Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, a business mogul, keeps deriding his frontrunner opponent Joe Lhota as a “bureaucrat.”
But while Lhota has indeed served in various governmental positions, he’s also worked extensively in the private sector, and been successful in both.
Catsimatidis, on the other hand, has led a rags-to-riches life and built an impressive business empire. But he has no experience in government at all, and really doesn’t bring enough to the table to be a legitimate candidate.
Lhota may have been a bureaucrat, but he’s one who understands finance. He was Mayor Giuliani’s first-term budget director, and successfully negotiated contracts with the unions that were fair and did not break the bank. The next mayor will be faced with the lack of a current contract for any city union, and is going to have to spend a lot of time and energy working out compromises. Lhota spoke at length about how he would do that in an interview with the Queens Chronicle, and it’s clear he has the plan and the experience that can bring about accords with the workers.
In the business world, Lhota has served as an executive with Madison Square Garden and Cablevision, two very successful operations. More proof of his financial acumen.
Back on the government side, after serving as Giuliani’s budget director, Lhota became director of operations, and that’s the post he held on Sept. 11, 2001. While the eyes of the world were focused on the horror, Lhota was busy ensuring the city government could still function. He succeeded there too, getting garbage service to most of Manhattan on Sept. 12, getting city paychecks out that same day and getting schools up and running the next week.
Twelve years later, when he was chairman of the MTA, Lhota was tested again, though this time with warning. He wisely shut down the transit system before Hurricane Sandy struck, minimizing the damage to vital transportation infrastructure. And the damage that simply could not be avoided was repaired as quickly as it could be.
Lhota has a great resume for a mayoral candidate, as well as a reassuring personality, and we gladly endorse him in the Republican primary Sept. 10. See page 8 for our Democratic choice.