On New Year’s
2002: “And the year 2001 will never be
referred to historically without reference to the single most powerful
event in most of our lifetimes — the terrorist attack on our shores and
our courageous efforts to recover from and combat it.
And may all
your dreams come true.
Happy New Year!
Bloomberg: “This borough, and this City chose a successful, creative
business entrepreneur over politics as usual. We look for New York City in
2002 to experience a new day in politics, City management and the cost and
effectiveness of government. With these expectations and a lot of hope, we
welcome Mayor Mike Bloomberg.”
Giuliani: “Rudy Giuliani is the only elected
official I can recall to exit at the peak of his popularity and
performance. How quickly we forgot the brutal, unilateral, dictatorial
mayor that gave way to the compassionate unifying ‘Man of Year.’”
On Black Power:
“The words bring back great memories
for this liberal who walked the picket lines of the sixties and read the
black literature of the decade of rebellion. There was no shame in Black
Power then — there was only a question whether some individuals went too
far. And there is absolutely no shame now. On the contrary, there is
We are all
proud of Helen Marshall. We are proud that Queens, the most multi-cultural
place on earth selected a person of color as its leader. We are proud that
blacks, whites, Asians and Latinos can all celebrate the moment.
hope that Helen was elected because of her ability, not her skin [color].
There is nothing wrong with blacks taking pride in one of their own being
elected to office; but there can be no real pride if the election was
tainted with votes motivated by ethnicity and not ethics.”
On Beep Helen
Marshall “And now the job begins. Helen
Marshall must lead this borough of two million people. She must stimulate
economic growth; she must provide tens of thousands of new school seats;
she must unify our diverse cultures while securing our newly threatened
safety; she must protect the environment while allowing for progress; she
must care for the sick and disadvantaged during an economically difficult
time; she must follow a woman who set new standards for borough
presidents. Helen must perform miracles.
I smile and
salute my old friend, Helen Marshall, a lady of grace and commitment.
And now Helen,
the job begins!
What have you
done for us lately?”
On The Statue
Of The Three Firefighters
Raising The Flag At Ground Zero: “I’ve asked the Trib art
department to reduce my waist by six inches, take the gray out of my hair
and give me a bit of that Richard Gere chiseled chin. You’ll understand
if the sketch in my column changes next week.”
Department Recruitment: “Incidentally, less than six
percent of the City’s firefighters are black or Hispanic. Now there’s
a story worth looking into.
Fire Department should recruit minority members instead of carving their
faces into statues.”
On Art and
Politics: “Even ugly art should not be judged
Correctness: “Political correctness is destroying
our freedoms. Our creative freedoms, our expressive freedoms, our
constitutional freedoms are limited daily by the “thought police” who
want to dictate what is correct.
I’m a liberal
secure enough in my beliefs, feeling and commitment for the neediest of
our society that I need not yield to those who try to dictate what I must
say be in sync with ‘the movement.’ I am a liberal very secure in the
belief that teaching our children how to think and not what to think is
the role of education and society.
knows me knows I’m not politically correct — I challenge and play on
the edge to encourage open and free thought with the belief that it will
result in ethically and morally correct choices.
correctness numbs free thought and compassion.”
Discrimination: “I was six and vaguely remember
talking to dad about the incident [seeing a “whites only” water
fountain at Woolworth’s while visiting Florida]. He was a left-of-center
liberal before it was 60s-fashionable. . . I don’t remember the
specifics of the conversation, I know he asked me the questions to get a
six-year-old to probe and make value judgments. That was dad. I’m glad.
water was cool and refreshing on that hot day, discrimination – and for
that matter Woolworth’s – left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve carried
it with me for the past half a century.”
Redistricting: “It’s not a fair process —
don’t ask me why, it just isn’t. When a political body is responsible
to draw new district lines, which impact its own members and other elected
officials from their party and state, fairness cannot be expected.”
Together: “Now let me get this right: The same
quality fish, jewelry and goods are available down the block from Korean
merchants at a 20 percent lower price, but the shop is owned by or employs
Chinese and therefore, Koreans should not shop there?
