The Race for Mayor
GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT ON CAMPAIGN 2001: MAYOR

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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?
Masthead

 

Ethics In Government: Michael Bloomberg

1. CAMPAIGN FINANCE: The city's landmark campaign finance program is now 13 years old.

a) What is your assessment of how the program is working? What changes, if any, would you seek in that law?

b) In 1998, the law was amended in several ways. These include a four-to-one match of smaller contributions from city residents; a ban on corporate contributions; a requirement that candidates disclose if contributors are doing business with the city; and a requirement that political action committees register with the board to qualify as contributors. What is your opinion of the impact of these changes?

The intent of the Campaign Finance Law to afford political newcomers a chance to compete with entrenched office holders is well intended. Assuring that our political candidates are untainted by the influence of special interests and are free to campaign or to govern on the merits rather than measuring their words and actions so as not to alienate potential donors is admirable. Increasing the role of City residents' contributions to the electoral process rather than that of out-of-state donors is also a worthy goal.

But this law is facilitating a new industry of "professional" bundlers whose aggregate contributions through many donors on behalf of a few large interests confers greater influence than campaign contribution limits might suggest and does anyone actually believe that these special interests have gone away or that they expect nothing in return? What about those donors who are giving to all four candidates for the democratic nomination for Mayor? Are they really leveling the playing field or hedging their bets?

The mandatory debates provide televised exposure which candidates might otherwise feel the need to buy. Additional free television access will reduce the need of candidates to continue to rely on special interest donations.

But the fact is that applying the same caps to those currently holding elective office as are applied to those seeking elective office for the first time, is not leveling the political football field. Incumbents have name recognition, can get their message out through taxpayer financed mailings and can attract donations of special interests who seek favors from the candidates in their current elected positions. The result is that outsiders are essentially disenfranchised.

The inappropriate use of government resources creates a further imbalance between incumbents/elected officials and challengers. While 1998 amendments to the Charter attempted to address the improper use of government funds and resources, the blurring lines between campaign activities and government functions of City employees must be balanced against the First Amendment rights of those employees to participate in the campaigns of the elected officials they serve. While the Conflicts of Interest Board, Corporation Counsel, Department of Investigation and the District Attorneys all have jurisdiction over this issue, I believe it is time to explore expanding the power of the CFB to further address this issue.

2. ETHICS RULES: The city charter's conflicts of interest rules were last revised in 1988.

a) What changes, if any, do you support in the city's current conflicts of interest provisions?

b) The charter's "revolving door" rules prohibit former city employees from representing paying clients before their former agency for one year after leaving city service. Similar revolving door prohibition on the state level is for two years; five years on some federal level. Do you believe the city's current revolving door provisions are adequate?

When I was considering the reasons why I wanted to be Mayor, one reason that kept recurring was the enthusiasm of former government officials and employees when they spoke of their service to the City. Quite frankly, I think it is a shame that we cannot encourage those same people to go back to government. I am quite certain that there would be more movement between government and the private sector but for the revolving door rules. We are losing the benefit of experience and untold talent by turning that revolving door into a "one way out" exit.

For this reason, I believe that the one year rule is sufficient. I also support the lifetime ban on working on a particular matter in the private sector if a former City employee worked on that specific project while in the employ of the City.

3. CITY HALL STEPS: There has been an ongoing controversy on access to City Hall and its steps, with Mayor Giuliani citing security concerns to impose a permit system for groups seeking to hold news conferences and other events on the steps and plaza area. What would be your policy on the use of City Hall for these activities? Do you support, oppose or have another position on the current permitting regulations? A bill -- Intro 657-A -- is pending in the City Council to suspend the permitting requirements for groups under a certain number. Do you support, oppose or have another position on the bill?

I am opposed to restricting access to City Hall, its steps, the Plaza, and City Hall Park. These locations have historically been used for expressions of political and ideological beliefs. The fundamental right to express an individual or a collective opinion or petition should not be restricted. The very place where George Washington listened to a recitation of the Declaration of Independence, where hundreds of American soldiers were imprisoned, and many executed, by occupying British forces during the Revolution should be open to those exercising their freedom to speak, to exchange ideas, to assemble and to petition their government.

For years, City Hall Park and Plaza, including the area between City Hall and Tweed Courthouse, has been a lunchtime refuge for the thousands of people working in the area. In recent years, families with young children have moved into the City Hall area. With so few parks and play areas in the neighborhood, City Hall Park serves as a much needed area for recreation and relaxation. The closing of the Park, or portions of it, deny City residents the use of a beautiful resource. This practice should be discontinued.

