Say No To Rudy

The following is a column I wrote over two years ago, when former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was mulling over whether or not to run against Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate back in 2006. At 1,300 words it is certainly much longer than most blog entries, but I hope readers will find it relevant enough right now to read it from start to finish.

Keep Giuliani Off The Ballot!

A Mock Letter to the NY GOP From One New Yorker

Stephen Minarik

Chairman, New York State Republican Party

315 State Street
Albany, NY 12210

November 18, 2004.

Dear Mr. Minarik,

It has recently come to my attention that your organization is considering supporting former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as a candidate to run against New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2006. It is my belief, shared by many others, that if Mr. Giuliani were to unseat Senator Clinton, he would soon consider a run for the Presidency in either 2012 or 2016.

As one of Mr. Giuliani’s former eight million employers (the people of New York City), I feel it is my duty to persuade you to consider another candidate by offering a critique of Mr. Giuliani’s performance while serving under our collective employment for eight years.

Most Americans who do not reside in the five boroughs of New York City under the Giuliani Administration (1993 – 2001) only know the Rudy Giuliani of post-September 11th folklore. This Rudy Giuliani was viewed as a leader who sprang into action as soon as he learned his city was under attack. Mr. Giuliani has profited handsomely from this one day, spinning himself as a hero and gaining spectacular publicity on a global level, bordering on sainthood.

Unfortunately, this was not the same Rudy Giuliani New Yorkers had known for the seven and a half years prior to September 11, 2001. I wish the people of New York could’ve known the Rudy Giuliani many non-New Yorkers think they know.

Law enforcement and after September 11th, crisis management were the only two fields in which Mr. Giuliani showed sensibility and leadership. For the duration of his Administration, Mr. Giuliani proved to be racially divisive in a city famous for its racial diversity. With several relatives in law enforcement and having served in the past as a Deputy U.S. Attorney General, fighting crime is certainly in Mr. Giuliani’s blood.

His loathing for criminals and law enforcement background helped implement crime fighting strategies that made New York City much safer than it had been in decades. But his consistent defense of the New York Police Department (even when there was overwhelming evidence of their abuse of power) and his hand picked Police Commissioner, Howard Safir ensured that the NYPD would play an instrumental role in worsening race relations in New York City.

Some of the most heinous occurrences of police brutality took place while Mr. Giuliani served as Mayor, with blacks and Latinos being the victims. Anthony Baez was choked to death by a police officer in 1994 and David Cedeno had been fatally shot in the back. Three years later, Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant was arrested and taken back to the 70th Precinct in Brooklyn where four police officers shoved a broom handle up his rectum and then forced it down his throat.

Patrick Dorismond, also Haitian, was approached by an undercover officer and was asked if he could buy drugs from Mr. Dorismond. Not knowing this buyer was a cop, Mr. Dorismond was insulted and began yelling at him. A brawl ensued between the officer and his two partners (also in plainclothes) and Mr. Dorismond who was fatally shot by one of the officers. Mr. Giuliani responded by beginning a smear campaign against Mr. Dorismond to make his murder seem justified, digging up his past offenses and even going as far as to unseal his sealed juvenile record.

Amadou Diallo, a West African immigrant was approaching his Bronx apartment building at midnight in 1999, when four white plainclothes officers approached Mr. Diallo and asked him to hold out his hands mistaking him for a rape suspect. It is unknown whether Mr. Diallo understood English well enough to follow their orders, but when he reached for his wallet, the officers assumed it was a gun and fired their own weapons 41 times, with 19 of the bullets fatally striking Mr. Diallo. Mr. Minarik, if I believed you were a suspect reaching for your gun to shoot me, how many bullets would I need to fire to immobilize you? I think that number would be far less than 41.

Mr. Giuliani also appointed Henry Stern to be the Commissioner for the City’s Department of Parks. Under Mr. Stern’s tenure, the Department’s upper management consisted almost entirely of whites. Blacks and Latinos made up half of the Department’s staff, but they claimed they were frequently passed up for promotions by white employees. In 2001 the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a ruling that 20 black and Latino Parks employees had indeed been passed over for promotions because of their race.

In the eight years of his tenure, Mr. Giuliani had refused, with very few exceptions, to meet with New York City’s black leaders. While there is little to no proof of any racist tendencies by Mr. Giuliani, there is no clear explanation why he avoided the City’s black leaders and many local events that would bring in predominantly black audiences.

