NEW CHALLENGES FOR A NEW NATION: Sharpton Sees Lesson in South Africa Voting

By GENE MUSTAIN and MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writers | Sunday, May 1, 1994

JOHANNESBURG—After a whirlwind, emotional visit, the Rev. Al Sharpton flew home to New York yesterday with stars in his eyes.

“If only I could bring home in a bottle the hope and spirit I saw here, it would change New York politics forever,” said Sharpton, who’s challenging incumbent Daniel Moynihan for the U.S. Senate democratic nomination.

Continue reading “NEW CHALLENGES FOR A NEW NATION: Sharpton Sees Lesson in South Africa Voting”

NEW CHALLENGES FOR A NEW NATION_Mandela Facing a Huge Task

By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and GENE MUSTAIN, Daily News Staff Writers | Sunday, May 1, 1994

JOHANNESBURG—It was a symbolic moment too rich to miss—the eclipse of apartheid and a new day dawning on black aspirations for power.

Under a full moon about two poignant minutes apart, before and after midnight one day last week, a white soldier lowered from the flagpole for the last time South Africa’s old flag and a black soldier raised its new colors.

“The old flag meant a lot to me, but I am prepared to serve under the new flag,” said Cpl. Anton Jooste, the white soldier.

Continue reading “NEW CHALLENGES FOR A NEW NATION_Mandela Facing a Huge Task”

If Only . . .

This story is scary. On election night, Sen. Hillary Clinton, (D-NY), was reported to have swept through New York. To put it mildly, the Empire state was said to be immune from the juggernaut Sen. Barack Obama, (D-IL), was becoming in the rest of the country.

Then comes this little story in the metro section of The New York Times today:

Black voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.

That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district.

City election officials this week said that their formal review of the results, which will not be completed for weeks, had confirmed some major discrepancies between the vote totals reported publicly — and unofficially — on primary night and the actual tally on hundreds of voting machines across the city.

In the Harlem district, for instance, where the primary night returns suggested a 141 to 0 sweep by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the vote now stands at 261 to 136. In an even more heavily black district in Brooklyn — where the vote on primary night was recorded as 118 to 0 for Mrs. Clinton — she now barely leads, 118 to 116.

The history of New York elections has been punctuated by episodes of confusion, incompetence and even occasional corruption. And election officials and lawyers for both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton agree that it is not uncommon for mistakes to be made by weary inspectors rushing on election night to transcribe columns of numbers that are delivered first to the police and then to the news media.

Timesman Sam Roberts assures us that there’s little chance this was fraud. Local election officials have very little incentives to engage in this kind of chicanery, someone told him. They would steal votes in elections that concern them not in this kind of race.

He should try telling that to people who voted for Mr. Obama.

At the sprawling Riverside Park Community apartments at Broadway and 135th Street, Alician D. Barksdale said she had voted for Mr. Obama and her daughter had, too, by absentee ballot.

“Everyone around here voted for him,” she said.

And:

At the Archive, a cafe and video store on the border of Bushwick and East Williamsburg, the manager, Brad Lee, agreed. “There were Obama posters in everyone’s windows,” he said. “There was even Obama graffiti.”

Let me ask this. . How would you feel if, let’s say you caught Obama-mania and rushed out and voted for him only to find out the next day that not a single person where you lived voted for him? And they wonder why people don’t vote anymore.

Tragedy for 2 B’klyn Families: Auto accidents claim 7 By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and PATRICE O’SHAUGHNESSY, Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, April 22, 2001

The Stewarts and the Shetmans were two close-knit families living at opposite ends of Brooklyn who apparently never knew each other. One is African-American, the other Jewish immigrants from Ukraine.

Both families believed in being kind neighbors, keeping nice homes and rearing good children. And yesterday, both were left ravaged by car crashes that happened within two hours of each other on Friday night.

Victims of Friday’s tragic crash included Auber Stewart…

City cop Craig Stewart and his brother Cedric grieved in Crown Heights over the loss of their parents, sister, brother and aunt, who died when their minivan crashed into a bus at St. John’s Place and Brooklyn Ave. as they returned from a wake in Harlem.

