Former mayors have been playing a big role in New York City’s current mayoral race. During the first debate, Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio called out former Republican mayor Rudy Guiliani for being “divisive”. Republican candidate Joe Lhota shot back, blaming Guiliani’s predecessor and former Democratic mayor David Dinkins for crime rates “never seen before” in this city.
MetroFocus sat down with David Dinkins to set the record straight and to discuss his new book, “A Mayor’s Life: Governing New York’s Gorgeous Mosaic”.
“I suppose he’s a candidate and he’s going to say what he thinks he needs to say to achieve success,” Dinkins said about Lhota’s attacks. “The truth is that crime started to go down as early as ’91.” But he added, “As Ed [Koch] used to say himself, if you’re mayor and a sparrow falls in Central Park, it’s your fault.”
But Mayor Dinkins acknowledged that the Crown Heights riots of August 1991, a three-day riot in Brooklyn that would violently pit the African-American and Orthodox Jewish communities against each other, was one of his biggest failures as mayor. “My mistake was I should have sooner said to the police brass, as I did ultimately, ‘What you’re doing isn’t working dammit’,” Dinkins said, “‘Let’s get it done.'”
MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman asked Dinkins about his thoughts on candidate Bill de Blasio, who worked for the former mayor during his administration. “I’m confident that he knows that, among other things, what he must do is surround himself with bright, honest, young people who will get the job done.”