Skip to comments.Out of Giuliani's Shadow
Posted on 12/30/2002 11:23:36 AM PST by DKNY
When Michael Bloomberg was in the final stretch of the 2001 mayor's race, the billionaire Republican's TV ads warned that his Democratic foe, if elected, would wreck the City Hall of then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
But once in office, Bloomberg reversed course on dozens of Giuliani policies and practices, even as he sought to avoid directly antagonizing the ex-mayor.
"At the beginning everything is couched in terms of what your predecessor would do, Bloomberg said in an interview. "And with time, nobody asks. They understand that you have your own style.
"Look -- I think when you look back, Rudy Giuliani left this city an awful lot better than he found it. The important thing is he gave me the opportunity to focus on something else while maintaining lower crime.
One cannot say if, under current circumstances, his predecessor's style would have worked the same, the incumbent said.
"You can't do those social experiments. You have to step back and say, Did he make a difference?' Yes. Could he have done more? Maybe there's only a limited number of battles you can fight, Bloomberg said. "Maybe he could have done more. But I think we owe him a debt and since he left office he has been nothing but supportive.
So have former mayors David Dinkins and Edward I. Koch, Bloomberg said.
Plans to privatize Off-Track Betting and the Queens airports were shelved almost immediately after Bloomberg took office. So were school vouchers, some welfare-to-work contracts, and a controversial police drug-sting program. So was a plan to merge the Buildings Department into the Fire Department.
City Hall's control of agency commissioners was relaxed. Bloomberg made overtures to leaders and organizations with whom Giuliani battled, reduced news-media exchanges and rehired Dinkins' last police commissioner, who presided over a crime reduction with fewer officers.
Bloomberg drew attention to the change in leadership style earlier this month when he declined to respond to a transit union leader who urged that he "shut up. The mayor later acknowledged he thought it possible that Giuliani would have responded differently, provoking a strike.
This year, a controversial Giuliani project, a new Stock Exchange building, was ditched. Another idea that the last mayor resisted, expansion of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, won Bloomberg's favor.
From the start, the two held clashing views of how to treat the World Trade Center site, and still do. And Giuliani's long-term plan for private garbage export was scrapped in favor of a more expensive, municipally run containerization plan.
Rather than use the Tweed Courthouse for the Museum of the City of New York -- a pet project of Giuliani aide John Dyson -- Bloomberg put the new education department in the landmark building, a move that's been criticized by Dyson.
While Bloomberg enjoyed a public alliance with Gov. George Pataki, a fellow Republican, the mayor and the City Council's tiny caucus of Republicans parted ways on key bills: tighter smoking curbs and higher property taxes.
Although Giuliani hasn't been heckling, some strain has shown. A few months ago, a crack about Giuliani by Bill Cunningham, Bloomberg's communications director, was quoted in New York magazine -- drawing a tart letter of reply from ex-Deputy Mayor Joseph Lhota.
When Bloomberg moved in November for a tax hike after the state elections, former Deputy Mayor Anthony Coles compared him to the first President George Bush, who ditched his no-tax campaign pledge.
Bloomberg replied in part at the time that Giuliani never ruled out tax hikes if needed and said such a critic didn't have the city's interest at heart.
And while Giuliani smoked cigars in his City Hall office, Bloomberg and the council have banned all smoking in the building -- and other workplaces in the city.
Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsday.com ...
It would stand to reason as we seem to have more than our fair share of liberal idiots...
Thought this was interesting... from Newsday as well:
After one year as mayor, how do you think Michael Bloomberg is doing?
11.0% A - Excellent Job (81 responses)
11.6% B - Good (85 responses)
24.2% C - Competent (178 responses)
23.7% D - Poor (174 responses
29.5% E - Failing Miserably (217 responses)
Still early in the poll, those numbers should climb.