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

Debate Can Wait For Yanks – Rudy By PAUL SCHWARTZMAN and MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writers

nullSunday, October 5, 1997
Mayor Giuliani said yesterday that he wants to reschedule his Thursday night debate against Democrat Ruth Messinger to avoid a potential conflict with a Yankees playoff game.

The lifelong Yankees fan said most New Yorkers, himself included, would rather watch the Yankees chase the pennant than the mayoral candidates duke it out.

“I would want the maximum number of people to watch the debate,” he said.

“I also have to admit that I’d rather watch the game. Wouldn’t you? . . . You have to admit the reality that huge numbers of New Yorkers want to watch the ballgame.”

The Yankees will be playing if they beat Cleveland to advance in the playoffs.

Messinger said she would debate on another day as long as Thursday’s encounter remained on the schedule, too. Giuliani aides rejected the offer.

The Campaign Finance Board scheduled the debate under a law requiring candidates to take part if they receive public financing for their campaigns. A second debate will be held later in the month.

Giuliani has rearranged his schedule for the Yankees before. He postponed a campaign fund-raiser last year because of a potential conflict with the World Series.

The debates represent a chance for Messinger to gain ground in her underdog candidacy.

Mayoral aides denied Giuliani was trying to send a message that it’s okay for people not to watch.

Meanwhile, it appeared that Brooklyn Councilman Sal Albanese, an also-ran in the Democratic mayoral primary, was moving toward endorsing Messinger, possibly this week.

Messinger participated yesterday in a march against child labor in overseas sweatshops. The march included criticism of the Disney Co.

Messinger said that she was not against patronizing Disney’s stores, but that people still could “send a message” that child labor is unacceptable. She said it would be “tragic” if Giuliani did not attend because of Disney’s business interests in the city.

Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said it was hypocritical for Messinger to march when she accepted a $5,500 contribution from a Disney family member.

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.”

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

City Set to Boot Latino Center By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

nullMonday, March 24, 1997

The city plans to pull the plug this week on a Latino cultural center when it auctions off the former lower East Side school the group has restored and called home for the past 18 years.

Charas/El Bohio Community and Cultural Center will have to find a new home after Thursday, the day the city plans to sell the group’s 605 E. Ninth St. headquarters for as much as $1.5 million.

The Giuliani administration says the group is being shown the door simply because they are not “good citizens.”

Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro said El Bohio doesn’t pay its rent on time and has failed to present credible plans to purchase the building itself. Mastro also said the group had allowed members of the notorious Latin Kings gang to use the place for meetings.

The center, with a $200,000 annual budget, funds after-school programs in music, theater and computers.

It sponsors community conferences and discussions for youngsters, low income residents and immigrants with grants from organizations like the New York Foundation for the Arts, the City Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, United Way, NYNEX and individual contributions.

The group has garnered support from artists and politicians, including Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Westchester), Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, Councilwoman Kathryn Freed (D-Manhattan) and State Sen. Martin Connor (D-Brooklyn).

“If the mayor wants to pick a fight with me, I’m ready for that,” Messinger said. “But he should not pick a fight with the young people of the lower East Side.”

Though they admit a problem with late rent payments, the center’s co-founders, Armando Perez and Carlos Garcia, said the administration’s efforts to take the building is based on politics and the center’s support among Democrats.

Perez and Garcia also admit that they have had Latin King members in the center but only as part of their attempts to reach out to struggling Latino youth.

When the group first moved into the old Public School 64, it was flooded, everything of value had been stripped and the roof had caved in, according to the founders.

“This building would have been torn down a long time ago if it were not for us,” Perez said.

One of three plans El Bohio put forward is to buy the building for $1 and turn it into a combination community center and low income housing development, which would need a city tax abatement and a zoning change.

Mastro ridiculed that idea.

“They offered $1 for more than a million dollar property,” he said. “That’s not a good faith plan.”

Rudy Probes His Own Campaign By BOB LIFF and MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writers

February 17, 1997

Mayor Giuliani’s reelection campaign has launched internal audits to determine whether any corporate contributors gave donations that exceeded the $7,700 limit allowed by the city’s public campaign finance law.

Campaign officials disclosed the reviews after the Daily News reported that a company that landed a lucrative recycling contract gave $77,500 to Giuliani’s reelection drive after concluding the deal.

Campaign treasurer John Gross described the audits as a regular process designed to insure that Giuliani does not violate campaign finance laws as he runs for a second term.

Based on an initial review, Gross and Giuliani said they did not believe any other givers had contributed amounts above the $7,700 limit.

“I’m not aware of it,” Giuliani said yesterday, adding that his campaign “returns money any time there are questions.”

The campaign pledged to refund all of the contributions made by Pratt Industries U.S.A. after the Daily News reported that the firm got a no-bid city contract to build a $250 million recycling plant on Staten Island. The deal calls for the firm to process up to half the discarded newspaper and wastepaper in the city.

Giuliani yesterday dismissed the company’s excess contributions as “technical violations” of the campaign finance law, which gives taxpayer-funded contributions to candidates who agree to abide by limits on their private fund-raising.

The law bars companies and subsidiaries they control from giving a total of more than $7,700 to a single candidate who accepts public campaign funds.

