AL HAMNIK: New York's mayor as cold and dark as his city

2012-11-03T18:45:00Z 2012-12-10T22:37:05Z AL HAMNIK: New York's mayor as cold and dark as his cityAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 03, 2012 6:45 pm  • 

We're missing the point here.

Lost in today's New York City Marathon being canceled amid the devastation of Superstorm Sandy and mule-headed Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally yielding to outside pressure is a very basic point.

Marathon runners are among the most compassionate, giving athletes in the world.

The 47,000 who entered -- 30,000 of them from all corners of the globe -- were disappointed, of course. But few criticized the city for pulling the plug Friday on the 26.2-mile jaunt through five boroughs.

Those elite runners weren't blind, weren't stupid.

The death toll was above 90 in 10 states and rising.

They saw neighborhoods flooded and without power.

They heard the subway system had water 4 feet deep.

They watched TV footage of homes and businesses literally swept off their foundations.

They caught the stench of garbage-filled dumpsters and discarded mud-caked mattresses; watched long lines of angry motorists wait hours for precious fuel; and learned storm victims were being evicted from hotels to make room for out-of-town runners.

Bloomberg was ready to brush this natural disaster aside for a road race -- just six days after what many feared was the end of the world.

Oh, what twisted logic he had: The race will pull people together. New Yorkers are a resilient bunch. You have to keep going and doing things. You can grieve, you can cry and you can laugh all at the same time. The NYC Marathon will give people something to cheer about.

Did someone drop this guy on his head, or what?

I'm thinking money guided Bloomberg's original decision to go on with the NYC Marathon, which generates an estimated $340 million for the city. Thankfully, social media did a great job of arm-twisting until he announced the cancellation.

Web sites, blogs, twitter accounts and countless emails had done their job, one of the few times you can say anything complimentary about the zombies in social media who can't put their iPhone down.

Many marathon entrants, local government spokesmen and law enforcement officials called Bloomberg's final decision a wise choice.

Of course, some marathon runners from other countries were angry at the mayor for his late decision to cancel. And he deserved it.

Bloomberg didn't go without a fight, saying it wasn't worth having the city's most famous road race marred by controversy during a dismal week.

It had become a distraction.

Dismal week? Distraction?

On Saturday, Bloomberg told WCBS-TV that he believed the city still had the resources to handle both the marathon and the recovery work.

Earlier in the week, he had said: "For those who were lost, you've got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on."

Tell that to their families' faces, dummy.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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