- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

NEW YORK Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani suggested yesterday that he was open to remaining in office to help New York recover from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Giuliani also detailed new restrictions yesterday on cars entering Manhattan, citing both security concerns and a need to decrease the traffic jams caused in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Mr. Giuliani, who has been widely praised for his leadership in the wake of the attacks, said at a news conference yesterday he would speak with the three candidates vying to replace him about seeing the city through the crisis "seamlessly."
"A terrible thing happened to us, and we can start to think differently as a result of that, which means we can even conduct our politics differently, or we can go back to the way we used to conduct our politics in the past. Now I think it's a lot better if we try to conduct our politics differently," he said.
"We have a very, very strong sense of unity now, and it's my obligation to maintain it," Mr. Giuliani added.
The 56-year-old mayor declined to give any details of his plan but said it might involve an effort to overturn a law limiting him to two consecutive four-year terms in office.
"That's a possibility," he said. "We might do that, but I'm much more hopeful that we can work out a unified approach."
Mr. Giuliani also said single-occupant cars will be prohibited from all bridges and tunnels leading into midtown and lower Manhattan from 6 a.m. to noon. The measure will be tested beginning today, on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, because "traffic will be lighter and we'll see how it works." The mayor did not say when the ban would end.
It wasn't immediately clear how the ban would be enforced. However, police did say there would be checkpoints at entrances into Manhattan. It also was not clear whether offenders would be fined, ticketed or simply turned away.
Mr. Giuliani said exceptions to the ban would be announced later.
The death toll from the terrorist attacks increased by 13 persons to 300 confirmed dead, 232 of them positively identified. The number of persons missing remained at 6,347.
At a city center yesterday, more than 70 lawyers began helping families apply for death certificates even though their loved ones' remains have not been found. The city and state have taken steps to make it easier for families to collect insurance benefits and workers' compensation, and gain access to dead relatives' bank accounts.
Some families also are receiving grants up to $30,000 from the American Red Cross to help with short-term expenses.
Meanwhile, the two Democrats who ran neck and neck in Tuesday's primary were out campaigning yesterday in preparation for a runoff election Oct. 11 to secure the party's nomination.
Public advocate Mark Green, a longtime liberal foe of Mr. Giuliani, received 34 percent of the vote; Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who had the support of a black and Hispanic coalition, drew 32 percent of the vote.
Mr. Ferrer collected more than half of the black votes, as well as three-quarters of the Hispanic votes.
If he wins the runoff and the general election, he will become the city's first Puerto Rican mayor.
The attack on the World Trade Center interrupted the original primary on Sept. 11, and state officials postponed the election for two weeks a period during which candidates did virtually no campaigning.
In Tuesday's rescheduled race, no Democratic candidate emerged with 40 percent of the vote, thus triggering a runoff.
Most political observers believe that Mr. Green will ultimately capture City Hall, but Mr. Ferrer's strong showing has surprised many pundits.
The support of white voters will be crucial to Mr. Ferrer's chances of winning his party's nomination.
On the stump yesterday, he brushed off observations that he needed to appeal to white voters: "Well, you know, those numbers flip around as well for everybody else," said the Bronx official, "but I got enough certainly to be where I'm at."
City Council member Peter F. Vallone, who lost with 19 percent of the vote, announced yesterday he would support Mr. Ferrer.
This could spell more trouble for Mr. Green, as Mr. Vallone is a Catholic who appeals to white centrist voters.
Yet Mr. Green said he feels confident of victory.
"The goal now is to get 50 percent and, because I have such broad support in all racial, religious and ZIP code communities, I feel confident."
Mr. Vallone was upbeat in defeat. "We didn't let the terrorists stop the election, and I think that's great," he said. "Winning or losing is not as significant as those who lost their lives just so that we could have these kind of elections."
Another major Democratic candidate, City Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, received 13 percent of the vote.
In the Republican race, billionaire media tycoon Michael R. Bloomberg decisively won his party's mayoral nomination by defeating Herman Badillo, 64 percent to 21 percent.
Write-in votes accounted for 15 percent of the vote, and many were presumably cast for Mr. Giuliani.
Yet Mr. Giuliani made it clear yesterday that he wanted to consult the remaining candidates and forge a consensus before making any decision on his political future.
"We don't know which one of them is going to be the mayor, so I'm going to present them with a proposal that I think will help unify the city," Mr. Giuliani said.
He said his goal was to "get us into a position where the city is safe, the city is secure and everything is handled seamlessly."
He said he had met "some but not all" of the candidates and refused to elaborate on his plans until he had done so.
Mr. Giuliani edged closer to a possible candidacy in an interview with CBS News last night.
"I am open to the idea of doing it," he said.
In order for Mr. Giuliani to run, the city council and the state legislature would have to overturn the term-limits legislation that restricts him to two terms. He could also seek to extend his term beyond Dec. 31.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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