Yesterday we commented on Mike Bloomberg's impersonation of Jim Carrey as Fire Marshal Bill-weighing in on the Flatbush fire controversy with little real awareness of how little he knows about firefighting. Marcia Kramer at WCBS New York also focused in on the controversy: "Dispatch tapes and records obtained by Kramer show that there was a problem getting water on the fire and that after battling the fire for an hour and 23 minutes firefighters knew that there was little hope of saving the building. “All members have been removed from the roof of the building. All interior members have been moved to the floor below the fire … The fire is still doubtful,” an official is heard saying on the tape."
The inability of achieving optimum fire suppression was a result of a lack of manning on the trucks-the missing fifth firefighter-but the mayor, reading a lackey's script, was having none of it: "It has nothing to do with the number of people on an engine, which is what they’re talking about,” Bloomberg said, adding when told that firefighters had to run eight lengths of hose to the fifth floor, “Miss, I’m sure they’re going to say that. That’s part of what they have to say when were in the middle of trying to find ways to do more with less.”
What a fool! Trying to do more with less? When the lives of New Yorkers are hanging in the balance? Perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation if Mike Bloomberg hadn't added more than 16,000 additional personnel to the Department of Education-an example of doing less with more. And so it has gone through nine years of mismanagement-adding on to layers of government while increasing taxes and piling on more business crippling regulations.
Sure he has to cut now-that's what happens when you have been profligate for the better part of a decade. But it is a powerful indication of just how outrageous the suggestion was that we needed this man for an additional third term because of his managerial and fiscal expertise. It was all overblown by the mayor's hundreds of millions of campaign disinformation-aided buy a chorus of media toadies who vouched for the mayor's claims.
Now, however, the snowfu and CityTime scandals are driving home the point that the, "king is in the altogether." All of which is given further credence by the mayor saying we have to. "do more with less," and threaten the lives of our citizens because he hasn't been a good steward of the city's finances. Hey Mike, we don't do less in public safety-this is the one area that should be sacrosanct; and by saying that we need to eliminate manning and cut fire houses, the mayor is basically saying that he has failed in his core responsibility of governance.
But as far as the manning issue itself, he's just flat out wrong: "Dispatch tapes and records obtained by Kramer show that there was a problem getting water on the fire and that after battling the fire for an hour and 23 minutes firefighters knew that there was little hope of saving the building. “All members have been removed from the roof of the building. All interior members have been moved to the floor below the fire … The fire is still doubtful,” an official is heard saying on the tape. Union officials said that’s FDNY lingo for “We’ve given up. The building can’t be saved.” They said that staff cuts ordered by Mayor Bloomberg three weeks ago delayed them from getting water on the fire for at least five critical minutes."
As one insider told us: "The FDNY spokesmen have STILL not mentioned the Mayday that a Ladder Company captain gave because his company was searching a fifth floor apartment fire with no water to protect them. The first hose line (E-255) was beaten back from the door by a blast from inside the apartment when the win shifted. They were forced back into the stairwell when they were just moments away from breaking down the door and rushing in. That fifth man would have helped them get into position to attack the fire and protect the Ladder company, but he wasn't there. E-255 did an incredible job, stretching 450 feet of hose lie to the fifth floor with just three men (the chauffeur must stay with the pumper)."
And there will be an investigation-as there is with any fire fatality. But, as with the fatal Deutsche Bank fire, the city always looks to avoid taking any blame on itself-a characteristic shared in extremis by Mayor Bloomberg. As Jim Slevin told Kramer: "They could have contained this fire, kept it to a one-alarm fire. Instead, the windows failed. The fire blew them down the stairs and the woman died on the top floor,” said James Slevin, the vice president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association."
Just as with the Christmas blizzard, we have a failure right at the top-a chief executive who is trying to save lives on the cheap, and as a result we have lost a building and a human life. Some cost saving! As Kramer reports: "Was the fifth man critical? “We know that if they would have got up there quicker they could have made an attack on the fire,” Uniformed Fire Officers Association Vice President and FDNY Battalion Chief George Belnavis said. The unions are furious with the mayor. “All I have to say is what is more important, okay, saving lives or saving money?” UFOA delegate Lt. James McGowan said."
And we haven't even touched on the mayor's scheme to charge New Yorkers for emrgency rescues-a further indication of a man spiraling out of control. As we said last year: "So now, after nine years of failure to reduce the size and scope of municipal government, we've come down to the outrage of folks being double billed for emergence services..."
As far as we're concerned, the mayor's credibility in this is nil-and more and more it appears that he is losing his grip as his interest in actually running the city fades along with it. But he still has hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on his pet Willets Point project-a down payment on what will eventually cots billions. Doing more with less. Indeed.
We'll give CM Crowley the last word: "City Council Fire Committee Chairwoman Elizabeth Crowley said the mayor’s budget cuts are “forcing the FDNY to roll the dice on public safety.”