Wednesday, October 20th | 14 Heshvan 5782

November 6, 2012 1:10 pm

Ed Koch on How Hurricane Sandy Will Affect Today’s Presidential Election (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Part 3)

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Former Mayor Ed Koch. Photo: Ruvi Leider.

A political fixture in New York, former Mayor Ed Koch, now 87 years old, has remarkably created new relevance for himself in recent years through vocal activism on national and local issues, most notably centered around President Obama and his relationship with Israel, which is perceived by many to be hostile. Koch was among the President’s most outspoken critics in the early part of his presidency but has since come round to back the President. In an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner days before today’s presidential election, Mr. Koch addressed a number of pressing issues that are of enhanced interest and concern to Jewish voters.

The interview will be published in five separate parts, divided according to subject. The third installment below, focuses on Hurricane Sandy and the impact of the disaster on today’s presidential election. Part 1 of the interview can be read here, and part 2 can be read here.

AJ: We published your article about your experience during the hurricane, and your evacuation to be with your sister in New Jersey. How is your health at the moment? are you back in the city?

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EK: Well, listen, I’m in my 88th year.  I’ll celebrate my birthday in December coming up.  So I’m subject to the illnesses of old age, and I’ve had a heart attack, I’ve had a stroke, I’ve had an enlarged prostate, I’ve had a quadruple bypass, but other than that I’m in good health.  I go to the office every day.  I stay here from 8:00 till 4:00.  I’m very productive, so I would say that I’ve got good genes from my parents.

AJ:  Okay, so in terms of how things went during the hurricane, are you back? or are you still staying with your sister?

EK: No, I – my apartment is still without electricity.  They expect it to go on tomorrow morning, but I’m staying at The Yale Club, which is a wonderful place.  My law partner is a member there.  He arranged it.

AJ:  So what do you think of the response so far?  Do you think it’s been positive?  We saw some calls coming out from New Jersey today saying things should be faster, they should have more information.

EK: Ah, it’s ridiculous.  Everybody complains.  I think that both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo have done a remarkably good job in showing leadership, in taking early precautions, and based on the ferocity of this hurricane, which we’ve never experienced before, it’s remarkable that we’re doing as well as we are doing.  Con Ed does not want to lose customers or profits.  So it is doing as much as it can; it’s just not easy to do.  Remember that 40, 38 people were killed in New York City as a result of the hurricane, half of them on Staten Island.  So I think that the complainers – and there will always be complainers – are being unfair.

AJ: In the aftermath of Katrina, a lot of people criticized President Bush, in the sense that the response should have been faster and better.

EK: Oh, there’s no question.  What everyone will remember is when President Bush turned to the head of FEMA and said, ‘You’ve done a good job, Brownie.’  Ridiculous.  Brownie did a terrible job.  But I think that Obama and whoever’s in charge of FEMA – I don’t know his name – have done a marvelous job.

AJ:  If some of these voices that are complaining start to get a bit louder, do you think there’s any chance it could harm the president in the election?

EK: No, I believe the president was enriched with more votes as a result of demonstrating the leadership that he demonstrated and in my judgment his vote will be even larger, and he will prevail, he will win.

AJ:  Is it possible that the hurricane secured the election for him, do you think?

EK: Well, I would say it made it more certain.  If you would ask me before the hurricane what the chances of winning were, I would have said no one can predict it and that’s it neck and neck.  Now I feel comfortable in predicting that Obama will win.

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