Giuliani Tells Donors Lhota Would Keep City From Slipping Backward

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, has signed his name to a fund-raising letter for Joseph J. Lhota, the Republican candidate for mayor, highlighting how closely the campaign will work with a figure who has, at times, polarized the city’s political world.

In the letter sent by e-mail to likely supporters of Mr. Lhota on Saturday, Mr. Giuliani, who is a Republican, warned that in the hands of a Democratic mayor, the city could regress to the grim state of its not-so-distant past. “Make no mistake,” he wrote in the message. “If you don’t think the city can slip back to its unmanageable, ungovernable ways, just listen to Joe’s democratic opponents. We must elect Joe as New York’s next mayor.”

Mr. Giuliani added that Mr. Lhota, who served as the deputy mayor for operations in his second term, would “stand up to the destructive policies of tax-and-spend politicians who put New York and America in peril.”

Mr. Giuliani encouraged recipients of the e-mail to consider a donation of between $25 and $250, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times. A spokeswoman for Mr. Lhota confirmed the e-mail but declined to comment.

Since he entered the race for mayor, perhaps the biggest question looming over Mr. Lhota’s candidacy was the degree to which he would align himself with Mr. Giuliani, a candidate for president in 2008 who can draw on an extensive list of supporters and potential donors. During a forum for Republican mayoral candidates last week, Mr. Lhota rebuked a moderator who called Mr. Giuliani a “jerk” and said that the city’s transformation from a troubled municipality began with his former boss.

Proximity to Mr. Giuliani may be a mixed blessing: on one hand, he represents dramatic improvements to the city’s quality of life, including a sharp reduction in crime, changes for which Mr. Lhota would no doubt like to share credit; but Mr. Giuliani is also strongly associated with seeking to squash dissent and pursuing a sometimes vindictive approach to his opponents, qualities from which Mr. Lhota may wish to distance himself.

In an interview a few months ago, Mr. Lhota said he was proud of his work with Mr. Giuliani. “I cannot be separated from Rudy Giuliani,” he said. “But I am also not Rudy Giuliani.”

In his message, Mr. Giuliani said he had seen Mr. Lhota’s skill up close, as a deputy mayor, and concluded, “I can’t emphasize enough what a great mayor Joe will be.”

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Fan Sees Rivera’s Retirement as the Start of His Own Goodbye to Baseball

Watching Mariano Rivera on Saturday announce his plan to retire at the end of the season, after nearly two decades with the New York Yankees, David Quinones said that an era was drawing to a close — not just for Rivera or the sport he so thoroughly dominated — but also for Mr. Quinones’s life as a fan.

“When Jeter, Pettitte, Mariano and Posada all retire, I told my wife no more baseball for me,” said Mr. Quinones, a lifelong Yankee fan, as he watched the news conference on television while having breakfast with his wife, Evelin Quinones, at Billy’s Sport Bar and Lounge in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.

Mr. Quinones, 55, lives just blocks away on the Grand Concourse, and the roar of the stadium has long been the background music of his life.

He saw his first games as a boy, but after he moved to the Grand Concourse in the early 1980s, the ballpark became an extension of his home.

For years, he would buy bleacher tickets in the old stadium for less than $10, having a few beers at home and packing sandwiches — when it was still permitted to take food into the stadium — to save money and still savor the game. His two children, now 18 and 22, were reared in pinstripes.

“We are so lucky,” he said. “My kids got to grow up with that whole dynasty.” On their bedroom walls, starting in 1996, they would hang a banner each year the Yankees added another championship. By the time they were reaching adulthood, their walls were covered.

The family reveres Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.

But no player symbolizes what Mr. Quinones loves about the game more than Rivera.

“He is so humble, so spiritual,” he said. “Look at the lifestyle he lives.”

And then there is what he does on the mound.

“He is always in control,” he said. “Hitters would know what pitch he was going to throw and still could not hit it. Can you imagine?”

Despite his deep abiding loyalty to the Yankees, Mr. Quinones said that when the old stadium closed in 2008, he felt a part of himself go with it.

Now, there is a park where the stadium once stood, and on Saturday some youths and young men hopped a locked chain-link fence to take a few swings of the bat on the snow-covered field.

But Mr. Quinones, echoing the complaints of other Bronx residents and baseball fans, said the team had done little for people like him.

He is a telephone repairman, and said that even before Verizon failed to renew his contract this year, the prices at the new stadium were out of reach.

The bleacher seats are no longer first come, first serve, and when they are available, they cost more. For his birthday, his wife went to buy him $5 seats that the team had promoted for those who live in the neighborhood.

“They were right behind this column, so you could not even see the field,” Ms. Quinones said. “I couldn’t bring myself to buy them.”

But he can still hear the roar of the crowd from his apartment, and for one more season, when he hears “Enter Sandman,” Rivera’s entrance song, echoing from the stadium, he can be rest assured that the Yankees are in good hands as Rivera goes to the mound.

And despite feeling taken for granted by the ball club he loves, Mr. Quinones grew nostalgic as he watched Rivera say this would be his final season.

