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Crystal ball's vision of 2002

December 31, 2001

Here are some predictions of what New Yorkers can expect in the year 2002:

January: Sworn in as mayor, Michael Bloomberg praises Rudolph Giuliani as "New York City's greatest visionary."

Asked about Giuliani's vision to create a "soaring" memorial for the World Trade Center instead of redeveloping the site, Bloomberg is overheard telling his communications director, William Cunningham: "You don't have to be a billionaire from Boston to know that New Yorkers' visions begin and end with the buck."

Asked by reporters about Giuliani's vision of building two new baseball stadiums, Bloomberg says, "Rudy may be Time magazine's Person of the Year, but I don't believe New Yorkers want to pay for a stadium for his friend George Steinbrenner."

February: Police Commissioner Ray Kelly ends police protection for Howard Safir, who, since resigning as police commissioner in August 2000, has been guarded by up to a dozen detectives, who serve as his drivers and valets.

In a rare interview, Safir says: "The whole thing was a misunderstanding created by the Intelligence Division. Believe me, I can pick up my own laundry."

March: Former police spokeswoman Marilyn Mode files suit against the city after she is dismissed from her $110,000-a-year job at the Office of Emergency Management. Mode, who never showed up for work after Sept. 11, says in her lawsuit, "I don't see why I can't continue to do what I have always done."

April: A secret Police Department report reveals that crime increased for the first four months of 2002. Kelly says the department must be held accountable and fires his chief of patrol and chief of detectives.

Deputy Commissioner Mike Farrell of the department's Office of Management and Planning releases a study "proving conclusively" that despite the crime rise, New York City remains the safest large city in North America.

May:Saying he "can no longer remain silent about Mike Bloomberg's lack of vision," Giuliani announces an exploratory committee to examine his options. Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki and Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton each wish Rudy "lots of luck."

June: The Rev. Al Sharpton, saying he feels "left out of the city's dialogue," begins hosting a television talk show called "Just Asking, Al." The first show consists of Sharpton apologizing for his actions in the Tawana Brawley case and his having served as a federal informant during the 1980s.

It concludes with him performing The Sharpton Stroll, in which in a surprisingly melodious voice he sings, "Blacks Don't Owe America Nothin'." The New York Times praises the program as "portraying a more politically nuanced Sharpton" and compares his voice to that of Placido Domingo.

July: Bloomberg criticizes the Police Museum, chaired by Safir's wife, Carol, and funded by a grant that Giuliani built into the city's arts budget. Bloomberg says that despite receiving millions in city funds, the museum has attracted only 32 visitors. He is overheard telling Cunningham, "This is another one of Rudy's cockamamie visions."

August: A Time magazine poll reveals that 66 percent of Americans say they would vote for Giuliani over Pataki, Clinton, Schumer and Bloomberg. Another 66 percent say they would vote to abolish all election laws so that Giuliani could run against any of them in 2003. Giuliani says, "Clearly, President Bush and I would make a great team for 2004."

September: As crime continues to rise, Kelly reiterates that the department must be held accountable and fires his chief of department and first deputy. Farrell releases a study "proving conclusively" that despite the crime increase, New York remains the second safest large city in the Western Hemisphere.

October: Reacting to Bloomberg's criticism of its management, Carol Safir fires the Police Museum's executive director and appoints Marilyn Mode. As crime continues to rise, Kelly again stresses accountability and fires Farrell. Farrell issues a final report "proving conclusively" that New York is safer than any large city in Asia, Africa or the Indian subcontinent.

November: President George W. Bush says that to help Rudy gain "international experience" for 2004, he will appoint him ambassador to the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina. Giuliani insists on visiting the place first, then says that while the climate is bracing he will remain in New York City.

December: Giuliani says he has information proving that Bloomberg is a secret Red Sox fan. "Once from Boston, always from Boston," Giuliani says.

Giuliani then appears on "Just Asking, Al" where the two perform The Sharpton Stroll and sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Pataki, Schumer and Clinton telephone the show to congratulate Giuliani on his singing voice.

Bloomberg announces that he will finance the two baseball stadiums out of his own pocket.

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© 2001 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.