District 39 Brooklyn
GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT ON CAMPAIGN 2001: DISTRICT 39

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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-Bill DeBlasio, Dem 16,906 - 71 percent
Robert A. Bell, Rep 3,976 - 17 percent
Gloria Mattera, Gre 2,458 - 10 percent
Edward F. Clancy, Con 570 - 2 percent

Primary Election Results

Bill DeBlasio 5,161
Steven R. Banks 3,529
John W. Carroll 2,955
Anthony J. Pugliese 2,182
Paul Bader 1,439
Craig Hammerman 803
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)

Incumbent: Stephen DiBrienza (can't run in 2001)

The Candidates:


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

Contributors to Paul Bader
Contributors to Steven R. Banks
Robert A. Bell has not filed
Contributors to John W. Carroll
Edward F. Clancy has not filed
Contributors to Bill DeBlasio
Contributors to Craig R. Hammerman
Contributors to Gloria Mattera
Contributors to Anthony J. Pugliese

City's Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District 39


Campaign Tangle:
Paul Bader was the only Democratic candidate to be briefly knocked off the ballot. The challenge came as a surprise to Bader, who thought that the Democratic candidates had made an agreement not to challenge each other's petitions. Bader appealed the Board of Election's ruling and four days later was reinstated. Republican David Greene was also removed from the ballot, but he has yet to win an appeal. Posted 8/22/01


Campaign Feature:
[Campaign Update]

Making the Gowanus Bloom

The 39th District, a long sliver of Brooklyn near the borough's western edge, snakes its way down from affluent brownstone neighborhoods in Cobble Hill through stable blocks of Carroll Gardens and Windsor Terrace, where generations of working-class families have sunk deep roots, to Borough Park, where Southeast Asian immigrants and Orthodox Jews lay claim to the real estate. The district skirts Red Hook and immigrant Sunset Park, neighborhoods that were all but destroyed 50 years ago by the completion of the Gowanus Expressway, an elevated road that links the Verrazano Bridge to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

The questions for many voters in the 39th District is which candidate is best able to lift up the schools, and help sink the Gowanus Expressway.

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

Race:

  • White, non-Hispanic, 60%
  • Hispanic, 19%
  • Asian, 11%
  • Black, non-Hispanic, 9%

Median income: $41,611 (Ranks 32 out of 51)

Unemployment rate: 7%

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

Stephen DiBrienza's district sports a significant stretch of the decaying, elevated highway, and leaders in Carroll Gardens and Park Slope are gearing up to fight for a multi-billion dollar plan to put the whole thing in a tunnel underground.

Add to the looming civic battle the fact that candidates vying for the seat include some of the most high-profile contestants in the city, many of whom are well-qualified, and you have a recipe for what the Daily News calls perhaps the most intriguing race in the city.

The candidates include Bill DeBlasio, Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign manager; and Steven Banks, the legendary Legal Aid attorney for the homeless. DeBlasio has been building neighborhood credentials from a seat on the Community School District 15 board. Banks, meanwhile, has lined up endorsements from former Mayor Ed Koch, one-time Democratic mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger, council members Ronnie Eldridge and Tom Duane, the Met Council on Housing, and several union locals at DC 37.

Though some politicos portray the race as a head-to-head contest between Banks and DeBlasio, Brooklyn insiders caution against seeing it that way yet. "This race really has an abundance of qualified candidates," says John Rizio-Hamilton, political columnist for Brooklyn Courier Life newspapers.

Development issues overall are key in the district, which is tightly packed with both affluent newcomers and long-time residents of more moderate means. "If you travel around Carroll Gardens and other communities, there's not a single parcel of land left," says John W. Carroll, a candidate and life-long resident. "Land use is really the $64 million issue. It's what blood is spilled over."

"These neighborhoods are destinations now," says candidate Craig Hammerman, who has served as district manager of Community Board 6 for 11 years.

A key battle could be fought over the empty manufacturing lots around the newly clean Gowanus Canal. Since the city reactivated a flushing pump on the canal in the late 1990s - after thirty years of neglect - fish, oysters and vegetation have begun to flourish, inspiring development fantasies, including most recently a possible Ikea store.

