KING OF NEW YORK
İİİİİİİİ An old adage claims; ìYou can get more bees with honey, than with vinegarî.İ Rudy Giuliani probably hates bees as much as mosquitoes.İ In fact, vinegar is his beverage of choice.İ He has been described as bras, abrasive, arrogant, autocratic and immovable.İ Despite these less than ingratiating terms, the controversial mayor of New York City has taken a metropolis once dubbed ìThe Rotting Appleî by Time magazine, and spearheaded its evolution into the Safest Large City in America.
İİİİİİİİ The ambitious young kid from Brooklyn, who in his earlier years considered entering the priesthood, will forever be known as the mayor who shoved his ìQuality of Lifeî agenda down the throats of New Yorkers, while simultaneously performing an economic and penal Heimlich Maneuver; all in effort to resuscitate what he proudly calls the ìBest City in the Worldî.
İİİİİİİİ Rudy Giuliani represents duality in its purest form.İ One is able to view his methods of governing with revulsion, while observing the results of his tactics with respect.İ The Rudy who ordered his police force to arrest homeless New Yorkers, who refused to go to overcrowded shelters, is the same Rudy who at 4 a.m. went to comfort a stafferís mother whose husband died suddenly of a massive heat attack.
İİİİİİİİ How can a person who regularly spits his verbal venom at the press and constituents, be so successful in the ultimate civic position in the largest city in the land?İ Rudy Giuliani has done it, and will continue to do it with no apology.İ As far as he and his supporters are concerned, there is no other way to run his city.
THE SAGA BEGINS
İİİİİİİİ On Sunday, May 28, 1944 the future ìKing of New Yorkî, Rudolph William Louis Giuliani was born in Brooklyn. İMembers of the astrological community might hypothesize that young Rudyís birth under the sign of Gemini would herald the duality that would later be his behavioral trademark.
İİİİİİİİ His parents, Harold and Helen were both ofİ Italian heritage and a sense of family was thrust upon Rudy throughout his childhood years.İ Though his biological family provided a safe haven for Rudy, his father Harold sought the comfort and respect of another family The Mafia.İ Though this term is stigmatized in modern day culture, in the 1930ís and 40ís, this organization held a certain appeal to Italian-Americans such as Harold Giuliani.
İİİİİİİİ Harold had a criminal record before Rudy was even born.İ In fact, in 1935, Harold was convicted of armed robbery and was sentenced to two to five years in Sing Sing Prison.İ Prior to his incarceration, Harold was examined by a Department of Hospitalís Psychiatrist.İ His history of violent behavior and aggressiveness prompted the examination, in which Dr.İ Benjamin Apfelberg found that ìA study of this individualís makeup reveals that he is a personality deviate of the aggressive, egocentric typeÖ..İİ He is egocentric to an extent where he has failed to condider the feelings and rights of othersî.İ Whether these traits were congenital or instilled in Rudy during his childhood, remains inconclusive.İ The only verifiable fact, however, is that Rudy Giuliani adulated his father and the strong countenance that he provided for his family.İ Rudy would eventually invoke many aspects of his fatherís strong persona in his reign as New York Cityís Mayor.
İİİİİİİİ In 1961, Rudy Giuliani entered the Freshman class of Manhattan College.İ By his Sophomore year he had won his first electoral decision as a candidate.İ Rudy crushed his challenger by eighty-one votes.İ Most significantly however, his running mate, Peter Powers would eventually become his closest aide and ally in his future office as the mayor of New York.İ An interesting point of fact is that in his matriculation at both Bishopİ Loughlin High School and Manhattan College, Rudy shared classrooms with 1122 other students.İ Of this total number, only 7 were Black and 5 Hispanic.İ His future lack of sensitivity to people of color is undoubtedly the result of this cultural insularity that marked his most politically formative years.
İİİİİİİİ Armed with a law degree from New York Universityİ Law School, Rudy clerked for Lloyd R. McMahon, chief judge of the Southern District of New York.İ Though a self described ìRFK Democratî during the politically turbulent days of the late 60ís, Rudy was indelibly influenced by the gruff and irascible Republican judge.İ McMahonís hair trigger temper and unbridled belligerence toward trial lawyers would be prophetic in regard to the utter contempt shown by the future mayor to all who opposed or disagreed with him.İ The fundamentals of absolute power and unwavering decisiveness would be the mantra that Judge McMahon would leave as his legacy to the young lawyer.
İİİİİİİİ By 1983, Rudy Giuliani was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York where he focused on prosecuting the criminal elements that permeated organized crime and government agencies.İ His record of 4,152 convictions with a mere 25 reversals, is a testament to his devotion to thorough investigation, tireless preparation and diligent execution.İ Rudy knew that he was ready to undertake the biggest challenge of his professional life.İ In 1989, he made his first bid to become the mayor of New York City.
