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De Blasio Pressed On Why Republican Strongholds Weren’t Plowed Adequately

Parts Of Staten Island Were Covered In Snow On Friday, Causing Further Outrage
A plow in the Graniteville section of Staten Island on Jan. 24, 2014. (credit: Al Jones/1010 WINS)

A plow in the Graniteville section of Staten Island on Jan. 24, 2014. (credit: Al Jones/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is vowing to learn from mistakes made in response to this week’s snowstorm.

Several neighborhoods, including the Upper East Side, were not plowed effectively, snarling traffic.

“Some of the work wasn’t good enough and the reports that I received about the Upper East Side and then saw for myself caused me to say, ‘We have to do better, right then and there, we have to do better,’ and we have to do better going forward,” de Blasio said.

Some areas of Staten Island still had snow-covered streets Friday, three days after the storm that left up to 11 inches of snow on the city.

“Look at the roads, it’s so bad,” Martha Burns, who lives on Wenlock Street in Graniteville, told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones. “I hope and pray that they clean today.”

Anna Brady, who lives around the corner on Melvin Place, said the response to the storm was too slow.

“We didn’t get plowed until the very next night– during the storm, nothing,” Brady said.

Other residents said it’s not the city’s fault.

“It is what it is, the main streets are good, everybody should be grateful,” said Lenny Gaglio, who lives on Simonson Avenue. “I don’t blame anybody for what happened. Maybe they didn’t have the manpower, maybe they were trying to take care of the main roads. I would just say that it was a mess and I don’t blame anybody for what happened, it’s nature.”

De Blasio personally inspected the Upper East Side in the wake of the storm and said he’ll do the same on Staten Island.

“When I hear those kinds of concerns and they’re that consistent, that persistent, you will see me go there myself or one of my top senior leaders of this administration will go out themselves,” de Blasio said. “We’ll see and we’ll make adjustments and then we’re going to try and learn what worked, and what didn’t work and how we do it better the next time.”

De Blasio denied that Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty’s job was in jeopardy. Doherty, who also worked for ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg, is serving in an interim capacity.

The mayor also said it is a coincidence that some neighborhoods that were not plowed did not vote for him in November’s election.

CLEAN-UP CONTROVERSY EXPLODES ON SOCIAL MEDIA

CBS 2’s Tony Aiello showed de Blasio an image of two maps that are making the rounds on social media

One shows Upper East Side blocks where the plows were no-shows. The other drives home the point that those were “red” neighborhoods that voted for de Blasio’s Republican opponent.

If anyone sees a connection, the mayor insists, “They’re just wrong. I’ve said that repeatedly and I’ll keep saying it.”

But the Upper East Side wasn’t alone with snow plow problems. The Huguenot section of Staten Island happens to be another Republican stronghold, and another neighborhood that felt let down by the city after the storm.

Republican Councilman Vinny Ignizio said residents were posting pictures of unacceptable street conditions on his Facebook page, 36 hours after the storm ended.

One man posted a video showing a snowboarder on an unplowed Staten Island street.

Ignizio said he does not believe anything nefarious was at work.

“I know Bill de Blasio and his character, that he would not seek retribution for the way people voted,” Ignizio said.

But another city council member sounded almost gleeful as he rubbed Upper East Side noses in the snow. Democrat David Greenfield of Brooklyn spoke on AM 620 Radio.

“The people on the Upper East Side, quite frankly, they, they’re complainers. They’re not used to this idea that we’re going to share resources in New York City. So they had streets that were passable, but they weren’t what I would call ‘lickable.’ They couldn’t eat off the street. They said ‘oy vey! There’s a little bit of ice on the street!’”

Councilman Greenfield went on to imply Manhattanites better get used to the fact that Brooklyn now takes center stage at City Hall.

In the meantime, the mayor said he was waiting for a storm “after action” report from the Department of Sanitation. Some told Aiello that’s not enough and are pressing for a city council hearing.

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