I am a strong believer in the importance of setting the record straight. I do not ignore inaccurate or incomplete statements about me or my record. For example, on August 26 I read a blogger’s article mentioning me in a way I did not appreciate. The blogger, who is associated with Columbia University, wrote: “For good measure, Republican candidates has also written in support of the proposed Islamic Center.” I responded:
I am a strong believer in the importance of setting the record straight. I do not ignore inaccurate or incomplete statements about me or my record.
For example, on August 26 I read a blogger’s article mentioning me in a way I did not appreciate. The blogger, who is associated with Columbia University, wrote: “For good measure, Republican candidates has also written in support of the proposed Islamic Center.”a conservative Democratic former mayor of New York who frequently supports
“You refer to me as a. I refer to myself as a liberal with sanity. Would you please list the substantive issues where my support or opposition of them can fairly be described as conservative in view?
“I have indeed crossed party lines about two dozen times in my political career of more than 50 years while voting for thousands of Democrats. One Republican by the way was John Lindsay for whom I voted twice. Another Republican was George W. Bush in 2004 when I announced that while I did not agree with him on a single domestic issue, I supported his willingness to stand up to . The soft position of the Democrats and John Kerryon that issue compelled me to cross party lines. I also supported Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Republican, in three elections: when he ran against Mark Green, Fernando Ferrer and Bill Thompson. As Jack Kennedy once said, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”
“Also, my position on the building of the mosque near Ground Zero is different than Mayor Bloomberg’s position. He apparently does not believe that an effort should be made by anyone to convince the supporters of the mosque to move the location for sensitivity reasons. My position is that the feelings of 70 percent of all Americans on the issue, and particularly the family members of those who died and the survivors of the catastrophe, should be considered by the Muslim supporters of the mosque. They oppose the mosque on that site, because the terrorists who killed nearly 3,000 people on 9/11 were Muslims. However, if the Muslim supporters conclude that they see no sensitivity issue and seek as they allege to build a mosque as a bridge on that site, their rights should be protected and enforced.
“Further, no one acting on behalf of government should seek to dissuade them. Finally, I also believe that everyone, regardless of which side of the issue they support, has a right to peacefully protest. All of these rights are protected by the same First Amendment. Is my position liberal or conservative in your lexicon?”
No reply to date. I’ll keep you posted.
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I read an interesting article in The New York Times on August 25 which stated:
“Alan K. Simpson, the Republican co-chairman of President Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission, removed his ‘size 15 feet’ from his mouth to apologize to a critic on Wednesday for a stinging letter in which he compared Social Security to ‘a milk cow with 310 million tits.’”
Alan Simpson is a friend of mine. We have known one another for many years, having served together years ago in the House of Representatives before he was elected to the Senate. He is now a Co-Chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The most interesting part of the Times article for me was Alan’s comments about those who objected to his seeking to propose changes in Social Security which would insure its fiscal stability.
According to the Times:
“The contretemps began when Mr. Simpson sent an e-mail on Monday to Ashley Carson, executive director of the Older Women’s League, to respond to an anti-Simpson column she wrote in April. Citing Social Security’s chief actuary to buttress the need for changes, Mr. Simpson wrote: ‘If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let me know. And yes, I’ve made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security, who milk it to the last degree. You know ‘em too. It’s the same with any system in America. We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!’”
Perhaps as a result of pressure from the White House, Senator Simpson wrote a letter of apology to Ms. Carson in which he stated:
“Over the last 40 years, I have had my size 15 feet in my mouth a time or two. To quote my old friend and colleague, Senator Lloyd Bentsen, when I make a mistake, ‘It’s a doozy!’”
I sent the following note to Alan the next day:
“What did you say that required an apology? Nothing that I can see from reading today’s New York Times report. The Alan I knew in Congress would never have apologized.
“If you don’t make changes to reduce costs in Social Security benefits, e.g., eligibility age, benefits, excluding the wealthy from benefits, how will you guarantee permanent solvency?
“Also, why not dedicate a national stock transfer tax, which cannot be avoided by Wall Street, for exclusive Social Security use?
“All the best.”
Both tits and teats are apparently acceptable under The New York Times Rule Book.
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During his August 20 radio program in Albany, Dr. Alan Chartock discussed political reform with Blair Horner of NYPIRG, a good government advocate. During their talk, Chartock referred to me as a “phony” in connection with my efforts as the founder of New York Uprising, a political PAC dedicated to reforming the Albany legislature, widely considered to be dysfunctional.
I sent a letter to Dr. Chartock on August 20 in which I wrote:
“I was told by a friend who listened to your radio show on Saturday, August 14, 2010, that you were disparaging, by referring to me as ‘We got that phony Ed Koch running all over New York State -- it was the same guy who was all for going into Iraq,’ concerning my efforts as founder of New York Uprising to hold legislators’ feet to the fire, by asking them to sign pledges on three issues – impartial redistricting, ethics reform, including comprehensive financial disclosure and a GAAP balanced budget.
“I have listened to the tape of your radio show. Your reference to my past support in 2003 for the initial attack on Iraq has no bearing whatsoever on reforming Albany. Nevertheless, it is apparent during your conversation with Blair Horner, NYPIRG, you agree with me concerning the reforms that New York Uprising is trying to accomplish in cleaning up Albany. We also welcome all those Albany legislators and candidates for State office who are for or against both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to sign the three New York Uprising reform pledges. I have enclosed our pledges for your review.
“For your information, New York Uprising was created this past March. It includes as Trustees, Herman Badillo, Mario Cuomo, Rudy Giuliani, Ned Regan, Felix Rohatyn, Peter Solomon, Alair Townsend, Rudy Washington and John Zuccotti, who were instrumental in creating the three reform pledges. Presently, we have received approximately 294 signed pledges, from the State-wide candidates for Comptroller, Attorney General, Assembly, Senate incumbents and legislative candidates supporting our three reforms. The Gubernatorial candidates, as well as Congressional incumbents and candidates were only asked to sign a pledge that places them on record that they agree to support a veto by the Governor of any redistricting legislation that did not require an impartial panel to draw the lines. All the Gubernatorial candidates have signed this re-districting pledge supporting impartial redistricting, along with 14 Congressional incumbents and candidates.
“I do hope you will reconsider your characterization of New York Uprising’s efforts, including mine, and join us to reform our State government.
“All the best.”
Dr. Chartock responded on August 23:
“Thanks for your recent letter. We do agree on reforming Albany. I have been preaching that gospel for many years, on many fronts, in many ways.
“Despite your unhappiness with my characterization, I find it very hard not to like you.”
I replied on August 26:
“Thank you for your response to my letter of August 20, 2010. I truly appreciate your comment: ‘I find it very hard not to like you.’ I hope that you are able to overcome your resistance.
“I am interested in knowing if you have recanted your description of me as a ‘phony.’ If you have, would you tell your listeners who may have been dissuaded from supporting New York Uprising? If you still characterize me as a phony would you please tell me why?
“All the best.”
When and if a reply arrives, I will update you, my readers.
The Honorable Edward Irving Koch served New York City as its 105th Mayor from 1978 to 1989.
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