Buddy Scotto, a long-time civic leader who is known locally as the mayor of Carroll Gardens, sees a South Street Seaport/Battery Park City-like development along the canal. But such projects could prevent the return of heavy manufacturing and shipping to this part of Brooklyn.

One candidate, Paul Bader, a small business owner, hopes that city-owned property near the canal, as well as elsewhere in the district, will be used for affordable housing and housing for seniors. "You have to take advantage of what you have," Bader says of the city-owned property. "I feel very strongly that public land should only be used for purposes that benefit the public instead of trying to sell it to the highest bidder."

Whatever becomes of the land, John Carroll says the community should help decide. Having been involved in development battles as an attorney for community groups, he advocates amending the city charter to expand the power of community boards on land use questions. "The question is, where would I rather see these decisions being made - by an elite group or a group that is closer to these developments. "

The development issue many of the residents feel closest to is the proposed Gowanus tunnel. But the views of the candidates are not unanimous.

The state estimates that building an underground roadway would cost between $7 billion and $9 billion, but Gregory Atkins, chief of staff for Brooklyn Assemblywoman Joan Millman says that figure is probably an exaggeration. Still, he adds, "even if putting the expressway underground cost twice as much as rebuilding the elevated highway, it would be a cost benefit. The highest rates of asthma in the city are along the Gowanus Expressway. A tunnel would eliminate traffic, noise pollution."

Craig Hammerman, the candidate who manages Community Board 6, has his doubts. " Frankly, I'm not convinced that the tunnel doesn't bring its own problems," he says, "so I'm waiting for the environmental impact statement for information on how I would like to see it constructed."

Candidate Steven Banks sits on Community Board 7 and says he's cautious about tunnel plans that require the state to condemn homes and businesses. "When people say are you for or against a tunnel I always say it depends on which tunnel it is. Is it one in which there's no increase in traffic, one that preserves homes and businesses? I'm for that kind of tunnel."

Education is the other big issue in the district. Several candidates see the creation of better options for middle school and high school students as critical to the long-term vitality of District 39 neighborhoods. "We need more middle schools with varied programs so we can convince parents to stay in the district instead of taking the next MetroNorth out of the city as soon as their kids reach middle school," says John Carroll.

Bill DeBlasio has played a role in developing new secondary programs for the district. He sits on Community School Board 15 and has been involved in a popular plan to upgrade of John Jay High School by creating several smaller schools to be housed in the building. But during his tenure the district underwent a minor but convulsive scandal. Frank DeStefano, the superintendent, was forced to resign in January amid allegations that he mismanaged hundreds of thousands of dollars of district funds.

Anthony Pugliese, a lifelong resident of Carroll Gardens and member of Community Board 6, is running for city council in part to fight for the district's schools. "We're losing teachers. We have programs with no books. We have parents raising money for teachers," Pugliese says. His two children attend public school in the district.

Columnist Rizio-Hamilton says the trick to winning this race will be holding onto the brownstone vote in Park Slope and Cobble Hill while putting together a strong showing in the heavily Orthodox Jewish Borough Park portion of the district. "It's going to be a great race," he says. "It's going to be very closely watched. It might get nasty: In crowded fields like this where ideology isn't an issue, small differences really do get pounced upon.

Posted 3/30/01

Campaign Update:

The high-profile candidates in the Democratic race for district 39 are raising a lot of money, almost $1.4 million combined. And questions have been raised about where the money is coming from. Three candidates ’§î Bill DeBlasio, Steve Banks, and Paul Bader ’§î have collected more than half of their money from outside of the district, and even outside the borough.

Bill Deblasio, who has raised $114,081 on his own and $189,431 with public funds from the Campaign Finance Board, has received about 63 percent of his donations from outside of Brooklyn. Some have come from as far as San Francisco and Washington, D.C. When asked if he thought that this would affect his ability to represent his community, DeBlasio says no. "These donations, all of which are under $2,500 and most of which are near $200, are not going to sway me on legislation," DeBlasio says. "I will work hard for my community."

DeBlasio is not alone. Paul Bader, who has raised $128,915 with public funds, has collected 58 percent of his contributions from outside of the borough. A nd Steve Banks, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, has collected 53 percent of his donations from outside his borough.