Such a message
is one of hate and prejudice. It is made of the same ugly sentiments that
caused six young men in Keene New Hampshire to attack my son because he
was Jewish. It is a message built on fear. It is a message that must be
rejected by people of goodwill.
America . . . land of opportunity.
someday, everyone may understand that although we may all be different,
there is a lot more we all have in common.
But until that
day comes, there is much more to be done.
downtown Flushing marketplace has not adequately reached out and attracted
the non-Asian consumer. I wonder if the old American marketplace has made
all new Americans welcome.
Queens I dream of is not going to care about your race, color, religion,
sexual preference or national origin.
Now, where can
I get some gim chee?”
Politicians: “Our point is simple. We are a
non-discriminatory fun poker.
officials are merely people with the same foibles as the rest of us.
They are not
perfect. They do funny things; they say funny things. Sometimes
circumstances around them are interesting or humorous.
and fun compose the grease that keeps government from emitting an
unbearable, constant, high-pitch shriek.
If you can’t
laugh at the process and process makers, you don’t live in a
Caucuses: “We understand the purpose of the
Congressional Black Caucus or the Women’s Caucus or whatever. But sadly
we note the absence of a unity caucus: a special interest group committed
to celebrating and promoting our similarities. It seems that the halls of
government can be more divisive than the streets of the City.”
On The New City
Council: “The system is broken and we look to
the new guys to fix it. The City is in financial trouble and the people
are prepared to sacrifice. Those who want to maintain the status quo are
doomed to become part of the past . . .Change, my friends, is often
On The Job Of
Rebuilding: “The lure of money — big money —
along with the intoxication of power is the biggest obstacle in the way of
the new class of Council members achieving their full potential. . .
I’ve seen top-notch people elected to office be so taken with the power
and celebrity that they forget their roots and the little people. .
.That’s bad; the money is worse. They start to live big and spend big.
They fundraise big. They become beholden to the big contributors, the big
spenders and the big lobbyists who buy the big tickets, big gifts and
provide lavish dinners. You get the idea.
special interests, political, ethnic or special agendas seem to divide
legislative bodies causing them to lose focus. This Council already seems
to be distracted by issues unimportant to the task at hand. . . . Keep
your eyes on the prize. Hold on.”
On The I.R.S.: “Interesting, on the list of whose eyes to avoid,
the taxman is king.”
On the Stock
Market Scandal Or The Church Sex Abuse Scandal: “But sadly, like any other scandal, the fixers may try to get away
with less than a real and permanent fix.
us, in times like this, there could be a couple of sacrificial lambs. One
or two may go to jail. Some bucks in restitution may be paid. Some new
rules may be instituted.
there is a vigilant public constantly watching and yelling, unless all who
knew of criminal action are made to pay, I fear that, in the future, some
young innocent will again be raped by one of them.
Let us pray.”
On The School
System: “Potential school system savior after
savior seem to come and go — many of whom, like Levy, have been men of
quality and character — and yet the schools continue to fail the kids.
We know not if
giving the control to the Mayor would improve the system, however, we are
certain that the present system has failed.
It is time for
On the Commuter
Tax Repeal: “If you’re looking for
someone to blame [for repealing the commuter tax], try the Democratic
Assembly Speaker and a number of Queens Assembly members who voted in
favor of its elimination. . . The fiscal health of our borough is above
party and politics.
It is this
writer’s guess that if anyone is going to come up with and get enacted a
revenue stream to replace the lost commuter tax, it is going to be a
Republican. Mayor Mike Bloomberg has demonstrated the independence and
fiscal creativity to tackle this problem.
This writer, a
lifelong Democrat is not loyal to party, but to performance.”
On The Late
Budget: “So, with a GOP Senate, a Democratic
Assembly, and a Governor of either party, you get failure. . . complete
and utter failure. Those that tell you otherwise are lying to you.
We send our
Assembly members and State Senators to Albany to represent the best
interests of the people of our State. . . We elect them and entrust them
with the business of government.
Until they pass
an on-time budget or vow to oust the leadership so mired in politics as to
disregard the best interest of the people – friends or no friends –
they don’t deserve your support. . . .
After 18 years
of not having an on-time budget, maybe it’s time to throw the whole
by Dom Nunziato