Spare us the outrage over Adams being like Giuliani on crime

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The usual suspects say darkly that Mayor Eric Adams is Rudy Giuliani in disguise, and it is to laugh. Really, New York City should be so lucky.

The city’s progressive cabal and the usual media claque claim the rookie mayor’s unfolding public-safety policies amount to warmed-over Giuliani-era jackbootery that reinforces past failures and fuels present anger.

Oh? Which failures — and, really, what anger?

It seems that eight years of de Blasio dystopia isn’t enough for some people. They need a steady diet of preventable public disorder to be happy — and they mean to do everything they can to gin it up.

This explains the otherwise mystifying opposition to Adams’ ongoing cleanup of 250 or so vagrant villages around the five boroughs — filthy, rat-plagued disease vectors fashioned from cardboard and stolen plastic sheeting. Truly, people of conscience wouldn’t wish them on their worst enemies.

They were endemic when Giuliani became mayor in 1994 — but more or less disappeared shortly thereafter. There’s no mystery about what happened: Mayoral determination to be rid of them, combined with the introduction of humane and very expensive social-services alternatives, largely did the job.

It remains to be seen whether Adams can replicate that success — he’s certainly sailing into strong headwinds — but there doesn’t seem to be much doubt about one thing: He’s as morally offended by the hovels as Giuliani was a generation ago. And he seems determined to do something about them.

Cue the blowback.

An NYPD officer speaks to a homeless man while authorities clear out a large campement site near Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan on April 6, 2022.
An NYPD officer speaks to a homeless man while authorities clear out a large campement site near Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan on April 6, 2022.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

“Mayor Adams has launched an offensive against New York City’s most vulnerable,” proclaimed the City Council’s progressive caucus. “This makes clear the mayor’s intention to return to the failed broken windows policies of the 1990s.”

“Back to the Giuliani era,” proclaimed one media headline. “Adams’ order to clear homeless camps ignites fury in New York.”

Yet the only fury placed in evidence in the accompanying story came from the council’s progressives and their allies, so the opposition to the mayor’s street cleanup seems — at best — to be circular.

Certainly polls show that New Yorkers in general aren’t the least bit angry with Adams’ efforts — quite the contrary. They’re terrified of crime, they hate disorder and they stand behind the mayor.

Memorial service for Juana Esperanza Soriano De-Perdomo, 61, who was shot and killed at 164 East 188 Street at Maysaa Fordham Deli in the Bronx, while walking in front of the deli on April 4 at 7:07pm.The makeshift memorial service was held on April 5, 2022.
Juana Esperanza Soriano De-Perdomo, 61-years-old, was shot and killed by a stray bullet outside the Maysaa Fordham Deli in the Bronx on April 4, 2022.
Kevin C. Downs

As for the claim that Adams is embracing “failed broken windows policies of the 1990s,” well, one can only hope. As public-safety policies go, they certainly got the job done: By now it’s a cliché, but New York truly did become America’s safest big city, and it remained so until everything began to unravel during the benighted de Blasio years.

There’s no disputing that Giuliani’s approach to public safety was forceful. But there were nearly 2,000 murders a year back then; crime was out of control and the city’s public spaces were overrun by addicts and the insane. Tough times called for tough policies.

Today’s challenges aren’t quite so daunting — not yet, anyway — but the trend lines are frightening and the institutional impediments to recovery are substantial.

There is the matter of Adams’ commitment and staying power. Yes, he ran on a pro-public-safety platform, and he says a lot of the right things. But some of his policies can best be described as half-measures — his anti-gun initiative comes to mind — and he’s given to walking back controversial statements. (One day he’s for quality-of-life policing, and the next maybe not so much.)

A true test of the man will come, inevitably, with his first violent police-public crisis. Until then, let’s just say that Eric Adams is an institutionally lonely man climbing a very tall mountain.

There is, for example, the City Council. Back in the day, the council comprised a couple of inspired leaders and a gaggle of amiable hacks — that is, it rarely got in the way.

Today the council is riddled with progressive termite tunnels; it seems truly dedicated to making matters worse — case in point being its idiotic objections to Adams’ vagrant crackdown.

Members of the New York Assembly work during a legislative session in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol, Monday, April 4, 2022, in Albany, N.Y.
New York’s failed bail reforms could be rolled back with the upcoming state budget.
AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Ditto the Albany establishment, well known for fueling New York’s current street-crime crisis with ill-considered penal-code “reforms.” Whether the modest rollbacks of those changes reported to be part of a pending state budget settlement will be sufficient is unclear — but probably not. Adams really shouldn’t hold his breath waiting to find out.

Now it becomes a matter of how willing New Yorkers are to share their public spaces with addicts and crazy people — and their streets with violent criminals.

They’ll have some say in the matter in the June 28 primary and again in November; until then, probably the best they can do is offer comfort and support to their new mayor.

He’s not Rudy Giuliani, but he’s headed in the right direction, and it’s hard to ask for more than that.

Email: bob@bobmcmanus.nyc



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