by Melpomene Whitehead
Photos by Marie Mundaca
A few weeks ago I spent $4.00 on payphones. Well, I lost $4.00 on payphones. I never got through to the person I was trying to call. His cell phone would ring and ring, and then I couldn't get my quarter returned. Or he would pick up and he couldn't hear me. Each time I lost my change I'd attempt to call the operator, and sometimes I couldn't get through, sometimes I got a recording... one time I spoke with an operator who told me that their public phones don't connect to cell phones (how could they know? Both landlines and cells now have that horrible 646 area code). Verizon operators promised to credit me... I'm still waiting, by the way.
The reason I was calling my friend was to find out if he wanted me to get Mouse on Mars tickets while I was downtown. I tried to get teh tickets online, but Ticketmaster wanted to charge me a $9.50 per ticket service charge, and wouldn't even guarantee that I'd get the tickets on time (they put them in the mail!). I was so frustrated by this point that I stopped in a bar for a drink. When The Orb came on the jukebox I started wriggling in my seat, but was told by the bartender that if I didn't stop he'd have to throw me out of the bar because they didn't have a cabaret license and I couldn't dance.
Wow, I thought, New York City sure is better since Giuliani got into office! All my stripper friends lost their jobs, my public pot-smoking friends spend nights in jail as opposed to getting tickets, and I can't even afford to go see a band at Irving Plaza! And forget about dancing. I don't even bother wearing comfortable shoes anymore when I go out. And none of these other mayoral candidates are talking about the quality of my life--do you really think Mark Green is going to repeal the cabaret law? I've voted in every election since I've been able to vote, but why bother now? But wait! What's this? Chris Brodeur is running for mayor? You mean the guy Giuliani called a 'perverted little creep'? I heard that Giuliani has a special prosecutor devoted to him! I heard that Giuliani has had him arrested numerous times, and each time Brodeur was found not guilty. I heard he has a website with 100 innovations for New York City (see sidebar)! I heard he's not accepting any money for his campaign, and in fact has spent almost nothing! I heard he's celibate. I heard he has five girlfriends... is any of this true?
I decided to find out for myself. I caught Christopher with his pants down--he was changing his clothes--outside of Trinity Church after the photo shoot for the cover of his forthcoming book, Perverted Little Creep (extreme NY books, due out in October 2001).
New York Waste: Why are you running for mayor?
Christopher: Well, I'm running for two reasons. One reason is to actually win, because certainly if the 2 million plus voters in New York City heard my platform or saw my ideas, I'd get 90% of the vote. At least. Maybe 100%. Even the other politicians would be voting for me. The problem is that I don't have the $5 million to spend. And I refuse to spend money to advertise my run, so the second reason I'm running is more plausible, and that is to embarrass the republicans, and embarrass the democrats into actually thinking about things that they have no other reason to think about. Like none of them are talking about public bathrooms. They don't care. None of them are talking about eradicating the cabaret law, none of them are talking about more arts funding for small arts organizations, they're all saying the exact same thing: smaller classroom size, it's a no brainer; they're all talking about housing. No kidding, it's a no brainer. They're all pointing out that they have to get the money from somewhere, but not one of them seems to notice that we have a $40 billion budget that is complete absolute waste. The budget was $34 billion at the end of '94. It's now $40 billion. Somehow they not only found $6 billion more a year, but they're spending $6 billion more a year. And yet the libraries don't open on time, kids don't have up to date textbooks--where is that money going? It's going for 75% pay raises for the city council, it's going for all kinds of wasteful purposes, like $330 million in overtime for the police force. This is the world's largest police force--the larger your police force gets, the lower your overtime should be. So I'm running to raise issues that no one else wants to talk about.
NYW: Do you know how much a City Council person makes?
Christopher: yes. They make $90,000, which isn't bad, considering the job has few responsibilities
NYW: It's a part time job, isn't it?
