Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Gotham Votes 2013

Gotham Votes

Event Of The Day: Queens Borough President Debate

Top Democratic candidates for Queens borough president are expected to attend a debate tonight.

The debate will air on NY1's "The Road to City Hall" at 7 p.m. and will be repeated on NY1 at 10 p.m.

According to news reports, the leading contenders in the race, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., former Councilwoman Melinda Katz and state Senator Tony Avella are expected to attend. To read more about the candidates, see our race page here.

The debate has the potential to heat up as Vallone and Avella have had a history of flare-ups. The two took shots at one another at a recent forum.

The "Road to City Hall" is hosted by Errol Louis.

Campaign Trails: Voter Turnout Mapped; De Blasio's First TV Ad Spending; Sandra Fluke For Quinn

Mapping voter turnout. (WNYC)

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio to spend over $70,000 on his first television ad buy of the campaign. (Politicker)

The New York Real Estate Chamber announces a candidate forum on Aug. 13. (NYREC)

Sandra Fluke endorses Christine Quinn for mayor in new video. (NYDN Daily Politics)

Advocates called on mayoral candidates to do something about street safety. (Streetsblog)

Comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer makes a "populist appeal" in his new ads. (State of Politics)

Storify of yesterday's AARP mayoral forum. (AARP)

The city's Campaign Finance Board unveiled an updated version of its NYCVotes app to help engage voters. (NYCCFB)

Manhattan Borough President Candidates Get Chance To Explain Their Visions

Four Democrats — three City Council members and a former community board chairwoman — are running to be the next Manhattan borough president.

But while their voting bases certainly differ, so far it has been difficult to distinguish the candidates for a job with limited powers but high political visibility.

The candidates will have a chance to set themselves apart from one another tonight at one of the few Manhattan borough debates this election season. The event is being sponsored by NYC Community Media and Citizens Union, the sister organization of Gotham Gazette.

The office of borough president was initially established in 1898 to uphold "local pride and affection" after the consolidation of the five boroughs into one City of New York.

While its powers have expanded over the years, the borough presidents have limited powers mostly centered around appointments to certain boards. Most of their strength comes from their ability to be cheerleaders and advocates of their respective boroughs.

Read more: Manhattan Borough President Candidates Get Chance To Explain Their Visions

Campaign Trails: An 'Unprecedented Opportunity'?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he's handing the next mayor an "unprecedented opportunity" to win new contracts with unions. (The Wall Street Journal)

Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner calls rival Republican George McDonald "grandpa." (NY1)

Bill de Blasio, another Democratic mayoral candidate, wants to end a tax break for the redevelopment of noncommercial properties. (Crain's New York Business)

Christine Quinn wants people to trust her. (Capital New York)

Gov. Cuomo has ties to a number of mayoral candidates. (The New York Times)

Comptroller candidate Kristin Davis arrested on charges of selling prescription drugs. (Village Voice)

WNYC's refresher on how to vote in New York City. (WNYC)


Quinn, Thompson Exchange Barbs Over His Comptroller Record

The three top Democratic nominees for mayor who are not named Anthony Weiner are jousting over their records as if he doesn't matter anymore.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn took aim today at former Comptroller Bill Thompson. Asked about her reaction to a New York Times report on Thompson's time in office, specifically an attempt in 2008 to invest $150 million into a Northern Ireland development scheme benefiting a Thompson friend and campaign contributor.

"We now have more than one example of taxpayer money being lost while Comptroller Thompson was the comptroller and it really raises a question of what was going on in that office and who was or was not in charge," Quinn said today at an unrelated press event.

The Northern Ireland deal didn't go through. Thompson's successor, John Liu, shut the plan down in 2010 — but not before having to spend $3 million in taxpayer money to cancel the deal.

Read more: Quinn, Thompson Exchange Barbs Over His Comptroller Record

Quinn On City Board Decision Denying Liu Campaign Funds

Yesterday's news that the city's Campaign Finance Board would not offer Comptroller John Liu's matching funds for his bid in the Democratic mayoral primary brought out complaints from Liu supporters asking where the other candidates stand.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she had not read over the board's decision to deny more than $3 million in public money to the Liu campaign.

"Obviously the issue of public money is one that has to be taken seriously," she said. "But I have not looked at the ruling so I can't comment."

She did, however, refute any claims of impropriety between her and her appointees to the board.

Read more: Quinn On City Board Decision Denying Liu Campaign Funds

Election Roundup: Liu's Prospects Dim; Q&A With Quinn; De Blasio's Message

John Liu's prospects for mayor have gotten even bleaker than his polling numbers. Politicker reports that in a meeting this morning at the Campaign Finance Board, Liu was denied over $3.5 million in matching funds because of fundraising violations. The money is a part of the city's matching funds program for candidates.

Chair Joseph Parkes explained the ruling from a statement, saying the Board cited evidence of “serious and pervasive” potential violations “across the campaign’s fundraising. “There is reason to believe that violations of … Board rules have been committed by his campaign."

Gotham Gazette sat down with the current Democratic mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn. The speaker of the City Council talked about a wide range of topics including the racial-profiling ban, the Upper East Side waste transfer station and the next speaker of the City Council.

GG: You've had a couple of dances yourself with the mayor. What qualities do you want in whoever succeeds you as speaker?

CQ: I want for the next speaker to be someone who really believes in and respects the institution. I hope the next speaker shares my belief that you get more done working with the mayor than being constantly in disagreement with the mayor just for the sake of disagreement. But I know whoever the next speaker will be, they'll be someone who when we can't agree, we'll disagree agreeably.

Bill de Blasio is continuing to champion his message of a "tale of two cities" to highlight inequality in New York City. TheNew York Times has an article about de Blasio's call to address inequalities in housing, early childhood education and police tactics.

“We are not, by our nature, an elitist city,” he told a group of young Democrats a few nights ago at a cramped bar in Brooklyn. “We are not a city for the chosen few.”


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