Only 1,325 days to go. Oh, man. Only 1,325 days until I can go on a real vacation again.
This being-Mayor thing has been one major eye-opener. I never realized how sick and twisted City Hall really is. I’m worth $4 billion. I just finished paneling my house in Bermuda with cedar, and I can’t even go there. All these monies, and I can’t even play golf without worrying about whether that guy from the Post , David Seifman, will put my face on a milk carton. Oh, come on! That guy was working in Room 9 back when I was getting fired from Salomon Brothers. Amazing. We’ll just have to find ways to get through it.
Going forward, we’ll get the hang of the place. Let’s start with the reporters. They’re a desperate bunch. Tortured. They want something from me. Every day. What is it? They want me to say something. They live or die on that. How can they stand it? If I say something, they get all excited.
Anyways, I paid the downstairs reporters a visit the other day. Dropped into Room 4A, the basement dungeon. There were three poor bastards down there who looked like chained-up junkyard dogs. One of them, Jan Danison-or is it Dan Janison?-likes dredging up quotes from my past. Let’s get serious. The three were gnawing on something-something I had said, probably. I mentioned something about moving them to nicer quarters. They immediately started babbling questions. Ah, let ’em rot!
Of course, these guys are useful, as my guy Bill Cunningham loves to point out. All that stuff they write about me being non-ideological, pragmatic, a C.E.O. of City Hall-very helpful. It makes anyone who challenges my budget into a crazy lefty. And the tabloids have been giving big play to the nutty, renegade Council members-very, very useful. They come off as a bunch of irresponsible wackos.
Anyways, I like Cunningham. He gets to say and do all the things I wish I could do. The reporters like him because he pushes them around. Bunch of masochists. The next time I throw a “seven deadly sins” party, I’m gonna throw the hacks all into a room where they’ll get worked over by a seven-foot-tall transvestite. They’ll like that. Cunningham isn’t tall enough for the job, though. We’ll find someone else.
Then there’s Rudy. What do I have to do to get him to leave me alone? I let him get away with hijacking his Mayoral papers. My guy at Merrill Lynch, a big business partner of mine, gave him a fat consulting contract.
I’m starting to think Rudy wants me to tank. I heard he was pissed off about all my good press. It won’t last if he has his way. He’s got his guys in position. His man Richard Schwartz is editorial-page editor at the Daily News , and his guy Tony Coles is writing op-eds for the Post about how crime is getting out of control. My guys tell me that Rudy’s people are laying a trap for me. They say that Rudy’s guys are playing up crime even as the numbers drop, because they want us to launch a new crackdown. That would make the crime spike real in the minds of the public. Very clever. We won’t take the bait.
I can’t blame Rudy for being angry, though. He’s been pretty useful himself. His endorsement handed me City Hall-and what did we do when we took over? We made a bunch of gestures to make us look nicer than Rudy. Pretty neat trick, if you ask me. Shake hands with Al Sharpton, throw a few fish tanks into City Hall, let the commissioners wander the lobby-and presto, a “new openness” at City Hall! Now the Democrats are about to hand me control of the schools.
My guys were pissed the other day when Rudy got a lot of publicity on the six-month anniversary of Sept. 11. Maybe they’re worried that people will miss Rudy’s 24/7 shtick. Maybe there’s a downside to all this delegating. Rudy’s guys are already whispering that I’m not taking charge on safety. One of them even wrote the other day that a Mayor has to command the pulpit. They’ve got their plan: They’re setting me up to tank if crime does go up or if there’s another terrorist attack.
But let’s get real. The Mayor’s job should just be to run things. If I had my way, I’d let Marc Shaw take charge sometimes, except that he’d move my bullpen to the City Hall steps so that he could smoke his cigars while working. I think people who smoke are crazy. Smoking kills. Maybe I’ll tax cigars. Get Shaw to do more work.
Terry Golway will return to this space soon .