İİİİİİİİ By the 1989 New York City mayoral election, Rudy had undergone a political mutation.İ Enamored by the philosophies of Ronald Reagan, Rudy shed the liberal coat of the Democratic Party and registered as a Republican.İ As the election drew nigh, a series of campaign miscues proved lethal for the man who would be mayor.İ The most profound of these being the assumption that incumbent Mayor Ed Kochİ would be the Democratic opposition.İ Much to the chagrin of the Giuliani camp, the African-American, Manhattan Borough President, David Dinkins won the Democratic primary, and eventually won the general election to become the 106th mayor of New York City.İ The fact that he lost by the closest margin in the cityís history was of no consolation to the fiercely competitive attorney.İ The campaign had been mismanaged, and the enemy had been underestimated.İ It would not happen again.
İİİİİİİİ In 1993, Giuliani embarked upon an electoral rematch with the now incumbent mayor, David Dinkins.İ Under Dinkins, New York City had slipped into a seemingly insurmountable economic recession, while steadily climbing toward the dubious rank as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States.İ Running on a platform of ìquality of life improvementî, Giuliani beat Dinkins by almost 45,000 votes.İ The Giuliani era had begun, and New York City would never be the same.
From the day of his inauguration, on the snow covered esplanade of City Hall Park, perceptive New Yorkerís received a preview of the duality and ego of their newly elected mayor.İ After receiving the ceremonial oath of office, an ecstatic Rudy kissed his wife Donna twice, and smiled broadly to his applauding constituents.İ Rudy seemed genuinely pleased at his accomplishment, and reveled in the adulation heaped upon him by the grateful citizens who had braved frigid temperatures to hail their new leader.İ
The Public Advocate-elect, Mark Green was next to take his oath.İ In the speech that followed, Green made an impassioned declaration that he would be the voice and protector of New Yorkers.İ His eloquent and authoritative oration may have pleased the audience, but Rudy sat on the dais with a visible scowl that indicated his displeasure at being upstaged by the effervescent Green.İ A few days later, Peter Powers, Guilianiís new deputy mayor of operations, called Green to convey the administrationís displeasure at the mayoral tone of his speech.İ
The battle lines had been drawn quite clearly.İ There was room for only one leader in the city, and his name was Rudy.İ
Mark Green was not the only victim of Rudyís ego.İ In fact, any public official that Rudy perceived as ìstealing his thunderî, was fair game for the wrath of Rudy and the henchmen in his inner circle.İ Even his self-appointed ìTop Copî, the head executioner in his war on crime, Police Commissioner William Bratton, was not immune to Guilianiís ego driven paranoia.İ As crime rates plummeted and Commissioner Brattonís image graced the covers of a plethora of national magazines, Rudy and his aides made a concerted effort to reel in the civil servant who was quickly attaining celebrity status.İ Despite the monumental strides that were being made by Bratton and the NYPD in the streets of New York, the reprimands continued to rain down on the commissioner.İ By March of 1996, Bratton had taken enough.İ He resigned from his post and was quickly replaced by the Fire Commissioner, Howard Safir, someone who Giuliani was sure knew his place.İ
Other casualties of Rudy Giulianiís megalomanic tendencies included: School Chancellor Ramon Cortines, Senator Alfonse DíAmato and former mayor Edward Koch.İ The common denominator between all of these victims, is that they were all former allies of supporters of Giuliani.İ Allegiance to Rudy is conditional in his eyes.İ A friend or ally today, could be an enemy or outcast tomorrow; just ask his wife Donna Hanover.
İİİİİİİİ One could argue that Rudy Giulianiís problem with the Black community started the moment that he decided to run for mayor in 1989 against the ìThe Great Black Hopeî, David Dinkins.İ The climate of us against them was exacerbated in the Black community when Giuliani named comedian Jackie Mason as honorary campaign chairman.İ Mason set the tone for racial polarization by publicly lamenting that ìThere is a sick Jewish problem of voting for a Black man no matter how unfit he is for the jobî.İ Though Giuliani eventually cut Mason from the team, the stage had been set for a racially devisive relationship between Rudy Giuliani and Black New Yorkers.
İİİİİİİİ In his first two weeks as mayor, Giuliani continued to throw fuel on the racial fire.İ He eliminated the cityís eight ethnic liaison offices and the affirmative action program for minority and women contractors started by former mayor David Dinkins.İ In justifying the administrationís decision, Giulianiís deputy mayor, John Dyson commented that a prospective contractor ìÖought to know the difference between a bid and a watermelonî.İ Despite the clearly offensive sentiments of the statement, Giuliani refused to dismiss the deputy mayor.İ Rudyís allegiance to members of his staff who continually espoused such divisive rhetoric, served as an indication to the Black community that he did not hold all members of his constituency in the same esteem.İ At this point, none of his four deputy mayors were Black.İ Years later, when Rudy Washington was appointed as Rudy Giulianiís first Black deputy mayor, he had to be given a special police identification card in an effort to alleviate the random traffic stops that plagued Washington while traveling in his bossí city.İ This act of protecting his Black deputy mayor from the humiliation of racially based police harassment, contradicted Giulianiís repeated denials that his police force was targeting people of color disproportionately.
