A New York Times piece today, entitled Ground Zero Illnesses Clouding Giuliani's Legacy, delves into the Giuliani administration's culpability for the health problems thousands of Ground Zero workers are now experiencing.
Over 8,000 city workers - police, firemen and others - are suing the City of New York for not paying more attention to the workers and the health risks associated with working in the smokey, dusty mess at Ground Zero in the months after 9/11.
The article's sources contend that Giuliani, who ruled Ground Zero clean up efforts with an iron fist, was most interested in quickly turning around the cleanup, for the sake of the nation and the city's budget. While there were private expressions of worry about the health risks workers faced, it was more focused on limiting the city's liability, and not the health of the workers themselves.
Of course, similar charges have been leveled at Christine Todd Whitman, who ran the EPA at the time. But she's not running for president, and hizzoner is.
My wife and I lived in New York on 9/11. We watched and felt the towers go down from mere blocks away. We didn't like Giuliani before the tragic attack on the World Trade Center, but grudgingly respected his crisis management abilities in the aftermath. My office was four blocks from the trade center, and I could literally watch the clean up effort from my 14th floor window. It was indeed an impressive site - watching the trucks roll in empty, leave piled with debris, only after getting sprayed down before leaving the site. So the toxic dust wouldn't spread as much as the trucks rolled through the city.
But I find the disdain for the workers - all of them heroes - and their health absolutely appalling. Though not suprising. Even if Giuliani isn't a nutjob when it comes to social issues, he's still a Republican. And the bottom line always comes before people. For Republicans.
The good news? In a poll released today, the New York Daily News found that New Yorkers - those best positioned to understand their differences - supported Bloomberg for president over Giuliani 46% to 29%. And polls don't lie... remember?