Gotham Gazette

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Gotham Votes 2013

Gotham Votes

Digital Tools For Democracy


NEW YORK — An Internet presence is pretty much essential for any modern-day political campaign, whether it’s as simple as posting updates to Twitter or a full-blown website with tools for collecting donations.

But at the local level, where races for City Council and other smaller races are fought and budgets are tight, it can be daunting for candidates to consider spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their digital brands. Many local candidates also don’t have the necessary digital skills or manpower.

The challenge of taking advantage of digital technology has become significant enough that Google, Twitter and Facebook were holding a workshop yesterday afternoon to address questions from candidates .

A handful of companies have also begun to offer free and low-cost websites for budget-minded candidates to advertise their campaigns. Companies such as NationBuilder, NGP VAN and the recently launched say their goal is to nurture democracy in the digital age by connecting candidates and voters. Altogether they have thousands of candidates using their services.

Read more: Digital Tools For Democracy

Campaign Trail: De Blasio Up In The Polls

Bill de Blasio Headshot

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio leads in the latest Quinnipiac poll, trouncing City Council Speaker Christine Quinn [NY Times]

De Blasio's rival for the nomination, Bill Thompson, releases campaign' first two ads for TV [NYDN]

Weiner Opens Up in Rare Reporter Chat [WSJ]

Sal Albanese links frontrunner candidates to Moreland Commission [Crain's]

Public advocate candidate Tish James fact checks Dan Squadron's first TV ad [Politicker]

Vito Lopez cancels second campaign appearance in five days [DNAinfo]

Comrie Endorses Katz For Queens Borough President


Councilman Leroy Comrie has endorsed Melinda Katz for the Democratic nomination in the race to be the next Queens borough president.

Comrie, who dropped out of the race last month, highlighted the specific reasons why he endorsed the former councilwoman over fellow contenders Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and State Senator Tony Avella.

"Through the years we served together in the City Council, I have witnessed, time and again, the dedication that Melinda Katz has shown advocating for Queens,” Comrie said in a statement, according to DNAinfo. “Melinda has a proven track record of advocating for better schools, the creation of affordable and senior housing, and better jobs.”

Read more: Comrie Endorses Katz For Queens Borough President

Another Feisty Debate Between Comptroller Candidates Spitzer And Stringer


NEW YORK — Thirty or so New Yorkers were cheering for comptroller candidate Scott Stringer on Fifth Avenue last night when a platoon of his opponent’s noisy supporters marched in front of them, holding a huge banner that read: SPITZER.

The scene, outside the building where the Democratic comptrollers were set to debate, was apropos of the comptroller race.

Read more: Another Feisty Debate Between Comptroller Candidates Spitzer And Stringer

Event Of The Day: Democratic Mayoral Debate

The leading Democratic candidates for mayor are expected to participate in a televised primary debate tonight.

The one-hour debate will air on WABC/Channel 7 and be streamed online at 7 p.m.

The host has confirmed that former Congressman Anthony Weiner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former Comptroller Bill Thompson and Comptroller John Liu are expected to attend.

Former City Councilman Sal Albanese is not allowed to participate in tonight’s debate because he did not meet the New York City Campaign Finance Board's fund-raising requirement. Fellow Democratic candidate, the Rev. Erick Salgado, was also not invited to participate.

The debate will likely touch on a variety of hot button issues including yesterday's ruling that held that stop-and-frisk practices are unconstitutional.

Check here for the list of NYCCFB sponsored debates that began last night with the Democratic candidates for comptroller. 

Spitzer And Stringer To Face-Off In 2nd Comptroller Debate


Last week's rousing and contentious debate between comptroller candidates Scott Stringer and Eliot Spitzer gets its sequel tonight.

Tonight's debate at the CUNY Graduate School — airing at 7 p.m. on NY1 and WNYC — has a lot to live up to. Friday's showdown had former Gov. Spitzer attacking Manhattan Borough President Stringer's policy bonafides and independence, while Stringer hit Spitzer for on what he called a failed record.

