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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a City Hall press conference on Hurricane Irene on August 25, 2011 in New York City. The city is bracing for what could be its first direct hit by a hurricane in decades. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mike Bloomberg seems to have learned a lesson.
When the blizzard hit in December, 2010, he and the city administration were caught unprepared. But this time, when Hurricane Irene struck, Mayor Bloomberg and his team performed with great distinction. Under his leadership, 370,000 people in low-lying parts of the city were evacuated -- even before the storm struck. He was on television in a non-stop marathon warning people to stay home; advising citizens on safety precautions; coordinating efforts among all agencies.
Eight months after the Blizzard of 2010, Mayor Bloomberg led the whole metropolis in confronting the Hurricane of 2011. His seemingly non-stop press conferences were helpful to other major leaders by setting a tone for resisting the menacing storm.
Governor Cuomo, who shut down the subways on the weekend, and New Jersey Governor Christie, who acted swiftly to provide emergency help to his communities, deserve great credit for what they did. But Bloomberg led the way. He proved that he knows what to do when disaster threatens.
His tone is always acerbic. He is a bit of a nag. But he is a man of great talent and, in this case, he certainly showed it.
Political analyst Hank Sheinkopf told me: “He had the responsibility to protect the city and that’s what he did. He should be praised, not condemned. It’s a wonder what you can learn on a hot August day from a snowstorm in December!”
Sheinkopf had high praise for Deputy Mayor Caswell Holloway whom he credits with mobilizing the troops under Bloomberg to fight the hurricane.
As the Daily News’ Erin Einhorn noted today: “Too much is better than not enough,” or “Better safe than sorry.”
Or -- if you can, imagine Michael Bloomberg wearing a toga, with a wreath on his head. Think of him listening to Julius Caesar, who said: “Experience is the teacher of all things.”
Even our municipal Caesar can learn from experience.