District 4 Upper East Side
GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT ON CAMPAIGN 2001: DISTRICT 4

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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-Eva S. Moskowitz, Dem 27,004 - 64 percent
Nicholas D. Viest, GOP 14,573 - 34 percent
Jak Karako, Lbt 478 - 1 percent
Robert Jereski, Grn 416 - 1 percent

Primary Election Results

Eva S. Moskowitz 12,025
Peter G. Doukas 3,045
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)

Incumbent: Eva Moskowitz

The Candidates:


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

Contributors to Peter Doukas
Robert Jereski has not filed.
Jak Karako has not filed.
Contributors to Eva Moskowitz
Contributors to Nicholas Viest

City's Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District 4

Issue Statements:
District 4 candidates' statements on the issues, at Savvyvoter.org


Campaign Feature:
[Campaign Update]

Snags in the Silk Stocking

Term limits and campaign finance law reform are supposed to put an end to the days when members of the city council have virtual lifetime tenure. Still, most observers expect incumbents who are eligible to run for re-election to coast to victory. Eva Moskowitz, from the most affluent district in the city, may be an exception.

District 4 Stretches on the East Side of Manhattan from 14th to 96th streets and as far West as the southwest corner of Central Park. The district is demographically less diverse than many in the city, but its residents express a wide range of opinions about Moskowitz's performance during her short time on the City Council. Clearly, there is some discontent with Moskowitz, but it is difficult to ascertain exactly why her support seems shaky.

Just recently, Moskowitz herself was an underdog challenger. In 1997 she narrowly lost to Republican incumbent Andrew Eristoff. Then in 1999, when Eristoff vacated the seat, Moskowitz ran against Reba White Williams in a special election. While Williams spent more than one million dollars (including about $200,000 of her own money), Moskowitz participated in the city's new campaign finance program and won the race while spending less than half what Williams did. Moskowitz's victory was widely seen as a triumph for campaign finance reform and a sign that wealthy and politically connected candidates would no longer be assured of victory over less well-funded challengers.

Now Moskowitz is the political insider. And Peter Doukas, an accountant and longtime civic activist, is the one hoping to score an upset on the East Side. Doukas says of Moskowitz, "I have witnessed her to react, rather than act," on some of his top concerns for the district, including the need for affordable housing.

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

Race:

  • White: 77%
  • Hispanic: 9%
  • Asian: 7%
  • Black: 6%

Median income:$88,625 (ranks 1 out of 51)

Unemployment rate: 4%

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

While Moskowitz's home club, the Lexington Democratic Club, endorsed her, Doukas netted nearly 25 percent of the vote. Similarly, the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club voted "no endorsement" in the race, a decision some say is highly unusual when there is a Democratic incumbent.

The Working Families Party opted for "no endorsement" in District 4. Dan Cantor, the party's executive director, says this does not necessarily indicate a lack of confidence in the incumbent. "She obviously is going to win in a walk . . . and we're keen on providing support where it's needed," he says. The Working Families Party has, however, endorsed at least five other Democratic City Council incumbents in Manhattan alone, including Gifford Miller, who is so far running unopposed.

Moskowitz vigorously disputes characterizations of her performance as lackadaisical."I work enormously hard," she says, "If you look at my schedule, you would see that I go to three or four meetings an evening." In addition to securing funding for schools and parks, Moskowitz says she sponsored a law to reduce toxic emissions from tour buses and was co-sponsor of a voter registration bill that makes it easier for citizens to vote, "a small but important step in encouraging civic participation."

Despite the district's affluence and high student test scores, Moskowitz and Doukas, as well as Jak Karako, a financial analyst who is running on the Libertarian ticket, note some challenges facing the district. At the top of the list here, as in far less affluent districts, is education.

Residents have complained that there is no good local high school to which they can send her children. In response to this, Moskowitz cites her role in obtaining space for a new high school on the East Side as one of her greatest accomplishments. "The Board of Education said it couldn't be done because of space, and I found the space," she says, adding that she also "lobbied my City Council colleagues" for the funding to make it happen. A former college professor, Moskowitz notes, "I am already working on a second school. . . . We need more than one school on the East Side."

Doukas believes there should be a substantial increases in teacher's salaries, funded in part by revenues gained from greater enforcement of payroll tax laws ("There are a significant number of people in this city who are not paying payroll taxes properly"), and what he anticipates will be "significant revenue from the leasing of the World Trade Center."

While Doukas is opposed to both charter schools and vouchers, Moskowitz opposes vouchers, but supports charter schools, because, she says, they are public schools, although exempt from many Board of Education rules.

Conversely, Libertarian Karako supports the voucher system, which would give parents money that they could chose to spend at a public or private school. "The government doesn't have the answers to every ill of the society," he says. Similarly, citing the city's $40 billion debt, Karako believes that the long-anticipated Second Avenue subway should be privately paid for and operated. "We have to start thinking about what sort of services the city can contract out."

Moskowitz and Doukas both strongly support a publicly funded Second Avenue subway, with Moskowitz arguing that a transportation crisis on the East Side "threatens the financial health of the city."

