Crime Wave

Michael Bloomberg’s Last-Minute Mailing

As a campaign strategy, winning a few black endorsements and votes was simply a welcome bonus for the novice candidate. But his victory plan, as detailed since last week by campaign aides, relied on winning large numbers of white Democrats in Queens. To do so, Bloomberg invoked all the racial dynamite implicit in the crime discussion. "Don't Go Back" was his mantra. Radio host Curtis Sliwa, who campaigned steadily with Bloomberg in the last days of the race, was handed the microphone at a rally at Bloomberg headquarters two days before the election and was recorded by NY1 shouting: "Do you want to go back to the four years of horror of the administration of David Dinkins?"

But in the topsy-turvy world of the 2001 mayoral contest, everyone was on the wrong side. The cops were supporting Green while prominent black civic leaders who braved arrest to protest Giuliani's police policies were endorsing Bloomberg.

In case they hadn't received it, the Voice faxed copies of the crime flyer to several of the black leaders who endorsed Bloomberg to get their reactions. A copy was also sent to Ray Kelly, the former Dinkins police commissioner under whom much of the early progress on crime fighting was made and who emerged, in one more upside-down political maneuver, as a Bloomberg backer. What did they think of this campaign brochure? There were no responses.

"We would've beaten Bloomberg by double digits, no question about it," said a Ferrer aide last week, one of those so infuriated by Green's tactics that he high-fived with Sharpton, Ferrer, and Roberto Ramirez in the back room at Bronx Democratic headquarters on election night after the returns showed Green losing.

But if Ferrer's backers believe Green won a Democratic Party primary only by playing the race card, one wonders what deck they think the Republicans would have been playing with in a general election against the first Latino mayoral nominee, another former David Dinkins supporter.

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