The Jewish Press endorses Mark Green for Mayor of the City of New York. Of the two candidates, Mr. Green is clearly the one to lead our rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the devastating events of September 11. He is also unquestionably the one to heal the terrible racial tension unleashed by the very sad Democratic primary.
Mike Bloomberg offers himself as the paradigmatic, no-nonsense CEO who can get his arms around the New York City colossus and make it work. He essentially argues that he has built a business from scratch and has created more than eight thousand jobs. While this would properly place him at the very top of most any list for Businessman of the Decade, the Mayoralty of the City of New York is a very different thing. The vast, entrenched New York City governmental bureaucracy presents a far more complicated challenge than a work force subject to a CEO's power to hire and fire. Nor are the skills making for success in pursuing the financial bottom line necessarily transferable to the meeting of the variegated needs of eight million New Yorkers. And while Mr. Bloomberg would certainly bring much to the table in terms of organizing the rebuilding effort, he has not persuaded us that he has an appreciation of New York beyond its bricks and mortar. In short, Mike Bloomberg has scant experience with the governmental process, and it seems a somewhat presumptuous message that this is his greatest qualification.
Mark Green has been on the political scene for more than twenty years, most recently as Public Advocate since 1993. Prior to that, as an activist attorney and community advocate he participated first hand in the governmental process through the courts and Congress, many times forcing the executive branch in Washington to take certain action. Of particular interest was his work in getting the Carter administration to release an estimated quarter of a million pages of secret documents disclosing the names of the American companies that participated in the Arab boycott of Israel from 1965 until late 1977. To be sure, we have not always agreed with Mark Green's immediate goals, but there can be no denying that he has developed an expertise in identifying which governmental buttons are to be pushed to get things done.
We are also very concerned with the way Mr. Bloomberg has tried to harness the race issue to his campaign. It was truly unfortunate that a public personality of the calibre of Fernando Ferrer allowed his primary campaign message to degenerate into an overt appeal along the “them v. us” lines. And when the Bronx Borough President was catapulted to the top of the Democratic heap by the endorsement of Al Sharpton with the consequent huge political debt thereby incurred, matters were made even worse. But even more alarming is the Bloomberg campaign's Alice-In-Wonderland effort to portray Green's challenge to the Ferrer/ Sharpton patent racism as racial pandering!
Further, although it is not well known, Bloomberg is running not only on the Republican line, but also on the line of the Independence Party, the party of Leonora Fulani, the onetime Presidential candidate who once criticized black leaders for “pandering to Jews.” Fulani and other party stalwarts continue to play significant roles in Bloomberg's election effort.
And there is also the matter of Bloomberg's reaction to the outrageous Amsterdam News editorial endorsing him. “Not the words I would use,” he said. But here is part of what Amsterdam News Publisher Bill Tatum had to say in the editorial:
Mark Green…became the Democratic nominee for mayor by stealing the primary election from Fernando Ferrer and then denying that this is what had been planned and executed by his Jewish mafia from Borough Park and other heavily populated Jewish areas in the city, especially where the Orthodox sect predominates.
Does “Not the words I would use” really do it? We think not.
Bloomberg also fosters an odd sense of unease ? almost that one does not really know him or what he stands for. He has campaigned as the Republican candidate and as a political conservative. Yet, the other day he declared at a political event, to Governor Pataki's visible dismay, that he was really a “liberal” in his thinking. Indeed, until the current political season, Bloomberg was a registered Democrat and contributed substantial sums to liberal causes. It is surely not for nothing that he is being shunned by a significant part of the Republican Party leadership. And, significantly, Bloomberg has made a public point of his severely limiting his financial support for religious causes.
Mark Green has attracted the support of a broad spectrum in the Jewish community, and it is apparent that several members of our community are among his valued advisors. It is quite clear to us that the needs of our community will be more likely to get a hearing on a level playing field in a Green administration than in one headed by Mr. Bloomberg.