Kelly favors the long shot
October 22, 2001
Ray Kelly has become the third former police commissioner to back a mayoral candidate.
Less than a week after Mark Green nosed out Fernando Ferrer in the Democratic primary, Kelly endorsed Mike Bloomberg, the Republican.
Green's most visible police supporter, of course, has been Kelly's successor - and rival - Bill Bratton.
Far less visible - in fact, invisible - has been Green's first police commissioner backer, the octogenarian Patrick V. Murphy, who is remembered as having implemented the anti-corruption reforms of the Knapp Commission of the early 1970s.
Murphy lasted but a day with Green. When Green introduced him at a news conference at John Jay College earlier this year, Murphy made the mistake of saying, in response to a reporter's question, that he would reinstate the four officers who fatally shot Amadou Diallo but would send them to Staten Island.
Green immediately disassociated himself from Murphy's remarks. Murphy has not been seen with Green since.
Kelly, meanwhile, who has been advising the Bloomberg campaign on police matters, made no mention in his endorsement of Bloomberg's police positions.
Rather, Kelly, who since the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center has been unable to return to his home in Battery Park City, seemed to be endorsing the billionaire financier for the position of the city's economic developer.
"The overriding issue in this election is the health of our economy, and there is no question that New York City needs Mike Bloomberg to prevent an economic catastrophe," Kelly said.
So why did Kelly, who weighs his every public utterance, endorse someone considered a long shot at best? Former police colleagues suggested two reasons. First, is his lingering resentment of Bratton, whom Kelly feels stole his job by lobbying Giuliani and who because of his support for Green may return as police commissioner.
"I think you are seeing something very personal," a former deputy police commissioner said of Kelly's motives.
A second reason may be suggested by Bloomberg's announcement that he and Kelly would "double-team" current Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to remain for the sake of "continuity."
While Kerik indicated earlier this year that he was amenable to serving under the next mayor, he has subsequently said he would turn down the job out of "loyalty" to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who appointed him.
Nor did Kerik show any sign of altering that position last week."
In an interview, he said only that Bloomberg's offer was "flattering.
But if it's continuity he and Bloomberg want, why not Kelly's friend of 30 years, First Deputy Commissioner Joe Dunne?
Many feel Dunne is far more qualified to run the department than Kerik, whose most salient credential was that he served as Giuliani's driver during the 1993 mayoral campaign.
Perhaps Bloomberg and Kelly have known all along Kerik will not stay.
Bloomberg can then turn to Kelly.
Long regarded as the department's top tactician, the Dark Prince agreed to a six-figure salary, although police sources say he would have taken the job for free. In fact, the sources say, after the World Trade Center attack, Anemone made such an offer to the Police Department, which turned him down.
Weinshall, the wife of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, said the decision would be made by "the next mayor."
As she uttered those words, the mayor turned away, his jaw set, granite-like. Through a spokesman, Weinshall said she didn't notice the mayor's expression and noted he was supportive of her at a next day's meeting. Let's see the next time she appears with him on television.
On the morning of Sept. 11, Matarazzo had just come through the Brooklyn Battery tunnel when he saw smoke pouring from the World Trade Center. He parked his car, walked to the PBA office on Fulton Street, changed into work clothes and spent the next three weeks at Ground Zero, passing out sandwiches, coffee and saline solution for people's eyes.
Unseen at any police funeral: Former police commissioner Howard Safir. Safir did attend the funeral of Fire Department Chief Peter Ganci.
When reporters tried to speak to Safir, they were stopped by his police detail, which Giuliani and Kerik allow him to maintain more than a year after he retired.
© 2001 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.