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What is Searchlight on Campaign 2001?
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?
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?
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
What does this have to do with this site?
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?
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?
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
Who are we?
NYC Issues 2001
Science and Technology
By Laura Forlano
Few candidates running for office in New York this year
are likely even to utter the words "science" or "technology,"
much less make them a major focus of their campaigns.
But when politicians talk about issues that they care
deeply about, such as education and economic development
-- indeed, when they talk about the future of New York
-- they are in fact talking in some ways about science
and technology. Science and technology are the forces
behind the changes in many areas. They are embedded in
most issues that New York faces.
Here are some suggestions for policy priorities in science
In recent years, New York has made a great effort to
promote the industries of information technology, with
some success, and biotechnology, with much less success.
Both are hot industries that should have a natural home
in New York.
With all the talk of dot-bombs, high tech and new media
companies already make up a $9.2 billion industry in the
city with 4,000 firms, many in Silicon Alley in Manhattan,
but others are spreading to Brooklyn, where developers
are continuing to renovate and wire large commercial spaces
to make them attractive to high-tech.
New York, with an astonishing 46 medical schools and
64 hospitals and medical centers, currently ranks second
in funding from the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) .
The city may need to create tax and other incentive programs,
improve the needed infrastructure, and help enact a fuller
coordination between government, industry and education
to help these industries flourish in New York.
1. Coordination With Higher Education
Positive relations between the public and private sectors
help to fuel economic growth, but universities are the
lynchpin in creating new knowledge and research. In New
York, the critical relationship between government and
its universities has suffered in recent years. New York
City has more than 40 colleges and universities, especially
large research institutions such as Columbia and New York
University, that have built a web of partnerships reaching
out nationally and globally. Some of the most important
research is not applied locally, and so New York does
not reap the substantial economic returns. More must be
done to build strong relationships between the city, our
universities and our industries.
2. Increased Funding In Public Schools
New York City public schools are failing to train adequately
in basic science, which is the driver of innovation and
therefore should be encouraged at all levels of education
from kindergarten through college. A greater focus on
math and science will create citizens who are better equipped
to work in New York's priority industries, biotechnology
and information technology. This will also help citizens
understand important policy issues related to science
and technology as they develop.
Increased public participation will allow us to broaden
the dialogue about science and technology and build a
society that reflects the input of the citizens and not
only that of scientists, engineers and politicians. Instead
of science and technology being guided by what it is possible
to discover and invent, it will be more important to decide
what society wants and then use science to achieve those
goals. New York City can begin to get the public involved
in policymaking in this area by sponsoring a series of
citizens' panels on topics from cloning to privacy on
the Internet to driving while using a cellular phone.
Government officials, industry leaders, academics and
non-profit groups alike worry that rapid changes in information
technology, including the introduction of broadband or
high-speed Internet access technology, will exacerbate
the digital divide. The divide commonly refers to the
lack of access to new technologies for rural and urban
poor in this country and around the world. New Yorkers
are very concerned about the gap between higher and lower
income people in the use of the Internet. According to
the Internet Policy Institute poll, well over three quarters
of New Yorkers believe that the government should subsidize
Internet access for underserved populations.
In the next few years, more and more government services
will be available online. We will be able to pay our taxes,
register for government programs and maybe even vote online.
New York is making progress in this area due to efforts
by the New
York City Department of Information Technology. Its
e-government initiatives currently include the testing
and demonstration of CityAccess, a kiosk that allows citizens
to interact with city agencies and obtain information
on a wide range of opportunities, services, and regulations.
By expanding this experiment, the next mayoral administration
will be able to streamline bureaucracy, create greater
efficiency, simplify government services for citizens
and set a model for other cities and the world.
What will help achieve all of these goals is appointing
an official specifically to oversee science and technology
policy in New York, something the city lacks now, though
we have deputy mayors and commissioners for many other
major areas of importance to the city.
Because so much being decided nationally in science and
technology affects what happens in the city, New York
politicians should monitor the debate and speak out on
issues of importance.
Intellectual Property Laws
Intellectual property refers to ownership of copyrights,
patents and trademarks. Legal trends and policies in this
area are vitally important to some of New York's priority
industries such as media and entertainment, biotechnology
and information technology. Strong intellectual property
laws are important because they give the private sector
the incentive to create new ideas and innovations. However,
if laws that protect intellectual property are too strict
they will discourage the sharing of knowledge and innovation
especially at the university level. This could stifle
research and, in the end, negatively impact the success
of New York's key industries.
To Tax Or Not To Tax E-Commerce
As with mail-order catalogues, on-line purchases have
not been subject to taxation unless the seller has offices
in the state where the buyer resides. However, many people
feel that Internet businesses have an unfair advantage
against main street businesses, in part because they can
offer goods tax-free. The government also has lost substantial
income due to the rise of e-commerce. Over half of New
Yorkers feel that they should not have to pay sales tax
for purchases they make over the Internet according to
the Internet Policy Institute poll.
Privacy And Security
Consumer privacy has come under fire this year due to
media attention over Amazon.com and other companies changing
the privacy contracts on their Websites to allow for the
sale of their consumer information. In an age when medical
and financial information is increasingly stored online,
consumers may be taking an unnecessary risk. According
to the Internet Policy Institute poll over three quarters
of New Yorkers want federal laws to restrict what kinds
of personal information can be collected online about
them. Many of New York's key businesses thrive on the
buying and selling of consumer information.
The security of online transactions is key to New York's
financial sector because these companies are moving towards
increased electronic transactions from mobile phones,
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and computers and people
will be unlikely to use these new forms of transactions
unless the security of their information can be guaranteed.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
for Party Affiliation
Dream Party (AMD)
Better Schools Party (BES)
Friends United Party (FUN)
Fusion Party (FUS)
Harmony Party (HAR)
Marijuana Reform Party (POT)
Natural Law Party (NLP)
Party of Ethics and Traditions (PET)
Reform Party (Ref)
Right to Life (RTL)
School Choice Party (Sch)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
Working Families (Wor)
1 -- Deadline for candidates to join the Campaign Finance
program, qualifying for the four-to-one match of contributions.
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
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
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.