In Gravesend, Aleksandr Shetman was devastated by the deaths of his only children, 15-year-old Inna and 10-year-old Svetlana, and the critical injuries to his wife, Rima. All three were mowed down when a careening Porsche mounted the curb as they walked on Ocean Parkway about 6:30 p.m..

The light-haired girls were walking with their mother and father after shopping. Inna was a student at Edward R. Murrow High School; Svetlana attended Public School 216.

Shetman, a Manhattan hotel employee who came to the United States about 10 years ago, lived with his wife and daughters and grandparents in a two-family house on E. Second St.

“They spoke Russian, so we would just say hello to each other, but they were very nice people,” said Frances Felice, who lives across the street. “They were such nice, pretty girls. I would see the mother take the little girl to school every day. I feel very sad for them.”

…and her daughter, Lorraine.

The accident occurred when Issac Chehebar, 20, of Avenue T, somehow lost control of a silver Porsche Carrera as he traveled north on Ocean Parkway and jumped the pedestrian median curb. The car struck and killed Inna instantly. Svetlana died yesterday at Coney Island Hospital. Their mother was in critical condition at Lutheran Medical Center.

Anthony Abbate Jr., 15, also was struck by the car and suffered a broken leg.

Chehebar, who tested negative for alcohol, was not immediately charged.

Meanwhile, neighbors of James Stewart, 75; his wife, Auber, 72; their daughter. Lorraine, 49, and son, Melvin, 52, stood stunned on President St., where, on sunny days, James and Auber were a fixture on the bench outside their renovated brick house.

A stoic Cedric Stewart emerged from the home to say the remaining family would “stick together and hang tough.” He described the Stewart clan as “a close-knit family, closer than most.”

Craig Stewart, 42, is an 18-year veteran officer assigned to Brooklyn Central Booking.

The Stewarts and an aunt, Zora Goins, 75, were killed at 8:20 p.m. Friday when the 1996 Dodge minivan Lorraine Stewart was driving sped through a red light and plowed into the side of a city bus.

Several people on the B45 bus suffered minor injuries, police said.

Accident investigators said Lorraine Stewart may have been racing to Kings County Hospital because her mother has a history of heart trouble and may have suffered an attack. An autopsy of Auber Stewart did not confirm that was the case, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner said.

There was no sign the van had mechanical failure, but none of the van’s occupants was wearing a seat belt, police said.

Nathan Perry, 44, who lives next door, called the Stewarts “a family from heaven. They are the type of neighbors you want living next door to you. They are close-knit.”

With Tom Raftery and Suzanne Rozdeba

QUICK CASH STRATEGIES Where to Go When You Need Money in a Hurry By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

Sunday, April 11, 1999

The man sitting before Clifford Jones had come to him several times before, to bury loved ones. But this time, the man wanted a loan. He needed $ 2,800 to fix the transmission on the car he depended on to get to and from work.

“You know I’m good for it, too,” the man told James, a co-owner of Harlem’s Unity Funeral Chapel.

“How could you turn down someone who trusted you with their loved ones?” James asked. And so he not only arranged for the man to get the loan, but to pay it back over six months without interest.

This is a bit unusual, of course, and not something many people could arrange – but it demonstrates one of the many solutions that could help someone in a sudden financial bind that requires a quick infusion of cash.

Swallow your pride

Whatever is driving your money needs, it’s smart to recognize that no choice is easy, and all likely have both advantages and disadvantages. The range of options run from very good and advisable to pretty awful.

You could certainly seek out your funeral director or pastor, sell jewelry or a family heirloom, get a cash advance on your credit card, even borrow from your employer or against your retirement accounts. But it’s never wise to drop in on your neighborhood loan shark.

That person, said Erroll Louis, a business consultant who was co-founder and former manager of a Brooklyn credit union, is no longer the trench-coat clad thug with a broken nose.

She just might be the kindly old lady down the block who’ll give you the loan – but with not enough time to pay it off and at 150% interest – with friends to enforce the terms.

“The first thing to do is not jump off a cliff, or dig a deeper hole in order to get out of the one you are in,” Louis said. “The idea is to get creative quickly and realize the first option is not always the best.”