The re-creation of the 19th century fence, the fountain and paving stones in City Hall Plaza have resulted in a beautiful public space which should be open to all. . . and the gates of that fence can be admired in their open position better than if they are padlocked shut!

Int. No. 657 and various proposed amendments which have been discussed, attempt to strike a necessary balance. There is a need for a process to assign priority to various groups vying for the opportunity to speak on the steps of City Hall and to give notice to the police as to the number of participants. This regulatory process must be free of any chilling effect on the exercise of free speech.

4. CROSSWALKS: In 1993, the city created the Crosswalks channels, which cablecasts the public activities of the mayor, City Council, other officials and city agencies.

a) What, if any, changes would you make in Crosswalks coverage and operations?

b) In recent years, the city has used its Crosswalks channels in a variety of ways. These include cablecast of track races to assist the Off Track Betting Corporation; leasing the channels to commercial foreign language program; and for CUNY television. Would you continue these uses? What other kind of programming would you envision for Crosswalks?

On October 10, 1996, the City began transmitting Bloomberg Information Television, produced by Bloomberg, L.P., on Crosswalks. The next day a restraining order was issued by a federal judge preventing any further transmission.

Bloomberg, L.P. offered to place its program on a Crosswalks channel without charge and without commercials. I believed that we could offer a public service which at the time had limited exposure.

The ensuing litigation, in which Bloomberg, L.P. was a party, never clarified what is an appropriate use of Crosswalks. But the Court did lay out some guiding principles which I believe are important to bear in mind when addressing the future of Crosswalks.

Congress authorized the City to require cable companies to provide capacity for public, educational or governmental use. But these channels are not intended to transmit the most popular programs. (I was pleased to see the Court take note that it is likely that far more New Yorkers would appreciate seeing a program such as Bloomberg Information Television "than would be disappointed by some diminution in the typical fare" on Crosswalks!)

Congress authorized the public, educational and governmental transmissions to serve important interests. Much of this programming has a limited, specialized audience observed the Court. The needs of that audience are not often met through other programming. I believe it is important not to divert public, educational or governmental programs to other commercial uses.

The terms "public, educational or governmental use" do not have to be interpreted so as to preclude innovative, creative programming. But it is important to make sure that this programming meets a community need that is not being satisfied elsewhere.

5. PUBLIC INFORMATION: The 1989 charter created a Commission on Public Information and Communication, chaired by the Public Advocate. It mission includes: reviewing city information policies and the use of new communications technologies for the city; and issuing advisory opinions on Open Meetings and Freedom of Information requests. It has not been funded since 1991 and has rarely met in recent years.

a) What role, if any, do you see COPIC serving during the next four years?

b) What other steps would you take to assist New Yorkers in obtaining information about government activities and services?

The success of Bloomberg, L.P. is premised upon customer service. That does not mean merely listening to complaints and requests but also giving them an answer. The answer may not be what our customers want to hear but I know that they appreciate an answer and a reason for the response.

City residents deserve the same from their government. The City has instituted on-line services in many areas. By accessing the City web site, complaints can be filed about sanitation services and street lights and poth oles, public officials can be contacted, towed autos can be located and parking tickets can be paid.

These services should be expanded, especially to critical areas such as Housing Maintenance Code violations, and City residents should be able to readily follow-up on the status of their complaints. The Department of Buildings, which has faced a plethora of corruption and administrative delays and obstacles over the years, could be re-invented by computerizing all applications and permits.

The mandate of the Commission on Public Information and Communication (COPIC) to educate the public about the availability and potential usefulness of City information and assisting in accessing such information has barely been metâ¤|a 1998 report on the Freedom of Information Law and the Open Meetings Law, a 2000 report on the Response Time of Agencies, a meeting held in 1997, no permanent staff and no funding.

Of course when this provision was considered by the Charter Revision Commission and adopted by the electorate in 1989, the high tech industry was in its infancy. The Charter merely directs COPIC to make recommendations regarding the application of new communications technology to improve public access. Clearly, these Charter provisions are outdated.

The City should be moving in the direction of making all of City government available and open and I believe that the internet is the most appropriate far-reaching medium to employ in this undertaking.

