Jonathan Soffer on Ed Koch's Effort to Fight Corruption

Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York CityYesterday’s New York Times blog, the City Room, quoted Jonathan Soffer, author of the forthcoming Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City, about Koch’s newly established organization New York Uprising. The group is dedicated to “to shame politicians who do not agree to a series of reforms, including tightening ethics rules and disclosing outside sources of income.”

Ed Koch is no stranger to political corruption and his own administration was not immune to it. However, Soffer argues that Koch himself is “is genuinely a reformer and wanted to have an honest city government. The lesson that Koch learned is that corruption is real — it isn’t just an exaggeration in the brains of reformers like himself.”

The article continues: “Dr. Soffer said the memory of those scandals might have encouraged the former mayor to fashion himself as an ‘elder statesman’ with a talent for taking on entrenched interests. ‘In a way, it’s a little bit of atoning for these deals that went bad during his administration,’ Dr. Soffer said.

In a related story, a recent feature in Crain’s New York Business asked Koch what he’s been reading lately. In addition to the proofs to Soffer’s book, he recently completed America’s Mayor: John Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York City. Though a fan of the book, here’s what Koch had to say about his predecssor, “I didn’t like Lindsay for political reasons. I forgive him now because I’m 85, and I’m forgiving everybody. It takes a lot of energy to hold a grudge, and I don’t want to waste any.”

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