Originally Published: October 25, 2013
Endorses Eric Adams, Melinda Katz and James Oddo in borough president races and Ken Thompson and Cy Vance for district attorney
Supports the re-Election of councilmember Mark Weprin; favors Republicans John Quaglione, David Storobin and Steven Matteo in 3 competitive races, among its 8 total council endorsements
Makes no endorsement in District Council 30 contest after inappropriate flyer surfaces
Citizens Union today announced its endorsements in eight City Council general elections, as well as five general election contests for borough wide contests in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. New York City faces arguably the largest turnover in city government in a generation as candidates vie for all three citywide offices and open seats for nearly half the City Council.
“New York City faces a watershed election year and Citizens Union believes our endorsed candidates can best serve the City as we enter a new era of governance,” said Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union. “Our evaluation process sought candidates committed to honest, effective and accountable government and capable of serving their constituents as well as the needs of the city as a whole. We feel these qualities are well represented in each of our endorsed candidates.”
In the contests for borough president in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, Citizens Union backs Eric Adams, Melinda Katz and James Oddo, respectively. Adams brings new innovative policy ideas for the borough, as well as for improving transparency and reforming community boards. Katz is well prepared to serve having worked in the Queens borough president’s office and having garnered extensive land use oversight experience while chair of the Land Use Committee in the City Council. Oddo was favored for his pragmatic, results-oriented approach, something he ably demonstrated while innovatively bringing change to the City Board of Elections this past year as Minority Leader in the City Council.
Citizens Union supports Cy Vance for Manhattan District Attorney, impressed with his leadership and collaboration with the governor’s office to seek changes to state law to make it easier to bring cases against public corruption. In the race for Brooklyn District Attorney, Citizens Union continues to support Kenneth Thompson over Charles Hynes. Citizens Union believes Thompson made a compelling case for a change in the office, thoroughly critiquing practices and mishandled cases by the incumbent that raise serious questions about Hynes’ ability to lead the office going forward despite his past successes during his long tenure.
Citizens Union evaluated nine Council races in the general election, three of which were held by incumbents. In two of these nine contests, ethical or criminal issues have been at the center of attention.
In Manhattan City Council District 5, Citizens Union supports Ben Kallos over Micah Kellner, who is running on the Working Families Party line, and Republican David Garland. Citizens Union remains concerned with the sexual harassment allegations surrounding Kellner’s tenure in the State Assembly. In Queens City Council District 19, where former incumbent Dan Halloran declined to seek re-election amid accusations of conspiracy and corruption, Citizens Union endorses Paul Vallone. Although Dennis Saffran brings thoughtful ideas and an earnest disposition, Citizens Union believes Vallone’s pragmatic and inclusive approach is best suited to build broader coalitions and achieve change both inside and outside the City Council.
In general election races evaluated by Citizens Union in which incumbent City Council members face challengers, Citizens Union endorses Mark Weprin in Queens district 23, in part for his commitment to a more decentralized and transparent City Council. Citizens Union backs Republican John Quaglione in Brooklyn district 43, who showed an impressive depth of understanding on our reform priorities that gave him the edge over incumbent Democrat Vincent Gentile.
In the competitive contest for city council district seat 30 in Queens between incumbent Democrat Elizabeth Crowley and Republican challenger Craig Caruana, Citizens Union ultimately chose to issue no endorsement for either. Citizens Union was prepared to endorse publicly Carauna based on our assessment that he was more thoughtful on the issues, specifically reform, and presented innovative ideas for government transparency. That was before a questionable mailer was brought to our attention. The flyer’s message was rooted in a fundamental difference of opinion on a local law that prevents city law enforcement officials from checking the status of immigrants who are arrested or charged with a crime as well as extend other protections that prevent possible deportation actions for those convicted of certain crimes. During the council’s consideration of this bill, Citizens Union did not review it since we typically do not weigh in on such policy matters.
After the Citizens Union board met yesterday and reviewed the message of the flyer and its consequences , it felt the flyer crossed a line and engaged in inappropriate fear mongering that unfairly targets immigrants. Consequently, the board decided to withdraw its support and issue a “no endorsement” for both Mr. Caruana and Ms. Crowley. For Citizens Union, character and conduct are important factors in our decision to extend our valued nonpartisan support to candidates without regard to party, but with regard to principles of fairness and integrity. This development will result in Citizens Union taking a more thorough review of a candidate’s conduct, overall message, and use of materials going forward.
In other open seats for the City Council, Citizens Union backed candidates who demonstrated a strong grasp of reform issues that was complimented by their policy knowledge and experience. CU supports Republican David Storobin in Brooklyn district 48 due to his support for reform and policy knowledge in several areas, particularly regarding the intersections of city, state and federal law. Also in Brooklyn, CU supports Democrat Mark Treyger in district 47 due to his experience in community relations coupled with his good grasp of reform issues and the political process. In Queens, CU supports Democrat Costa Costantinides in district 22, believing he has the experience to hit the ground running, as well as the relationships to build coalitions for reform. For district 50 in Staten Island, though Republican Steven Matteo departs from Citizens Union’s reform agenda in some instances, he delivered on our issues while working in Councilmember Oddo’s office through bringing some change to the New York City Board of Elections and has the experience and relationships to accomplish things for the district and Staten Island.
Earlier this week Citizens Union announced its endorsement of Bill de Blasio for Mayor and Scott Stringer for Comptroller in its evaluation of citywide contests. During the primary election, Citizens Union evaluated 25 Council races, contests for Manhattan and Queens Borough President, Brooklyn District Attorney, and two special election races in assembly districts 86 and 53.
Citizens Union’s detailed narratives regarding its support for all candidates during the 2013 General Election are available in our Online Voters Directory. All candidate questionnaires are also available on Citizens Union’s website.
Since 1910, Citizens Union has evaluated candidates for office in New York and chosen to support those it believes will advance good government and political reform and act in the public interest. Endorsements are made by the Citizens Union Board, upon the recommendations of Citizens Union’s Local Candidates Committee consisting of over 50 members who divide into borough teams to interview and evaluate candidates.
Citizens Union 2013 General Election Candidate Endorsements
No races evaluated
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson (D, WF)
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (D, WF)
City Council District 43 John F. Quaglione (R, C, I)
City Council District 47 Mark Treyger (D)
City Council District 48 David Storobin (R, C, I)
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (D)
City Council District 5 Ben Kallos (D)
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D, WF)
City Council District 19 Paul A. Vallone (D, I)
City Council District 22 Costa G. Costantinides (D, WF)
City Council District 23 Mark S. Weprin (D)
Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo (R, C, I)
City Council District 50 Steven Matteo (R, C, I)
No Endorsements in Races Evaluated
City Council District 30 Elizabeth Crowley (D, WF) vs. Craig N. Caruana (R, C