Assemblyman Dov Hikind has an idea for how to help clean up the snowstorm: bring in the National Guard.
“We could use additional help, plain and simple,” said Hikind. “They’ve hired a lot of new people. Why not use the National Guard?”
Hikind said he received a call from Governor Paterson yesterday evening, and the two discussed the clean-up effort–though the Brooklyn assemblyman declined to elaborate on whether they discussed the possibility of sending in the Guard. The governor has the authority to direct the National Guard, but it would be highly unusual to deploy them to New York City without the blessing of Mayor Bloomberg.
“I think the mayor, knowing him, his pride would never let him do that,” said Hikind. “But you know what, why not? Why not? It’s one way to get a lot more people out there all over the city.”
A spokesman for the mayor said the city’s experts have been in touch with the National Guard, but that the city’s most pressing needs are for equipment like ambulances and tow trucks–not simply the manpower provided by the Guard. The spokesman said the city has solicited equipment from all over the region, and was not too proud to call in some from neighboring jurisdictions.
At a press conference in the Bronx this morning, the mayor defended the city’s efforts, while also calling for a review of the administration’s response after the clean-up was completed.
“We did not do as good a job as we wanted to do or as the city has a right to expect,” the mayor said. “And there is no question, we are an administration that is built on accountability. When it works, it works and we take credit. And when it doesn’t work we stand up there and say, ‘Ok, we did it. We will try to find out what went wrong and then try to make that information public.”‘
Hikind said he was “thrilled” to see those remarks–including what he considered to be something of an apology–calling it “real progress with this mayor.”
But the lingering piles of snow have given persistent critics like Hikind–and even some allies–a chance to pile on the mayor for what they say was a lack of preparation.
The assemblyman said streets in his Borough Park district are still “a mess,” and that he had just completed an interview with CBS network news, which included a backdrop that looked like a ski area.
“When the national news comes down to Borough Park on this snow thing, you know the mayor is in big trouble,” said Hikind. “I can’t wait for Letterman and Leno tonight.”