The Crew Stew

Giuliani Torments His Old School Buddy To Insulate Himself

As useful as Crew was in 1997, however, is as useless as he'll be in 2000, when the primary audience that matters to Giuliani is either a national Bush base, or a statewide, largely Catholic, constituency.

So Giuliani can now afford to appear incensed over the public letter Crew sent out blasting the mayor's blow-up comments as "destructive," even though the letter was virtually a carbon copy of the one he sent Messinger in '97. "Your commercial denigrates my leadership," Crew wrote then. "When you attack this system, when you portray our children inaccurately, then you will hear from me." Giuliani loved him then, saying: "You create an unfair depiction of the system he's running, he's going to fight you."

There is no question that Giuliani is capable of the crassest campaign use of the schools; the only question is, Will anyone besides Crew stand up to him now? Herb Berman, the City Council's finance chair, told the Voice that "the mayor's intervention" in shaping the new capital formula "was not appropriate," adding that Giuliani "should be supporting the chancellor" on overcrowding. Berman said the allocations "shouldn't be dealing with the one borough at the expense of other boroughs," noting that Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx were "definitely suffering" under Giuliani's plan and promising to take "whatever steps are necessary to obviate what took place."

Even though Carol Gresser, the Queens representative and board president until 1996, had been an ally of an out-of-power Giuliani in the early '90s, and aligned with him in the dumping of "rainbow curriculum" chancellor Joe Fernandez, he turned on her abruptly. While she vacationed in Maine, enjoying her newborn first grandchild, the mayor quietly put together the board votes to toss her.

He did the same to Daniel Domenech, summoning Staten Island board member Jerry Cammarata to a Saturday-afternoon chat at the mansion and inducing him to switch from the decisive vote for Domenech to the decisive vote against him. Without so much as a whisper of a public reason, Domenech became the system's only 24-hour chancellor. Long before Gresser and Domenech, Giuliani had gay-bashed Cortines as "precious," and used Fernandez as a lifestyle lefty, wrapping him around Dinkins before the '93 campaign, and forcing his resignation. Through all of these wars, even the recent vote on the capital plan, Giuliani has claimed with a straight face that he doesn't control the Board.

The one certainty about Giuliani's latest schools ambush is that it has nothing to do with kids. Just like every prior Giuliani sortie in the direction of 110 Livingston, this one is about politics. It's about putting himself, again, at the head of the class.

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

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