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The lies began a few days ago with unsubstantiated allegations in Rupert Murdock's New York Post:

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.
City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens)... was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.
The snitches "didn't want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation," Halloran said.... They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."

Got that? A Republican City Councilmember blames it all on unions, and the allegations are suddenly opinionworthy in Bloomberg News.

In a front-page opinion piece today at Bloomberg News, Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and adviser to John McCain in 2008, uses these unproven allegations at their unchallenged worst:

Europeans have grown accustomed to seeing government workers shut down their countries when provoked. At this time of huge deficits from Washington to the smallest towns, government workers in the U.S. also face significant cutbacks.

Americans may have had their first taste of what that will mean.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor David Paterson are both calling for an investigation of allegations that city workers intentionally dragged out the cleanup of the Dec. 26 blizzard as a way to protest cuts in the city budget. The New York Post, citing City Councilman Dan Halloran, reported that some snow-plow drivers skipped streets on their routes or kept their plows too high to clear streets.

That's the right-wing noise machine: One outlet makes a vile accusation, then a second cites the first, revising and extending the incredible allegations even further!

If city workers did undermine the slow-clearing effort to protest budget cuts, they may have contributed to the death of a baby girl in Brooklyn, who waited with her 22-year-old mother nine hours for emergency crews to fight their way through the snow-covered streets. A Queens woman watched her elderly mother die as she waited three hours for an ambulance to arrive.

Americans better get used to this treatment.

Got that, America? Get used to unions killing babies and grandmas!


Originally posted to Jimdotz on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 09:11 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  thanks for covering this! (6+ / 0-)

      This diary needs to be on the rec list.

      Oligarchs going after public employees is the new major battle in the class war.  They're also going after school teachers.  Notice how they went after emergency responders by blocking the 9/11 bill: firefighters and police are next on the hit list.

      So how would y'all like to have Blackwater as your local police force?

  •  This needs to be debunked ASAP n/t (8+ / 0-)

    -5.12, -5.23

    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

    by ER Doc on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 09:33:28 PM PST

  •  Brilliant "look over there." (7+ / 0-)

    So the "shrinking rolls of rank and file" had absolutely nothing to do with it!

    Rove could have used this for Katrina. It's those damn unions who let New Orleans sink!

  •  I thought I read a report where Mayor Bloomberg, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, marina, Jimdotz, Jeff Y

    not the news, belittled the idea of a worker slowdown.

    Anyone remember?

    This implies otherwise, but is this report accurate?

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor David Paterson are both calling for an investigation of allegations that city workers intentionally dragged out the cleanup of the Dec. 26 blizzard as a way to protest cuts in the city budget.

    If it is accurate, the independent mayor is siding with the report of a Republican councilman. That now former governor David Paterson would do so simply baffles (though he appears to have his own disputes with both unions, and, independently, with the law), unless he has more info than we do.

    •  Patterson was, as near as I can tell, a flake (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Jimdotz

      He was a lousy Governor based on everything I heard coming out of New York. It wouldn't surprise me if he was the sort of conservative Democrat that never met a union he didn't hate and that flirts with Republicans (and joining the Republican Party) more than is seemly.

    •  During his press conferences (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Jimdotz

      both Bloomberg and Doherty denied knowing about any slow down.  They were asked about this every day.

      Bloomberg needs someone to blame for his failures.  First he tried blaming people in the outer boroughs who he claimed abandoned their cars on the blocks that were plowed.  NOT TRUE.  I think his condescension and that of many of his agency heads is starting to get on NYers nerves.  He treats us as if we were a bunch of unruly children.

      •  Doherty is respected by the workers. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He apparently came up through the rank & file and they consider him a capable guy.  He had to be at that press conf, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had a few choice words about it later.  

  •  This lie about New York's Strongest is immoral (4+ / 0-)

    Something's got to be done about this. I'm afraid it falls to you in New York to lead the charge on this one.

  •  Where do you all live? I live in Queens, the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo, LI Mike, Wham Bam

    somewhat forgotten borough in this past bilzzard. And I can tell you that I saw numerous sanitation trucks and other plows blade-up for hours after the snow stopped.
    No abandoned cars in my immediate neighborhood. No blockage. No reason those plows couldn't come through. To me, it's obvious - and yes, I'm pro-union. But this was a total screw-up if the union hoped to gain sympathy.

    all who are hungry, let them come and eat.

    by beegee kochav on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:26:29 PM PST

    •  Show me pictures, or say nothing. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Consider me a Tea Party Democrat, but it's not my "country" I want back:
      The Corporations stole the People's party -- I want my party back!

      by Jimdotz on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:28:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  blade up is meaningless. (8+ / 0-)

      I've hung out on boards where DSNY workers hang out and I know quite a bit about the technology used by the department.

      There are numerous technical reasons why a plow may be operated with its blade raised.  

