A Prince of the City

At the age of 85, Ed Koch has a passion for politics and civic life that’s as vibrant as it was during his three memorable terms as mayor. Mr. Koch told this newspaper last week that he plans to keep working until he dies. We’re happy to hold him to that promise.

Mr. Koch has become a one-person crusader for authentic and absolutely practical reform in Albany. In this election year, he is traveling the state on behalf of common-sense solutions like an end to partisan gerrymandering, which both parties now practice and which basically serves as protection for incumbents of both parties. There’s a reason why state legislators are reelected with percentages that recall elections in the old Soviet Union. The system is rigged in favor of sitting officeholders, because they basically draw their own district lines.

That’s just one of several changes Mr. Koch is advocating. And in typical Koch style, the man is nothing if not blunt: He is keeping score and is more than happy to identify the heroes of reform, and the enemies of reform. Among those enemies are some of Mr. Koch’s fellow Democrats in the Legislature. They see change as a threat to their power. They are not wrong, and that is precisely the point.

Mr. Koch explained to The Observer that he was waiting for somebody to take the lead on behalf of change, but when nobody stepped forward despite a clear consensus that change was necessary, he nominated himself to take charge.

The man is a marvel. Long life to him.