Doukas believes affordable housing remains a pressing issue in district 4. "We've got communities under siege" by attacks on affordable housing, says Doukas, adding, "I've noticed in the last two years that Councilmember Moskowitz has not been leading the charge against these attacks." As a council member, Doukas says he would work to "give a break to property owners on property taxes so that rent increases could be abated."

Karako has a more unusual campaign pledge. If elected, he says, he would work to eliminate the institution of the City Council itself.

posted 6/20/01

Campaign Update:

Republican Nicholas Viest announced his candidacy for the district 4 City Council seat, joining Democrats Peter Doukas and Eva Moskowitz, and Libert arian Jak Karako. Also Green party candidate Robert Jereski has entered the race, although he could not be reached for an interview.

"We must support and work positively with the NYPD," says Viest who lists public safety as one of his top concerns for the district. Viest says his campaign will emphasize community service, reform of city government, and "the nitty gritty" neighborhood issues. In this overwhelmingly Democratic district, Viest also shares the concerns of his Democratic opponents, including quality of life issues such as garbage, noise, and land use as well as maintaining affordable housing in areas such as Stuyvestant Town and Peter Cooper Village. See the Campaign Trail for more details.

Posted 7/17/01


Candidate Biographies

Peter Doukas is a certified public accountant and a New York State Democratic State Committeeman. He is also a former Community Board member and Democratic District Leader. He holds a BA in Business Administration from Barnard Baruch College.

Robert Jereski (no information is available)

Jak Karako is a financial reporting systems specialist and one of the founding members of the Manhattan Libertarian Party. He earned a BA in Economics from Bogazici University and an MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Eva Moskowitz, the current City Councilmember for district 4, was formerly the director of public affairs at Prep for Prep, an educational program serving gifted minority children. She taught American history at Vanderbilt University, the University of Virginia and CUNY. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

Nicholas Viest works in sales for a large paper distribution company. He is president of the 19th Precinct Community Council and a member of Manhattan Community Board 8. He holds a BA from Davidson College in North Carolina and an MBA from Columbia University.

 


Campaign Trail

7/05/01
In an article analyzing the various endorsements, as well as decisions not to endorse, made by East Side political clubs, Moskowitz and Doukas are said to have interpreted the results differently. Both candidates point to what they say are signs of a lack of confidence by their opponents' home clubs. For example, Moskowitz's club, the Lexington Democratic Club, endorsed her, but Doukas netted more than 20 precent of the vote, which he finds encouraging. Likewise, Moskowitz finds significance in the fact that Doukas' home, the Eleanor Roosevelt Club, the organization voted to not endorse either candidate. Moskowitz easily won the endorsements of the Lenox Hill Democratic Club, the McManus Democratic Club, and the Gramercy-Stuyvesant Independent Democrats. However, the vote in the East Side Democratic Club was nearly split with 60 percent going to Moskowitz and 40 percent to Doukas. (Our Town)

7/05/01
A tenant protest of MetLife's plans to destabilize rents in the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village complex drew about 100 tenants, but the organizer remained anonymous. City Council candidate Peter Doukas was there and took the opportunity to discuss his housing proposals and urge tenants to get involved. Doukas called for MetLife to quit charging residents for necessary amenities such as intercom systems, to replace unsafe stoves for free, and to make other immediate improvements in the residences. Political activist Bobby Lee called for tenants to buy a single share in Metropolitan Life, so that they could attend shareholders meetings to protest MetLife's destabilization plans. Others called on tenants to donate their time and skills to the tenants association. As the crowd dispersed, Doukas led the crowd in planning a second meeting later in the month. (Town and Village)

7/05/01
Eva Moskowitz called for increased garbage pick-ups on First Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets. Moskowitz has written to Kevin P. Farrell, Commissioner of Sanitation, demanding that the number of pick-ups in the area be increased. Some tenants say the problem of trash in the area has been exacerbated by the new policy put forth by the management of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, which requires residents to take recycling items to the basement themselves. Tenants say that some people drop trash on the way or misuse the recycling bins for trash, resulting in the accumulation of smelly garbage. (Town and Village)

6/12/01
After months of intense arm-twisting by local politicians and their politically savvy constituents, the City Council put up $12 million in construction funds to open a new high school on the East Side in September 2002 - even though it's not part of the current capital construction plan. (New York Post)

6/11/01
The New York City Board of Education is negotiating to lease a building that would house a new Upper East Side high school. This is in response to area parents who say the needs of their children for an academically rigorous neighborhood high school are not being met, according to city officials. District 4 City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz brought the building to the attention of the Board of Education. (New York Times)

6/7/01
Councilmember Eva Moskowitz has organized an event to further negotiations between a developer and the Board of Education for a potential site for a new Upper East Side school. Kicking off with a morning rally of parents, children and local elected leaders, the campaign aims to bring public pressure on the Board of Education to provide the Upper East Side with an academically rigorous high school. (Our Town)

 

 

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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