Snow job

It’s nice to see our Lord Mayor “take responsibility” for a series of acts bordering on criminal indifference on his part associated with the City of New York’s utter inability to clear most of its streets following this weekend’s mega-blizzard (interestingly, the 20 or so inches that were recorded in Central Park were the sixth highest total ever recorded, but the second-highest this year, after February’s 26 inch fall). Still… the Lord Mayor’s sudden humility on this seems… disingenuous. To be fair, in my dozen years in Brooklyn, this was the hardest I’ve ever had to work in terms of clearing snow from our front walk… a lot of snow, heavy, nowhere to put it, and viciously cold outside forcing frequent breaks. But still and all…
What I have yet to see reported anywhere in a Bloomberg-friendly news media (professional courtesy to another media mogul, doubtless) is that the principal difference involves personnel: experienced personnel who have been “incentivized” to take retirement or otherwise “attrit” between February and now, and what I really suspect is going on, to wit, a huge number of sanitation workers– more than would be rational or prudent in this or any winter season– were permitted to take Christmas week vacations, and I have no doubt whatsoever that our famously control-freakish Lord Mayor knew all about this, and still refused to do the only two rational things required by this set of circumstances (other than be honest about them, which might or might not have caused some level of panic), those being (1) declare a snow emergency banning all non-emergency vehicles from driving in the streets altogether [no… some rich fucks will need to get to their cocktail parties in their own vehicles] and (2) hire day laborers immediately to hand shovel everything that the shortage of professional vehicle operators means can’t be reached with the heavy plows. There. That wasn’t so hard.
Except, it seems, we have a “rugged individualist/captialist” ideology masquerading as a relevant and useful doctrine, where genuine government services that can only be provided by the government are what is actually required. Alas, had a general announcement to the effect of “anyone driving a private vehicle on NYC Streets after 5 pm on Sunday for any purpose other than driving someone to a hospital will be fined $1,000” would probably have kept most of our major intersections clear, permitting easier snow clearance… as would a general announcement of $10 an hour snow-shoveling ($11 if you bring your own shovel) throughout the outer boroughs. No… that would cost money… money that could otherwise be used to bail out our friends on Wall Street. Indeed, not even a real call for voluntary action [e.g. please help shovel out your own street so emergency vehicles could get through] went out. Just something like “we’ll take Manhattan, but the Bronx, [Brooklyn, Queens] and Staten Island too… you’re on your own!” Nice.
These sensible measures which would have taken just a slight investment of political capital… didn’t happen. A cautionary tale: in a community of 9 million people (as with a nation of over 300 million), when the political leaders feel for people like themselves (that would be “the super-rich”… and Mike Bloomberg is actually New York’s richest resident) and not with the average Jose who elects them (and has to live under their “governance”) … you end up getting breakdowns. And after nearly a week of it, even the invariably arrogant Bloomberg had to admit it. As if it will matter, or in any way change the behavior of our elected elite anytime soon.