Christopher: It's not considered to be part time. It used to pay $55k/yr and it was considered to be part time. Even though many of them worked more than part time on the job. But most of them don't do anything, they make appearances in their district... they don't have to answer to anyone but their voters. If they don't show up for half the votes at the city council, they don't get in trouble unless their constituents find out about it. Most of what the city council does is rename streets. No joke. If you ask a council member "how many bills did you vote on last year and what were those bills?," you're going to find that most of those bills were renaming streets. The one thing the council does that's any work is the budget, and that's it. They get together once a year and hash out the budget and fight over the money. It's less than a part time job. $90,000. They gave themselves a $35,000 pay raise.
NYW: Let's talk about the cabaret laws. When did Giuliani re-enact the cabaret laws?
Christopher: I couldn't tell you exactly if it was '95 or '96. They may have actually started the first term. With Giuliani a lot of things he begins immediately but then he has his lawyers see how legal it is, how far they can go with it, what they can get away with. The cabaret laws are among the most insane things this mayor has done. They were enacted in 1926 because white politicians didn't want their kids going up to Harlem to jazz clubs and they said, "How do we stop this? We'll create a law that you can only have that kind of dancing and entertainment if you get a license from us, and we simply won't give any of those blacks jazz clubs licenses and then our kids can't go there and dance."
NYW: Are there a limited number of cabaret licenses?
Christopher: Reportedly, even if you wanted to get a cabaret license, you couldn't get one. That's the way the government works. But they never enforced them before. Even this mayor, he's just using this as a tool to harass the club and bar owners, and none of the other candidates give a damn about it. And here's another thing that's dear to my heart: age discrimination. If you're under 21, you can't go into most clubs, you can't go into most music venues, you can't go into comedy clubs, simply because you're under 21 and these clubs serve alcohol. My point is that the best way to tackle this is to stop sending undercover cops into the bars. The 21 year age limit is arbitrary. We know people who can't handle their liquor at 30, and people who can at 18. Like our entire war on drugs... it's a complete farce. Our prostitution laws are completely bogus, and the drinking laws are the same. I'm going to use my powers of ESP here; I bet you drank alcohol before you were 21.
Christopher: How did I know that? Every person I've ever met in my life drank alcohol before they were 21. It's meaningless. I think it's age discrimination., You can vote, you can go to war at 18.
NYW: How long have you been in New York?
Christopher: I've been in New York City ten years, came from Boston. I didn't plan on living here forever, but I got here and said, man, this town is perfect, why's it so screwed up?
NYW: You got here when Dinkins was mayor.
Christopher: Dinkins was a moron. I was living on Avenue A when he'd turned it into a police state. He bulldozed Dinkinsville... remember Dinkinsville, the shanty town over on Avenue C? His administration was monstrous in every way. Dinkins was a piece of garbage and Giuliani is the white David Dinkins, although he's ten times worse.. If I do get elected, my first day on the job I'm having Giuliani arrested. For multiple crimes. I'm not even sure if all the charges will stick, but that's his technique. I want to make it law that you do unto others as you would have others do unto you. You could have him arrested repeatedly on false charges and he couldn't complain because he did that to other people. We could try him for 3rd degree grand larceny for his giant pay raise. Maybe somewhere deep in the law books it says that giving yourself a pay raise against the people's will is not theft if you're a politician, but I think I could get a jury to convict him on that one alone. Because the people spoke. Every poll, conservative, liberal, even the New York Post, said don't give yourself a $30,000 pay raise while you're cutting back services. And the mayor said, "Fuck you." When he gave himself a second $30K pay raise, again, everyone--people who liked him, people who hate him--said don't do this and he said, "Fuck you, I'm in charge, I don't work for you," and he took people's money against their will. That's grand larceny according to the law. He's going to spend a couple of days in the Tombs, and if he can win in court, god bless him.
NYW: Of all the jails and prisons you've been to, what's the best and what's the worst? (note: Giuliani has had Chris falsely arrested on numerous occasions.)
Christopher: Try to get into the Manhattan Detention Center, right next to the courthouse. They call that the Tombs. The old tombs were horrendous, but the new Tombs are fantastic. Everything is automated, you get your own private cell with a stainless steel table and a bed and a window.
NYW: That's nicer than alot of people's apartments.
