Thursday, November 10, 2005


The policies and ideas implemented by Rudy Giuliani paved the way for Michael Bloomberg's successful mayoralty.

New York City is guaranteed 16 years of steady leadership

Democrat turned Republican Michael Bloomberg was given a landslide victory, over Fernando Ferrer, by New York City voters on Tuesday. His predictable huge margin of victory was known for some time but nonetheless it was still impressive that Mayor Bloomberg won with 59% of the vote compared to Ferrer's 39%. It's hard to say what was more stunning, that a Republican won in New York City or that a traditional liberal Democrat garnered less than 40%. In its endorsement of Bloomberg, the New York Times said that the Republican could go down in history as one of the city's great mayors. Forgotten in all the hubbub and the "what have you done for me lately" style of politics is New York's greatest mayor - Rudy Giuliani. Mayor Bloomberg has done a very good job as mayor, deftly maneuvering through the myriad pratfalls that face most mayors, but he inherited a city that was left in very good shape (despite the devastating toll of 9/11) by a real Republican, Giuliani.

Bloomberg is a lifelong Democrat who ran as a Republican in 2001 because the Democratic party bosses were tied to lackluster hacks like Ferrer and Mark Green. Bloomberg was a different political animal because not only had he never run for office before but he wanted to utilize his skills as a succesful billionaire businessman. He knew the city could be run in a certain way and was sure that a personal war chest of $70 million could blunt any Democratic onslaught. How did Bloomberg get the idea that running City Hall in an effective way was possible? Giuliani showed it could be done.

When Giuliani ran against David Dinkins in 1993, New York City was a mess. The city was in the grips of a recession, and crime was at an all time high. Throughout David Dinkins mayoralty New York saw more than 2,000 murders per year. By the time Giuliani left office, the annual murder rate was down to around 600 per year. How did Giuliani help the city turn around? First of all, he dismissed the conventional wisdom that New York City was "ungovernable." After years of failed urban renewal and social engineering the powers and experts that be concluded that New York was too big to manage and too much of an anachronism to care about. The subways were rife with crime, the streets were full of garbage and there were no hopes of an economic revival.

Giuliani agreed with the influential think tank, The Manhattan Institute, that broken windows were the gateway to a lawless city. While many seasoned city oberserves laughed at Giuliani urging for broken windows to be fixed and for subway fare beaters to be arrested, he was on to something. According to the "Broken Windows Theory" advanced by Joseph Wilson and George Kelling, society tends to break down when the seemingly innocuous problems are not taken care of. People are less likely to keep their homes in shape and be vigilant about neighborhood safety if authorities, officials and even neighbors don't take care of the mundane developments like broken windows. By eliminating squeegee men who pestered drivers, by fixing broken windows and by arresting fare beaters (because they were most likely to commit crimes once on the subways) Giuliani showed that New York is governable.

Giuliani's history as a federal prosecutor was just what New York City needed in 1993. Times Square went from a no man's land to a Disney-fied tourist destination. Economic development spread from Manhattan to the other 4 boroughs. Property rates went up in most neighborhoods as people were willing to come back to neighborhoods like Harlem and downtown Brooklyn that had been decimated by crime. Giuliani was controversial because his "tough love" was a shock to a city that was used to passive indifference to antisocial behavior like graffiti, car thefts and street muggings.

Bloomberg is able to be seen as a kinder and gentler mayor than Giuliani because he has had the advantage of being able to rule with a velvet glove since Day One. Many of Giuliani's initiatives (like the police crime-tracking computer program, CompStat) are now taken for granted. The genius of Bloomberg is that he adopted Giuliani's successful ideas and softened the rough edges. However, Bloomberg would have had a tougher time had he been elected mayor in 1993. It's doubtful that he had the political temerity or philosophy to whip the city into shape in the manner that Giuliani did. That contrast is no knock on Bloomberg but a study of both men. Giuliani was necesary for New York's renaissance while Bloomberg has been a worthy successor (some of his espoused liberal leanings were effective foils against Democratic trickery). However, for all those who rush to name airports and buildings after Bloomberg, Giuliani's amazing record of accomplishment most not be diminished nor forgotten.