İİİİİİİİ As and educated, supposedly principled defender of justice, it can be argued that his insensitivity to the Black community is intentional.İ Former aides have contended that this attitude towards Black was born out of vindictiveness.İ Certain members of his staff, especially communications director Cristyne Latergano, fed Rudyís innate paranoia.İ She would discourage the mayor from reaching out to the Black community on the grounds that hey had not supported him during either of his campaigns.İ Though there were aides that encouraged Rudy to open lines of communication with the minority community, he chose to rely on his instincts, as well as the advice of Cristyne Latergano.
İİİİİİİİ Rudy Giuliani was establishing himself as a big city ìSuper Mayorî.İ He was faster than a speeding police officer enroute to a police brutality protest rally. He was more powerful than the organized crime bosses running the Fulton Street Fish Market.İ He was even able to cut city welfare rolls with one single blow.İ As with any other superhero; however, there was, and still is an arch enemy that Rudy has had to battle since the very beginning of his mayoral regime.İ His name is: Reverend Al Sharpton.
İİİİİİİİ Rudyís first mayoral confrontation with his nemesis took place within one week of his inauguration.İ Responding to what was later discovered as a hoax 911 robbery call, New York City police barged into Muhammedís Mosque No. 7 on 125th Street in Harlem.İ A standoff between Muslims and police escalated, and in the ensuing scuffle between the tow groups, cops were thrown down a flight of stairs and an officerís radio and gun were taken.
İİİİİİİİ Giuliani was immediately on the phone demanding that the police storm the mosque and make mass arrests.İ Though it was his first day on the job, Police Commissioner Bratton found himself in the middle of this firestorm trying to calm the mayor down, while members of his force negotiated with the Muslims.
İİİİİİİİ Though the police were in direct violation of their own policies regarding entering ìsensitive locationsî, such as places of worship, Giuliani refused to recant his initial desire for the police to use forcible entry.İ Black leaders and members of the community were outraged.İ Giuliani who grew up a staunch Catholic, should have been more sensitive to the situation.İ It is hard to believe that his reaction would have been the same had it been a Catholic Church in the middle of Bensonhurst.
İİİİİİİİ Four days later, Bratton was scheduled to meet with Black leaders at One Police Plaza to quell the hostility growing in the Black community.İ Among the invited guests was Reverend Al Sharpton.İ When the group arrived, Brattonís tone ofİ reconciliation had changed dramatically.İ He cancelled the meeting due to directives sent down from City Hall.
İİİİİİİİ Sharpton immediately went public with his anger over the affront.İ The Reverend made it clear that he would be more vocal and proactive than ever in his quest to destroy this new, intolerant administration.
İİ Throughout the Abner Louima incident at the 70th Precinct in Brooklyn and the tragic shooting of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx, Sharpton kept the pressure on Giuliani with marches, sit-ins and even celebrity arrests.İ He would spearhead the effort to bring the Gestapo-like tactics of the NYPD to the forefront of the national stage.İ The more Giuliani tried to ignore and dismiss the actions of Sharpton and his supporters, the more he seemed insensitive and downright antagonistic to the plight of New Yorkís minority community.
İİİİİİİİ Giulianiís stubborn defiance and magnanimous ego exacerbated the tension between his administration and Black New Yorkers.İ Though crime in Black neighborhoods was down significantly and many people of color had successfully transitioned from the dependency of welfare to the employment driven programs of workfare, the methodology and vitriolic rhetoric of Giuliani continued to polarize the city.
İİİİİİİİ Though he possessed a talent for candid and direct communication, Giuliani chose not to entertain the grievances and criticisms of a group that he feels has benefited greatly during his tenure as mayor.İ Rudyís ego driven arrogance in combination with the narrow minded advice of certain aides within his circle, had indelibly tainted his otherwise enviable legacy as one of the most prolific mayors in the history of New York City.
