So maybe NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t a centrist? ‘Centrists’, who seem to be beloved by the Washington political press corpse and few others, typically style themselves to be common-sense people who just solve problems–consider them the up-scale version of the “jus’ folks” flapdoodle purveyed by America’s Party. Well, Mayor and presidential aspirant Bloomberg didn’t seem to be able to plow the snow very well. Writes the Krugman:
…he’s supposedly non-ideological, competent, able to transcend partisan divisions with a single bound. There’s a recurrent fantasy about a Bloomberg third-party candidacy that will Save America.
But he just faced a major test of crisis management — and it’s been a Brownie-you’re-doing-a-heck-of-a-job moment.
In boroughs other than Manhattan, streets went unplowed for two days, ambulances could not reach residents, and heating fuel couldn’t be delivered. People, including a newborn infant, died because EMTs could not reach patients in time.
And it seems that technocratic ‘centrists’ are quite ideological after all (although listening to Bloomberg about education ‘reform’ would have told you that):
Mayor Bloomberg appointed Goldsmith as Deputy Mayor of Operations, which is the second in command at City Hall, in April of this year:
Mr. Goldsmith, 63, has never lived in New York City, and conceded that “I don’t know nearly enough” about it. But, he said, “I know a lot about how to run a government.”
He wasn’t joking.
In his new job, Mr. Goldsmith will serve as the mayor’s No. 2 in city government, overseeing about a dozen agencies — including the Police, Fire, Transportation and Sanitation Departments — that deliver the services by which most New Yorkers measure the effectiveness of their government.
Goldsmith, who replaced the born and raised New Yorker and long-time City Hall veteran Ed Skyler was the point man for handling the response to the snowstorm. His performance has been nothing short of abysmal. Since he isn’t from here, doesn’t know jack shit about New York, and only just now got on the job, it isn’t surprising that he fell down on the job. Worse, this guy touted himself as a public services management guru.
“He, more than anyone else, sets the tone for the new mayors of the 1990s,” said Fred Siegel, a visiting professor at St. Francis College in Brooklyn and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, who wrote a biography of Mr. Giuliani. “He was the first to talk about how you could make city government work better.”
A fiscally conservative Republican and an adviser to George W. Bush during his 2000 campaign for president, Mr. Goldsmith will be in a position to overhaul how city services are delivered, budgets are drafted and municipal labor contracts are settled in New York, areas that could put him on a collision course with the city’s restive and politically powerful unions.
It helps, when providing services, to think that government’s primary role is to provide services, as opposed to being an opportunity to make ‘good government’ claims. No one cares about ‘good government’, unless said good government isn’t plowing the streets. Then they care. And this is a result of ideology, even if our political betters in the national press corps refuses to accept that:
Looking back 20 years, the city once had 15,000 sanitation workers. It now has 5000. For a city as big as New York, that 5000 is nowhere near what is required. There are, no doubt, fewer salt trucks and plows to keep the streets safely cleared. Buses and fire trucks became stuck in snow. Even the vaunted subway system suffered service interruptions and shutdowns to its above-ground lines, despite ever-rising fares…..
This is not a case of hindsight being 20/20. The dunderheads who run New York City, led by billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg, could have foreseen this by looking at what was required in the past and how effective it was. Bloomberg has had three terms to figure it out, but lizard brains can’t bring themselves to figure out such things. Or is it that they just don’t care, as long as their limos and copters can get them where they want to go? The city has laid off so many workers that we now not only see buses and fire trucks stuck in drifts, unable to move down the street, but we also had snowplow trucks sitting idle because there were no drivers to drive them. Many who were drivers are now among the city’s numbers of unemployed or are retirees who have not been replaced….
This situation is the logical end result of 30 years of Reaganomics, the economics of trickle-down and cutbacks of services and jobs, and these jobs aren’t even the kind that people like Bloomberg and his Wall Street ne’er-do-well cronies love to ship to India. As I write this, New York is damn lucky that a fire in some neighborhood hasn’t burned out of control, destroying an area of several square blocks or more. The genius Bloomberg should also be thankful for global warming. When I was growing up in the area, the temperature would remain below freezing at this time of year. Recently, big snowstorms here have been followed by a quick rise in melting temperatures that do more now to get rid of snow than the city is equipped to do.
At least Bloomberg can kiss his presidential aspirations good-bye (“Bloomberg: he couldn’t even plow the streets…”).
Thank you snow gods.