The quotation in our headline comes from the collected wit and wisdom of Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, who treated us with his latest bon mot while making an appearance on NY1 last night-and he couldn't be more wrong! Mike Bloomberg's whereabouts was important on Christmas morning when WCBS radio predicted the city would get 16 inches of snow; and it remained important throughout the day and night when the decision to declare a snow emergency was not made.
It wasn't made because the man who is ostensibly in charge of emergency management, Joe Bruno, choked on his whistle in the mayor's absence. In essence, NYC was like the Headless Horseman from the old Sleepy Hollow story-and as a result of the leadership vacuum, bad things happened. But in the last few days, some folks are trying to transmute this leadership failure into a labor scandal-with alleged sanitation worker slowdowns becoming the main culprit for all the bad that transpired while the city was headless.
Michael Daley at the NY Daily News nails this while lamenting the death of an infant stranded by the snow: "But the primary contributing causes certainly must include the city's failure to clear the streets so the mother could reach the hospital in time. The responsibility for that ultimately rests with the man who so often extols the magic of management, Mayor Bloomberg...Those almost certainly not to blame are the sanitation workers who were out there trying to clear the streets after City Hall's disastrous refusal to declare a snow emergency."