The New York City Board of Education (BOE) was already a dysfunctional mess long before Mr. Giuliani became Mayor. The BOE had become a political patronage mill where corrupt administrators and back door bribes were the mainstream. Instead of addressing this problem, Mr. Giuliani used the public school system as his personal punching bag and made things even worse. He cut the BOE’s budget by at least $6.7 billion between 1993 and 1999 and ordered the School Chancellor to fire BOE 2,500 employees. Mr. Giuliani found a new way to further deplete funds from the BOE in school vouchers, a program in which the City would agree to pay for a student’s private school tuition. His hand picked chancellor, Rudy Crew fought him on this issue, until Mr. Crew was ultimately fired.

Another trademark of the Giuliani Administration was his crusade against the First Amendment. Mr. Giuliani was famous for his daily press conferences in which few or no reporters were allowed to ask questions, and his refusal to issue permits for protests or allowing people to assemble in public at all. By the end of his tenure, Mr. Giuliani had been successfully sued 27 times on grounds of violating the First Amendment.

When an African artist’s depiction of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung appeared at the Brooklyn Art Museum, Mr. Giuliani threatened to cut all City funding to the museum if they didn’t remove the artwork. He then formed a Decency Commission to review art in publicly financed institutions which would define what was and what wasn’t obscene. The Commission died before it even began.

Mr. Giuliani had a reputation for shouting down anyone who opposed him. His is remembered most for his daily radio show, where he hurled insults at elderly women and referred to callers with complaints as “idiots.” I feel Mr. Giuliani’s style of governance was one of intimidation to those who disagreed with him and retaliation when he didn’t get his way.

Prior to September 11th, Mr. Giuliani’s approval rating was at an all-time low, but overnight Mr. Giuliani had become a national public figure. Perhaps it was President George W. Bush’s lack of leadership upon learning of the attacks that made Mr. Giuliani look more like a hero when America needed a hero the most. But while the national and even international media praises Mr. Giuliani for 9-11, let us not forget who the real heroes of that day were: the scores of firefighters and police officers who risked and in many cases lost their lives saving others.

In conclusion, I highly recommend your party nominate someone else to run against Mrs. Clinton in 2008, as I feel that based on his eight-year performance as Mayor of New York, Mr. Giuliani is unfit to hold political office of any kind. His demonstrated expertise in crime prevention and crisis management may make him an ideal candidate for a position in Homeland Security, the FBI or the CIA. His authoritarian style of leadership is best for leading soldiers or law enforcement agents, not citizens who revere their civil rights.

Sincerely,

Daniel Cuevas

Hiatus

When I got this free blog on WordPress, I knew there would be a few limitations on what I could do with INTOO.  It has become apparent to me that the limitations are too many, at least for me.  So I will be setting up a new INTOO, will pay for web hosting and a proper domain.  I will no longer add any more entries to this blog, and the new INTOO should be set up by next week.

In the meantime, I will post a column I used to write for another blog, the now-defunct Political Storm.  Enjoy.

Random Thought #2

I know this is very shallow, and that a person shouldn’t be judged solely by their name but…

If there is one thing that will be a liability to Barack Obama in his run for the White House in 2008, it has to be his name, which sounds a lot like “Iraq Osama”.  And then his middle name is Hussein?  Hoo boy.

The U.S. presidency has had a 200+ year track record of being exclusive to white WASPy men (This country has only had one president who was neither Protestant or Anglo, and they shot him!).  The transition from a President with a WASPY name to one named Barack Hussein Obama is a drastic one.

Random Thought #1

If labor unions are so concerned about their members earning a “living wage”, why don’t they just decrease the union dues for their members whose earnings place them in the membership’s lowest-earning 10 percent and increase union dues for members whose earnings place them in the membership’s highest-earning 10 percent?

Yeah, that’ll never happen.

Justice Gets A Beatdown

In nearby Long Island, three teenage girls (two 14-year olds and a 13-year old) were found guilty of beating another teen girl, and videotaping the beating on their cell phone

The beating was initially about an argument over a boy and was planned with the intention to record the December 18th one-sided fight as a way to harass the victim and to brag about the incident to their friends. They e-mailed the cell phone video to their friends and eventually it was posted on YouTube and Myspace.

My problem with this story, besides the two abovementioned acts, is the charges these girls were given: juvenile delinquency and attempted assault. Local police said the offenders got a slap on the wrist because the victim’s bruises and bumps had disappeared by the time her parents learned of the incident (by seeing the video on YouTube) and reported it to the police.

To me, this is another piece of evidence of how the criminal justice system is biased in favor of females. Had these teen offenders been boys of the same age videotaping the beating of another male adolescent, they would’ve been charged with assault and battery, and may have even been tried as adults.

From a legal standpoint, battery is defined as hitting a person whereas assault isn’t actually striking a person but attempting to commit battery or even making gestures and verbal threats to make a person believe you are going to commit battery against them. So what the hell is attempted assault?