      These include the fact that front-mounted plows can't scrape hard-packed snow and ice off pavements (for this there are underbody plows, but those require 4WD trucks and can't be mounted on collection trucks) and under icy conditions can catch an edge and cause an accident, for example by jerking the front of the truck in the opposite direction (typically to the left) and running into a parked car.

      I suggest you go find some plow operators to talk with before hurling allegations that support Republican conspiracy theories.  

    •  here's an example or two: (5+ / 0-)

      That's a spreader/salter running with its blade up because it is spreading salt/sand to prevent ice from forming.

      Under conditions where there is packed snow on top of ice, those trucks will run with plows up because they need to operate at consistent speeds to maintain uniform distribution of sand/salt on the road (or on top of the packed snow/ice as the case may be).  

      Here's one that's operating with blade slightly raised, to scrape off the top layer of snow but not get hung on the ice, while it's spreading sand & salt:

      Notice the code M.4 under the driver's window: Manhattan district garage #4.  

      DSNY spreaders are bright orange, whereas the collection trucks used for plowing are the standard white color.  So if the allegations of "blade up" are being made about those bright orange trucks, now you know the real scoop (no pun intended).  

    •  Queens also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I didn't see any trucks at all, with blades up or down. I don't give any credence to the theory that this was a work slowdown or strike, not without any evidence, but the Sanitation Dept did not do anything in my neighborhood and I know that they are capable of handling more snow than this in shorter order. Someone F'ed up, big time.

  •  And Bloomberg News is owned by who? (5+ / 0-)

    Hello?  Could there be a bit of a conflict of interest to having a large news organization be owned by the billionaire Mayor involved in a public relations gaffe of major proportions?

    Can anyone say "Berlusconi"?

    Bloomberg should direct his "news service" to recuse itself from taking a stance on the matter, regardless of the facts, and let others delve into it.  If workers did in fact stand down instead of working hard during the early part of the storm, that was wrong.  There could be a host of other reasons why certain equipment was seem sitting idle.  Given that Mayor Bloomberg, wearing his public servant hat, is part of the civic services that failed to give the response that many expected, he logically is part of the story, not incidental to it.

    Is this a story about rogue unions?  or could it be a story about a high-handed Mayor so ignoring the needs of one of his departments that it had insufficient resources when they were desperately needed?  

    Someone, other than a media conglomerate owned by the Mayor, perhaps should be asking those questions.

  •  halloran is lying (9+ / 0-)

    I live in his district, and i'm damn sure this teabagger is lying why

    1. he is a freshman without much power, but he does appear on fox and is quoted in the post, a lot
    1. his office is in the middle of nowhere, it would be odd for two small groups of people to have made their way there
    1. the photograph which the post ran of a "napping" sanitation worker was allegedly taken near the councilman's office, but there's no way the plow could have been parked on the busy street for 2 and half hours since it would have been blocking traffic, including express buses

    4)bloomie admitted they were late in mobilizing
    5)Goldsmith, the new deputy mayor, centralized snow removal, which was stupid and slowed down responses in the outer broughs

    1. if it was a union slowdown, how come times square and the mayor's block was cleared and
    1. why is it that of the 1000's of union workers, only unindentifed 3 supervisors and 2 dot (not dept. of sanitation workers) have come forward and why would halloran need to protect the names of supervisors and DOT workers from the sanitation union?

    Solvent Green is Grandma

    by mad cow on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:21:25 AM PST

    •  excellent. And as for "napping..." (8+ / 0-)

      When "Night Plow" starts (the DSNY night shift for snow), a lot of the guys will sleep in the break room in their garage (DSNY "garage" = similar to "firehouse") or in their cars in the parking lots, to be on site and ready to go when the snow starts.  This because after it starts snowing, they may not be able to get to their garage to start their shift if the roads are already getting bad.  Also because they may not have enough time between shifts to go home, sleep, and return.  

      So it doesn't surprise me that some of the guys sleep in the plow trucks between shifts.  And of course all it takes is one photo to make it look like they're sleeping on the job.  

      BTW, those shifts are 12 hours and you can get assigned to shifts in a manner that basically doesn't give you enough time for real sleep.  Also by law you have a 15 minute break every two hours, for snacks and so on; and 30 minutes for lunch: this in turn leads to the "scandalous" photos of plow trucks parked at burger joints and donut stands.  

      I'd like to see some of the complainers and Republican conspiracy theorists try to do that job for even one day.  Try lifting 12 tons in a day, in the broiling heat of summer.  That would be a real hoot.  

    •  great points (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mad cow, G2geek, DianeNYS, Jimdotz

      the union leadership needs to jump all over this piece and show that it is a lie.

  •  Not exactly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jimdotz, coffeetalk

    Your title says "Bloomberg News accuses NY's Strongest of murder."

