Gotham Gazette

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Gotham Votes 2013

Gotham Votes

Problems Reported At Polls With Hours Left In Primary


NEW YORK — One loud crank of a handle. Multiple flips of little levers. And then another loud crank.

These were among the defining sounds of primary day on Tuesday as voters across the five boroughs cast their ballots on old lever voting machines for an election that will signal a shift in power at City Hall.

The machines proved to be the dramatic device in the day’s narrative, creating conflict as they broke down or led to delays at the polls. Candidates themselves also noted the decidedly retro experience.

Read more: Problems Reported At Polls With Hours Left In Primary

Where Will Primary Candidates Party Tonight?

Eliot Spitzer, the former governor turned candidate for comptroller, will party in Harlem. Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio will stay closer to home in Brooklyn. But most of the other candidates for mayor will be in and around Midtown Manhattan as Primary Day comes to a close. Where the candidates have decided to close out the most hotly contested municipal primary in more than a decade says a lot about both their tastes, their campaigns and their power bases. Check out where candidates for citywide office will be tonight on this handy map, which will be updated as needed. And if you want to have your party listed, hit us up at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more: Where Will Primary Candidates Party Tonight? 

19th Council Candidates On Participatory Budgeting

Brooklyn Expo

NEW YORK — Participatory budgeting, which promises to give constituents a greater say in how public funds are distributed in their communities, was adopted by the 19th City Council District last year — one of less than a dozen to do so. But the next Council member to represent the district will have to decide whether to continue it.

Under participatory budgeting, community members aged 16 or older decide on which local projects need to be funded through the city’s capital budget allotted to the district rather than having the Council member make that decision as he or she typically would. The process was initially developed in Brazil in the late 1980s, and introduced in New York City in 2011.

Most of the candidates running for the 19th district seat in northeast Queens said in interviews with the Gotham Gazette that they would support participatory budgeting as an important way to bring transparency to how money is handled in the district.

Read more: 19th Council Candidates On Participatory Budgeting

Stormy City Council Race For District Hard-Hit By Hurricane Sandy


“The Mid-Island section of Staten Island suffers in particular from suburban sprawl. Contractors have been tearing down old single-family homes and putting in multiple-family townhouses, creating as many as six homes where there used to be one. Developers are building on the island's wetlands, which reduces natural floodplains, causing sewers to overflow when it rains."

This eerily prescient quote is from a Gotham Gazette campaign feature about Staten Island’s 50th City Council District race published in 2001.

Eleven years later, as Hurricane Sandy slammed into this part of Staten Island with a vengeance, the consequences of developing into the wetlands became all too clear. Some experts estimated that 3,000 Staten Islanders were displaced from the storm. The majority of those lived in the 50th district, or the “Mid-Island”, which includes a small part of Brooklyn and the entire middle of Staten Island, from its heavily populated east coast to its more industrial west coast. Over the past three decades, new townhouse development has been intense along this district’s eastern coast.

As District 50 residents gear up to replace Republican James Oddo — who is running for borough president — the primary election encapsulates all of the uncertainties that still grip this embattled area.

Read more: Stormy City Council Race For District Hard-Hit By Hurricane Sandy

Campaign Trail: Weekend Roundup

In an exit interview, Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks about stop-and-frisk, being a "nanny" and why he thinks Bill de Blasio is running a "racist" campaign for mayor. (New York Magazine)

With his family next to him, de Blasio denounced Bloomberg's comments. (Buzzfeed)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Bloomberg's comments about de Blasio "are clearly out of line." (NY1)

At final GOP mayoral debate before primary, top contenders demonstrate vastly different styles. (The Wall Street Journal)

Thousands rally for Quinn at Stonewall Inn. (Gay City News)

A look at the frantic campaigning in the days before the primary. (The New York Times)

Echoes of Obama-Clinton in New York City's mayoral race? (Politico)

De Blasio expands his lead among women and black voters. (Capital New York)

VIDEO: Meet The Press interview with mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. (NBC)

Voter Guides 2013

Given the importance of this year's election, it may be no surprise that interest groups across the city have issued guides to the candidates. Looking to find out what the candidates have said about education, sustainability or pedestrian friendly streets? Look no further. Don't find your organization's guide listed here? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We'll be happy to add it.

Read more: Voter Guides 2013

Campaign Trail: Running Away From Bloomberg's Endorsement

Closing in on the primary elections, candidates for mayor from both major parties are trying to avoid an endorsement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (NY Times)

The latest Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday shows that the comptroller race is in a dead heat between Scott Stringer and Elliot Spitzer. (WSJ)

What can the next mayor do about affordable housing? (Capital)

Rudy Giuliani will hit the campaign trail for his former deputy Joe Lhota, who is running for the GOP mayoral nomination. (Politicker)

Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner confronted an angry heckler yesterday on the campaign trail. (The New York Times)

Cuomo Avoids NYC Mayoral Primary

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“I’m not registered to vote in New York City, so I don’t think it’s a situation where it’s appropraite for me to express a preference,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters today in Au Sable in upstate New York.  

Cuomo has avoided public events in New York City this summer like it is part of his job description. The messy primary race for mayor and comptroller only offers negatives for Cuomo — having his name tossed around with tabloid fodder like Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, endorsing the losing candidate — the kinds of things a large and in charge executive like Cuomo wants to avoid.

His friend and current frontrunner Bill de Blasio hasn't made it easy for Cuomo to avoid questions about the race. First, de Blasio pushed Cuomo to get involved in the hospital crisis in Brooklyn. A member of the Cuomo administration told the Gazette in early August, “No one is going to step foot in Brooklyn for the West Indian Day Parade without addressing the hospital situation."

The mayoral candidates did step into Brooklyn without there being a clear-cut solution. Cuomo did not, electing to skip the parade that draws politicians from all over the state. 

De Blasio's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund school programs also led to questions for Cuomo, being that the candidate's plan would need approval in Albany. In response, Cuomo says he wants to wait to see who is elected before discussing policy proposals. 

And yet Cuomo has not ruled out endorsing in other races. 

“I have plans to get involved in the future,” Cuomo told reporters today. “To the extent I have an opinion in primary races I will be getting involved probably in a couple, but I don’t have any to get involved in the New York City mayoral.”


Mysterious Forces At Work In the 2013 Elections? They’re Everywhere


ALBANY, N.Y. — Eliot Spitzer says Wall Street doesn’t want him to be the city’s next comptroller because the Wall Street bankers and corporate titans are trembling in fear of what he might do.

Anthony Weiner says “powerful voices” don’t want him to be mayor. “But this isn’t about what they want,” he said in one of his TV ads. “They’ve gotten their way far too long.”

There may be some grain of truth to these statements, but it also begs credulity that two candidates who have huge name recognition brought about by career-derailing scandals of their own making would cast themselves as victims of unseen forces bent on breaking them before they can even get into office.

But they are not alone in asserting that shadowy groups across the city are trying to safeguard the status quo from potentially “radical” candidates — lest the system be shaken to its very core.

Read more: Mysterious Forces At Work In the 2013 Elections? They’re Everywhere

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