All posts by Terence Cullen

Motal/Cullen Data Viz — UFT City Council Contributions

BY JULIUS MOTAL AND TERENCE M. CULLEN

The United Federation of Teachers donated more than $88,000 to City Council campaigns throughout this election season, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board. More than half of that money went to races in Queens and Manhattan for a total of 56.3 percent, or $49,600.

Brooklyn, where seven out of 16 council campaigns received UFT funding, came in third with $19,250 in donations. Races in the Bronx and Staten Island got $13,750 and $5,500, respectively.

The union, which represents more than 200,000 city education workers, has been a force for city elections for years.

Twenty nine out of the 31 candidates who received funding went on to win in the Nov. 5 general election.

Although UFT-backed candidates are typically Democrats, three republicans received funding and backing from the super union. Republican Councilmen Steven Matteo and Eric Ulrich each received $2,750 – the maximum that can be donated – and Councilman Vincent Ignizio received $1,000.

Councilman Daniel Dromm, a former educator representing Jackson Heights, ran unopposed and was the only to fall into the $100 to $750 range.

Twenty-six candidates received the capped amount a union or political action group can donate, $2,750. Most of these contributions were spread throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Upper Manhattan and The Bronx.

Councilmen Steven Levin, of Brooklyn, and Ydanis Rodriguez, of Upper Manhattan, fell within the $1,425 to $2,100 category.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew originally opted for former Comptroller Bill Thompson in the Democratic primary. When Thompson chose not to force a recount after coming in only a few points behind now Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, the union moved its endorsement to the eventual winner.

Hank Sheinkopf, a political consultant who advised the Thompson campaign, said the UFT wields considerable power – and a big dowry – in New York City elections.

“Sometimes when you raise your head and you show you have a checkbook, it influences elections, not just legislation,” Sheinkopf said.

The union’s focus on outer borough races, Sheinkopf said, was to cultivate the emerging immigrant communities in the city. Along with that, however, was an obligation for the 29 UFT-financed candidates who won to work with the union on education issues.

While nearly $90,000 for council races across the city is not a hefty number by election standards. Sheinkopf, however, said the number of candidates donated to – in more than half the city’s 51 districts – helped the UFT gain ground with the new legislature.

“If you’re running for anything in the city, you want the UFT smiling on you,” he said. “You don’t want them frowning on you.”

And for those winners, he said, it’s “now imprinted that they’re going to see somebody in the UFT when they’re in the legislation. And that is a big thing.”

WordPress site

www.terencemcullen.com

So my site, I think, could still use a little work. I could not get the Twitter stream to work on my sidebar, so I jettisoned much of the bells and whistles on the side all together.

My trial of photoshop has run out so I could not make the update on the logo. Regardless, the spelled out version of my name could be improved.

I still have to expand on my “About” page, but right now I think it does the job. The “Clips” page could use some photos to make the page stand out more. I’m also concerned there are too many links/lines on the page and might not let someone looking at it see all of my work. Do you all think I should cap each section off at a certain number of links?

Pretty happy with how the resume page came out. Big fan of Scribd and the presentation it lets you have. Prefer, for now, to only keep my gmail account as my main area of contact — might get too bogged down with voice messages if there’s a Google number.

Overall, the site needs a bit of fine tuning but I’m happy with how it came out. It’s simplistic and is not too flashy. Could be a little classier, though.

