Michael Bloomberg's handling of the New York City Marathon at its best has been foolhardy and at its worst has been plain greedy. With a city in varying states of recovery, a public transit system that was essentially crippled up until Saturday afternoon, blackouts and a death count nearing 50, this clearly was not the time to be hosting the worlds largest marathon.
Instead of either using common sense as early as Monday when the Hurricane struck or listening to those calling for the race to be cancelled early on, he instead dragged the controversy past the point of decency and called off the event Friday evening when anyone from outside of New York would have had to fully commit to the expenditures to be in the city. Runners needlessly spent money on airfares, hotels (from which a good number of displaced Sandy victims were made to leave to make room for runners) and a host of other financial and time commitments that could have been avoided.
There are now those who now speculate that the entire controversy was in itself a money grab. New York City has now benefited from almost all the tourism dollars it would have received for putting on the marathon without the expense or resource draw actually putting on the event would have been.
For a mayorship that to a large degree has been a great and positive one, Bloomberg's tactics and decisions over the last year may prove to be the great spoiler to what has been a productive candidacy. New York forgave Bloomberg's manipulative tactics and legal wrangling to run for a third term, but with initiatives like his soda ban, along with banning smoking in outdoor spaces, both of which for many has been regarded as a gateway towards future infringement on civil liberties, the mayor has not treated his citizenry in kind. This year's marathon debacle may be the nail in Bloomberg's good will coffin.
If there has been any silver lining, it has been with the general response by marathon would bes in participating in various charitable and volunteer efforts throughout the city, showing that disappointment should never be an excuse for a lack of empathy, compassion and humanity.