Dinkins and the Bad Old Days: Bloomberg Used the Same Fear Tactic in 2001
The Times today has a short and instructive corrective to the David Dinkins-era narrative invoked by Team Bloomberg's most rabid fan, Rudy Giuliani, who offered a now-notorious race-linked screed last week to an orthodox Brooklyn crowd that the city risked going back to the bad old Dinkins days if Bill Thompson is elected mayor.
Dinkins "stumbled more than once," acknowledges Timesman Michael Powell. But some of the essential Bloomberg building blocks inherited from that era include the fall in the city's homicide rate that began after Dinkins helped win new taxes to pay for more cops; building more affordable housing units in four years than Giuliani did in eight; getting Times Square headed towards its Disney revival (a mixed blessing, but one for which Giuliani has always claimed credit).
Bloomberg has tried to stay above the fray generated by Giuliani's race-laced rant. But what's significant is that this is the exact same scare formula that Bloomberg himself used back in 2001 when he was running his first uphill battle against Mark Green, whom he did his best to tie to Dinkins.
A little-noted glossy Bloomberg mailer that went to white neighborhoods in late October, 2001 included a wild rant slamming "Mark Green's Rap Sheet on Crime": Green, the flyer claimed, "Puts Neighborhoods at Risk and Takes Us Back on CRIME...We had families who were prisoners in their own homes, the Crown Heights crisis and zero leadership on crime."
At the bottom of the page, in large, all-caps Bloomberg's people wrote: "DON'T GO BACK."
Upon election, Bloomberg, of course, went right back to those bad old days, hiring the same police commissioner Dinkins had named and praised: a cop named Ray Kelly. Image (cc) muppet wiki.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.