Sunday, April 14, 2013

He died recently from heart failure at the age of 88. He is former Mayor of New York City, Mayor Ed. Koch. I have a personal reverence towards the man because without him I probably would have been a very different person in persona and financially. He was the only Mayor who offered full scholarships to higher education to Police Officers and I took that opportunity to apply and get in the top 10 percent eligibility to attend Law School.
Like him I did not grow up wealthy. Both my parents never attended a college and my Mom never graduated high school but chose to have me instead. Ed Koch was born poor in the Bronx and worked his way through college and law school and up through New York City politics. Then he won his first term as Mayor in 1977 the year I was married at 20 years old. The year I was planning to graduate college from a free tuition city college with a degree in Economics.
For the past 2 years I have been heavily involved in touring and researching colleges since I have two kids 15 months apart in age that both need to attend college. I look fondly on the days me and my wife went to college because we did not have to consider the high cost and varied costs of tuition that today’s kids are faced with just to hope for a good career and bright financial future. Times have changed and not for the better for our kids. Ed Koch was a bright light and a good man who saw the importance of offering true benefits to the New York City employee.
In 1977 he inherited the NYC fiscal crisis. Even 5 years later interest rates for mortgages were 17% but you could buy a modest house for 40 grand then. This was before the real estate boom. As Mayor he worked hard to balance the books. He started the clean up of Times Square that was an unsafe place to be. No one brought their families there then since most of the shows there were triple X porn videos. I remember patrolling the streets and subways there not so fondly since I was a cop then.
He was a people’s person who admitted that he really did not like criticism like most of us. He would fight back negative comments and tell people that he and his city were not punching bags. If you hit us , we will hit you back. Koch’s no hold back style won him a lot of supporters and two more terms as Mayor of the city but his handling of race relations and the Aids crisis proved that he was too cold to some citizens of his city.
When he sought his 4Th term in 1989, the voters let him know that they had enough and did not reelect him. He took it hard. If anyone ever said again that he should run again for Mayor, he would say, ”No. The people threw me out and now they should be punished.” He was a funny guy. In the years since his defeat, Koch has kept busy writing books and writing radio commentaries. He even made movie reviews.
Ironically, Ed Koch died on the very day that a new movie documentary on his life by Neil Barsky came out. Somewhere he is still saying his familiar phrase, “How am I doing?” Well, I thought he did great and will always ever be grateful for giving me hope and providing me with a free education all the way up to a Doctorate Degree. I found him to be a great man with a even greater vision for the people of New York City. He must have looked at the new Times Square fondly before his death watching families enjoying the many fun stores and Disney family productions being offered daily there. Some kids don’t even know what XXX video is. Thankfully.

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