Mayors Bloomberg, Koch Clash Over Wall Street Protests

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — In a clash of New York City mayors past and present, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Ed Koch took opposing sides at a panel discussion Tuesday over the Occupy Wall Street protests. While Bloomberg came to the defense of banks, Koch angrily called for criminal prosecutions of corporate executives.

“It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress,” said Bloomberg, himself a former executive of a financial information company, at the event for business leaders.

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Koch responded by noting that major banks have been fined hundreds of millions of dollars.

“What do you think they got fined for? Schmutz on the sidewalk?” he asked, using the Yiddish term for dirt.

Calling himself enormously angry, Koch called for the criminal prosecution of a CEO or CFO of a major corporation.

“They beggared the people in this country,” he said. “There’s something wrong with a kid who steals a bike going to jail, and someone who steals millions paying a fine.”

Bloomberg dismissed the downtown encampment now entering its seventh week on the footstep of Wall Street, saying “it’s fun and it’s cathartic” to complain, “but it doesn’t do anything for the future.”

“Catharsis is good,” Koch responded.

Former Mayor David Dinkins, also on the panel, stayed out of the discussion of the protests, saying that he would leave it to the experts to debate fiscal matters.

Despite any disagreements, the tone of the discussion moderated by PBS host Charlie Rose remained genial, with the three mayors reminiscing about the highs and lows of their terms.

Bloomberg, in the midst of a rough third term in which his poll numbers have dipped, said that he’s not as inured to the public’s opinion of him as he might seem.

“You just have to keep a straight upper lip and never let anybody know that they’re getting to you,” he said. “Does the criticism hurt? Of course it hurts.”

Still, while many have speculated that the mayor might now regret his ardent bid for a third term, Bloomberg said he still thrills at the chance to walk into City Hall.

“I love every single day getting up, even though you’re going to get beaten up,” he said. “The greater the challenge that day, the more the adrenaline goes and the more you look forward to getting in there.”

Asked about his proudest accomplishments as mayor, Bloomberg cited his takeover of the school system, the rise in life expectancy among city residents and the diversification of the city’s economy. He said his biggest failure was his inability to get state passage of his congestion pricing plan to charge people to drive in Manhattan, in an effort to improve the city’s transit system.

Dinkins, who served from 1990 to 1993, said his biggest disappointment as mayor was his failure to stop the 1991 Crown Heights riots after the death of a 7-year-old black boy in an auto accident involving a motorcade of a Jewish religious leaders. A Jewish man was stabbed to death in retaliation, and days of rioting on both sides followed.

He said he was proudest of keeping the city’s libraries open six days a week despite budget shortages, keeping the U.S. Open tennis championship in New York, passing public safety programs and hosting Nelson Mandela in 1990.

Koch, who was mayor from 1978 to 1989, said he treasured the memory of going to the Brooklyn Bridge in person to urge commuters to cross by foot during the 1980 transit strike. In hindsight, he said he regrets having forced the closure of a Harlem hospital that many people in the black community treasured because of its early admission of black doctors.

Do you side with Bloomberg or Koch?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • dr. bernhard rosenberg

    The truth is we now live in a country where some people want something for nothing and want us to pay for them. My parents came to America form the concentration camps with no money and no education and could not speak ENGLISH. I never realized I was poor but I got my clothes from the Goodwill and went to a nursury school run by the church while my parents worked day and night.We lived in the worst neighborhood and I had to learn how fight just to exist. I have no sympathy for those who refuse to get re-trained or who will not take any job instead of government handouts. This will be the first generation where our children will have less economically than their parents. Some people have become lazy and refuse to take any job , they would prefer to live off of others. IF YOU NEED HELP BECAUSE YOU ARE TRULY POOR OR DISABLED,THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SHOULD HELP. IF YOU ARE LYING OR FAKING WHY SHOULD THE TAXPAYER PAY. Where is the pride.? LET THE BUSINESS PEOPLE around wall street make a living. Go protest in front of the White House or Congress.

  • rocky

    D O I Should investigate Bloomberg with his under the table bargaining he’s a crook like the rest of them.

  • Slim Pickens

    Mayor Gloomberg makes quite clear his personal disdain for free speech and the freedom to assemble. Not a friend to the commom man after sending in the bank financed NYPD thugs on several occaisions to bash heads and mace faces. All to protect his billionaire buddies up in their ivory towers realizing their game is almost over.

  • Meme Meyagi

    what is done about 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa?

  • Mar Gal

    Well, It’s good to see that Dinkins stayed out of the discussion. Man has got to know his limitations (Josie Wales).

  • IgnoranteElephante

    This is very typical of the Judaic takeover. Make believe that there are two opposing sides and divide the people, so no one but the Jews can control the country. Let us look at the protesters. They are about fifty percent Jewish, yet the Jewish media decries them as anti Semitic (one of the dirtiest words around in America). This is why you have hard working union workers marching alongside spoiled, unemployed hipsters. The agenda has been so skewered to prevent any real defiance to the Jewish left. These protestors claim to be, by and large, Atheist, yet hundreds hunkered down for a Yom Kippur ceremony. The economy could crumble, wars could be declared left and right, and Americans could be at an all time level of dissatisfaction, but as long as Israel is safe from the Palestinian threat, all is right in the world. Welcome to the not-so-new Jewish World Order. Get real!

  • Gregory Miller

    I once met Mayor Ed Koch in his Visit to Seneca Falls NY in the early 1980’s. I was among 5 others in his suite at the Gould Hotel. He was a delightful man and had a few good stories. I thanked him for coming to upstate because we seldom see the Mayor of NY up here. He seemed to be a person who connected with people and seemed very genuien. I never met Bloomberg–and he seem to have no personality and certainly never gave me the impression he was a champion for the common man. In this news story Ed Koch looks much older now but his statements carry a message that seems to really ring with his concern the the regular person. Nice to hear from you— Ed [Your Honor]

    • Shlomo Farkas

      Koch is concern with Isreal and Jewish people. He is a wealthy silver spoon fed Jew, like Bloomberg. Because the man travelled 500 miles, no doubt by private jet, to meet with you does not make him a representative of the regular person unless, of course, you are one of his Yarmulke wearing cronies, which you most certainly are.

      • Gregory Miller

        Sorry to disappoint you Shlomo—I am Roman Catholic –my family has been Roman Catholic for nearly 950 years. I hold title in The Holy Roman Empire in Europe. He did come by Private Jet, because we don’t have public transportation where I live.You seem to wrong about almost everything. Have a nice day. Ct Gregor

  • EasterBunny

    Ed Koch: an almost likable jew.

  • joeyinnyc

    Koch should just fade immediatelly into the back streets of the village or some dirty bookstore. I think he is senile or something. He is un American. All he thinks about is Israel and money. he doesnt care about the American way. he would rather hurt poor American people and put terrible people in public office, all in the name of Israel. Let him go live and stay in Israel. the root of a lot of the worlds problems!!!

  • Sage

    Frankly while in terms of Caoital development he has done fine by New York City but if Bloomberg is going to eventually give away all or most of his money why keep defending the privilege over the challenged?
    Sometimes one wonder if he is a Jew or what he seems to be playing write into the hands of people wanting to put the Jews back into the concentration camps, blacks to the back of the bus, poor whites out of sight and deportation of others.

    He best take his billions and run before he creates to much animosity towards his people because evil people are always looking a scapegoat OF GOOD PEOPLE..


    • joeyinnyc

      HIS PEOPLE!!! What the heck does that mean. His people are and should be Americans!!! Blacks, the porr, the gays, etc etc are all Americans first and they dont try to defend some other country like the jewish people do. Good God!

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