Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Gotham Votes 2013

Gotham Votes

NYC Candidates 'Living The Experience'

This election cycle has seen candidates challenge themselves to experience the issues New Yorkers face first hand — from spending the night in public housing to living off of food stamps.

The newest challenge? Making it through a week on the minimum wage pay of $7.25 an hour.

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and candidates for City Council, public advocate, and borough president have said they will participate in the Rising Workers challenge that requires them to live off $92 for a week.

Among the candidates who have agreed to the challenge is Councilman Stephen Levin, the incumbent running for the 33rd district in Brooklyn.

“While living on $7.25 per hour for just one week cannot come close to the reality of living without financial security for months and years at a time,” he said in an emailed statement to the Gotham Gazette, “it is still critically important that elected leaders understand how a person lives at this level of income.”

Challenge participants can spend on food and transportation for the week. Fundraising money used for campaigning can still be spent throughout the week, The Daily News reported.

City Councilman Jumanee Williams, who is up for re-election in Brooklyn’s 45th district, has also chosen to participate in the challenge, citing his desire to raise awareness for the issue.

Read more: NYC Candidates 'Living The Experience'

De Blasio Joins Chorus of Mayoral Candidates Calling For Weiner To Drop Out

Mayoral candidates are calling for rival Anthony Weiner to drop out of the race after the former congressman confirmed the authenticity of newly published lewd images and messages online.

Democrat Bill de Blasio

Republican John Catsimatidis:

Democrat Sal Albanese

"From the moment he entered the race, I’ve said that Tony Weiner was unfit to serve as Mayor of our great city. Today, that is clearer than ever.

Since he entered public life, Tony has made a career of misleading New Yorkers rather than improving their lives. When he ran for City Council, he misled them with a racially-charged mailer about his opponent. As a Councilman, he mislead tenants to believe he would support rent control. As a Congressman, he sent sexually explicit photos to women, then told a bold-faced lie on national television, saying that he was an innocent victim of hacking.

Now, just 49 days before the election, he admits that he mislead us again. Unfortunately, my other opponents have danced around the issue. I’m not going to do that. I’m calling for Anthony Weiner to do right by New Yorkers and withdraw from the race."

From his website

Democrat John Liu

It’s hard to believe that guy could have even more exposure; it’s one thing if there are more old pictures surfacing but it would be utterly unbelievable if he was doing this after he resigned.

From Daily Politics

Weiner, meanwhile, has announced a news conference for 5 p.m.

Event Of The Day: Mayoral Forum On HIV/AIDS Issues

Several mayoral candidates are expected to attend a forum tonight on HIV and AIDS.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an organization that provides HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy, is hosting the event that is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

GMHC has confirmed former Congress member Anthony Weiner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, NYC Comptroller John Liu and former Councilmember Sal Albanese — all Democrats — will be in attendance. Independent candidate and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion will also be attending.

The event is scheduled to take place at GMHC’s offices in the Peter Kruger dining room, located at 446 W. 33rd St., on the seventh floor.

For more mayoral forums and other events visit Gotham Gazette’s calendar.

— Daniel Stein-Sayles

Fun With Data: 2013 Poll Sites Mapped

Although the city’s Board of Elections and other websites provide fine poll locators, we decided to take a look at the spread of poll sites throughout the five boroughs for the 2013 elections.

After filing a Freedom of Information Law request with the BOE, they provided us with PDFs of the data, which they said was the only format they had available (a surprise, given their own website likely relies machine-readable formats).

Anyway, here are maps of poll sites in the five boroughs. (Visualizations by Cesar Bustamante.) See anything interesting? Send us an email to info(at)



Staten Island



CD6 Candidates Criticize Bloomberg For Suing Compt

Candidates running to represent the 6th City Council District on the Upper West Side say they’re disappointed Mayor Michael Bloomberg has sued the comptroller for rejecting a contract for a homeless shelter in the neighborhood.

“Bloomberg’s lawsuit demonstrates his lack of concern for the Upper West Side community,” Democratic candidate Helen Rosenthal said in a statement emailed to the Gotham Gazette earlier today.

She said the decision is evidence of a “process void of transparency.”

Her opponent, Ken Biberaj, also responded to the Gotham Gazette.

“It is disappointing that the mayor has chosen to sue the comptroller instead of formulating a more comprehensive plan to deal with our homeless crisis,” he said in an email.