Will New Jersey love Jon Corzine as much as he loves himself?

New Jersey asserted its Democratic party leanings and voted Jon Corzine for governor in a landslide. The state is facing many problems. Why do voters believe that Jon Corzine is the right man to turn around the Garden State? Corzine grew bored of being senator in his first term and ran for governor after serving his state for less than four years in Washington, DC. Before spending $65 million of his money for the privilege of being senator for barely a thousand days Corzine had never held elected office. Now, his aides are floating the idea of his running for president in 2008 despite the stench of corruption that swirls around him and his cronies.

Corzine has said that the biggest problem to tackle was high property taxes. As the New York Times noted, Corzine has not really given any concrete plan on how to lower property taxes. Democrats are at the zenith of their power in New Jersey. The state has given huge margins of victory to Democratic nominees in the recent presidential elections and now the state legislature has 59 Democrats compared to 30 Republicans. Corzine's party has the state's reins in its hands.

Beyond that, however, Mr. Corzine and his advisers gave little indication of how they plan to win support for his ambitious agenda, which also calls for a variety of proposals to discourage patronage hiring in a Legislature controlled by political bosses whose machines are nourished by patronage and sweetheart deals.

Corzine is a politician's politican. He used every cynical trick in the book to win the gubernatorial election. While Republican opponent Doug Forrester caught flak for rehashing an interview the New York Times conducted with the Democrat's ex-wife, Corzine received no criticism for running a commercial featuring a wheelchair-bound teenager who was tasked with the job of distorting Forrester's position on stem-cell research. Corzine will probably have to learn the hard way on what it takes to be governor. It is highly doubtful he has the temerity to roll up the sleeves, fight the corrupt party bosses and pull the state of New Jersey out of the morass of corruption.

What will Corzine do as governor? We shall find out.

Corzine Prepares to Assume New Title, and the Problems That Go With It - New York Times



Congratulations to Week 9 winner, Jack Legacy of Major League Texas Hold 'Em.com. He beat Gil M. on a tiebreaker.

BUFFALO 2 Kansas City
Washington 1 TAMPA BAY
New England 3 MIAMI
CHICAGO 13 San Francisco
NY GIANTS 9½ Minnesota
DETROIT 3½ Arizona
Denver 3 OAKLAND
SEATTLE 6½ St. Louis
ATLANTA 9 Green Bay
PITTSBURGH 7½ Cleveland


(7)NOTRE DAME 23 Navy
(5)Lsu 3 (4)ALABAMA
(9)GEORGIA 3 (15)Auburn
(10)OHIO STATE 19 (25)Northwestern
(12)Florida 4 SOUTH CAROLINA
(17)Florida State 1½ CLEMSON

Kansas City, Washington, New England, Chicago, NYGiants, Arizona, Jacksonville, Carolina, Oakland, St Louis, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Dallas 38
Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, Northwestern, South Carolina, Florida State

HOW TO PLAY: Choose who you think will beat the spread in each game. Favorites are listed first, before the spread. Send your picks before I post my picks on Saturday, 12 noon ET. For tiebreaker purposes predict the total points for Monday night's game. Tiebreaker determined by what predicted score comes closest to overall score.

Send your picks via email. If you have a blog, please give me your URL.

Major League Texas Hold 'Em: 13
Gil M.: 13
Quita: 11
T. Galvin: 11
SixHertz House of Pain: 10
GOP and the City: 10
Uptown Girl: 8

Uptown Girl: 91
SixHertz House of Pain: 88
Quita: 87
T. Galvin: 86
GOP and the City: 83
Gil M.: 82
RightVoices.com: 56
Major League Texas Hold 'Em: 55


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