There have been countless protests by ACT UP and many other Activists from numerous diverse Communities against the arrogance and failures of governance of Rudolph Giuliani since his first day as Mayor.

Giuliani's one notably functionary performance during the 911 World Trade Towers Attack  had broadcast nationally certain impressions of misunderstood capabilities of his governance.  Many hundreds of thousands of People in New York City – CITIZENS – from diverse communities in NEED OF HELP AND SUPPORT were forced to continually STRUGGLE against the governace of his arrogance, oppression, and actual violence against people of color during his entire term as Mayor  ( – actually beginning many years before... his inhumanity as federal prosecutor in Reagan's Justice Department, manifesting the perpetration of violence against Haitians, and unconscionably collaborating with the Duvalier regime .)  
 – and if he ever approaches any nationally elected political office in the future, you can be sure that there will be a lot more information posted here quickly.




Mayor's Office Suppressed Report on Needle Exchange

Court Rejects Policy on AIDS Benefits Mayor Giuliani Loses Again

Court Rules: City officials acted with "retaliatory intent'' against Housing Works and loses again


Workers at AIDS Facility Leave Confidential Documents on Sidewalk

City's Tough Justice for Marijuana Arrestees; Outraged parents declare Mayor Giuliani a tyrant.

A federal judge ruled that New York City has failed to provide adequate services for thousands of People with AIDS

Protesting the illegal practices by New York City's Division of AIDS Services in denying
emergency housing to People with AIDS

On-Going ACTIONS > > >

.New York City tried (and failed) to get its AIDS Office out of mandatory court supervision
due to that bureaucracy's past failures

Demand D.A. DROP CHARGES against the five AIDS activists for GLAXO Action

NYC spends most federal money intended to build housing for homeless people living with AIDS
to pay the SALARIES of City workers at the WELFARE office.


Michelle V. Agins / The New York Times 

Housing Works joined a march in 1994 to protest possible funding cuts for AIDS patients. The group said it was punished for criticizing the mayor. 

City to Pay AIDS Group in Settlement

   By JIM DWYER     The New York Times      May 27, 2005

The city has agreed to pay almost $5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Housing Works, an advocacy and housing organization for people with AIDS that claimed it had lost government contracts as punishment for disparaging former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, his aides and their policies.

The payment, announced yesterday, is by far the largest in a series of settlements made with a variety of groups and people, including a limousine driver, a police inspector and a jail warden, who have said that senior officials in the Giuliani administration illegally retaliated against them for criticism. Yesterday's settlement, of $4.8 million in damages, interest and lawyers' fees, brings the current costs of such lawsuits to about $7 million.

The two sides had very different views of the settlement and the history it rested on.

Charles King, the executive director of Housing Works, said the settlement represented a vindication of the group's advocacy work and a repudiation of Mr. Giuliani.

"I'm not sure people appreciate how much the Giuliani administration attempted to silence dissenting voices, in particular in communities that relied on city funds to service needy people," Mr. King said. "I think Housing Works was used as an example to let other organizations know what would happen to them if they advocated on behalf of their clients."

Mr. Giuliani would not comment, his spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, said.

While city lawyers have denied that retaliation took place in any of the smaller cases involving the Giuliani administration, they were particularly assertive in making that argument yesterday.

Lawrence S. Kahn, a senior litigator for the city, maintained that Housing Works lost contracts under the Giuliani administration because it had mismanaged funds, not because of retaliation. The city decided to pay because of the "unpredictability of litigation" and because Housing Works had provided services for which it was not paid, Mr. Kahn said in a statement.

If the case had not been settled yesterday, the two sides were due in Federal District Court today for a final appearance before trial.

In its legal filings, Housing Works argued that the mismanagement charges were overstated and were a pretext used by the Giuliani administration to end its contracts.

Fran Reiter, a former deputy mayor who oversaw many AIDS programs for Mr. Giuliani, said that she understood that the city would have strategic reasons for settling, but that Housing Works did not deserve the money.

"The justice of it is appalling," Ms. Reiter said. "I don't believe this case had any merit, and I am not happy that my tax dollars are being spent to pay a not-for-profit that engaged in some kind of fiscal mismanagement."

