Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fire Sale

As Azi reported yesterday, the city is about to begin to cut essential public safety services: "Here at the City Council budget hearing on public safety, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta testified a few minutes ago that his department will begin closing “several fire companies” between the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.--a savings about $8.4 million. Scoppetta later said the department will eliminate five fire companies, but the department has not identified which ones.

So, as we have speculated, the Bloombergistas begin to wield their budget ax, and do so against what is essential for any municipal government to maintain: its fire protection for the neighborhoods of the city. And in doing so, Bloomberg is emulating the cutbacks initiated by former mayor Dinkins; beginning with treating the department as if it was a McFire Department-with less staffing in the evening than during the rest of the day (and, of course, more fires are at night-with the greatest threat to life).

Isn't it time for everyone to acknowledge that Mike Bloomberg hasn't provided the necessary leadership that would have prepared government for what we're facing today? As Spin Cycle pointed out yesterday-in regards to the state budget-a time of crisis is also a time of opportunity: "Some lawmakers and economists were hopeful that budget director Laura Anglin would advise Paterson to use the huge budget deficit as an excuse to reinvent government. Some suggested merging agencies and authorities with overlapping responsibilities such as the Transportation Department and Thruway Authority."

Have we ever seen this creativity from the Bloomberg administration? Instead we get the following obsequiousness from a manager who was over his head at ACS, and now facing the closing of fire companies: “We have a very good relationship with City Hall and that means a very good relationship with the mayor. The fact that he’s going to be here, we think, for five years instead of one more year, is a very positive thing, for the fire department and for the city.”

Oy vey! It's time to retire these folks. If FDNY believes that this is what constitutes a good relationship with the mayor, than we'd hate to see what happens to the agency that gets on Bloomberg's bad side.