Christopher: That's right. If your rent's getting out of control you should commit some crimes. Jail's not as bad as alot of people think. Remember most people in jail aren't hardened criminals, they're in for drug offenses, and even the bad guys who are in there for assault, half the guys are in there for kicking the shit out of someone who deserved it. There are lots of people in my life who I should have injured severely for the things they did, but I didn't because I'm a pacifist, which is stupid. Don't ever be a pacifist. Or a vegetarian. It's miserable. Rikers, there're different sections of Rikers. Some of them are like large dormitories. It's not that bad, it's like a barracks. But it depends what time of year you go. In summer, you want to be in the modules, they're like cheap mobile homes. Those have a/c.
NYW: [gasp] They do?!
Christopher: They have to be climate controlled because they're little mobile units. The others are all like old school buildings from the 1950s--there's no a/c, and only a little bit of heat--so you basically freeze in the winter, and die in the summer, I was lucky, last time I was in there I was in the modules. Remember that, try to get the modules if possible.They're worse in the rain. But as long as your bed's not under a leak you're OK.
NYW: For alot of people who get arrested I'm sure that jail must be nicer than being home.
Christopher: For a lot of people in New York City, sure.
NYW: You have some ideas for affordable housing,
Christopher: I have a lot of ideas. You should go to the website, mayorBrodeur.com. I really wish other candidates would talk about my $50/month housing. There's a lot of people who move to New York City, they want to be writers, or musicians, they don't want to pay $300/month, if they could find a share at that price, but even that's too much. What I propose is low cost housing, $50/month housing, the smallest room you could possible imagine: a Murphy bed, or a loft bed, and a desk and one window. Certainly you don't want these to be abused by crackheads or prostitutes, but when I'm mayor, taking drugs and prostitution won't be crimes. The idea is to build enough housing that we create a real estate crash and everyone's rent goes down. That's one of my intentions. Housing should be a right, not a luxury.
NYW: Have you ever had sex with your cousin? (note: Giuliani's first wife was also his second cousin. He says he didn't know and had the marriage annulled on those grounds after 14 years. )
Christopher: A lot of people don't even know that Giuliani was married before. He's a strict roman catholic. He took an oath: 'til death do us part. He could say "well, I thought I could keep it together with my first wife." After the first wife, do you want to make this promise a second time? (note: Giuliani got his first marriage annulled after he met Donna Hanover.)
NYW: Not only is he getting a divorce, but he committed adultery.
Christopher [sarcastically]: Which is kind of a violation of his alleged principles. The minute he said "Let's put the Ten Commandments in schools," you knew he was fucking around on his wife. He's a walking cliché and he always will be. It's especially obnoxious because he pretends to be so righteous.
NYW: Let's say you win. What's the first thing you're going to do after you have Giuliani arrested?
Christopher: I'm going to cancel my inauguration ceremonies. We'll save at least $500,000. I'm going to be sworn in on local TV with a martini in my hand.
NYW: It sounds like in Brodeur's New York, people like me would be happier, but what about those other people, like my dad?
Christopher: Well, like I said, if everybody heard my platform I'd get 99% of the vote, even from people who love Giuliani. Like potholes. Wall Street guys in their sports cars hit the same potholes the poor people do.
NYW: Why can't Giuliani take care of the potholes?
Christopher: Even if they want to fix a problem they can't. They don't have the brains. It's not really hard to repave the streets. The mayor rides around in an SUV, so he probably doesn't feel half the potholes. So rich people are going to like me just as much. Like the mayor closed Fresh Kills, which sounds great, but it doubled our garbage removal costs. Rich people aren't happy about that. No one's happy about that.
NYW: What would you have done with the garbage?
Christopher: We need to reduce the waste at its source. You look at your trash, half of that you don't even need, it was unnecessary packaging. And there are100s of other solutions. Fresh Kills should never had been open. The idea of the landfill was stupid to begin with. The idea is to reduce waste. Even recycling is not the solution. When I was a little kid we'd get orange juice delivered in bottles, and we'd put the bottles back out and they'd reuse them. There was no waste involved. We can do that with lots of things. So we could reduce garbage in weeks by 50%.
NYW: I think alot of people might say that the reason why you could focus on these minor problems is because Giuliani took care of the major problems. Like crime.
