- The Washington Times - Friday, December 28, 2001

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani yesterday said goodbye to the city he has governed since 1993, urging that a "soaring, beautiful" memorial be built where the World Trade Center once stood.
"This place has to be sanctified," Mr. Giuliani said in a nationally televised 55-minute speech, delivered in a historic Lower Manhattan church, one block east of ground zero, where nearly 3,000 people died in the September 11 terrorist hijackings that toppled the center's twin towers.
"This place has to become a place which, when anybody comes here, they are going to feel the great power and emotion of what it means to become an American," the mayor said near the end of his address at St. Paul's Chapel, four days before he formally hands over power to Mayor-elect Michael R. Bloomberg.
Mr. Giuliani, 57, earned unprecedented respect, acclaim and adulation, and Time magazine's "Person of the Year" award for the courage, leadership and compassion he showed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
Before September 11, the Republican mayor had already won praise from many for drastically cutting crime in New York, cutting welfare rolls, getting the homeless off the streets, refurbishing Times Square and encouraging economic development.
But he also had earned many enemies, especially in minority communities, for his steadfast support for police officers involved in fatal shootings or accusations of brutality.
Mr. Giuliani stressed yesterday in his farewell speech that the 16-acre ground zero site should not be viewed as a "site for economic development."
He said a monument to those who died in the terrorist assault should drive plans for future use of the property.
"We have to create something here that enshrines these people forever. if we do it right millions of people will come then economic development will follow. You can have office space somewhere else," he said.
Mr. Giuliani noted that St. Paul's Chapel, which was consecrated in 1766 and where George Washington prayed after his 1789 inauguration, had "existed for many years in the shadow of the twin towers." When the towers were destroyed in the attack, the chapel remained standing, unscathed. Not one window was broken. "The chapel stands for what it means to be an American," said New York's 107th mayor.
In his speech yesterday, Mr. Giuliani said that when he became mayor of New York, he was determined to take a different approach from his predecessors, even though he knew it would cause "hostility and anger" in some quarters.
"When I became mayor of New York City in 1993, it seemed to me that I had to do something different than other mayors," Mr. Giuliani said. "It seemed I had to totally change the direction and course of New York City."
Changes were necessary, he said, to halt the city's "deterioration." The city saw 2,000 homicides per year. It also had lost 320,000 jobs and the headquarters of many Fortune 500 companies.
A 1993 poll showed that two-thirds of New Yorkers would leave the city if they could afford to do so. "I felt my job as mayor was to turn around the city," Mr. Giuliani said yesterday.
The retiring mayor didn't toss around figures showing how drastically he cut crime in New York, but he could have. Murders fell 50 percent between 1993 and 2000. Rapes dropped 36 percent; robberies plummeted 62 percent; and assaults declined 37 percent during that period.
In the last six months alone, crime was down 7.6 percent, Mr. Giuliani said yesterday. He said a key factor in the improved crime picture has been his administration's refusal to ignore such low-level offenses that affect the quality of life, such as street-level prostitution and drug dealing, panhandling, and graffiti.
Mr. Giuliani said that before he became mayor, New York officials acted as though homeless people had a right to live on the streets. He disagreed and got them off the streets and into programs designed to deal with underlying problems such as mental illness, alcoholism or drug addiction.
Likewise, Mr. Giuliani said, "The idea in this city used to be that people should be encouraged to be on welfare, that you were helping them by putting them on welfare, that somehow you felt better about yourself the more people there were on welfare."
But the Republican mayor said he recognized that "you're not helping anybody by putting them in a state of dependency."
"So we substituted for that the idea that people should work and take care of themselves and that we should do everything we could to help people to work. Encourage them, suggest it to them, and even require it if you have to, in order to keep them in the work force," Mr. Giuliani said.
As a result of his administration's efforts, "there are right now 695,000 fewer people on welfare."
"We'll end the administration with less than 500,000 people on welfare. Last year, we created about 130,000 jobs for them. This year, I hope we're going to do even better than that. And we're already at about 120,000, and we still have a few days to go," the mayor said.
In contrast, he said: "The city used to pick up about 8,000, 9,000 jobs a year for people on welfare and then put 100,000 more people on welfare. We're helping people to help themselves."
What's more, Mr. Giuliani said, he has focused much attention on the need for fiscal discipline by the city government.
"We've worked very, very hard to try to straighten out the budget of the city of New York. When I came into office, we had a $2.3 billion current-year deficit. Right now, the new mayor will take over with what looks to be a surplus of over $1 billion."
Because of New York's term-limit laws, Mr. Giuliani was barred from seeking a third term as mayor. Mr. Bloomberg, a Republican billionaire whom Mr. Giuliani endorsed, will take over as mayor on New Year's Day.
Mr. Giuliani had contemplated a run for the U.S. Senate in 2000 against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. However, he pulled out of the race in May before the Republican primary, citing a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Interviewed Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mr. Giuliani was asked whether he might once again seek elective office.
"Some day. Not right away. I mean I love public service. It's been three-quarters of my life," he said.

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