The once-and-not-future King Joel has been reduced to a cardboard crown and a paper scepter. All who had faith in his false promise feel betrayed. The man elevated to higher office on the strength of ideas and - we mistakenly thought - ideals has fallen like Icarus, flapping the tattered wings of pride, pettiness and simple stupidity. Giambra preached reform but didn't practice it. The Highway Division mess, the office furniture scandal and a failure to see the coming financial storm preceded his red/green budget disaster. He sabotaged the December budget deal by slipping in pork and patronage... ...As the fall guy for last year's highway mess, Getz should've been gone long ago. Giambra defiantly kept him around, despite the political damage. It was typical of a "Screw me? No, screw you" attitude Giambra absorbed while growing up in the West Side projects and nurtured as he moved to better neighborhoods and bigger worlds. In the end, nobody - nobody - tells Giambra what to do. He is incapable of taking a hit, swallowing his pride and moving on. Even in his final stab last week at a sales tax deal, Giambra pulled back his offer to share with the city, burning one of the few olive branches he'd extended... ...He had no sway in the budget mess over five of seven Republican legislators. The Republican county comptroller, sheriff and Elections Board commissioner can't stand him. His bizarre sales tax alliance last week with the politically toxic Al DeBenedetti merged the two most unpopular kids in class. At least they had each other. Alienation can be the price of independence, but Giambra's lack of political allies is telling. When riding a wave of popularity, King Joel lorded over his subjects, his hardball style breeding enemies instead of winning friends. The old showbiz adage applies to politics - be nice to people on your way up, because you'll meet them on the way down. Few have fallen farther, faster and messier than Giambra. Either the taste of power overwhelmed his ideals, or they were a sham from the start. Either way, all he touches now turns to straw. The government merger he championed has been cheapened by his connection to it. At a recent news conference, with budget walls crumbling and massive cuts force-fed to every department head, Giambra was asked if he'd take a pay cut. No, he said, I don't see how it would do any good.Giambra is politically dead & buried. It's time for him to go.
Stick a fork in him
Donn Esmonde has finally turned on Giambra. Better late than never. A piece like today's used to be reserved solely for the Mayor. As recently as a few weeks ago, Esmonde held out hope for Giambra, and helped to prop him up a bit. Now he realizes it was all like "Weekend at Bernies".