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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Michael E. McMahon, Dem 15,295 - 49 percent
Joseph F. Cammarata, Rep 10,982 - 35 percent
Deborah L. Rose, Lib 4,650 - 15 percent
Susan K. Roecker, Gre 118 - 0 percent
Michael E. McMahon 4,937
Deborah L. Rose 4,767
Jon R. Del Giorno 2,986
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Jerome X. O'Donovan
(can't run in 2001)
General Election Update
- Joseph F. Cammarata (Rep/Con/RTL)
- Mike McMahon (Dem/Wor)
- Susan K. Roecker (Gre)
- Deborah Rose (Lib)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
to Joseph F. Cammarata
to Jon Del Giorno
to Mike McMahon
Susan K. Roecker has not filed.
to Deborah Rose
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
A Staten Island Makeover
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, district 49 has more in common with areas of
Manhattan and Brooklyn than with the rest of the Staten Island.
The North Shore has the island's most ethnically diverse population,
the oldest infrastructure, the densest housing, and is the only
safe haven for Democrats in a largely Republican stronghold. The
constituents of the area even read different newspapers.
"The rest of island reads The Staten Island Advance like it's
the gospel," said candidate Jon Del Giorno. "In our area, people
are more likely to read the Times, the Daily News, or ethnic newspapers."
And so district 49, which stretches from the Verrazano Bridge
to the Gothals Bridge and north of the Staten Island expressway,
faces issues like tourism, waterfront development, immigration,
and deteriorating infrastructure that are unique to the area.
The top priority for all the candidates--Jon Del Giorno, Mike
McMahon, and Debi Rose--is to make sure that Staten Island becomes
more than just a turn-around-point for the over one million tourists
who ride the free ferry from Manhattan each year.
Luckily, plans are already underway to lure tourists with entertainment,
shopping, and dining. The St. George area is the site of an $81 million development
project that includes a minor league baseball stadium set
to open this summer, construction of the National Lighthouse Museum,
and exhibition space for the Staten Island Institute of Arts and
Sciences. Renovation of the ferry terminal, a new shoreline park,
and a waterfront esplanade with retail stores and restaurants
are also in the plans.
"It's important that we have someone in office who has a real
vision for the St. George area," said Jon Del Giorno, who as "the
only candidate who takes the ferry to work" wants to see the terminal
and ferry cleaned up.
But even these much heralded improvements present challenges.
Mike McMahon said that west of the new stadium area an old gypsum
plant presents a significant environmental problem where "the
benefits [of new development] will not be felt until it is cleaned
Debi Rose said she has concerns about luxury apartments taking
priority over affordable housing to the east of the stadium. "The
whole of our area needs to benefit, not just the sports enthusiasts,
a few vendors, and the wealthy," said Rose.
The North Shore has also seen a great influx of new residents
since representative Jerome O'Donovan was elected in 1981. There
has been significant immigration from India, Albania, Egypt, China,
Poland, and African countries. In particular, the neighborhoods
of Stapleton-Clifton now represent the largest concentration of
Liberians outside of Africa.
"The strength of the North Shore is our diversity--some of these
people have become citizens and some have not," said McMahon.
"We have to make sure we help them become members of our community."
Immigration and people who have moved to the area for less expensive
rents and easy accessibility to Manhattan have filled the neighborhood
schools to the limit and prompted the candidates to put school
construction and new libraries at the top on their agendas. "Some
of our schools do not have libraries, they just have carts that
they roll around the halls with a couple of books on them," said
The area's streets, sewers, transportation, and shopping districts
are also straining under the growing population and development.
"We have the oldest infrastructure in the island, much that has
not been improved since it was built," said Del Giorno. "Our streets
are narrow, our sewers are breaking, and our old railway tracks
are not functional." Creating new parking and mass transit for
commuters who use the ferry is also a priority.
It will also take more than museums and the Staten Island Yankees
to stimulate the local economy. Many of the manufacturing sites
along the waterfront are abandoned, the navy port is empty, and
the hospital industry, which is the largest employer in the area,
is tightening its payrolls because of increased medical costs.
As far as the campaigns, both Del Giorno and McMahon who have
served as aides in city government point to their experience as
the reason they should be elected. Debi Rose sees her campaign
as "historic" since she is the first African-American woman to
run for political office in Staten Island.
The candidates also hope that if elected they can make sure their
district and Staten Island gets its fair share at City Hall.
"I want to make sure Staten Island has a place in City Council
and that the body can become a true legislative power," said McMahon.
