"Giuliani Time" Explodes Myth

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Since former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani has declared his candidacy for President of the United States, Americans may want to pay attention to the soon-to-be-released chilling documentary, “Giuliani Time.�

Filmmaker Kevin Keating examines Giuliani’s rise to power, his policies and his so-called turnaround of New York City – followed by his plummet in popularity to the point where he was pretty much a laughing stock and many people couldn’t wait to be rid of him.

Then came 9/11. In the notable absence of President Bush, the spotlight fell on Giuliani. By simply behaving like any normal human being and mayor would have under the circumstances, Giuliani was catapulted into the status of international hero. He went on to be Time magazine’s Person of the Year, to receive a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II, and much more.

But what are the true facts about “America’s Mayor� before his elevation to secular sainthood? That’s what this movie lays bare. As “Giuliani Time� delineates, during the peak years of the late 1990s, the “new� New York City, flush with prosperity from the then-booming dot.com economy, was praised as the model of a new urban paradigm --a gleaming, moneyed, safe metropolis.

This perception was largely due to high-profile policies like “quality of life� policing, “workfare� and welfare reform that were watched and emulated by cities all over the world, from London to Mexico City.

But evidence from federal, state, and local investigations, along with first-person accounts from communities throughout the City, told a very different story. According to many, Giuliani’s brand of politics racially polarized and divided New York City and, during what was economically the best of times, did nothing to alleviate poverty and even exacerbated the disparity between rich and poor.

Credit for the “miraculous� reduction in crime, his most lauded success, is still under debate. After all, serious crime had already fallen by 16% during the last three years of the David Dinkins administration, and violent crime was 27% lower nationwide in 1998 than in 1993 when Giuliani first took office.

As the film also makes clear, the long-term consequences of policing strategies like “stop and frisk,� “zero tolerance� and “broken windows� have come under intense criticism. Giuliani’s record on the First Amendment was disastrous, as was his use and abuse of governmental power. In addition, New York City became the site for a reversal of many progressive social and economic programs that flourished during the 1960s and 1970s.

“Giuliani Time� features some very revealing comments from people who were once part of the Giuliani team. For example, Former Police Commissioner William Bratton states, “In a minority-majority city, immigrants just don’t trust the mayor because he’s unable to put himself in their shoes.� Former Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew declares: “There’s something very deeply pathological about Rudy’s humanity. He was barren, completely emotionally barren on the issue of race.�

The truth of these statements is born out by the sight of Giuliani on his weekly radio show berating Margarita Rosario, a Puerto Rican housewife, after her son and nephew were brutally murdered by two police officers who pumped 28 bullets into them as they lay face down on the floor. Giuliani doesn’t even pretend to show any sympathy for her loss but callously lectures Mrs. Rosario on what a bad mother she must have been.

At a pre-screening at Union Theological Seminary, which was sponsored by the Poverty Initiative, Picture the Homeless, and the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Rosario spoke about her feelings in viewing the film. “Seeing his face up there was like a nightmare,� she commented. “Giuliani should not be President of the United States. We were in trouble in the 1990s, but can you imagine the trouble we’ll be in if this man becomes President? It is very scary, and he must be stopped.�

The film’s director, Keating, brought to it 25 years of extensive experience as a Director of Photography covering the full range of filmmaking from features, broadcast news and television specials, to educational, industrial projects, and many documentaries. “Giuliani Time� is his debut as a director of a major feature documentary.

For more information about the film, visit www.giulianitime.com


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