Christopher: He didn't. That's complete bullshit. This mayor is softer on crime than any other, and for those people who believe everything they read, one quick question: why did murder rates start nose-diving in 1991, years before Giuliani became mayor? Because Giuliani has not 1% to do with any drop in crime. Now, he certainly gets credit for the fact that New York City has the lowest crime rate of any major city in America, because he fudged the crime stats. Repeatedly. It's been proven that crimes get under-reported, and the cops are pressured to lower the crime stats. Everyone has every incentive to fudge the crime states. Crime did go down all over the country, it went down just as much in Boston and San Diego as it did in New York, and those places didn't have any of the techniques that we're using, so it's a total farce. I'll spare you the details because I can go on and on forever, I can tear everything the mayor says apart. He's totally fake on the crime issue.
NYW: In some areas of the city crime has gone up, Like Manhattan North.
Christopher: Last year the media was reporting that murder decreased 18% overall around the city. But if you take a closer you look at the numbers, you see it's gone up 31% in Manhattan North, and that doesn't make any sense. They've always had an army of cops up there. So if Giuliani and his large police force are lowering crime, this doesn't make any sense. There's no better friend of criminals than Giuliani. You can see that by his focus on quality of life crimes. When he's going after someone who's smoking pot, that's taking cops away from solving real crimes. I've been the victim of many crimes. None of them have been solved. Why? City Hall and Giuliani don't actually care about solving crimes. They only care about image.
NYW: So you feel that people aren't safer in New York City?
Christopher: They might be a little safer, because crime has dropped everywhere, not only in New York City. I live on a block with a police station, and everyone I know continues to be robbed. Two of my three roommates have had their bicycles stolen or vandalized in the last three months. You're telling me that's a bizarre coincidence? If you're not safe on the same street as a police station seven years after the 'renaissance' kicked in, then where are you safe? It's a complete hoax. I mean, for all we know the crime rate might be skyrocketing because there are so many different tricks to fudge statistics. Ask anyone you know who's been in New York City since before Giuliani. Ask them how many crimes they were a victim of under Dinkins, then ask them how many crimes they were a victim of under Giuliani. You're going to find, anecdotally, everyone you meet is going to say the same thing, that there doesn't seem to be any real change. The mayor has every motive and every means to fake these numbers. You're going to see no correlation to the mayor's numbers. I've yet to run into someone who was a victim of more crimes under Dinkins and less under Giuliani. Everyone I know who has a bike continues to get their bikes stolen. My house was burglarized the day before Giuliani got re-elected.
NYW: You know, I can't buy pot on the street anymore like I used to.(note: I say this facetiously. I was offered an opportunity to buy pot just last night.)
Christopher: Oh, certainly. But even he admitted, we can't get rid of drug dealers, all we can do is move them around. That doesn't accomplish anything. All he's done is raise the price of pot, because the scarcity means dealers can raise their prices, and there's lost productivity because people have to work harder to find their drugs, when they could be doing something more productive in society.
NYW: The city seems really dirty now, and there are lots of rats.
Christopher: Every problem in our society is tied to other things. But I'd start with the garbage. We need to reduce our garbage first. That would take care of a whole slew of problems--those 4 am garbage pick-ups that old people complain about, the leaky garbage trucks, it's disgusting... because they leak and spill, you need the street sweepers, and that's why you have alternate side of the street parking. So if we start by reducing the garbage, we could reduce and eventually eradicate these other problems. That's why people have to vote for me. Or contact the other candidates and tell them to steal my ideas.
NYW: Do any of the candidates stand out as being particularly good or particularly bad?
Christopher: After Giuliani, Lucifer or Stalin, would be a step up. I'd take Hitler over Giuliani, I really would. Hitler was twice as honest, and twice as smart. Giuliani is Hitler minus the smarts and the ambition. Of the main candidates--they're all three times smarter than he is, but no matter who gets elected, if it's not me, the housing crisis will continue, garbage problems will continue, the war on drugs will continue... I would recommend that people who are registered democrats to vote for George Spitz in the primary. He's got a very progressive platform. His platform is probably second to mine--he wants to end the war on drugs, for example. He doesn't have a chance of winning.
NYW: You have a book coming out.