Making information available is, of course, only one side of the coin. Accessing it is critical. Community tech centers located in community-based organizations, schools, libraries and storefront centers should be available to all City residents. These centers should also provide assistance to those who are just learning how to access the world wide web.

6. WHISTEBLOWERS: What additional protections, if any, would you support to protect city employees who report government corruption, waste or inefficiency?

The Whistleblower Statute, which purports to protect City employees, can be invoked in only limited circumstances. An employee has to have reported what he or she believes to be corruption, criminal activity or a conflict of interest to the Commissioner of Investigation, a Council Member, the Public Advocate, or the Comptroller who in turn must refer the report to the Commissioner of Investigation.

I believe the protection should also be afforded to someone who reports such information to an immediate supervisor or to the appropriate personnel in their own agency. Reporting of inappropriate activity should be encouraged by allowing employees to report such information to City personnel who they might reasonably be expected to confide in.

In the interest of preventing fiscal waste, consideration should be given to employees who report activity that does not rise to the level of corruption, criminal activity or a conflict of interest. Those who report waste and incompetence should be protected.

7. CONTRACTING: New York City purchases more than $7 billion a year in goods and services. The new charter made sweeping changes in the way the city contracts, placing basic authority for the award of city contracts with the office of the mayor. What steps have you taken and would you take to insure efficient and ethical city contracting?

As a general premise, I believe that competitive bidding is the preferred method to assure that the City is getting the most equitable deal possible. However, there are situations which call for the prompt placement of a contract or there may be a limited number of vendors who can supply a particular service. Such situations are provided for in the Charter and Procurement Policy Board rules in the form of emergency contracts, sole source contracts, small purchase contracts and negotiated acquisitions. B loomberg, L.P. has participated in such a process with the Comptroller's Office.

These alternatives to competitive bidding are important to provide for efficiency. But the need for efficiency in government has to be balanced with fair competition and appropriate oversight is the key to this balance.

While the Charter Revision Commission changed the contracting process by authorizing the Council to make certain policy determinations within the context of the contract budget, it also strongly stated that procurement is an executive function "and that the mayor should be accountable for procurement implementation by City agencies." (Final Report of the New York City Charter Revision Commission, 1990)

The mayor or deputy mayor must personally approve certain non-bid contracts and the comptroller must register these contracts. I believe it is important to disseminate information on non-bid contracts to the general public in a more readily available manner.

8. DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION: The Commissioner of Investigations serves at the pleasure of the mayor. Some have argued that granting the commissioner a fixed term would increase their independence; others have said that it is important for the commissioner to be fully accountable to a mayor and thus removable when necessary. Do you support, oppose or have another position on having the commissioner serve for a fixed term?

I do not support the appointment of a Commissioner who cannot be removed by the Mayor. There are several independent entities, such as the district attorneys, who are authorized to undertake investigation of municipal corruption.

The Commissioner can assist the Mayor in devising strategies to prevent and ferret out corruption in the City agencies. The Commissioner's interaction with agency inspectors general should serve to further this purpose.

9. PRIVATE FUNDS: There has been continuing controversies about the use of private funds in government projects.

a) Past mayors have set up private corporations to solicit funds for summit meetings, travel abroad, parades, inaugurations and other events. What is your view on the appropriate role for the use of private funds to support these initiatives?

b) City parks officials came under fire for requiring groups wishing to use parks for private events to pay differing fees to benefit a private parks foundation. How would you handle this situation?

I support the Central Park Conservancy and as a member of their Board, applaud the work that the Conservancy and similar organizations undertake. Like many other donors, I lament the fact that private concerns too often are used not merely to supplement City services but often end up supplanting them.

Of greater concern is the equitable distribution of funding for our City parks. While a Central Park has a constituency with the resources to raise large amounts of funds to improve the Park, the same cannot be said for all of our City parks. Residents of all City neighborhoods have the right to clean, well-maintained and safe City parks.

The use of public property for private purposes such as concerts and races can be used to raise needed funds for all of our City's parks. Fees charged for the inconvenience of closing the park on a temporary basis while a public event is being held should first be used to restore the park to its original condition. Bonds and insurance policies pay for major damage, but not for wear and tear. Arguably such fees should then be used to improve that park for the benefit of the community being inconvenienced.

