01/10/2011 09:22 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

City Council Hearings Set For Snow Response Inquiry

City Council members will pepper Bloomberg administration officials over the city's sluggish response to last month's crippling snow

At the center of an oversight hearing today will be inquiries about why the city did not declare a state of emergency during the blizzard, an action which would have given the city greater power to clear roads of parked cars and clear the way for snow plows.

Part of the hearings will focus on the Sanitation department's response to the storm, and whether or not there was a coordinated effort to sabotage the city's response over budgetary disputes. The Council will also ask whether city regulations should be altered to make it illegal for New Yorkers to drive during snow emergencies.

From the New York Times:

Christine C. Quinn, the Council speaker, said the decision not to declare an emergency was at the center of the inquiry into the city's sluggish response to the storm on Dec. 26 and 27, in which, by some estimates, 20 inches of snow fell.

"There's a lot of evidence out there that indicates that that would have been the much wiser course of action," Ms. Quinn said in an interview on Sunday. "New Yorkers deserve information."

Bloomberg and his staff have been ridiculed for moving slowly to clear streets of snow, causing ambulances to be delayed and leaving New Yorkers stranded.

Stu Loeser, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said, "The mayor has made it clear that the snow response was unacceptable, and we look forward to outlining for the Council changes we're making to deliver the kind of service people have come to expect from us."

Meanwhile, John Kenney in this week's New Yorker imagines what Mayor Bloomberg's blizzard diaries read like:

December 28th -- The criticism mounts. Someplace called the Bronks (sp?) remains snowbound. Am I missing something? Yes, there is a lot of snow. Yes, we haven’t plowed it. Yes, the subways and buses aren’t really running so well. So why don’t people simply use their helicopters? . . .