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The Nod of the Bosses... Scramble for the City Council... Basic Training for Council Recruits... How They Stack up on Term Limit... Dynasties... The Speech that Saved Term Limits...


What is Searchlight on Campaign 2001?
Searchlight 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?
For 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?
There 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 they raise.

What does this have to do with this site?
As 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?
Searchlight 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?
That 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 press.

Who are we?


May Campaign Trail

June Campaign Trail

As he prepares to formally announce his candidacy for mayor today, Council Speaker Peter Vallone cast is portraying himself as a healer unafraid to speak out on racial issues. Until now, the Queens Democrat, who is trailing badly in the polls, has focused largely on his long experience in city government. (Daily News)

Most of the Queens congressional delegation is backing City Comptroller, and Queens native, Alan Hevesi's bid for mayor. (Newsday)

Bronx County Republican leader Guy Velella, a key backer of Herman Badillo, yesterday said the CUNY chairman is "reassessing" his campaign for mayor. Badillo has been under pressure from Governor George Pataki to drop out of the race in favor of media mogul Michael Bloomberg. Velella refused to say whether he will still help Badillo get on the ballot. (New York Post)

Alan Hevesi's mayoral campaign commercials boast that as city comptroller he has tripled the number of audits and saved taxpayers millions. But a review of Hevesi's official filings shows his office's audit process may have cost the city more than it saved. (Newsday)

Governor George Pataki to declined to weigh in officially on the New York mayoral race, but aides reportedly say he is working behind the scenes with Michael Bloomberg. (NY Times)

Republican mayoral candidate Herman Badillo confirmed that an aide to Governor Pataki asked him to drop out of the race. But Badillo said he will run. (Daily News)

Reverend Floyd Flake endorsed mayoral hopeful Alan Hevesi yesterday and said the comptroller had received a "bad rap" in the black community. (NY Post)

The race for Bronx Borough President now has five candidates. Ronald Law, an administrator for the federal General Services Administration and former aide to Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington and former U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, said he will run. Some are speculating that Law is the African-American candidate that Rev. Al Sharpton alluded to two weeks ago. (Daily News)

Will Chinatown ever elect an Asian American? The Village Voice looks at the race for City Council District 1. (Village Voice)

Though still not formally announced, Michael Bloomberg walked and talked like a candidate this weekend, marching in three Memorial Day parades with Mayor Giuliani, and taking questions from reporters, who asked, for example, how much he would spend on his campaign. "If I were to run, I don't know how much I'm prepared to spend," he replied, but he made it clear he would not be part of the Campaign Finance Program. "I wouldn't say it's a trial run," he said of his public appearances. "But I will say that I don't think I've had a better Memorial Day weekend in my life." (NY Post)

Giuliani marched front and center with Michael Bloomberg in a Memorial Day parade yesterday, and heaped praise on him. "None of these things are signals that I've made a decision," he said, "but I do think that Michael Bloomberg has an advantage in that he has not spent his entire life in politics." (NY Post)

Badillo scoffed at the idea that the governor could make him drop out of the race for mayor: "I am trying to show that the Republican Party has room for everyone," he said. "I can make New York City into a two-party town not just for this election, but for the benefit of the governor next year and for Republican candidates in future years." (Daily News)

New York has seen no elected Asian officials other than judges, and Queens has no Latino members of the City Council, state Assembly or state Senate. But with the Queens machine now behind them, John Liu in Flushing (Asian) and Hiram Monserrate in East Elmhurst (Latino) have become the instant front-runners in their districts. (Daily News)

Liberal Party leader Ray Harding will announce his pick in the mayoral race next Saturday, and most insiders bet it will be city Comptroller Alan Hevesi. That would be mighty distressing news for media titan Michael Bloomberg. (NY Post)

Governor Pataki is trying to nudge fellow Republican Herman Badillo out of the city mayoral race to allow media mogul Michael Bloomberg to win the GOP nomination without a primary. (Daily News)

