Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Failed Test By De Blasio And Farina

I want to note before I start quoting meteorologist Craig Allen and weather personality Al Roker that I "first-guessed" the decision to leave NYC schools open last night when it was announced.

You can see that post at this link, but here is some of what I wrote:

Why would Farina announce schools are opened tomorrow so early tonight before the storm hits, even as both Nick Gregory of FOX and Lee Goldberg of WABC are talking about raising their snow totals for tomorrow?

Makes no sense to me.

We'll see what stuff looks like in the morning, but they may come back to regret calling tomorrow an open school day this early.


This could turn out very badly for Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina.
With the storm not hitting until after midnight and with the heaviest snows expected right before and perhaps during the morning rush hour, they should have waited until 4 AM to make the call on whether schools were opened or not.

I'm heading off to bed now, and maybe when I wake up in the morning, Farina will be right and all will be swell for the morning commute.

But I've been watching the forecasts and models pretty closely, and unless Farina and de Blasio know something I don't know, there's a lot of uncertainty about the storm that has the locals mets upping their totals just as the storm is hitting that makes me think this early an open school call is foolish.

Farina and de Blasio are under attack today for the awful decision to make the open school call last night before the storm even hit - and not just from me.

Here's Craig Allen on Facebook at 8:30 AM this morning:

I cannot stress enough, if you feel you have to go to work, DO NOT leave now. Snow will be falling at rates of 1-3" per hour for rest of the morning. Late morning/afternoon mix and change should help a little. But for now, it will rapidly deteriorate into a very hazardous condition.

Horrible lack of foresight, thought and caring by NYC Schools to have kids, buses and teachers first going out now. You may have seen 1" at 5am but everyone said the worst would come just as the morning commute was beginning. Terrible decision for anyone forcing their employees to hit the road now.

6-10" by lunchtime when it should lighten up and likely mix or change; not that sleet or freezing rain is any better but it won't be as intense through mid afternoon. Hopefully this helps the evening commute home for those who did have to go out. Beware the new burst of snow likely tonight!

I'm not saying this storm will bring the City to a crippling standstill based on the latest data. I can understand their initial reluctance to do so b/c they didn't see snow on the ground. NYC politicos have never trusted meteorologists or forecasts- but we're excellent scapegoats. That's the way it's always been. And I'm shaking my head at the reason for this decision; hardly worthy of the diminished safety.

She made the decision last night before the first flake fell! She didn't even wait to see if we were going to be correct. Absolutely no conception of what the forecast was saying and that my friends is a problem all forecasters are up against.

Here was Al Roker today:

“I knew this am @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCSchools would close schools. Talk about a bad prediction. Long range DiBlasio (sic) forecast: 1 term,” the “Today” show forecaster tweeted. 
“Why are schools all around NYC closed? It's going to take some kid or kids getting hurt before this goofball policy gets changed,” Roker tweeted.

Here was Gothamist today:

The snow is literally ricocheting off of anything foolish enough to cross its path, which today apparently includes the tender faces of children forced to endure the torrential flakes as they claw their way to Kindergarten. See that lump by the curb? Is it a fire hydrant, or is it Erin from Ms. Meldishrew's art class? There's no time to find out; she's in God's hands now.

The DOE is hanging tough on its decision that schools are open today, even though field trips have been cancelled, which is really just the shittiest—not only are children deprived their long-awaited trip to the Natural History Museum or Craft Day at the Tombs, they have to trek through piles of white tar to do—what? Problem sets? In the best case scenario, exhausted teachers, weary from their own taxing commutes, will pop in a movie, which raises other problems: We could just be doing this at home, where the pajamas and the grilled cheese are.

And parents the city over were angry and hostile toward the mayor and his schools chancellor:

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Farina defended the city’s decision to keep schools open.

“The reality is that we make decisions based on what we know at the time,” she said. “Because this storm was so unpredictable, and what we heard last night is not necessarily what we saw this morning.”

She added it had “totally stopped snowing” and has turned into “an absolutely a beautiful day out there right now.”

Some viewers were shocked by her comment and expressed their strong opinions on CBS New York’s Facebook page:

Paige Katherine: It is a beautiful day if you are a penguin or a polar bear. I wonder which one Ms. Farina is……

Jc VanderPutten: I think I want to smoke whatever she is smoking. Does she realize what a complete fool she looks like for making that statement. There are cars stuck on parkways. People stuck on trains. Car accidents everywhere. But she thinks it’s a beautiful day! Idiot.

Vera Swensen: No wonder Be Blasio picked Carmen Farina as Chancellor.. She’s an Idiot just like him!!

De Blasio defended the decision to keep schools opened, saying it was a "grey area" and he had to make the call with the best information he had at the time.

I dunno what information he was looking at, but the information that was available last night was that the city would be getting 8-12 inches of snow, that the heaviest part of the snow would be in the morning hours and the morning commute would be very, very bad.

While I can understand the reluctance to close schools, at the very least the decision should have been made in the morning rather than arbitrarily the night before.

