Ed Koch, an inspiration to all

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After a few of his notorious thumbs-ups to supporters, he came across a man on a bicycle who said to him, “Hey, Ed Koch, you were a crappy mayor.” Koch quickly turned and gave the bicyclist the finger and a “F--- you!”

He later told me, “I felt so liberated!”

In later years, when people told him how much they missed him, he would respond, “The people threw me out, and now they must be punished.”

Koch always said he was much more moderate than his supporters. In fact, the two of us agreed more than we disagreed. He called himself a liberal with sanity. If the liberals would wake up, they would learn something from him.

More than 30 years after Koch stared down a massive deficit when he became mayor, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano inherited a deficit of more than $130 million. Just as Koch did, Mangano immediately went to work making drastic budget cuts and putting in place tough fiscal policies. He did this while holding the tax line for three straight years.

As a result, Mangano and Comptroller George Maragos were able to announce last year that the county had generated a $25 million budget surplus. Maragos called the feat “miraculous.”

Time and time again, Mangano has made tough decisions and painful cuts to ensure that the taxpayers of Nassau County are getting a fair deal. It appears that this hard work is paying off.

Maybe Ed Koch was his inspiration?

There will truly never be another Ed Koch. How are you doin’, Mr. Mayor? Just fine. Now RIP.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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