The only ways to raise cash quickly is either to borrow or sell something with hard cash value.

Louis said he advises those in need to swallow their pride and call a friend or family member. They might just have enough to spare for a while, or know someone who does, without the onerous conditions that other options come with.

But be aware that owing money to someone you know can quickly put a strain on that relationship. You should weigh that cost before making your request.

Sell your jewels, not your wheels

If a person has a family heirloom or valuable jewelry he or she is willing to part with, it could be sold to one of the many high-end jewelry resalers in New York City.

Paul Lubetsky, owner of Windsow Jewelers on Fifth Avenue, said furniture, clothing or electronics equipment probably won’t fetch much of a return because that type of merchandise has only about a 5% resale value.

You could sell your car, but you probably need it to get around, making jewelry a better option to get your hands on quick dough.

“For example, a Rolex watch that’s in good condition could be worth 40% to 50% of its retail value to us,” Lubetsky said. “If a piece is signed, like Cartier, Tiffany or Bulgari, we would purchase it at a large percentage above its intrinsic value because there is a high demand in the second-hand market.Also, anything that’s antique would go for a large amount above its intrinsic value, sometimes as much as 20 times.”

Another option is to go to a pawn broker, an industry that has been working overtime to clean up its image and, in recent years, has come under tighter state regulations.

Alan Wohlgemuth, manager of Century Pawnbrokers at 725 Eighth Ave., said state law bars his store from buying merchandise. He could only take the item people bring in as collateral for a loan, for which he can only charge 3%, plus a small monthly storage fee.

One advantage in this type of transaction is that there is usually no credit check.

“Usually you leave a diamond or some other jewelry and walk out of the store with the cash and ticket that is good for four months,” Wohlgemuth said.

Hidden costs of quick loans

“Borrower beware” should be the guiding principle of someone who wants to look into a home equity loan, refinancing or a second mortgage on a property, said Sarah Ludwig, executive director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project – which works with groups in neighborhoods underserved by the city’s largest financial institutions.

The problem with going to a commercial lender like the Money Store, or answering any of the mailings that tend to flood some communities, as she sees it, is that there are a lot of hidden fees that could drive up the cost of borrowing and make one’s financial situation even worse.

“What people don’t understand is that there are tons of fees upfront and during the life of the loan. If you are going to refinance to get a small loan, do your homework,” Ludwig said.

The cost of taking this step without being aware of the responsibilities is great, since a home is often the single greatest asset anyone has. Mess up and you could end up homeless and in greater debt than you started with.

One of the quickest ways to free up cash is to get an advance from your credit card, said Paul Quinn, a Chase Manhattan Bank senior vice president for personal credit services. The cash comes quickly, sometimes in just a few moments at an automated teller machine. But the interest rates can be sky-high. Also, something to keep in mind: credit card companies exist to keep you in debt.

“If it is a longer-term need, you need to think about an installment loan that you could take 12 to 60 months to pay back,” Quinn said.

And the annual interest rate on this transaction could range from 10.99%, if you already have an account with Chase and are willing to let the bank deduct the payment directly from your account, to 12.99% if you have good credit but no relationship with the bank.

Of course, many credit cards charge north of 20%, so know the terms before you’re obligating yourself to heavy duty interest payments.

Quinn said, however, that a credit union would offer rates on a personal loan that are very competitive with those of banks.

Some people might chose to borrow from a retirement account such as an IRA or 401(k) plan. There are some rules that must be met to qualify, but the one significant advantage is that the interest that you pay back on such a loan typically goes into your own account – meaning you’re paying the interest back to yourself.

“Those type of borrowings are excellent for someone looking to pay off a credit card debt,” Quinn said.

But such gambits scare Erroll Louis, the former credit union manager.

“To me, this is almost the same as selling off your future,” he said. “You may in fact be delaying your retirement by as long as five years.”

GRAPHIC: Christoph Hitz illustrations

HIS CAUSE His Spirit Moved Them by MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

nullSunday, April 5, 1998

Children were raising innocent voices in freedom songs in church basements as adults braved firebombs, water hoses, dogs and jails for full rights as American citizens.

