LOWER MANHATTAN, NY (WPIX)—How did it go so wrong? That's the question about the Bloomberg Administration's response to the Christmas Week blizzard that city councilmembers will ask this week as they begin hearings into how the city bungled how it handled the storm.
Ambulances, buses, even snow plows got stranded on snowed-under streets in the December 26th blizzard. The situation was made worse when those vehicles as well as people's cars blocked the paths of other plows. Side streets usually taken care of within two days were still untouched after four. Those were the conditions New Yorkers lived through -- and some died through.
Bloomberg is not scheduled to attend the hearing. He has said repeatedly that his administration performed poorly. He has given many explanations for the failures, including the fast pace of the snowfall.
Officials have also blamed the unusual numbers of drivers on the road at the height of the storm, whose cars got stuck and blocked plows from getting through.
The hearing consists of city council chair Christine Quinn and the chairpersons of four different council committees facing the commissioners of three major city departments: sanitation, fire, emergency management. Also at the testimony table will be Deputy Mayor of Operations, Stephen Goldsmith. His position gives him control over the day-to-day operations of the city.
He is expected to get an earful about his statement via Twitter during the height of the storm saying, "Good snow work by sanitation," which Goldsmith sent from his home outside of New York, a townhouse in Washington, D.C. Why Goldsmith was not in the city when the storm hit is likely to be a big line of questioning. Also, Goldsmith was mayor of Indianapolis from 1992 to 2000, and in that position, he handled many snow events. Why his boss, Mayor Bloomberg, says he fell short in handling a New York snow crisis is also likely to be the subject of many questions.
The hearings, held in City Council Chambers across from Tweed Courthouse downtown, are open to the public. Organizers are prepared for a large public turnout that may feature vocal reactions from the viewing gallery.
Speaker Quinn has organized further hearings later in the week in each of the city's five boroughs. The Transportation Department commissioner is scheduled to testify at a separate hearing on Friday about the MTA's response to the blizzard, which left hundreds of buses and some trains stranded.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT