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Swami Foresees a Banner Year

January 3, 2000

After studying the tea leaves, here are some predictions about what New Yorkers can expect in the year 2000.

January: Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announces that the absence of a New Year's Eve terrorist attack proves he knows more about terrorism than anyone else in government. The mayor adds that the fact there were no computer breakdowns "also indicates I may know as much about computers as anyone in Silicon Valley." At his side, Howard Safir calls the absence of a New Year's Eve terrorist attack "the culmination of my tenure as police commissioner." "The number of deaths the Police Department averted," he adds, "may well have equaled the total homicide reduction during my past 31/2 years." Asked what he is talking about, Safir says, "No comment." February: Giuliani announces the ground-breaking for a laser-shooting, Star Wars-type bubble around One Police Plaza to deflect terrorism. Asked if the construction was prompted by a specific threat, the mayor says, "That's probably the dumbest question I've ever heard." March: The Conflicts of Interest Board announces it is unable to reach a decision on Safir's trip to the Oscars to which the Revlon corporation flew Safir and his wife on its corporate jet, then paid for two nights at a Beverly Hills hotel - estimated cost, $7,000. The board concludes the issue is "too complex" to resolve.

The mayor says the decision "settles the issue once and for all." Safir announces he will now appear as a contestant on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." April: Corrections Commissioner Bernie Kerik becomes the favorite to succeed Safir, who is said to be trying to "soften" his image while negotiating for a job with the security firm Kroll Associates.

Safir's new public-relations expert, Chief Tom Fahey, is overheard trying to interest reporters in a story, with photographs, of Safir handing out Christmas presents to two children whose parents the police rousted from a sidewalk grate.

May: Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information Marilyn Mode denies she is moving to the 14th floor of police headquarters as director of operations.

She acknowledges that negotiations foundered over whether she could bring her dog, Lil, to work there. And she says she refused to pay for a refrigerator in which people could hide their lunches from Lil.

June: Negotiations between Safir and Kroll are said to reach a "climactic stage." Fahey is overheard pitching a story that, over his wife's objections, Safir invited a family from a homeless shelter to his apartment for dinner.

State Supreme Court Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder becomes the favorite to replace Safir. The knock on her is that she officiated at Bill Bratton's wedding.

July: The mayor announces he will conduct a citywide poll to determine whether voters want him to continue as mayor if he is elected to the U.S. Senate. Asked whether the poll is reminiscent of last year's referendum to bar Mark Green from becoming interim mayor, Giuliani says, "You don't have to be a law-school graduate to realize there is no comparison." Standing at Giuliani's side, Safir says he never claimed to have graduated from law school.

August: The results of Giuliani's citywide poll show that New Yorkers, by a margin of 70 to 30 percent, oppose his remaining mayor if he is elected senator. The mayor blames the poll's results on "media jackals" and suggests he might make a change in his public-relations office, bringing Fahey to City Hall.

September: The mayor announces he is considering commissioning a statewide poll to determine whether voters upstate want him to continue as mayor if he is elected senator.

Safir says he will leave the police department for a job in the private sector, which he refuses to identify.

October: Giuliani's protege at the U.S. attorney's office, Benito Romano, becomes the favorite to succeed Safir.

November: Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the race for the Senate.

December: The mayor blames his loss to "vultures in the media," who he says "put out false stories I ever wanted to be a senator." He says he will conduct a poll to determine whether New Yorkers want to revoke the third-term limit ban so that he can remain mayor.

"You don't have to be a law-school graduate to see that the ban is unconstitutional," he says.

Standing at the mayor's side at his last news conference, Safir says, "Anyone who says I ever claimed to have graduated from law school is a liar." First Deputy Commissioner Patrick Kelleher is appointed police commissioner.

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© 2000 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.