The News reported on Saturday that the firm and nine subsidiaries began making contributions to Giuliani in January 1996, two weeks after reaching the recycling deal with the Giuliani administration.

City officials said there was no connection between the contract award and the political contributions, and Gross said the campaign discovered the overpayments and initiated refunds without any prompting.

“Anyone who would like to investigate our finances can have at it,” Gross said.

But three Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge Giuliani in November called for an investigation of the Pratt contributions.

The three, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger and the Rev. Al Sharpton, charged that the contributions raised questions about Giuliani’s fund-raising.

“This looks like the worst kind of government quid pro quo since the corruption scandals that United States Attorney Giuliani uncovered nearly a dozen years ago,” Ferrer said.

Giuliani fired back, accusing the Democrats of using the issue for political purposes.

Original Story Date: 02/17/97

Poll: Wild About Mayor, Not Rudy By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and FRANK LOMBARDI, Daily News Staff Writers

February 12, 1997

City voters soundly approve of Mayor Giuliani’s job performance and would reelect him in a walk, even though they aren’t wild about his personality, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac College Poll showed 62% of voters approved of the first-term Republican’s performance as mayor, while 32% disapproved and 6% were undecided. That’s the best showing for Giuliani since the Quinnipiac mayoral surveys began nearly two years ago.

With the help of his high job approval rating, Giuliani would rout any of five potential Democratic challengers in a head-to-head match, the survey showed. That includes former Mayor David Dinkins — who was to announce today if he would take on Giuliani for a third time.

Dinkins, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger would lose to Giuliani by at least 20 percentage points if the election were held now, the poll showed.

Giuliani would beat Dinkins 55% to 34%, the poll found. Ferrer would lose 53% to 33%, and Messinger would lose 54% to 34%, it showed. The remaining Democratic contenders, Brooklyn City Councilman Sal Albanese and the Rev. Al Sharpton, would fare even worse.

Still, the survey wasn’t all good news for Giuliani. It found voters split on his hard-charging personal style — with 43% describing him as likeable and 52% disagreeing.

“I can deal with that,” said Giuliani, noting that the poll gave him high marks for leadership and getting things done.

While cautioning that poll results fluctuate, Giuliani said “it always feels a little better [to be ahead] by 20% than to be behind by 20%.”

The survey showed Giuliani has not bridged racial and gender gaps as he tries to expand the narrow margin he won over Dinkins in 1993.

While white voters gave him 77% approval on job performance, that dropped to 52% among Hispanics and 34% among blacks.

Among male voters, 71% gave Giuliani thumbs up on job performance, compared with 55% among women.

White New Yorkers were evenly split on his personal style; 48% liked it and 47% didn’t. Hispanics were equally split, with 49% approving and 48% disagreeing. Among black voters, 29% liked his personality and 66% did not.

“New Yorkers like the way the mayor does his job,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute. “But they don’t think he’s a likeable guy.”

The poll of 845 voters was conducted Feb. 3 to 9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Original Story Date: 021297

Rudy Sez He’s Tops, And Dems Are Flops By DAVID L. LEWIS and MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writers

November 9, 1996

Mayor Giuliani fired the opening salvo of the 1997 mayoral battle yesterday, slamming potential challengers as inexperienced, extremist or “machine politicians.”

While insisting he hasn’t decided to seek a second term, the Republican mayor for the first time dropped his strategic refusal to rate the chances of possible opponents.

Giuliani also touted his own political strengths, saying any reelection campaign would focus on double-digit decreases in city crime rates during his tenure.

“When I say it’s the capital of the world, which I began saying in my inaugural speech, people now accept it,” the mayor said in an interview set to air tomorrow on WCBS-TV’s “Sunday Edition.”

Giuliani criticized six possible Democratic challengers who were listed in a recent Quinnipiac College poll. Several responded with sharp return attacks. Among his exchanges:

He tabbed Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger as the Democratic front-runner, and said: “Democratic primaries are won by the most extreme candidate and, ideologically, she is the most extreme of that group.”

Messinger spokesman Leland Jones voiced surprise at the sharpness of the attack just 72 hours after Election Day, saying, “It is a little surprising that the campaign hasn’t even started, and the mayor has already decided to go negative.”

Giuliani accused City Controller Alan Hevesi of politicizing his office and labeled the Queens Democrat “very much an old-fashioned machine partisan politician.”

Hevesi shrugged off the Giuliani attack. “He is simply trying to start another personal fight,” Hevesi said.

Giuliani labeled Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer as “very much the product of Bronx machine politics.” The mayor noted that Ferrer succeeded Stanley Simon, who went to prison for his conviction in a racketeering case prosecuted by Giuliani.

Ferrer did not respond to a request for comment.

Giuliani said former Police Commissioner William Bratton would be a weak mayoral candidate because of “inexperience in many, many other areas of government.” Bratton could not be reached for comment.

The mayor said two other candidates — City Councilman Sal Albanese (D-Brooklyn) and the Rev. Al Sharpton — wouldn’t stand a chance in a Democratic primary, much less against him.

Sharpton dismissed the attack and Albanese argued he was more qualified to be mayor than Giuliani.

Original Story Date: 11/09/96