Document:New York Newsletter November 2001 Free New York
FREE NEW YORK November 2001
Inside This Issue
1.) Daniels Receives 8% in Mayoral Race
2.) Surfing the State of New York's Websites
3.) November 2001 Election Results
DANIELS RECEIVES 8% IN MAYORAL RACE
Dr. Jennifer Daniels received 8% of the vote for Mayor of Syracuse and won one of the city's election districts. According to a Syracuse newspaper, The Post-Standard, Daniels received a higher percentage of the vote than any third-party candidate in the last 40 years. Her vote count (2442 votes) was higher than any third-party mayoral candidate in 20 years.
Dr. Daniels was on the ballot under both the Libertarian and Green party labels. She also staged a write-in effort in the primary election to win the Working Families Party slot. At first it appeared that she had won, but after several re-counts, she lost the primary to Democrat Kate O'Connell.
A native of Syracuse, Daniels completed her undergraduate work at Harvard before going to the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her MD and MBA degrees. She returned to her hometown and started her medical practice. Eventually, she also became involved in local politics. She has a long history of fighting city hall on everything from ending corporate welfare schemes to getting potholes repaired.
The Kramer Kampaign
The New York City mayoral election didn't go smoothly for Kenny Kramer. The campaign was off to a good start, getting major media publicity not just locally, but nationally.
Kramer offered libertarian alternatives to the usual "solutions" profferred by Republicans and Democrats. He was able to use humor to contrast the differences.
However, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, using his humor was no longer possible. It also became much more difficult to raise money.
As election day approached, the polls showed a tightening race between Mark Green (Democrat) and Michael Bloomberg (Republican). Typically, when there is a tight race between the two major party candidates, voters abandon the minor party candidates and vote for "the lesser of the two evils." This year was no exception. Kramer received a disappointing .2% of the vote.
On the positive side, the Manhattan LP ran several candidates along side of Kramer. The group obtained a great deal of experience, exposed the people of New York City to libertarian ideas, and had some fun doing it. As Jim Lesczynski wrote, "I think we all owe Kenny our gratitude for being such a good sport through all of this, for generating lots of media attention, and for making the campaign fun if nothing else. He has been nothing but gracious and generous to me and most of the rest of our little band of rabblerousers, and he gave the campaign his best under really unusual circumstances. I would be happy to support him in a future campaign."
SURFING THE STATE OF NEW YORK'S WEBSITES
"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right ... and a desire to know; but besides this they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers. John Adams, 1765
Trying to keep apprised of what our legislators and bureaucrats are doing in Albany is a formidable task. Fortunately, the internet has become a great tool for acquiring knowledge. The intent of this article is to give you a primer on finding information using New York State's websites.
The amount of information on the State's websites is enormous. A good place to start is the "Citizen's Access to State Government" site (http://www.state.ny.us/state_acc.html). This is a page of links (98 in all) to the different agencies in the state government. It starts with the Adirondack Park Agency and finishes with the Workers' Compensation Board.
It isn't possible here to cover all of the links so we will concentrate on what are arguably the more important links.
NYS Board of Elections
For those individuals running for office or working on a campaign, the New York State Board of Elections (http://www.elections.state.ny.us) is a must visit. Here you will find the election laws, district maps, campaign finance information, and general information on running for office. Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed for viewing much of the information. The site even includes sample nominating petitions and coversheets.
The campaign finance section includes a link to the Electronic Filing System Database. This contains the information from periodic fillings submitted to the Board of Elections from the various committees that are raising money. The database can be searched in three different ways: 1.) View Contributors: You can search for donations from individuals, corporations or committees. You can restrict the search according to donation size or view all contributions from that entity or person. 2.) View Committee by Name: Type in a committee name or part of a name and the database will return the full name of all committees that match. It will also return the filer IDs of the matches as links that will send you to all of the committees periodic reports filed with the Board of Elections. These reports give a detailed listing of who donated money to the committee and who received money from the committee. 3.) View Committees by Office: Select a specific political office and a district number if necessary. The database will return all committees that raised money for that office. It will also give the filers' IDs as links which will send you to the periodic reports.
You can also download a list of all active committees along with contact info. This should be useful if you are running for office and need to raise money. These are the people with money to give. Convincing them to donate to your campaign, however, is a difficult job.
Department of the Budget
For those interested in the state budget, there is the Department of the Budget (http://www.state.ny.us/dob). This site includes, among other things, a Citizens Guide which includes an explanation of the budget process and a list of terminology.
You can also download the Executive Budget documents as well as Supporting Documents and Press Releases. Many of these documents are in both PDF format and HTML. Remember, however, that our politicians spend a lot of our money. Some of these documents are very large.
Want to know what Governor Pataki is doing? Go to his website at http://www.state.ny.us/governor.
Here you can read all of his press releases and his State of the State speeches. There is also information on charter schools and business assistance that is available through various state agencies. There is plenty of bragging about tax cuts implemented since Pataki took office, but, there is no mention of the fact that New York is still one of the most heavily taxed and regulated states in the union.
There are also brief biographies on the governor and the first lady.
The website for the New York State Assembly can be found at http://assembly.state.ny.us.
There is a list of members of the Assembly and short biographies. There are press releases and reports to obtain Speaker Silver's and the Democrats' views. You can obtain a list of committees in the Assembly as well as which members are on those committees. When the Assembly is in session, you can listen to the proceedings.