Mayoral candidates Alan Hevesi and Peter Vallone attacked one another over the budget, and who has been more accurate in projecting city revenues. (Daily News) (NY Times)

Mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer yesterday proposed putting the city's schools special commissioner of investigations under the direct control of the mayor, citing recent slip-ups in probing teacher misconduct and the need for greater accountability. (Daily News)

The Queens Democratic Organization endorsed two more candidates for City Council: Elizabeth Crowley in District 30, and ex-cop Hiram Monserrate, the first Latino candidate the Queens machine has ever endorsed for City Council, in District 21. (Daily News)

The only Queens council race in which the machine has now not made an endorsement is District 32, Ozone Park. Likely Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg plans to donate $25,000 to the Queens County GOP - which endorsed him just last week (NY Post)

Likely Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg plans to donate $25,000 to the Queens County GOP - which endorsed him just last week (NY Post)

Term limits and the city's campaign finance law have combined to encourage candidates to hold more, and more eclectic, political fund raisers than ever before. Term limits mean more candidates, and the campaign finance law, which enables some contributions to be matched by four times the amount in public money, means no contribution is too small. Candidates say also that fund-raising events allow them to meet people and build a volunteer base. (New York Times)

Conventional wisdom had been that Herman Badillo would end his bid for mayor if and when media billionaire Michael Bloomberg entered the race. But now the Badillo camp is indicating the former congressman is in the fray to stay, raising the prospect of a battle for the Republican mayoral nomination. Badillo could formally announce a $3 million campaign for the Republican mayoral nomination as soon as next week and is finalizing a lease on office space for his campaign. (Daily News)

Hank Morris may not need to earn big fees from his political consulting business money because, according to the Post but unbeknownst to almost everyone apparently, the chief political advisor to Alan Hevesi has been quietly serving as chairman and secretary of a Long Island-based company that writes annual reports and creates Web sites for companies across the country. The firm's clients includes the city's Housing Development Corp. (New York Post)

Former parks commission Betsy Gotbaum formally kicked off her campaign for public advocate yesterday, joining City Council members Stephen DiBrienza and Kathryn Freed, Assemblyman Scott Stringer and former New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Norman Siegel in the race for the office. (Daily News)

This year's endorsements by the Queens Democratic machine indicate the increasing clout of minorities in the borough and its status as America's most ethnically diverse county. (Newsday)

Hank Morris, the chief political advisor to City Comptroller Alan Hevesi, has told associates that he will not charge Hevesi the customary 10 to 15 percent commission on television commercials purchased on the comptroller's behalf. Under the city's campaign finance law, candidates must pay fair-market value for services they buy. Morris' apparent waiver of the fee raises new questions about the financial relationship between Hevesi and Morris. (New York Observer)

Mayoral candidates Mark Green, Fernando Ferrer, and Alan Hevesi are calling for the MTA to save the G subway line. (Newsday)

City Comptroller and mayoral hopeful Alan Hevesi warned yesterday that the sputtering economy may force cuts in city services. (Daily News)

A weekly paper for civil service employees reported that Alan Hevesi supports revamping the state law that bars government employees from striking. "If a private bakers union can go out on strike, why can't clerks go out on strike? Because they work for the government?" Hevesi reportedly said at a recent meeting. Hevesi spokeswoman Cathie Levine later said he didn't mean that service providers such as teachers, cops, firefighters and transit workers should be allowed to strike. (NY Post)

June Eisland, a City Councilwoman from the Bronx, announced yesterday that she would run for Bronx borough president. Eisland becomes the fourth person to formally enter the race by joining City Councilman Adolfo Carrión, State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., and salsa singer Willie Colón. (NY Times)

A month ago, Queens Democratic leader Thomas Manton pledged his endorsement to City Council candidate Elizabeth Crowley. Now it looks like it will change as the historic election year complicates the usual endorsement process. (Daily News)

