Rudy Pooh-Poohs Dem Bigs’ Digs By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and LISA REIN Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, October 26, 1997

With a comfortable lead in the polls, Mayor Giuliani yesterday refused to engage in a war of words with Democratic challenger Ruth Messinger — even allowing harsh comments from his predecessor, former Mayor David Dinkins, to go unchallenged.

Dinkins, who spent the better part of a rainy afternoon campaigning with Messinger in Brooklyn and Queens, accused Republican Giuliani of running an “out-of-control” campaign that would “self-destruct” before Election Day.

“I predict that Mayor Giuliani has a great capacity to self-destruct, and I think he’s going to do that in the next 10 days,” Dinkins said, at times stealing the spotlight from Messinger yesterday.

“He’s out of control right now,” Dinkins continued, recalling the mayor’s blistering attack on Messinger for not attending Mass on Columbus Day. “He seems to think that the whole world started on Jan. 1, 1994, when he became mayor.”

But Giuliani, crisscrossing the city with campaign stops in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Harlem and Throgs Neck in the Bronx, refrained from attacking Dinkins, saying only, “The best thing for me to do with a question like that is to say, ‘I’m not going to respond.’ ”

When asked if he thought Dinkins could rescue Messinger’s flagging campaign, the mayor said he “couldn’t evaluate the other side.”

The mayor’s comments came at Sylvia’s Restaurant, a Harlem landmark where he capped a swing through clothing stores along W. 125th St., receiving warm greetings from proprietors.

Earlier, the mayor tasted meatball calzones and onion rings on his first-ever tour of a superstore, the Costco in Sunset Park. The visit came a day after he pledged to mount an aggressive campaign to revive his failed proposal to speed up the opening of more megastores if he wins reelection.

But as he marched in the small Parade of Flags along Fifth Ave. just a few miles away, some merchants told the mayor that superstores would decimate their mom-and-pop stores.

Messinger campaigned in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, getting thumbs-ups from shoppers and merchants along Broadway.

She then took the stage with Dinkins at the Panamanian Day parade in Brooklyn, where she accused Giuliani of positioning himself for a run for national office, a move she insisted would push him to the right politically and divert his concerns from the city’s schools.

Giuliani denied the charge, calling it an “irrelevant issue” and calling his “sole focus” his race for reelection.

Original Story Date: 102697

Green: Nix Pix-Tix Fix By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and RICHARD T. PIENCIAK, Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, September 14, 1997

A possible merger of the Loews-Sony and Cineplex Odeon movie chains would violate federal antitrust law and raise ticket prices — already the highest in the nation, Public Advocate Mark Green charged yesterday.

Green said a “new Sony” would account for 42% of the 351 movie screens across the city. He said just two chains — the combined Sony-Cineplex Odeon along with United Artists — would own 67% of screens in the city, with the next closest competitor holding only 8% of the action.

As a result, Green charged at a news conference outside the Sony Lincoln Square Theatres at Broadway and 68th St., prices would surely go up.

“The $15 movie ticket will be coming to a theater near you if the Loews-Sony acquisition of Cineplex Odeon is approved,” Green said.

In a formal petition to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Robert Pitofsky, Green contended the merger would represent a “blatant violation” of the Clayton Antitrust Act, which prohibits any acquisition that may “substantially lessen competition” or “tend to create a monopoly.”

Green said he feared such a merger would force independent movie houses to close.

“What big movie studio would sell ‘Forrest Gump 2’ or ‘Terminator 4’ to an independent exhibitor or a small movie chain when the new Sony could dictate price because they have market power?” Green asked.

He warned particularly of a “Manhattan movie monopoly,” because the combined conglomerate would control 61% of screens in the borough, already home to average ticket prices of $8.75.

To assess the impact of the acquisition, Green’s staff checked theaters showing the top 10 grossing films for the weekend ending Aug. 17.

All nine Manhattan theaters showing “Cop Land” were owned by Sony or Cineplex Odeon. Of the nine showing the No. 2 film, “Air Force One,” five would be owned by the “new Sony.”

Officials from the movie chains have confirmed talks regarding the possible merger to industry trade publications, including the Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety.

Original Story Date: 091497

Harlem Inferno Hurts 38 By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

Sunday, August 3, 1997

A raging fire tore through the top floor of a Harlem apartment building yesterday, forcing firefighters to use a tower ladder to rescue a man trapped by the flames.

Nearly 200 firefighters raced to the five-alarm blaze at 31 Tiemann Place, a street of low-rise residential buildings just west of 124th St. and Broadway.

Fire marshals described the fire as suspicious and said the cause was under investigation.

“The flames were leaping out, they must have been 15 feet high,” said Alvin Ponder, who lives across the street from the six-story brick building. “It’s only by the grace of God that there wasn’t a fatality up there.”

Thirty-eight people — including 35 firefighters — suffered mostly minor injuries in the 10:11 a.m. fire that took just more than two hours to bring under control. Fifteen firefighters were hospitalized, including five for burns and two for broken ankles.

More than 40 people, including four children, were left homeless by the blaze, said Julissa Viana, a Red Cross spokeswoman.

Saad Kadhim, 46, was about to open up his restaurant across the street when he saw flames and billowing gusts of smoke.

“I ran into the burning building and started knocking on doors, telling people to get out,” he said. “By the fifth floor, the smoke started to get very thick, and I had to run back out.”

Firefighter Ali Pasha reached the top of the building by ladder to rescue Arthur Whaley, 38, who was trapped inside his apartment.

“It was a wall of fire,” said Pasha, who brought Whaley down on the ladder.

Two other neighbors were also rescued after lower-floor residents were evacuated.

Original Story Date: 080397