As a 5-year-old, Suzan Johnson joined the other children singing at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Now 41, the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook is pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship Baptist Church and a
member of President Clinton’s race-relations panel.

“Those were the wonder years for us,” say Johnson Cook, whose mother taught public school in Harlem for 22 years and whose father was one of the city’s first black trolley car drivers. “I remember the energy of our
community, as if we were all moving as one wave, not waves clashing against each other. We had a common purpose, a common cause, and we worked toward making it happen. And there hasn’t been in my lifetime
another movement like that. It was a spiritual movement.”

Virginia Fields was 17 in 1963 when a bomb exploded in Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, while she was worshiping there. She was primed for activism when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. came through town months later for his first march on Birmingham.

Fields, 52, now Manhattan borough president, was swept up in the mass arrest that ended the march and spent five days in the Birmingham City Jail, where King wrote his now-famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
“We all believed so much in his leadership,” she said. “We felt that he was going in the right direction, and after so many earlier attempt to desegregate the schools and the lunch counters had failed. With his leadership and his mass action, we just felt a renewed sense of excitement, of energy.”

African-Americans had endured the horrors of some 300 years of slavery to arrive at the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 free, but with few rights of citizenship. But by the end of World War II, black patriots returned from their service with the sense of a rightful place at the table as members of the American family.

In the years that followed, a migration of blacks from the rural South to the cities gave birth to a sizable black middle class—and the civil rights movement.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, established in 1909, attracted funding from new members made up largely of educated blacks in the North. Many of these included young lawyers who, through the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, methodically waged court challenges that clarified and expanded the rights of African-Americans.

In one such case, the 1954 Supreme Court allowed Linda Brown to attend Summer Elementary School, an all-white school near her home in Topeka, Kan., paving the way for desegregated schools and many of the civil rights gains to come.

Resistance in the South to the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling would propel the fledgling civil rights movement in its struggle to bring down many of the barriers to black participation in American life.

The battle gave the nation generations of African-American leaders, including King, who as the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference would go on to captivate America and the world.

Percy Sutton, who in 1966 had been elected Manhattan borough president, marched with King a week before he was killed.

“He was a quiet and effective revolutionary in bringing about changes in the human condition here in America,” Sutton said.

Julian Bond and the group he co-founded, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, joined other young people from the SCLC, the Congress of Racial Equality and the NAACP to stage sit-ins, boycotts,
marches and freedom rides to test the enforcement of desegregation. Weeks ago, Bond was elected chairman of the NAACP.

Bond said he is old enough to know that things are better now, but he also admits, “There are some indices of black life in America that are abysmal.”

Sutton said the battle to solve current problems of black life would have to be waged without a towering figure like King.

“Dr. King was the last of the singular civil rights leaders.” Sutton said. “The day of the singular leader is gone.”

“Now in every city, or every town there is a man or a woman who stands up for the rights of minorities who is that leader in that town in that factory, in that bus line, in that community. They are all leaders,” Sutton said.

Johnson Cook carries on the struggle in her work in the church, in her community and especially on the President’s race-relations panel.

“What I’ve seen in the two short years I’ve been here (in the Bronx) is a complete transformation of a people who are reclaiming our sense of community that we all learned as kids but lost,” she said.

Johnson Cook said the discussion on race has also changed from the time of the civil rights movement, when the issue was largely getting social justice for black Americans. Today, 33 years of immigration have changed the face of America.

“We are always wrestling with the issue of whether we should forget the black-white struggle and move on to the diversity question,” Johnson Cook said.

She said the chapter is not closed yet on that struggle because blacks are still fighting for justice in this society. At the same time, other minorities have their voices in the debate now, she said.

“The question we are asking is, ‘Can we be one America in the 21st century?’ And the strong implication in that question is that, in many ways, we are not,” Johnson Cook said.

SENIOR CITY-ZENS They left only to find there’s no place like home By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

Sunday, October 26, 1997

Horst Liepolt left New York City in 1995 for Berlin, where he was born 70 years ago, only to discover his heart belongs to the Big Apple.

