Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Letter to Mayor Bloomberg, Re: The Latest Blizzard of 2010

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

Thank you for your half-assed acknowledgement that the city dropped the ball when it came to cleaning up after Sunday's snowstorm. Of course, it certainly took you long enough to admit that the city might be a little bit to blame for the fact that piles of snow continue to block city streets and sidewalks, leaving many still impassable. I understand why you continue to point your finger at those New Yorkers who foolishly decided to drive late Sunday and early Monday; of course, why would you want to declare an official snow emergency, to make things a little clearer for everybody? And if you had, it would have gotten city buses off the streets as well, many of which became stuck in the middle of the roadways because their drivers had no choice but to do their jobs in the absence of any city mandates directing otherwise. But why split hairs?

After all, I'm not surprised that the vast majority of the city realized that this was a Department of Sanitation slowdown; I mean, when you attacked teachers, firefighters, and police officers with your budget cuts and suffered relatively little negative public feedback from workers or unions, it stands to reason why you'd expect the DSNY to bend over and take it, too. But this was your moment, to shine in all of your glory; after all, you worked so damn hard to put all city departments directly under that managerial thumb of yours. So this was your time to show off: MANAGE. Make the DSNY union and its workers do their damn jobs, so that the city wouldn't come to a standstill and people's lives (and livelihoods) wouldn't be at stake, in what was ONLY the fifth-worst blizzard in the city's history. After all, people clearly remember what a wonderful job the city did, cleaning up after the storm's of last year's harsh winter. Even in the outer boroughs!! Wouldn't want to tarnish that shiny record, would we?

Guess so. Your managerial skills appear to be sorely lacking, sir. Because of your blatant refusal to acknowledge what was happening, it is now the fourth day since the snow ended, and people still cannot leave their homes. Businesses cannot receive deliveries. Supermarkets can't restock their shelves with fresh food. People have died, sir, because emergency vehicles took hours to make it through unplowed roads. Homes burned down. Some people remained virtual shut-ins for days, because they rely upon their cars to travel where they need to go. My own father, who is sixty-two years old and is recovering from a stroke, could not make it to his various doctor's appointments. He could not wade several blocks through two feet of snow to the nearest bus stop, and the buses were not running with any dependability or regularity, because of the hazardous conditions of Staten Island roads. It may suit you to assume a dismissive attitude to these difficulties; after all, you had your very own staff member shovel you a path from your car to the door of the Colonnade Diner on Monday. But I'm sure it would be a very different scenario if you suddenly found yourself without your chaffeur.

Anyway, I hope that you learned something from this debacle, and that it has suitably chastened you--and not just because of the way it has hurt any future political aspirations you may have. When a city with the manpower and resources of New York allows things to degenerate so fully, it should be nothing but humbling. But remember, Mayor Bloomberg: New Yorkers have long memories, and winter has only just begun.

Sincerely Yours,
Alyson Elizabeth Mahon

1 comment:

  1. I read about the allegations about the sanitations workers deliberately slowing down due to budget cuts. Sounds like a big ole cluster and a complete lack of communication.

    Sending love and warm vibes from stormy TN.