Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New York City Government

Since its consolidation in 1898, New York City has been a metropolitan municipality with a "strong" mayor-council form of government. The mayor and councilors are elected to four-year terms. The New York City Council is a unicameral body consisting of 51 Council members whose districts are defined by geographic population boundaries. Each councilor represents approximately 157,000 people. The mayor and councilors are subject to eight year term limits. The most recent election was held in 2005.

The Manhattan Municipal Building, which houses many city agencies, is one of the largest government buildings in the world.The city has historically elected Democratic mayoral candidates. The current and previous mayors, however, are pro-choice, liberal Republicans considerably to the left of their national counterparts. Councilors are elected under specific issues and are usually well-known.

The Democratic Party holds the majority of public offices. Party platforms are centered on affordable housing, education and economic development. The city's political demographics are liberal and Democratic. Labor politics are important. Housing and economic development are the most controversial topics, with an ongoing debate over the proposed Brooklyn Nets Arena. 87% of registered voters in the city are Democrats. This is in contrast to New York State, which is less liberal.