Post 13 Trivia
Election Day – November 1993
John Young (Patrolman)
What sparked the dispute between Phil Caruso and Mayor Dinkins? In 1992, City Hall wanted to create an all-civilian CCRB to investigate charges of police brutality.
This led to 10,000 rowdy cops blasting Dinkins at a City Hall rally, so said a New York Post headline on September 17, 1992. Rudy Giuliani spoke prior to the rally and was partially blamed by some newspapers for inciting the police riot. That is why he didn’t want the PBA endorsement.
March 1993: following is an excerpt taken from a PBA full-page ad in the New York Post. “Mayor double-talks in that it’s okay for sanitation workers to earn more than cops. He also says he respects police officers, mainly when he visits hospitals to see cops who have been shot, injured or maimed. At line-of-duty funerals the mayor’s praise and flattery are heart-wrenching. Yet, he hypocritically trashes police officers at the bargaining table.”
Why? Remember the “Me-Too” in negotiations with the City? Regardless of your job, fireman and cops made the same salary & sanitation workers made 90% of their salary. Well, that was changed when sanitation workers were getting $3,500 more than cops. They got double-time for working Sundays & regular days-off and picked up time & a half on the final two hours of their ten-hour tours.
Caruso ran his New York Post ad campaign throughout the summer, and after the Daily News endorsed Giuliani, the anti Dinkins ads also appeared there. Some great headlines included: Good Morning, Mr. Mayor! (5/4/93); Tennis Anyone? (6/24/93); and Never Again! (which mocked his 1991 trip to Israel, because of the colossal ineptitude of his administration over the last 31/2 years).
At least three other ads in my collection appeared just before Election Day 1993, with my favorite shown on page 13. The blind-folded cop with ball & chain was Bruce Robertson, then Mid-town North PBA Delegate (1993), and later First Vice President (1999).
All PBA Board Officers were given a full time excusal under Mayor’s Executive Order #75.s in 1973, when we performed specific duties (i.e. investigated grievances, represented members under G015 and other department hearings). Financial Secretaries and Trustees were called to police shootings, usually called by a precinct delegate or the “Boro” wheel especially in the Bronx. Thanks to John Wohlberg, the forever PBA delegate.
I remember one incident where IAD (Poplar Street) called me down to witness the search of lockers of two Bronx cops. When the captain produced a search warrant without a night-time endorsement, I walked out. Instead of going home, I visited several precincts for the next two hours. I found the male bathrooms were without toilet paper, as some of the late-tour cops had been complaining about the problem all summer. The problem was solved, thanks to the Boro Commander, as several of the precincts had Charmin Toilet Tissue in their bathrooms. That didn’t last long as the Department’s Quartermaster went back to the unlabeled brand.
Since 1 was on full excusal, I took a personal leave day. We were assigned to man phone banks for Rudy at 250 Broadway and on Staten Island. The Island had a referendum on the ballot to secede from the city and county leaders asked for help. Some board officers performed a late tour helping with the landscape, removing Dinkins signs and replacing them with Giuliani signs. I still had some Dinkins signs in my garage until I cleared it out a couple of years ago. Should have put them on E-Bay!
Went home to vote, where I was the first voter at St. Margaret’s. Why? Less tolls are recorded on easy-pass while traveling on toll free highways. Remember on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, you didn’t pay the toll from Staten Island to Brooklyn, and by taking the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the Brooklyn Bridge you were in Manhattan. Thank you, Robert Moses!
On the way home I stopped at the 48 Precinct. Nature called and I was wanting another coffee. Wohlberg was working his usual 4×12 tour and watching the election returns on television. I called the PBA office (about 10:30 PM) and Caruso answered the phone. “What are you doing there? I figured you’d be at Giuliani’s Campaign headquarters.” Caruso responded that he too was watching the election returns and Rudy was ready to concede to Dinkins.
Thanks to John Wohlberg, Giuliani owes his two terms as “America’s Mayor” to him. Why? While everyone was watching the election returns and saw Dinkins leading at 1030 P.M, Wohlberg had called headquarters (Chief of Patrol’s Office) and was told that Staten Island went to Giuliani. Remember, Staten Island has four precincts and their numbers were complete. The numbers on television were an hour or more behind and all three networks were getting their numbers from the same office.
Remember the cop assigned to each polling location opened the polling station. His duties were to check the machines and record the opening and closing numbers of each of the candidates in his memo book and on an election board form. He locked the machine and took the election box back to the precinct and gave it to the election patrolman. In the 48th Pct. Larry Murphy was the election patrolman for years.
The election patrolman opened the box and took the numbers of each electoral district and gave them to the Boro election patrolman. He in turn telephoned the numbers of each electoral district within the county to police headquarters. These are the so-called “exit numbers” that are mentioned on the three networks. Since the days of Boss Tweed, cops have been assigned to the polls.
I called Phil Caruso back and gave him the phone number. He passed it on to Giuliani, and the rest is history. The next day Caruso thanked me but I reminded Phil that four years from then, we’d be hanging up signs against Giuliani.