Monday, December 22, 2014

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The Call Blog: Mayor De Blasio Defends Storm Response; Chancellor Farina Says She's "Not Clueless"

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Mayor de Blasio said today he's eager to start talking about something other than weather. Me too. But so far, it remains the big story shaping public perception of his first month-and-a-half in office. Fair or not. I hope we get back to other issues soon. Mostly because that means the slush is gone..

After shoveling the sidewalk in front of his Brooklyn home this morning, Mayor de Blasio told reporters he's eager to move on to "deal with something other than weather." The mayor also defended the decision to keep public schools open during yesterday's storm, saying he has an obligation to ensure students get as many days in the classroom as possible.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina also stood by her comments yesterday that it was a "beautiful day" in New York City. She acknowledged it wasn't "the best choice of words," but said her comments were "heartfelt" because it had stopped snowing. Farina added she is "not clueless" and understands the risk of traveling to school during a storm.

What suggestions do you have on ways to address the challenges of closing schools during a storm? What grade would you give Mayor de Blasio after 45 days in office? How was it getting around town for you today?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Hi John,

No matter what suggestions you, I, or anyone else comes up with regarding school closings during snow storms, just like yesterday half of the people will disagree. "in essence you can't please all the people all the time"

Springfield Gardens, NY

I would give the Mayor and Chancellor of Schools a F for there handling of the city snow issues and school closing. They are heartless. What would they say to a parent or family member of a teacher or any school employee who died in an accident or is hurt trying to get to school in the storm.

retired teacher

I think the mayor and chancellor meant well, but there must be a better way to assess schooling closings during major snowstorms, at the top of decision making must be of course the safety of the school children.

Bay Ridge

HI John,

Like I’ve mentioned in the beginning [THIS ADMINISTRATION IS NOT READY] [ACTUALLY: NOT FOR PRIME TIME] [THIS IS THE BIG STAGE] Why is this mayor so fixed on shoveling his property for the camera? Also why is he not living at/in Gracie Mansion? These so called poor choice of words are coming from the chancellor herself. This administration rides in style and this is why the parents, etc. were kind of perturbed about the chancellors statements. After all she is in charge and so is this mayor = supposedly. The decision was made to keep school open on or about 11:30 PM even after there was much forewarning about the strength and size of this storm. It was devastating to say the least. I give him a very low rating because this mayor and chancellor are not on the same page with their decisions. They always seem to be backtracking. Plus they should remember that to many children have to travel out of their neighborhoods to get to class and that should be considered before they make their hasty decisions should we have anymore storms of this magnitude.

Thank you John,

The way to handle snow storms and schools is this: Let them open a school or two in each neighborhood they requires their children to get their only hot meal in school and keep the rest of the schools closed. Man the open schools with emergency personnel.

Suggestion number 2: Teachers across the City report for the snow day to their closest school. This would provide a skeleton staff in each bldg which would be fine considering schools are mostly unattended on these days.

The new Mayor and the new Chancellor said they'd listen to the public. Well this showed they did nothing more than tell the public "we don't care what you say" "we do what we want".

Arden Heights.

Getting around today was impossible/impassable. I went out and then had to go back home. Too much slush, water and ice at the crosswalks. Who is responsible for cleaning the crosswalks so pedestrians can safely get from one side of the street to the other?

Upper Slush Side

The Mayor wants to relate to the "everyman" and may want the exercise that shoveling snow provides, but wouldn't it be a more productive use of his time to deal with the multiple issues of running the City, such as finding a replacement for Carmen Farina after her faux pas, and get someone else to shovel the snow?


This is beyond ridiculous that the mayor and his choice of chancellor, have again chosen to placate working parents who don't have people to look after their kids while they go to work and see no other "option" and have no choice, but with kids in tow, drop them off at schools, as if the schools are babysitting agencies to look out after their kids and giving them a "warm meal" while are at work.

Most of these parents who supposedly have no other options, are home attendants, who if they take a day off, don't get paid. Is the money that important that everyone else have to trek or travel through hazardous conditions just to accommodate their needs. What about teachers, who are parents and cannot make the commute!? Do their kids still have to go to school, in spite of!?

Not everyone's kids, gets driven to school as the mayor's son, does! I've been living in New York for the past 52 years. I live in East Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY for 20 years-it's the second time, the first time was from 1966 to 1968-and during one spell in the winter of 1967, it was so bitterly cold at zero degrees, without snow and schools were closed for that reason and this inept mayor and his just equally inept chancellor cannot use judgment and close the schools? It isn't so much because the kids could get an education or a warm meal, because those meals aren't appetizing-hospital food is much healthier-it's because they have an attendance quota and they're competing with charter schools, trying to be better than them, something that public schools, AREN'T! Charter schools, are better and won't put their students lives at risk by having them venture out, in treacherous weather conditions! Bottom line, is if the kids don't go to school, the schools, don't get funds!

