Sunday, November 24, 2013

101. Our Mayors: The Best and the Worst

A. Oakey Hall

A. OAKEY HALL, MAYOR OF NEW YORK.   Probably the most versatile of New York mayors, and certainly the most elegant, was the 79th  (1869-72), Abraham Oakey Hall, known to his contemporaries as the Elegant Oakey.  Lawyer, journalist, politician, playwright, poet, and lecturer, he was a slim but active man, slight of build, with wavy black hair and a black beard and mustache, who sported a pince-nez with a black ribbon that dropped through an ample necktie into the depths of a snow-white shirt. 

     He came by his nickname rightly, for he dressed in the height of fashion and rarely wore the same outfit twice.  His wardrobe included velvet-collared coats made to order by the city’s most fashionable tailors; shirts of the finest linen; fancy vests, some of them embroidered by his wife; jewelry of his own design from Tiffany’s; and elaborate cuff links also designed by himself. 

     For special occasions he took care to dress appropriately.  At the annual Americus Club ball in 1869 he wore a bottle-green coat with half sovereigns of pure gold for buttons and a green velvet collar and lapels; an ample satin necktie; a shirtfront embroidered with shamrocks in green floss silk; outsized emeralds glinting in his buttonholes; and eyeglasses with a green silk cord.  Certainly he must have outshone all other attendees, but why, one might ask, all the green?  Because the club was Boss Tweed’s creature, and its members his Tammany cronies, many of whom were Irish immigrants; himself a WASP of the old order, the Elegant Oakey was well aware of this.  Needless to say, green dominated his St. Patrick’s Day apparel as well.

     A Whig turned Republican, he is said to have left that party in turn to become a Democrat, because he found Abraham Lincoln, the party’s 1860 presidential candidate, too backwoodsy, too uncouth.  Yet he himself, though WASP to the core, was no child of privilege; his widowed mother had had to run a boardinghouse to make ends meet, and her brilliant son had worked hard to get ahead.  Now, with Boss Tweed’s help, he became district attorney and prosecuted hundreds of cases successfully.  Yet he felt no deep need for change, was not inclined to make waves, and so was seen by Tweed as just the mayor he needed.  He was elected in 1869.

     The new mayor lived well, dined well.  A lavish spender, he was seen daily at Delmonico’s, and received dozens of dinner invitations from the gentry, in whose brownstones he was always welcome as a genial guest who enlivened the conversation with his quips and puns.  He was, in fact, useful to Tweed as a bridge to the brownstones, in whose tasteful parlors Tweed and his Tammany cohorts were never allowed to set foot.

     If less than diligent in overseeing the city’s accounts, Mayor Hall was a whiz at the mayor’s ornamental duties, entertaining distinguished foreign visitors, presenting toasts at public banquets, and performing marriages.  And no mayor had ever laid cornerstones of public buildings as deftly as he, brandishing one of a set of silver trowels he had accumulated for precisely this purpose.

     Many of the Tammany braves looked askance at the mayor, baffled or annoyed by his high society connections, his glittering wardrobe, his writing of – of all things! – plays.  But Tweed, aware of the Elegant One’s perceived lightness of being, reassured them:  “Oakey’s all right.  All he needs is ballast.”  By “all right” perhaps he meant slack, compliant, signing vouchers without asking questions..

     Suddenly, in July 1871, Mayor Hall’s snug tenure received a shock, when a disgruntled Tammany man leaked a series of accounts transcribed from the books of the city comptroller, showing huge payouts to contractors for work on the still unfinished county courthouse.  (Yes, in those days too there were whistleblowers.)  Published with fanfare in the New York Times, these accounts – thermometers $7,000, brooms $41,000, plastering close to three million, carpentry well over four – shocked and infuriated the public, provoking a mass movement of reformers to overthrow Tweed and his Ring, which presumably included Mayor Hall.  Tammany was in deep trouble, and the mayor as well.

     Spearheading the attack on the alleged Ring (“true as steal”) were the cartoons of Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly, which even the most illiterate of voters could grasp.  Nast turned Tweed into a bloated plundering monster, and Hall into a prancing little popinjay with drooping beribboned pince-nez, a figure as ridiculously lightweight as his Tweed was ponderous and menacing.  But lightweight or not, A. Okay Haul, as Nast labeled the mayor, was lumped with Tweed, his cronies, and the contractors in a vast conspiracy to defraud the public.  His defenders insisted that the mayor was honest, that his only fault was not inspecting the accounts more closely, but the reformers were not convinced.

