Was it budget cuts? Broken plows? Vindictive unions?
And where the heck was Mayor Bloomberg?
They're the questions angry City Council members will fire at a deputy mayor and top city commissioners at Monday's inquisition into the botched cleanup of the Christmas weekend blizzard.
"I don't think there's any kind of smoking gun," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn). "It was more like a complex web of failure."
Bloomberg has been pummeled by critics in the wake of the storm that left streets unplowed for days, ambulances perilously abandoned in snow and New Yorkers in a state of rage.
"We look forward to outlining for the Council changes we're making to deliver the kind of service people have come to expect from us," mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser said.
Bloomberg invited a small group of Council members to Gracie Mansion for breakfast over the weekend to give "his version of the facts," said Councilwoman Letitia James (D, WFP-Brooklyn), who chairs the council's Sanitation Committee.
Several attendees said they didn't get much new insight from Bloomberg or Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith - but they gave the pair a list of questions for which they want good answers Monday.
James says she's interested in the impact of budget cuts.
James Vacca (D-Bronx), whose Transportation Committee will convene a separate hearing on the MTA's storm response on Friday, says he wants to know why a snow emergency was never called to get cars off the streets.
Minority Leader James Oddo (R-Staten Island) said, "I still don't get why Tuesday and Wednesday and Wednesday night, some streets still hadn't seen a plow."
Another issue is whether sanitation supervisors deliberately tanked the cleanup in a protest of budget cuts. James Mannion, the head of the supervisors union, will skip the hearing, based on his lawyer's advice, a Council source said. The alleged slowdown is the subject of at least four criminal probes.
The people of New York will get to testify at a series of hearings starting next week.
Bloomberg himself needs to be called to account for this.
It's one thing to put the deputy mayor and the city commissioners in front of the City Council for questioning.
But Bloomberg was MIA almost as long as Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith was.
He needs to be put up in front of New Yorkers and be forced to answer the question: Where were you?