Jack Carroll, unlike his opponents, says he has raised most of his money in Brooklyn. "While I don't think it's fair to say that my opponents' contributions will affect their ability to legislate," says Carroll, "I think it shows a lack of community support. They don't have sufficient contacts in the district."

Paul Bader missed the first round of matching funds because he was briefly off the ballot. Bader said that the challenge, which came from opponent Anthony Pugliese, caught him by surprise. According to Bader and several other Democrats in the race, the candidates were asked at a forum held in May if they would challenge an opponent's petitions, and they all said "no."

A spokesman for Pugliese's campaign said that Bader did not get that many signatures and thought a candidate for City Council should be prepared to work hard. So Pugliese challenged the fact that Bader's petitioners were not from the 39th district. The Board of Elections ruled that indeed they were not, and invalidated hundreds of signatures. But Bader appealed the ruling saying that the requirement that petitioners be from the district where they are collecting signatures used to be the law, but it is not anymore.

The law was changed, fittingly, by Bader and other council candidates who filed a lawsuit against the Brooklyn Democratic party, claiming that the rule put them at a disadvantage. As a result of the lawsuit, the organization repealed the rule in June. Bader appealed the board's decision immediately, and was reinstated on the ballot four days later. "People deserve to have their choice of candidates," says Bader. "Their vote is how the election should be decided."

Meanwhile three other candidates have joined the race, each pursuing a different party's nomination. Edward Clancy, Jr. joined as a Conservative, and Robert Bell is running on the Republican ticket. Neither returned calls for an interview. Bell had one Republican opponent, David Greene, but he was knocked off the ballot.

Gloria Mattera, a health care professional and community activist, is running as a Green party candidate. She says her main focus if elected will be to address the ever-widening income gap between New York City's most wealthy residents and its poorest. She proposes raising the income tax rates for the rich, reinstating the stock transfer tax that was removed under Ed Koch, and freezing interest payments on the city's debt -- a plan that alone would save the city $4 billion a year.

"The current council members have not used their power to speak up for the ordinary citizen," says Mattera. "I want to be a spokesperson for people who aren't usually heard."

Posted 8/22/01


Candidate Biographies

Paul Bader, involved in Democratic politics since 1970, chairs the political action committee of the Independent Neighborhood Democrats, and is a former member of the Land Use Committee on Brooklyn's Community Board 6. He has also worked as a campaign manager for numerous city politicians, including Ed Koch. He currently owns a design shop, City Imprint. At one point in the 70's he was a cab driver. In November, he wed Congresswoman Nydia Valazquez, and they now live in Carroll Gardens.

Steve R. Banks has been a community lawyer at the Legal Aid Society for twenty years. Currently, he is the Deputy Attorney-in-Charge of the Society's Civil Division, where he provides legal services for senior citizens, survivors of domestic violence, tenants, working families, and the homeless, among others. He has also worked with the government at all its levels to advocate improved spending on programs in those fields. Banks served on Community Board 7 on the Community Planning Board, and he is currently a member of the Executive Committee. He lives with his wife and two children in Windsor Terrace.

Robert A. Bell (no information available)

John W. Carroll has been a community activist and preservationist in Brooklyn for thirty years. He has founded five community organizations, including Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a housing service group that helps to keep seniors in their homes, and the 17th Street Brooklyn Association, which creates affordable housing in Park Slope. Carroll is also a former president of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats. He is currently an attorney, and is considered to be one of New York's top 1st Amendment lawyers. He has defended citizen's rights to run for office. He lives with his wife and three children in Kensington.

Edward F. Clancy, Jr. (no information available)

Bill DeBlasio is Senator Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager. Prior to that, DeBlasio was the highest ranking official in the New York/New Jersey region for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked to direct increased federal funding for affordable housing, senior citizens housing and economic development in the region. He is currently a member of Community Board 15. He lives with his wife and two children in Park Slope.