A Nast cartoon: Who stole the people's money?  'Twas him.
Hall is on the right, with the outsized pince-nez.

     As the reform movement gathered momentum, many suspects developed a sudden yearning for the cultural delights of Paris (which had just undergone a lengthy siege by the Germans and, following that, a bloody insurrection) and decamped forthwith, but the mayor, protesting his innocence, stood his ground.  No less than three trials resulted, and the Elegant One, an experienced attorney, defended himself with skill, witty and charming one moment, caustic or tearful the next, but always the soul of innocence.  If he had signed some 39,257 vouchers as mayor, he had had neither time nor inclination to read them, having “an ineradicable aversion to details.”  The first trial ended with the death of a juror, the second with a hung jury, and the third with an acquittal.  Following this, the now ex-mayor wrote a play, The Crucible, about a man accused of stealing that was produced with himself in the lead.  As always, he was amazingly versatile.

     The play, alas, was a flop.  After that he seems to have suffered a nervous breakdown and moved to London, where he resided for several years.  He returned to public life as a journalist and lawyer, and in 1894 defended the anarchist Emma Goldman against charges of inciting to riot; though sentenced to a year in prison, she hailed him as a champion of free speech.  He died in 1898.

     Years after the Tweed scandals erupted, when the rage for reform had subsided, some of the reformers revised their opinion of Hall, whom they now believed to be innocent of knowingly defrauding the public.  Today historians tend to agree.  He was a skillful lawyer, a delightful punster, a dazzling dandy, and a deft wielder of silver trowels at the laying of cornerstones, but not a criminal.  Lightweight though he was, had it not been for his fatal connection with Tweed, he might have hoped to be governor.

Fernando Wood and Jimmy Walker

File:Fernando Wood - Brady-Handy.jpg
Striking a Napoleonic pose.
Or just scratching.
     Previous posts have discussed this duo, who compete with other candidates for the distinction of most corrupt mayor.  (See vignettes #9 and #14, and posts #85 and #100.)  We have seen how “Fernandy,” the 73rd and 75th mayor of New York (he was elected to two nonconsecutive terms, 1855-58 and 1860-62), a veteran tippler, maneuvered skillfully in the 1850s to avoid implementing the prohibitory Maine Law in all but name.  During his second term, faced with the South’s secession and the city merchants’ opposition to war, he made the novel proposal that New York likewise secede from the Union and, as an independent state, continue its profitable trade with the South.  His proposal went nowhere and, despite its misgivings, the city contributed mightily to the government’s war effort.  After this second term he probably reached a secret understanding with Boss Tweed, a rising power, whereby he abandoned municipal politics to Tammany and with the Boss’s blessing ran instead for the House of Representatives, where he served several terms until his death in 1881.  A survivor, then, in politics, and as slick a customer as ever graced the mayor's office, but was he corrupt?  Though he was never convicted of anything, the consensus then and now says yes.  As the first professional politician to hold that office, and above all as a Tammany mayor, everything points to his guilt.

File:James Walker NYWTS.jpg     Slim, dapper, and charming, Jimmy Walker, our 97th mayor (1926-32), was adept at surfaces, thus following in the nimble footsteps of the Elegant Oakey.  Notice that smile in the photograph; admittedly with the benefit of hindsight, I find in it a hint of the supercilious and sly.  Would you trust your money or the city’s to such a smile?  Certainly not.  But New Yorkers of the Jazz Age didn’t care; they were having too much fun.  So Gentleman Jimmy kept on doing what he did best: leading parades down Fifth Avenue sporting a silk topper and a smile, and a cutaway coat, striped trousers, and a walking stick; reveling at night in speakeasies with his chorus girl girlfriend, and rarely showing up at City Hall before noon; tossing off wisecracks and smiling.  For New Yorkers, having a fun-loving mayor was fun … for a while.  But when rumors of corruption led to Judge Samuel Seabury’s extensive investigation of his administration, under pressure Gentleman Jimmy resigned and promptly decamped for Europe and an extended vacation, returning only when the investigation had uncovered no hard evidence against him.  Greeting him at the dock were a multitude of well-wishers, a serenade of ferry whistles and horns, and an eager throng of reporters.  Beau James was, after all, charming.  Had he taken bribes (“beneficences,” he called them)?  Almost certainly.  But he never went to prison.

