Archive for November 19th, 2002

19th November

First Published in The New York Sun, November 19, 2002
By Andrew Wolf

For eight years the former president of the Bronx, Fernando Ferrer, had an obsession. That obsession wasn’t (so far as I know) a woman, nor was it rebuilding his decaying borough. Rather it was a visceral hatred for Mayor Giuliani.

Mr. Ferrer never had a good word to say about Mr. Giuliani, never mind that when Rudy took office in 1994, the city had reached rock bottom. The coffers were empty, crime was at an all-time high, and nearly a million and a quarter New Yorkers were on Welfare. Taxes had zoomed out of control and the menacing visage of the squeegee man became our municipal symbol, driving away visitors and residents alike.
When Rudy left City Hall eight years later, welfare rolls had diminished by more than half, crime had declined to levels not seen for nearly 40 years, taxes were
down, and the squeegee men but a distant and distasteful memory. The city’s finances had become a bit shaky, but this was largely due to 9/11 and the national economic downturn.