Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch — no relation to these dickwads — has passed away at age 88.
Being on the West Coast, I haven’t paid much attention to New York City politics, during or after Ed Koch’s tenure as Mayor. But I was living in Connecticut during the summer of 1977 when Koch was one of several candidates vying for the Mayor’s office. 1977 was the Summer of Sam — when the serial killer “Son of Sam” was terrorizing the New York area.
Before running for mayor, Ed Koch had been a liberal congressman, with an almost 100% approval rating from a liberal watchdog group. But he made maximum use of the public’s terror over Son of Sam during his mayoral campaign. He came up with “law and order” and “death penalty” slogans that would have done any Republican proud. Capital punishment was possibly his biggest campaign issue, even though the Mayor of New York City has no say whatsoever on the death penalty. But he still got lots of mileage out of the issue.
Ed Koch became Mayor in 1978. One of the candidates he defeated — Mario Cuomo — was elected Governor of New York four years later.
Ed Koch was outspoken and combative, but also very approachable and “of the people.” He was famous for walking up to people on the street and saying “How’m I doing?”
He was originally an ally of Rudy Giuliani, and his endorsement helped Giuliani get elected Mayor in 1993. But Koch later became alarmed at Giuliani’s authoritarian governing style. He wrote a book titled “Giuliani: Nasty Man.”
In 2008 he purchased a burial plot at the Trinity Church cemetery in Manhattan. As he put it:
“I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone. This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me.”
Labels: Ed Koch