John Lindsay

     John Lindsay, our 103rd mayor (1966-73), was probably the handsomest mayor, but it did him little good in office; he came in riding high, experienced one crisis after another, and left office wounded and depressed.  It was his misfortune to preside over a city in deep crisis that allowed for no quick fix.

File:John Lindsay NYWTS 1.jpg
Carrying his budget.  And a heavy load it was.
     A liberal Republican, for seven years he had represented Manhattan’s 17th District, the East Side’s so-called Silk Stocking District, in Congress.  In 1965 he ran for mayor, an office no Republican had held since Fiorello La Guardia’s time.  Winning support from key Republicans, he presented himself as a candidate that Democrats and Liberals could vote for (I know; I voted for him); campaigning ably, he won in a tight race.  The new mayor aroused great hopes and had an aura of glamor about him, but on January 1, 1966, his first day of office, the Transport Workers Union went on strike, shutting down all the subway and bus lines that the city depended on.

      Lindsay’s three-term predecessor, Robert Wagner, had known that Mike Quill,  head of the TWU, liked to threaten a strike and bluster, but would settle at the last minute on terms that both he and the city could call a victory.  But Lindsay knew little of such tactics and made the mistake of lecturing Quill on civic responsibility instead.  Quill, a gutsy Irish immigrant, resented this.  In fact, he resented everything about the incoming mayor: his boyish prep school looks (he was only 43), his naïve idealism, his aura of Mr. Clean.  “Coward!  Pipsqueak!  Ass!” he bellowed in a brogue at the mayor, whom he referred to contemptuously as “Lindsley.”  He was determined to teach this well-scrubbed kid, this WASP in shining armor, a lesson, even at the cost of time in jail, his strike being technically illegal. 

     Quill indeed went to jail, and the strike lasted an unprecedented thirteen days and cost the city $1.5 billion in lost productivity and wages.  “I still think it’s a fun city,” said Lindsay, who walked four miles from his hotel to city hall daily, but the “fun city” remark would be repeatedly thrown in his face by critics.  Meanwhile officials advised citizens to rediscover “the lower appendages,” and I did, walking up from the Village to Midtown to get a ticket to the previously sold-out play Marat/Sade, now available because of cancellations; then, to see it, I walked up again.  (Full title: The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.  See why it’s referred to as Marat/Sade?)  As for commuting to my teaching job in distant Queens, with the subway system out I enjoyed a surprise vacation, but not everyone was happy.  A settlement was finally reached, giving the TWU a huge pay raise that committed the city to burdensome labor costs for years.  It was a great victory for Quill, but three days after the settlement he died of a sudden heart attack.

     More crises followed.  An attempt to decentralize the school system, where black students had mostly white (and usually Jewish) teachers and administrators, led to a strike by the United Federation of Teachers that closed 85% of the schools for 55 days, putting a million children out of classrooms and disrupting their families.  It was a nasty affair, with charges of racism and anti-Semitism flying thick and fast.  Tensions between blacks and Jews persisted for years, thus splitting the liberal base that the mayor depended on.  Meanwhile the sanitation workers went on strike, leaving the sidewalks heaped with stinking garbage that winds hurled hither and yon, and the police staged a slowdown, and firefighters threatened job actions.  One bright spot: when the assassination of Martin Luther King provoked riots in black ghettos across the nation, Lindsay walked the streets of Harlem to reassure residents that he mourned King and was working against poverty; no riot occurred.  But the chaotic last six months of 1968 were, in Lindsay’s own words, “the worst of my public life.”

     Not that 1969 was much better.  In February a blizzard buried the city in 15 inches of snow, leaving side streets in Queens unplowed for days.  When the mayor came to inspect, he was greeted by homeowners with boos and jeers and oaths.  “You should be ashamed of yourself!” screamed one woman. “Get away, you bum,” said another.  Never had an honest mayor with the best intentions been received with such antipathy.  The whole affair reinforced a growing impression that the mayor, biased in favor of minorities, was indifferent to the problems of the white middle class in the outer boroughs.

