Posted in: Commentary,
by Gregg Laskoski on Nov 3, 2012 07:00 AM
If you're on top of the news you've seen the horrific devastation that Sandy brought to New York and New Jersey.
Death and destruction. Thousands homeless. Subway and train transit crippled. Tunnels flooded. Manhattan virtually closed below 34th Street. Food shortages.
All of that almost makes gasoline availability, by comparison, seem like a lesser problem but it's needed immediately for people to survive and to rebuild. With each passing day motorists wait for hours to pull into any of the small number of stations that have electricity to pump gas. In Queens, one man drew a gun on another who tried to cut in line.
Just in New York the death toll has climbed to 40 and more lives are at stake as temperatures drop. The severity of infrastructure problems in NY cannot be overstated. Now, ask yourself, at a time like this should anyone care about whether the New York City Marathon should occur tomorrow?
Here's what the New York Post reported Friday:
"As hundreds of thousands of Big Apple residents suffer in homes left without power by Hurricane Sandy, two massive generators are being run 24/7 in Central Park — to juice a media tent for Sunday’s New York City Marathon.
And a third “backup” unit sits idle, in case one of the generators fails."
The three diesel-powered generators crank out 800 kilowatts — enough to power 400 homes in ravaged areas like Staten Island, the Rockaways and downtown Manhattan.
As of Friday morning, 11 generators sat outside of the park and a food services truck dropped off hundreds of cases of water, sparking angered responses from hurricane victims.
That is simply UNCONSCIONABLE. Mayor Bloomberg, Wake up!!
Manhattah Borough Preisdent Scott Stringer voiced his opinion on Friday, saying that the city needs to recognize the suffering following "a tragedy of historic proportions."
"New Yorkers in Staten Island, the Rockaways, Coney Island and Lower Manhattan are struggling to keep body and soul together, deprived of basic essentials as temperatures drop," Stringer said.
"For this reason, and after significant deliberation, I believe we should postpone and re-schedule the New York City Marathon in order to focus all of the City's resources on the crucial task of helping our neighbors recover from this disaster. New Yorkers deserve nothing less than to know that the entire government is focused solely on returning the City and their region back to normalcy."
According to the Post, since emergency executive orders have been issued, the governor, mayor — or even President Obama — could take the generators for a more important use.
Such an emergency action would need the approval of the City Council, state Legislature or Congress. And they would have to compensate the owners of the devices. Mayor Bloomberg defends diverting scarce resources from the people who urgently need it because the marathon boosts the economy.
Mayor Bloomberg, put New York's neediest first. If you don't know where they are, start at Staten Island. That's where the marathon is supposed to begin and where bodies are still being recovered.