network1s former policies resulted in the broadcasting of excessively violent images and lyrics during the daytime. A graduate of Pace University, he has also served as a democratic district leader, working to register voters in neglected communities.

Robert Hunter serves on several community boards, including Community Planning Board 3, School Board 16 and the Advisory Committee to Senior Citizens Health Care. He is the founder and CEO of Concerned Citizens for a Better Brooklyn and has over 15 years of managerial experience in commercial and investment banking with Merrill Lynch and Chase Manhattan Bank. He is also a Vietnam veteran.

Letitia James is a staff member of the office of the state attorney general and a former deputy state attorney general. Since 1999, she has been the assistant attorney general in charge of the Brooklyn Regional Office. In the past, she has championed such causes as the family day care registration bill in the City Council, a bill that expanded day care for working families across the city. She also helped in expanding health care services under the Primary Health Case Development Bill in 1994, and later pushed the 1996 Welfare Reform Act in the New York State Assembly. James has also served as the Counsel to State Assemblymember Albert Vann. In addition, she established the Urban Network, a coalition of African-American professional organizations aimed at providing scholarships for young people. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Letitia James resides in Prospect Heights, and is a graduate of Howard University School of Law. She completed her Master1s Degree in Public Administration from Columbia University1s School of International and Public Affairs.

William Saunders currently serves as a legislative aid for the 18th Senatorial District, and as a District Leader for the 57th AD. In 1998 he was elected as a state committeeman. In addition, he served as the president of the Housing Corporation from 1980 to 1986. He is a graduate of Empire State College.

Barbara L. Smith-Boyd is a member of Community School Board 13 and of the Black United Front.

Sidique Wai is the president of the United African Congress.

Abraham Wasserman is the first member from the Lubavitch Hasidim community to run for City Council. He is an elected board member of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council and also sits on Community Board 9. He is currently employed as a project scheduler for Muss Development Corporation, a contractor for the $230 million Brooklyn Renaissance Plaza project.

Edward Wright is a labor organizer for Local Union SEIU 32.

Peter Williams is currently the director of Housing and Community development for the National Urban League, a civil rights and social service organization. Williams has also worked as a project associate at the Medgar Evers College1s Center for Law and Social Justice. During that time, he founded the New Budget Majority--which publicized issues of racial inequity in the NYC budget process--and the Coalition of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos for Justice in City Government. In addition, he has taught courses in government as an Adjunct Professor at the Pratt Institute Graduate School of City and Regional Planning and at Medgar Evers College. He is a member of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Board of Directors, and City Limits, a public affairs magazine. Williams graduate from Arizona State University with a degree in criminal Justice, and received his Master1s degree in Public Administration from American University. Williams was born and raised in the Marcy and Lafayette Gardens housing project in Brooklyn.

 


Campaign Trail

08/30/01
New York Times endorsement:
"35th District (Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene): Letitia James, a former assistant attorney general for Brooklyn, is the Democratic organization's candidate in this race. But Ms. James, who has compiled a fine record as a legislative counsel in Albany, seems to have the strength of character to chart an independent course. Her main opponent, Peter Williams, is the director of housing and community development for the National Urban League. Mr. Williams has an impressive background of city activism, but we endorse Letitia James, with the hope that she will recruit Mr. Williams to advise her on housing and development issues."

08/24/01
The 35th Council District in Brooklyn is the scene of one of the most hard- fought City Council campaigns of this election season, where seven candidates are battling for the Democratic nomination and the opportunity to succeed Councilwoman Mary Pinkett, who has represented this district since 1973. The candidates' resumes could hardly be more divergent. Letitia James, 41, the endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party organization in Brooklyn, has worked for several Democratic officials, from Assemblyman Albert Vann to Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer. Peter M. Williams, 42, the director of Housing and Economic Development for the National Urban League, served his political apprenticeship as a technician in the mayoral campaigns of David N. Dinkins. James E. Davis, a police officer, minister and Democratic district leader, came close to beating the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman in an Assembly race three years ago.The race also includes Sidique Wai, the president of the United African Congress and a longtime community organizer on health concerns; William Saunders, another Democratic district leader and a long-term aide to State Senator Velmanette Montgomery; and Robert Hunter, a former investment banker and Vietnam veteran who serves on several community boards. And then there is Abraham Wasserman, a real estate developer and the first member of the Lubavitch Hasidim community to run for a City Council seat. (NY Times)