     The accusation that Lindsay favored minorities over whites smacked of racism, yet it was not without substance.  I recall hearing reports of a riot by angry welfare mothers in a welfare office.  Sensing that they could get away with it, they began trashing the office.  The police, though present, had strict orders not to interfere, so the office was demolished, its renovation another cost for taxpayers to bear.

      With the mayor’s popularity plummeting, in the 1969 election he lost the Republican nomination to a conservative, so he ran on a Liberal/Fusion ticket and won, his support coming from minorities and certain segments of the white middle class.  But the second term was no better than the first, being plagued by growing racial tensions, a rise in crime, revelations of police corruption, soaring labor and welfare costs, and a deteriorating fiscal situation; was Armageddon fast approaching?  When Lindsay, becoming a Democrat, embarked on a quixotic campaign to grab the party’s presidential nomination in 1971, he only made matters worse, since Democrats viewed him as an intruder, and New Yorkers resented this distraction from the problems at home.  When the next mayoral election loomed in 1973, the embattled mayor, abandoned by both Republicans and Democrats, gave up any thought of running as a Liberal and left office in a state of exhaustion.  It is said that he broke down in tears, frustrated because he had not accomplished more as mayor.

     What does an ex-mayor do with the rest of his life?  Unlike the governorship of New York, which has hatched many a presidential candidate and sometimes even a President, the office of New York City mayor is not a springboard to higher office, only a political dead end.  John Lindsay went back to the law and became a radio commentator and journalist.  In 1980 he lost a primary bid to become the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate; tipping the scales against him in the Florida primary was a flood of letters from Jewish citizens in New York to their Florida relatives and friends, inveighing against the former mayor.  Becoming chairman of the Lincoln Center Theater, he helped in its rejuvenation, but with failing health gradually faded from the scene.  Because he had no health insurance, medical expenses depleted his savings.  Learning of this, his friend Mayor Giuliani obtained a city position for him that included health insurance.  In 2000, at age 79, John Lindsay succumbed to pneumonia and Parkinson’s.

     Subsequent mayors would blame Lindsay for the city’s ongoing woes, which assumed gigantic proportions while he was in office.  He made grievous mistakes, especially in resorting to fiscal legerdemain, but those woes had been long in coming.  Yet if ever there was a failed mayoralty – indeed a tragic one – it was that of John Lindsay.  Just recounting it briefly depresses me.

Abraham Beame

File:Abraham D. Beame.jpg
Dullsville incarnate, but sometimes that's just
what's needed.
      Abe Beame, a clubhouse Democrat who succeeded John Lindsay as our 104th mayor (1974-77), may well have been the blandest, dullest, most self-effacing mayor of New York, lacking La Guardia’s fire, Lindsay’s initial glamor, and the showmanship of Ed Koch.  I confess that I recall absolutely nothing about him personally, only the events of his time.  In TV debates he faded almost to the point of vanishing.  His jokes were lame, and his speeches so dull that those unlucky enough to hear them could hardly recall a word minutes later.  Nor did it help that he was short in stature (only 5 feet 2), not one to dominate a gathering.  Because of his passion for detail, some thought of him as a glorified bookkeeper, which, along with his dullness, actually appealed to many voters eager for a change.  He was quietly energetic, patient, dignified, and self-confident: qualities he would have vast and desperate need of during his one tumultuous term in office.                                                                          
     Why anyone would have wanted to be mayor  of New York in the 1970s, inheriting all the woes that had so bedeviled John Lindsay, is a mystery that only ambitious politicians can explain.  But mayor he was, and saddled at once with the worst fiscal crisis in the city’s history as banks denied credit and – to the astonishment and bafflement of most citizens – bankruptcy loomed.  It seemed impossible, inconceivable, but there it was: bankruptcy!  Schools were half-built, public works spending was halted, streets were dangerous and dirty, libraries had shorter hours, firehouses and police stations had to be closed; the city, in short, was in a state of collapse.  Desperate, Mayor Beame coped as best he could, cutting the city work force drastically, freezing wages, limiting services, and raising taxes – hardly a formula to endear him to a mystified public not used to such painful retrenchment.  With the city still short of funds, Beame begged state and federal officials for help.  President Gerald Ford was at first indifferent, provoking the Daily News’s memorable headline: FORD  TO  CITY:  DROP  DEAD.  In time both Washington and Albany came through, while taking great chunks out of the mayor’s autonomy.