“Soak in the moment,” he said. “You are not going to see a man like him again anytime soon.”

This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 9, 2013

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of the New York Yankee Andy Pettitte as Petit.

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The Week in Pictures for March 8

Here is a slide show of photographs from the past week in New York City and the region. Subjects include the opening of Fairway in Brooklyn, a brightly painted school and a St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Rockaways.

This weekend on “The New York Times Close Up,” an inside look at the most compelling articles in Sunday’s Times, Sam Roberts will speak with The Times’s Frank Bruni, David Gonzalez, Ángel Franco, Jacob Bernstein and Eleanor Randolph.

A sampling from the City Room blog is featured daily in the main print news section of The Times. You may also browse highlights from the blog and reader comments, read current New York headlines, like New York Metro | The New York Times on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Cuomo Voices Mixed Optimism for Chances of Campaign Finance Proposals

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday that he was “cautiously optimistic” that he could push through the Legislature this spring an overhaul of the state’s campaign finance laws, one of the top priorities in Albany for government reformers and progressive groups.

At the same time, he struck an uncertain note about the centerpiece of what advocates are proposing: putting in place a financing system for state elections, modeled after the one used in New York City, which matches small donations with public money. In exchange, candidates must agree to strict spending limits.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said the rise of independent groups’ spending enormous sums of money in campaigns has “made it more complicated” to devise such a system.

“The juxtaposition between an independent expenditure committee and public financing is truly difficult to explain,” Mr. Cuomo said. “The politicians feel a public financing system will handcuff them, and if an independent expenditure committee then parachutes into the race, they’ll be defenseless.”

The governor’s speech at a luncheon on Friday provided a preview for one of the top policy debates that is likely to come up in Albany after the state budget is completed this month. The luncheon was sponsored by the Committee for Economic Development, a business-backed policy group, and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. Mr. Cuomo will also hold a conference call on Monday with supporters of overhauling the campaign finance system.

In his State of the State address in January, he pledged to push for a broad package of campaign finance changes, including the creation of a system of public financing for state elections, lower limits on political contributions and a requirement that contributions be disclosed in almost real time.

But some advocates of overhauling the state’s campaign fund-raising laws have been skeptical of how far the governor will be willing to push lawmakers, especially Republicans in the State Senate, who have opposed using public money to pay for political campaigns. Mr. Cuomo has also been extraordinarily successful raising money under the existing lax fund-raising rules.

In a 23-minute speech on Friday at the Midtown Manhattan offices of the law firm Covington & Burling, Mr. Cuomo said the good news, for advocates of campaign finance changes, was that the presidential election had raised public awareness of the flood of money in politics. He said New York State could set an example for the rest of the country in moving to combat it.

The bad news, the governor said, is that the measures he is proposing are “not a prophylactic to the basic vulnerability of Citizens United,” the Supreme Court case in 2010 that led to a surge in outside spending.

“Yes, you could come up with a very restrictive system with very restrictive limits,” he said, “and then have an independent expenditure committee come in and totally violate the spirit of what we were trying to accomplish.”

Mr. Cuomo said, politically, this year was an ideal one to try to push for changes in Albany, given that lawmakers were not up for re-election. But he warned that it would be a challenging area in which to make progress, because “this is not about changing policy that will affect someone else; this is changing a policy that affects them in their livelihood.”

In his remarks, Mr. Cuomo was particularly critical of outside groups that spend lavishly to support political candidates, saying “these ties now are so close that it really begs credibility that they’re truly independent.”

Mr. Cuomo has drawn criticism over his ties to an outside group, the Committee to Save New York, that has spent millions of dollars supporting his legislative agenda. Asked after his speech about the Committee to Save New York, Mr. Cuomo did not respond directly, but observed, “The independence line, in some cases, has been blurred.”

Speaking to reporters, he added that his primary concern was with independent groups that spend enormous sums in political campaigns “and obliterate a candidacy.”

“An independent expenditure committee comes in – ‘Americas for America’ – and spends $10 million, and nobody knows who it is or where it came from, and that, to me, distorts the system,” Mr. Cuomo said. “And when you’re trying to say to the politicians, you should have this public financing system, but there’s this alternative that could distort everything, it’s very difficult.”

Mr. Cuomo, who faces re-election next year, also discussed why he has continued to raise a large amount of money using the lax fund-raising rules that he wants to change. In January, he reported more than $22 million in his campaign account.

“The least favorite part of my job is the fund-raising part,” Mr. Cuomo said. “But until the rules are changed, I don’t have an alternative. I happen not to be independently wealthy, which would have solved a lot of problems on a lot of levels.” He added, “A rich multimillionaire says, ‘I want to be governor,’ and they’re going to spend a lot of their own money – that could be formidable.”

Mr. Cuomo said that from his point of view, lawmakers would be acting in their self-interest if they moved to overhaul the state’s campaign fund-raising system.

“Raising money is very hard,” he said. “It’s very unpleasant on a personal level. It takes a lot of time. And most politicians who have to deal with the system would be the first ones to say they want to change it.”

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