Three years ago, the race for New York City mayor was wildly unequal in spending, yet Bill Thompson almost dashed the dreams of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s third term, losing by just a few percentage points. Today, as we face the next mayoral election, we can recall another mayor who also had already served two terms but was trying for a third, via a proxy.
Joseph J. Lhota, who is now throwing his hat into the Republican primary for NYC mayor, was deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, and a Giuliani crony to the fullest extent.
Giuliani, and his gaggle of misfits, ignored the African-American community, never sitting down with Black elected officials or other leaders for the eight years he was in office.
Lhota, in his role as deputy mayor, threw ethnic slurs at at least one reporter and shoved him, showing his disdain for anyone or anything that did not agree with the policies of his team.
After his stint as deputy mayor, budget director and finance commissioner, Lhota became the chairman of the MTA. In that role, Lhota went after the poorest of New Yorkers by raising both MTA fares and bridge tolls.
Now he has resigned to try to take back the city for Giuliani and, in effect, give the former mayor the third term he so badly wanted after 9/11.
But we can’t afford to allow another Giuliani-type mayor. Anyone who thinks like him, or worse, is his stand-in, stooge and puppet, and will continue to destroy the fabric of this great city.
While there is still much to learn about Lhota, what is already apparent is disturbing. His past actions provide plenty of indications as to how the poor would fare under his leadership. You think stop-and-frisk was bad under Bloomberg? Just image how bad it would be under Lhota. I think all of our Black and Hispanic males would have to stay inside 24/7 in fear of the police. That is not a city I want to live in.
We have fought hard to have a seat at the table of power–but now with the shutting out of Democrats and the minority caucus in the State Senate, we are more concerned than ever that New York is going backward.
We have done fine without Giuliani’s involvement the last 12 years. In fact, I contend that we have done better. We don’t need his divisive leadership style again.
Before Lhota is given another high office in this city, he has to prove to us–and all New Yorkers, if he can–that he’s his own man, and not a Giuliani clone.