Mr. King said that he, too, regretted that the taxpayers were footing the bill for the actions of individual officials. "That's the way government works," he said.

Housing Works and its leaders were among the earliest and loudest critics of Mr. Giuliani, who took office in January 1994. They said his plans to consolidate the city's main AIDS agency would cause fatal hardship, and that his welfare policies fell with special cruelty on people with the disease. It filed lawsuits, tried to shout him down at speeches, and led protests where Mr. Giuliani's policies were characterized as "murder." In October 1997, after an unflattering audit and an inquiry by the Department of Investigation, the group lost its city funding.

Not long before, posters with Ms. Reiter's face and the words "AIDS criminal" or "AIDS murderer" had been plastered on walls around the city. Members of the Giuliani administration said during pretrial testimony that the posters were disturbing, and attributed them, at least in part, to Housing Works. (The group, which acknowledges being a disruptive force, was not responsible for the Reiter posters, said Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, the lawyer for Housing Works.)

Records turned over during the litigation included a note taken by a city official at a meeting to discuss AIDS services that read, "Housing Works (Fran hates them)."

Ms. Reiter had left government by the time that Housing Works lost its city contracts, but insisted that there was no attempt to go after the group.

She said that the city administration had found mismanagement, and that the group had not corrected it. "Withdrawing those contracts was absolutely the right thing to do, given the government's fiduciary responsibility," Ms. Reiter said.

Mr. Brinckerhoff said that was a sham argument. The city had twice audited Housing Works books during a period when its procedures were slack, he said. "We had a cash flow crisis," he said. But investigations during the lawsuit showed that its problems were no worse than other, quieter groups that did not lose their public financing, he said.

The city also seemed to take special pains to isolate Mr. Giuliani from the sizable financial settlement, Mr. Brinckerhoff said. As a condition of the settlement, the city required Housing Works to file a separate document dismissing its claims against Mr. Giuliani and other former officials, he said.

While it is standard practice for the city to indemnify its employees in such lawsuits, he said, it usually includes them in the general financial settlement. Mr. Brinckerhoff said he had never before seen the city require a special document dismissing the claims against individual defendants. Mr. Kahn, the city litigator who handled the negotiations, declined to discuss that aspect of the case.

Housing Works has no specific plans yet for the money, Mr. King said, but probably will put some of it in an investment fund for housing. Since it lost city funding in October 1997, the organization has nearly doubled in size, Mr. King said, with a budget for next year of $41 million. It operates a bookstore, thrift shops and a catering business, and provides 112 homes to people with AIDS.

GAY CITY NEWS  June 09 - 15, 2005  

Housing Works Beats Giuliani Again
Charles King reflects on long-running battles with former mayor; looks ahead


Charles King, president of Housing Works, the AIDS services organization, has termed the recent $4.8 million settlement the group reached to end its lawsuit against New York City a complete vindication of its approach to a series of battles the group waged against the administration of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

As the result of the settlement, Housing Works has withdrawn its claims that when Giuliani denied the group millions of dollars in city contracts in 1997 he was retaliating for the group’s repeated and outspoken criticism of his administration’s AIDS policies.

“The record is clear,” King said. “They wanted to punish us for sticking up for the rights of New Yorkers living with AIDS and HIV. This settlement marks another victory for free speech and another expensive payment by the city over Mayor Giuliani’s vicious and illegal attacks on those who disagreed with him.”

For its part, the city is admitting to no wrong doing, issuing a statement that it had settled rather than face the “unpredictability of litigation” in a federal civil suit.

And in the wake of the settlement, a key AIDS policy maker in the first Giuliani administration, former Dep. Mayor Fran Reiter, defended the actions the city took in investigating alleged financial irregularities at the AIDS service group.

“Withdrawing those contracts was absolutely the right thing to do, given the government’s fiduciary responsibility,” Reiter told The New York Times.

Giuliani has not commented publicly on the settlement.