East Williamsburg


I give DeBlasio and his entire staff an "F." It's becoming clearer and clearer why there was such a low voter turnout: there was no one worth voting for.

Port Richmond, SI

Hi my name is Stacie and I am a resident of Staten Island. It took me almost 25 mins to get off my block and I was one of the people who decided to keep my son home. My niece goes to the same school and there were 4 kids in her class and the teacher was also absent they watched a Disney movie. I'm really happy that her safety was not accounted for to learn that sully made it through monsters university. What a stupid move!!!!!!!

This Mayor has a Lot of Mike Bloomburge in him. He does not want take his meads for making a bad call. The proof is when he said we only been closed 11 time since 78. Give me break that has nothing to do with the storm in 2014.

Plus you only bring up stats like that when you know your wrong. The Mayor is going to learn after 90 days when his rating is 30 percent. One final thing school is not a baby sitting service. The Mayor might be in over his head he does not look ready for this job.


De Blasio is doing a fabulous job if I have to work then the kids should be in school. Noone was hurt or injured during the storm. That's what matters. I would give him an A.


I think schools should have been closed. Let the DOS do their job properly without having to be delayed with stuck cars etc.

Perhaps an alternate solution for those that work / keep a few schools open merely to house those children for the day - they can watch movies etc. Why torture everyone - make it an optional choice


Why can't the schools have some space in the school (kind of like the "cooling centers") where parents who work can drop off their kids to be "watched" for the day by subs or staff.


My grade would also be an F to the Mayor , not closing the schools was a dumb decision ,not only was it dangerous to travel ,the school buses did not have chains ,telling people to stay home left less parking for the teachers who had to come in as most teachers use the local streets to park in ,and the driving conditions at the 7.30 to 8am time period where horrible and in some cases a white out. And that delightful comment regarding it was a beautiful day did not endear any of us parents to the new chancellor ,it would be interesting to know if she made all her appointments that day ,i do believe she was supposed to visit some schools .


Having moved out the city to Orange County I now see how dangerous a snowstorm can be. A little snow and schools are closed up here. I remember how when I went to school as did my children in the Bronx and we had school no matter how bad a storm was. Now yesterday's storm was bad in the city as bad as up here. So the children should have had the day off.


It sounds like most of your viewers are wieners who are new to the city. Give the mayor a break, this weather is unprecedented.


"D" is the grade. Are there snow days built into the school year as with surrounding school districts,and if not,why not. Garbage collections are very poor in Eastern Queens. DiBlasio should not have interfered with the Bishops arrest. His photo op with shoveling his own postage stamp property is tiring. And I always thought that teachers were in school to teach and not act as surrogate parents.

Jack B.
Queens Village

In my area I have seen the plows clean up... It's not going to be easy for them to clean up if the cars are still parked out on the STREETS . It's very easy to put blame on the new Mayor as you have to remember his job is to tell the plowers to clean up , what happens after that is up in the air. I give him an A


*Their inability to admit they made a mistake shows a lack of humility which is disheartening.
*Attendance should be optional.
*Delayed openings


Trash and snow keep piling up. Our city looks absolutely disgusting!

Rego Park

I give De Blasio and his administration a D minus. From putting our kids in danger to a horrible job at cleaning the snow on streets. There are no parking spots available on side streets but the main streets are pretty clean, oh but we have to feed those meters. Seriously he needs to come up with a better solution to have the snow removed from the streets faster and more efficient in decision making when it comes to school closings.

Junior from Brooklyn (Greenpoint)

I would like to bring attention to all the people who think they can just park 3 feet from the curb and make the streets so tight ,emergency vehicles cannot get by ,they have to shovel to the curb .



Where is the Police Commissioner hiding. He owes New Yorkers an explanation on why the Bishops arrest was voided. You or I would be held until our court appearance the next day. Will the Commisioner please stand up.

midtown east

I don't have a problem with the weather, however it took my son one hour to get to school. The MTA was running extremely late. In addition to this yesterday he was marking absent. It doesn't make sense at all.


