In The Public Interest
New York City has one of the most liberal campaign finance systems in the country offering $4 for every $1 participating candidates raise with various restrictions. The New York City Campaign Finance Board, which operates and oversees the system, issued its detailed reports of which candidates raised how much money and from whom. The Web address is: www.cfb.ny.ny.us.
In the 11th District, Terry Bastone has raised $13,986 from 216 contributors; Oliver Koppell $57,451 from 274 contributors; Laura Spalter $34,316 from 297 contributors; and Mark Vogel $19,325 from 218 contributors.
In the 15th District, Joel Rivera, the incumbent, has raised $18,598 from 165 contributors, and Edwin Ortiz $3,440 from 92 contributors. Another candidate, Winston Rouse, was not listed.
Where does all this dough come from? Not from the Norwood News readership area apparently. In a review of all 1,153 contributions to the four candidates in the 11th district, only 20 were from individuals who reside in the Norwood and Bedford Park zip codes of 10458, 10467 and 10468. Bastone had the most contributions in these areas with 13, Koppell had four, Spalter three, and Vogel two. The candidates will update their contributions with the Campaign Finance Board in mid-August.
Signatures, signatures, signatures. City Council candidates, who need 900 signatures from Democratic voters in the district to get on the ballot, must have been seeing these in their sleep these past few weeks. The candidates in the 11th District touted their signature counts as evidence of their viability and grassroots support. Oliver Koppell received 6,389 signatures. Laura Spalter's campaign announced she had gathered 3,127 signatures using 80 volunteers. Mark Vogel got 2,001 signatures and Terry Bastone collected 1,560.
Spalter's campaign said Koppell's large number of signatures are not indicative of his support for his individual candidacy, because his petitions listed several candidates, including June Eisland for borough president and Mark Green for mayor. Koppell's campaign did not return a call for comment.
Candidates can challenge their opponents' signatures in order to get them thrown off the ballot, and Spalter initiated that process against the three other candidates but withdrew the challenge when no one challenged her. "That's a pro forma thing," said Spalter campaign manager Karen Argenti. "We just did that to protect ourselves. Now that no one is challenging us, we will not pursue it's"
Political experts always question the importance of endorsements, particularly from other elected officials, but that doesn't stop candidates from doing their darndest to get them anyway. Nods from unions and political parties are usually the most prized of endorsements, being that they often come with valuable resources like phone banks and volunteers.
The Working Families Party, a liberal labor-focused party that works closely with Democrats has endorsed Adolfo Carrion, Jr. for borough president.
Oliver Koppell and June Eisland endorsed each other earlier this month. Koppell is running for City Council in the 11th District - the seat Eisland currently holds - and Eisland is running for borough president. Koppell also received the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union, which includes Local 1199, the health and hospital workers union.
Laura Spalter, another 11th Council District contestant, exchanged endorsements with Manhattan councilwoman Kathryn Freed, who is a candidate for public advocate.
On the Tube
Making a pit stop on one of Gary Axelbank's two television talk shows on BRONXNET (channel 67 on Cablevision) has become something of a ritual for candidates and elected officials in the borough - you could call it the Bronx's answer to Sam and Cokie. On Monday, July 30, at 8:30 p.m. two assemblymen will offer their takes on the Bronx political scene on BronxTalk PrimeTime. Assemblymen Jeffrey Dinowitz and Ruben Diaz, Jr., will talk about various issues including the campaigns for mayor and borough president, and the Bronx Democratic Party organization. Diaz is a loyal soldier in the borough Democratic organization led by Roberto Ramirez. Dinowitz, a member of the Riverdale-based Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, who represents part of Norwood, is one of a growing number of officials opposing the organization. To join the dialogue, call 960-7150 during the program.
Voter Registration Deadline
If you want to vote in the Sept. 11 primary you must register to vote by Aug. 17. To obtain a voter registration form, call 866-VOTE-NYC and ask them to mail one to you, or download a form from the Internet at www.vote.nyc.ny.us and mail it to the Board of Elections.
What District Am I In?
If you don't know what district you're in, there's a handy Web site run by the New York Public Interest Research Group that will tell you exactly which Council, Assembly, state Senate, and Congressional district you reside in. All you have to do is go to www.nypirg.org and click on the "Who Represents Me" icon on the left side of the opening page. All you need is your street address. If you don't have Internet access, call the Board of Elections at 866-VOTE-NYC.
The Norwood News is taking a break, but in our next issue - on Aug. 30 - we will publish a comprehensive voters' guide to the races for borough president, and for City Council in the 11th and 15th districts. Also, you can catch up on our political coverage here on our Web site. Within the next week, all of our coverage will be gathered in one place. Just click on "Ongoing Story," and click on "Campaign 2001."More useful information on political races in the Bronx and throughout the city can be found at www.gothamgazette.org, a terrific site run by the Citizens Union.
The Mosholu Woodlawn South Community Coalition is planning to hold a forum for City Council candidates in the 11th District on Thursday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. The location will be announced soon. For more information, call 655-1054.
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