At the time the contracts were denied, city officials argued that audits of Housing Works’ current city contract performance indicated significant areas of concern about how the money was spent. In its lawsuit, Housing Works contended that it was guilty of nothing more than a “cash flow crisis,” typical of many community-based organizations dependent on the uncertain flow government funds for their operating budgets.

“We lost $6.5 million in contract reimbursement,” King said, referring to the crunch the group faced in 1997 when city contracts were not awarded or renewed. He said the loss of funding led to “massive disruptions for clients in terms of lost housing” and an inability to meet staff payroll on several occasions.

Despite the $4.8 settlement, King said, “no amount of money could compensate for the wrenching experiences they had.”

After the contracts were denied, Housing Works first initiated a civil suit in state court, naming the former mayor and his Human Resources Administration commissioner, Jason Turner, as defendants, charging that the administration subjected the group to repeated audits and falsified information in its effort to justify denying a leading AIDS services provider new contracts. State Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman initially issued a series of rulings favorable to Housing Works, but when it seemed likely she would issue a permanent injunction barring the city from denying contracts to the group, the State Court of Appeals stepped in and overturned some of the key trial court decisions.

At that point, Housing Works switched venues to federal court, because, as King now says, the case involved issues of “contract law and constitutional rights.”

There is no doubt that much of the interaction between the Giuliani administration and Housing Works took place in a political pressure cooker. The organization grew out of ACT UP and always put aggressive political advocacy on behalf of its clients at the top of its agenda. On Giuliani’s first day in office in January 1994, the group staged a massive march across the Brooklyn Bridge converging on City Hall Plaza to protest news that the new mayor planned to dismantle the Department of AIDS Services (DAS), established by former Mayor Ed Koch in the late ‘80s to give New Yorkers living with AIDS what was viewed as one-stop shopping in dealing with the city’s health and welfare bureaucracies. From the start, AIDS activists were among the harshest critics of DAS for its failure to live up to its promise of expediting services for people living with AIDS, but no one among that community felt that dismantling the agency was the right way to go.

The Giuliani administration backed down on the plan, in fact insisting that such a move was never under consideration. However, over the first four years of the former mayor’s tenure, AIDS activists, especially ones affiliated with Housing Works, were vigilant in monitoring the management of DAS, and there were ongoing charges that Giuliani was aiming to achieve a de facto dismantling of the agency, even if it continued in name.

The charges generated in this dispute often took on a vitriolic nature. Posters bearing Reiter’s face over the words “AIDS criminal” and “AIDS murderer” appeared around town, though Housing Works explicitly denied producing them. Apparently, Reiter was an opponent of the group within the administration. One of the documents Housing Works entered into evidence in its lawsuit was a memo written by a Giuliani appointee in which mention of Housing Works was annotated by a parenthetical comment, “(Fran hates them.)”

The predisposition that Housing Works had for street actions led to a series of civil lawsuits against the Giuliani administration charging abridgement of First Amendment rights of assembly. The group won all of these cases, as did all but one of the groups that filed more than 20 similar suits against Giuliani. One of the Housing Works suits led to a reopening of City Hall Plaza for press conferences after the former mayor had denied access based on security considerations.

Despite its city contract reversals in 1997, Housing Works has in fact grown considerably since that time, from an annual budget of $17 million to $41 million, in large part due to diversification away from complete dependence on the vagaries of government support.

“We’ve expanded investment in our thrift shops, social service businesses and health care services,” King explained. “We don’t have to worry about the government taking a contract away. We’ve moved into an entrepreneurial mode.”

Though King signed a document dismissing the group’s claims against Giuliani, he continues to mince no words about the former mayor. His words are a reminder of the polarization Guiliani’s policies generated prior to September 11, 2001.

“Giuliani is a pretty evil person—not very democratic and he has a tendency to be punitive to those who disagree with him,” King said.

King maintained that the number of First Amendment cases that Giuliani lost was 28. “We were plaintiffs in six,” he said. “We won four outright and settled the others.”

King argued that another reason the Giuliani administration came down hard on Housing Works had to do with the group’s homeless client caseload; he charged that the former mayor had a “hostility towards drug users.”

