The Race for Brooklyn Borough President

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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?


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General Election Results

x-Marty Markowitz, Dem 210,511 - 76 percent
Lori Sue Maslow, Rep 44,560 - 16 percent
Kenneth K. Fisher, Lib 10,595 - 4 percent
Robert Maresca, Con 5,756 - 2 percent
Paulo A. Nunes-Ueno, Gre 4,465 - 2 percent

Primary Election Results

Marty Markowitz 79,443
Jeannette Gadson 67,329
Kenneth K. Fisher 53,703
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)

Incumbent: Howard Golden (can't run in 2001)

The Candidates:

For who has donated to these candidates see the Campaign Finance Board:

Contributors to Kenneth Fisher
Contributors to Jeannette Gadson
Robert Maresca has not filed
Contributors to Marty Markowitz
Lori Sue Maslow has not filed
Contributors to Paulo A. Nunes-Ueno

Previous Brooklyn Race Campaign Features:

New Math
The Fisher King?

Campaign Trail

Profile of Brooklyn Borough President Candidate Ken Fisher. The first in a series of articles on the candidates in the race (Daily News)

The Daily News endorses Kenneth Fisher (Daily News)

The New York Times makes endorsements in this race. Brooklyn: Three candidates are vying to replace Borough President Howard Golden, who has run Brooklyn's Borough Hall for almost 25 years. Jeannette Gadson, Mr. Golden's deputy, has vowed to carry on his somewhat fatigued agenda. Kenneth Fisher, a City Council member who clearly prefers wrestling with more global policy issues, is an able person but not a good fit for this job. Rather the position best suits State Senator Marty Markowitz, an ebullient public servant who could provide a refreshing boosterism for the sometimes beleaguered borough. Mr. Markowitz used his Senate position to become a maestro of constituent service, providing everything from summer concerts to programs for senior citizens. His inclusiveness has made him one of the most popular officials in his mainly minority district. By hiring technical experts on complex areas such as urban planning, Mr. Markowitz could free himself to do what he does best, promote and help Brooklyn residents. We endorse Marty Markowitz. (NY Times)

State Sen. Marty Markowitz picked up endorsements for borough president yesterday from two of the city's major tenants advocate groups. The Metropolitan Council on Housing and the Tenants Political Action Committee endorsed Markowitz on the sweltering steps of Borough Hall, calling the longtime tenant organizer "Mr. Tenant." (Daily News)

City Councilmember Ken Fisher said yesterday that if he is elected Brooklyn borough president, he will appoint himself to the Board of Education. (Daily News)

The city's campaign financing program is helping even the race for Brooklyn borough president. Councilmember Fisher has raised nearly $931,000 with state Sen. Marty Markowitz raising $490,500 and former Deputy Borough President Jeannette Gadson raising $250,000. But more than half of Fisher's money came in donations of more than $250 and will not be matched. (Daily News)

City Councilman Ken Fisher, a candidate for Brooklyn borough president, promised yesterday that fixing up the waterfront would be his top priority. Fisher met with the Daily News Editorial Board and said that he supported rezoning that would help Williamsburg change from an industrial area to a residential and commercial neighborhood. (Daily News)

State Sen. Marty Markowitz rounded out the race for Brooklyn borough president yesterday with an official announcement of his candidacy. (Daily News)

Jeannette Gadson officially announced for Brooklyn borough president. (Daily News)

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

It has been a quarter century since the office of Brooklyn Borough President changed hands. Finally, the Times says, we have a interesting race. (New York Times)

The first Democratic debate in the Brooklyn Borough president's race last Wednesday was missing one of the candidates - Flatbush state Senator Martin Markowitz, who didn't show up until after Councilman Kenneth Fisher and current Borough Hall aide Jeannette Gadson had left the stage. Their one difference came on the state transportation bond voted down last November. Fisher opposed the measure. (Daily News)

Today is the deadline for the deputy borough presidents of Staten Island and Brooklyn to comply with an ethics-panel ruling that bars them from raising money for campaigns to replace their term-limited bosses, unless they resign. Jeannette Gadson of Brooklyn has taken a demotion to a non-policy slot that pays less than her salary as deputy borough president of $120,707 a year, so that she can continue to raise money. James Molinaro of Staten Island has apparently decided to keep his job, stop fundraising, but continue as a candidate, spending the money he kept raising right until the deadline. (Daily News)

Deputy borough presidents in Staten Island and Brooklyn, both running for their bosses' jobs, are looking for a way around the recent ruling by the Conflicts of Interest Board that they could not keep their current jobs if they wanted to raise campaign funds. (Daily News)

Insider reports say that State Senator Carl Kruger is set to endorse Jeannette Gadson and "deliver the blessing and the troops of a popular elected official in a mainly white, Jewish section of the borough" to the African-American candidate. It seems Marty Markowitz will not be in campaign fighting shape for a while, as he fell and broke his leg on Feb. 5. "I took a fall for Brooklyn," quipped Markowitz. "Instead of fundraising parties for borough president, it will be cast parties." (Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill Courier)

The recent ruling by the Conflicts of Interest Board that bars appointed officials, but not elected ones, from campaign fundraising unless they resign, will affect several races: Brooklyn Borough President (where deputy borough president Jeannette Gadson is a candidate and has been actively promoted by her boss Howard Golden). (Daily News)

Real estate developers and other businessmen "who need a friend in City Hall," as Bob Liff puts it, are the major contributors to Democratic candidates, often giving to several candidates in the same race. For example, both Red Apple supermarkets owner John Catsimatidis and publicist Howard Rubenstein gave to all four of the leading Democratic contenders and to both candidates for comptroller. Rubenstein also gave to two candidates for Brooklyn borough president, and two for Queens borough president. (Daily News)

In a column that focuses on how much money various candidates have raised in a slew of races, Bob Liff highlights the race for Brooklyn borough president. Councilmember Kenneth Fisher, who has been raising money for three years in anticipation of a run for mayor he decided to abort, now has $622,945 for his race for borough president. Another candidate, State Senator Martin Markowitz, reports having raised $179,463. Deputy Borough President Jeanette Gadson, running with the backing of her boss Howard Golden, has raised $120,834. (Daily News)




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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.

Abbreviations for Party Affiliation

American Dream Party (AMD)
Better Schools Party (BES)
Communist (Com)
Conservative (Con)
Constitution (CST)
Democratic (Dem)
Friends United Party (FUN)
Fusion Party (FUS)
Green (Gre)
Harmony Party (HAR)
Independence (Ind)
Liberal (Lib)
Libertarian (LBT)
Marijuana Reform Party (POT)
Natural Law Party (NLP)
Party of Ethics and Traditions (PET)
Reform Party (Ref)
Republican (Rep)
Right to Life (RTL)
School Choice Party (Sch)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
Working Families (Wor)

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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