Southern Brooklyn

Civics Take Aim At Officials For Blizzard Response


A slew of community groups are taking aim at officials that they consider responsible for the city’s bungled cleanup efforts after the blizzard, hoping to hold their feet to the fire.

The Manhattan Beach Community Group has cobbled together a coalition of Southern Brooklyn neighborhood associations and is inviting local officials to a forum on January 19. The groups are demanding explanations for why buses and trains were out of commission and streets were not plowed in the days after the blizzard.

The groups mean business: if a citywide official fails to attend or send a representative, an empty chair will be placed on the stage with a sign bearing the official’s name.

“We’re going to have the empty chairs because enough is enough. They get to park wherever they want, they get cars, they get cell phones. But when you need them, they’re nowhere to be found,” said MBCG President Ira Zalcman.

The MBCG will be joined in the local initiative by Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association, Marine Park Civic, Bay Improvement Group, the Brighton Neighborhood Association and others, Zalcman told Sheepshead Bites.

The presence of empty chairs may be an effective way of ensuring that local pols are present and ready to face angry residents.

“It’s a good way to get someone there,” said Steve Zeltser, City Councilman Mike Nelson’s spokesman.

And that’s a good thing since Manhattan Beach residents have a bone to pick with Nelson.

“People seem to be the angriest with Mike Nelson because people called his office for help and got a machine and he didn’t call anybody back,” Zalcman said. “They called me back two or three days later but by then it was too late.  I was getting calls from people who were frantic that they couldn’t get out of their house.  Some blocks here in Manhattan Beach were not plowed for three days. I’ve been living here my whole life and I’ve never seen anything like this, even during the big storm in ’69 with [then-Mayor John] Lindsay.”

But Zeltser contends that Nelson’s staff responded to residents’ phone calls and pressured the Office of Emergency Management to clear the streets.

“No one was in the office but we can call in and check our messages,” he said. “The councilman was personally calling the mayor’s office and OEM to make sure they were aware of the situation.  We were doing what we could but Councilman Nelson does not control the Sanitation Department.”

Nelson and the Sanitation Department have RSVPed, said Zalcman, as has the Brooklyn District Attorney who will talk about his investigation into a possible Sanitation slowdown. Congressman Anthony Weiner and State Senator Carl Kruger will also send representatives if they’re unable to attend.

The groups are waiting for responses from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Councilman Lew Fidler and the Office of Emergency Management.

The forum is scheduled for January 19 at 8 p.m. at P.S. 195 (131 Irwin Street) in Manhattan Beach.

Fidler will host his own hearing about the botched clean-up efforts in the coming weeks, and a meeting is being held at Brooklyn Borough Hall on the same day as the local meeting.

“The city’s response was wholly inadequate and we intend to find out why,” Fidler said.

There have already been repercussions for that “inadequate” performance.  Two Brooklyn Sanitation officials were just reassigned “to create a more balanced operation,” according to Commissioner John Doherty.

Comment policy


  1. You know what, if your mother / father was trapped in their house and needed medical attention right away you wouldn’t be saying that shit.

    However if you don’t have any parents, then you have a Cold Heart.

  2. As far as Zalcman’s statement that they (the elected officials) can park wherever they want, last week I saw Nelson’s car parked outside opposite his office in the “No Parking Anytime” space with his little placard in the window. Cymbrowitz has a big sign on his door for people not to park in the El Greco parking lot or they will be towed. Yet his car is often parked there. They are nothing but hypocrites.

  3. It’s pretty funny to watch… some of the representatives are quick and have legitimate and proper questions…. Mr. Baron as ALWAYS is confrontational and inciting (longing for the black panthers to reunite) … and the Greenfield or Greenfeld (can’t recall his name) gentleman… enough with the laptop…show some respect to your colleagues and their questions like they did you.

  4. Would you rather have the car(s) park in a parking space that the “public” may be using?

    maybe S/He parked at No Parking to give others a parking space…

    is it better that they park on a meter and take a space of people who come to shop?

    or, is it better they park on another spot who may be used by local residents?

    Maybe let them park anywhere they want, AS LONG as they don’t block anyone from pulling in/out of the street and/or emergency vehicles and/or vehicles maing turns and etc…

  5. Did you expect nelson to drive a plow truck to your home?

    The sanitation was responsible for removal of snow and 311 got tons of calls…

    I think if nelson drove the plow truck, he should have had the PLOW DOWN…
    (notice that most sanitation trucks driving around with plows UP and they didn’t come down till 3-4 days later)

    What is the point of a plow truck driving around with the plows up?

  6. Every spot that is marked “No Parking Anytime” is marked that way for a reason. The one the Councilman was using is supposedly there so the buses could easily turn. If it is not necessary for the buses to turn, the regulation needs to be removed so that anyone could park there. If he wants his own space, there are legitimate means for him to obtain one from DOT. That’s why they have “No Parking except for Authorized Vehicles” signs. He shouldn’t be allowed to park wherever he pleases just because he doesn’t want to walk a block or two to his office. The rest of us don’t have that privilege.

  7. I live at the building on the corner!!! Never seen a bus having problems turn when a delivery car (UPS truck FedEx and other cars) or any car parked at the spot.

    Let me try to understand your idea… Its better to have a “no parking except authorized vehicles” sign for a person who rarely come to the office on weekends? You will probably complain about that?

    I recall seeing the the car parked at the metered spot and I was thinking..
    why is he taking up a metered spot?

    Another time the car was parked at the street and I was thinking..
    why is he taking up a residential spot?

    Is it better that EVERY political office will have a “no parking except for Authorized Vehicles?

    Will it be better than he takes up YOUR PARKING space two blocks away?

    Guess some people will always complain and never be happy.

  8. It’s cousin is around the bend. Hope you don’t need any emergency assistance.
    The first mess is not cleaned up and here comes another. I won’t be “over it” until it is either done right or spring has sprung.

  9. There is only one to blame, his last name starts with B ends with erg.

    On a side note: you know you can Edit posts to add more in right. you don’t need to make newer posts. 🙂

  10. Stop talking about the blizzard. Can we start bitching about the fact that it seems like every street in Brooklyn is lined with endless trash? What is sanitation department doing these days? Cause they sure aren’t picking up the garbage.

  11. Exactly. I’d rather he not get an authorized spot, but would prefer that to parking in a No Parking Anytime spot. You are correct about buses not having a problem turning there. but that is the reason they will give you if you ask why it is there. The real reason is that there used to be a stop sign there and the No Parking was needed so turning cars could see if another car was coming down the street. When the signal was put in, it was no longer necessary to not allow cars to park there, but the regulation was never changed because the City never tries to make anything easier for motorists. The bottom line is why should you and I have to walk two blocks when he doesn’t have to?

  12. 21 days since recyclables have been picked up on E 19 St.
    Sheepshead Bay is still low man on the totem pole.


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