I would say a D-. In fairness we can't blame him for the weather , but I have issues with his agenda. On Pre-K, I applaud Cuomo's comment on not solving the two cities problem by creating two States. Also he is pursuing an agenda that he can't really deliver in the sense that he has no power as mayor to eliminate the gap between the rich and poor. Unless he is going to become Robin Hood and steal from the rich, how could he?

Chuck from Staten Island

These people need to listen to themselves and stop complaining. Mayor DeBlasio is doing a terrific job given the circumstances and he gets an A from me. People are simply too quick to judge but if a new cell phone or another item was coming on the market these same people who keep complaining would line up overnight for hours, in any kind of weather to purchase that item.

How hypocritical!

Mt. Vernon

The mayor and chancellor made the wrong call in this storm period. He should be more aware of weather forecasts. Also each boroughs is different particularly Staten Island where mass transit is limited and most students are driven to school especially elementary schools . The chancellor "beautiful day" statement was scary.

Sal from SI

What about teachers who can't get in on optional days? How about each borough president making the call or school principals? If a certain percentage of staff can't get in, the situation can become unsafe. Policy today: on delayed openings, staff has to report regular time!

Shelley, park slope

I hear a lot of talk about how things used to be done; I am 48 years old and have lived in Queens my entire life, when I was three years old there was a snowstorm that took a whole week to clear the streets and it ruined Mayor Lindsay's career. When I was in 7th and 8th grades New York got hit with the worst snowstorms I have seen in my life and schools were opened and closed based upon the School Districts, not an edict from Mayor Koch. In 1996 there was a huge snowstorm and the school's were closed by Mayor Guliani, and people complained about that. Twice in 1982 and 2008 snow in April closed opening day at Yankee Stadium. And who can forget the day after Christmas Snow Storm of 2010, the school's were already closed because it was the day after Christmas, but it took days to clear the streets. We live in the Northeast, occasionally we are going to get hit by severe weather, instead of pointing fingers why can't we try to get through it together?

(Kew Gardens)

He gets an A+ for grace under fire. Bloomberg would have blown a gasket within 5 minutes of such criticism!

E Village

The mayor said from 1976 schools closed onlyt 11 times but does the mayor know how many days school was closed in 1996 when we had the snow and ice storm he should do research before he speaks.


Hi John,

I seem to remember a time when our snow was actually removed from our streets to another location and am trying to figure out what happened to that. The snow build up on our streets may be one of the few things I miss about mayor Bloomberg, his continuance of alternate side of the street parking to maintain the safety and cleanliness of our streets was sometimes challenging, but in the long run it helped us to avoid messes like we have now. I give DeBlasio a C in this department, a B for his handling of school closures, I feel that as long as parents have to go to work their kids should be able to go to school, however to force the schools to be open and have the parents feel they have to have their kids in school and then afterwards say that those who didn't go won't be penalized is unfair to those who did. Not happy with many of his office selections, especially that of the Police Commissioner and am still trying to wrap my head around the city paying for his wife to have a Chief of Staff. He gets an A from me for fighting so hard to make the citywide pre-k happen.


I believe De Blasio has started off from the gate POORLY: He speaks before he has all the facts. He has his Administration speaking out on very important issues yet it appears that he is not totally aware of what they might say...ex Farinia about the sun....a comment that was more than lackluster to say the least.

We have many important things to get to....he needs to put his roller skates on and start acting professionally. Like get to his meetings on time. Perhaps if he did, he would know what his staff is planning on saying. Maybe then, he could spend far less time explaining things OVER AND OVER AGAIN!

I am already tired of his snow comments and pre k comments....just get the job done. Get back with results and not rhetoric!


Almost 70% of Staten Island students stayed home yesterday because of the hazardous weather conditions. The chancellor emphasized that those absences will not be excused. So basically she's punishing students who couldn't get to school safely.

During the same speech, the mayor criticized other cities that "shut down" because of a little snow. I applaud those cities who put safety first. I only wish that our mayor and chancellor did the same.

Shaking my head, Staten Island

I don't believe making the decision to either open or close the schools on a snow day is as critical a discussion as is why the mayor feels we should use the schools as day care facilities. Someone tell the mayor, schools get snow days.


What is all the fuss? When I went to school it was open in snow. Kids need to be educated and the school system has turned into a day care center. Teachers are educators not baby sitters. We never had winter recess.

db from Astoria

de Blasio's claim that there were very few snow days in the last several years. . I remember in the 80s the community school boards decided individually whether to call snow days. In Washington Heights district 6 board used to call snow days when ever there were a few flakes. It was ridiculous.


Why doesn't anyone address the fact that when public schools close then there are some employers that would otherwise be closed as well. This would allow adults and children to be at home safe. In addition, adults would not be sacrificing days off.


