Saturday, November 09, 2002

Good luck, Rudy!
WCBS has some details on Rudy's new gig, Zero tolerance meets total tolerance: Giuliani and Mexico City:
When Rudy Giuliani comes to Mexico City this month, he'll find a law enforcement system with an Alice in Wonderland quality where cops sometimes are not cops, and it's often better to avoid them than ask for protection.

The former New York mayor, who championed a ``zero-tolerance'' policy credited with drastically reducing crime, was hired in October as an anti-crime consultant for North America's largest city. His first visit, set for Nov. 18, will probably include a tour of some of Mexico City's rougher areas.

But in this megalopolis of 18 million, Giuliani's idea of zero tolerance may clash with a practice of total tolerance, in which the current mayor once ordered police to overlook violations like parking on crosswalks in an effort to reduce corruption.

``Rudy is entering the Twilight Zone of crime,'' wrote newspaper columnist Carlos Toledo.

Police officers have been arrested for holding up other cops, using their patrol cars to kidnap people and taking bribes to let offenders walk. They have fled from armed suspects, yet killed unarmed detainees.

In Mexico City's system of antiquated laws and spotty enforcement, it's all ``by the book'' literally. Cops carry bound versions of traffic laws because the small books are a good place to stash bribes.

Sometimes, what looks like a police officer actually is not: Cops occasionally make extra money by renting out their uniforms, badges and patrol cars to shakedown artists known as ``madrinas'' or ``godmothers.'' City residents have learned to spot the telltale signs of a ``godmother,'' such as ill-fitting uniforms and badge numbers hidden by vests or electrical tape.
If he can pull a rabbit out of this hat, he is a magician.