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Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Edward KocheEdward Koche
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Session:         Page of 617

I'm running for re-election in 1970. Forest Hills took place in about ‘72, so maybe it was in the ‘72 election that this conversation took place with Alex Rose.

He and I are alone, and he said that he was very upset with me for having taken the position against the Forest Hills project and having in effect from his point of view supported what he considered to be the racist of Forest Hills, Jerry Birbach, and that while he was very distressed about it, he hoped that that would not interfere with an endorsement for re-election to Congress, but it was clear that that wasn't totally certain and he was warning me. And I said to him, “Alex, the city is falling apart. The city is filled with crime. You can't go anyplace anymore at night, and that's particularly true when you move a low-income project into a middle-income area. And you've got to understand that and you've got to face it. There's more crime in welfare families.” And he and I knew that when you're talking about welfare families, you're talking about non-whites overall -- the vast majority in the city of New York. You never say that, but you know you're talking about the same thing. And I said, “And the middle class is leaving the city of New York.” And when you say “middle class,” you're really talking about whites. And I said, “If we don't do something, the city will be destroyed.” And I remember it so well, he said, “It is destroyed. It's over. I can't walk in my neighborhood

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