The Race for Mayor

Learn About
Your District

Click 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 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?


Mark Green's answers to questions about children's issues

1. Child Welfare:
Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta has indicated that he would like to continue as head of the Administration for Children's Services -- but only if he has the trust and support of the new mayor that he currently enjoys. He views his cabinet-level access to the mayor as crucial and argues that ACS must be given permanent status under the city charter, separate from HRA.

Q: Will you ask Scoppetta to stay on to head ACS?

I have not committed to asking anyone, including Commissioner Scoppetta, to stay or to leave. I am pleased with some of the strides made at the Administration of Children's Services; however, there is still much that needs to be done in this area.

In 1998, I published a Child Welfare Scorecard that detailed the problems with the City's child welfare regulations. It documented the many complaints that my Public Advocate's Office received at my C-PLAN: Child Planning and Advocacy Now unit. I found that a substantial percentage of child welfare complaints dealt with voluntary foster care agencies; that there was a placement crisis for adolescents; and that there were inadequate preventive and family reunification services.

Since my report, the number of children in foster care has declined, evaluation and monitoring of contract agencies has improved, training and salaries of ACS staff have increased, and the agency is reworking placement to make sure that children removed from their parents are placed near their own school and community.

Recently, I issued a follow-up report entitled Children Still at Risk. The report agrees that dramatic improvements have been made, but there is still much to be done if we are to truly protect the children of New York City. I found that the ACS was still failing many adolescent children; that many foster children didn't have adequate health care; and that children in foster care were abused at twice the rate of other city children.

As Mayor, I will continue the best of ACS' reforms. But I would also undertake programs to reduce the need for foster care; reduce the trauma for children taken from their families by ensuring that they are placed in safe, well-run foster homes; develop aggressive initiatives to make sure that adolescents leaving foster care don't end up in homeless shelters or prison; and press the State Legislature to radically revamp the Family Court system so that the court becomes a place of justice for all.

Q: Do you support Intro 770, the city council bill that would establish ACS as a permanent agency under the city charter?

I support keeping the ACS as a separate agency. As Mayor, I would strongly consider any legislation to establish the ACS as a permanent agency under the City Charter.

2. Child Care:
The city provides subsidized childcare for roughly 100,000 low-income children. Many people say a crisis in supply remains, even though there has been a significant expansion of funding: there are still 38,000 children on the city's waiting list and 38,000 children in temporary, informal, care subsidized by HRA's Office of Employment Services. There are also tens of thousands of low-income children in families that earn too much to qualify for childcare subsidies and too little to pay for adequate childcare.

Q: Will your administration increase capacity in regulated care and/or in informal care? Do you envision changing the current configuration of slots among the different types of care?

In 1994, I organized opposition to an Administration plan in 1994 to close 10 daycare centers. City Hall later rescinded the cut and the centers remained open. My 1997 survey of 234 workfare participants confirmed that New York parents face a worsening childcare crisis particularly as more and more parents move from welfare to workfare. The study found 2out of 3 of their 400 children in unregulated day care, where they may be endangered by lax supervision. I called on the City to create 74,000 new regulated day care slots to accommodate the 30,000 children on waiting lists and the additional children who needed care when their parents go to work.

Regulated care is certainly preferable to informal day care centers. I will work to increase the number of children who are in regulated day care, where we can be more assured that they will be housed in safe conditions with adequate supervision. As Mayor, I will push the State to contribute its fair share and Federal dollars to provide working families with childcare. I also want to extend eligibility for the City's Earned Income Tax Credit to families working families to pay for critical necessities like quality childcare.

3. Juvenile Justice:
As part of its campaign to improve the city's quality of life, the Giuliani administration increased the number of youth officers at each police precinct and increased the number of juvenile reports issued by police substantially - both for misdemeanors and less serious offences. In 1993, police issued 29,100 juvenile reports. In 1997, the number was 104,000.

Q: What will become of the Giuliani administration's quality of life policing practices, especially in the area of juvenile crime?

We can never "go back" on crime in New York. Crime has been halved over the last two administrations--an extraordinary municipal achievement. I will continue much of the quality of life policing that was instituted during the last administration. But quality of life policing doesn't have to synonymous with police misconduct and distrust of police within minority communities. By expanding community policing, responding quickly to police misconduct, and building bridges between officers and the neighborhood they patrol, we can have the best of both worlds: Safe streets and an abiding respect and trust between police officers and minority communities.

Q: Will your administration reverse or continue the administration's juvenile detention policies?

