Greg Nickels, take heart: You're not the only public official to be buried alive by a snowstorm. It may be the dog days of summer, but the memory of last winter's blizzard in New York City still lives on, as does City Hall's lame response. The just-announced result: Deputy mayor Stephen Goldsmith is out.
Goldsmith, a former Harvard professor and mayor of Indianapolis, brought into the Bloomberg administration amid much fanfare, stumbled early and often during his 14-month tenure at City Hall, according to The New York Times. But his most "visible" blunder, says the Times, was his seeming cluelessness as the city became paralyzed by snow. From Washington, D.C., where he maintained a home, he offered this tweet to city staff: "Good snow work."
Sound familiar? In late 2008, after a series of snowstorms hit Seattle, whose transportation workers proved unable to clear the streets for days, then-Mayor Nickels (pictured above) said that he would give the city a "B" on its handling of the affair. Since many city residents were thinking more like an "F," an assessment furthered by a Seattle Timesexposé indicating that the mayor's own neighborhood of West Seattle got more attention from shoveling crews that anywhere else, Nickels' political fate suffered. The following August, when he ran for office again, he didn't even make it through the primary.
One could be forgiven for thinking that the wrath of voters was a Seattle thing, tinged with parochialism. In a city famously unprepared for snow, where many residents don't even own a shovel, a whiteout seems like a cataclysmic event. But even in the Big Apple, it seems, snow is a weighty matter.
Mayor Mike McGinn, whose approval rating recently stood at a dismal 23 percent, even lower than Nickels' at the height of "snowpocalypse," better hope for a mild winter.