One of the people Rudy Giuliani was aiming at when he talked to an audience of Jews in Brooklyn about the prospect of crime returning to 1993 levels was David Dinkins. (Dinkins, who was the mayor until the end of 1993, when he lost to Giuliani, hasn’t returned my call for comment.)
Another is Bill Lynch, who was Dinkins’ campaign manager and deputy mayor. He isn’t just upset about what Giuliani said, but also about what Bloomberg hasn’t said.
“What I’m really concerned about is the mayor is silent on this. When he became, when he was elected mayor, back eight years ago, he kind of distanced himself” from this kind of rhetoric, Lynch told me in an interview just now. “And it looks like Giuliani is going back to the old days of racial polarization. And I would like for the mayor to disassociate himself from it.”
Bloomberg appeared to do that this afternoon, although he didn’t explicitly criticize Giuliani or anything that Giuliani said.
Lynch, as deputy mayor, was criticized by opponents for his handling of the Crown Height riots between African-Americans and Orthodox Jews, which contibuted to Dinkins’ loss to Giuliani in 1993.
Lynch said Giuliani’s comments went beyond the bounds of merely promoting one candidate over another.
“What makes him say that it’ll get worse under Billy Thompson? Because he’s a candidate of color?” asked Lynch. “What says that it’ll get worse under Billy Thompson? It surely seemed like it had racial overtones. Why would he say that? He could say ‘my candidate would be better on this issue than your candidate,’ but that’s not Rudy’s m.o.”
When I asked Lynch about Bloomberg invoking Detroit as an example of what could happen to New York, Lynch said, “I don’t understand what he’s saying there. Detroit went the way it did because those great automobile jobs in the city, left.”
Interestingly, Lynch said he didn’t think Giuliani’s comments would help Bloomberg or Thompson.
“I don’t think it helps anybody to have this debate again,” he said.