In the early 1990s, Time Magazine dubbed New York City the "Rotting Apple." But something amazing happened during the Giuliani administration. We reduced major crime in New York City by more than 50 percent and murders by a whopping 66 percent. He cut taxes, he cut spending, and cut government waste. As the quality of life improved in New York City, so did the local economy. The private sector created more than 420,000 new jobs. New Yorkers were proud of their city again, tourists flocked back to the Big Apple, and the local population grew. By 2000, Time Magazine had a new story to tell about New York City, featuring a vibrant Times Square on the cover of the issue that marked the new millennium. And in 2001, Rudy was on the cover of Time Magazine, having been named "Man of the Year” for his strong leadership in times of crisis.
One incident sticks out in my mind from that period that few people outside of New York heard much about but that really illustrates the character and conviction of Rudy Giuliani as a great leader. When he became Mayor, he resolved to clean up New York's infamous Fulton Fish Market. The Mafia openly and notoriously controlled that huge market for decades, shaking down truckers, wholesalers and customers at every turn, yet past Mayors considered the problems there too intractable to tackle. Not Rudy Giuliani. I was tasked to be his point person on the project, and we developed a comprehensive plan to kick the Mob out of that billion-dollar market, and install new clean businesses to unload and load the fish there. Organized crime didn't go quietly, though.
First, mobsters torched the oldest building in the market in a classic arson fire to try to intimidate the Giuliani administration into backing off. Instead, Rudy got the market reopened the very next day, despite that devastating fire. Then, the first night that these reforms were implemented, the Mob orchestrated a wildcat workers' strike that paralyzed the market and threatened to derail the reform effort. So how did Rudy Giuliani respond? He held a press conference the very next morning and issued an ultimatum to the striking workers: go back to work that night, or else the City would shut down the market altogether and reconstitute it later with clean businesses and workers prepared to support the reforms. And guess what happened that night? The market reopened without incident, and the Mob's vice grip over that important commercial center was finally broken.
Rudy's the same man today: courageous, creative and committed to doing the right thing. He's the same man who stood up to the Mafia and won, who made New York the safest large city in America, who tackled a bloated bureaucracy, reduced spending, and cut taxes, who got people off of welfare and back to work, and who proved that a supposedly ungovernable city could be governed and changed for the better. And if Rudy could do all that in what many say is the second toughest job in America, imagine what he will do as President.
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