In the few days since they last shared the stage, it's been reported that Spitzer had already outspent Stringer with less than a month in the race. Stringer has spent $853,250 since announcing his comptroller bid in November. Spitzer, who announced his candidacy in early July, reported spending $2,521,180.

It's unclear if that amount of spending has helped Spitzer's strong lead in the polls, but new numbers out today also gave him high marks that he may not be happy with.

A Siena College poll released today showed that Spitzer had a 59 percent unfavorable rating statewide and a 52 percent unfavorable rating in the city. About 38 percent of voters across the boroughs view him favorably.

Those numbers might change again tonight, given Friday's confrontation between he and Stringer. At their last go-around, the two Democratic candidates went through a range of issues that included their take on the minimum wage, a proposed inspector general for the New York Police Department and the actual role of a comptroller.

Live stream the debate on WNYC at 7 p.m.

Erick Salgado Sues Quinnipiac For Excluding His Name From Polls

Erick Salgado Cadidate for New York City Mayor

Democratic mayoral candidate Erick Salgado's campaign filed a lawsuit against Quinnipiac University Polling Institute today accusing the organization of silencing the Latino vote in this year's election by excluding him from its polls.

"Quinnipiac’s exclusion of Mr. Salgado cannot be inadvertent, and strongly suggests a calculated decision to silence a significant part of the minority electorate," the suit says.

The suit filed by attorneys for Salgado, a pastor and the only Democratic Latino mayoral candidate in the primary, seeks a temporary restraining order against Quinnipiac as well as money for damages. (Adolfo Carrión, who is also Latino, is running for mayor as an independent.)

Read more: Erick Salgado Sues Quinnipiac For Excluding His Name From Polls

Campaign Trail: Weekend Roundup

New York Times Editorial Board: "It’s encouraging that the candidates at least agree that the city’s weak hospitals must have the focused attention of the next mayor." (New York Times)

Nicole Gelinas: The mayoral race could be worse (The New York Post)

Republican candidate Joe Lhota attacks Democrats in new ad. (The Wall Street Journal)

Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn's wife is expected to take a more active role in the last weeks of the race. (The Daily News)

The one-man race for Brooklyn borough president. (NY1)

Democratic hopefuls try to curry favor with the Rev. Al Sharpton. (Daily News)

Campaign Trail: Attacks In Comptroller Debate; New Financial Disclosures


Comptroller candidates Scott Stringer and Eliot Spitzer debated earlier this morning, trading shots at each other. Read highlights in The Wall Street Journal.

Scott Stringer: “People don’t realize this, but I was a bruising kid. I wasn’t that big or that strong or that talented. But I got in the middle of things.” (The Washington Post)

Democrat mayoral candidate Sal Albanese introduced an education plan. "Pediatric wellness centers" form the cornerstone of the plan. (Staten Island Advance)

GOP mayoral contenders like Michael Bloomberg. (The New York Times)

Donations to Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign dry up. (New York Daily News)

New numbers on independent expenditures published by the city's Campaign Finance Board (NYCCFB)

ICYMI: Policy Dreamin' At Manhattan BP Candidate Debate


NEW YORK — It is a familiar refrain by now: in a field stacked with Democratic candidates, it's still too difficult to draw policy lines among the candidates for Manhattan borough president.

That's even harder to do when you have two candidates who have served three terms on City Council, another finishing her second and a fourth who has never held elected office. Case in point: At a debate last night, all four candidates seemed to agree on almost everything — even listing the same priorities in the exact same order.

All of them think Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Midtown East rezoning plan is moving much too fast. All of them concede they are willing to revisit the City Charter to improve land use procedures. They all want to diversify their appointments. And they want to connect the limited powers of the office they are seeking to a wider breadth of pressing issues.

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