However, I favor distributing such fees not only to the park where the private event was held but also to those parks where there is a desperate need for improvements. Let's face it, the Central Parks and Bryant Parks of this City can generate huge fees. Parks and playgrounds in other parts of the City are not likely to attract large entities which are willing to pay huge fees for the use of these parks. But these parks deserve as much, and perhaps more, attention than those that are richly endowed. Linking well-funded parks with those in need of financial assistance in a "Sister Park" program might engender interest and concern in a fair distribution of park funds.

Fees and contributions should not be set in a discretionary manner. Applicants should know upfront what is expected of them and the public should be aware of who is paying what for use of the City's parks. Fees should be published in rules promulgated by the City and should bear some relation to the cost to the City of losing the temporary use of a park. Donations should be formally reported on a regular basis listing donors and the purpose for which the fee and donation were paid.

Fees and contributions demanded by the City must be paid to the City. These funds must be subjected to the same budget review process as any other revenue of the City. This process is mandated by the City Charter and must be followed.

I would like to be able to promise that all these funds and contributions will be spent on the City's parks. However, the Charter provides for discretion on the part of the Mayor and City Council in deciding how money is spent. I do not believe that the hands of our elected officials should be tied in making budget decisions. My priority would be to improve our City parks with these funds.

I support fund raising for any purpose which furthers the interests of the City. However, potential conflicts and any appearance of impropriety must be avoided at all costs.

Solicitation of such funds should not be undertaken by City personnel, nor should City personnel administer such funds. City tax levy dollars should not be donated to such fund raising efforts. Contributions must be voluntary in nature and each and every purpose for which funds are expended should be reviewed carefully by the Mayor's Office and the Corporation Counsel for appropriateness and with a view towards furthering the interests of the City in general.

10. POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT: What are or would be your guidelines for insuring that government staff and resources not be abused for political campaign purposes?

City employees should feel free to exercise their right to participate in the political process within the parameters of the City conflict laws and specific proscriptions against political activity contained in the Charter and Administrative Code.

However, as can be seen in the current campaign, the lines between government and politics tend to blur. Government staff takes a leave of absence or vacation time to work on campaigns. Campaign web sites tend to take on the appearance of their predecessor official web sites. Reports prepared by government staff become campaign records. City employees are in evidence at campaign rallies and fundraisers. Newsletters paid for by City taxpayers focus on past accomplishments.

If I find myself in the position of running for re-election for Mayor, my campaign staff would be distinct and separate from my government staff. This is the only way to assure that taxpayer dollars are not being misused for political campaigns.

I also believe that candidates should not accept donations from anyone who stands to profit from making the donation. Employees, lobbyists and those seeking contracts, zoning changes and other discretionary determinations have an expectation that monetary donations or bundled campaign donations or "in kind" donations will influence the recipient. Accepting such donations or services raises an appearance of impropriety and should be regulated.

The municipal securities industry prohibits municipal bond dealers from engaging in business with government officials for two years if they have made significant political contributions to an official who can influence the award of business. The "anti-pay-to-play" rule is not perfect and is currently being reviewed but can serve as a guide for future conflict of interest revisions.

11. VOTER REGISTRATION: Nearly two million New Yorkers who are eligible to vote are not registered to vote. In 2000, the city enacted a Pro-Voter law to strengthen voter registration activities by city agencies, including the non-partisan Voter Assistance Commission. As mayor, what steps would you take to encourage voter registration and participation? What role do you see for the Voter Assistance Commission?

The 1988 Charter Revision Commission proposals which include the creation of the Voter Assistance Commission were premised on the idea that all government agencies should be a part of efforts to encourage government participation in political life.

But why didn't City officials act on this proposal until 2000 when legislation finally passed mandating agency participation in voter registration? Given the fact that three of our boroughs continue to fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Voting Rights Act, I would think that registration efforts would be a top priority and that funding the Voter Assistance Commission would be a high priority.

Given the abysmal voting turn out for school board elections, I think trying to reach parents through their children's schools would be an effective initiative. Teaching our kids the importance of participating in the electoral process is a lesson they can take home with them and discuss with their families.

I would also want to explore voter registration via the internet and work with the State legislature to revise existing laws so as to facilitate registration.

For those who are registered, technology should be utilized by the Board of Elections to assist people in voting. Too often voters cannot get a straightforward answer to where they should go to vote or what they should do if they encounter a problem at a polling site. Improved Board of Elections technology could help to remedy some of these problems. Increased funding for improved technology at the Board is a critical priority.

