Koch, Ed


1978 TLS as Mayor, to the Commandant of the Army War College, is pleased at the success of the AWC’s visit to NYC and candid presentations by City leaders


Autograph ID: 6751
Condition: Very good, some docketing erased and whited out at top right
Description: “(1924-2013) New York-Jewish born Democratic NYC US Rep 1969-77 and Mayor 1978-89. He authored an ambitious public housing renewal program in his later years as mayor, cutting spending, taxes and 7,000 from the city payroll. A fervent supporter of Israel, he crossed party lines to endorse Rudy Giuliani in 1993 and Michael Bloomberg in 2001 for mayor, and President George w. Bush in 2004. A popular figure, he rode the Subway and stood at street corners greeting passersby with “How’m I doin’?” He won re-election in 1981 with 75%, 1st New mayor to be endorsed by the Democratic and Republican parties. He won his 2nd re-election with 78% of the vote. His 3rd term saw scandals regarding political associates, never touching him personally, and with racial tensions, lost to NYC’s 1st black mayor, David Dinkins. In WW II, he was an infantryman with the 104th Infantry in Europe. After V-E Day, as he spoke German, he was sent to Bavaria to help remove Nazis from their jobs and replace them. He received a law degree in 1948, practiced law to 1968. A Democrat, he became active in City politics as a reformer, serving on the City Council 1967-69. As US Rep, he opposed the Vietnam War, supported human rights, and marched in the South for civil rights. Koch began his shift towards being a “liberal with sanity” after 1973 with Mayor John Lindsay’s attempt to put a housing project in a middle-class community in Queens. He opposed the plan, shocking his liberal allies. In 1977, Koch ran to the right of other mayoral Democratic primary candidates on a “law and order” platform. The July 1977 blackout and rioting helped catapult Koch and his message to front-runner status. In 1982, he ran unsuccessfully for governor, losing the primary to Mario Cuomo. Koch supported the death penalty and took a hard line on “quality of life” issues, such as giving police broader powers to deal with the homeless and signing legislation banning playing of radios on subways and buses. In 1985, he ran again on the Democratic and Independent tickets, getting 78% of the vote. In his 3rd term, Koch’s popularity was shaken after a series of corruption scandals which undermined prior claims that he ran a patronage-free municipal government. In 1989, Koch ran for a 4th term but lost the primary to Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins who then defeated Rudy Giulani. His criticism of Jesse Jackson in the 1988 presidential primaries was a major reason for his defeat. After his mayoralty, he commented on politics, and reviewed movies and restaurants for newspapers, radio and TV. He was the judge on “The People’s Court” 1997–99, regularly appeared on the lecture circuit, and had a highly rated local radio talk show. In 2011, the City Council renamed the Queensboro Bridge as the “Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge”.

TLs o n10 ½ x 8 ¼ official letterhead as NYC Mayor, NYC, October 30 1978, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, US Army War College. Mayor Koch thanks Smith for his letter, is delighted that the War College visit to New York city was so successful, and is pleased to know of Herman Badillo’s and Alex Garvin’s candid presentations and Jackie Glassberg’s efforts in making trip arrangements.

DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the US Army and commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. He was wounded 3 times and awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, he returned to active duty for the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion executive officer and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He commanded a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980. HERMAN BADILLO (1929-2014) Bronx Borough President 1965-69, US Rep 1971-73, Deputy Mayor 1977-79. He ran for Mayor of New York City as a Democrat in 1969, 1973, 1977, 1981 and 1985. He unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 2001, losing to Michael Bloomberg. He was the 1st Puerto Rican elected to these posts, and 1st Puerto Rican mayoral candidate in a major city in the continental US. ALEXANDER GARVIN (b. 1941) American urban planner, educator, and author, planning director for New York City’s 2012 Olympic Games bid, oversaw efforts to redevelop lower Manhattan after the September 11 attacks as Vice President of Planning, Design, and Development for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Garvin also held several positions in NYC government including director of comprehensive planning. JACKIE GLASSBERG was administrative manager of the New York City Office of Special Events.”
Type: Letter

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