Bloomberg Faces Outcry Over Sunday's NYC Marathon

3 years 5 months 3 weeks ago November 02, 2012 Nov 2, 2012 Friday, November 02 2012 Friday, November 02, 2012 3:25:00 PM CDT in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - With people in storm-ravaged areas still shivering without electricity and the death toll in New York City at more than 40, many New Yorkers recoiled at the prospect of police officers being assigned to protect a marathon.

They were repelled by the thought of storm victims being evicted from hotels to make room for people coming into town for the race, and the sight of big generators humming along at the finish-line tents in Central Park.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he hoped to lift spirits and unite the stricken city when he decided to press ahead with this weekend's New York City Marathon. Instead, the move became a source of strife Friday, with Bloomberg facing an outcry from politicians and ordinary New Yorkers who said this is not the time for a road race.

They complained that holding the event just six days after Superstorm Sandy would be insensitive and tie up precious resources when many people are still suffering.

Joan Wacks, whose Staten Island waterfront condo was swamped with 4 feet of water, predicted authorities will still be recovering bodies when the estimated 40,000 runners from around the world hit the streets for the 26.2-mile race Sunday, and she called the mayor "tone deaf."

"He is clueless without a paddle to the reality of what everyone else is dealing with," she said. "If there are any resources being put toward the marathon, that's wrong. I'm sorry, that's wrong."
At a news conference, Bloomberg defended his decision as a way to raise money for the city's recovery and boost morale after Sandy flooded neighborhoods and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands homes and businesses.

Bloomberg said New York "has to show that we are here and we are going to recover" and "give people something to cheer about in what's been a very dismal week for a lot of people."
"You have to keep going and doing things," he said, "and you can grieve, you can cry and you can laugh all at the same time. That's what human beings are good at."
Noting that street lights should be back on in Manhattan by midnight Friday and parts of the transit system are up and running again, he gave assurances that the race would not take away police officers and other resources needed in the recovery.

He also pointed out that his predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, went ahead with the marathon two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and "it pulled people together."

But in a sign of the how the political mood was turning against Bloomberg, City Comptroller John Liu, an elected official who is considered a likely candidate for mayor next year, reversed course. Liu warned that it has become clear that holding the marathon this weekend would "compromise the city's ability to protect and provide for the residents most affected by the hurricane."

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer called for a postponement, saying New Yorkers "deserve nothing less than to know that the entire government is focused solely on returning the City and their region back to normalcy. And City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said pressing ahead "is not a decision I would have made."

One of the world's pre-eminent road races, the marathon generates an estimated $340 million for the city. This time, the marathon's sponsors and organizers have dubbed it the "Race to Recover" and intend to use the event to raise money for the city to deal with the crisis. New York Road Runners, the race organizer, will donate $1 million and said sponsors have pledged more than $1.5 million.
"It's hard in these moments to know what's best to do," NYRR president Mary Wittenberg said. "The city believes this is best to do right now."

The course runs from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on hard-hit Staten Island to Central Park, sending runners through all five boroughs. The course will not be changed, since there was little damage along the route.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police officers will not be taken off storm-recovery duty to work the marathon. He said the estimated 2,000 officers on the marathon route come in on their days off, on overtime, while those on storm duty work extended shifts on their regular work days.

Michael Sofronas of Manhattan used to run the marathon and has been a race volunteer for four years, serving as an interpreter for foreign runners. But he said he won't volunteer this year.

"I'm also really very aghast at the fact that we've just gone through the Sandy hurricane and I believe that the people should not be diverted to the marathon. They should focus on the people in need," he said. "It's all about money, money from everybody. The sponsors, the runners."

A Swede who arrived in New York this week to run in the marathon sided with the mayor.

"It doesn't feel good, coming to New York," Maria Eriksson said. "But the marathon has been planned for such a long time. And besides, it brings so much money to the city. That should help. What help would it be to cancel?"

Other runners were torn.

Olivia Waldman, who lives on the Upper East Side, said: "I want to be a part of this marathon and I also want to be a part of the hurricane relief. I'm trying to help where I can, and the marathon is going on, so we have to help in making that go forward."