Years from now, as political pundits and scholars traverse the annals of history, the name of a legendary mayor of New York will be spoken ofİ with a combination of respect and revulsion. Denizens of his once magnificent empire will either herald his legacy, or lament his very existence. In the future, it will be very difficult to find a politician or public figure that elicits such a myriad ofİ feelings and fervor as the man that in many circles is simply known as Rudy.İ
Unlike his predecessor, Fiorello La Guardia, endearing references such as ìThe Little Flowerî will be few and far between for the mayor who brought New York City from the brink of economic disaster to the cusp of national notoriety, for its meteoric rise to the distinction ofİ ìThe Safest Large City in Americaî. Despite the numerous accolades that Mayor Giuliani has, and will receive from historians of public policy, he will also be notorious for his arsonist-like gift of burning bridges and fueling the fire of racial tension within the confines of his city.İ
Supporters of Rudy Giuliani are quick to point out the dismal state of affairs faced by the city under former Mayors Koch and Dinkins. Images of gangs roaming Central Park harassing and attacking innocent citizens are indelibly forged in their memories. Graffiti covered trains, homeless men, women and children begging for food and money on the streets, drug dealers pandering their narcotic wares in an open- air market ambience: all ancient history thanks to the zero tolerance policies of Rudy. Any objective individual is almost compelled to concede these accomplishments to the mayor. The quality of life in New York City has improved in leaps and bounds under the seemingly
İharsh initiatives set forth by Rudy since the day he moved into Gracie Mansion.İ His decisions and policies have often been criticized for their methodology, however, the effectiveness of these actions is beyond reproach. To many New Yorkers it simply comes down to the end justifying the means.İ
İİİİİİİİ The opposition often draws comparisons to Adolph Hitler in their analysis of the effectiveness of Rudolph Giuliani as mayor of New York City. Like Hitler, Giuliani stepped into his position of leadership when many of his constituents were feeling the brunt of economic sparsity and desperation. Giuliani targeted economic productivity and opposition cleansing as his primary directive. Hitler spearheaded Germanyís economic comeback with the development of industry, such as the Volkswagen factories that he opened, as well as the construction of the Autobahn. Through these types of projects, he was able to get Germany up and working after the dismal circumstances endured by his country as a result of the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Giuliani spearheaded New Yorkís comeback by reconstructing the infrastructure of New York Cityís past economic backbone: Tourism. Instead of the Autobahn, Giuliani fixed his sights on the reconstruction of Time Square. Instead of opening Volkswagen factories, Giuliani concentrated his efforts on courting Fortune 500 companies in the city with sizable tax breaks and utility discounts.
İİİİİİİİ While Hitler focused on Jews and non-Aryans as the opposition that needed to be purged from his new, magnificent kingdom, Giuliani was not as specific. The list of opposition candidates in the eyes of Rudy Giuliani included: the homeless, street artists, welfare recipients, school chancellors, squeegie men, livery drivers, subway fare beaters, civil rights activists and most recently, teachers.İ
İİİİİİİİ Unlike Adolph Hitler, however, Rudy will never be found dead in the basement of City Hall, with Judith Nathan by his side. He has far too much to live for. He has new challenges to undertake, new opposition to enrage and new critics to defy. He has brought out the worst in New Yorkers, while bringing out the best in New York. Throughout the criticisms of his methods, Rudy has weathered the storm with true prosecutorial finesse. Even his defense of thestapo-like procedures and civil right abuses of his police force hinges on the concept that every war has casualties: guilty and innocent. Only a truly self assured, confident and decisive individual would have the audacity to take this stance in an effort to justify his methods of leadership. However, in the final analysis, arenít these the traits that are the hallmark of all the great leaders in history?
İİİİİİİİ Ultimately, the most lacking aspect of Rudy Giulianiís tenure is the rudimentary concept of effective interpersonal skills. There was, and still is a method to his madness. That method is often tainted, however, due to Rudyís inability or unwillingness to communicate his objectives in a diplomatic fashion. Whether this reluctance to compromise and communicate is a product of his fatherís autocratic nature or his own background as a Federal prosecutor, a potentially phenomenal mayoral tenure will be forever imbrued with the indelible stain of cynicism. Despite the tremendous accomplishments of this great public servant, his legacy will be criticized as often as it is lauded. His character will be imitated as well as assassinated and New York will never again see a mayor who will do so much and alienate so many as did Rudy Giuliani.
Barrett, Wayne, Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani. New York:
İİİİİİİİİİİİİİİ İİİİİİİİİİBasic Books, 2000.
Kirtzman, Andrew, Rudy Giuliani. Emperor of the City.İ New York:İ Harper Collins
İİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİ Publishers, 2000.
www.ci.nyc.ny.us, A Biography of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, 2000
www.nyclu.org, Deflecting Blame: The Dissenting Report of Mayor Rudolph W.İİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİ
İİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİ Giulianiís Task Force on Police/Community Relations, 2000.
www.salon.com/politics 2000, Has Rudy Gone Too Far?, 2000.
www.theherald.org/issues, Dinkins Ponders a Future of Racial Harmony:İ An interviewİİİİ
İİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİİ with Linda Sharaby, 2000.