The Queens Democratic Organization formally endorsed City Councilmember Helen Marshall for Queens borough president yesterday. Three candidates have dropped out and the field for the Democratic nomination has been reduced to Marshall, Councilman Sheldon S. Leffler and Carol A. Gresser, a former Board of Education president. Other Queens machine endorsements: For City Council: Peter Vallone, Jr. (District 22), Melinda Katz (District 29), John Liu (District 20). For Public Advocate: Scott Stringer. For Comptroller: William Thompson Jr. (NY Times) The Queens machine made endorsements in 11 out of the 14 races for City Council: In addition to Vallone, Katz and Liu, they were: David Weprin in Hollis/Queens Village (District 23); Helen Sears in Jackson Heights/Corona (District 25); Barry Grodenchik I Kew Gardens (District 24); Tony Avella in Bayside (District 19); Matt Farrell in Woodside (District 26); Leroy Comrie in St. Albans (District 27); Tony Andrews in Jamaica (District 28); and Charlotte Jefferson in Laurelton (District 31). The organization also went a bit beyond endorsing to assure their chosen candidates win in September. Bernice Siegal gave up a challenge to David Weprin for the Hollis Council seat after the party offered to support her for a Civil Court judgeship. And when Jeff Gottlieb dropped out of the race in District 24, Queens boss Thomas Manton said "Your withdrawing for the interest of the unity of the party is noted and we owe you one." (Daily News)

City Councilmember June Eisland says she is joining the race to succeed Fernando Ferrer as Bronx borough president. She joins state Senator Pedro Espada Jr., singer and former congressional candidate Willie Colon and City Councilmember Adolfo Carrion as contenders in September's Democratic primary. (Daily News)

The Reverend Al Sharpton says he will run for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in 2004. (Time Magazine)

More on the Queens Democratic Organization's likely endorsement today of Helen Marshall for Queens borough president, the first time they will have endorsed a black candidate for the office (NY Times)

The Bronx Democratic Organization endorsed Adolfo Carrion Jr. for Bronx borough president, though this by no means assures his election. His opponents include State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. and Willie Colón, the salsa performer and onetime candidate for Congress. Other candidates the organization endorsed: Ruben Diaz Sr. (district 18), Michael Benjamin (district 16), Jose Marco Serrano (district 17), Larry Seabrook (district 12) (NY Times)

The meeting of the Queens Democratic Organization tomorrow night will ratify Democratic boss Thomas Manton's endorsement of Alan Hevesi for mayor and Helen Marshall for Queens borough president. Among the 14 candidates the machine is likely to choose to endorse for City Council seats (all seats in Queens have no incumbents) include: Tony Avella in Bayside (district 19), John Liu in Flushing (district 20), Peter Vallone Jr. in Astoria (district 22) David Weprin in Queens Village (district 21), Melinda Katz in Forest Hills (district 29). (Daily News)

Seeking to become the city's first Latino mayor, Fernando Ferrer is trying to awaken what his adviser Roberto Ramirez calls "the sleeping giant" - the Latino vote. But a May 2 Quinnipiac University poll showed him receiving just 38 percent of that vote. (Daily News)

At 71, Herman Badillo certainly could rest on his laurels as the nation's first Puerto Rican congressman and the city's first Puerto Rican borough president and Puerto Rican deputy mayor. But he'd rather be remembered as the first Latino mayor of New York. Many Latinos do not support him, though, because of his switch to the Republican Party. (NY Post)

Michael Bloomberg got his first official GOP endorsement yesterday, from the New York County Republican organization (headed by State Senator Roy Goodman) but, in an unusual move, he did not even show up for the public announcement. (NY Post)

