Councilman David Yassky's Visit
   
Introduction
 

Starting the late 1930s' New York City residents elected one Council Member from each State Senate district. The City Charter also provided for the election of two Council Members-at-large from each of the five boroughs. In June 1983, however, a federal court ruled that the 10 at-large seats violated the United States Constitution's one-person, one-vote mandate.

In 1989, the United States Supreme Court ruled that New York City's Board of Estimate also violated the one-person, one-vote mandate. In response, the new Charter abolished the Board of Estimate and provided for the redrawing of the Council district lines to increase minority representation on the Council. It also increased the number of Council Members from 35 to 51. The Council was then granted full power over the municipal budget, as well as authority over zoning, land use and franchises.

These changes along with new term limit laws that prevent City Council members from being elected more than twice have brought some new energy and excitement to New York City politics: Election to the City Council no longer includes a lifetime membership.

These combined events have played a part in the recent election of David Yassky. You will have the opportunity to meet Councilman Yassky on .

City Councilman David Yassky

Tasks
 

Step One: Due

Develop a list of 3 -6 questions for Councilman David Yassky.

These questions should be relevant to;

  1. His position,
  2. The community he serves,
  3. The problems of the city he has purview of,
  4. The problems faced by his community,
  5. The Council committees he sits on,
  6. His voting record and,
  7. Tthis is his first term as a City Councilmember.

You will need to use the resources provided here to get detailed information about the Councilman. Use the resources as a guide to help you formulate meaningful questions.

Your questions are Due

Step Two: Due

Each student will be asked to present their questions aloud in class.

Step Three: Due Date

Gather information from the Councilman's visit. You should be able to get answers to most of your own questions and those listed in the Process section of this assignment.

Step Four: Due Date:

Create a new Microsoft Word document to write the answers to your questions. Be sure to list your questions.

Also include those questions that were not answered.

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Process
 

Information to gather from the Councilman's visit

  • Why did David Yassky seek public office?


  • What were his campaign pledges?


  • What were the biggest campaign burdens or barriers? Fund raising? Negative campaigning?


  • What promises has he kept?


  • Are there promises he has sacrificed? Why?

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Resources
 

David Yassky's Home Page

Campaign Finance Board Profile of David Yassky

Financial profiles of City Council members

Yassky's plan for the waterfront and information on his district

Yassky's voting record to date

Listing of Village Voice articles mentioning David Yassky

NY1 report on City Council districting

 

Issues facing Councilman Yassky's district

Greenpoint-Williamsburg neighborhood takes in more garbage than any other area of the city

Diversifying Williamsburg's housing projects

A waterfront development revives rifts between two communities.

The mayor called for shutting down four firehouses

Williamsburg fights to reopen its firehouse

New electric power plant to be built in Greenpoint

New electric power plant to be built in Williamsmburg

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One issue facing the Councilman's district is the closing of EC 212

 Evaluation 
 

From the information gathered during the Councilman's visit, students should also understand the following;

  • The barriers and burdens of campaigning, including money, time, and loss of privacy.


  • Learn what makes people run for office;

    • a philosophical cause;

    • a political party;

    • a single issue;

    • a constituency group; and

    • personal ambition.

Students will also be graded by:

  • The quality of their questions


  • Ability to ask the Councilman their questions


  • Quality of the answers found from the Councilman's visit.

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Questions to Conclude this Assignment
 

How important is local politics?

Does our vote count?

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Standards
 

State Standards 5.2 and 5.3, National Standards III and V

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  Updated: 03/30/04  
 
email Ken at kstein2@nycboe.net