12. INDEPENDENT BUDGET OFFICE: Both former Mayor Dinkins and Mayor Giuliani opposed establishing an Independent Budget Office, saying it was unnecessary despite civic and editorial support for the office. The IBO was eventually set up in 1995 by court order. Do you support, oppose or have another position on the continued existence of the IBO?

I have spent the last several months educating myself on City government. The web site and reports issued by the Independent Budget Office have been more useful than most other government reports.

Any executive budget that I propose will include full funding for the IBO and all City agencies will be directed to fully cooperate with the IBO. And I will continue to read and study their reports.

13. ELECTIONS: What steps would you take as mayor to improve and modernize how city elections are run by the Board of Elections?

The experience of the 2000 Presidential election has focused more attention upon the election process. Unfortunately, the problem of old voting machines, understaffed polling sites, inadequately trained workers who are underpaid and a lack of foreign language translators, are problems which have not been addressed in time for the 2001 City elections. Given the impact of term limits and the record number of contested elections this year, City officials have lost a tremendous opportunity to gear up for this landmark election.

Modern voting equipment and other needed improvements must be put in place before the next City Council elections in two years when we are certain to face another large field of candidates. With redistricting, assisting voters in the 2003 election will become even more critical.

I would work with the State to assure an adequate level of qualified staffing and modern voting equipment.

14. TERM LIMITS: Term limits for all elected officials are due to take effect his year. Do you support, oppose or have another position on the city's term limits law?

The people of this City have overwhelmingly voted for term limits at two separate elections. While staggering the expiration of terms may have eased the transition of government on January 1, 2002, in future election cycles I suspect the transition will be less disruptive and momentous. I support the voice of the people and welcome the opportunity that term limits has presented to a new field of candidates.

15. OTHER STEPS: What other steps, not discussed in answer to any of the above questions, would you take to enhance the integrity of city government, to fight corruption, and to reduce potential conflicts of interest in city government?

Computerization at the corruption plagued Department of Buildings is a high priority for me. Plans and plan objections, permits and scheduling of inspections can all be tracked by technology and minimize the opportunities for corruption at this all-important but much overlooked agency.

My Street Address:

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Find what city council district you are in -- and learn more about what's going on there, and who's running.


What is this?
Gotham Gazette's Searchlight on Campaign 2001 offers a comprehensive look at what is being called New York City's most significant campaign season in modern history. (See the left-hand column for an explanation).


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
DL21C
Central Queens Greens
The Jefferson Democratic Club of Flushing
NY Young Republican Club
Stonewall Democratic Club
Village Independent Dems.


Abbreviations for Party Affiliation

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


2001 Election Calendar

June 1 -- Deadline for candidates to join the Campaign Finance program, qualifying for the four-to-one match of contributions.
June 5 - First day for candidates from the eight major parties (Democratic, Republican, Indpendence, Conservative, Liberal, Green, Working Families, and Right to Life) to circulate petitions. Candidates running for City Council must collect the signatures of at least 900 people living in the district for which they are running in order to appear on the Primary ballot. Candidates not running under these eight major parties do not appear on the Primary ballot and have a separate set of deadlines.
July 12 - Deadline for major party candidates to file petitions.
July 10 - First day for unaffiliated candidates to circulate petitions, in order to appear on the ballot in the General Election. They must collect the number of signatures equal to five percent of the total enrolled in that party.
August 7 - Board of Elections announces candidates appearing on the Primary ballot.
August 17 - Last day for non-absentee voters to register to vote in the Primary Election.
August 21 - Deadline for non-major party candidates to file petitions to be included on the General Election ballot.
September 4 - Last day to postmark application for absentee voting in the Primary
September 10 - Last day to personally deliver application for absentee voting in the Primary Last day to postmark absentee ballot for Primary
September 11 - Primary election; Polls open at 6:00a.m. and close at 9:00p.m.; Absentee ballots must be hand-delivered by 9:00 p.m.
September 25 - Runoff Primary election for Mayor, Comptroller and Public Advocate, if needed
October 12 - Last day to for non-absentee voters to register to vote in the General Election
October 30 - Last day to postmark application for absentee voting in the General Election
November 5 - Last day to hand-deliver an application for absentee voting, or to postmark an absentee ballot for the General Election.
November 6 - General Election; polls open at 6:00a.m. and close at 9:00p.m. in NYC; Absentee ballots must be hand-delivered by 9:00 p.m.

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