I have been watching with some amazement how New York City is dealing – or not- with the blizzard of 2010. Where I live we had about seven inches of snow. It was all clear by the end of Monday. The roads were back to normal by Tuesday morning. Of course, the population of my town is but a fraction of New York’s.
The problems the city has behaving, however, seem to be more related to poor planning and communication rather than the size of the city or the storm. In 1969 I was in high school in New York and we had a snowstorm that closed schools for a week. Because it took at least that long to clean up Queens, Mayor John Lindsay’s popularity plummeted. The next year he was defeated in the Republican primary and ran on the Liberal Party line instead.
Mayor Bloomberg has already overstayed his welcome, gaining a third term through questionable means. His failure to manage the snowstorm may mean the end of any presidential ambitions he might have.
In my capacity as a nurse, I belong to the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). As part of our training we practice and re-practice immunization drills. As a result, last year, when we had to have multiple flu clinks to give flu shots, all went perfectly because we had trained so much.
When the governmental response to a crisis is poor as in the case of Hurricane Katrina and the blizzard of 2010 it indicates lack of planning and training. New York City has emergency plans; they just did not use them. This means that some people in charge failed to understand the gravity of the storm. This is another problem with emergency responses. Humans are in charge so the possibility of an error in judgment always exists.