2005-03-10 / Top Stories

Mayoral Spokesman Rips Kruger’s Street-Cleaning Slap

By Neil S. Friedman

Many side streets, like Conklin Avenue (above), were blanketed by ice Wednesday morning.                                    Neil S. FriedmanMany side streets, like Conklin Avenue (above), were blanketed by ice Wednesday morning. Neil S. Friedman A mayoral aide yesterday countered charges by State Senator Carl Kruger that Brooklyn was given short shrift by Mayor Michael Bloomberg following Tuesday’s blustery snowstorm.

After learning about Kruger’s claims yesterday, spokesman Jordan Barowitz told the Canarsie Courier , “The members of the city’s Department of Sanitation (DOS) worked over night salting and clearing city streets in the face of 40 mile-per-hour wind gusts.”

“It’s disgraceful,” said the aide, “that Carl Kruger would spit in the face of the hardworking men and women of the Sanitation Department just to help his patron Freddy Ferrer.”

Former Bronx Borough President Ferdinand Ferrer is one of several candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in this year’s mayoral race.

Less than 24 hours after a blustery Nor’easter dumped several inches of snow on the city, adding to this winter’s record-tying accumulation, Kruger warned Mayor Bloomberg that this latest storm could have ramifications in this year’s mayoral race.

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg deserves full blame for allowing Brooklyn streets to remain skating rinks after yesterday’s snowstorm,” Kruger charged.

“The mayor sets the priorities in this city, and today he made his priorities clear – in his eyes Brooklyn is the armpit of the city, and therefore our residents can feel free to endanger their lives when they set foot outside their homes,” Kruger said.

“Icy thoroughfares, such as Remsen and Flatlands avenues and Avenue U, and major intersections throughout Canarsie, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Bergen Beach and other southern Brooklyn neighborhoods were not salted for Wednesday morning’s rush hour,” Kruger stated, “resulting in treacherous rides for children heading to school and commuters heading for work forced to move at a snail’s pace.”

Kruger said several furious constituents called his Avenue U office asking the same question: “Where are the salting machines?”

“I think the better question should be, ‘Where is Mayor Bloomberg in all of this?’” the senator said, noting that the Sanitation Department should not be held responsible for the mayor’s “poor planning.”

Barowitz said, “By 8 a.m., they cleared 100 percent of primary streets, 86 percent of secondary streets and 65 percent of tertiary streets. By this afternoon, every street in the city will be salted.”

Kruger recalled another snowstorm decades ago when an ineffective clean-up effort had serious consequences for then-Mayor John Lindsay.

“The storm of ’69 cost Lindsay the election,” Sen. Kruger said. “Judging by yesterday’s performance, Mayor Bloomberg is on very thin ice.”

By midday yesterday, slightly warmer temperatures and routine traffic left main roads and side streets less hazardous than during the morning commute.

Local meteorologists were somewhat caught off guard by the intensity of Tuesday’s storm. Temperatures rapidly fell throughout the day after Monday’s spring-like weather and precipitation, which began as light rain, quickly changed to blizzard-like conditions causing many vehicle accidents throughout the metropolitan area as roads and highways rapidly iced up.

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