Campaign 2001 Feature

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The Nod of the Bosses... Scramble for the City Council... Basic Training for Council Recruits... How They Stack up on Term Limit... Dynasties... The Speech that Saved Term Limits...


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?


My Economic Blueprint: Part 2

By Mike Bloomberg

Plan Responsibly

And speaking of developing mixed-use zones, for too long, Government has seen its role as a regulator rather than an innovator

Government's role going forward must be citywide planning and development. While, some projects will qualify for federal and state aid and others will need City and private sector funding, none should be planned in a vacuum. And just because we can't afford it now doesn't mean we should forget about it.

Prime candidates for new development include: "The Hub" in The Bronx; Red Hook and downtown Brooklyn; Harlem; Governors Island; The World Trade Center; the Javits Convention Center; former Con Ed Waterside Steam Plant sites in Manhattan; Long Island City and Jamaica in Queens; the Home Port and Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. The 2012 Olympic proposal for transportation and waterfront access in all five boroughs also offers tremendous opportunities to help secure a vibrant economic future.

Traditionally, economic development has been undertaken without a strong planning basis. The two roles have been separated in government. They shouldn't be. Now, with the loss of 25,000,000 square feet of office space and 6,000 of our most competent workers, a comprehensive, coordinated approach is needed more than ever.

We must combine and coordinate the efforts of the Department of City Planning and the Economic Development Corporation.

Economic development needs are different in each borough. For example, The Bronx needs commercial activity that creates jobs and gets suburbanites to come into the City to shop - vs. our citizens going to shop in the suburbs. We should build large-scale shopping malls with big stores.

Emerging industries, such as the biotechnology research industry, should be encouraged to grow near our great hospitals and medical schools. And zoning should be amended to facilitate this development.

We must overhaul our land-use regulations. Many so-called zoning uses don't reflect reality. Several categories of manufacturing uses are really commercial in nature and can co-exist alongside residential space.

And our Zoning and economic development decisions must be re-evaluated on a regular basis. This review must be institutionalized, make use of benchmarks and have both qualitative and quantitative indicators. Government must know if these decisions have resulted in success or not.

We must upgrade our building codes. It costs 50% less to build schools in other major U.S. cities. Modern technologies need to be approved if we are to afford the construction we need. One massive upgrade by a "Blue Ribbon" panel of experts can get this done without the "special interest" obstacles that have impeded revision in the past.

The destruction of the World Trade Center has had far-reaching effects that are not limited to the financial services industry or to lower Manhattan. We must address concerns throughout all sectors of the economy.

While we can't force (and have had difficulty in enticing) the private sector to move to non-Manhattan locations, the City, State and Federal governments can relocate some of their offices to other parts of the five boroughs to make way for the private sector in lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.

Those relocated government agencies would serve as civic anchors that help spur the economy of their surrounding communities. Shopkeepers, business support services, coffee cart operators, backroom financial service operations, as well as cultural facilities, would all be positively affected by such relocations.

Some 83% of government jobs are located in Manhattan while only 4% are in the Bronx and slightly more than 5% in Queens. The Departments of Transportation, Sanitation and Housing Preservation and Development are just three of the agencies that could be moved out of lower Manhattan.

The Mayor has already made 430,000 square feet available at 180 Water Street for private use.

Train the Workforce

After addressing our public-sector budget and promoting private-sector economic development, we need to focus on our workforce. First and foremost is education, and I welcome all of you to review my education plan that you can access on the campaign website. But today, I want to speak specifically about training.

The biggest challenge facing employers across the country is finding available, skilled and talented workers. New York City has a highly qualified, well-educated workforce.

But in many trades where the existing labor force is inching towards retirement, there is a shortage of skilled labor and there are not enough apprentices in the pipeline to replace them.

We need to encourage companies and unions working on Trade Center site to hire New York City residents. We need the jobs for New Yorkers. While implementation of this objective may be problematic, we should do it to ensure the development of new, skilled labor.

And graduating high school students should be participating in union offered training programs. The Emergency Employment Clearinghouse Program for building service workers offers an excellent model for other sectors by combining job placement and worker training.

The attractiveness of skilled labor jobs must be conveyed to our youth before they drop out.

More collaboration between the Board of Education and unions should be facilitated to intervene with students early in their high school years to remedy this student/job disconnect.

"Vocational education" is not a "dirty word." Skilled labor jobs will be critical as our infrastructure is being re-built, expanded and secured. While the national economy seems to be focused on the high-tech, there is still a need for electricians and plumbers, carpenters and crane operators.

These are high-paying jobs sometimes approaching six-figure incomes. We should give our high school students a reasonable shot at these jobs if they want them.

And speaking of high-tech, these industries should be partnering with The Board of Education, CUNY and other institutions of higher learning to determine the best course of training to provide needed, skilled workers in the future.

Promote Tourism/Culture/Sports

Another very important part of our economy for creating jobs is tourism - which generates $25 billion in revenue to the City.

Our cultural institutions and theatres are among the major attractions that make New York City the number one tourist destination worldwide.

Some 11.67 million people paid $588 million during the 98/99 Broadway season and another 8.5 million people attended off- and off-off Broadway productions. Our vast array of museums, performing arts centers, galleries and athletic events are also significant tourist destinations.

After September 11th, we must do more to encourage visitors to come to New York.

Clearly, we need to assure the continued health and well being of our cultural institutions, especially at this time when the tourism industry is facing the impact of terrorism fears and a faltering economy.

