New York mayor under fire for handling of blizzard

* Bloomberg, with a reputation for competence, falters

* Critics say he should worry about Bronx, not White House

* New Jersey’s Christie faulted for staying on vacation

By Bernd Debusmann Jr.

NEW YORK, Dec 29 (BestGrowthStock) – New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, a political independent whose reputation was built
on competence, may have been defeated this time by a blizzard.

Many New Yorkers, especially from the boroughs outside
Manhattan, are outraged that their neighborhoods remain buried
under snow two days after the storm dumped 20 inches (50 cm) on
the city. Bloomberg, who has consistently ruled out running for
the U.S. presidency despite frequent speculation about his
political aspirations, is getting hit with the blame.

“This is a mayor who prided himself on his ability as a
manager. If we were grading him on his response to the
snowstorm, he would get an ‘F,'” Bronx Borough President Ruben
Diaz Jr. said on Wednesday.

“Bloomberg wants to run for president, yet he can’t even
handle getting the streets of the Bronx plowed? That is
unacceptable.”

The loudest complaints came from the outer boroughs — the
Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island — which were once
again reminded they are secondary to Manhattan.

“This is crazy. I wasn’t able to get to work for two days.
My street is still unplowed today. I don’t know what the deal
is, but they messed up,” said Matthew Limongi, a delivery
driver from Queens.

Even Bloomberg’s allies are critical.

“I’ve never seen such gross mismanagement and lack of
leadership in my lifetime. People are furious,” said City
Councilman David Greenfield, a longtime supporter.

The clogged streets have impeded emergency response
vehicles. A baby died after being delivered in the lobby of a
Brooklyn apartment building when paramedics took nine hours to
reach the mother.

Bloomberg, a self-made billionaire who finances his own
campaigns, rarely admits mistakes but told a news conference on
Wednesday that “we didn’t do as good a job as we wanted to
do.”

The city had built a reputation for efficient snow cleanup
with its fleet of trash-removal trucks fitted with snow plows
that spread salt on the city’s 6,000 miles (9,600 km) of
roads.

But this storm came with 65 mph (105 kph) winds and dumped
more than an inch of snow per hour, forcing plows to repeatedly
clear the major avenues before they could work on side
streets.

“The storm just got ahead of us and we couldn’t keep up,”
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty told NY1 television.

NEWARK MAYOR SHOVELS

As former President George W. Bush learned with Hurricane
Katrina and President Barack Obama did with the Gulf of Mexico
oil spill, politicians are often judged on how they respond to
disaster.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising star in the Democratic
Party, has played the blizzard for political gain in his New
Jersey city. Using Twitter, he personally responded to distress
calls, offering to shovel snow form the doorsteps of disabled
people and delivering diapers to a snowed-in new mother.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, basking in national
attention for balancing the state budget while emerging as a
moderate voice within the Republican Party, has come under fire
for staying on vacation after the storm.

Christie and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno remained on
holiday throughout the blizzard, leaving Senate President
Stephen Sweeney as acting governor.

Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman said their
absence left New Jersey “rudderless.”

“In the future, I would hope the Governor and Lieutenant
Governor will … better coordinate their schedules in order to
put the safety and welfare of our residents first,” she said.
(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr.; Editing by Daniel Trotta
and Jackie Frank)

New York mayor under fire for handling of blizzard