An interesting part of the Assembly's website is the Kid's Page. It is split into two parts - grades K-6 and grades 7-12. It contains some fluff (there's actually a coloring book here) and some interesting trivia.
Capitol Minutes are audio clips about interesting historical events at the Capitol. For instance, when Abraham Lincoln was on his way to Washington, DC after winning the 1860 election, he stopped in Albany to give a speech. Three blocks away, John Wilkes Booth was starring in "The Apostate."
You can also choose to go on a pictorial tour of the Capitol.
There is a link to read the State Constitution and both Consolidated and Unconsolidated Laws. You can obtain information on legislation, but the amount of information on bills is very limited. The link at the state Senate site is far superior for both legislation info and the State Constitution.
For information on the state Senate go to http:// www.senate.state.ny.us.
You can find out who your state Senator is by entering your zip code. Brief biographies of the senators are on-line along with their e-mail addresses. There are press releases and reports to obtain the views of Joseph Bruno and the Republicans.
Scheduled meetings of the various senate committees are also on line as well as which senators are on the committees.
The latest addition to the Senate website is the ability to listen to and view the proceedings of the state Senate. You will need RealPlayer 8 which is available free of charge and there is a link to real.com so you can easily download it.
For information on pending legislation, the Senate site contains a link to the Legislation Information site http://leginfo.state.ny .us:82
>From this site, you can retrieve the full calendars of both the Assembly and the Senate. These calendars list the bills, with brief summaries, that are out of committee and ready to be acted on by the legislature. Each bill needs to be read three times before it can be voted on. Therefore, there are options for obtaining bills according to which reading they are at. Once a bill is voted on, it is removed from the calendar.
You can search for any bill either by its number or by word search. A word of warning: the search engine can return a maximum of only one thousand bills. Normally, this isn't a problem. But if you try a general search on a hot topic (eg. health care) you may overload the system. Earlier in the year, our legislators were considering over 1000 pieces of legislation regarding health care. Currently, it's under 300. Apparently, our legislators are very concerned about our health.
You have several options on how much information to retrieve. You can retrieve the status of the bill (is it in committee, has it been passed, etc.), the full text of the bill, a summary of the bill, or the sponsor's memo.
Initially, there is no option to retrieve the recorded votes on a bill. But, if you do a search and the bill has been passed, a check box for "Voting" will appear. You have to check the box and redo the search to obtain the voting records.
This is the first year that the NYS Legislature has put their voting records on the internet. While it's relatively easy to find the votes pertaining to particular bills, if you want the complete voting record of a particular legislator, there is no easy way to obtain it. You would have to search each and every bill voted on by the legislature, select the "Voting" box, and then re-search every bill - one at a time.
The Legislative Information site has a link for the Laws of New York. It includes Consolidated Laws, Unconsolidated Laws, Court Acts, and the New York State Constitution. There is an enormous amount of material here, but it's broken down into sections with very brief descriptions of what each section contains.
The individual Budget Bills are also available at the Legislative Information site. The Legislature does a lot of spending, so there are a lot of budget files.
Redistricting Task Force
Now that the census is completed, our legislature needs to redraw the lines of each election district. You can obtain information about reapportionment from the task force's website: http:// www.latfor.state.ny.us.
The task force held meetings across the state earlier this year. The transcripts of testimony taken at the meetings are available for viewing. If you did not attend one of their hearings but would like to add your comments, you can still submit written testimony. For more information, contact the Task Force at:
NYS Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment 250 Broadway – Suite 2100 New York, NY 10007 ( 212–618–1100 )
The raw data from the census is available for downloading. The files are numerous and they are very large. Thankfully, they can also be purchased on CD-ROM for $10 plus shipping and handling. The data are in ascii format and are of little use without special GIS (Geographic Information System) or some other map-making software to import the data into.
Finally, if you would like to see maps of the various election districts, there are detailed maps for Assembly, Senate, and Congressional districts. Also included with the maps is information on the racial make-up of the district.
NOVEMBER 2001 ELECTION RESULTS
New York City Election Results
Candidate Office Vote Count Per Cent Kenny Kramer (Mayor) 2620 0.2% Travis Pahl (Pub. Adv.) 6624 0.7% James Eisert (Comptroller) 6626 0.7% Scott Jeffrey (Manhattan 4065 1.4% Borough Pres.) Jak Karako (City Council) 478 1.1% Jim Lesczynski (City Council) 569 1.5% Gary Snyder (City Council) 631 1.5% Greg Draves (City Council) 515 2.3% Michelle Olave (City Council) 784 2.6%
Syracuse Mayoral Results Total Votes - 32,128
Candidate (Party) VOTES % TOTAL Matt Driscoll (DEM) 19,483 60.6% 19,483 Bernard J Mahoney (REP) 7,672 27.6% 8,885 Bernard J Mahoney (IND) 672 Bernard J Mahoney (CON) 541 Jennifer Daniels (GRE) 1,945 7.6% 2,442 Jennifer Daniels (LBT) 497 Kate O'Connell (LIB) 863 3.5% 1,123 Kate O'Connell (WOR) 260 Daniel R Izzo (RTL) 188 0.5% 188 Write In 7 0.0% 7