Promotion is needed for our leading industries and tourism.

We spend only $1.48 per capita on our tourism budget while Las Vegas spends $267.15 per capita. Our advertising budget is only $1.7 million compared to the $20.8 million spent by Las Vegas. Such marketing should be expanded to promote the advantages of relocating to the City, not just visiting it!

Sports are also good for the economy and the morale of the City -- just look at what the Mets and the Yankees have meant to the City over the last month.

We should also lobby the NFL to have the Super Bowl here in 2003. And while we're at it -- Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Association, the National Hockey League to hold their All Star games here as well and the NCAA to hold the Final Four in Men and Women's Basketball in New York.

Quality of Life

The fact is that our cultural institutions and sports teams not only help with tourism, but also add immeasurably to our quality of life. And at the end of the day, beyond rebuilding our infrastructure, balancing our budget and spurring economic growth, there is nothing as important as our quality of life.

People don't live in New York because of all the corporations. All the corporations are in New York because this is where people want to live. And that makes our quality of life our single greatest tool for economic development.

People want affordable housing, good schools for their children, world-class health care, beautiful parks and all of our unparalleled cultural opportunities. And of course, most of all people want to be safe, and we must commit to keeping New York the world's safest big city.

I have released plans addressing all of these issues, and they are just, or more important now, than before September 11th. I'm not going into all of these now, but as I said earlier, I encourage all of you to review them on my campaign website.

The one area I do want to get into with a little more depth is public safety. One of the very worst things to come out of September 11th is the damage it did to our City's reputation, as being exceptionally safe.

It took Mayor Giuliani years of unprecedented crime reductions and pounding away on the issue to convince the nation and the world that New York really is a safe City. And so much of that was undone in one morning.

We have to ensure that we are truly safe. And in the wake of September 11th and what has happened since, I think there are some concrete steps that should be taken.

1. Public Safety: Securing Our City

After the World Trade Center disaster, the Mayor and Governor took the lead in strengthening security in our City, at our airports, train stations and on our major arteries. We need to make sure we are prepared for any event.

Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies can only redouble their efforts to prevent a recurrence - and then even they don't know what the future will bring.

In the coming weeks and months, we must decide what level of increased security we are willing to pay for, and how much inconvenience in our daily lives we will tolerate.

That balance is one we should not set arbitrarily - or without listening carefully to those responsible for our protection.

Our civilization and our lives may depend on us getting it right. Safeguarding our security will require new thinking -- and new vigilance. Not only must we have safe streets. We must also have safe trains and buses, skies and waterways, water supply and power and communications systems.

The presence of police officers on the streets is more important now than ever. Therefore, we must beef up the NYPD and give it the tools and technology necessary to protect our City from these new threats.

The strength of the Police Department and the Fire Departments must be restored.

The presence of police officers on the streets is more important now than ever. Therefore, we must do everything possible to recruit the best men and women to beef up the NYPD. And we must do everything possible to get our most experienced officers to stay on the force.

As the Police Department is our first line of defense in fighting crime, the Fire Department is the first line of defense in civil emergencies. But in the wake of this catastrophe that line has been severely wounded.

We will restore the Fire Department and rebuild its ranks.

The title "New York's Bravest" was borne out of a long, proud history. To those who survived and to those we seek to recruit, we must ensure the losses suffered by the department do not affect the integrity of that important tradition.

All fire trucks should be equipped with computers that give firefighters the evacuation plans and blueprints of buildings while en route to burning buildings.

Just as the federal government came to our aid in fighting the war on crime by providing the resources to hire more cops, we now need its assistance in the new war on terrorism.

The federal government must assist us in protecting our bridges, digital network and communication systems, energy resources, watershed and public transportation by paying for security personnel and high-tech terrorism fighting hardware.

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which has performed admirably during this disaster, should become a permanent agency. When voters go to the polls in November, they should vote in favor of the Charter Revision question to make this so.

A new Emergency Operations and Command Center should be constructed as well as a back-up facility.

An added security measure should be the wiring of subway tunnels for cellular phone service. Until recently, the MTA understandably declined to do so. Some of the conversations and the volume at which they are held can be irritating. But cell phone calls from the hijacked airplanes and the smoke-filled towers were invaluable in conveying pleas for help - and messages of love.

In the event of a subway disaster, passengers must be able to communicate with the world above, to aid in their own rescue. We can restrict cell phone use to emergency use only. But those phones must be able to operate underground.


To ensure that our City has a future that is brighter than its past... that we emerge from September 11th stronger, more unified, and better prepared for the challenges of the 21st Century... we must focus on three interrelated and equally important priorities.

By Building for the Future, Creating Jobs and improving our Quality of Life, we can and we will create a New York for all New Yorkers... a New York of prosperity and hope. We will make the world's most diverse, most compassionate, most exciting and most visited City even greater.

My Street Address:

My ZIP Code:

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

You will need Acrobat Reader to view these forms.

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
NY League of Women Voters
Common Cause New York

National non-partisan sites
Ctr. for Responsive Politics
Common Cause
League of Women Voters

NAACP Voter Empowerment
Vote Smart


Political consultants
Amer. Assc. of Pol. Consultants

Prime New York

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
Right to Life
Working Families
Marijuana Reform
Natural Law Party
Taxpayers Party

Political clubs and groups
Blueprint Camp. Finance Reform
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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