The police also exhibited their favor for these young female offenders by justifying the cushy charges with a lack of evidence of the beating.  Excuse me, lack of evidence? What about the damn video? Here’s the description of the video of the beating from 1010 Wins, a news radio station in New York City:

The video was shown on YouTube and MySpace, two Web sites popular with teenagers, and then on national television. Screaming can be heard as the victim cowers on the ground while she’s attacked. Several others look on without intervening as she attempts to kick back but is overpowered.

Sounds like assault to me.

By showing females such special treatment in the criminal justice system, it not only hurts males by setting a stricter set of rules for them, but it sends a message to other agressive young females that beating up their peers is hardly considered a crime in the eyes of the law.

All Bark and No Bite

In New York City some members of the City Council are considering a ban on the sale and possession of pit bulls, a misguided notion based on a few isolated incidents in which pit bulls have attacked (sometimes fatally) humans and other animals. The following is an excerpt from the New York Daily News:

Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens) has introduced a resolution asking the state Legislature to make it easier for the city to implement a ban. He said pit bulls are dangerous and are bred to be violent.

Now I like Mr. Vallone. I was a reporter for several Queens newspapers for about six years and I’ve had many chances to interview him. He’s a great Councilman, and he heads the Council’s Public Safety Committee, but I think he’s wrong on this issue. This proposed law, if approved, will indeed be all bark (just a song and dance) and no bite (will have absolutely no effect on the real issue, irresponsible owners).

This proposal is severely misguided for two reasons. First, to regard all pit bulls as dangerous and bred to be violent is stereotyping, pure and simple. Banning pit bulls from New

York City because they are believed to be violent is like prohibiting Asians from obtaining driver’s licenses because they are perceived to be bad drivers. It would be like forced sterilization of every third Latino because we are percieved as reproducing in excess.

And let’s not forget, the pit bull has only been the “tough dog”, the breed most favored for use as guard dogs or by so-called tough guys for intimidating others for a decade or so. Rottweilers, bulldogs, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers have all shared this same stereotype with pit bulls. I understand that pit bulls are not selected by their owners because they get along with children, or are cute and fluffy.

The name alone, “pit” and “bull” implies this animal is a snarling, charging brute among canines.

But breed names and genetics do not dictate whether a dog is going to wind up killing an innocent person, it’s how they are raised and/or trained. Pit bulls are often the pet of choice for families who live in high-crime areas.

The few incidents in which pit bulls claim innocent lives are often cases where the owners were irresponsible and either let them off their leash or simply trained them to be vicious attack dogs. Lots of so-called tough guys like to raise pit bulls so they can walk around with them and enjoy intimidating passersby. I get it. But you can’t simply paint an entire breed of dog with the same brush simply because of the irresponsibility of a few owners.

Second, lets assume, for argument’s sake, that every single pit bull on the planet has claimed a human life. So the City bans pit bulls, and the next day there are no more pit bulls, right? The aforementioned breeds of dog will take the place of the pit bull as the guard dog, the attack dog, the animal most frequently chosen to make insecure men look like tough guys. It’s not like pit bulls are the only breed of dog to have ever attacked or killed anyone, and while I don’t have the stats to back it up, I’m willing to bet that most canine attacks on humans have not been committed by pit bulls.

In short, if pit bulls are banned, New Yorkers will continue to be threatened with the possibility of a canine attack, it will just be with a breed other than pit bulls.

A third possible argument concerns mixed breed dogs, namely those that are only part pitbull. Would they be banned too, or only partially given their mutt status?

In short, this is an issue I feel the government should keep its nose out of. In the case of human attacks by dogs, these animals are raised to be weapons, or are abused by their owners and therefore liable to attack any human. The owner of any pitbull who savagely mauls or kills a person should be arrested and prosecuted in the same manner as if he killed that person with a knife, firearm or a blunt object.

Come on, Mr. Vallone. Criminalize the behavior of the owner, and leave the dog alone.

(Who’s that doggy with the floppy hat? Que chula! It’s Chuly, a.k.a. Crybaby, an American pit bull-terrier mixed puppy that belonged to my fiancee when she lived in the Bronx. Her family bought Crybaby after their home experienced a third push-in robbery. Crybaby now lives with another family, also in the Bronx.)

Chuly a.k.a. Crybaby

Intro

With one blog already under my belt, I decided to launch I’m Not The Only One (INTOO) as a New Year’s Resolution.

The name of this blog comes from the belief that my opinions are not that unique, that despite the fact that my views may not be shared by those in the public eye or by our so-called leaders many people do think the same way I do about various political and social issues affecting our towns, cities, country and world.

I hope my posts will provoke thought and hopefully even meaningful debate. Even if you don’t like what I have to say, please feel free to contradict me.

Later.