- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 8, 2001

NEW YORK Mayor-elect Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that outgoing Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani would be his right-hand man when his new administration takes over in January.
"I will rely on Rudy for advice on virtually everything except my golf game," said Mr. Bloomberg in his first City Hall news conference. Mr. Giuliani stood behind him, smiling. Republican Gov. George E. Pataki also flanked the mayor-elect.
Mr. Bloomberg, 59, who spent more than $50 million of his money on the campaign, did not receive the Republican mayor's endorsement until 10 days before the election, but when it came, the businessman's poll numbers surged 16 points.
Political observers view the mayoral endorsement as the most important factor in Mr. Bloomberg's defeat of the city's Democratic Public Advocate Mark Green on Tuesday. Mr. Giuliani was prevented from seeking a third term by the city's two-term limit.
In the end, an estimated 34 percent of Democrats voted for Mr. Bloomberg, a recent Republican convert, who captured 50 percent of the vote to Mr. Green's 47 percent. Two successive Republican mayors is unprecedented in a city where four in five voters are Democrats.
Mr. Bloomberg, who has never held public office, said "hard choices" will have to be made in rebuilding the city after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, especially because there is less money on hand now.
"You have to remember this is the Big Apple, and we have to have the best facilities," Mr. Bloomberg said when asked about building sports stadiums for the city, a pet project of Mr. Giuliani's.
"We are a city of big projects, of big ideas, of big complexes and of big heart. And while our expense budget may have difficulties, you can't walk away from the fact there are a lot of pressing needs this city has."
The mayor-elect yesterday revealed that he has asked Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to remain in that job and is awaiting his answer. He has also said he won't raise taxes but will freeze hiring and seek to trim expenses to help the cash-strapped city.
During his campaign, Mr. Bloomberg said that if elected he would ask many of the Giuliani staff to stay on under his administration. After meeting with reporters, the two-term mayor took the billionaire media tycoon on a tour of City Hall.
The financial news guru, reputed to have a personal fortune of $4.5 billion, began his first day as mayor-elect visiting Bensonhurst in Brooklyn. It was there he kicked off his campaign on June 5, promising to return, win or lose.
"He walked right up to me and said, 'What is your problem?'" said Anthony Santamaria. "He shook my hand, and I explained everything to him. He sounded very sincere to me, and I told my friends I must vote for him."
In an effort toward political unity, Mr. Bloomberg had breakfast with Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who lost to Mr. Green in the Democratic primary. Mr. Ferrer, who is the city's senior Hispanic official, was stung by reports of racially divisive tactics attributed to the Green campaign. As a result, his support of Mr. Green as the Democratic standard-bearer was barely lukewarm. In the end, more than half of the Hispanic vote, usually a Democratic lock here, went to Mr. Bloomberg.
No community can be taken for granted, Mr. Ferrer told reporters. "No party should take its members for granted. This truly is an awakening for us. … At the end of the day in the privacy of the voting booth when the curtain is closed, they will make their own choices."
Mr. Bloomberg said he made a series of phone calls yesterday to Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Democratic Mayor David Dinkins, and Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel, head of New York's congressional delegation. The mayor-elect's staff is expected to operate in a transition office across from City Hall in downtown Manhattan.
"The operative word is 'seamless,'" Mr. Bloomberg said.


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