My program on juvenile crime is threefold: Prevention, Intervention, and when necessary, Punishment. By preventing juvenile crime through after school programs, and intervening with troubled youth through family intervention and drug treatment, we can reduce the need for punishment. It is well known that juvenile criminals often become life long criminals. Investments in prevention and intervention today will come back to us in the future in the form of safer streets and smaller jails.

Our first priority should be preventing juvenile crime. Right now, juveniles are assigned to various units of government based on the offense committed rather than their individual needs. I will cut the bureaucracy and create a lean, focused agency with a clear mandate. So it's time to say goodbye to the Departments of Probation and juvenile Justice. Under a Green Administration, we'll have a single Office of Crime Prevention Initiatives (OCPI).

The OCPI will create one detention system for youths to detain youth when necessary, but more importantly, it will ensure that young offenders get the help they need as early as possible. The OPCI--in tandem with the ACS and the NYPD--will be a principle organizer of a Juvenile Justice Coordinating Committee designed to organize and implement a comprehensive response to the issue of juvenile crime.

Perhaps the best part of the OPCI is that it won't cost taxpayers a dime. In fact, it has the potential to save millions of dollars by consolidating agencies. We can invest those savings in programs like BEACON schools and expanding the Family Rehabilitation Program.

Juvenile crime peaks between the hours of 3 to 8 PM. The reason is obvious. Schools let out at 3 PM, and many kids don't have parents to go home to at that hour. By providing activities for at-risk juveniles we can dramatically reduce the incidence of juvenile crime. I will expand on the BEACON schools where, after school, kids can go to get help with their homework, mentoring, or just to play basketball.

There are several other steps we can take to prevent juvenile crime. Comprehensive family interventions can have a great impact on the lives of young people. Many troubled adolescents come from families with major problems. If a child comes home each night to a family with substance abuse problems or domestic abuse problems, it won't matter what we do for the child during the day. A recent Justice Department study found that effective family intervention can reduce recidivism up to 60% more effectively than other programs.

The problems of many juveniles stem from substance abuse. Drug use leads many juveniles down the road towards even more serious problems. We should expand drug treatment programs as an alternative to prison, especially for first offenders. The recidivism rate for defendants going through the Brooklyn Drug Court is down to 11% -- just one-quarter of the rate for similar offenders who go to jail instead of treatment.

4. Welfare Reform I:
Since April 1996 the number of welfare recipients in New York City has fallen dramatically, from 1,022,000 to 512,031.

Q: In 1998, the Giuliani administration began converting welfare offices into Job Centers, which incorporate job readiness activities into the application for welfare benefits. What will become of the Job Centers under your administration and the policies they enforce such as the fraud detection initiatives and the penalties for non-compliance with program components?

The City's transitional assistance programs should help people leave the welfare rolls as quickly as possible for real jobs, by providing training focused on work, child care and job search assistance. The focus must be on finding people real work not make-work through workfare. The City's welfare program needs to be re-designed along the lines of the Transitional Jobs Program, passed by the Council but not implemented by this administration. I don't support efforts to reduce welfare rolls by making the system as complex and punitive as possible with Job Centers, or Income Maintenance Centers, that do not link people to needed services, jobs and training but are barriers to assistance.

5. Welfare Reform II:
On Dec. 31, 2001, tens of thousands of New Yorkers will reach the five-year lifetime limit on federal welfare benefits. There is not an agreement on the number of people who will actually reach the limit that day. Jason Turner estimates the number to be 38,000 people; the Independent Budget Office, using state figures, estimates it to be 100,000. The program that will replace TANF for those recipients, the state's Safety Net program, appears to require an increased investment of city funds and a substantial bureaucratic operation.

Q: Will you have a system for delivering tens of thousands of new non-cash benefits in place on December 31st?

Yes. The City must have an adequate system in place to meet the needs of 39,000 New Yorkers who will reach their lifetime limit. First, the State will automatically enroll those who've reached the mandatory time limit into the Safety Net program. I will aggressively lobby the State to contribute its fair share of funds to this program. The City began the transition process and recently entered into a contract with Citigroup to manage electronic benefit assistance programs.

Q: Will you automatically enroll welfare leavers in the Safety Net program or enact the Giuliani administration's plan to encourage them to move toward self-sufficiency by requiring them to reapply for Safety Net benefits?

Yes. I believe that New York State acted appropriately in creating the Safety Net Program to provide those whose cash assistance ends with the equivalent level of in-kind benefits. It is completely inappropriate and wrong for the City now to create new obstacles and hurdles for those reaching the time limit and is entitled to the benefits of the Safety Net Program.


Back to NYC Issues 2001: Children

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.

This website is brought to you by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the New York Times Foundation and viewers like you.