The 'Bilandic Effect' buries Mayor Bloomberg
Politicians are not very bright. If they were, they wouldn't keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
Take Mayor Bloomberg of New York city. Here's a man who they were talking about as a potential president just a couple of weeks ago. Now, if he ran for dog catcher, he might eke out a victory.
The reason? Let's call it "The Bilandic Effect," named after Mayor Michael Bilandic of Chicago who botched snow removal after a devastating series of snow storms in the winter of 1979. The result was that little known Jane Byrne, former head of the consumer affairs office, swept to victory in the Democratic primary, delivering a humiliating defeat to Bilandic.
Apparently, those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it:
A testy Mayor Bloomberg fended off criticism of the city's failure to clear hundreds of snow-choked streets Tuesday as an avalanche of critics attacked his reputation as a supermanager.
"This mayor prides himself on saying the buck stops with him, and it should. We hold him responsible for what we're calling theBloomberg Blizzard," said CityCouncilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn).
"The whole world is laughing that the greatest city in the world cannot manage to clear the streets. New York today looks like a Third World country."
Greenfield, normally a backer of the mayor, said every side street - and some larger avenues - in Borough Park were waiting for a plow 30 hours after the storm's end.
Similar and worse complaints were heard from much of the snow-buried city outside Manhattan.
A Queens woman's death Monday was blamed on the backlog of911 calls and on snow-clogged streets that delayed first responders from reaching her Corona home, said state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens).
"Like many New Yorkers, I woke up two days straight to an unplowed street outside my frontdoor," said city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. "This is not business as usual, and frustration is mounting."
Bilandic's - and Bloomberg's - problem is simple; both cities purchased snow removal equipment for the average or slightly above average snowfall one would get int their respective cities. Unfortunately, when that once in a century blizzard hits, man and machine are inadequate to handle the situation.
Byrne solved that problem - much to the gratitude of every mayor in Chicago since - by purchasing enough snow removal equipment to dig the city out of more snow than could choke the Abominable Snowman. There's hardly been a peep of criticism directed toward the Chicago mayor since - at least not enough to cost him his job.
And Bloomberg? Aside from the fact that he needed to be brought down a peg or two, he will probably weather this storm. But I doubt whether we will hear much talk from now on about his candidacy for the presidency.