Can Giuliani Save New York?
“Now we have a mayor of New York,” exclaimed the political reformer Samuel Seabury when Fiorello LaGuardia took over City Hall in 1934. Exactly 60 years later, Rudolph Giuliani, another Italian Republican-Liberal, accomplished the same improbable feat of getting elected in overwhelmingly Democratic New York. Of course, today’s New Yorkers are too cynical, and too disillusioned with government, to permit themselves a similarly enthusiastic reaction. But they certainly sense that someone, at last, is in charge. The question remains: is he taking the city in the right direction?
There is something unfair about attempting to appraise the performance of any mayor of New York when he is only halfway through a first term. For one thing, the city is more akin to a lumbering ocean liner than to a speedboat: the huge bureaucracy, the entrenched special interests, the iron dictates of demography combine to make sudden changes of direction difficult to execute; even the most skilled and determined helmsman needs time before he can know how his voyage will fare—or even that it is well and truly under way.
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