But John Esposito, a Staten Islander helping his elderly parents clean out their flooded home, said: "They brought giant generators to power the marathon tents while we've got thousands of people without power. ... How about putting one of these generators here? Have some compassion."

Adam Shanker of Short Hills, N.J., said he moved his family from his dark and cold house to a Manhattan hotel, only to learn they were being kicked out Friday to make room for someone with reservations for the marathon.

"I hate Mayor Bloomberg," he said. "It is absolutely retarded to have a marathon starting, especially in Staten Island, where people just lost everything in the world. And they're going to have these people run through our streets like celebrating some kind of run, which I think is great, but not now. ... And now people who can't even get rooms are getting kicked out of the only rooms they have because these people have rooms. And, you know, what is he thinking?"

Photo Credit: Rob Boudon

More News

Grid
List
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A 28-year-old Springfield man has been sentenced to two life terms for fatally stabbing a rural southwest... More >>
4 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 4:23:26 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Safe Kids Columbia unveiled its new Safe Kids Mobile Education Unit Saturday. Children also learned about safety while... More >>
4 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 4:20:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Boone Hospital gave community members a chance to receive a variety of free cancer screenings at their 3rd... More >>
5 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 3:54:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY — A woman was hospitalized after crashing her car on Highway 63 Saturday afternoon. According to the... More >>
5 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 3:49:00 PM CDT in News
CHICAGO - The NFL Draft has called and Mizzou answered. Today three former Missouri Tigers were selected in the... More >>
5 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 3:23:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Junior Golf Foundation opened the Ken Lanning Golf Center Saturday morning. The golf course... More >>
5 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 3:20:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Hundreds of mid-Missourians gathered at Bass Pro Shops Lake Saturday morning for the fifth annual "Float Your Boat... More >>
6 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 2:41:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — There are two weeks left for the Missouri Legislature to pass bills, and some Democrats are... More >>
7 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 1:27:24 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) said Saturday a man who they arrested on Wednesday has died. ... More >>
12 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 8:53:00 AM CDT in News
MEXICO — Parents, teachers and potential foster parents are taking the opportunity to offer their kids a better life by... More >>
15 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 6:15:00 AM CDT in News
BALLWIN (AP) — Republicans are choosing 40 of the 57 Missouri delegates to their national convention and many may not... More >>
15 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 5:56:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A town hall meeting to explain an updated development code for the city of Columbia was held Saturday... More >>
16 hours ago April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016 Saturday, April 30 2016 Saturday, April 30, 2016 4:23:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — What was supposed to be a simple meet and greet resulted in a change of location and some... More >>
1 day ago April 29, 2016 Apr 29, 2016 Friday, April 29 2016 Friday, April 29, 2016 8:09:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — High school students from all over the state traveled to Columbia for the MSHSAA Music Festival, the state-level... More >>
1 day ago April 29, 2016 Apr 29, 2016 Friday, April 29 2016 Friday, April 29, 2016 8:01:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Missouri residents will see more insects this Spring and Summer because temperatures did not hit below freezing enough... More >>
1 day ago April 29, 2016 Apr 29, 2016 Friday, April 29 2016 Friday, April 29, 2016 7:07:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The City of Columbia utility department recently sent out 8,000 incorrect utility bills. Assistant Director Jim Windsor... More >>
1 day ago April 29, 2016 Apr 29, 2016 Friday, April 29 2016 Friday, April 29, 2016 5:36:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The Columbia Senior Activity Center began its two-day spring garage sale on Friday. The annual garage sale... More >>
1 day ago April 29, 2016 Apr 29, 2016 Friday, April 29 2016 Friday, April 29, 2016 5:35:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — KOMU 8 News is always trying to find new ways to reach our audience. Following a fatal... More >>
1 day ago April 29, 2016 Apr 29, 2016 Friday, April 29 2016 Friday, April 29, 2016 5:00:00 PM CDT in Your View
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
10pm 61°
11pm 60°
12am 59°
1am 57°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:29p
Saturday Night Live
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld
10:00p
Cops Reloaded

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld