The blowup between Mayor Adams and former mayor Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday would be unfortunate at any time, but is especially so now. As he approaches six months in office, Adams is facing many of the same problems Giuliani solved, including a dysfunctional bureaucracy.
Both men took office amid wide doubts the city could be saved. Giuliani proved it could be and launched a new Golden Age. Adams is making progress against crime on the margins but faces a public that is increasingly skeptical of him and impatient about continuing declines in the quality of life.
Indeed, because violent crime tends to surge in the summer, the next few months are likely to be a defining time in Adams’ tenure.
Imagine, then, he and Giuliani meeting to swap ideas about more effective policing and how to improve daily life for residents and visitors. They also could share the experience of watching Albany be the place where good ideas go to die.
Instead, they were trading insults over a Sunday incident where a Staten Island man slapped Giuliani on the back. The former mayor called it a “very, very heavy shot” and said he could have been killed if he had fallen, while Adams said a video shows “the guy basically walked by and patted him on the back.”
The man, Daniel Gill, was initially charged by police with second-degree assault, though the charge was later downgraded to third-degree harassment.
Giuliani told me two weeks ago he and Adams had not spoken since Adams’ election, and that is the city’s loss. Adams needs all the help he can get and Giuliani, despite some suspect judgment in recent years, has no peer when it comes to saving a drowning New York.
He took office in 1994, and three decades later, his accomplishments rank him as perhaps Gotham’s greatest chief executive. The city had been averaging 2,000 murders a year, squeegee men were harassing motorists with impunity and many public spaces resembled dumps.
By the time he left City Hall on Jan. 1, 2002, annual murders had fallen to 649 and, before the horrors of 9/11, the city was experiencing a revival as a wave of businesses and people came to live and work here.
Oddly, if you judge by murders alone, the city is now safer than when Giuliani left office. The total last year was 488, and so far the body count this year has declined by nearly 13%.
But that’s where the good news stops for Adams as nearly all other crimes are growing at a frightening pace. Even counting the decline in murders, total major crime reports are up 37% over last year, the NYPD says.
And the 488 murders were the most since 2011, reflecting the unchecked crime wave under the hapless Bill de Blasio.
In short, the city is still headed in the wrong direction despite the fact that Adams continues to say all the right things about how there can be no prosperity without public safety. And his candor can be refreshing.
As he told The Post’s Bernadette Hogan last week during a 3-hour nighttime subway ride, he was shocked to find “how bad this place is.”
He was talking specifically about the city’s use of its resources, including police, but it’s not a stretch to apply his discovery to much of the city.
The school system is hemorrhaging students, Rikers Island is dangerous for both correction officers and inmates and businesses are afraid for their employees’ safety. An epidemic of shoplifting is plaguing pharmacies and clothing retailers and transit crime is up 53%.
The large out migration of upper-income families that started during the pandemic is mostly over, but as time passes and the city teeters, there is little incentive for migrants to return.
Albany, as usual, appears to be doing its best to make things worse. Gov. Hochul and lawmakers are rushing back to the Capitol for a special session to rewrite a gun law after the Supreme Court said it was too restrictive on issuing concealed carry permits to legal gun owners, but the pols can’t be bothered to protect innocent New Yorkers from career criminals carrying illegal guns.
Their guiding principle echoes the most radical ideas from the far left — the criminal justice system is racist and true social justice requires that as few people as possible be prosecuted and imprisoned.
Bleeding-heart prosecutors who should be social workers are part of the problem.
Exhibit A is Albany’s infuriating failure to give Adams a simple fix he demands — allowing judges the discretion to consider the dangerousness of a suspect before release. That failure alone tells everyone involved that the state isn’t serious about repeat offenders.
The wonder of it all is that cops continue to risk their lives and make arrests, knowing that many of the people they detain will be back on the street before the paperwork is finished.
All these dynamics are taking a toll on New Yorkers’ confidence in Adams’ leadership. An early May Quinnipiac survey found his approval ratings at just 43%, against 37% disapproval. On his handling of crime, just 37% approved while 54% disapproved, a big switch from February, when he had a 49-35 positive rating.
Then, in a survey earlier this month, just 29% of city residents said they think Adams is doing an excellent or good job, while 64% view his performance as either fair or poor. That poll, by Spectrum News and Siena College, found a whopping 76% feared becoming the victim of a violent crime.
Unfortunately, some of those fears will be borne out as the temperature rises. Summer is the killing season and this one brings with it a major test of whether our mayor has the right stuff.
Ron boost aids GOP
Reader James Peaslee wrote this note even before Tuesday’s blockbuster hearing about Donald Trump’s awful conduct on Jan. 6, 2021. He writes: “If you believe, as I do, that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would be a stronger general election candidate than Trump in 2024, then the House hearings, by aiming to discredit Trump, are incidentally boosting DeSantis and increasing the chances for a Republican victory in 2024. An example, perhaps, of how rage can be blind.”
Supreme Dem gift?
Dr. Alan Sperber, M.D., agrees that the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade will benefit Democrats in the fall. He writes: “The decision to reverse what has worked for five decades and has saved countless women from death via sepsis from the use of coat hangers will turn the midterm election on its ear.”
Or will libs up the anti?
David Owen takes the other side, writing: “I don’t think the abortion decision will help Democrats. If we have protests from nutty people in perpetuity, the public will be turned off. People care more about gas prices, shortages of baby formula and such.”