And as Craig Allen noted in his FB post, try consulting a decent meteorologist before making the call, try looking at the radar before making the call, try looking at the forecast models before making the call.

There are some decent weather people in this city who make good calls, who don't hype the weather and name their freaking storms and sell FEAR, FEAR, FEAR at every drop of rain or falling flake.

Craig Allen of WCBS 880 is one of those.

So is Nick Gregory of FOX 5.

And Lee Goldberg of WABC 7.

Both Goldberg and Gregory raised their snow totals last night, Goldberg calling for as much as 10 inches in the city, Gregory upping his totals to 9-12.

Craig Allen said at 5:00 AM this morning that the commute was going to be a bad one, told listeners not to be a "hero" and to exercise caution before going into work.  He said on both his FB page and on the air that if people felt the need to go in, they should wait until later this afternoon when the snow stopped before attempting that commute.

But Farina and de Blasio apparently made the decision last night, stuck with it and defended that decision all day today with idiotic statements worthy of Cathie Black (Farina: "It has totally stopped snowing..." and turned into “an absolutely a beautiful day out there right now..." or "Parents have to go to work. You didn't hear of any businesses in the city of New York closed down. Macy's was open. So if people can go shopping and go to work, then kids can go to school..." - statements that have made her the laughing stock of the Internet, along with her boss Bill de Blasio.)

This was an epic fail by de Blasio and Farina, one worthy of Bloomberg and Walcott, except if Bloomberg and Walcott had made this same decision that Farina and de Blasio made today, the few people out there defending Farina and de Blasio would have gone apoplectic over the call to keep schools opened.

I guarantee you, the mayor's honeymoon just went into the sewer, along with a ton of melting snow and ice, after his handling of this storm.

The lack of details in his announced budget yesterday, the calling to get his pal out of jail, his inability to get anywhere on time or make all the appointments to his administration - these are worrisome signs of a politician in over his head (or in the case of the reverend call, a politician with bad judgment.)

But the way de Blasio and Farina handled this school call - making the decision the night before, failing to revisit that decision the next morning, then defending that decision with some of the stupidest statements this side of Cathie Black - has me writing something I never thought I would write:

Al Roker is right:

One term indeed. 


  1. Oh this was definitely a failure.. and if he continues to act in the poor judgment of a manner, then he will be a 1 term mayor.

    Too soon to say yet, if he will be 1 term or not.. but this was VERY VERY BAD..

    1. Not just the snow decision - also the inability to make timely decisions, the lack of a secondary plan for pre-K, the lack of details in the budget, the inability to make appointments in a timely manner, his inability to get anywhere on time. These are ALL a bad sign for what is to come. Guarantee you, Cuomo is smirking tonight. Watching BdB today, Sheriff Andy knows de Blasio is a bush league player trying to compete in the major leagues.

  2. As a parent and educator, I did not send my children to school due to the hazardous road conditions. Unfortunately, I went to work and experienced a very stressful morning. My car skidding all over the street and almost struck a child. I beeped my horn to alert that child. I walked into my school building sobbing!!!!! The school was open so the children can be safe and be provided with hot lunch!!! Farina and Deblasio needs a reality check. I am truly disgusted by their lack of consideration and compassion as human beings to their students and teachers.

    1. They got beat up today in the media. I suspect they will be a little more careful next time around. But the meme is getting solidified that BdB is in over his head and Farina is clueless. That is some political damage they will have to work hard to undo.

  3. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)February 13, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    So media called out BDB & co. Good for them. Just curious though, where was this "tough stand" for the last 20 (especially under the last administration) years?

    1. I agree. But of course you know I called Mike Bloomberg and his chancellors out on this kind of stuff and I will call BdB and his chancellor out similarly. No partisanship here at Perdido Street School. I refuse to shill for stupidity.

  4. The non-productive PD day in June.
    Several days after the Regents.
    The bogus days for the new CommonCore tests.

    There are warm weather days that can be swapped for these treacherous snow days. What's with the iron grip on "we must have school", "we must stay open through all conditions".

    Show some damn logic and safety conviction already.

    1. It was an absurd decision - the meal claim, the Macy's statement, the Beautiful Day statement all made it even worse.

  5. They screwed up, BUT , Bloomturd had little if any of this,type of grilling from the media.

    1. I agree. Doesn't mean I give these two a pass. This was an awful decision and they will pay a political price for it. It's a national story and the Farina memes about "Beautiful Day" are making the rounds. They should have thought about all of this last night before declaring school opened no matter what at 10:30 PM. But what's worse is the stupid stuff they said today in their defense. They are a laughing stock tonight and they have made many students, parents and teachers very angry. They will have to undo this damage. Let's see if they can do that.

  6. They are just dumb!!

    1. de Blasio will be under 50% in the next slate of polls. His honeymoon is over and he has already managed to exhaust the good will that was there post-Bloomberg. A terrible job by a tin-eared pol.