But the stakes are higher this time than ever before. The decision by NBC to remain in New York or to relocate to New Jersey may hang in the balance...
The political fortunes of the Mayor, buffeted for almost a year and a half by municipal scandals, could also turn on what NBC decides to do - and on whom the public blames if the network leaves or whom it credits if NBC remains.
Navigating the political shoals will not be easy for Mr. Koch. The Mayor, who has often been accused of giving away too much of the city's light and air to its master builders, could win praise for turning down a powerful developer who had demanded too much.
But if NBC does move to New Jersey, thus joining J. C. Penney and the Mobil Corporation in an exodus from Manhattan, Mr. Koch could be criticized for having failed to bend sufficiently to keep a vital part of the communications industry in New York.You see how that worked out -- last night was the final episode of "30 Rock," not "30 Landmark Square, Stamford." NBC, like many other corporations, sends some operations out to the sticks from time to time, but New York is big enough to stand it, and certainly too big to respond to economic blackmail. For years no one seemed to remember that, but Koch knew it and let you know he knew it. That was part of his success, and why people stuck with him.
As I've said before, I also admired his habit of saying "the people have spoken" after big trials like Bernhard Goetz's and Larry Davis', which I found appropriately humble and respectful. (He said it after he lost the 1982 Democratic Gubernatorial nomination to Mario Cuomo, too.) Nowadays people only remember his snide version of the saying after he lost the 1989 primary: "The people have spoken and they must be punished." Maybe that was always in the back of his mind when he used the shorter version. But it's something that he waited until the end of his political career to reveal it.