The rest of the story
Giuliani Documentary Seeks to Get Beyond Heroic 9/11 Image
By PATRICK HEALY
Published: April 12, 2006
Fairly or not, it was a phrase that came to symbolize an era thick with accusations of police brutality against minorities, artists and other residents of New York City:The Times leaves out the best quotes, but the Daily News doesn't:
Now it is the title of a new documentary about the political life of the mayor who presided over those years — and who, it is safe to assume, would not include the film on his campaign Web site if he were to decide to run for president in 2008.
The two-hour feature is nothing less than a full frontal assault on the civic deification of Rudolph W. Giuliani that occurred in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, when much of the news coverage shined a spotlight on his steady hand. The film is scheduled to have its premiere at the Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side on May 12; the distributor, Cinema Libre Studio, is aiming to release it in cities like Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco as well.
If the film does not take a wrecking ball to Mr. Giuliani's pedestal, it at least serves as a reminder of all the controversy, all the fighting and all the dirty laundry that defined him before the halo effect set in after the terrorist attacks. If nothing else, the filmmakers say they want to define his public image for voters and the news media before he can define himself as a possible presidential candidate — an approach that prompts the former mayor's aides to call the film a hatchet job.
Mr. Giuliani's role in 9/11, for instance, gets about as much time as his war against the squeegee men, those windshield-washing extortionists who seemed to be treated like Public Enemy No. 1 after his election in 1993.
The film also includes anti-Giuliani commentary by two onetime city officials with whom he clashed: William J. Bratton, the former police commissioner, and Rudy Crew, the former schools chancellor. At one point, Mr. Crew describes a voucher program supported by Mr. Giuliani as "racist" and "class biased."
"I wasn't that surprised with him in 9/11 because he was always good in a crisis," said Mr. Polner, whose book, "America's Mayor: the Hidden History of Rudy Giuliani's New York" (Soft Skull Press), was published last year. "When it was quiet in the room or a problem needed finesse, it was almost like he couldn't exist. He almost existed to manage a crisis. But there is far more to him than that."
Pal doesn't begin to describe his relationship with Rudy Crew. At one point, they were inseperable, even smoking cigars together.
For New Yorkers who lived through the Giuliani era, the film offers few revelations: It winds from his Catholic school upbringing to his days as a mob-busting prosecutor and ultimately to his two terms as mayor, with particular focus on the racially charged police shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo.
Perhaps the most startling comments come from former schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, a one-time pal of Giuliani's who emerges as one of his toughest critics.
"There's something very deeply pathological about Rudy's humanity," says Crew, now the Miami-Dade schools superintendent. "He was barren, completely emotionally barren, on the issue of race."
Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton adds his two cents, saying that "the great failing" of Giuliani was his inability "to put himself in [the] shoes" of the city's vast immigrant population.
Village Voice writer Wayne Barrett, a persistent critic of Giuliani's, serves as the movie's chief narrator, with lesser roles filled by Giuliani fans like Myron Magnet of the conservative Manhattan Institute.
The voucher plan was designed to funnel money to the catholic schools, which Crew could not accept. But that wasn't the main fight over the schools. Giuliani wanted control of the schools and Albany wasn't close to giving it to him. So he devised a plan with Edison Schools to take over five failing public schools.
Well, ACORN and the UFT met with the parents and that plan was attacked like it was selling kids to work in sweatshops. The schools picked were minority, and the opposition to Giuliani was minority. So when this came up, what might have been supported was, instead, rejected out of hand. Why? Because Giuliani endorsed it and those people felt he only meant to harm their kids.
Despite the caterwalling of the Post and consrrvatives, these parents simply didn't trust Giuliani to act in their kids best interests.
Giuliani's greates supporters were not conservatives, but white liberals who lived in fear of black crime. They ignored his overt racism for years. This is a mayor who NEVER met with black officials, except in moments of crisis. Bu ignoring Al Sharpton, he made him the single most powerful political figure in New York. When your kid was abused by the police, Sharpton was the go to guy.
A 15 year old black kid was walking home when he was shot by police. He was coming from midnight baketball. Giuliani couldn't wait to attack this kid for being out at night.
When Robert Iler of the Sopranos was arrested for robbery, Giuliani called him "a good kid". An innocent black kid deserved to be shot, but a white robber was a good kid.
What Bratton means that on several occasions, Giuliani sought to humiliate immigrants, from cab drivers to shooting victims.
Patrick Dorsimond, not Amadou Diallo, was the bridge too far. Because Giuliani made a mistake which was a gross violation of New York's social rules. Which is, you never drag the dirt of a working man into the street. Color doesn't matter. If the guy works, you don't try to dirty him up in the papers. Giuliani released Dorismond's juvenile record, which was supposed to be sealed.
Dorismond has been murdered by the police while standing on a midtown corner and refusing to sell an undercover officer pot, which he didn't have. Giuliani then tried to imply that Dorismond, who wanted to be a police officer, was some kind of criminal.
The Haitian community took poorly to this, with some people claiming a Vodoun curse had been placed on him. The Dorsimond funeral erupted into a near riot.
The Giuliani's fortunes spun downhill until 9/11.
You know, if the filmmakers reached out to the blogging community, sent out some DVD's, they could get a lot of promotion.
posted by Steve @ 1:15:00 AM