I'm a school administrator and I have a staff of 125 with over 1480 students at my school. I had over 60 percent of my staff absent because they leave in Westchester and Rockland. Not all teachers lives in NY, they should have know that most staff would be out. We have to make sure all our students are safe but risking everyone of our students life and teachers life is not fair. We had one snow day left, come on we could have used it. It should be about safety.


DeBlasio is being responsive. But I can't believe the whining from New Yorkers. Bellyaching about this snow! Keep your kids home if you feel it necessary! Will not grade him on how he's doing with the weather. He's has no control of the weather. There are more important issues ahead of us.


I give the mayor a D for the blizzard (like mayor Dinkins) pack your bags pal because you are going out in one term. Wake up Manhattan, Big Ups to Brooklyn!!


I been contacted mayor office vía email four times to address some issues. This is the only way to rich his office. So far no one from his administration have contact me. I give his administration an F.


The Mayor is being blasted because he is too nice, if this had happened during the previous administration, it would have blown over after the first press conference. Mr. De Blasio needs to tell the people that he is in charge, and he sets the policies, and also to remind people that he said himself, that city offices and schools are open, but "don't go out unless you have to". Anyone who claimed they had to go to school, was mistaken, period!

As for the snow, plows do not remove snow, but the sanitation workers who are on the plows, should get out and shovel the snow and ice into the truck, between plow runs. This would keep the streets clearer. Emergency vehicles need to get through, which they can't do easily, when the cars have no place to go because the snow and ice are in the way.
As for the schools chancellor, I would fire her now, before she puts her foot in her mouth again. Oh yeah, and if he really wants "One city" how about equaling the pay of all city workers, just add everyone's salary up, including the chancellor, the commissioners, and himself, divide it by all the workers, and pay every one one salary.

Nora from Crown Heights

The mayor fumbled the ball with two of the major storms. Unfortunately our mayor has a thin skin whenever he gets questioned or challenged. Hopefully the new administration will learn and grow from this incident. Or he will be one term wonder.

Manhattan, New York

The Mayor and the sanitation Department are doing a remarkable job with road clearing and dealing with this difficult winter. We are continually receiving small snow storms but they are so frequent the Snow keeps pulling up without giving Sanitation a chance to catch up. To the Mayor's credit and fault they are catering to all the complaints by sending out the whole Sanitation force numerous hours before the storm starts and this contributes to the troops being exhausted as the storm grows larger and more intense! I can say for sure that he is visibly using other agency personnel to dig the city out. Mayor Bloomberg said he was doing this but I never saw evidence of their use.

A big fault I do see is that the Mayor and Sanitation Commissioner are listening to all the unwarranted complaints about snow clearance and totally overlooking garbage pick up after the storms are over for several days.

As far as keeping Schools open public school will always be slow to close because parents have to go to work and need children to be in a safe location. Parents who can stay home with their children should do so.

Schools will close when normal businesses close and parents don't have to go to school. This controversy is caused by teachers living outside the city not wanting to come to work.


Good Evening NY1 "The Call" I totally agree with this caller, ..."45 days" is an extremely unfair way & amount of days by which to judge The Mayor who was voted in by overwhelming demand, seriously? Everyone needs to get a grip and start realizing that this has been a very harsh Winter thus far & we're only 1/2 way into the season....last year we had to deal with the devastation of Sandy, and yet The DOE came up with a formula and kids finished school on time, so perhaps Mr Deblasio should explore "Delayed 2 Hours" for school starting time...... ...Who has a 45 day EVALUATION period, gimme a break !!! IF that were the case we would all get fired the 1st time we would make a mistake. ...who are these people, miserable Bloomberg-rites"???


I feel we as NYers complain honestly about nothing we are NOW a society who try our hardest to be foolishly liberal when our previous mayor always tried to keep his hand in our pockets with alternate side parking ($$$$ tickets $$$$ etc.) Mother nature can't be beat! New York our mayor is trying to show our kids to not allow a small obstacle stop you from getting what you need to succeed. Some people would love for their kids to stay home and be hipnotize by Xbox or PlayStation dumbing down with their pants hanging down not respecting the great efforts of an education thankyou


I think complaining New Yorkers get an F! I have never heard so much whining about snow. Wake up! My entire school career, I never had a snow day. I went to school in ice storms and blizzards, which were harsher and more frequent. Parents used commonsense. They didn't wait until the wee hours to hear if schools were closed and then complain when they didn't get their way. They made a decision and adjusted their schedules accordingly.

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