Councilman Michael Nelson gave his account of the City Council’s hearing on the government’s blizzard response during last night’s Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association meeting.
The Council’s widely-publicized hearing spanned most of yesterday, as representatives from across the five boroughs grilled representatives of Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, including the Department of Sanitation.
In Nelson’s report to the MBNA, he assured residents that the city would likely be prepared for tonight’s storm, given the heat they’ve taken for their bungled response to the December 26 blizzard.
“I really have a feeling that by Thursday all the [primary and secondary] streets will be plowed,” Nelson said of the storm expected to hit tonight. “Let’s hope they come through this time.”
Nelson took questions from residents, pointing out that many of their concerns were brought up by Councilmembers during the hearing. Pressed by those’ concerns, he said the administration officials repeatedly appeared unprepared to answer clearly or forthrightly.
“They didn’t really directly answer those questions, other than to say they did as much as they can do, given the severity of the snow, and the wind factor, and their own vehicles being broken down and the trucks and buses and the ducks and everything else,” he said. “All of us are so irate over this.”
He also said that the administration’s depiction of events was like “lala land.”
Nelson took the opportunity to defend himself against claims from some in the community that he did not do enough to address residents’ needs during the blizzard.
“There was somebody from another group that said, ‘It was terrible, Mike Nelson he’s the one that made it like that,'” Nelson said. “So I said, ‘Yeah, I forgot I was the mayor, or the deputy mayor of operations or the commissioner, because had I been, well, for sure I would’ve declared a snow emergency, I would’ve plowed things myself – but I forgot that I was all those things.’
“If anybody thinks that a State Senator, Congressman or Councilmember had the power to do anything except make phone calls and e-mails or whatever it is… well, you are a freaking lunatic,” he added.