On the Lhota campaign trail – Terence Cullen

Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota greeted voters Tuesday morning at the 86th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota greeted voters Tuesday morning at the 86th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station. CUNY News/Terence M. Cullen
Lhota in between shaking hands with commuters Tuesday morning about 12 hours before a crushing loss
Lhota in between shaking hands with commuters Tuesday morning about 12 hours before a crushing loss.
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani poses with a teenager and takes what he says is his first "selfie."
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani poses with a teenager and takes what he says is his first “selfie.”
Chris Guerrero, 51, of East Harlem talks to reporters after speaking with Lhota. He said he and the candidate met and spoke for half an hour a few days after 9/11. Before leaving, Guerrero, a DHS employee, told Lhota: "I'll run into you when you're in City Hall."
Chris Guerrero, 51, of East Harlem talked to reporters after speaking with Lhota. He said he and the candidate met and spoke for half an hour a few days after 9/11. Before leaving, Guerrero, a DHS employee, told Lhota: “I’ll run into you when you’re in City Hall.”
Lhota watches his ballot get scanned as he voted in Downtown Brooklyn. He told reporters afterward he was confident in a victory that night.
Lhota watches his ballot get scanned as he voted in Downtown Brooklyn. He told reporters afterward he was confident in a victory that night.
Lhota personally thanked a campaigner in Cadman Plaza before heading into a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera.
Lhota personally thanked a campaigner in Cadman Plaza before heading into a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera.
Lhota left Brooklyn to head to meet supporters for the rest of the day until polls closed. He lost by 49 points that night.
Lhota left Brooklyn and said he was going to meet supporters for the rest of the day until polls closed. He lost by 49 points that night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebuilding Rockaway’s barriers a year later — Terence Cullen

 

BOARDWALK 2A section of the Rockaway boardwalk near Beach 116 Street on Nov. 1, 2012. Significant parts washed up into the streets of Rockaway. There is currently no timetable on when the boardwalk will be replaced.

 

ROCK_09A similar look, facing the opposite direction, nearly a year later. Nearly all of the boardwalk has been ripped up, leaving only its concrete supports. To protect from flooding, TrapBags and a sand wall has been built.

ROCK_02A four-foot high sand barrier has been built along the southern coast of the peninsula as Nor’Easter season begins. Residents are still concerned the wall will erode after a few storms.

 

ROCK_10Danny Ruscillo, 60, is president of the NYPD 100th Precinct Community Council. Ruscillo’s residence in Rockaway Beach was damaged in the storm and he and his wife have since relocated nearby. Ruscillo was active in the recovery process and now sits on a state committee during the rebuilding process.

ROCK_13In the affluent neighborhood Neponsit, TrapBags and a concrete wall have been built to keep out future storm surges. The wall is permanent and goes four feet below the sand, according to Ruscillo.

ROCK_06Nearly an entire block of homes on Beach 130 Street in Belle Harbor was wiped out by fires during Hurricane Sandy. During the rebuilding process, homeowners are lifting the homes to higher levels to avoid flood damage.

ROCK_04The Flight 587 Memorial in the Rockaway Beach section of the peninsula. The memorial, on Beach 116 Street was covered in water and mountains of sand after the storm. Residents say the effects of Hurricane Sandy are some of the worst things to happen to the area since the 2001 plane crash.

 

Assignment #1 – Terence

There’s something about this photo that makes removes itself from the entire event. Kim Jong-Un is greeting people from a balcony to celebrate a milestone anniversary. Instead of showing Kim waving to a crowd, or the crowd from Kim’s point of view, a small gaggle of photographers is seen in the corner. Based on North Korea’s censorship and the appearance of the cameramen, the photographer shows that this was a staged news event. Almost reminiscent of the photos behind the president as he addresses a row of TV cameras.

Some of the photos coming out of Syria have been beautiful in their composure but terrifying in nature. Tyler Hick’s third photo in this slide show shows a Syrian Free Army soldier firing down a street. Another ducks as he moves toward the camera. To his right another fighter stands ready to take the shooter’s place. The angle on this picture captures all the different moving parts going on: One guy crossing a street; another providing cover fire; others ready to cross the street; one rifleman ready to run into the firing spot if his buddy gets hit. It’s also interesting you can’t see who, or what is down the street. It makes you wonder, is it a tank? Is a sniper set up somewhere? Are the guys at the other end trying to cross the street too?

The third picture in this set is terrifying. The photo before it shows a much more zoomed out shot, but this really focuses on where the flowing water meets. Seems like the start of an unknown, bottomless pit. The seventh photo, of the cows, shows how instinct kicks in during scary occasions.