David Greene (no information available)

Craig R. Hammerman is the District Manager for Community Board 6 in Brooklyn. He has been on the Board for 11 years, and has overseen numerous projects such as the reconstruction of 9th Street, and the building of the new NY Methodist Hospital. As the District Manager he is involved in daily constituent services, quality of life issues, and improving citizen's relationships with municipal government. He serves on a Mayoral Brownfield Task Force and a Mayoral Task Force for Community Boards to improve the effectiveness of their service. Before serving on the Board, Hammerman was a Director of Operations for a cosmetics manufacturer and a high school science teacher in Midwood and South Shore. He lives in Park Slope.

Gloria Mattera is a health care professional who directs a child development program at a public hospital in New York. She has worked for sixteen years in this field. She serves on the Executive Board of the New York Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates health care reform. Mattera worked for Ralph Nader as a coordinator of labor during his last presidential race. She is currently a member of Brooklyn Parents for Peace and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was born and raised in Brooklyn.

Anthony J. Pugliese is a member of the New York City District Council of Carpenters. He has played a leading role in Jobs With Justice, and has been involved with numerous organizations, including the Park Slope Food Co-Op, the Sierra Club, and the Committee to Improve Carroll Park. He is also the former vice president of the P.S. 58 Parent Teacher Association and served on the School Planning Committee. He lives in Carroll Gardens with his wife and two kids.


Campaign Trail

08/30/01
New York Times endorsement:
"39th District (Borough Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill): Even in a year when the quality of City Council candidates is exceptional, this race stands out. Bill de Blasio, a local school board member, is better known as the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton's Senate race. Steven Banks, a Legal Aid lawyer, has a national name for his work on behalf of the homeless. Jack Carroll is an attorney who pioneered the development of low- and moderate- income housing in his Windsor Terrace neighborhood. Any of the three would make a fine Council member, but we endorse Bill de Blasio, who has the most potential as leader for the district and the city."

Among the myriad open City Council seats this year, few have attracted as many candidates with the political credentials and connections as those in the six-way race in the Democratic primary in the 39th Council District. The candidates' résumés cover the spectrum of local politics in what is commonly known as brownstone Brooklyn, but their names are known outside the borough and each one can boast of influential endorsements. Steven R. Banks, the director of the Homeless Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society, has made a name for himself as an advocate for the homeless. John W. Carroll is president of a powerful Democratic club in Brooklyn, and has also served as counsel to several neighborhood and preservation groups. Bill de Blasio, a member of the community school board in District 15, is a veteran Democratic strategist who worked for Andrew M. Cuomo at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and was the manager of Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign last year. Paul Bader, a longtime neighborhood advocate who owns a print and design shop, is married to United States Representative Nydia M. Velázquez.Craig H. Hammerman has been the district manager of Community Board 6 for 11 years. And Anthony J. Pugliese is a carpenter who has been a longtime community activist and an organizer for his union.The district stretches from the relatively affluent Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens sections of Brooklyn through a portion of Park Slope and Kensington and into Borough Park. For the last 10 years, the district has been represented by City Councilman Stephen DiBrienza, who is running for public advocate. (NY Times)

08/10/01
The Times reports that Paul Bader is one of the fortunate few to get reinstated on the ballot after being disqualified for invalid petitions. Bader appealed the first ruling and won. (New York Times)

08/8/01
Paul Bader was removed from the ballot yesterday after one of his five Democratic opponents challenged his petitions and got enough of his signatures invalidated at the Board of Elections to bump him off the ballot.
Until he can win an appeal, he will be ineligible for matching public funds. But Mr. Bader said that his campaign was going forward despite those setbacks, and he has appealed the ruling in State Supreme Court. (New York Times)

08/06/01
The New York Times called this one of the ten races to watch. The race to succeed Stephen DiBrienza has produced an assortment of high-profile candidates. They include Bill de Blasio, who ran Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign, and Steven Banks, a Legal Aid Society lawyer, and other candidates, including Paul Bader, a small- business owner and longtime community activist who is married to Representative Nydia M. Velázquez. (New York Times)

07/17/01
Two of the candidates for District 39, Bill DeBlasio and Paul Bader received over half of their campaign money from people who don't live in Brooklyn. One other candidate, Steven Banks, has received one-third of his money from Manhattan. The rest of the lot's finances are a little more homegrown. (Daily News)