The New York City Central Labor Council, a labor group with 1.5 million members in some 450 local unions, gave its backing to 10 of 16 incumbents, skipping an endorsement in six races where the incumbent can run again, but not backing any insurgents against a sitting council member. Among its endorsements in races in which there are no incumbents: John Liu in Flushing (district 20), Bernice Siegal in Hollis (district 23), Melinda Katz in Forest Hills (district 29), Leroy Comrie in St. Albans (district 27) and Arthur Cheliotes in Bayside (district 19). The choice of Cheliotes is not very surprising since he is president of Local 1180 of the Communications Workers of America. (Newsday)

Two of Peter Vallone's longest-serving allies on the City Council, Archie Spigner and Morton Povman, are reassessing their support of his mayoral candidacy in light of the Queens Democratic organization's decision to back city Comptroller Alan Hevesi for mayor. "I'm with Peter 100 percent," Povman said, "but I just can't let my club get hurt." (NY Post)

Councilwoman Helen Marshall will get the backing of the Queens Democratic Organization in her run for Queens borough president. (Daily News)

Peter Vallone is going ahead with his campaign for mayor, yesterday putting on a "brave face" at a gathering of Democratic Party faithful. But Queens Democratic boss Thomas Manton's decision to throw the weight of the county's political machine behind Alan Hevesi is seen as a blow to the campaign of Vallone, a mainstream Democrat who has long enjoyed the backing of party bosses. (Daily News)

Several Hispanic politicians condemned former Mayor David Dinkins' endorsement yesterday of Public Advocate Mark Green for mayor. The endorsement was seen as a blow to Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer's efforts to build a black-Latino coalition. "I think this is a very, very nasty situation," said Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo (D-Bronx). (Daily News)

The mayor's race seems to be boiling down to a contest between Public Advocate Mark Green and City Comptroller Alan Hevesi. (Daily News)

The Reverend Al Sharpton's efforts to elect an African-American as Bronx borough president seem to be faltering. Only one black person - Councilman Lawrence Warden - has entered the race so far. Warden has said he would expect Sharpton's endorsement, but Sharpton has expressed reservations about Warden, citing the councilman's endorsement of Mayor Rudy Giuliani's 1997 re-election bid. (NY Times)

Former Mayor David Dinkins is expected to endorse Mark Green for Mayor. And Thomas Manton, the Queens Democratic leader, has decided to back Alan Hevesi over the other candidate from Queens, Peter Vallone. (NY Times)

Mayoral candidate Mark Green is making enemies with the United Federation of Teachers. (Daily News)

Michael Bloomberg will definitely run for Mayor, according to Liz Smith. (NY Post and Newsday)

The four Democratic mayoral hopefuls are backing a little-noticed bill that would force companies to provide benefits to domestic partners as a condition for doing business with the city - drawing outrage from some groups. (NY Post)

Two City Councilmembers, Larry Warden and June Eisland, are considering running for Bronx borough president. (Daily News)

City Councilwoman Helen Marshall may be the favorite for the Queens Democratic party's pick for borough president. (Daily News)

Governor Pataki endorsed Conservative Jim Molinaro over Republican Assemblyman Robert Straniere to succeed Guy Molinari as Staten Island Borough President.(Daily News)

Ferrer and Sharpton meet to try to work out endorsement. (NY Times)

Kenneth Fisher formally announces for Brooklyn borough president. (Daily News)

The Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens endorsed Carol Gresser for Queens borough president, narrowly choosing her over Helen Marshall. (Daily News)

With growing signs that the Queens Democratic organization is going to back city Comptroller Alan Hevesi for mayor, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone is gearing up to circulate petitions with his own volunteers next month to make sure he appears on the Sept. 11 primary ballot. (Crain's NY)

The Rev. Al Sharpton's insistence that Fernando Ferrer support a black candidate for Bronx borough president has brought attention to a race in which, at the moment, there are no black candidates. So far, the only two candidates who have officially entered the race are State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. and Willie Colón, the salsa performer and onetime candidate for United States Congress. (NY Times)

At a mayoral forum sponsored by the United Federation of Teachers at their convention, all four major Democratic candidates attacked the current mayor' s educational policies and said that the teachers deserve a raise. (NY Times)

