Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Speaking of Vacuum

The NY Post has come to the same conclusion as we have-Mike Bloomberg's absence during the storm is the primary cause of  the massive troubles the city had in responding efficiently to the storm. The paper even uses the same vacuum reference in its editorial this morning: "Deputy Mayor of Operations Stephen Goldsmith's refusal to answer a simple question at yesterday's City Council hearing on the Christmas-weekend blizzard breakdown clearly identified the cause of the chaos: Nobody was in charge when it mattered. City Hall yesterday admitted that a snow-removal emergency should have been declared -- but wasn't. That failure made all the difference. But while there was plenty of pettifogging about why no emergency was called, the only credible explanation had to be inferred from the testimony, and it is this: As the storm bore down on the city, there was no one in town of sufficient horsepower to make such a call."

The Post also endorses CM Vallone's call for new legislation that would mandate official notification when the mayor leaves town-along with the designation of someone who is in charge in his stead: "Mayor Bloomberg was missing; protocols stipulate that First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris take over in such a case. Where was she, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. asked Goldsmith -- who simply ignored the question... That doesn't mean tough questions weren't asked -- Vallone's, in particular. He's seeking legislation that will force City Hall to publicly identify precisely which deputy mayor is in charge whenever Bloomberg leaves the city. The administration, not surprisingly, bitterly opposes such a requirement. Too bad. It left the city in the lurch on Christmas weekend, to disastrous result, and so it no longer gets the benefit of the doubt."

For its part, the NY Daily News in naming a long list of accomplices to the city's management failure, fails to tag the mayor-the one person who ultimately responsible for demonstrating leadership: "Who were the mistake makers? Who knows?Mayor Bloomberg's promised accountability went only so far as to identify the mistakes, not those who made them. In his nine-page rendering, things just happened."

Let's be plain. The mayor has been jetting out of town for weekend jaunts for the past nine years-with no one holding him accountable for leaving the city rudderless. He had been lucky right up to last Christmas that nothing calamitous had occurred in his absence. But now we see first hand why his privacy act can no longer be tolerated. Peter Vallone is right here. We await the city council's legislative response.