These are probably the toughest words I've ever had to write.
Last week, I picked up a new book called "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning", about New York City in the seventies. You know, the urban blight, the Blackout of '77, the riots and the Son of Sam killer who swore that the satanic dog made him do it. The quote is from Howard Cosell who said those words as he broadcasted game 6 (I believe) of the '77 World Series at Yankee Stadium. You could look over the tops of the Stadium and see apartment buildings burning in fires set by arsonists and slumlords trying to cut their losses and get insurance money, to the detriment of already destitute people with no place to go. There were all kinds of strikes, crime was out of hand, the subway was in horrible shape and people were advised to not use public transport or even walk the streets after a certain time of night. The City was a disaster and was threatening to get worse. Incidentally, the two mayors who presided over the City during that time were John Lindsay and Abe Beame, two Democrats, both disastrous. To be fair, both were traditional Democrats in that they championed social reforms as a way of tackling other areas, like the economy. Most everyone knows that to solve a problem, one must go to the root of it, and that's what these guys set out to do. But New York didn't work the way they thought it did, and critics, in retrospect, wonder whether Lindsay and Beame were TOO GOOD for the City. I don't disagree with that theory; quite honestly, a good lot of New Yorkers are not worth a shit. Then, like a wrinkly, balding, Jewish angel from the heavens came mayor Ed Koch in '79 to save the day, which he did, slowly but surely, and in the nineties, mayor Giuliani turned the City into a rich man's paradise and "Disney-fied" Times Square. But I digress, again. My point is that New York City LOVES Democratic presidential candidates, but they have trouble with a Democrat in City Hall. No one will ever know why that is. It will remain one of the City's many mysteries, and its the many mysteries that make this City so damn fascinating to me.
The elections are soon. Ferrer is far behind, Bloomberg is projected to win by a landslide. I hate to say it, but I think that between the two, Bloomberg will do better. Not that much better, though. Considering that Ferrer, of Puerto Rican descent, can't even rally his own people behind him even though Latinos rule the city in terms of population but are grossly underrepresented, I'm putting my money on Bloomie. Ferrer has lots of good ideas and I of course especially like the fact that he would speak for those people whose mouths have been taped shut over the past 12 years the Repubs have been in City Hall. But Ferrer has the Kerry syndrome. He is head and shoulders above Bloomberg in terms of experience and raw brainpower and a lot of people hate that, because knowledge and dignity offends those who don't have either. They resent it, and they can't look beyond that at the qualifications that Ferrer brings with him. He has tons more experience than Bloomie: he was Bronx borough president for a long time, for one thing, while Bloomberg is just a businessman with a cable channel who thinks that riding the subway will all of a sudden make him "one of us". True, with Bloomberg, I can expect more of Albany and Washington cheating the City while Bloomie acts like their lap dog, the subways will get invariably worse and worse while the fares go up and up, and everything will become more expensive while workers, like me, are denied basic cost of living increases in their pay and people are simply bought out of the City. I honestly can't think of one good thing Bloomberg can do for the City. But this I know, Bloomberg will not let the City go back to the '70's. I think I can be pretty confident that that won't happen again, and I'm going to have to vote for that (Ladies and gentlemen, there go my principles). Unfortunately, this City has been traditionally ruled by money and big business, and Bloomberg perpetuates that, which is why folks love him. When the going gets rough, Bloomie will throw his money at the problem, and around these parts, money makes problems all better. I think that Ferrer will just be a disastrous repeat of mayors Lindsay and Beame: too good for New Yorkers, but not quite good enough to fix their realities. The bottom line is that nowadays, people who are driven by a lust for cash look way down their noses at people who do not and call them head-in-the-clouds Commies or just very politely feel sorry for them. I've totally felt that myself, but as daddy says, money has way more potential to hurt than it does to help, and I'd rather be a well-adjusted person than a rich, snotty bitch.