NEW YORK (WFAN) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initial decision to not cancel this Sunday’s New York Marathon drew tons of criticism in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
Bloomberg announced that the marathon would be canceled early on Friday evening, but in the days prior to the announcement he maintained that the event would go on.
There were urges for protests and boycotts as New York City — and the entire Tri-State Area — attempts to recover from the devastating damage that engulfed the area.
As Bloomberg continued to defend his decision, WFAN’s Mike Francesa took issue with the mayor when he opened his show at 1 p.m. on Friday.
“The fact that the marathon is still going on is mind-boggling,” Francesa said. “Lower Manhattan is still dark. You’ve got people washing their hands in the street. You have people with no power. (In) Staten Island they’re still recovering bodies. It’s ridiculous. They’re trying to kick people who are displaced out of hotels for runners. Thank god there are some runners now who are not running in protest.”
At least 19 people have been killed in Staten Island, which got especially hammered in the storm.
“This will be something that the mayor will regret forever if he doesn’t change his mind,” Francesa said. “It is that big a calamity. You have cops now having to man gas stations because of fights that are breaking out because of the gas shortages. You just had the mayor come up and tell you that they’re still finding bodies in Staten Island. How are you running a marathon when you’re still finding bodies and the city is still dark?”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is demanding that utilities devote their full resources to restoring power in New York City, Westchester and Long Island to the huge quantities of residents who have been in the dark for days. Nearly 2,804,000 customers remain without power in the Tri-State Area.
“This is the dumbest thing anyone has ever heard of,” Francesa said. “How can you do this? And if the idea is to show that New York is above it, and to make the mayor look good, knock it off … Instead of putting people on a marathon, put them in places where they can help. Have people orchestrate to get more workers in here … We’ve got a crisis, this is not getting better … We’re not making a lot of progress. The traffic lights are still out.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer offered a thank you to Bloomberg and Cuomo for their leadership in a statement released on Friday, but even he called for a postponement of the race, as many of the city’s residents are “struggling to keep body and soul together, deprived of basic essentials as temperatures drop.”
“What you should be worried about is water, is gas, is getting people’s power on; finding people who are hurt, getting them a place to live, getting them food, getting them shelter, getting them straightened out, making sure they have dry clothes, making sure they have meals — not whether or not we can set up to run a race through the boroughs!” Francesa exclaimed.
“If Bloomberg’s ego is so big that he wants to show the world we can do this on his watch, you know what? You want to show us something on your watch? Get the power on,” Francesa said. “We’ll all be more impressed. Get everybody dry and safe. Get everybody a place to live … The city is still dark and you’re running a marathon. His legacy will be that he approved a marathon through a city that was dark, and they’re digging out bodies.
“Someone’s got to get to him, whack him on the side of the head and tell him, ‘Hey, mayor, listen, I know you’re bright and I know you think you’re a genius, but this is a bad decision. This is a bad decision.'”
Mike Francesa, the ultimate influencer! Was this the right call by Bloomberg? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…