But first they may have to overcome the political past. In 1993,
Staten Island residents voted to secede from the city by a margin
of two to one. The effort eventually failed, but added to the
perception that Staten Islanders think they have little in common
with the rest of New York City.
The Democratic primary in the North Shore of Staten Island has turned into a
competitive and well-financed race. Jon DelGiorno has raised over $214,000
and Mike McMahon has raised over $224,000, putting the two men among the best
funded council candidates in the city. Debi Rose has raised about $125,000,
some of which she used to purchase a large roadside billboard
http://www.debirose.com/billboard.htm advertisement for her campaign.
The endorsements in these campaigns are also split among the candidates.
DelGiorno has the backing of the Staten Island Democratic Party as well as
Assemblymember John Lavelle and State Senator Vincent Gentile. McMahon has
been endorsed by the Working Families party, the United Federation of
Teachers, and Assemblymembers Elizabeth Connelly and Eric Vitaliano, and
outgoing Councilmember Jerome O'Donovan. Debi Rose will also appear as a
Liberal candidate on ballot.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Joseph Cammarata, who is
running on the Republican, Conservative, and Right-To-Life lines, and Green
candidate Susan Roecker in the general election in November.
Cammarata, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 1997, is campaigning on
education, crime, and economic development. He hopes to continue the crime
policies of Mayor Giuliani and make sure Staten Island does not slip from the
City Hall agenda.
Joseph Cammarata has worked as a high school social studies
teacher, an adjunct professor, a police officer in the 101st precinct
and a detective. He was assigned to the Bureau of Special Services,
where he guarded heads of state, foreign dignitaries, and elected
officials like Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan. He served in the
U.S. Navy and the Army Reserves. He is a graduate of the New York
Institute of Technology.
Jon DelGiorno is the administrative manager for the New
York City Board of Elections. He is also a trustee secretary of
the Sisters of Charity Health Care System and finance chair of
the Richmond County Democratic Party. He has worked as an aide
to council members Mary Codd and Nicholas LaPorte and was appointed
as the assistant to Staten Island's Deputy Borough President.
He serves as a member of numerous civic groups including the St.
George Civic Association, Richmond Home Need Services, Mud Land
Society, and Bay Street Landing. He is a graduate of New York
Mike McMahon is an attorney at O'Leary & McMahon and serves
as counsel to current Councilmember Jerome O'Donovan. Jr. In the
past, he worked for Assemblymembers Elizabeth Connelly and Eric
Vitaliano. He is the president of the Randall Manor Residents
Association and a member of numerous civic associations and boards
including Friends of Allison Park, Meals On Wheels, Catholic Youth
Organization Advisory Board, Staten Island Symphony, and the Sailor
Snug Harbor Little League. He is vice president of the North Shore
Susan K. Roecker (no information available).
Deborah Rose is an executive director and administrator
of the Liberty Partners Program at the College of Staten Island.
She is a member of Community Board 1, has served as chair of the
Youth Services and Areas Committee, and Community School Board
31. She is board member of the Mental Health Society, a member
of the American Cancer Society, and founder of the Black Women's
Democratic North Shore Council hopeful Michael McMahon yesterday
said the 120th Precinct should be moved to a modern facility,
possibly at the old home port site. He also called for a salary
boost for cops and touted a merit pay retention program to keep
experienced police officers on the job. McMahon, who picked up
the endorsement of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association yesterday,
is locked in a three-way Sept. 11 Democratic primary with Debi
Rose and the party-backed Jon DelGiorno. (Staten
Debi Rose, a Democratic candidate for the North Shore City Council
seat, yesterday called for more city services for senior citizens,
including affordable housing. (Staten
In a borough where Republicans usually dominate the political
landscape, the 49th City Council District on the north shore of
Staten Island is an anomaly: a Democratic Party stronghold that
for two decades has elected the same councilman, Jerome X. O'Donovan.
But now Mr. O'Donovan is one of 35 council members who cannot
run again because of term limits ’§î he is running instead for
borough president--and this previously docile Democratic oasis
has disintegrated into a three-way struggle that says as much
about this uncertain political season as it does about the district's
changing ethnic makeup. Mr. O'Donovan has endorsed Michael McMahon,
43, a lawyer who has worked as counsel to many Democratic officials
in Staten Island. The Staten Island Democratic Party organization
has endorsed Jon R. DelGiorno, the administrative manager of the
New York City Board of Elections. But what once might have been
a straightforward contest between two candidates with deep Democratic
roots has been complicated by the presence of Deborah Rose, an
administrator at the College of Staten Island. Ms. Rose is vying
to become the first black council member elected in the borough.
