Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sanitation Dept Crews Want To Work On Sandy Relief, City Puts Them On Marathon Duty

I've said for a long time that we have an insane man in City Hall.  Bloomberg's refusal to cancel the NYC Marathon even as NYC struggles with storm recovery efforts just goes to prove that.

Here is the latest:

Some New York City sanitation workers who have expressed a desire to work on Staten Island and in Queens neighborhoods hit hard by Hurricane Sandy are complaining to their union about being assigned instead to clean up after the New York City Marathon, the union president said on Friday.

The workers have called their shop stewards to complain, according to the union president, Harry Nespoli, who heads Local 831 of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association. The union represents the 6,200 workers at the Department of Sanitation.

“Many of our workers have similar problems that these other people have,” Mr. Nespoli said, referring to the New Yorkers whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by the storm. “They have no lights, they have water in the basement, but they’re coming to work and doing their jobs.”

“They just feel, ‘Why are they doing the marathon when they can be helping other people?’” he said. “They feel we should be focusing on this particular part of the cleanup and not the marathon.”

Mr. Nespoli  said he understood “it’s a tough call,” but he said that he, like the members of his union, believed that the residents of the Rockaways, Staten Island and other neighborhoods in distress deserved  priority when it came to the use of city resources.

“I know this administration is looking to show the public that they can perform,” he said. “The thing is, I’ve been out and the mayor’s been out there, too, and I see that people are hurting out there.”

Mr. Nespoli said he expected that his union members, who have been working 12-hour shifts since the storm hit, to follow orders and carry out their assignments.

Sanitation workers were hit with charges that they slowed down work during the Bloomberg Blizzard of 2010 (charges that were unfounded) -now they're working 12 hour shifts and asking to continue helping with Sandy relief efforts.

But the little priss in charge of the city wants his race.

Nearly every politician is running from him on the marathon issue:

Two days before nearly 50,000 runners are scheduled to gather in Staten Island for the start of the New York City Marathon, opposition to the race continued to swell Friday and the Police Department, stretched thin from handling relief efforts, has called for department retirees to help with storm work and the marathon on Sunday. 

Debate over whether to hold the race began soon after Hurricane Sandy hit the region Monday night. Critics have said that it is in poor taste to hold a race through the five boroughs while people are trying to cope with the storm’s aftermath and that city services should focus on storm relief, not the marathon. Proponents of the marathon believe the race will provide a needed morale boost, as well as an economic one. 

Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, was the latest in an increasingly long line of public officials to call for the marathon to be postponed or canceled. In a statement Friday, Stringer said that “New York has experienced a tragedy of historic proportions” and residents in many hard-hit areas of the city “are struggling to keep body and soul together, deprived of basic essentials as temperatures drop.” 

Stringer said the race should be postponed “to focus all of the city’s resources on the crucial task of helping our neighbors recover from this disaster.” 

The likely Democratic candidates for mayor of New York have offered their opinions.
Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker and an ally of the mayor’s, added her voice to a chorus of politicians calling for the race to be postponed or canceled. “The decision to move forward with the marathon is not a decision I would have made,” she said in a statement. “That said, I think we need to look forward and continue to focus on the task at hand — helping those without electricity, food and water and rebuilding our city.” 

William C. Thompson said the race should be canceled because “our neighbors are hurting and our city needs to make them its priority.” John Liu, the comptroller, told Reuters that it should go on because “it’s a big economic generator.” Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, who earlier in the week supported the decision to hold the race, reversed his view on Friday. “The pain and suffering still unfolding in our neighborhoods is too deep for words,” de Blasio said after touring Staten Island on Friday. He added, “It’s convinced me the needs are simply too great to divert any resources from the recovery.” 

The comments by elected officials were echoed by thousands of people on social media. While some support Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s notion that the marathon can help get the city back on its feet, many others are disgusted that precious public resources will be used for a sporting event while millions of New Yorkers are without power, heat and food. Several online petitions and message boards have sprung up with thousands of signatures calling for the marathon to be postponed or canceled. 

“This will forever tarnish the marathon as a brand and an event,” said Stephen Robert Morse, a 27-year-old from Brooklyn who started “There are still thousands of people downtown and businesses that still lack necessities and it’s insulting to have tourists prioritized over the people of this city.” 

 Doesn't Stephen Robert Morse understand that the mayor cares more about tourists than people in Coney Island, Staten Island or Queens?

Please review the tapes from the Bloomberg Blizzard of 2010 for that lesson.

If he's smart, Bloomberg will find a gracious, face-saving way to postpone the race.

If he's not, he'll go on with the race and take a big political hit:

The mayor who put the marathon before flood/storm victims.

We who work in education know this side of Bloomberg - stubborn, knows it all, won't change course no matter how insane the policy or decision.

We'll see if Wolfson or somebody else close to him can talk him out of this.


  1. Marathon is postponed.

  2. Thank goodness! The elected officials pushed hard to have it postponed and they succeeded. Helping those in need during this time of devastation takes precedence over a marathon.

    Hey Mayor Bloombucks run the marathon by yourself. Trust me, no one will be cheering you on to the finish line because we don't care.

  3. It was inevitable - there was no way Bloomberg could hold out with all the pressure being put on him. It's a shame it took all that pressure to do the right thing. But that's our Bloombucks - stubborn and insane.