This morning I left JFK airport in New York (it is kind of cool to post from 33,000 fee somewhere over South Dakota) amidst the first flakes of an impending snowstorm. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken a lot of heat for the way the city prepared for and responded to the post Christmas Day Blizzard that dumped more than 20 inches of snow up and down the entire East Coast of the United States. In particular NYC residents outside of Manhattan complained that it took as a long as four days or more for them to have their ‘tertiary’ streets plowed.
The Mayor’s initial response was to say that New York City would be fine and people would deal with the situation because New Yorkers are tough minded. After having his feet put to the fire the Mayor later admitted that the city’s response was less than adequate and investigations would be taking place. The head of Emergency Services was removed yesterday.
So in the wake of ‘Snowmeggadon’ as some people are referring to it, today’s predicted storm (supposedly 2-3 inches in New York City and as much as 6 inches in the outlying suburbs) has sparked early action and in my opinion ‘Snowvereaction’. I heard on the radio of school closings and early dismissals. Airlines were allowing passengers to re-book flights at no fee to leave before or after the storm.
But not to invoke my inner Ed Rendell – are we all a bunch of wimps? A 2-6 inch snowfall in early January should hardly be a big deal to those of us that live in the Northeastern United States. We all understand that a 20+ inch snowstorm (or blizzard) is different than a measly 2-6 inch snowstorm? Are we afraid that the weather forecasters could miss it by that much and we could be hit with a sneaky foot of snow when the predictions were for a lot less?
The problem is that people overreacted after the first event by forgetting that in this budget conscious era 400+ NYC sanitation works had been laid off and there were fewer workers out there to help clean up the big mess. Everyone says they want a balanced budget but then those same people get annoyed when the loss of service impacts their individual lives. To highlights matters after the blizzard, while Manhattan was still a mess days after the storm in no way did it compare to the outer boroughs of The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island where there are neighborhoods where snow is still being cleaned up from that storm. So now we will see over protection and overreaction.
New Yorkers and East Coasters have proven they can roll with the punches as well if not better than most. Here’s hoping people can keep a little perspective in mind when they feel the need to complain. We can certainly see better efforts and learn from the past, but knee jerk overreactions are not the answer.
Maybe you don’t agree?