Daily News Lauds Kelly for Handling of Kletzky Case


kellyBy Mike Lupica, NY Daily News

Ray Kelly, the police commissioner who should be the next mayor of New York, seems to show you his best in the city’s worst moments. This he did the other day when he stood at a podium with the department crest in front of him and uniforms behind him, speaking of the murder of an 8-year-old from Brooklyn named Leiby Kletzky.Always when something like this happens, this kind of monstrous and unspeakable tragedy, a death in the city feels more like a death in the family.

So here was Kelly asked to stand and speak about it to the city. He is not loved by everyone in his own ranks, but somehow is trusted more than any New York politician we have right now. Here was Kelly talking of blood on a refrigerator door of a man named Levi Aron and cutting boards and Dumpsters.

And even as the commissioner spoke in the clipped language of the squad room, he brought a painful humanity to it all as he spoke of the randomness of the boy being pulled off the street as he walked home from camp, as if a hand reached out from hell.

“It was just happenstance,” he said in a quiet voice, “and a terrible fate for this young boy.”

Theodore Roosevelt was a New York police commissioner who went on to become President. No city police commissioner has ever gone on to be mayor. Kelly ought to be the first, especially when you look at those lining up already to succeed Michael Bloomberg in a couple of years, and when you remember that Anthony Weiner once seemed to be at the front of the line. Kelly will turn 72 in 2013, but there is an expression from sports that covers that one: He plays younger. And he is a better commissioner now than he was the first time around in the 1990s, in a far more dangerous world.

Nick Scoppetta worked closely with him when Scoppetta was fire commissioner, and if you know anything about the routine turf wars between the NYPD and the FDNY, you know that is hardly routine.

“Ray Kelly has done a splendid job, obviously, as police commissioner,” Scoppetta was saying Sunday. “He has fully realized the possibilities of the job and the responsibilities of it in the modern world, and by that I mean the post-9/11 world.” Then Scoppetta said, “It goes without saying that Ray Kelly is a New Yorker of the first and highest rank, in all the important ways.”

Kelly is not a politician, even if he has always been able to handle himself in the corners, both here and in his big Washington jobs, working as under secretary for enforcement at the Treasury Dept., later as commissioner of the Customs Service. And at a time when most politicians are held in such low esteem, the fact that Kelly is not a career politician is something you put high up on his résumé. Or in lights.

Friends of his tell me that Kelly hated his time in D.C. and wonder what kind of candidate he would be if he did decide to run. And it is not just cops who work for him who don’t always love the way he runs things, it is civil liberties lawyers always after him for the volume of New Yorkers stopped under Kelly’s “stop and frisk” policies.Put all that on him – and the way he treated protesters at the Republican Convention of 2004 – and Kelly has still made the city better and safer, done that in the 9/11 world, done that by writing his own rule book on counter-terrorism on the fly. Of course anybody would have looked good in his job following a shameless self-promoter like Bernie Kerik. But Kelly has been great.

And while Kelly has given no indication that he’s planning to run, people who care about the city should be telling him to think about it, starting right now.

Andrew Cuomo has shown great early speed as governor, standing tall in particular on the issue of making gay marriage a law in the state. Maybe, after Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, Cuomo can make people trust the governor’s office again. For now, though, New Yorkers have history with Ray Kelly, good history, trust him because of the job he is in and the job he has done with it more than any other politician around.

“He’s had one high-profile job in this city for a long time,” a friend of his told me. “I don’t know if he wants [the job of mayor], but I can tell you this: He wouldn’t be scared off by it.”

Kelly is tough enough, don’t worry about that – he showed you that in Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines. Take another look at the ones who want to replace Bloomberg. The police commissioner would be better than all of them at running the city. When there is trouble, it seems he already is.

{NY Daily News/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Mike Lupica is a bitter old left wing hack! Nobody reads his dumb columns anymore! Kelly has as much chance of being the next Mayor of N.Y., as Rudy has of being the next President of the United States! Why even quote someone so stupid?

  2. I’m scared of my own shadow these days. If Mr. Kelly becomes mayor of New York, maybe I could relax. I don’t want to leave nyc,no place is really better…please say you’ll run, Commisioner Kelly, pleeeaaase. I KNOW you’ll win