Campaign 2001 Feature

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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?


This is America and we are New York!

by Michael Bloomberg

Twelve days ago New York suffered the ultimate atrocity. Over 6,000 of our co-workers, friends and loved ones were taken from us. And close to 400 firefighters, police officers and health/safety personnel gave their own lives so others might live. What can one say through the tears, other than thank you, we miss you, we will do for your families what you would have done, we will carry on, we will not forget?

Make no mistake, this nation and City are being tested. Our freedoms and beliefs are in jeopardy. We can cave into terrorism -- or continue to stand resolute for liberty and justice like our forefathers have done for the last 225 years. I know which we want. We will show the world. We will cower to no one! This is America and we are New York!

We will improve our public safety to the extent a civilized society can restrict and inhibit its daily lives. We will enhance our contingency plans to respond to future crises as yet unknown. We will catch and punish the guilty, not so much for retribution -- although we all understand that instinct -- but as a deterrent to anyone who contemplates another senseless barbaric attack. And we pledge the ultimate rebuke to this mindless savagery, the continuation of America's and New York's unparalleled democracy, civility and service to all humanity.

Nothing however will bring back those we lost last week. For their sakes -- as a real memorial to them -- we must quickly, forcefully, openly and methodically show the world terrorism has not won. We must rebuild our buildings, our businesses, and to the extent possible, our lives. Democracy is stronger than any assassin, and our compassion too great not to help those left behind.

I urge all of you to open your hearts, volunteer your time, provide your financial support to all in need here in our great city. Today we focus on the victims of the World Trade Center disaster as we should, but in each of our five boroughs there are those you can assist. Children who need help in learning, adults unable to care for themselves -- elderly, alone, and scared, and not getting daily meals -- people without jobs, and housing, and medical care.

And one more thing you can do as well. One of the great privileges we have as Americans - and one of the most solemn responsibilities. - is another way we can "volunteer," contribute, do something to strengthen our country. On Tuesday, there is a primary election for the office of Mayor. We must vote! Think of it as lighting a candle to the 6,000 missing.

What are we voting for? For the person to lead the most wonderful, generous, caring city in the world. Just watch Rudy Giuliani on television. His job is part crisis management. We've seen how important that is since September 11th (and how good he is at it). It's part accountability, the day to day running of a great organization with a quarter of a million dedicated employees and a 40 billion dollar budget. It is part enunciating a vision of where New York should go, and the practicality of getting us there. It is part innovation, and creativity, and an unwillingness to settle for the status quo. It is the service mentality of understanding who government should work for, and how to give people access and consideration. It is leadership, that intangible needed to motivate, inspire, and encourage others: To give confidence in the future, to convince people anything's possible if one works hard enough and collaborates with others, to encourage each of us to make the world better. That is what this Mayor does, and the next Mayor must do!

And what is this particular Mayoralty campaign about? Both the big things that will be remembered in the history books, and the little things that touch people's lives every day.

It is about consoling families on the loss of a loved one, and explaining to them no one dies in vain. It's about passion, and compassion, those that can help and those that need help. It is about dealing with tragedy and calamity, and working toward a better world yet to come.

"It is about pulling people together. It is about consulting, and making a hard decision, and then sticking to it. It's about setting priorities, and having the courage and fortitude to say NO to the things we can't afford.

It's about big projects like constructing with billions of dollars and thousands of jobs a replacement for the World Trade Center -- or another great development on Manhattan's West side -- or many new Co-op City's throughout New York. But it is also about personal things, like helping people build small single-family houses with their own hands, and with an affordable mortgage for their children. It's about the big task of expanding our great universities and research hospitals. But its also about convincing parents this is where their son or daughter can live safely while getting the best education in the world, or where they can get the best medical care.

It's about persuading companies to move here, and others to stay. It's about assuring needed investors we will keep the streets safe, the budget balanced, and taxes down. It's about changing regulation and bureaucracy so we can build quicker and cheaper. It's about tapping new sources of revenue to finance housing, and schools, and office space. It's about preserving the rights of individuals, without eliminating those of the many, and getting legislation to limit the endless divisive court challenges to everything we try to do.

This race is about past accomplishments, and future potential -- what have we done and what can we get done. It's about the difference between the practical and theoretical, doing and talking, including and excluding, complimenting and criticizing, building and destroying -- the future and the past. In short, it's about finding a Mayor for tough times.

The central question facing the voters is this: Who has the knowledge, the experience and the track record to handle the monumental job of rebuilding our city and moving it forward? Over the last 20 years, I've built a business that now employs 8,000 people. I've set goals, made tough decisions, met deadlines and delivered on promises. Getting the job done has been the basis for the success my company has achieved. In the face of a massive rebuilding and a weakening economy, those are the qualities it will take to conquer the challenges facing us now.

My experience has prepared me for these tough and difficult times.

I look at the world, not as a politician representing special interests -- or as a professional critic who sees something wrong in everything -- but as a person who believes in the citizen government of our Constitution, and one who always thinks tomorrow will be the best day of my life.

I've watched the three Mayors I'd like to follow. Each has left their mark. Each has a different perspective of what and how to make this city better. Some things I agree with, and some I don't.

But I'm not them. I'm me, and I'm asking you to give me the opportunity to govern. The future, not the past, is what faces us -- where the problems will be different, and the solutions as yet untried. The world we face is one of great danger, of international competition, technological reliance, economic uncertainty, heightened sensitivities, fears and expectations. I am a business leader with experience in both good and bad economic times --- in creating jobs, crisis management, in managing thousands of people worldwide, in dealing with billion dollar budgets, and conflicting priorities. That is why my experience is right for now.

I don't do the conventional. My background is different from anyone's you've ever considered for Mayor. But progress doesn't come from the divisiveness of politics as usual. Improvement is not the result of press releases. Promising is not the same as delivering. Nothing good comes without pain and hard work.

What I'm about is honesty, and candor, and taking a position, and leading rather than following. I have the knowledge of how to get things done. That's what will take us into the future rather than back to the disastrous past.

As Mayor Giuliani has said, "We're going to rebuild. We're going to come out of this stronger than we were before. Emotionally stronger, politically stronger, and economically stronger." I want to lead the effort, and achieve the results!

The Primary election is Tuesday. Regardless of your party affiliation, or who you favor, it is imperative you stand up for those in lower Manhattan who lost their ability to do so, for democracy, and for your rights. Please vote!

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

You will need Acrobat Reader to view these forms.

Poll Worker Applications

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

You will need Acrobat Reader to view these forms.

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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