The kind of AIDS activism that enabled Housing Works to turn out thousands on Giuliani’s first day in office in 1994 waned considerably in the years that followed, due in large measure to the treatment successes brought on by the introduction of protease inhibitors to treat HIV.

Looking back on the Giuliani years, King maintained that his group was punished for being way out front on advocacy compared to other leading AIDS groups in the city.

“We were set out as an example of what happens when you don’t play along,” King said. Noting that some groups, including Bailey House, stood with Housing Works in its militant stance, “others felt we got what we deserved.”

King was measured in his comments about Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying his administration is “far less vindictive,” though “not above it.”

“The Bloomberg administration says the right things about AIDS housing,” King noted. “I’d like to see more produced. It is a struggle to get the administration to take AIDS with the seriousness that it warrants.”

Responding to a recent AIDS Commission report from Dr. Thomas Frieden, the city’s commissioner of health, King said he supports “95 percent” of it, but is concerned that the mayor’s budget does not reflect its recommendations.

“We’re not even close to stopping the AIDS epidemic in New York City,” King said, adding that in many ways “we have been going backwards.”

The Giuliani years: Issues that angered

by Inga Sorensen, excerpted, NY BLADE 1/4/02

"It's hard not to respect his public performance after September 11, but there is no question that the Giuliani administration's intention during his entire tenure was to diminish the quality of AIDS services in New York City," assessed Michael Kink, legislative counsel for Housing Works, a New York City-based AIDS group. "The first major thing they tried to do when they took over was get rid of the Division of AIDS Services. They really did not understand or respect that New York is the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic. They treated AIDS as a welfare and poverty issue, using the same blunt force on it."

In 1994, Giuliani's first year in office, controversy ensued after word circulated that the administration was planning to eliminate the city Department of AIDS Services. An evaluation process was held that was closed to public input, creating further anxiety among AIDS advocates. Though DAS was not eliminated, that incident generated for AIDS advocates mistrust toward the mayor that lasted throughout Giuliani's eight years in office.

Said gay state Sen. Tom Duane, a Manhattan Democrat, who was on the City Council at the time: "It was one of the very few times that the community won a battle with the mayor, because he essentially had to back down, although under the guise of restructuring he continued to try and eliminate it, destroy it, and make it so it couldn't function."

"There were protests, there was litigation, there were literally more than a dozen lawsuits from the area of AIDS services," Kink said of the Giuliani years.

Housing Works tangled with Giuliani several times, and scored several legal wins against the administration. Among the victories: A judge ruled a city regulation limiting the number of people allowed to gather on the steps of City Hall for a protest, press conference, or other public gathering was unconstitutional. Another judge ruled the city must ensure same-day temporary housing for homeless people with AIDS, and another found the city had violated Housing Works' First Amendment rights by attempting to prevent the group from receiving federal funding in retaliation for the group's continued criticisms of the Giuliani administration. Additionally, a state appeals court ruled that the city broke its own law by forcing people with AIDS to pass strict eligibility exams before being considered for public assistance. And the list doesn't end there.

"The vast majority opinion among people with AIDS and those who provide services to people with AIDS is that the community's self-defense effort is what forced Giuliani to maintain -- and even extend -- services for people with AIDS," said Kink.

Giuliani also angered some gay New Yorkers for his perceived support of Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., who was a member of the New York Police Department's Civilian Complaint Review Board. In 1994, Diaz sparked controversy when he wrote a column in a Spanish-language weekly publication lamenting that many of the athletes on their way to New York City for the Gay Games "are likely to be already infected with AIDS."

Duane, then on the City Council, wrote to the mayor, telling Giuliani it was "imperative that you immediately condemn [Diaz's] blatant hatred of lesbians, gay men, and people with AIDS." The mayor replied that he "disagreed" with Diaz but added, "I think it important that we not censure a man who is not speaking out of hatred but on the basis of a moral theology developed over thousands of years."

Giuliani also eliminated the city Office of Lesbian & Gay Concerns, as well as liaison offices to other communities.

Giuliani appointed a Board of Education member viewed as unfriendly to gay and AIDS issues, and he was criticized for defending law enforcement's use of force at a Manhattan march for the slain Matthew Shepard.

