More snow, different tune

January 6, 2011 1:41:33 PM PST
You don't get to be a billionaire 18 times over by being a push over. Or by perceiving yourself, or letting yourself be perceived as a softy.

Which is why few people have ever been surprised by the lack of bedside manners of New York's Mayor Bloomberg.

He's hardly alone. Few of these CEO's-of-the-biggest-city-in-the-nation have led with their hearts. I'm saying "few" but the truth is it's hard to recall anyone who did.

The point is, all these guys (and they have all been guys) have had the kind of political warmth of, say, a Bill Clinton.

Mayor Bloomberg's let-them-eat-snow attitude was fully on display the first couple of days of the blizzard last week. Oh, sure, his stuffed up sinuses may have had exacerbated his grumpiness. But for the most part it was Bloomberg being Bloomberg. No surprise he dismissed initial criticisms of the way the City handled the storm by saying his friends told him the theaters were packed and so were the restaurants in the theater district. So just get over it you peeps in Queens who can't get past your walkways.

Insensitive would have been an improvement in the Mayor's attitude. Only when his staff realized the public's angry reaction to the Mayor's behavior and to the City's inadequate performance, did Mr. Bloomberg change his tune and offer an "I'm angry too" bit of solace.

Now the bureaucratic fallout begins. The chief of the FDNY's EMS was demoted and replaced last night. And this afternoon, two chiefs with the Sanitation Dept. were reassigned, and the department's Brooklyn snow removal coverage was reorganized. Hard to imagine there aren't more changes to come.

And we may see just how much the Bloomberg Administration has learned in the past 12 days because of another snow storm blowing through tomorrow. It is not anything like a blizzard, but it could drop several inches of snow ? the last thing we need ? in the area.

A couple of other operational changes, according to the Mayor: Several scout teams will be deployed roaming the city with video cameras transmitting live feeds back to City Hall. Snow response managers will have a first-hand look at what's going on, said the Mayor.

And there will be a pilot program to equip 50 sanitation trucks in Brooklyn with GPS, which will, said the Mayor, allow officials to check the location and progress of trucks and allow two-way communication with sanitation workers. If it works, all 1,700 sanitation trucks will get this GPS. This will also allow, by the way, bosses to check on the whereabouts of workers. No word yet from the union representing the sanitation workers.

Meteorologist Lee Goldberg is spearheading our coverage tonight; he's tracking the storm, at 11.

Also at 11, Jeff Pegues tonight has the emotional pleas of the family of a doctor in New Jersey who was killed by a hit and run driver Christmas Eve. Tonight his widow is asking for the public's help in finding the driver.

And Joe Torres looks at a rather disturbing trend smartphone "apps" that share your personal information. Charming.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


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