Ditto for Dolores White, now retired, who yearns to live in the city again.

Howard and Arlene Sommer, in their 50s, are giving the city another whirl after their children flew the coop. And, two years into their return from a 40-year sojourn in suburbia, Mort and Sonia Goldstein are loving every second of life in the city.

In all the good notices New York City is getting for its historic reduction in crime and improved quality of life, not to mention the burgeoning economy, a little-remarked-upon but growing trend is that the city is also becoming haven to a group that appreciates the big town’s excitement: retirees and the so-called “empty nesters.”

Although statistically difficult to measure, anecdotal evidence confirms that a growing number of retirees, especially former New Yorkers, are choosing the city and spurning such traditional retirement locales as Florida, California and Arizona.

Commissioner Herbert Stupp of the city Department for the Aging said he is not surprised.

“It’s a very senior-friendly city, perhaps the most in the country,” he said.

New York is a good place to grow old because of all its conveniences, including access to health care, the most developed mass transit network in the Western Hemisphere and discounts everywhere for seniors, Stupp said.

Retirees themselves cite the ease with which they can live, the excitement of the city and its cultural offerings.

But Charles Longino Jr., a demographer at Wake Forest University, was brutally blunt on the reason the elderly are returning to the city.

“They are coming back because they’ve gotten old and widowed in Florida, and their health is failing, and they want to be near their families,” he said.

Andrew McPherson, a junior equity research analyst at Salomon Brothers, concurs.

Seniors often move to warmer climates when they retire, he said. But as they hit their mid-80s, especially when one spouse dies, they have a harder time getting along on their own.

“The kids still live up in the Northeast. Then the issue is, every time Grandma slips and falls or has a problem, the kids have to hop on a plane and fly down to Florida,” McPherson said.

It makes more sense for Granny to be near the family.

And, sensing a need, developers in the city are offering upscale continuing care and assisted-living apartment buildings, where older residents receive personal care, including help with getting dressed, bathing and medication.

Glenn Kaplan, chairman of the Kapson Group, which owns and operates 20 such facilities in the region, said his firm has another 22 on the drawing board or under construction, including five scheduled to open in the city within three months. Other developers recently opened senior care apartment buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Other evidence supports retirees who say they are returning because of their love of the city and what it offers. Real estate firms, which are on the front line of selling and renting homes and apartments to the returnees, say they are experiencing a boom.

Andrew Heiberger, president of Citi Habitats, which rents more than 3,500 apartments a year in the city, said returnees make up about 6% of his business, up from about half that just a few years ago. His firm found an apartment for Horst Liepolt just this month.

Liepolt was a Grammy-winning jazz record producer who ran the Sweet Basil jazz club in Greenwich Village for 10 years before returning to Berlin with his wife, Clarita, two years ago.

“I thought with the Wall coming down, and with the whole rebuilding thing, it was going to be like the Wild West and honky-tonk, something happening, excitement,” Liepolt said.

He found quite the opposite.

“In those 2 1/2 years, there was no excitement, only Doomsville.”

Contrast that to an awestruck Liepolt visiting New York for the first time almost 40 years ago.

“You see it in movies, you see it in pictures, but it was another thing to actually be here. It was amazing. That was it. I felt very good and right at home,” Liepolt said.

It’s a sentiment Howard Sommer, a 57-year-old president of an investment fund who was born and reared in the South Bronx, understands.

Sommer’s journey took him briefly through Chicago before plopping him down in Long Island for 30 years of the whole suburban treatment: two children, a big house on 31 /2 acres, a swimming pool and a tennis court.

But when the kids grew up and went to college and, upon graduation, moved to Manhattan, Howard and Arlene Sommer, 55, found themselves with too much house. Howard was itching to get back to the city, but his wife was not too sure she was ready to give up the space and comfort of their home and the bonds she formed over the years.

They sold the home anyway and have been renting a Manhattan apartment for seven months now. Arlene is back in school studying to become a psychoanalyst. And Howard is having a terrific time.

“At this point in my life I want to be in the middle of everything,” Sommer said. “I love stepping out of my apartment and being on the streets and all the people and the energy and the excitement. . . . It’s good to be a New Yorker again.”