Giuliani campaigned against the city's cultural components -- from crackdowns on adult-related businesses, nightclubs, and street artists, to Giuliani's much-publicized effort to cut funding to the Brooklyn Museum of Art because of an exhibit that included a portrait of the Virgin Mary surrounded by elephant dung.

"Whenever cultural institutions are targeted for being 'outside the norm,' the subtext is usually there's some kind of gay content as well. Unfortunately, I think that occurred over the past couple of years," said Grabarz. "One of the victims of the culture wars were gays and lesbians."

"For seven and three-quarter years he's been an authoritarian mayor to the detriment of many New Yorkers, including GLBT people, because of his attacks on free speech, his attacks on civil disobedience, [and] his triple-X zoning -- I mean this is a guy who had sharpshooters on the roof of City Hall for a Housing Works demo. Let's not forget all this," said longtime gay rights activist Bill Dobbs, adding, "He took the fun out of 'Fun City.'"


Much of what La Guardia did benefited the neediest citizens -- not so with Giuliani.

How Rudy Stacks Up Against His Hero
Giuliani = La Guardia? NOT!

by Richard Barr, The Village Voice, January 2 - 8, 2002

In September 1989, after his victory in the Republican Mayoral Primary, Rudolph Giuliani said, "In 1933, a mayor of integrity . . . came forward and carried on a courageous campaign to save this city. . . . His name was Fiorello La Guardia. La Guardia was a Republican like I am, a Republican who reaches out for the support of others." Giuliani lost the general election to David Dinkins.

On December 30, 1993, Giuliani, having beaten Dinkins in a rematch, recalled La Guardia's desk to the City Hall rotunda from the warehouse to which Dinkins had consigned it. His private swearing-in that night at the home of a judge reprised La Guardia's 60 years earlier. He often referred to La Guardia as his hero, his patron saint, his role model in creating a non-partisan city government. In March 1995, Giuliani pointed to the portrait of La Guardia in his office and said it gave him guidance.

Now the mayor's eight years at City Hall are up, and it's worth looking at the degree to which his oft-stated admiration for La Guardia translated into actual emulation of programs and policies. Certainly there are stylistic similarities, some superficial, some not so. Both men were vigorous, hands-on, well-informed managers; impatient, demanding bosses; and mercurial, sharp-tongued public figures intolerant of critics. Both had keen instincts for media stunts, such as donning uniforms and rushing to fires and police raids.

As mayors they both engaged in prudish crusades against public and private vices. La Guardia fought slot machines and newsstand literature he considered offensive. Giuliani made war on sex shops, clubs, and museum exhibits he considered offensive. Both were merciless with what they felt were embarrassing or shameful symbols of their Italian American heritage-La Guardia with organ-grinders, Giuliani with mafiosi.

But all these similarities pale beside the stark contrasts between their legacies.

La Guardia, mayor from 1933 to 1945, was a Republican, but off-the-charts left of any Republican these days, or in the last few decades. Like President Franklin Roosevelt, he took office at the height of the Great Depression, a time of far greater economic woes than we face now.

During La Guardia's first two terms, before the war and the end of the Depression, the physical landscape of New York was transformed. Forging a dynamic working relationship with Roosevelt and his New Deal, La Guardia used federal money to build schools, hospitals, low-income housing, neighborhood health clinics, parks, playgrounds, libraries, roads, bridges, tunnels-and plenty of each, plus an airport.

Much of what he built, and many of the services he delivered, directly benefited the poorest and neediest citizens of the city. Improving their lives was something he cared passionately about, and he considered it an essential crusade of government.

Of course he couldn't have achieved all this without the willing partnership of FDR. And he had at his side Robert Moses, someone who, notwithstanding his imperious approach, could get things built like no one before or since. Moses and FDR hated each other from their earlier years together in Albany, but the rivalry didn't prevent an amazing array of accomplishments.

Giuliani didn't have an FDR in Washington-Bill Clinton and George W. were both poor substitutes-and Congress has been largely dysfunctional as well. And he certainly had no Moses. But he did have, for much of his eight years, whopping surpluses that could have been used to build. And yet he did almost none of what La Guardia did.