But Mark Green was reportedly booed when he said that part of the increase should be in the form of incentives for teachers who choose to work in tough schools, have extra credentials or mentor less-experienced colleagues. Green also said he would make the reduction of the number of students in a class his number one priority in office (Daily News)

With about a week to go before the Queens Democratic organization makes its endorsements, the race to succeed Claire Shulman as Queens borough president is turning nasty. Councilmember Sheldon Leffler associated one of his rivals, former Board of Education President Carol Gresser with Donald Manes, Shulman's predecessor, who killed himself in 1986 as his administration was mired in scandal. Gresser's husband Larry was Manes' deputy. (Daily News)

Workers at the Department of Youth and Community Development are grumbling that top-level aides to Commissioner Jerry Cammarata are doing political work on city time. (NY Post)

In the second official debate among the four major Democratic candidates for mayor of New York -- what is calculated to be their 65th joint appearance - Alan Hevesi and Peter Vallone did most of the battling, over taxes. Hevesi supports looking into an income tax surcharge to subsidize improvements in education; Vallone is opposed. (NY Times)

Michael Bloomberg has bought up a slew of domain names like so that his critics cannot create anti-Bloomberg Web sites using those sites. (NY Times)

Comptroller Alan Hevesi says the New York State Legislature killed the commuter tax, costing the city $360 million a year in lost taxes, in part as a way of "sticking it in Rudy Giuliani's eye," because they do not like him. This would not have happened, Hevesi said, if he had been mayor. (NY Post)

The risks of a campaign based on ethnic politics are different from what they were 20 years ago, as Fernando Ferrer has discovered in the wake of the fiasco over the Rev. Al Sharpton's statement that he would endorse Ferrer only if Ferrer promised to endorse only blacks for two other political offices. Ferrer was forced to reject this demand. Now Sharpton is talking to his opponents. (NY Times)

The presumed alliance between Fernando Ferrer and Rev. Al Sharpton appears to be fraying before it jelled. At issue is Sharpton's reported requirement that mayoral candidate Ferrer endorse two black candidates for city posts in return for Sharpton's support. Sharpton said he was justified in making such demands of Ferrer because the Bronx borough president has said he wants to build a black-Latino coalition in New York. (New York Times)

Fernando Ferrer said he would make any endorsement on the merits of the candidates involved and not on race. But when asked by the Daily News editorial board if he would accept Rev. Al Sharpton's endorsement of his mayoral bid in return for Ferrer's endorsement of two black candidates for other posts, the Bronx borough president said, "I don't answer 'what if' questions." (Daily News)

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer has picked up some impressive supporters in his campaign for mayor, including State Controller Carl McCall and onetime vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. But he's not doing as well in the Bronx where a number of prominent politicians have endorsed other candidates. (Daily News)

The Rev. Al Sharpton said that he would support Fernando Ferrer only if he publicly pledged to endorse black candidates running for Bronx borough president and city comptroller. (NYTimes)

Herman Badillo, the first Puerto Rican congressman, borough president and city commissioner, has been part of at least the buzz of every New York City mayoral campaign for 30 years. (NYTimes)

Fernando Ferrer reported called former Mayor David Dinkins to explain why he dodged a question during Sunday's mayoral debate: How would he vote in a race among Dinkins, Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani? (Daily News)

Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, a prominent clergyman and former chief of staff to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said he was backing Fernando Ferrer for Mayor. Walker is a close ally of the Rev. Al Sharpton, who several Mayoral candidates have been courting. (Daily News)

In their first televised debate, the four Democratic mayoral candidates gave a fairly uniform view of where the city should go in the next few years, although differences, over funding for stadiums and disciplining the four police officers who killed Amadou Diallo, did emerge. (New York Times)

Excerpts from the debate. (Daily News)

