The weekend snowstorm that tackled us into Monday opened 23 inches of Whoopass here in Jersey City, and many pockets of humanity in and around the Tri-State area are still trying to dig out of the drifts. We lost power several times Sunday and Monday and lots of neighborhood trees were tipped into felling by the heavy, wet, snow. Streets are still unplowed. Sidewalks are still impassable. It’s a winter whiteout of neighborhood morality and city leadership.
Our New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was vacationing in Florida when the storm hit. In fact, he got out of town hours before the heavy snow started to fall. He’s been whooping it up at Disney World while the rest of us suffer here covered in white dismay and while our Lieutenant Governor is also on vacation, in Mexico.
There’s nobody really here tending the State except the Senate President who had to declare a State of Emergency on Sunday — the same day Gov. Christie hightailed it out of Jersey and into Florida — to try and get things done like clearing the streets. There has been no sympathy from the Governor and no attempt to rush back to lead us out of the snowdrifts. Gov. Christie will be back to the Garden State sometime Thursday.
New York City didn’t fare any better as Fair-Weather Mayor Mike Bloomberg basically told his citizenry to shut up and sit down when they had the gall to ask why their streets were not plowed while the street in front of his private mansion was clear:
All of which brings us back to Mr. Bloomberg, who is a witty plutocrat and a capable manager, but whose offhand comments reveal more than he might imagine of his worldview. (He once described the city as a “luxury product,” not necessarily affordable to all, and, after a sweaty summer blackout left tens of thousands sweltering, suggested that New Yorkers owed a debt of thanks to Consolidated Edison.) So on Monday, after the Blizzard of ’10, with his vast metropolis at a near standstill, our mayor affected insouciance.
“The world has not come to an end,” he said. “The city is going fine. Broadway shows were full last night. There are lots of tourists here enjoying themselves. I think the message is that the city goes on.”
The insensitivity of our local governments in the midst of this transportation crises — 6,000 flights were cancelled because of the storm and some riders were stuck on subways for over 11 hours before being rescued — calls into question the alertness of the governing powers to cater the causes of the common man in the midst of these multiple city services crises.
Both Bloomberg and Christie failed their people in a dire, predictable, and wholly identifiable crises of great consequence — and those of us with sore backs and aching shoulders will long remember how we had to dig ourselves out of this white mess without much help from those we pay to employ to protect our social interest and to tend the fabric of our civic morality.