Blizzard Hearing May Be One For The Books, Council Members Say
The City Council is gearing up for a hearing Monday on the blizzard cleanup. But the political fireworks at the meeting may just be the beginning of a long legislative battle with the Bloomberg administration over how it deals with snow. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
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It promises to be one of the most closely-watched government meetings in recent history: a City Council hearing on the mayor's botched snow cleanup that's scheduled for Monday. The storm hit all corners of the city. And members are eager to sound off against Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration.
"This will be one of the best attended and probably longest hearings we've ever held in New York City Council history," said City Councilman Peter Vallone Junior. "I am expecting the Fourth of July of City Council hearings.
The Council announced Tuesday that additional public hearings on the storm will be held throughout the city. But before those get underway, some Council members are coming up with new legislation to address the snow problems and the apparent chain-of-command breakdown at City Hall as the storm approached.
"One of the things we are looking at right now is perhaps requiring that if the mayor goes out of town for any length of time that he notify, maybe the city clerk, and he appoint someone who has to be in charge and has to be here," Vallone Jr. said.
It's unclear where the mayor was on December 25, the day before the blizzard began. In an interview Monday with NY1's "Inside City Hall," Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson would say only that the mayor was in constant touch with his team.
"Where the mayor is or isn't is not important," said Wolfson.
Meanwhile, City Councilman Jumaane Williams is planning to introduce six new pieces of legislation, all related to the storm.
"The people of New York City deserve some relief and they deserve some answers and deserve to not have this happen again," Williams said.
Williams wants to throw out all parking tickets incurred in the days following the storm. He also wants all parking regulations suspended for any storm that produces a certain amount of snow. Additionally, he's looking to require the mayor's Office of Emergency Management to share an action plan with Council members 24 hours before a storm.
City Councilman Vincent Gentile, meantime, is drafting yet another piece of storm-related legislation. It all adds up to yet another storm for Mayor Bloomberg, who is still trying shovel his way out of the current one.