What Mr. Giuliani Can't Claim Credit For
The July 9 news story "Research Links Lead Exposure, Criminal Activity; Data May Undermine Giuliani's Claims" failed to mention former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's record on protecting children from toxic exposure to lead -- or rather, his failure to do so.
In 1997, a New York State Supreme Court judge threatened to jail the Giuliani administration's housing commissioner for failing to enforce laws requiring the removal of residential lead paint. This came after the judge imposed a $5,000 per month fine on the city and ordered it to pay contempt fines because the city had not complied with earlier rulings to require that landlords remove lead paint from apartments housing children under 7 years old. The court also struck down Giuliani administration amendments to the city health code that would have weakened regulatory enforcement in the homes of children who had suffered lead poisoning.
Mr. Giuliani not only has taken undeserved credit for the decline in the city's crime rate -- when there is evidence that lead exposure and the reduction of environmental lead accounted for fluctuations in levels of criminal behavior -- but he also attempted to institute policies that would have increased lead exposure and ultimately exacerbated crime and disability in New York.
Sunday, July 15, 2007