Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New York City local election primary is today

I wrote about this election a couple weeks ago ("Local elections in New York and Seattle as a temperature gauge for progressive politics").  Bill de Blasio, who is running a populist campaign, continues to surge in the polls, and the weekend brought a couple of interesting things to the newspapers and my emailbox.

Also see "Why This New York Mayoral Election Is Unlike Any in Decades" from the National Journal.   The articles subhead sums up the moment of progressive opportunity:

With crime down and with fears of terrorism receding, voters are free to focus on issues such as income inequality and affordable housing—and it's why Bill DeBlasio is the unlikely front-runner.

1.  In New York Magazine, as part of what we might call an "exit interview" Mayor Bloomberg called de Blasio's campaign approach "racist."  See "In Conversation: Michael Bloomberg."  This got lots of coverage in the press, all the NYC papers of course, as well as the Washington Post. According to Politico, "Bloomberg office pushes NY Mag to amend 'racist' quote," Mayor Bloomberg is now backtracking on his statement.

I'd aver that Bloomberg, ensconced as he is with captains of finance and industry (capital), has a hard time acknowledging populism, as the way the city clamped down on the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations made clear (see "The War at Home (Occupy Wall Street movement)").  See the AP story "Mayor Bloomberg: De Blasio's bid a 'class-warfare campaign'," plus "Why New York mayor's race could be big deal for American liberalism" and "N.Y. mayor's race front-runner cast as a 'socialist redistributionist" from the Christian Science Monitor.

New York Magazine also ran a package of retrospective pieces on Mayor Bloomberg that are worth reading.

Five Borough Ballot e-book cover 2.  In a somewhat unprecedented venture, City Limits Magazine (now published online only) and City & State, a bi-weekly newspaper and daily website on New York State local and state governments, joined together to produce and publish an e-book on the election,  The Five-Borough Ballot: New York City's Voters and the 2013 Election.

It's an important effort to bring depth and perspective to local election coverage.  Of course, New York City has more population than 38 of the 50 U.S. states, so it merits this kind of treatment, and there tend to be local institutions that are up to the challenge of producing such a document.

The e-book was released over the weekend, and it's 110+ pages, so frankly, I think it should have been introduced a few days earlier, to give people some time to digest it.

From the blog entry at City Limits:

This year, City Limits and City & State decided to try to provide that missing piece of campaign coverage—to cover the 2013 election by talking to its ultimate experts, the voters. So we picked a place in each borough where people live , work and/or play: a deli in Manhattan, a bar in Staten Island, a restaurant in the Bronx, a residential block in Queens and a public housing development in Brooklyn.

Since February, we've talked long and often to people at those places about what they think about the candidates, the campaign and the city. While we've asked who people are voting for, we've concentrated more on talking about whether they were going to vote at all. After successive mayoral elections with dreadful turnout, a big question in the 2013 race is not who'll win, but whether the campaign will actually engage the voters for whom it's being run.

The book will be updated through the November election.

3.  On Saturday, the NYT had an interesting two page spread, "The Voting Blocs of New York City," on various aspects of the electorate, focused on voting blocs by neighborhoods and population demographics.


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