I was reading Bill Thompson's suggestions the other day on increasing revenue for the MTA. Pretty unimaginative, I thought. Why not instead impose a 2 cents a gallon increase in the gasoline tax for four years in order to get the MTA back into some decent fiscal shape? With the price of gas fluctuating by dollars rather than cents from month to month I don't think it would be much noticed. Since I am generally opposed to increasing taxes, I would have the leaders in Albany vow to only renew the tax if a super majority exists to bring the bill to the floor four years from now. We know writing it into the legislation would be unconstitutional. Thompson suggests whopping increases in Registration Fees for car owners. But I digress.
Bill Thompson's proposals started a chain of events in my head which lead me to publish this post. Bill Thompson is one of four elected officials in New York City who receives full-time protection from the NYPD - Intel is the name of the unit. Bill Thompson has said he still intends to run for mayor. I'd be a little careful were I Bill Thompson. That chain of events in my head lead me back to a conversation I had with Tony Carbonetti in the summer of 2001.
I was in Tony's office when he took a phone call from someone on Rudy's Intel detail about some advance matter. While on the phone with this person Tony started laughing and gave me a look that said, "I've got something good to tell you." Bear in mind that this was election season, although not for us. Freddie Ferrer and Mark Green were battling it out for the Democratic nomination. Mike Bloomberg was awaiting the winner of that primary.
After Tony hung up the phone he said, "That was...(he then named a member of Rudy's detail) and he told me that Mark Green is fucking one of the assigned cops on his detail." "A woman I presume," I commented. "Yea, a hot Hispanic chic," Tony said. "I wonder if it's Mabel's cousin," was my response. My old secretary had a very attractive cousin who worked Intel. She would stop by the office occasionally when we were in Tweed. My brother had the hots for her, big time. He would always inform me when the cousin had been around my office or in the building. She was the only Hispanic woman I knew who worked Intel for the four electeds, although there certainly could have been others. I didn't make a study of such things.
"How did he know this?" I asked. "I get reports through Intel on his activities," Tony informed me, referring to Mark Green. It hadn't occurred to me before that you couldn't really trust your detail. Rudy's guys -and woman- were true blue and would never leak info. But the other details reported back through the chain of command. The Mayor's Intel detail is at the top of the heap and I suppose all others would be subordinate to them in a manner of speaking. Not to mention, cops usually gossip like crazy.
"Are you going to do anything with this?" I asked, referring to Green's adulterous relationship with a member of his security detail. "Nahh," was Tony's reply, "who the fuck cares - Green or Ferrer - what difference does it make? He's just lucky he's not running against us this year." We had a good laugh at that line because we both knew, like the Dinkins love letters of 1989, we would surely have seen to it that Mark Green's affair found its way to the public's attention.
Now let me preface what I am going to say next by pointing out that I don't know Bill Thompson. I know nothing about his private life and for all I know he's as clean as Caesar's wife. But it is important for him to realize that elected officials mistakenly tend to view their security team as loyal to them. A bond develops and you think, "this guy (or gal) will take a bullet for me. That's closeness. I can trust em." But you can't. You let them into your life because they are so omnipresent. Big mistake. A member of Dinkins' detail used to leak info to us regularly in '93'. A lot of Dinkins' detail couldn't stand him. They knew what a phony he was and how anti-cop his thinking. That didn't win him many points with those guys.
I'm no fan of Mr. Thompson. I don't dislike the man, I just find him to be dull, uninspired and without any individual rationale for a candidacy other than an anti-Bloomberg one. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he has nothing embarrassing to hide in his private life. If he does, however, I'd advise him not to assume that his Intel detail is going to keep it a secret. Especially from their boss, the incumbent, Mayor-for-life-Mike. I don't expect this to be a close race; Mayor-for-life-Mike will buy his way back into office. But if it does get close - his approval rating stands at only 51% - $80-$100 Million dollars can buy a lot of negative ads. And further you can bet that if things get hairy at the end he and his staff will be turning to the Intel guys to find out what Comptroller Bill may be up to in his public and private life. Just a note of caution to Bill Thompson. He can't say he wasn't warned.