The man who once hired New York City mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota as his deputy recently detailed the stakes involved in the race for Gracie Mansion. Rudolph W. Giuliani told local conservatives that “We get one chance to get it right,” by electing his Republican protégé. “And if we get it wrong,” America’s mayor added, “you know what can happen. Bill de Blasio creates a sense of fear about what can happen to this city, and the fear is real. This city very easily could become another Chicago or Detroit or a combination of Chicago or Detroit.”
Giuliani observed that Chicago has some 2.7 million people, compared to New York’s 8.3 million, “yet Chicago has three and a half times the murder rate in New York City. They have had more murders than we have had.” Indeed, FBI data indicate that murders climbed in Chicago from 431 in 2011 to 500 last year, a 13.8 percent hike. New York’s homicides simultaneously slipped from 515 to 419, an 18.6 percent drop. Murders peaked in 1990, three years before Giuliani was elected, when a now-unfathomable 2,245 people were killed in America’s most populous city.
Giuliani dismissed gun control as the magic bullet. “Whether you like it or not, we both have the same restrictive gun laws.” Giuliani explained. Thus, the Big Apple and the Windy City are in a draw on this front.
“Crime did not go down in New York City because of climate change,” Giuliani said. “It didn’t fall because people became nice. Crime went down because of pro-active and focused policing. Stop-question-and-frisk and Compstat have done that. Crime is down 80 percent,” since Giuliani arrived and implemented these measures. (Compstat uses crime statistics to help deploy each precinct’s police officers to trouble spots where lawlessness prevails. Commanders then are judged on how they manage these law-enforcement resources. They stand up and describe their results at evaluation sessions where peers and supervisors commend, critique, and otherwise hold them accountable.)
“How can we become another Detroit?” Giuliani wondered. He pointed to Motor City’s budget-busting union agreements and decades of municipal graft, largesse, and featherbedding. “When it came to government unions, I gave no raises for two years. Someone has to say, ‘No raise!’ to the unions.”
And what did Giuliani squeeze out of his tough, tight fists?
“When I was mayor, the Yankees won four championships,” Giuliani laughed. “This is what pro-active policing and fiscal conservatism do for a city.” Giuliani also noted that, when elected, he “was New York City’s first Republican mayor in 20 years and the first to stay Republican in 50 years.”
An independent organization called New Yorkers for Proven Leadership is backing Lhota with TV ads financed by citizens who, like Giuliani, fret about this metropolis’s future. NYPL’s strategists believe that voters will overlook Lhota’s low poll numbers and gravitate toward him if they understand the sharp contrasts between the GOP nominee and his Democrat rival.
Lhota preaches fiscal restraint while de Blasio is a full-throated tax-and-spend liberal. He very openly wants to pinch prosperous New Yorkers even harder to fund universal, government-run pre-kindergarten and after-school programs. That means less money in the wallets of job creators and more in the pockets of educrats and unionized teachers.
Of course, this assumes that the wealthy will not relocate and, instead, remain and absorb insults about not paying their “fair share” of taxes. As the Manhattan Institute’s E. J. McMahon demonstrated in last summer’s City Journal, the top 1 percent of New Yorkers — who earn at least $493,439 — already generate 43.2 percent of city income-tax revenue. Rather than credit them for paying so much of City Hall’s bills, de Blasio denounces them and demands more.
Lhota wants to increase school-choice options and double the number of local charter schools. De Blasio has the teachers’-union’s endorsement and, no surprise, says: “I won’t favor charters.” In fact, de Blasio wants to charge some charter schools rent, even though they are government institutions, albeit liberated from the work rules and red tape that ensnare too many traditional schools.
According to Jenny Sedlis of StudentsFirstNY, 50,000 Gotham families are on waiting lists to enter charter schools. While de Blasio says he only would force more affluent charter schools to pay rent, he already has terrified the leaders of more modest charters.
“We could not exist if rent were charged,” said Stacy Gauthier, principal of Renaissance Charter School in Queens. She told the New York Post: “We would be closed down.” What has Renaissance done lately? Its graduates currently enjoy a 100 percent college-acceptance rate, compared to 51.6 percent across New York City’s government high schools.
Some 20,000 parents, students, and their supporters demonstrated October 9 on behalf of the city’s 183 charter schools. They marched across the Brooklyn Bridge and rallied near City Hall.
“Charter schools are public schools,” Lhota declared at the protest. “There’s no reason for [de Blasio] to charge rent, and there’s no reason why we can’t use surplus space in schools to co-locate charter schools.”
• While Lhota wants robust policing and backs the NYPD’s stop-question-and-frisk policy, de Blasio disagrees. He tars that crime-fighting tactic as “racial profiling” and replied, “I really appreciate that analysis” when actor/MSNBC host Alec Baldwin cracked that “stop-and-frisk to me seems lazy.”
Giuliani also warned that if de Blasio “has done weird things in his life, he could be a weird mayor.”
“Who goes to Cuba for a honeymoon?” Giuliani marveled. “Only a socialist. It’s not a crime to be a socialist. It’s stupid, but it’s not a crime.”
To amplify its pro-Lhota message, New Yorkers for Proven Leadership needs cash — and soon. Rudy Giuliani believes it can boost Joe Lhota’s prospects: “If they have the money, they can turn this around.”
Contributions are welcome at:
New Yorkers for Proven Leadership, Inc.
Attn: Ryan Medrano
5 East 22nd Street
New York, NY 10010