The mayoral debate may not have been great television, but it showed the four Democratic contenders as they really are. (New York Times)

During the debate, each of the four Democratic candidates used some of his favorite sound bites and cited how his current office prepared him for Gracie Mansion. (Newsday)

Peter Vallone went on the offensive in the first televised Democratic mayoral debate, touting his experience as City Council speaker. (Daily News)

The Daily News' Michael Kramer, one of the debate's moderators, writes that Council Speaker Peter Vallone, who, he says, seemed knowledgeable and uncharacteristically articulate, won on points. (Daily News)

Likening the mayoral debate to "watching a train going backward," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that after about four minutes he turned the Democrats off to watch ESPN. (New York Post)

If elected mayor, Alan Hevesi says his police commissioner could be former commissioner Bill Bratton, who has endorsed Mark Green; Philadelphia police commissioner John Timoney; current commissioner Bernard Kerik; former commissioner Ray Kelly; or current first deputy Joe Dunne. (Newsday)

Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan), a popular Dominican politician, announced his support for Fernando Ferrer, boosting the Bronx borough president's effort to unite the Hispanic community behind his mayoral bid. After Puerto Ricans, Dominicans are the second largest Hispanic group in the city. (Daily News)

Alan Hevesi, Peter Vallone, Michael Bloomberg and Herman Badillo all appeared before Liberal Party leaders in a bid to get the group's mayoral endorsement. The three others attacked Bloomberg, who, although not a declared candidate, is thought likely to enter the race as a Republican. Mark Green and Fernando Ferrer are not seeking the Liberal Party nod. (Daily News)

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer is counting on Hispanic support in his bid to become the first Hispanic mayor of New York. But while most Hispanics would prefer Ferrer, who is Puerto Rican, to the other candidate, there is a question of how many Hispanics will turn out to vote and just how enthusiastic Hispanics from places other than Puerto Rico will be about the Bronx borough president. (New York Times)

Alan Hevesi may not be as staid as generally thought, but he's happy to exploit his boring image. He says, "The public wants somebody who's very serious. These are serious times, and they want a serious mayor." (New York Post)

Controller Alan Hevesi returned approximately $63,000 in contributions to his mayoral campaign from Interstate Industrial Corp., a New Jersey construction company under investigation for having ties to organized crime. Last year, the city suspended $85 million in contracts with the corporation. (Daily News)

Mayor Giuliani's $39.5 budget has robbed the other mayoral candidates from making the kind of freewheeling campaign spending promises of past political campaigns. (NY Times)

City Comptroller Alan Hevesi said the city needs a long-term energy policy to curb high electricity prices and to prevent energy shortages from happening in New York. (Daily News)

Public Advocate Mark Green urged the city yesterday to establish educational programs for firefighting at two high schools and two community colleges to increase the number of minority group members in the FDNY. (Daily News)

Michael Bloomberg beat out Libertarian Party candidate Kenny Kramer (the West Sider whose claim to fame is that he is model for a character on the television show "Seinfeld") for the endorsement of the Independece Party. (Daily News)

The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Mark Green leading the pack of Democratic mayoral contenders with 33 percent of likely voters saying they would vote for the public advocate. Comptroller Alan Hevesi and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer each get the nod from 17 percent of those polled, while Council Speaker Peter Vallone trails with 13 percent. The poll found Hevesi had moved up 8 percent in the last month, perhaps owing to his television ad campaign. (NY Post)

City funds will finance Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer's trip to Vieques to protest the U.S. Navy's bombing of the Puerto Rican island. The cost of the trip is unknown but aides say the money for it will come from city moneys allotted to borough presidents. (Newsday)

Former Mayor Ed Koch endorsed Speaker Peter Vallone for mayor saying that the council speaker was the candidate most likely to "build on my record and the record of Mayor Giuliani." (Daily News)

At least four candidates are vying to replace Noach Dear in the 44th City Council District, which includes Borough Park and parts of Bensonhurst, Midwood and Flatbush. (Daily News)

Mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg has $4 billion on paper, but according to a new poll New Yorkers do not seem impressed by the media mogul's chances as Mayor. According to a Daily News/New York 1 News poll 59 percent of those surveyed said they had no opinion of Bloomberg. The poll was not necessarily good news for Democratic candidates either. A third of those polled said the Democratic candidates are so similar, it doesn't matter who wins the primary. (Daily News)

Today, Former Mayor Ed Koch is expected to endorse City Council Speaker Peter Vallone for mayor.

Mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer reportedly returned $14,250 in donations from questionable sources. (NY Post)

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's latest strategy in his newest, most favorite sport - making mischief in the race for his successor - seems to be to bolster the fortunes of one Democratic candidate, City Council Speaker Peter F. Vallone, and to continue to harm another, City Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi. (NY Times)

With the Rev. Al Sharpton at his side, Fernando Ferrer said yesterday that he would go to Puerto Rico later this week to protest the United States Navy bombings on the island of Vieques. But Mr. Ferrer, a Democratic candidate for mayor, said he would not join other protesters in attempts to be arrested. (NY Times)

Media mogul and possible mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg said yesterday he would support privatizing failing public schools - marking his first stand on a controversial issue since he started toying with running for office. (Daily News)

Former Board of Education President Carol Gresser announced her candidacy for borough president of Queens yesterday. (Daily News)

Public Advocate Mark Green plans to release a report at a press conference in his office this morning at 11 a.m. assessing the Administration for Children's Services after five years, which reveals continuing dangers to children from abuse, neglect and poor supervision. Accompanying him will be a father whose child died in foster care.

At the same time, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer will hold another press conference on the steps of City Hall concerning the bombing in Vieques.

At a press conference on the steps of City Hall at 11:30, New York City Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi will receive the endorsement of the Haitian Evangelical Clergy Association, which represents 150 Haitian churches in the city.

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone will hold a press conference with the mayor at 2:15 p.m. in the Blue Room of City Hall, to highlight the plight of abducted Israelis.


April Campaign Trail


My Street Address:

My ZIP Code:

Find what city council district you are in -- and learn more about what's going on there, and who's running.

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

District 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.

District 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.

District 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.

District 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 coverage

District 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.

District 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 problems.

District 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 themselves.

District 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.

District 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 pack.

District 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.

Register To Vote or Be A Poll Worker

Voter Registration Forms
After printing and filling out the voter registration form, please send them by mail to:

Board of Elections
32 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, NY

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Poll Worker Applications

After completing the forms, please send them to the address on the form.

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Links You Can Use

Government sites
NYC Campaign Finance Bd.
NYC Board of Elections
NYC Voter Assistance Comm.
NY City Council
Federal Election Comm.

Local non-partisan sites
NY League of Women Voters
Common Cause New York

National non-partisan sites
Ctr. for Responsive Politics
Common Cause
League of Women Voters

NAACP Voter Empowerment
Vote Smart


Political consultants
Amer. Assc. of Pol. Consultants

Prime New York

Gotham Gazette
The Empire Page
Campaigns and Elections
Legislative Gazette

Political columnists
Andrea Bernstein
Joe Conason
Mario Cuomo (radio)
Rudy Giuliani (radio)
Clyde Haberman
Nat Hentoff

Joseph Mercurio
Joyce Purnick
John Tierney
Michael Tomasky

Political parties
Right to Life
Working Families
Marijuana Reform
Natural Law Party
Taxpayers Party

Political clubs and groups
Blueprint Camp. Finance Reform
Central Queens Greens
The Jefferson Democratic Club of Flushing
NY Young Republican Club
Stonewall Democratic Club
Village Independent Dems.

2001 Election Calendar

June 1 -- Deadline for candidates to join the Campaign Finance program, qualifying for the four-to-one match of contributions.
June 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 file petitions.
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 ballot.
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.

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