Tuesday, October 29, 2013


A week out from Election Day polls indicate de Blasio winning by a landslide

over Joe Lhota







(October 29, 2013 Charlotte Street, South Bronx, NYC)  To walk down Intervale Avenue to Hoe Avenue and beyond to Charlotte Street today is to make a trek through a landscape that could only have been the product of the wildest imagination 20 years ago.  This once gutted wreckage strewn tract of the South Bronx today is a bastion of affordable housing, a true sense of community and better schools.  Structures erected by Habitat for Humanity as well as a host of Bronx bred grassroots organizations have revitalized a corner of our City most had written off and left for dead years ago.  Yes, gone are the days of a perpetually burning Bronx when long haul truckers from across the country would often refuse to cross the GWB and bring their valuable cargo into Hunts Point Market. Truckers, lined up night after night along Bruckner Boulevard, often slept with loaded guns and one eye open their fear of this place was so great. The days of Fort Apache, the 41st Precinct, have also faded from the memories of many of the adult residents who call these renewed blocks home.  Some of the current residents came of age back in the days when the South Bronx was recognized nationally as a neighborhood run amok, as a place of lawlessness and urban plight of such a high order that many felt it should be nuked. 

From the days Robert Moses first envisioned the Cross Bronx Expressway and an arterial network of interconnected roads and bridges until the late 1970’s and early eighties The South Bronx was locked into a path of destruction without hope of a buffer to smooth a steep descent.  Closely knit neighborhoods, ethnic enclaves, economies of a small scale made The South Bronx a vibrant cohesive collection of small towns wedged shoulder to shoulder.  After the riots of 1968 the demographic shift was as startling a tectonic movement as had ever been seen before in our City.  The Bronx has in no way shed the entire heavy quilt of social ills that keep it as the home to the poorest congressional district in America.  Crime rates, although dramatically diminished over the last 20 years still remains higher in some Precincts than other Precincts in Brooklyn and Queens.

The reasons for the gentrification and revitalization of the South Bronx are hotly debated.  But, that is a debate worth having particularly now when we are less than one week away from electing a new Mayor.  All elections are presented in stark relief as “the most important election in our lifetime”.  That is a tired cliché uttered by campaigns that rarely are able to deliver on campaign promises and rhetoric.  Those two commodities are the stock in trade for politicians of every stripe.

After bruising primary campaigns the two candidates who have emerged as their Party’s standard bearer are in many ways as different as night is from day, as hard earned practical experience is from well-endowed campaign coffers to fuel a massive media blitz-type attack.  Joe Lhota is the Republican candidate facing off against Bill de Blasio for the Democrats.  In virtually every way, by whatever metrics and analysis one choses to employ, if not for pandering to narrow-minded special interest groups and spouting the liberal pabulum so musical to Upper West Sider’s ears, Mr. de Blasio would never have broken out of the Democratic primary field.


If all the polls, prognosticators and pundits are correct, the former New York City Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio will be the next resident in Gracie Mansion.  When he takes the oath of office on a podium in front of City Hall he will be the first politician to do so since David Dinkins on January 1, 1990.  If any New Yorker can honestly say they have not seen dramatic improvements in our City and all aspects of City life than they are either simply denying the truth or too blinded by idiotic partisanship.   By the time Mr. Dinkins became Mayor our City had descended into an urban quagmire with skyrocketing crime of every category, a decreasing tax base, loss revenue from tourism and enough social and racial divisions to keep Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson busier than the overworked, underpaid civil servants who were seeking jobs elsewhere at an alarming rate.  The Department of Sanitation, New York City Police Department and the Metropolitan Transit Authority were each going through painful “down-sizing”, forced to do more with less and the quality of our Public Education was abysmal despite legions of dedicated teachers who showed up every day even in the most dangerous crime ridden neighborhoods throughout the Five Boroughs.

Dinkins tenure saw racial boycotts and tensions always simmering just below the boiling point.  The rank and file Members of Service of the NYPD and FDNY were working with such a low sense of morale and the realization they could not count on City Hall to support them that, especially in NYPD, the mantra was simply “20 and Out”.  Police Officers knew they’d fare much better working for Nassau and Suffolk Counties than they would in NYC.   Dinkins was so tone deaf to the needs of NYPD that he hired “an intellectual”, Dr. Lee “Downtown” Brown from Houston, Texas to assume the daunting position of Police Commissioner at the very time there were so many various elements at play in street crime and other categories.  Thankfully Dinkins was a one term disaster losing to Rudy Giuliani in his bid for a second term.

