2012-04-25 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Koch Rebuttal

To The Editor:

On Monday of this week, I read the newspapers of New York City, as I do every day. In the Daily News was an Op-Ed article by Douglas Schoen, someone I have known since I ran for mayor back in 1977. Overall, the article was his telling the world and Mayor Bloomberg how much Schoen admired him. I concur in that admiration and supported Michael Bloomberg in his three successful elections for mayor.

Schoen, in the course of expressing his admiration, decided it was necessary at the same time to denigrate three earlier three-term mayors of New York City which included Fiorello LaGuardia, Robert Wagner and me.

I have a rule which I’ve lived by since first running for office back in 1962 for assemblyman, which, by the way, I lost. I’ve actually run in 23 elections, counting 1962 and including primaries, runoffs and general elections. Of those 23, I won 20 and lost three. My rule is that, if I am attacked and, I believe, unfairly, I will respond in writing. I thought Schoen was outrageous in his attacks on LaGuardia and Wagner, two of New York City’s greatest mayors, and candidly, I thought outrageous in his attack on me. So I sent a letter to the Daily News giving my reasons for my upset, which was not published.

I thought you might like to see and read the letter which follows.
A copy of this letter was received at the Gazette:
April 17, 2012
Letters to the Editor
Daily News
4 New York Plaza
New York, NY 10004

To The Editor:

I read with distress the reference to three, threeterm mayors in an Op Ed written by Douglas Schoen and published in the Daily News of April 16, 2012. Mr. Schoen sought to buttress his admiration for Mayor Mike Bloomberg by extolling his virtues and accomplishments as mayor, while at the same time disparaging the other three-term mayors. I am a supporter and admirer of Mayor Bloomberg and campaigned for him in all three of his elections. I have said many times that the people of New York City have been lucky to have him as mayor and that his vision and accomplishments have made it possible for the city to achieve new heights and to come through the Great Recession far better than any other metropolis in the country. He is not adequately appreciated and will be very much missed when he leaves office at the end of his third term on December 31, 2013.

Having said that, I am appalled by Schoen’s references to two great mayors, Fiorello LaGuardia and Robert F. Wagner, as well as to me. He described LaGuardia as having, “left the city in 1945 with a massive debt and a bloated bureaucracy”. He described Wagner and his third term as “portrayed as a ‘city in crisis’ by the New York Herald-Tribune in 1965”.

Schoen described me as “Ed Koch faced a seemingly endless series of corruption scandals during his third term; those reduced his approval ratings to as low as 33% by June 1989.”

I believe we—the city’s pre-Bloomberg threeterm mayors in the city’s modern era—deserved better.

Schoen’s tactic of putting the three of us down in a cavalier manner in order to heighten his admiration for Mike Bloomberg would be described by the political cognoscenti as “tuches lecker”, a Yiddish expression loosely translated as “fawning butt kisser”.

I have known Mr. Schoen for many years and, in fact, have used his services on occasion. Long ago, I lost confidence in his integrity and accuracy. I write this response because of a principle I adopted when I entered politics and ran for the first time for public office in 1962, and that is, if I believe I am unfairly attacked, I respond in writing. Understandably, I much prefer the description of me by the historian Jonathan Soffer in his biography, Ed Koch And The Rebuilding of New York. On page 399, Soffer wrote, “Koch’s tireless and personal lobbying campaign for federal loan guarantees, along with other management reforms, led to a balanced budget by 1981—quite simply the greatest turnaround accomplished by any New York mayor in the 20th century, including Fiorello LaGuardia. When Koch promised Congress in 1978 that he would balance New York’s budget, few believed he would accomplish what the Emergency Financial Control Board had been unable to do, much less do it one year early. When he left office, debt service costs were reduced to about 11 percent of the city budget, down from 25 percent at the height of the fiscal crisis. Despite many missteps and limitations, Koch laid the foundations of municipal government and political economy for the next 20 years, rebuilt areas of the city destroyed by fire and abandonment, and exceeded expectations when he took office. If he had not succeeded, the cancerous erosions of neighborhoods would have continued, and today New York might resemble other deindustrialized, segregated, Rust Belt hulks like St. Louis or Detroit, where attempts at ‘renaissance’ have failed.”

All the best.
Edward I. Koch

A copy of this letter was received at the Gazette.
State Senator Carl L. Marcellino
188 State Street, Room 811
Legislative Office Building
Albany, N.Y. 12247
United States
Re: Senate Passes Pet Protection Bill.
Measure Makes the Theft of Dogs or Cats A
Dear Senator Carl L. Marcellino:

I was very pleased to hear that the state senate today passed a bill to increase the penalties for stealing a cat or dog.

As a pet lover myself, I believe your bill, (S.946), which would make stealing a licensed dog or cat a felony, finally acknowledges the great emotional value of a pet. Pets are more than property. They become valued members of the family and increasing the severity of the penalty for stealing a family’s dog or cat recognizes the pain and suffering this would cause.

Unfortunately, as you well know, as this bill’s sponsor, there is a continuing trend of pet thefts with a significant increase in the number of pets reported stolen. As such, this bill addresses a genuine concern.

Revising the penal code to ensure that this kind of crime is treated as grand larceny and with appropriate seriousness was the right thing to do.

I applaud you for sponsoring this bill as well as Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos and all your colleagues who helped secure a favorable vote.

I urge your counterparts in the Assembly to take up this bill and pass it, as it is deserving of bipartisan support. Sincerely, Vince Tabone, Esq. District Chairman 26th Assembly District Republican Committee

Do Your Share

To The Editor:

The 42nd anniversary of Earth Day was April 22, but it should be celebrated every day (“Queens Proudly Celebrates Earth Day,” Queens Gazette, editorial, April 18). Leave your car at home. For local trips in the neighborhood, walk or ride a bike. For longer travels, consider many public transportation alternatives already available. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Nassau Inter County Express (NICE) Bus, Staten Island Ferry along with other private transportation owners offer various options, such as local and express bus, ferry, jitney, subway and commuter rail services.

Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars. They use less fuel and move far more people than cars. In many cases, your employer can offer transit checks to help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize your investments and reap the benefits. You’ll be supporting a cleaner environment and be less stressed upon arrival at your final destination. Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternative work schedules, which afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. You could join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.

Use a hand-powered lawn mower instead of a gasoline or electric one. Rake your leaves instead of using gasoline-powered leaf blowers. The amount of pollution created by gasoline-powered lawn mowers or leaf blowers will surprise you.

Recycling newspapers, magazines, glass, plastics, old medicines, paints and cleaning materials also helps. A cleaner environment starts with everyone.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Best GOP Choice

To The Editor:

Your reporting on the upcoming election has suggested that Mitt Romney may be the eventual Republican nominee. What may not be as clear to readers are the reasons that Romney, and not another candidate, is the right man to lead our country as this moment.

Our economy is under assault from President Obama’s efforts to transform it into a Europeanstyle welfare state. While other candidates have spent their lives in government as the beneficiaries of taxpayer dollars, only Romney has led a successful career helping new companies get started and producing thousands of jobs. Further, his success in business and his command of the issues make him the candidate most likely to defeat Barack Obama in November. And when it comes to foreign policy, Romney is proud of America’s greatness.

Mitt Romney is the right choice for our state and our nation.

Alex Arnold
New York, NY

Thanks Neighbor

To The Editor: On behalf of all your neighbors on the block, we would like to show our appreciation for you (new owner, Layali Beirut Cafe Restaurant) deciding to do the repair work on 25-60 Steinway St. and eventually taking down the scaffolding that has been up for several years, the eyesore of the block.

Thank you.
Robert Boggs

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