Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New York Officials Defend Decision to Shut Down New York City


The storm wasn't as bad as folks has expected, although I don't take the "worst blizzard in history" prognostications too seriously. Someone's got an invested interest in climate hysteria.

At NYT, "Leaders in New York and New Jersey Defend Shutdown for a Blizzard That Wasn’t":
It was an unprecedented step for what became, in New York City, a common storm: For the first time in its 110-year history, the subway system was shut down because of snow.

Transit workers, caught off guard by the shutdown that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday, scrambled to grind the network to a halt within hours.

Residents moved quickly to find places to stay, if they were expected at work the next day, or hustle home before service was curtailed and roads were closed.

And Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose residents rely upon the transit system by the millions, heard the news at roughly the time the public did.

“We found out,” Mr. de Blasio said on Tuesday, “just as it was being announced.”

The storm largely spared the city, instead battering eastern Long Island and much of New England, where Nantucket lost power and Scituate, Mass., flooded.

And on Tuesday, local and state officials were left to defend one of the most consequential decisions elected leaders can make: effectively closing a city, in light of an uncertain forecast.

With travel bans instituted across the region, residents had little choice but to heed the warnings to stay put. Even as roads reopened and trains creaked back to life early Tuesday, there would be no normal business day, even though most parts of the city received less than 10 inches of snow, not the two to three feet that had been predicted.

The weather laid bare the civic and political high-wire act of the modern snowstorm — pocked with doomsayer proclamations and sporadic lapses in communication.

At the episode’s heart is the sort of damned-if-you-do decision that has bedeviled politicians for decades: Play it safe with closings, all but guaranteeing sweeping economic losses, or try to ride out the storm?

“I would much rather be in a situation where we say we got lucky than one where we didn’t get lucky and somebody died,” Mr. Cuomo said.

Briefings and interviews with officials suggest that recent challenges — including Hurricane Sandy, a snowstorm in Buffalo and public spats between top local leaders and forecasters — have left decision-makers even more risk-averse.

As the storm approached, a sort of one-upmanship theater had visited the local political stage: Mr. Cuomo’s announcement about the subway shutdown came hours after the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suggested a full shutdown was unlikely. New Jersey Transit riders were told on Monday afternoon not to expect rail service until Thursday...