Our City had deteriorated to such a lowly level under the last term of Ed Koch and all of Dinkins stewardship that what was once common knowledge not to be challenged was that no Republican could or would ever be elected in this bastion of liberalism with over 87% of the registered voters declaring themselves Democrats.  But, they apparently had seen enough, they’d witnessed the declining quality of life and inhaled the over powering torpor becoming resigned to the fact that NYC had become an uncontrollable wasteland.  The people of New York City had seen enough; it was time for a new Sheriff in town and the former federal prosecutor who battled against organized crime, Rudolph Giuliani, a “Republican” more than fit the bill.  He was actually just what the doctor had ordered.  The history of his Administrations clearly document how the quality of life improved under his command.  Rudy was what was once refered to as a “Rockefeller Republican”; a truly rock ribbed Republican could never make it in our City but, given his track record as a prosecutor, his reasonable, balanced campaign to “govern” a place that to many had become ungovernable, the electorate was ready to give him a chance.  From the first days of his Administration Giuliani let it be known that he was more concerned in managing a City riddled by heavy issues and that he was not about towing the “Party Line” of the GOP.  He was not a typical Republican on social issues but he was a tough head knocker unafraid to promote his policing and governing philosophy.  Despite a person’s political affiliation, one would have been hard pressed to find a New Yorker ready to rail against a can-do Mayor more a manager than a politician.   

The rest, as they say, is history.  The now term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg assumed the mantle from Giuliani and built on the work of his predecessor.  New York City is now consistently ranked as the “Safest Large City” in America with homicide rates comparable to the days John F. Kennedy lived in the White House.  The old “Dirty Deuce”, 42nd Street bears no resemblance to what it was just 20 years ago.  The effectiveness of both Giuliani and Bloomberg is attributable to their distinct lack of political ideology and Party affiliation.  Neither of these Mayors have ever really been politicians in the common use of the word.  Their independence allowed them a strength and latitude to take on the most intractable problems in our City head on.  Their collective results are self-evident from Midtown Manhattan to Battery Park; from the South Bronx to Pelham Bay; from Red Hook to Williamsburg and Woodside to Astoria.  We are once again a healthy glowing Big Apple and should have no inclination to take any backward steps. NYC is the most popular tourist destination on the planet and the tax base has expanded every quarter since 1995.  If Bill de Blasio is elected, the backward steps will come so fast that we’ll all be tripping over each other.


Joe Lhota is a proud son of The Bronx and of a New York City Police Officer.  One of his grandfathers worked for FDNY; the other, drove a taxi.  As the first in his blue collar family to attend college his graduation from Georgetown University propelled him to Harvard Business School for his MBA.  His commitment to public service grew as a young man and eventually brought him to a position of great prominence and responsibility serving as Deputy Mayor in the Giuliani Administration as well as the head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority.  While his opponent, Mr. de Blasio was content to be a political gadfly, he used his position as the NYC Public Advocate essentially as a spring board that would allow him a perch from which to launch higher political aspirations.  He is a good man but he is nowhere near the equal in intellect and integrity of Mr. Lhota.

For years Mr. Lhota was content laboring with the all-important minutia of governing the largest City in America and, arguably, the most famous City in the world.  Much of his work was “behind the scenes” where he acquired a practical, pragmatic approach to each position he held.  As Mr. de Blasio plotted his political future Mr. Lhota was tasked with “keeping the trains running” and other vital responsibilities usually far removed from credit and the media spotlight.  Conversely, Mr. de Blasio began shaping his political future in largely ceremonial perches on the periphery of the actual “nuts and bolts” of municipal governance and management.  The differences between these two men cannot be starker.

We have seen firsthand the breathe and depth of what a Mayor as Manager can accomplish as opposed to a Mayor who is beholden to and a product of old school politics.  Yes, it appears that Mr. de Blasio is poised to put his right hand on a Bible and take the oath of office come January 1, 2014.  But, it is not too late; not a vote (aside from some absentee ballots) has been cast.  These next six days are the time for New Yorker’s, all New Yorkers to give very careful consideration about the kind of City they live in and want to raise their children, families and hopes in. 

The Brooding Cynyx resoundingly endorses Mr. Joe Lhota to be the next Mayor of our fine City.  We should all do our part; read, become informed about the issues because this election is about far more than political Party imperatives.  We need another Manager in the mold of our last two Mayors.  This election is too important to squander.  Think hard, New Yorkers, think very, very hard.

Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2013 © All Rights Reserved

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