Residents of Borough Park were still facing snow removal issues this week from the Dec. 26 blizzard, and an unnamed labor source told the New York Post those problems may be deliberate.
“Borough Park was specifically targeted [because of] … its ability to sort of gin up the p.r. machine,” the paper quoted the source as saying. The lackluster snow removal may have been meant to embarrass Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has heavy political support in Borough Park, because of his budget cuts, the Post said.
Councilman David Greenfield, who represents the area, said he had seen no evidence that response of the Department of Sanitation was politically motivated, but said there were “legitimate questions” about the city’s response and its failure to declare a snow emergency, which might have prevented some residents from leaving their homes during the storm. “The response seemed more like three inches,” said Greenfield. Some areas of the city saw up to 20 inches of snowfall. In an op-ed in the Daily News, Greenfield went further, accusing Bloomberg of fostering incompetence by refusing to fire subordinates.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on the sanitation commissioner, John Doherty, to resign over the controversy.
The Council’s committees on public safety, investigations and sanitation will hold hearings on the snow response on Monday.
This week snow displacement by sanitation workers on Brooklyn’s Bay Parkway led to the collapse of a fence and the toppling of some 30 headstones at Washington Cemetery, which had been struck by vandals last month.
"The Administration let New Yorkers down during the blizzard, and with incidents like this, we let New Yorkers down after the blizzard," a City Hall spokesman, Jason Post told The Jewish Week on Wednesday. "We owe people better. We will pay for the damage to the cemetery. Sanitation officials notified the cemetery of the damage soon after it happened and they are working with them to go through the City comptroller’s office to be compensated."