ON CAMPAIGN 2001:
on the pull-down menu and select your district
Recent Feature Stories:
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
What is Searchlight on Campaign 2001?
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?
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?
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
What does this have to do with this site?
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?
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?
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
Who are we?
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
for Party Affiliation
Dream Party (AMD)
Better Schools Party (BES)
Friends United Party (FUN)
Fusion Party (FUS)
Harmony Party (HAR)
Marijuana Reform Party (POT)
Natural Law Party (NLP)
Party of Ethics and Traditions (PET)
Reform Party (Ref)
Right to Life (RTL)
School Choice Party (Sch)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
Working Families (Wor)
1 -- Deadline for candidates to join the Campaign Finance
program, qualifying for the four-to-one match of contributions.
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
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
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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