Ed Koch was the 105th Mayor of New York City, serving 3 terms, from 1978 to 1989. During his time as Mayor, Koch oversaw the city’s resurgence from a severe recession, helped to develop low-income housing, and created legislation that prohibited discrimination by the government based on sexual orientation in the areas of employment, housing and education, among many other achievements. The author of 8 books, including “Citizen Koch” and “My Fight Against Anti-Semitism,” he hosts a show on Bloomberg Radio, was recently a judge for “The People’s Court,“ and writes columns for a variety of publications. Born in the Bronx, Koch achieved the rank of Sergeant while fighting in World War II, before completing his law degree at NYU. He lives in Manhattan.
Question: Are there any trends in politics now that disturb you?
Ed Koch: Things have changed. When I was in the Congress, I would have dinner every night because I didn't have a family and there were other members of the Congress who didn't have their families there. And we went out and had dinner. Today, I'm told, it's a rarity to have people who are of different parties, that is to say, Democrats having dinner with Republicans and visa versa. And that's bad. That's very, very bad. I mean the idea that politics have taken such hold that it bars friendships.
Question: Is the current recession worse than the one that hit New York in the 1970s?
Ed Koch: Well, I think it's worse today than it was then and the reasons are very simple. We were then the only city asking for special help that I can recall from the Congress, from the state legislature. Whereas today, almost every city in America has the financial problems that we do on a lesser scale, and some may be on a higher scale. So, I believe that the current Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, is doing a magnificent job, and has problems that are greater than mine.