Tuesday June 5, 2012

Bloomberg Vs. Giuliani - No Contest

By Alicia Colon

There may be those who do not think that Rudy Giuliani was a great mayor for New York City but this native thinks he definitely deserves that title. Like many New Yorkers shell-shocked by the attack on 9/11, we wanted to keep Rudy in office but term limits prevented him from a third term and faux Republican Michael Bloomberg, the big hypocrite, insisted we follow the law. Of course, he managed to circumvent that restriction by bribing the corrupt City Council so he could run and then win a third term. Who knew that we were electing a pint-sized megalomaniac transplanted from Massachusetts with a Napoleonic complex bent on destroying all the good that a good effective mayor had done for our beloved city?

The Mayor is now known as Taliban Bloomberg for his dictatorial edicts against what he considers our bad habits. New Yorkers are furious about his plan to bar restaurants, theaters and delis from selling sweetened beverages bigger than 16 ounces. In the meantime the City celebrated Donut Day while issuing the ban on sugared drinks.

Bloomberg defended his ridiculous edict by calling his critics "ridiculous." In recent interviews, the pontificator who wants to run our lives said, "We're not taking away anybody's right to do things, we're simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup." He also said "We have an obligation to warn you when things are not good for your health."

In response, Coca Cola stated. "New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this. They can make their own choices about the beverages they purchase. We hope New Yorkers loudly voice their disapproval about this arbitrary mandate."

As bad as this nannification of New York City is, what Michael Bloomberg has done to undo what Rudy Giuliani did while serving is far worse. His self-serving machinations have been largely under the radar and ignored by a compliant media.

Rudy Giuliani followed the destructive David Dinkins administration which allowed criminal mobs to roam the streets chanting "Death to the Jews" while governed by a mayor who spent as much time watching tennis matches as Obama spends golfing. The three-day riots in crown heights have been described by Jewish leaders as the worst "pogrom" in US history.

Soon after Rudy Giuliani took office, the city changed very much for the better. He beefed up the NYPD and in conjunction with Commissioner Bill Bratton, adopted an aggressive enforcement and deterrence strategy based on the Broken Windows concept. This involved crackdowns on relatively minor offenses such as graffiti, turnstile jumping, and aggressive "squeegeemen" that plagued the city drivers. This principle successfully sent the message that order would be maintained and that the city would be "cleaned up." The crime rates went down, the city became the safest large metropolis in the world and tourists flocked here. Critics of his administration tried to claim that crime had started going down two years before he took office but anyone who has lived here knows that statistics can be manipulated to show any desired result.

New Yorkers felt safer, businesses came back or were newly established. Broadway and Times Square was completely transformed from a haven for derelicts and perverts to a family friendly tourist attraction. David Letterman once said that the definition of a "New York Minute" was the time it took for a tourist to check into a Times Square Hotel and to be shot dead on the sidewalk. That had a ring of truth before Giuliani but not after.

Before Michael Bloomberg, one could smoke in a bar, restaurants could cook their meals with any kind of fat, and neighborhoods were fairly safe from eminent domain and speculators. Much is made of Bloomberg's salary of $1 a year as if this demonstrates what a sacrifice it is for this billionaire to run the city. Then explain how his worth when first elected has increased by more than ten billion. He is now worth over $19 billion and is the richest man in the city.

Could it be that he has invested in the properties of his developer buddies who received the rights to develop "blighted" areas in all the boroughs after Bloomberg rezoned over 25%? In the past ten years over 100 deluxe high rises have been built in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens with many poor New Yorkers losing affordable housing. While writing for the New York Sun I received countless emails from New Yorkers fighting a losing battle trying to preserve their neighborhoods.

There was the Bronx Terminal Market located just south of Yankee Stadium, which was the largest seller of ethnic and tropical produce on the East Coast. The vendors were mostly African-American or Hispanic but I don't recall Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton coming to their aid as they fought the proposed Gateway Center that would be a "green" retail market eliminating many of their businesses.

I fought in vain for those longtime lessees of space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard who were being aced out by the Steiner Studio. The city's Economic Development Corporation favored this studio deal, which cost the city more than $40 million, yet it rejected the Stapleton Studios project, which would have cost the city nothing.

Mayor Giuliani had given Actor Danny Aiello and his partner Robert DeMilia, a Hollywood producer, a low-rent lease on the site of the former Naval Base in Stapleton to build a movie studio, a marina, a theater and an art school with a connection to Thomas Kinkaid that would offer scholarships to neighborhood students. The Stapleton Studios project would have been an enormous boost to Staten Island's depressed area. As soon as Bloomberg took office, he rescinded the negotiated rent after the partners had built a multi million dollar state of the art film facility. Why would he do this? Perhaps he didn't have his fingers in that pie and his interests were better suited to the Steiner Studio in Brooklyn.

It's over ten years since that deal fell apart and the waterfront is still not developed but I'll bet when it is it will be for high rise deluxe housing with nothing for the non-elite.

We're stuck for another year with this self-righteous man but his power has been supplemented by a conspiratorial and bribable City Council which is up for reelection in November. Only the three Republican Council members have been adamant in opposing the Mayor. Everybody else needs to go.

New Yorkers have been called "slaves of the state." I call us ignoramuses for not voting wisely and doing our homework. The time for change comes in November. Let's pull the plug and flush this corrupt Council out. Next year, we'll hunt for another Rudy. C

Alicia Colon resides in New York City and can be reached at and at

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