Friday, February 01, 2013

Ed Koch Passes Away!

Controversial figure Ed Koch died.

The former mayor of New York who brought the city from the brink of bankruptcy! At times the often controversial Ed Koch perhaps best known for his over the top rhetoric and his colorful personality died Friday.

Edward Irving "Ed" Koch (pron.: /ˈkɒtʃ/; December 12, 1924 – February 1, 2013) was an American lawyer, politician, political commentator, movie critic and television reality show judge. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977 and three terms as mayor of New York City, which he led from fiscal insolvency to economic boom from 1978 to 1989.

Koch was a lifelong Democrat who described himself as a "liberal with sanity". The author of an ambitious public housing renewal program in his later years as mayor, he began by cutting spending and taxes and cutting 7,000 from the city payroll after the expansive Lindsay and Beame administrations. As a congressman and after his terms as mayor he was a hawkish supporter of Israel. He crossed party lines to endorse Rudy Giuliani for mayor in 1993, Michael Bloomberg in 2001, and George W. Bush in 2004.

A popular figure, he rode the New York City subways and stood at street corners greeting passersby with the slogan "How'm I doin'?" His private life was enigmatic, with speculation about his sexuality, which he rebuffed as nobody's business but his own, no children, and no known romantic relationships. He won re-election with 75%, the first New York mayor to win endorsement on both the Democratic and Republican party tickets. He won his second re-election with 78% of the vote. His third term was fraught with scandal regarding political associates, although it never touched him personally, and with racial tensions including the murder of Yusuf Hawkins a month before a fourth primary which he lost in a close race to New York City's first black mayor, David Dinkins.

In political retirement he was a radio show host, author, and political gadfly. He also became known as a judge on the television judge show The People's Court from 1997 to 1999. He died on February 1, 2013 of congestive heart failure.

Koch led New York through some tough times. With the platform of changing New York from "smut" to "friendly", Koch managed to win over three terms as the city mayor.

Koch endorsed many politicians who supported the Jewish state of Israel. Whether they were Democrat or Republican, Koch knew who to vote for in the best interest of the Israel. He wasn't a huge fan of Jesse Jackson. The former mayor Koch became a controversial figure in the 1988 presidential campaign with his public criticism of then Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, who had surprised many political observers by winning key primaries in March and running even with the front runner, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. As the April New York primary approached, Koch reminded voters of Jackson’s alleged anti-semitism and said that Jews would be "crazy" to vote for Jackson. Koch endorsed Tennessee Senator Al Gore, who had run well in his native south, but hadn't won 20% in a northern state.

Koch continued to be a colorful figure after being a mayor of the largest city in the nation. The former mayor went on to start a law firm. He went on to become the successor to Joseph Wapner on the American judicial reality show The People's Court. He also wrote books for children. Koch wrote as a film and music critic.

Koch had appeared as a commentator on Fox News and became somewhat critical of the Democratic Party. In a response to controversial movie director Michael Moore's blockbuster movie Fahrenheit 9/11, the former mayor hit back claiming that Moore was "off his rocker". Koch was quoted  saying Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11, "It's not a documentary, it's a lie." He appeared in the documentary FahrenHYPE 9/11 defending President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and blasting Michael Moore.

Koch often wrote in defense of Israel and, also, against anti-Semitism. He was a contributor to Newsmax, a conservative magazine.

Many of his critics thought that Koch was gay! Although he denied he was gay, Koch was a lifelong bachelor, and his sexual orientation became an issue in the 1977 mayoral election with the appearance of placards and posters (disavowed by the Cuomo campaign) with the slogan "Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo." Koch denounced the attack. During the campaign and after becoming mayor, Koch began attending public events with former Miss America, well-known television game show panelist and consumer advocate Bess Myerson.

Many New Yorkers send their condolences to Koch and it's seems to President Barack Obama took an opportunity to praise the former mayor.

President Barack Obama is praising former New York Mayor Ed Koch as an "extraordinary mayor, irrepressible character, and quintessential New Yorker."

Obama said Koch took office when New York was in a fiscal crisis and helped the city's economic revival. He applauded Koch's energy and force of personality. He took note of Koch commitment to causes, including Israel's security.

The topic of Israel created a rift between the president and Koch during Obama's first term, a rift that Koch said was patched after the president came out in a U.N. speech against the Palestinians' bid for statehood.

Obama said he and first lady Michelle Obama send prayers to Koch's loved ones "and to the city that survives him."

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