Mayor Bloomberg and the CEO of New York Road Runners (NYRR), Mary Wittenberg, are already coming under intense criticism from public officials for their decision not delay the New York City Marathon this weekend. This hasn’t seemed to sway them from their position that the race will “pull people together.”
But maybe they haven’t been reading the letters over at the internet’s largest petition site, Change.org.
Jeff Smith of Pratt University started a Change.org petition yesterday asking Bloomberg and Wittenberg to postpone the race. The letter already has 24,700 signatures. The petition itself is very nicely worded:
Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Mary Wittenberg, CEO of NYRR: Postpone the NYC Marathon until Spring 2013
Police, fire and other emergency services should not be diverted to the Marathon during this time of crisis. This event is always a positive event and it should not be turned into a hugely negative drain on city resources. The potential effects can be devastating. Please postpone this race until the Spring of 2013.
Dear Mayor and Ms. Wittenberg – Please reconsider your decision to hold the ING NYC Marathon this year. New York City is not behind your decision. Please postpone the NYC Marathon until Spring 2013
The comment section–where supporters are encouraged to give their reason for signing–is not as civil. This is the second-most “liked” response on the whole petition, from a Luisa Lisciandrello in Brooklyn:
THIS IS AN EPIC FAIL FOR BLOOMBERG AND MARY WITTENBERG. HOW DARE YOU WASTE OUR RESOURCES ON THIS FRIVILOUS BULLSHIT WHEN PEOPLE ARE STILL DIGGING DEAD BODIES OUT OF THE MUD HERE? WHILE PEOPLE ARE STARVING AND DUMPSTER DIVING YOU DARE TO TRY AND CLOSE OUR ONLY CONDUITS FOR A RIDICULOUS RACE IN THE NAME OF MAKING A FEW BUCKS? THE SOULS OF EVERY DEAD NEW YORKER, CHILD THROUGH ELDERLY, IS ON YOUR HEAD AND YOU CONTINUE TO SLEEP GOOD AT NIGHT. THE PERSONIFICATION OF GREED AND EVIL. DO THE RIGHT AND ONLY THING AND POSTPONE THIS RACE AND SALVAGE SOME OF YOUR DECENCY.
Another petition, recently started by a man named Stephen Robert Morse, gave itself a little more space to draw some inevitable analogies:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: Postpone the 2012 New York City Marathon!
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there is devastation in and around New York City. There are approximately 40,000 hotel rooms that will be occupied by out-of-town marathon runners that could better be used by New Yorkers in need of shelter. A large part of New York City is still without power. People are lacking food and water and other necessities. It is a stark reality that critical New York City resources will have to be diverted to permit the marathon to be run.
In addition to the thousands of police officers who will have to stop traffic across the boroughs, it will be more difficult for emergency services to operate before, during, and after this race. Furthermore, crews hoping to restore power and water in affected areas will have to put their work on hold. In what rational world can we justify benefitting 40,000 individuals as millions suffer? Imagine if we put all of the runners to work, helping storm victims rebuild their lives.
In 1980, the United States boycotted the Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia, because we stood up for what we believed in. Would we have held a marathon less than a week after 9/11? Would we have held a marathon less than a week after Hurricane Katrina? Of course the answers to the above questions are no. New York will always be a tourist hub, yet it is unthinkable that there are millions of people without power, and thousands of businesses that are currently closed while a small number of people take part in a recreational activity.
Therefore, citizens must band together to postpone this marathon until New York has recovered from the devastating hurricane. We have LESS THAN 48 HOURS to make our cause known to the world!
So far, that one only has 350-plus signatures … probably because most people signing their name to an electronic petition don’t want it to be so long that they’re actually forced to read the whole thing.