Christopher: Yes, Perverted Little Creep (http://pervertedlittlecreep.com). I would have preferred for the book to be about how I would improve New York City, but we wanted it to be out in time to promote my run for mayor, and we were pressed for time. The book is archival essays and posters about how fucked up the government is. Of course, when you talk about government in the last eight years, it all comes back to one person, the most inept criminal New York has ever seen: Rudolph Giuliani. So the book is about my battles with Giuliani, my phone calls to his radio show. It's entertaining, it's insightful and educational... it's got drawings--his staff loves my drawing of Giuliani, but I don't know if he's ever seen them. The title is something the mayor called me. He's putting out two books. I'm so upset at Miramax for giving him $3 million for putting out two books--it's a total hoax. It would be nice if my books caught on, so he would have to answer some of the points I make.
NYW: Is there anything you could do about the price of movie tickets?
Christopher: I'd organize a boycott. I'd mandate that the first show be half price. I'd demand to see their profit margins. I'd pass a law that they must allow you to bring your own food. The consumer should have the ultimate choice. I'm sad that my fellow New Yorkers will actually pay $10 to see a movie.
NYW: I really miss the old Times Square...
Christopher: I'm going to bring back strip clubs. I'm going to legalize nudity. America is completely backwards as far as nudity goes. They don't have a problem in Europe, their rape statistics are not three times higher than they are here. But we have psychopaths like Giuliani, and I think his stance on strip clubs and porn is partially because organized religion has polluted his mind. Alot of people don't know that Giuliani was training to be a priest. Maybe we need to keep churches away from schools. I find organized religion to be extremely offensive. It's caused some of the greatest crimes in recorded history. But none of the other candidates are going to change this. There are no building inspectors--buildings keep falling down, people get killed--they can't keep up with restaurant inspections or elevator inspections. But Giuliani has inspectors crawling all over these video stores that sell porn, counting the copies of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, to make sure they have at least 60% that's not smut. And now he wants to take it further, he's saying he wants to make sure that 60% of what they're selling is not porn. I thought he was a republican who believed in the free market!
Currently, Christopher X. Brodeur is running for mayor as a Green Party candidate, but the primary on September 11 may change that. If Brodeur does not get the Green Party nomination (there are other Greens running, all of whom are accepting contributions and governemnt matching funds, and spending money on their campaigns), you'll still be able to vote for him on Election Day as a write-in candidate. Remember, you have until September 25 to register to vote in the upcoming election. Call (212) VOTE-NYC and the''ll mail you an registration postcard.
Highlights of Christopher X. Brodeur's 100 Innovations for New York City.
(see more at http://mayorBrodeur.com)
Stop Recycling; encourage reuse ala the old days when the milkman would reuse
the milk bottles
Make Small Claims Court Free
More stings to catch bad cops and bad politician
Free Public Restrooms
Sell Gracie Mansion
Cut mayor1s salary by 70%
$60,000 salary cap for all non-union city workers
More support of small arts organizations
End alternate side of the street parking
Save water with innovative foot pedal faucets
Term limits for state politicians
Bike and Rollerblade lanes
War on bike theft (it's the number one crime in NYC)
War on crappy payphones
Eradicate ALL fiscal waste in the budget
More public art
Separate jury duty rolls from voter registration rolls
Make community gardens permanent
DMV open on Saturdays
Repave the damn streets
All major issues decided by voter referendum
No more 60 minute parking meters
A single hotline to report ANY city problems
No more pesticide spraying
Ban presidential motorcades in NYC
Increase library hours and expand service
Open public pools in June
Legalize and tax marijuana
Make all curbs wheelchair accessible
Build really affordable housing
Increase penalties for rape
No more mesh garbage cans
Expand the school day to 5 PM (and show foreign films and documentaries to the student body)
Punish all criminals, including judges and lawyers (judges and lawyers should not have immunity from prosecution)
Ban car alarms
Clean drinking fountains everywhere
Mandatory organ donation
Crack down on real estate brokers (they have monopoly on listings and it's a racket)
Better senior services
Investigate Ticketmaster1s profits
Plant fruit trees
Greater consumer protection
End all drug prohibition
Mandate that municipal workers raises must be equal to politicians1
Monitor the mayor (I'll put a tap on ALL my phones!)
Public tool libraries for renting drills, etc