When she turned 65, Sonia Goldstein decided it was time that she and her husband, Mort, leave Plainview, L.I., and return to the city, where he was reared.

The dossier: 40 years in the suburbs, three children, a dog and a large house that had an office for Mort, a psychologist. He needed some convincing because the move meant ending his practice. Solution came in the form of a two-day-a-week practice on Fire Island. He feels now he has the best of both worlds.

And Sonia is just loving it.

“New York is the place to be when you are retired,” she said. “You are not dependent on a car. You can get to wherever you want to go with mass transportation, and you are not locked in isolation in your home.”

The couple has subscriptions to practically all the cultural institutions in the city.

“The way we get together with friends that we don’t see as much anymore is we have subscriptions with them,” Sonia Goldstein said. “So, I have a subscription to Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Club, the Roundabout and then in between, my daughter and I love the ballet so we go to that, either traditional ballet or Alvin Ailey.”

The older-than-60 crowd numbers 1.3 million in a city of 7 1/2 million people, so cultural institutions, even as they court families and younger audiences, find their base is highly dependent on retirees.

At the Roundabout Theatre Company, for instance, more than 30% of the 35,000 people on its subscription roll identify themselves as retired, said marketing director David Steffen.

“It’s important that everyone realize that there is this huge influx of people coming back into the city,” he said.

Dolores White, for one, has been to all the retirement places and thought they were nice — but not for her.

And when she says “I’m a city girl,” she doesn’t mean just any city.

“I’ve been to Chicago, which I liked. I was in San Francisco. I liked it. I’ve been to Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, but I like New York the best,” White said.

The 68-year-old former teacher grew up in Brooklyn, and remembers cutting class to see Frank Sinatra at the Paramount in the 1940s. She remembers Harlem, Little Italy and Chinatown.

She is now working on exchanging her rambling East Northport, L.I., home for an apartment in the Tribeca-Battery Park area, or in Brooklyn Heights.

“There’s such an array of cultural activities, restaurants, shopping . . . you could just sit on the stairs of some of the office buildings and people-watch for hours,” White said.

The city’s rejuvenation recalls for her the old days.

“We felt very free in those days, traveled in the subway with ease. I see that coming back. I see it coming back again. That is what is drawing me back to moving back to the city,” she said.

Original Story Date: 102697

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

FBI’s Most Vaunted By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

nullSunday, October 5, 1997

The Most Wanted List, an icon of a seemingly bygone era, started innocently enough.

A wire service reporter asked the FBI in 1949 for a list of the toughest guys it would like to capture. The resulting story in newspapers around the nation generated so much publicity that then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made it a permanent list.

The Most Wanted Lists of the ’50s featured bank robbers, burglars and car thieves. By the ’60s, radicals made it onto the list. Revolutionaries, serial killers and mobsters hit the list in the ’70s.

Since the late 1980s, the FBI has been using tabloid television shows, such as “America’s Most Wanted,” to generate publicity.

That program’s first show in 1988 profiled David Roberts, an prison escapee who had been serving six life terms, two of them commuted death sentences.

After the show, New Yorkers tipped off law enforcement that Bob Lord, a homeless man who quickly worked his way to director of Carpenter Men’s Shelter in Staten Island, was none other than Roberts.

New York has been a favorite haunt of the famed list’s fugitives. At least 37 of 451 suspects that the FBI has put on the list have been nabbed here.

Gerald Watkins was profiled on “America’s Most Wanted” in 1995. In 1994, his girlfriend turned down his marriage proposal; he shot her, her son and their 18-day-old daughter. He then came to Harlem, his boyhood home.

Cops caught him trying to duck out of the window of an apartment.

Even serial killer Andrew Cunanan came this way once.

The current list includes Queens hoodlum Paul Ragusa.

“What the numbers might lead you to conclude is that fugitives think New York is a good place to come, to sort of blend in, be anonymous, disappear,” FBI Agent Jim Margolin said. “We think otherwise.

“What the numbers also indicate is that we and the NYPD are very good at finding people who don’t want to be found,” he said.

