A snow job from Bloomberg

January 4, 2011

ALLOW ME to place the blame right up front for the bungled job for clearing New York City streets--it's on the state and New York City governments for cutting funding for snow removal.

City officials were forced to admit that because of budget cuts, they had less staff and equipment to deal with the blizzard. Moreover, because of budget cuts, approximately 100 employees had little or no experience--which played out when numerous plows themselves got stuck in the snow.

Allow me to be clear: the Sanitation Department workers are not to blame. Many did their best under trying circumstances and were forced to work 12-plus-hour shifts.

Because of budgets cuts, my family had to risk death just to drive into New York City on the night of December 26 from Albany. It took more than eight hours, principally because there weren't enough snowplows.

I used to live in Syracuse, N.Y., and the "blizzard" that New York City received would be "just another day" in Syracuse. But when our billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg decides that raising taxes on the rich may--oh dear God--make them move, the rest of us must risk death, get in accidents, get snowed in and waste hours waiting for mass transit.

Even three days after the storm, numerous New York streets still had not been cleared, and I've found myself still waiting 40-50 minutes for a bus to arrive (when the posted schedule has them arriving once every 10 minutes). City officials were also forced to admit that "dozens" of ambulances got stuck in the snow, causing deaths around the city. The mayor's response? "These things happen."

Numerous people gave up trying to get home on December 26 and simply slept in their stuck cars. But the mayor and the rich? They look down on the rest of us with noses held high--their streets are cleared, so their "subjects" can just "tough it out."

The Daily News had a photo spread showing the mayor's street and the Sanitation Department head's street, and contrasted them with streets just blocks away. Their streets were crystal clear, while the streets nearby were still covered with snow and slush days after the storm.

King Bloomberg's message is clear: "Let them eat cake!"
David Bliven, New York City

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