07/16/01
Steve Banks got the endorsement of two major housing groups, the Metropolitan Council on Housing, and the Tenants Political Action Committee. Banks is a Legal Aid attorney involved with housing policy. His experience with housing issues is important for District 39, which includes Park Slope, where gentrification is a reality. (Park Slope Courier)

07/2/01
Senator Hillary Clinton's visit to Park Slope on June 24 has "ruffled some feathers" in the race for Council District 39, reports John Rizio-Hamilton. Two candidates say that Clinton's visit was a partisan show of support for Bill DeBlasio. Gloria Mattera and Paul Bader both got the impression that this was a DeBlasio campaign event, even though it was supposed to be nonpartisan. In other news, candidate Jack Carroll has been endorsed by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblymembers Jim Brennan, Felix Ortiz, Roger Green, and Representative Major Owens. (Courier Life Newspapers)

06/25/01
Bill DeBlasio held a campaign event with Senator Hillary Clinton, even though she did not endorse anyone in the race for District 39. DeBlasio is Clinton's former campaign manager. The event was touted as a "thank you" from Clinton, who received a good percentage of the vote in the area. (Daily News)

06/18/01
Brooklyn's City Council candidates made their pitch to the Lambda Independent Democrats, a lesbian and gay political club. The LID decided to endorse Steve Banks in District 39. It is confirmed that Senator Hillary Clinton will be coming to District 39 to speak on behalf of candidate Bill DeBlasio, her former campaign manager. However, the event is being billed as a Clinton event, not a DeBlasio campaign event. Hillary won 70 percent of the vote in District 39 in her race for Senator, so she is coming to thank the people. (Flatbush Life)

06/11/01
The Brooklyn Democratic Party repealed a rule that requires petition witnesses to live in the district where they are petitioning. They did so voluntarily after a lawsuit brought against them by several City Council candidates who believed that the rule put them at a disadvantage against the party machine. A federal court declared the rule unconstitutional. A spokesman for the Brooklyn Democratic Party said that the rule was intended to prevent "party raiding," which is when outsiders enter a district and s upport a candidate. Three of the candidates involved in the suit were from District 39--Steve Banks, Jack Carroll, and Bill DeBlasio. (Park Slope Life)

05/21/01
State Senator Marty Marokowitz and Council candidate Jack Carroll have traded endorsements. Carroll was formerly the president of Markowitz's home club. (Park Slope Courier)

4/11/01
A few months ago, Bill De Blasio was managing Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign. Now the 39-year-old consultant is furiously trying to succeed Council member Steve DiBrienza and he could easily end up coming in third. (New York Observer)

4/09/01
Greg Atkins, chief of staff, for Assemblywoman Joan Millman has announced he will not run for council in the 39th district. The Brooklyn Papers

03/12/01
David Waid, legislative aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, has dropped out of the District 39 race to spend more time with his ailing child. "This is going to be the Council race to watch this year and I would have loved to be a part of it." Dan Tietz, president of the Lambda Independent Democrats has left his job at Housing Works to become campaign manager for Steven Banks. (Brooklyn Courier Life)

02/26/01
Is there an appendicitis curse on the 39th City Council District: On January 19th Greg Atkins had his appendix removed. A few weeks later, Jack Carroll's appendix burst. It gets spookier: The first time Stephen DiBrienza ran for the seat, his appendix burst in the middle of the campaign. (Brooklyn Courier Life)

Bill DeBlasio got checks from Clinton allies Harold Ickes and Ann Lewis, Miramax Pictures Harvey Weinstein and Mario Cuomo aides Tonio Burges and John Marino. (Daily News)

2/4/01
Hillary Clinton campaign chief Bill DeBlasio, running in Park Slope, got checks from Clinton allies Harold Ickes and Ann Lewis, Miramax Pictures' Harvey Weinstein and former Mario Cuomo aides Tonio Burgos and John Marino. (Daily News)

12/31/00
Bill DeBlasio's election is not a done deal. He's facing Steve Banks, named by American Lawyer one of the nation1s top public interest lawyers under age 45. (Daily News)

12/24/00
Paul Bader objected to ACORN's endorsement of Bill DeBlasio, calling it a Tammany Hall-style backroom deal. (Daily News)

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
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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