Even beyond the city limits.

Before his late son Tupac branded himself an outlaw rapper, Mutulu Shakur was a black revolutionary who masterminded a string of armored car robberies, including a 1981 Brink’s holdup in Nanuet, in Rockland County, that went haywire and led to the deaths of three people.

After 3 1/2 years on the Most Wanted List, Shakur was captured by two New York cops on a Los Angeles street corner in February 1986. One of the cops stopped Shakur with a flying tackle.

Mutulu Shakur is serving a 60-year prison sentence.

Don’t Sell Cops Short, Says Rudy By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and PAUL SCHWARTZMAN, Daily News Staff Writers

nullSunday, August 31, 1997

A day after thousands protesting police brutality marched on City Hall, Mayor Giuliani yesterday sought to refocus attention on cops’ accomplishments while his chief rival took the day off.

Eleven days before the Democratic primary, front-runner Ruth Messinger spent the day out of sight with her family, while opponents Sal Albanese and the Rev. Al Sharpton reached for votes in Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens.

Of the Democratic candidates, only Sharpton invoked the rally and the alleged police torture on Abner Louima, as he has since the reports of the incident first surfaced three weeks ago.

Greeting a cheering Latino crowd in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Giuliani said it was time for the public to cease castigating cops.

“Yesterday, over a 24-hour period, there was one murder in New York City,” Giuliani said. “That didn’t happen because the Police Department aren’t doing its job.

“They are saving lives in New York City while some people have been spending time excessively bashing them. That’s a big mistake. That has to stop.”

Giuliani also praised the cops for enduring during Friday’s demonstration a torrent of curses and taunts that they are racists and Nazis.

“That’s a lot of people who are calling you names, rushing up towards you, using words like Nazis and fascists — things that should just not be said,” he said, adding that the cops’ restraint showed that they are the “finest police department” in the country.

Although protesters castigated Giuliani during the march — at which Messinger, Sharpton and former Mayor David Dinkins spoke — one political analyst said the mayor would not suffer politically from the event.

“The real story — that the police and the marchers were able to maintain civility — is a plus for him,” said Mitchell Moss, director of the Taub Urban Research Center at New York University.

Approaching the final week before the Sept. 9 primary, Messinger today plans to speak at a Brooklyn church service and campaign in Riverdale. Yesterday, she was nowhere to be found.

“She is spending it with her family,” said campaign spokesman Lee Jones, adding that it was the Manhattan borough president’s last chance for a respite before “eight weeks of solid fun and games with Uncle Rudy.”

Sharpton, for his part, sought to seize on the protest’s aftermath to attack Giuliani at a rally of approximately 200 supporters in Harlem.

“It gives people the idea that he can’t deal with issues other than his own pat issues,” Sharpton said afterward. “He can’t deal with unemployment, he can’t deal with schools and he can’t deal with police brutality. He’s a good law enforcement guy, but that’s the end of it.”

Touring Queens, Albanese said, when asked, that he hopes Friday’s demonstration focuses attention on what he said was Giuliani’s failure to deal with police brutality.

“You can’t lay the [Louima] incident at his doorstep,” he said, “but everyone is focusing on abuse. It focuses attention on the department and how it has addressed abuse.”

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

60 Rally for Slain Teen By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

nullSunday, July 6, 1997

The Rev. Al Sharpton led about 60 marchers yesterday in peaceful protest of a grand jury decision that exonerated a white city cop in the shooting of a black Washington Heights teenager last April.

Roma Cedeno, mother of the slain youth, Kevin Cedeno, 16, spoke of her sadness at her son’s death.

“Nobody’s doing anything about it,” she said. “I’m not surprised at the decision at all. The mayor himself called it a ‘justifiable shooting’ within 24 hours after my son was killed. It all started from there.”

Protesters carried signs saying “Police Don’t Shoot White Males in the Back” and chanted “No Justice, No Peace.”

The rally, at McKenna Square, in front of the 33d Precinct at 165th St. and Amsterdam Ave., was the first of what would be weekly protests in front of the precinct, Sharpton said.