Even Ed Koch, during his last term as mayor, despite his renunciation of much of his pre-mayoralty liberalism, made a significant commitment to the building and rehabbing of low-income housing. Housing stock that fell into the city's control during the Giuliani years was largely offered to private developers, who were looking to create market-rate housing-out of reach to the poor. There was no real commitment to honoring a pledge to use the Battery Park City surpluses for low-income housing.

With regard to public schools, Comptroller Alan Hevesi's office estimated that to meet needs, it would take $28 billion to build enough schools and to repair others. In partial response to that study, Chancellor Rudy Crew came up with a five-year, $11 billion capital plan. Giuliani twisted arms to get the Board of Education to reduce it to $7 billion, and now with cost overruns, only $4 billion is on the table to address the $28 billion of needed work, and the boom is over.

The mayor did spend lavishly, however, on the park in front of City Hall and the Tweed Courthouse, and he built minor-league Mets and Yankee stadiums. He also endeavored mightily, right until the end, even with looming deficits and the 9-11 disaster, to give massive amounts to those teams for new major-league stadiums, despite the fact that few shared his enthusiasm for them or his calculation of their public benefits.

He also budgeted for a new New York Stock Exchange and for contributions to the expansion of worthy, but very well-endowed arts institutions such as Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim.

And it's not just that he didn't build for ordinary citizens. In the delivery of city services, and in the funding of private, not-for-profit providers, he consistently aimed to slash the budgets of programs serving the poorest and most helpless residents. Year after year, he cut or stymied funding for homeless services, welfare, food stamps, food pantries, hospitals, health care and prescription-drug programs, AIDS services, low-income housing, day care, neighborhood parks, after-school and recreation programs, seniors' programs, small museums, small cultural and arts programs, libraries, and legal services for the poor.

His very last cuts, just before Christmas, to close the projected budget gap, were aimed at all these same targets.

He had homeless men with outstanding warrants arrested in shelters at night during one Christmas season, and when it was pointed out by reporters that some of the warrants were for no more than public urination, he said with a smirk that we wouldn't want that to go unpunished-raising the question of whether the city had done anything to provide public toilets. His homeless-services commissioner said about the rise in numbers of shelter seekers: "I can't screw the front door any tighter."

His Human Resources Administration team, imported from Wisconsin, specialized in reducing the welfare rolls, and tried to award a lucrative welfare-to-work contract to a company employing a friend of the commissioner.

At any number of discussions among not-for-profit social service providers during the last few years, one could hear many tales of how the Giuliani administration was making life miserable for their clients. Most of this traveled below the radar of mainstream pundits, who generally praised Giuliani for the drop in crime and cleaning up the city.

At a forum on Giuliani's legacy sponsored by the Citizens' Union not long ago, New York Times columnist John Tierney said that La Guardia was one of the two worst mayors of the century because "he left us too many programs to pay for."

The main subjects debated during the forum were how much credit Giuliani deserved for the crime decrease, and for getting rid of squeegee men. Unmentioned at this forum, and in so many other evaluations of his tenure, was the question of what the measure of a mayor's legacy should be. How much does the transformation, or nontransformation, of the physical landscape count? How much does the delivery or non-delivery of government services (other than crime-fighting and prevention) to those most in need weigh?

To paraphrase the punch line of Lloyd Bentsen's famous retort to Dan Quayle in the vice presidential debate of 1988, we know who Fiorello La Guardia was, and Mayor Giuliani, you are no Fiorello La Guardia.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani "testified" at a public hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States in New York City, May 19, 2004.

Just wish we could forget him.

I'd lay off the guy by now if it weren't for the fact that Rudy Giuliani still appears to be revered around the world as some kind of hero. Jimmy Breslin might also have been able to move on, but it clearly ain't happening yet. Giuliani is a fake, and that may actually be the best that can be said of him.


