Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mayor Ed Koch (12/12/24-2/1/13), a true lover of and ally to New York City

Edward Irving "Ed" Koch was an American lawyer, politician, political commentator, movie critic and reality television arbitrator.

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.

A popular figure, he rode the New York City Subways and stood at street corners greeting passersby with the slogan "How'm I doin'?"

Koch won re-election in 1981 with 75 percent, the first New York mayor to win endorsement on both the Democratic and Republican party tickets. He won his second re-election with 78 percent of the vote. His third term was fraught with scandal regarding political associates, although it never touched him personally. In his fourth primary, 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 was also an arbitrator ("judge") on the television court show The People's Court for two seasons, from 1997 to 1999.

He died on February 1, 2013 of congestive heart failure.