     I remember those dark days, when the specter of bankruptcy loomed large.  Some said that bankruptcy would be fatal to the city and the nation; others scoffed, insisting that this was New York City’s problem only, and to think otherwise was another example of the city’s megalomania.  My own ill-informed reaction was: let’s let it happen, and see.  But wiser noodles prevailed.  An employee at my bank who oozed financial acumen later told me how he had urged his clients to buy city bonds, which were so reduced in price that they paid a fantastic rate of interest.  “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he insisted.  “There is no way that New York will be allowed to fall into bankruptcy.  No way, I tell you, no way!”  Those who took his advice fared well.  I was not among them, having no funds available to invest.  And when I went on a visit to Washington, an acquaintance there harangued me gently, beginning, “You New Yorkers …!”  This I quietly resented, recalling how the Brits so often initiate their assaults on us with “You Americans …!” – a formula I have vowed at all costs to eschew.  (That word again, like a sneeze; I love it.)

      In the 1977 Democratic primary Abe Beame, accused of misleading investors by at first concealing the city’s perilous fiscal condition, lost to an ebullient rival named Ed Koch, as colorful and assertive a character as Beame was bland and self-effacing, and who went on to become the next mayor.  Beame then retired from politics but continued to insist that he had saved the city, while the governor, the city’s labor leaders, and Washington all generously claimed that glory for themselves.  The fact remains that Abe Beame, having inherited a $1.5 billion deficit, left office with a $200 million surplus.

Edward Koch

     Recently I asked two friends if they had a favorite mayor.  Without hesitation they both said, “Koch!”  Asked why, they said, “He was outspoken, he told it like it was.”  I had heard him once, as a councilman, talking to people on the street, but until he succeeded Beame in 1978 as our 105th mayor (1978-89), I didn’t get the full blast of his personality.

File:Ed Koch 1978.jpg     And what a blast it was!  Loud, feisty, combative, this Bronx-born son of Jewish immigrants from Poland was the quintessential New Yorker.  He could rub you the right way or the wrong, depending on his mood and your own, but you would not easily forget him, nor did he want you to.  Balding with a broad, hearty grin that was often described as devilish, he was more rumpled than dapper and stood in vivid contrast to his immediate predecessors, the elegant Ivy Leaguer John Lindsay, and the self-effacing statistician Abe Beame.  “I’m the sort of person who will never get ulcers,” he told reporters on Inauguration Day.  “Why?  Because I say exactly what I think.  I’m the sort of person who might give other people ulcers.”  And he probably did.

     A city councilman, and then a congressman representing the 17th Congressional District (the Silk Stocking District, the very one that Lindsay had represented), he had opposed the Vietnam War and supported civil rights in the South, before shifting to the right and proclaiming himself a “liberal with sanity,” though some might have preferred “pragmatic conservative.”  In politics, timing is all; he had the good fortune – or the shrewdness – to become mayor when the worst about the city was known, and policies were in place to lead it out of the fiscal wilderness into the promised land of solvency and prosperity, for which he could of course take credit.  Ed Koch was never shy about taking credit, when credit – the good kind -- was to be had.

     In his first term he held down spending, kept the municipal unions in check, restored the city’s credit, and began the long-delayed work on bridges and streets.  During a 1980 subway strike he stood on the Brooklyn Bridge and encouraged commuters hoofing it to work.  “We’re not going to let these bastards bring us to our knees!” he shouted, and was applauded.  Re-elected in 1981 on both the Democratic and Republican tickets, he oversaw further improvement in the city’s finances, rehired workers, restored services, and planned major housing programs.  For a city long beleaguered by debt and mocked and censured by its critics, things were decidedly looking up.  Thanks to these improvements and a resurging local economy, New Yorkers could at last take pride again in their city.  And presiding over the recovery was a mayor who rode the subways like everyone else and stood on street corners asking passersby, “How’m I doin’?”

