You’ve got to hand it to Hillary Clinton. Whatever else may have come between her and her husband over the years, she shares with him a special talent for finding money in places before other politicians discover them. A few years back, Bill Clinton tapped into the Indonesian money tree and managed to raise millions from that corrupt nation, whose business leadership consists of cronies of government officials. Then he ran a blatant White House toll booth for Chinese business leaders seeking to enter U.S. markets. Now Hillary has shown that she is a gifted student of her husband’s: She found out that there is a Pakistani money tree in New York, and it appears her husband has no shame about using his elected office to shake that tree so that money falls into his wife’s lap.
The facts are as follows: Pakistan had been eager for Mr. Clinton to drop in on that dictatorship of a nation during his current trip to India. It is hardly a casual stopover: With India and Pakistan flexing their nuclear muscle, India, the world’s most populous democracy, would be sure to view any nod to Pakistan, which has been ruled by a military junta since a coup last October, as a betrayal. The Clinton Administration was noncommittal about such a visit. But on Feb. 22, reports The New York Times ‘ Raymond Bonner, New York-area Pakistani-Americans held a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton on Staten Island, with the stated intention of getting her husband to add Pakistan to his itinerary. When the organizers of the fund-raiser first contacted Mrs. Clinton, they were told she would not show up for less than $50,000. They came up with the cash, and the First Lady came to dinner, which just happened to also be attended by Lanny Davis, special counsel to Mr. Clinton during the 1996 fund-raising scandals and currently a lobbyist for Pakistan. Mrs. Clinton told the group that she certainly hoped the President would include Pakistan in his trip. A week or so later, the White House announced that the President would, in fact, be stopping in Pakistan.
There’s a familiar smell here. Mrs. Clinton is importing her husband’s unprecedented willingness to do favors in exchange for donations from foreign business people to the Senate race. Indeed, it’s been quite a month for Hillary chutzpah. Recently, she added to her “identity” as a part-Jewish, Yankees-cheering New Yorker by telling gay groups, who asked why she was marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, “I have worked very hard over the last six years or so in every way I could to further the peace process in Northern Ireland.” So now Hillary says she was the secret hand behind the Northern Ireland peace process. Who knew?
Regrettably, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been tone-deaf and defensive in his handling of the latest fatal police shooting of an unarmed citizen. The Mayor would have been well advised to follow his original advice to avoid jumping to any conclusions. By focusing on Patrick Dorismond’s criminal past, the Mayor played into the hands of Hillary Clinton and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who are, true to form, exploiting the shooting for their own purposes.
The Mayor’s reaction was all the more dismaying because he does have a powerful case to make. Namely, that while 11 civilians were killed by police officers last year, 41 were shot and killed in 1990, when David Dinkins occupied City Hall. There were few protests during the Dinkins years, when the police were far more trigger-happy. Mr. Giuliani ought to talk about these numbers, rather than cast doubt on the character of the latest victim. Whatever Dorismond’s past, he certainly didn’t deserve to die.
Mr. Giuliani has not attempted to assuage fears that the police are too aggressive with members of minority groups. By releasing Dorismond’s criminal records, which contained nothing major, the Mayor seemed to be suggesting that the young man got what he deserved. Surely, the Mayor doesn’t believe that.
Similarly, the Mayor should not simply dismiss legitimate concerns about the training of the city’s vastly expanded police force, particularly the tactics of plainclothes officers. Simply put, New Yorkers should not be subjected to police harassment as they go about their daily lives.
The Police Department has won unprecedented victories in recent years. Neighborhoods across the board are profoundly safer than they were before Mr. Giuliani took office. But the department’s image will be tarnished if legitimate concerns are dismissed.
Who Is Mayor Rudy Mincarelli in a New Thriller?
At this time of year, as colleges send out their feverishly awaited acceptance and rejection letters, it’s worth casting a look at a program that has proven tremendously successful in helping students in more than 800 New York City public schools achieve an education that would otherwise be denied them. New Visions for Public Schools is an organization that serves as a shining bridge between the private sector and the city’s public school system. From creating small schools to refurbishing school libraries to organizing college fairs, New Visions is particularly attentive to the needs of lower-income students. High-tech is a big focus: Schools have been given new computer systems, and 400 middle-school math teachers are currently taking part in an intensive training program.
New Visions demonstrates that small, innovative schools can work in New York, provided they are free of the heavy hand of the city’s Board of Education bureaucracy. Of the small schools that the program has opened, 85 percent of graduating students are going on to college this year, several with scholarships to schools such as Wesleyan, Sarah Lawrence and Bard. One New Visions student, Liz Murray, who was left homeless after her mother died, is attending Harvard this fall. Readers interested in New Visions may call 645-5110.