The New York Times reported this morning that Bloomberg sued Comptroller John Liu for rejecting two contracts worth millions of dollars between Aguila Inc., run by a former homeless services commissioner, for the operation of two homeless shelters.

One is in the South Bronx; the other is on 95th Street on the Upper West Side.

Liu rejected the contracts as too vague; Bloomberg said the comptroller’s duty of registering contracts is limited and “not a vehicle for the comptroller to usurp the mayor’s authority to enter into contracts.”

The seven candidates running for the 6th district had praised Liu for his decision on July 3 to reject the contract for the homeless shelter on West 95th Street.

Other candidates, such as Debra Cooper, have written letters to the comptroller urging him to reject the contracts, citing a lack of transparency and data.

“The lack of transparency undermines the public’s right to involvement in the affairs of their community,” Cooper wrote, adding, “It is only a quick fix wasting away our tax dollars.”

The candidates are vying for the seat being vacated by term-limited Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who is running for Manhattan borough president.

Maya Miller

Election Roundup: Spitzer’s Ad, Muslim Surveillance and Weiner on IG

Eliot Spitzer released a new ad over the weekend, boldly assuming that "the people of this city are about to welcome back an old friend." The Daily News reports:

That last line was a preemptive strike against Spitzer’s many enemies, in case they work to oppose him with a barrage of negative ads and mailings.  A spokeswoman for Spitzer’s opponent in the Democratic race for city controller, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, responded on Twitter.  “Other thing that’s nowhere to be found in this Spitzer ad? Any reference to his failed record as governor,” spokeswoman Audrey Gelman wrote.

Over the weekend, the New York Times wrote an editorial on the Democratic candidates positions on public safety. But, as Capital New York’s Azi Paybarah wrote, only looks at Quinn’s record on NYPD surveillance of Muslim communities. 

The Times has targeted Quinn for her politically calibrated positions on policing before: In April, the editorial board wrote that Quinn’s desire to keep Ray Kelly on as police commissioner while also supporting the creation of an NYPD inspector general, over Kelly’s strong objections, were “contradictory." For the record, Quinn isn’t the only one of the Democratic candidates who has defended, or at least declined to criticize, the NYPD’s surveillance program.

Gotham Gazette sat down with sometimes-mayoral frontrunner Anthony WeinerThe former congressman repeated his opposition to the NYPD inspector general bill recently passed by the City Council, which he said he’d still comply with under his administration.

GG: Pending any litigation or an actual mayoral veto, the NYPD inspector general bill leaves it up to the mayor to appoint the IG.

AW: Well, I don’t support the legislation, but I believe in following the law. And if this is created by the Legislature, I will fill it. But I also don’t believe it will be necessary in my administration.

GG: Would that be one of the second-tier appointments?

AW: There aren’t going to be second-tier … I guess you caught me in a rhetorical trap that I have implied that there are. No, it would not be. I’m going to have good people working for the people of the city of New York…

WATCH: Spitzer on The Colbert Report

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,Video Archive

Comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer made an appearance on The Colbert Report last night and gets asked some of the hardest questions in the race so far, Politicker reports.

COLBERT: Before we go, one last question. You know, you’re leading in the polls. You could win this thing … Do you think that it seems that voters are more forgiving than they used to be? Do you think that signals progress for our country, or the slow decay of our moral values?

SPITZER: Wow. Wow. That is a tough one.

Elections Mid-Day Update: Quinn Releases TV Ad; 3

Christine Quinn released the first television ad in the Democratic mayoral race, in which she touts her bona fides as a champion of the middle class. The New York Times fact-checks and determines:

The advertisement will test the potency of Ms. Quinn’s central message: love her or hate her, she gets stuff done. But — surprise! — it oversimplifies the messy work of government.

Speaking of Quinn, a new poll also shows her at the top in the field of mayoral candidates. A New York Times/Siena poll shows her getting 27 percent support; Anthony Weiner is second with 18 percent.

Meanwhile, Quinn’s rival in the Democratic mayoral race, Bill Thompson, continues to gather endorsements — this time from key Bronx Democrats. Chris Bragg of Crain’s New York reports that Bronx Councilman James Vacca, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Assemblyman Michael Benedett are set to endorse Thompson later today. Although not surprising, Bragg writes that the endorsements “add to the multi-ethnic coalition the former city comptroller is counting on to propel him to victory in the Democratic mayoral primary." As our demographics columnist, Andy Beveridge, has written, that could be the key to winning this year.


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