08/06/01
The New York Times called this one of the ten races to watch. Several candidates have emerged in a highly competitive race to succeed Mary Pinkett in a district anchored in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Letitia James has been endorsed by the Democratic Party; she faces Peter Williams, an official with the National Urban League; Bill Saunders, a Democratic district leader, and James E. Davis, a police officer who once narrowly lost an Assembly race to Assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr. (New York Times)

4/14/01
Errol Louis, a candidate for the City Council seat in district 35, currently held by Mary Pinkett, says Brooklyn Democratic leader Clarence Norman suggested he drop out of that crowded race in return for a possible job in a Hevesi administration. Norman, whose candidate in the race is Letitia James, denies he made such an offer. (NY Post)

4/02/01
James Davis, who has said he's a candidate in the 35th District, is being urged to switch to the 40th. The entreaties reportedly come from allies of Rep. Major Owens, who survived a bitter primary challenge from Councilmember Una Clarke last year. Clarke's daughter, Yvette, is seeking her mother's seat. Assemblymember Al Vann is also thought to be behind the maneuvering. Vann, who is running in the 36th District, is backing Letitia James in the 35th. (Courier-Life Newspapers)

3/26/01
In the crowded race in the 35th Councilmanic District, Assemblymember Clarence Norman, the county leader, is backing Letitia James. Norman says, "Letitia James is a very qualified candidate, and we'll pull out all the stops to see that she'll win" James was the head of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's Brooklyn office, a job that she left to run for Council. She is now working for Assemblymember Al Vann, who has himself declared for City Council. James has said that if elected she would vote for him as speaker, and he has endorsed her candidacy. Meanwhile other candidates are not giving up. District Leader Bill Saunders, who says he has the backing of State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, for whom he works, and is close to getting the nod from Assemblymember Roger Green,will host a large fundraiser on April 8. Errol Louis, executive director of the Bogolan Merchants Association said that he recently had a "fairly friendly chat" with Norman during which Norman asked him to stay out of the race in exchange for a potential assistant commissioner post if city Comptroller Alan Hevesi takes City Hall. But Louis says he is definitely running, as are several others. (Brooklyn Courier Newspaper)

3/25/01
Crown Heights Hasidic leaders report they are not lined up behind Avrohom Wasserman, the lone white and Jewish candidate in a large field of hopefuls seeking term-limited Councilwoman Mary Pinkett's seat. Leaders of the Crown Heights Political Action Committee say Wasserman did not check with them before jumping in. They may support him, or may back others in the field...The Hasidic leaders' unspoken message seems to be that they don't want to upset ethnic peace in the area. (Daily News)

3/15/01
At least one Lubavitch Hasid is seeking to challenge the decades of African-American control in District 35. Avrohom Wasserman, the first Lubavitcher to run for public office in New York City in recent memory, joins an already crowded field of African American and Caribbean candidates. Usually, about 1,500 Crown Heights Lubavitchers vote in city elections, out of about 10,000 voters in the district. But this year, many more Hasidim could turn out to show support for one of their own. Wasserman is an elected board member of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council and sits on Community Board 9. He works as a project scheduler for Muss Development Corporation, a contractor for the $230 million Brooklyn Renaissance Plaza project. Also strongly considering a run is Devorah Halberstam, who came to international prominence seven years ago when her son Ari was shot by an Arab-American sniper while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.(City Limits Weekly)

3/14/01
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)

11/01/00
Article on activist turned politician features several district 35 candidates (City Limits)

 

 

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
10004-1609

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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
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
Central Queens Greens
DL21C
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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