     In New York City politics, third terms for a mayor – very rare – have proved to be a wasteland and a mire, and so it was for Ed Koch.  Corruption in several city agencies was exposed, landing various high-placed Koch supporters in prison; while the mayor himself was not involved, he was accused of complacency and cronyism.  He was also assailed for an inadequate response to the AIDS epidemic that was ravaging the gay community, many of whom alleged that the mayor, a perennial bachelor who seemed to have no private life, was secretly gay and reluctant to deal with the crisis for fear of being exposed – an allegation that he ignored and later stoutly denied.  At the same time, various remarks of his helped further estrange him from a black community beset with homelessness and crack cocaine, just as racial tensions rose.  In the 1989 Democratic primary the mayor, hoping for an unprecedented fourth term, lost to David Dinkins, the only black candidate, who then won the general election.  As Koch himself came to realize, New Yorkers were tired of their bigger-then-life mayor and his in-your-face chutzpah; the mild-mannered Dinkins looked good to them.  The retiring mayor, too, was tired and even – was it conceivable? – less self-confident, less sure that Ed Koch had all the answers. 

     Not one to fade into the shadows, in his post-mayoral years he resumed his law practice; made appearances on TV and radio, sometimes playing himself; wrote columns for newspapers; endorsed commercial products; gave lectures throughout the country for hefty fees (“Koch on the City,” “Koch and the State,” “Koch on Everything”); issued political statements and endorsements that were often controversial; and wrote numerous books and taught.  As late as 2010, at 86, he campaigned against a dysfunctional legislature in Albany, shouting, “Throw the bums out!”  His first memoir, Mayor (1984), became a best-seller and inspired an Off Broadway musical by the same name.  Entering a hospital shortly before his death, he told a reporter one of the things he was most proud of: “I gave a spirit back to New York.”  In 2013 he died of heart failure at age 88.

     He was famous for his quips, calling his Tammany enemies “moral lepers,” black and Hispanic leaders “poverty pimps,” neighborhood protesters “crazies,” Donald Trump “piggy,” and the outspoken Bella Abzug “wacko.”  (For more on Bella, see post #81.)  Just as famous were his one-liners: “If you agree with me on nine out of twelve issues, vote for me; if you agree with me on twelve out of twelve issues, see a psychiatrist.” 

     If Ed Koch lacked vision and intellect, he achieved the near impossible by remaining popular through his first two terms while reducing city services and alienating certain groups.  He did it thanks to shrewd political instincts, blatant showmanship, and the ability to say bluntly what many citizens secretly thought.  Brains and vision are fine, but in politics it’s instinct that counts. 


     What can one conclude from glancing at these six mayors?  Several things, I think:
  1. If you've enjoyed two successful terms as mayor, don't run again; quit while you're ahead.  People will get tired of you.
  2. Watch out for the slim, elegant ones, especially if they smile (Fernando Wood, Jimmy Walker); they aren't to be trusted.
  3. There's a law of opposites.  Tired of the incumbent, voters go for his polar opposite.  Dinkins was the opposite of Koch, who was the opposite of Beame, who was the opposite of Lindsay.

     Toronto’s mayor:  I thought New York’s galaxy of mayors couldn’t be outshone, but for sheer lurid glitter it’s hard to match Toronto’s current mayor, who has confessed to the use of crack cocaine and drunkenness, and is furthermore accused of making sexual advances to women.  Citizens are clamoring for his resignation, but the mayor, after mouthing a few apologies, absolutely refuses to comply.  And this in our tranquil neighbor to the north, whom I have always thought of as sober and sane.

     Bank note:  Followers of this blog know the love I bear my bank, J.P. Morgan Chase.  It is now reported that this noble institution, out of the goodness of its heart, is settling civil claims with the Justice Department about the sale of mortgages to the tune of thirteen billion (yes, billion, not million) smackeroonies – an unprecedented sum.  Hopefully the government will now leave that noble institution alone.  To be sure, critics note that some seven billion of the settlement may qualify as a tax deduction, but let’s not quibble.  They also complain that no one is going to jail, but such sadistic insistence is unwarranted.  Go in peace, J.P. Morgan Chase.  Let no one who has ever sinned cast the first stone.

     Coming soon:  The greatest mayor of them all, Fiorello.  Other prospects include Andy Warhol (a friend of ours knew him), transportation in the city, lighting in the city, and the ladder of thieves ca. 1870 (from hog thieves and coat snatchers up to safe blowers).

     ©  2013  Clifford Browder