City Council’s Web Sites Aid Speaker’s Quest for Mayor

Never underestimate the power of Websites – especially in politics. Read how one young hopeful got his point across with the help of a well thought out Website.

Last May, when the City Council speaker, Gifford Miller, a Democratic mayoral candidate, wanted to contrast the Bloomberg administration’s support for a West Side stadium with the mayor’s proposed budget cuts for the city’s subways, the Council started up Subwaysnotwestsidestadium.com. It features a fake $700 million check to the Jets, a picture of Mr. Miller at an anti-stadium rally and an invitation to fill out a petition form and “tell Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg NO to the West Side Stadium.”

When Mr. Miller wanted to garner attention for his “17 Seats” initiative to reduce class size, the Council began www.17seats.com. It invited interested New Yorkers to sign a petition urging Mayor Bloomberg to support the speaker’s proposal. The site is now at www.nyccouncil.info/17seats/action.cfm and features a prominent picture of Mr. Miller.

The Web sites are an inventive twist on the hallowed – and perfectly legal – practice of franking, through which members of the Council may use taxpayers’ funds to send mail to constituents to alert them about legislative issues. The sites cost the Council little to maintain, and the information they gather can be easily used to build lists of New Yorkers with an interest in particular issues before the Council.

But Mr. Miller is now a mayoral candidate, and the sites, paid for with taxpayers’ funds, serve to heighten to the speaker’s profile as he pursues his mayoral bid. [Read the rest]

Article Written by