On Monday, a group of Washington Heights residents are expected to march around the square 16 times to mark Cedeno’s age at the time he was shot in the back by Police Officer Anthony Pellegrini.

Pellegrini and other officers were responding to a report of youths fighting and shots fired on April 6 when the shooting occurred. Cedeno and a group of friends had been drinking and fighting when they saw officers arriving. Cedeno’s friends, knowing he was on probation and that he had a machete in his possession, urged him to run.

Pellegrini testified before a grand jury that he shot at the youth after mistaking the 23-inch machete for a shotgun.

Last week, a Manhattan grand jury declined to indict Pellegrini.

Sharpton called the decision unacceptable.

“Just like we didn’t let a grand jury stop us with Bernard Goetz, we will not let a grand jury stop us on Kevin Cedeno,” he said. “Justice is a matter of our struggling until we win.”

Monique Kelly, 26, an administrative assistant at North General Hospital in Harlem and a resident of Washington Heights, said she came to protest because she has cousins, nephews and nieces about Cedeno’s age. “This could be anyone’s kid,” she said. “It makes you live in fear with the police officers who work here.”

Edward Hughes, 36, of Roselle, N.J., said he doesn’t believe the police version of the incident. “It is Kevin Cedeno today, it could be my son tomorrow.”

Captain Garry McCarthy, commander of the 33d Precinct, watched the rally, his arms folded while standing in front of the stationhouse. He later spoke with community activists to schedule a meeting.

“I’m looking to open a line of communication,” said McCarthy. “If we don’t communicate we’re never going to come together.”

SHARPTON HITS BACK Mayor’s race heats up By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and DAVE SALTONSTALL, Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, April 6, 1997

Stepping up an intraparty battle, the Rev. Al Sharpton accused Democratic mayoral rival Ruth Messinger of widening the city’s racial fault lines yesterday by urging him to denounce Minister LouisFarrakhan as an anti-Semite.

“Your public attack is nothing but a cheap political ploy to gain votes at the expense of racial sensitivities in this city,” Sharpton fired back in a letter faxed to Messinger yesterday. “Any shrill voice can just call people names.”

Sharpton’s response came one day after Messinger, who is Jewish, wrote the activist preacher saying he was “wrong — terribly wrong” for refusing to denounce Farrakhan when asked last week about the Nation of Islam leader, who has called Jews “bloodsuckers” and pronounced Judaism “a gutter religion.”

The battle between the two mayoral hopefuls — quickly escalated by a similar attack on Sharpton by Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer — ended an informal peace pact among the Democratic hopefuls. Mayor Giuliani quickly moved to capitalize on the fight.

Asked to clarify his position yesterday on Farrakhan, Sharpton said that just as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. never “personally denounced” black activist Malcolm X, he would never criticize Farrakhan “the person.”

“She [Messinger] is asking me to do something that no civil rights leader does,” said Sharpton, who is not known as a close Farrakhan associate.

He also argued that Messinger’s supporters include the Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and state Assemblyman Al Vann (D-Brooklyn), both of whom “have much closer ties to Minister Farrakhan than I do.”

“Have you attacked their public view of Minister Farrakhan?” Sharpton asked. “Of course not.”

Messinger responded, “Al Sharpton is [the one] running for mayor. All I did is tell him that he is wrong.”

But Giuliani waded into the fray. Noting that the four Democratic hopefuls — Sharpton, Messinger, Ferrer and Brooklyn Councilman Sal Albanese — have pledged to back the winner of their primary, Giuliani suggested that Sharpton was not worthy of their endorsement.

“I think Ruth, Freddy and Sal have to face up to the fact that a lot of New Yorkers would find it rather incredible . . . that they would support Al Sharpton over me, should that be the choice,” Giuliani said.

“In essence they are sort of giving away their credibility to excessive partisanship.”

Sharpton said he “wouldn’t dignify” Giuliani’s suggestion with a response. Messinger suggested the mayor take a closer look at some of his own associates — particularly former Rep. Herman Badillo and Liberal Party boss Ray Harding, both under fire for lobbying City Hall — before teeing off on his Democratic opponents.

Original Story Date: 040697