FIREFIGHTERS BEEF WITH GIULIANI. Thanks to Ari Paul for reporting today on how the New York City firefighters union is going after Rudy Giuliani for his criminal neglect of their emergency equipment needs when he was mayor. But he doesn't delve into another important reason that the firefighters have beef with Giuliani: New York City cops and firefighters have a long, occasionally bitter, rivalry. And, as in every other confrontation between the NYPD and another group (such as, say, civil rights attorneys or African-Americans) Giuliani routinely favored the cops.

The problem came to a head in an incident that Paul references, but doesn't fully explicate: the removal of cleanup crews from Ground Zero. As Paul mentions, the firefighters were angry that the city reduced the number of firefighters searching for bodies at Ground Zero in early November 2001 from 300 to 25. When they protested, Giuliani ordered the arrest of 15 firefighters, leading to an ugly brawl between the cops and firefighters. This anecdote perfectly encapsulates Giuliani's behavior as mayor: heavy-handed, divisive and authoritarian. Hopefully the firefighters union will effectively spread the word.

--Ben Adler

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