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The Politics of Mayor Bloomberg's Snow Removal Response

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"We did not do as good a job as we wanted to do, or as the city has a right to expect," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference on Wednesday, acknowledging that New York officials could have done a better job cleaning up the 20 or so inches of snow that hit the city last weekend. There is such an uproar over the snowy residue that some believe the storm could grow political. Mayor Bloomberg's "three-term reputation is built on claims of managerial competence," is being "roasted like a holiday chestnut" for his says the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial. Many are comparing the situation to the one Mayor John Lindsay dealt with in Queens in 1969, contributing to his demise. And nearby Newark Mayor Cory Booker is receiving praise for his quick response, using Twitter as a resource. So where has Mayor Bloomberg gone wrong?

A faster, serious response was required: New York City is such a thriving city that "you'd think it would be able to clear its streets in a timely fashion after a snowfall. Apparently not," says a Wall Street Journal editorial. There are streets in the city "that three days later still looked more like Fairbanks than Flatbush." But the mayor has been "nonchalant about it all," focusing on other endeavors. But a "government that tries to do too much ends up not being able to do the basic things its citizens expect, such as clearing streets of snow."

Bloomberg seems to be out of touch: "There's a delicious, ready-made irony in the similarities among Bush-Katrina, Obama-Deepwater Horizon, and Bloomberg-Blizzard 2010," says Richard Kantro at American Thinker. In each case, the supervising politician's slowness to act sent the unpopular message that "I'm bigger than you are." They're judged "in the court of public opinion, by a populace fed up" with incompetence and excuses from their representatives. "Bloomberg is an overachieving, bored, self-important billionaire" who has failed to help the common man.

He disregarded his constituents...: "Something went awry in this storm, and no one seems to know what it was," says a New York Times editorial. "Did the high winds or rapid snowfall make plowing harder? Or perhaps it was budget cuts in the Sanitation Department" that explain the inefficiency. But Mayor Bloomberg also "found it necessary to blame citizens" who tried to trek through the snow and were "forced to abandon their cars in traffic lanes." No matter what is determined the cause for these delays, we hope that "the storm at least spell the end of the mayor's use of weary sarcasm as a response to the legitimate concerns of citizens."

...And he hasn't been remorseful about it: As "New Yorkers have had to endure a brutal ordeal," says a New York Post editorial, the mayor hasn't been very sympathetic. "Certainly it's hard to imagine Mayor Giuliani taking such a laid-back approach to the problem." We're "owed answers. Maybe even an apology." It's time to turn this thing around.