What Freddy Must Say

Calling Bloomberg a billionare Republican isn't enough. Ferrer must prove he acts like one.

There are moral challenges in this life that cannot be conveniently accommodated—an endorsement here, a mild critique issued by press release there. George W. Bush is just such a challenge, especially for a Republican with a conscience. Instead our mayor slips in the side door of the White House to meet with Karl Rove. He takes every conceivable position but the right one on a war whose cost in lives and funding is a blow to our city. He blames the debacle of the Homeland Security formula on Tom DeLay and others in the Congress while praising the president for altering a formula he helped put in place. The only words Mike Bloomberg utters less often than poverty and income gaps is the name of George W. Bush. Yet the mayor cannot take back his inexcusable declaration at the Republican National Convention: "The president deserves our support. We are here to support him. And I am here to support him."

We all remember that Mike Bloomberg took office just three and a half months after 9-11. We appreciate his service in our hour of grave need. But he promised to rebuild Lower Manhattan and it is still a hole. When I said no to Rudy Giuliani, Mike Bloomberg said yes. As late as October 12, 2001, the day after I lost the runoff, he said yes again when the extension was briefly revived, insisting it was "particularly a good idea now" because "the transition is infinitely more complex." I was ready then and I am ready now—to safeguard, to govern, to stand up to any pressure. I will not mince words for presidents or share power with mayors whose terms are over. I have a vision for this city that is not a consequence of polls or ego and I know I am capable of making it happen.

Mike Bloomberg said last year that if he had to spend $75 million to get re-elected, "I have big problems." He is on track to spend $100 million. That is because he has big problems that no amount of saturation advertising can conceal. I am proud to be part of that problem, but I am prouder still to be part of its solution.

Speak up, Freddy: This is your big chance.
photo: Richard B. Levine
Speak up, Freddy: This is your big chance.

Research assistance: Jessica Bennett, K. Emily Bond, Ben James, Leslie Kaufmann, Lee Norsworthy, and Xana O'Neill

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