The day after the 9/11 Commissioners had preposterously annointed him during his appearance before them in New York the veteran Newsday columnist brought his readers back to reality. I'm linking to and copying part of his column here, because almost everyone out in the ether has heard of our former mayor, but fewer get to read Breslin.

He was a nowhere guy until the planes hit the World Trade Center buildings. He was a failed mayor, was Rudy Giuliani. He had a commissioner named Harding stealing so obviously that at first people couldn't believe their eyes.

Giuliani had an open fear of blacks that produced the one most memorable sight of the last 10 years in my city.

On the roof of City Hall were cops with rifles. They were ready to rake this small, straggly column of people marching on one strip of Broadway while they pleaded for housing. Many had AIDS and needed assistance. The real trouble with the demonstrators was that some of them were not white.

On the street, the cops aimed cameras at the cripples. On the roof, they aimed rifles at the marchers.

This was Rudy Giuliani's paranoia caused by this raggedy group of demonstrators begging for a roof over their poor heads. In his time in City Hall, there was a person of color once in awhile. If two appeared, the SWAT team was put on alert.

Giuliani ran a city of aimless departments, of tax assessors shaking people down, of correction officers bullying people in campaigns, of an illness being used for publicity, of so much golf with a lobbyist that they called him the Commissioner of Golf, of so many strutting around and snarling at the helpless and the powerless, using Giuliani's name as a baseball bat. And always, everybody fearing and shunning blacks. Crime had dropped in his first term. It had dropped all over the country, but he made it seem like it was only his doing. "My crime decrease."

He wanted an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum closed because it offended his strict Catholicism. And then, with a wife in Gracie Mansion and one girlfriend in a car outside, a friend of mine, a detective, drove in with another girlfriend, and he and the other girlfriend's car nearly hit each other. He marched with his girlfriend in a parade and his kids could watch it on television.

Giuliani wanted a high security bunker, placed 23 stories high in a building at 7 World Trade Center. Anybody with the least bit of common sense knew that the bunker in the sky was insane and the price, $15.1 million, a scandal. But he said it would house "My Police Commissioner" and "My Fire Commissioner." In Giuliani's world, everything was "mine."

And on the morning of Sept. 11, Rudy Giuliani's bunker went out into the air like a Frisbee.

The first thing he did, he was telling the 9/11 Commission yesterday, was to go out and search for a new command post. He walked away from the trade center and headed for the command post that made his career: the nearest television camera.

. . . .

He went on the television. He was good. What was he supposed to be, bad? He was talking to the world from a city of catastrophe. He went on television five or six times that day. He went on more the next day. And the day after that, and for all the days of the fall of 2001, and the television made him an international hero.

. . . .

And yesterday he sat before the 9/11 commissioners and they collapsed in awe. They listened to him give a walking tour of how he tried to find a command center. Not once did anybody ask him about the stupid idea he had had for his first bunker, the one that fell out of the sky. They asked no questions of a mayor whose fire department had no radios that worked when a police helicopter said the north tower was going to fall. And 343 firefighters died. They wanted to hear nothing of blood on Giuliani's hands. They only wanted to hear whatever he had to say and they regarded his words as those of a hero. They had no idea that the guy was a flop who got lucky with an air raid.

They could at least have asked him a few real questions, and they definitely should have listened to the people who had had to share New York with him before September 11, especially the relatives of World Trade Center victims who sat in the same room with the former mayor on Wednesday. They were not happy.


Several relatives of victims said they were disgusted that the 10 members of the commission, each allowed about five minutes to question Giuliani, wasted time with redundant praise. One statement thanking Giuliani should have been enough, the families said.

"The commission members don't press hard at all," said Beverly Eckert, whose husband was killed.

"We leave frustrated," said Monica Gabrielle, whose husband was killed. "They made a huge faux pas in letting Rudy Giuliani polish his crown."

Targeting Giuliani is a reversal for many of the victims' relatives, who in the years since the attack have generally praised him as a steady leader through the chaos. After leaving office at the end of 2001, Giuliani has consistently sided with family coalitions on issues involving the trade center site, once even calling for the entire 16 acres to become a memorial.

[image and caption from REUTERS/Peter Morgan]       Posted by james | Politics |

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