Mayor Pander

'Single-Standard' Rudy Bows to Baseball Bigwigs and Staten Islanders

What is more shocking than the mayor's unprecedented sports largesse is the silence that has greeted it— hardly a note of editorial or civic outrage— as if everyone either doesn't take him seriously or fears Caesar's umbrage. No one in the press, the City Council, the Comptroller's office or elsewhere has examined the cost-benefit consequences of even this minor league adventure, though the expensive renovation of the college facility is already under way, and Rudy is winding up for his opening day pitch.

Giuliani Stadium in Staten Island follows what even island Democrats like Assemblyman Eric Vitaliano concede has been a spectacular, almost six-year, bonanza for the borough from a thankful mayor. "He recognizes that Staten Island got him elected and he's repaying his political debt," Vitaliano observes.

Republican Guy Molinari, the borough's wily beep, can tick off a half dozen major contributions Giuliani's made to the island: the reopening of the Howland Hook containerport, free ferry rides, the heavily subsidized luring of the city's first new major manufacturing plant in decades (the VICY Paper facility), the siting of two new elementary schools (P.S. 6 and P.S. 56), as well as the planned new ferry terminal and associated museum-rooftop restaurant development.

Molinari: His wish list is Giuliani's command.
Fred W. Mcdarrah
Molinari: His wish list is Giuliani's command.

Molinari also salutes him for blocking the Dinkins-planned sale of the College of Staten Island site, as well as supporting the conversion of the campus into the city's first educational park, with elementary, junior high, and high schools. The borough president says that the city and state have acquired 1400 new acres of parkland for Staten Island since Giuliani took office— "several times more than the other boroughs combined."

But, of course, the number-one Giuliani contribution was the hard rock decision to shut the Fresh Kills landfill down. No one has yet estimated what the closing of the world's biggest dump will cost, though the IBO recently estimated that the export of a fraction of Fresh Kills's former waste will take $230 million a year out of city coffers by 2002. The construction of waste transfer stations in Brooklyn and elsewhere not only will carry a huge price tag, but the prospect has also thrown neighborhoods into anti­Staten Island fits.

The mayor has been so good for the island that Molinari says everyone there fears that when he is gone, "We will become the forgotten borough again." The terminology is striking, because blacks have frequently described themselves as "forgotten people" in Giuliani's New York. From budgets to brutality, their views and needs are discounted.

It's as if Rudy thinks no one keeps a favor scorecard on him, or notices the color contrast between those he blesses and those he bangs. But we do. And we know he cannot heal a city he's divided into parts in his own mind, comfortable and caring in one, awkward and forbidding in the other.

Research: Camila Gamboa, Coco McPherson, Kandea Mosley, Soo-Min Oh, Ron Zapata

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