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I was deeply saddened by the passing of one of the great mayors and Democrats of all time…

Ed Koch was the mayor who pulled New York up from the brink of bankruptcy to unprecedented economic boom during his three terms as Mayor from 1978-1989.
I’m not going to eulogies on he’s great achievements or compare him with Moses as Mayor Bloomberg did at his funeral: “our Moses. Just with a little less hair,”
I just want to share what we like to call in my little circle ‘Koch tales’--Of course the Mayor pronounced it "Kotch".
My Aunt Vera claims she asked the mayor the preverbal question at the preverbal bar mitzvah: “Mister Mayor why did you decide to became mayor?” the Mayor answered back sharply: “For the animals”. Vera taken back asked: “pardon me Mayor did you say The Animals?” “That’s right; all those dogs back in the 70’s”
For those who don’t remember New York was overrun with stray and feral dogs during the 1970’s. As crime rates soared people bought dogs for protection
As  the economic crisis deepened  and hyperinflation soared, people began to abandon dogs in enormous numbers.  The city had literally gone to the dogs! Mayor Koch went on to state that he would stand in disbelief in front  of the dog catcher van with tears rolling down his face vowing that this had to end … That's the kind of mensch we had as mayor ….
His headstone proclaims "he fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people."

Please share your Koch tales


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (0+ / 0-)

    Love Me, I'm a Liberal!

    by simplesiemon on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 05:29:29 PM PST

  •  I'm all for respecting the man (8+ / 0-)

    but I wouldn't call him one of the great Democrats of all time. He endorsed Bush and other Republicans from time to time, even just a couple years ago in a special House election.

  •  I have a Koch tale for you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, Paleo, profewalt

    How about the time he tried to intimidate Democrats not to criticize Israel by campaigning against a Democratic Congressman (who was Jewish by the way).

    The stunning Republican victory in New York’s special election Tuesday should make President Barack Obama realize that Democrats no longer can rely on the Jewish vote, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch tells Newsmax.

    Koch, who was elected mayor three times and remains an influential Democrat locally and nationally, crossed party lines to endorse Republican candidate Bob Turner in the 9th Congressional District election. He did so, he said, because he wanted to send a message to Obama to take a stronger position in support of Israel. The election between Turner and Democrat David Weprin is to fill the vacancy created when disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned.

    “I hope this result makes the president change his position,” Koch said shortly before midnight — and before The Associated Press projected Turner as the winner.
    Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!
  •  Repeating my post from right after Mayor Koch died (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, mickT, profewalt, itskevin

    Koch worked the seesaw -- liberal to conservative better than any politician in American history.  Don't think he was a bad mayor, but his third term was a debacle and his last decade in public life was pretty much a cry for attention.

    Ed Koch placed himself at the exact position he needed to be in for the audience in front of him.   He could simultaneously be a reforming liberal on the Upper West Side, and a populist conservative in single-family neighborhoods in the outer boroughs.  

    Basically, he succeeded in the political dance that Mitt Romney crashed and burned while trying.

  •  Not good on gay rights. (7+ / 0-)

    Dragged his feet, dumped his partner to run for mayor, never came out, and wanted as little to do with AIDs treatment, care and prevention as possible.

    Death doesn't absolve him of criticism.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:07:47 PM PST

  •  How about that record on AIDS? There's a tale. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:14:51 PM PST

  •  I liked Koch, and I think he was right... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, K S LaVida point out that he never was some kind of flaming liberal and therefore he never went back on flaming liberalism.  As a national figure his flaw was that he conflated passionate Judaism and passionate defense of Israeli colonialism.  I understand that in the 1970s and 80s this was the norm, but by the 90s and beyond there were plenty of people telling him, and showing by their own example, that it didn't have to be this way.  He ignored them...well, much worse than that, he slandered them.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:30:58 PM PST

    •  Israel is NOT "colonialist" (0+ / 0-)

      If anything it is anti-colonial as Jews had ruled the region prior to the Roman conquest.

      •  This isn't an i/p note but (0+ / 0-)

        really, that's a pretty outlandish claim.  Yes, I'm a Jew myself and I know my ancestors lived there 2000 years ago, and I think we have a right to live there, but a) in the intervening 2000 years, other people moved in, and have a right to stay, and b) we didn't have it all to ourselves even then.

        New York, however, has too much of a connection to the sett'ler movement in occupied Palestine.  Many of the sett'lers are New Yorkers, working class Jews who felt displaced by the increasing African-American population that in the 1970s was moving into previously-Jewish neighborhoods.  Many Jews moved to other city neighborhoods or to suburbs.  Some displaced their anger and racism onto the Palestinians.  So for instance Meyer Kahane, whose Jewish Defense League started in NYC, moved to Israel and his Kach party was in favor of ethnically cleansing the entire Cisjordan of non-Jews.

        Koch wasn't that crazy but he didn't want to alienate that part of his constituency either.

        Ironically, Jews are now displacing African-Americans in places like Bushwick and Bed-Stuy.

    •  And Koch was VERY liberal (0+ / 0-)

      tying George McGovern in one survey for the 98th most liberal member of Congress ever -- out of over 3000.

      •  As a Congressman, yes (0+ / 0-)

        But I think he was referring to his record as mayor.

        Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

        by MrAnon on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 09:34:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I also remember Ed Koch (0+ / 0-)

    as a guy who stabbed Democrats in the back and was a closet case. I liked him when he was mayor...not so much after he was mayor.

    Unapologetic Obama supporter.

    by Red Sox on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 05:53:11 AM PST

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