While the district is mostly white, with large neighborhoods of
Irish- American and Italian-American families, it has nonetheless
become the most diverse community in Staten Island, with a growing
population of immigrants from the West African countries of Liberia,
Ghana and Nigeria. It is now nearly 20 percent black. Similarly
robust immigration from Mexico, Ecuador and other South American
countries has pushed the district's Hispanic population to slightly
more than 20 percent. Ms. Rose, 49, directs a program that seeks
to reduce high school dropout rates. She said is seeking to appeal
not only to black and Hispanic voters, but also to women and liberal
whites in the district. "With that kind of formula, I can win,"
she said. "I don't think anyone should write this campaign off."
The candidates have similar views, each emphasizing the development
of areas along the shore for recreational and business use. They
each talk with particular ardor about the need to build new public
schools to ease the growing problem of overcrowding. (New
North Shore City Council candidate Jon Del Giorno's job with the
city Board of Elections is drawing fire from his two Democratic
primary opponents. Debi Rose yesterday said Del Giorno should
resign his position to avoid "the appearance of impropriety,"
while Michael McMahon called for sweeping changes to the board,
which he called "a system of political patronage and bumbling
bureaucracy." Del Giorno dismissed their charges out of hand,
and said he has no plans to resign. Del Giorno, who has been endorsed
by the Democratic Party organization, has served as the board's
administrative manager since 1989. He took a leave of absence
June 1 to campaign full-time. (Staten
The New York Times called this one of the ten races to watch.
While Jerome X. O'Donovan runs for Staten Island borough president,
the race to succeed him in the Council has turned into a battle
between two Democratic factions. Michael E. McMahon, a lawyer,
has the support of elected officials, while Jon R. Del Giorno,
an official at the city's Board of Elections, has the backing
of the borough's party organization. Also aggressively campaigning
is Deborah Rose, a college administrator, who is seeking to become
Staten Island's first black elected official in a district that
has grown increasingly diverse. (New York Times)
Two North Shore candidates are among the biggest money-raisers
of the more than 280 candidates running for the City Council this
year. According to city Campaign Finance Board (CFB) filings this
week, Michael McMahon has raised $145,870, while Jon Del Giorno,
his opponent for the Democratic nod in the 49th Council District,
has raised $139,799. Liberal Party candidate Debi Rose, who is
also seeking the Democratic line, has raised $46,992. Republican,
Conservative and Right to Life candidate Joseph Cammarata has
raised $13,170, according to the Campaign Finance Board. (Staten
The Working Families Party City Council hopefuls Michael McMahan
and Janey Moran, after candidates pledged to uphold the party's
platform, which includes raising minimum wage, limiting development
and expanding bus service on Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance)
Night after night in New York City, fundraising events take
place, in people's apartments or slightly garish catering halls.
And whether the affairs are standard or eclectic, they are all
driven by the same desire: campaign cash. And they are taking
place with a frequency that politicians and donors alike say is
unprecedented in modern city politics.
"Let's say you get 10, 20 or 30 people at a fund-raiser from
just one apartment complex, even if they bring checks for just
$25 each," said political consultant Lincoln Mitchell. "Those
contributions are matchable and you help to build a volunteer
base of people who will work for your campaign and spread the
That was the thinking of Michael E. McMann, a lawyer who is an
aide to the man he hopes to succeed, City Councilman Jerome X.
O'Donovan, a Staten Island Democrat. Mr. McMann had a fund-raising
event this week with about 30 Staten Island residents at the home
of some friends. Over bruschetta and white wine, the guests heard
Mr. McMann's views on a variety of local issues.
"It's wonderful to get the campaign contributions," Mr. McMann
said. "But the real value is meeting new people." (New York Times)
"Between the three of us, we probably agree on almost every single
issue," says Jon Del Giorno, one of three candidates running for
the City Council seat from the North Shore of Staten Island. While
it is true they all want to build a new school in the area, fight
overdevelopment, and reduce traffic congestion, they disagree
about whether Staten Island should secede from New York City.
Debi Rose is against secession, Michael McMahon is for it, Del
Giorno has not made up his mind. NY1
Queens Democratic leader Thomas Manton gave $250 to former elections
board official Jon Del Giorno, running to succeed Staten Island
Councilman Jerome O'Donovan in City Council District 49. (Daily
Debi Rose said local Democratic leaders told her she would be
the Ralph Nader of the district 49 election and would steal votes
away from the other two candidates. The Democratic leaders have
a different view of the conversation. Nonetheless, it's become
a topic of conversation in Staten Island political circles. (New