The real legacy: 'Koch must resign or be removed'

2/8/2013, 12:46 p.m.

For the day will come, you see, if this man goes unchecked and unexamined, when the cancer that he represents will have metastasized throughout this city. By then, any examination will be too late.

It is all about money, you see. Those who have and those who have not, and those who have bowed to what they believe to be a higher power. That bowing cannot continue."

There was a time, you see, when most of the good people of this city believed in "right and wrong ... good and evil." We have not been able, recently, to measure what our people believe about such things unless we are prepared to buy a recent Daily News poll that practically absolves Mayor Koch of all responsibility in our most recent series of scandals and abuses of the public trust.

A former State Supreme Court justice may appeal as "too harsh" his nothing five-year sentence for accepting bribes, one of them from a purveyor of narcotic drugs that have rained so much death on our children, and in the absence of death has created a generation of zombies. The president of a borough of 2 million New Yorkers has relinquished control of his office after his having been accused of extorting money from a contractor doing business with the city's Parking Violations Bureau in order to politically ensure the continuation of that contract.

A county Democratic leader is under investigation for what appears to be abuses of power and corruption in office covering the eight years of Edward I. Koch. When the numbers and indictments are finally in, it may well be that we will witness the fiscal rape of a city under the nose of a mayor who roundly abused his predecessors for corruption in their administrations and has been unyielding in his criticism of them (Mayors John V. Lindsay and Abraham Beame) personally and professionally during all the years that he has held office. To their everlasting credit, these gentlemen of class and honor have not seen fit to comment on Koch's most serious problem at a time when the mayor is most vulnerable.

As we begin at the foothills of this mountain of corruption that is our city, a Transportation commissioner has been forced to resign, as have the director and assistant director of the PVB. The federal attorney's office is investigating four of the five borough president offices as well as the offices of the other members of the Board of Estimate as it pertains to votes on contracts that were entered into by city departments and sanctioned by that Board. The Board of Estimate is being challenged too by the governor of this state, Mario Cuomo, who poses the question, "What do they do?" For a body that is directly responsible for spending $20 billion of the people's money, it is a devastating challenge.

The thread that holds the seams of government together is becoming unraveled just as surely as the towers of fascism in Europe at, another time, designed never to crumble, crumbled. So it is with the present government of New York City. Its towers have begun to crumble. That crumbling will be complete if the press of this town examines the administration of Mr. Koch with the same kind of microscope used to root out corruption in administrations that were no longer on a press honeymoon.