Donít be Rude . . . to Rudy
It is not rare for the pages of The Independent to provide virtuoso examples of Brain Equipment Malfunctions, but was exemplified by letter writer Carl Novak (Jul 26) is only exceeded by The Independent's Bush Deranged Brigade.
No, Mr. Novak, Rudi Giuliani has not become "some sort" of a hero because he "happened to be the mayor when a group of terrorists flew" passenger aircraft into the Twin Towers. He is a hero because first, he took the city from despair, anguish and hopelessness in 1993 to an economic boom to a stunning renaissance in 2001, and second, he took decisive and crucial action during those very critical hours coordinating the city's first response teams.
One can observe through experience that Rudi would have never responded like his predecessor, who, dressed up like a dandy to attend tennis matches at Flushing Meadows Park allowed his supporters in Crown Heights carte blanche as they rioted and burned cars and murdered innocent people. And Mr. Novak, I do not recall Rudi tooting his horn or beating his chest ever! And neither do you.
As for your reference to your hero John Lindsay (yes, Lindsay, not Lindsey Mr. Novak), whom you call "a real compassionate Republican," may I remind you that your hero sent New York City into an economic tailspin as it became the welfare capital of America. The city had to be extracted from bankruptcy by the state oversight committee during the Beame Administration due to Lindsay's give-aways of 18% salary increases to the Transit Workers; and his capitulation to the teachers who received 22 to 37%!
Understandably there were no "major" race riots as protesters marched on City Hall singing "no money; no peace," and Sonny Carson promised in writing that it "would be a cool summer if Lindsay kept funneling money to the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)." 1
In 1968 the UFT (Teacher's Union) went on strike . . . the battle lasting four months. The same year the Sanitation department went on strike . . . "as ten foot tall mountains grew on New York City sidewalks."
Then Lindsay had to deal with the Hard Hat Riots on Broadway and Wall Street when hippies, Mr. Novak probably among them, waving the Viet Cong flag and defiling American flags, were chased away by World Trade Center construction workers. As the chaos spilled into Pace University and NYC Hall, the construction workers were joined by New York Stock Exchange traders in routing the unwashed fleeing cowards.
In 1970 the AFSME's DC-37, the city's labor union, went on strike.
Serious crime tripled under Lindsay. I won't belabor the statistics.
And the subway strike led by Mike Quill, the TWU's communist party member leader, strangled the city by disabling its private and public workforce. But then that is what people like Mr. Novak's associates do. Tear down instead of build up. Pundits described Lindsay's tenure as when "New York became the ungovernable city."
And it certainly was, until Rudi Giuliani discredited his critics who said it couldn't be done and made the ungovernable city governable, and the World's Greatest Capital fully entitled to its well-deserved titles, among which is The Capital of the World.
Today, whether the Novaks of the world like it or not, the Big Apple is one of the brightest and safest large cities on the planet, with a booming economy and a low crime rate that has never been seen before. It is the business, financial, art, music, fashion and media capital of the world. Moreover, even in the large capitals of Europe, and elsewhere too, as people turn on their televisions and recall the events of the last thirteen years, know that it was Rudi's tough and clearheaded approach to governance that made it so. NY City is a model for the rest of the world and it was Rudi who wrote the textbook on large city governance.
Lindsay, in failing health in his old age, was left without health insurance. Not publicized in the media, Rudi hired him as a legal consultant, providing the ailing ex-mayor with the much-needed insurance. Would you like to re-define "compassionate conservatism" for me, Mr. Novak?
Indeed, Rudi will make a fine President.
So Mr. Novak, the current Mayor Bloomberg, despite your revision of history, had nothing to do with the emergence of the City of New York from the dark shadows of the Lindsay-to-Dinkins era. Bloomberg was not a player at the time. Bloomberg at best managed to hold on to what was achieved by his predecessor, Rudi Giuliani, not allowing the city to regress significantly. Unlike Rudi however, Bloomberg is no leader, but a wealthy businessman with astute business sense and solid public relations resources.
The city ó and the nation ó was hurt by 9-11, how could it not have been? But that wound was addressed soundly by a resolute and tough-minded Giuliani who reassured the nation's anxious people with his steel resolve. For that, and for his energetic and straightforward management of the city's challenging affairs for two terms before, Rudi will never be forgotten.
Transition Team member of the Giuliani Subcommittee on Taxation, Finance and the Budget of the NYC Economic Development Committee
ANDREW G. BENJAMIN
August 08, 2006