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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?
"City in Transition: NYC Issues 2001" is a series
of seminars developed by the
New York University Center for Excellence in New York
City Governance, Coro
Eastern Center and Citizens
Union Foundation (publisher of Gotham Gazette). They
are being offered for free to candidates and their staff.
For the seminars, experts, mostly academics from New York
University, have been asked to explain the key issues
facing New York City, and the options available to these
candidates to solve the problems. We are posting these
"options papers" on our site as they become available.
In addition, the contributors of Gotham Gazette will offer
our own overviews of the issues, geared more to the public.
Economic Development Option Paper:
Forging a New Strategy
By D. Kenneth Patton
This paper recognizes the remarkable growth in New York
City's economy during the last half of the 1990's, but
argues that during these prosperous years, many opportunities
have been missed to prepare the city's economic base for
further growth. These include:
- adequately exploring options for growth in available
areas of the Manhattan Central Business District
- extending development to other geographic areas of
- streamlining the processes for development
- encouraging the growth of additional capacity in
housing and transportation
- improving conditions for such additional industry
sectors as biotechnology.
BACKGROUND: NEW YORK CITY'S ECONOMY IN EARLY 2001
New York City's economy grew rapidly during the last
half of the 1990's, following the severe recession of
1989 to 1992 and the slow recovery years of 1993 to 1995.
By the end of the year 2000, over 400,000 jobs had been
created, surpassing the number of jobs lost during the
recession, and surpassing the rate of job growth in the
In addition, income growth has been particularly robust,
particularly in the city's finance industry and advanced
business services, which together have accounted for over
half of all growth in income during the 1990's boom. By
2000, the average wage in the securities industry was
approaching $200,000, compared to an average wage in all
other city industries of $48,000. This surge in wages
and bonuses has boosted growth throughout the tri-state
metropolitan region via the expenditures of commuters'
incomes, and has yielded record surpluses for the budgets
of the city, of New York State, and also of the neighboring
states of New Jersey and Connecticut.
In response to the city's economic resurgence, population
growth has been substantial during the decade, much of
it due to immigration, so that for the first time the
city now has more than eight million people, according
to the official 2000 Census.
New York City's growth has resulted in a range of challenges.
A strong demand for office space led to low vacancy rates
and rapidly rising rents, stimulating a new wave of office
construction. Housing construction, while improved over
the low levels of the early 1990's, was still inadequate
to meet the demand of a rapidly growing population and
job market, resulting in an extremely tight and expensive
housing market. There were once again competitive pressures
from areas outside the city, and several major corporations
based in New York City announced new construction projects
along the Hudson waterfront in northern New Jersey.
The city's strong economic growth in the 1990's has largely
been a result of major forces in the national and international
economy, particularly as this has contributed to the resurgence
of the city's financial and business services industries,
as well as its growth in the arts, culture, media and
communications, and tourism. Other than the successful
targeting of crime reduction and related ⤗quality of
life' measures, and the use of substantial tax abatements
as a retention tool, this growth can not be attributed
to any explicit or coherent economic development strategy
undertaken by the city government.
Clearly, what the city needed by 2000 was more housing
and more office space, less crowded transportation, and
better city services, as well as basic infrastructure
to support its revitalizing residential communities.
Even with the current concerns over an economic slowdown,
these are still what the city needs.
NYC'S CURRENT APPROACH TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
New York City's current economic development program
is focused around the following major components:
- Reducing property taxes
- Reducing taxes, or using tax credits, to offset high
energy costs (Alternately, major companies can be offered
electrical power at lower cost from the New York Power
- Lending or granting some of the city's capital funds
for improvements in infrastructure
- Using tax-exempt bonds, issued either by the city
or by one of its authorized agencies.
These tools and programs, as well as changes in zoning
and use of marketing campaigns, were aggressively used
during the 1980's to spur relocations of companies, including
manufacturing firms, to the four boroughs other than Manhattan.
Two deputy mayors work on economic development -- the
deputy mayor for economic development and planning, and
the deputy mayor for community development and business
services. There is also the non-profit Economic Development
Corporation, which also administers the city's Industrial
Development Agency tax exemption and business financing
programs, the city's food and marine terminals, and the
planning, development and management of waterfront properties.
In addition to the city's programs, there are economic
development programs of New York State's Empire State
Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey; and a wide range of private, non-profit
and quasi-governmental entities engaged in economic development
activities or commercial development, including local
development corporations (LDCs), community development
corporations (CDCs), business improvement districts (BIDs),
and foundation-sponsored programs such as LISC.
FOCUS OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY DURING THE
During the 1990's, the tax reduction program was a major
feature of the city's economic development program. What
was reduced included a wide range of city taxes. The most
important one to be eliminated was the 12.5 percent extra
income tax that New Yorkers had had to pay to beef up
the police under the Dinkins Administration's Safe Street/Safe
City program. Also eliminated, outside of the Manhattan
Central Business District, was the commercial rent tax.
The city's share of the hotel tax was reduced. By Fiscal
Year 2001, the cumulative value of these and other tax
reductions was $2.5 billion. If the entire next round
of the mayor's recently proposed tax reductions were to
be enacted, total tax reductions would amount to almost
$4.5 billion by Fiscal Year 2004.
However, the most evident tool used for economic development
during the 1990s has been the retention program, where
substantial tax relief or grants have been given to major
corporations as inducement for staying in the city, primarily
in the Manhattan Central Business District. The cumulative
value of this retention program is estimated at well over
one billion dollars during the past eight years. While
New York City is not alone in its practice of using significant
grants and tax exemptions to woo or retain business (both
New Jersey and Connecticut have used similar programs
to attract city-based businesses), it is notable that
concessions were frequently made to industries that were
growing rapidly during the 1990s, and that clearly considered
the city a vital location.
NEW YORK CITY'S CAPITAL BUDGET FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The city's total capital budget showed almost no growth
during the 1990's, remaining around the level of $4 billion.
It is significant that in the Mayor's latest proposal,
this total would increase to $7 billion in 2002, 2003
and 2004, with heavy emphasis on school construction,
wastewater and filtration systems, the transit and bus
system, and bridge repair.
The city's capital budget commitments specifically for
economic development have been moderate at best during
the 1990's, totaling $270 million for the four fiscal
years of 1997 to 2000. The mayor's proposal for FY2001
to 2004 projects a substantial increase, to a total of
$1.4 billion, of which $570 million is proposed for investments
in cultural facilities. During his State of the City address
in early January of 2001, the Mayor also highlighted proposed
increases in capital for specific projects in the boroughs,
such as his $70 million commitment to the Brooklyn Bridge
Park, and $10 million assistance for the BAM district
NEW YORK CITY NEEDS A NEW VISION, NEW STRATEGIES,
AND A NEW ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Needed: A New Vision of Future Economic Potential
In this first decade of the 21st Century, New York City
needs to engage its citizens in a discussion of the city's
future potential and future needs: How much population
and economic growth is wanted? How is the city to mobilize
resources to provide the capacity for renewal of its neighborhoods,
for transportation, and for further growth?
A major focus of the city's economic development strategy
should be the formulation of policies and programs to
implement this vision of expanded growth and renewal.
Needed: New Strategies to Achieve Future Economic
There needs to be a major change in the focus, away from
retention grants and tax abatement, and towards marshalling
the city's budget, tax policies, economic development
programs and capital investment to spur that new vision
of future development:
- Formulation and Advocacy of Economic Policy: Increased
attention needs to be paid to sound economic analysis
of the city's economy, over and above the needs for
budget preparation. Such analysis would form the basis
for sound policy formulation, and for sound planning
for tax policy, infrastructure needs and capital budget.
What might help is the establishment of an office of
a Chief Economist.
- Changing the Process of Economic Development: substantial
changes need to be made to facilitate development in
the city. These changes could include:
- improving the supply of available land, by rezoning,
cleaning up brownfield sites, and acquiring more
land, using the equivalent of earlier urban renewal
powers if needed;
- more aggressive leadership in expediting projects
through the Uniform Land Use Review Process, community
board review, and environmental regulatory process;
- establishing a more streamlined process or, the
⤗one-stop shopping' approach to delivering services
to the city's businesses.
- Capital Investment to Spur Economic Development: more
effectively direct the city's capital budget towards:
- expanded capital investment for land preparation
- provision of needed infrastructure to support
new housing, offices, waterfront development, and
to establish key business districts outside of the
Manhattan Central Business District.
- Vastly Improve City's Infrastructure and Add New Capacity:
in this decade, there is the need to move beyond current
efforts of bringing systems back to 'state of good repair',
to add capacity in:
- transportation, with both new subway lines, extension
of existing lines, new concepts in adding capacity
in neighborhoods such as trolleys, small jitney
buses, new ferry systems to serve waterfront development;
- housing, both private and public, to accommodate
recent growth and unmet demand, and to support future
growth in population and employment.
- electricity, where need for additional power is
imperative during next five years, with additional
generating facilities, transmission lines and natural
gas pipeline capacity;
- Target Development Strategies to Broaden the Geography
of Development, and to Spur New Development Districts:
- New York City's economic development efforts need
to be extended away from the Manhattan Central Business
District (CBD) to revitalize communities in upper
Manhattan and in the four boroughs. Attention needs
to be paid to supporting residential neighborhoods
with improved protective, environmental, and park
and recreational services, and infrastructure investment
to support emerging commercial districts.
- New development districts should be encouraged,
similar to the success of Metrotech in Brooklyn,
to encourage alternative office, hotel and other
commercial facilities as well as new residential
development. These districts could be located in
northern Manhattan, e.g. in Washington Heights or
Harlem; and in the other four boroughs in such potentially
important new downtown districts as Downtown Brooklyn
and Long Island City; but also in Downtown Jamaica,
Flatbush, St. George ferry terminal area, Flushing,
Astoria, or Fordham Road.
- Target New York City's Capital Investment Program
to Support its Major Industry Sectors:
- these sectors could include the arts, higher education,
graphic design, hospital and health-related research,
biotechnology, or the film and entertainment industries.
- For example, the arts are not only a major cultural
resource for New Yorkers, but also a powerful attraction
for tourists and business visitors and for new residents
to the city, and constitute a $12 billion industry
in the city's economy.
Needed: A New Organizational Structure for Economic
Development in New York City
New York City is in need of a major reorganization in
its economic development mechanisms, to more closely align
the making of policy, programs and decisions within the
mayoral offices, and the departments charged with implementation.
- All policy, program, project development, business
services and community development efforts need to be
consolidated into the office of one Deputy Mayor for
Economic Development, who is directly and solely the
agent of the mayor. This would include reconstituting
a number of functions previous in government which were
devolved to the Economic Development Corporation, but
are more appropriately the province of city government
and accountable directly to the mayor.
- Consideration should be given to encompassing the
responsibilities of City Planning, the Mayor's Office
for Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, and coordinating
the efforts of housing development, energy, telecommunications,
technology, or labor training within the purview of
the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, to better
and more efficiently align these functions with the
policy and program goals of the mayor,
- The Deputy Mayor for Economic Development would serve
as the mayor's key coordinator with major agencies such
as New York State Empire State Development Corporation;
the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New
York City Transit Authority; the Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey; and the federal departments of
Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation.
- Improve co-ordination with the economic development
efforts of major non-profit groups.
Kenneth Patton is Associate Dean of the Real Estate
Institute at New York University
Back to overview
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.