    The opinion piece closes with:

    Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He was an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. The opinions expressed are his own.) emphasis mine

    To contact the writer of this column: Kevin Hassett at

    To contact the editor responsible for this column: James Greiff at

    So while yes, the article is terribly one-sided and based on the questionable off-the-record meetings at the Republican office in Queens, it's not (at least not yet) the official editorial policy of Bloomberg News, as far as I can tell.

    Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

    by CDH in Brooklyn on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:46:57 AM PST

    •  Bloomberg editors chose to run the allegations. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, CherryTheTart, laker

      They get the blame in my book for that.

      Consider me a Tea Party Democrat, but it's not my "country" I want back:
      The Corporations stole the People's party -- I want my party back!

      by Jimdotz on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:11:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Message for Kevin Hassett: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Tell it to Steve Kuai, DSNY worker.

      There's a guy who could probably pick up a car with one hand.  He also likes road racing and he built his own computer (so much for stereotypes!).

      Quote Steve:

      "One of my pet peeves is people who don't take good care of their health. One of my friends (I wont mention who but you know who you are) was eating french fries from wendy's while dipping them in a Wendy's frosty. As that person noticed that I was looking at them with extreme disgust, their reaction was "what? you only live once!" To that I responded, "yes this is true, but you also get one body to take care of."

  •  Breaking: from Bloomberg/FoxNews/AEI: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Jimdotz

    Union workers responsible for Reichstag fire!

    "Education is dangerous - Every educated person is a future enemy" Hermann Goering (NRSC?)

    by irate on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:04:06 AM PST

  •  Call for photos! Get the goods on Bloomie! (6+ / 0-)

    Here's how we can turn the tables on this bigtime and possibly get Bloomie's proverbial head on a metaphorical pike:

    Get all the photos we can of DSNY trucks in the blizzard, with enough detail in the background to show where they were operating so the locations can be identified.

    Every single DSNY truck has two sets of numbers on it that can easily identify where it's from.  

    One is a code for the "garage" (similar to firehouse) that is its home base.  For example M1 is Manhattan garage #1, BX-(number) is Bronx garage #3, BK-(number) is Brooklyn, and so on.

    The other is a code for the specific truck.  These are longer combinations of letters and numbers (department workers can read those numbers to tell you something about when a given piece of equipment was first put into service).

    These numbers are on the rear bodies of the collection trucks (refuse trucks) that are used for plowing.  For example:

    Look at the lower front right corner of the truck body and you see the code M.3, for Manhattan 3.   Now follow the dashed red line just above it, back toward the rear of the truck, and you see 25DC-615, which is the individual truck number.  

    Trucks usually stick to their home turf.  Occasionally they're assigned to other districts to fill in for gaps, for example when there is a parade, you'll get a lot of mechanical brooms (sweepers) coming in from other districts to handle the immediate need for cleaning up after the parade is over.  

    It's been reported that Bloomie used his new centralized management system to bring in a large number of plows from the outer boroughs into Manhattan, to make sure Manhattan streets were clear for business while the outer boroughs stayed buried in snow.  If he did that, then the responsibility for deaths and misery during this storm rests directly on his shoulders, and there is zero wiggle room.

    This is why the pictures are valuable.   If we can demonstrate that an unusually large number of outer-borough trucks were brought into Manhattan, we've got him.  

    The pics need to be good enough that you can clearly read the identifying numbers on the trucks.  The pic I linked to is a great example.  (Many more such can be found here: but most are unrelated to the blizzard.)

    By the way, this is a spreader/salter:

    Those are relatively scarce: DSNY has about 350 of them, compared to about 2,500 collection trucks (all collection trucks are used for plowing).  Ordinarily the spreader/salters are not needed in large numbers, but they are essential for dealing with icy conditions.

    Next, someone needs to be able to clearly identify the background in the scene.  People from the neighborhood should recognize it immediately:  "Hey that's the deli down the block from the place where my buddy works..."

    Next, put all of that stuff together as a map showing where all those trucks were when the pictures were taken.

    The more outer-borough trucks that were photographed in Manhattan, the more evidence that Bloomie was meddling with snow clearance to make his cronies look good.  

    I seriously think we can catch Bloomie and Goldsmith and the rest of them with their pants down here.  This could even get fun.  

    •  I absolutely agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Jimdotz, laker

      that Bloomie is responsible.  Of course, they are now floating the meme that even if EMS arrived in time there is no guarantee that every life lost would have been saved.  

      I also think that Bloomie made a business decision.  Since school wasn't in session and money would have been lost due to a "snow day" he instead made sure that the tourists could make it to the museums and Broadway shows.  His press conference was geared toward the tourists.

    •  Who reported? (0+ / 0-)

      It's been reported that Bloomie used his new centralized management system to bring in a large number of plows from the outer boroughs into Manhattan, to make sure Manhattan streets were clear for business while the outer boroughs stayed buried in snow.  

      When I hear things like "It's been reported" my bullshit detector goes off.

      Who reported it?  Where's the cite?

  •  lawsuit time, y'all! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, Jimdotz, CherryTheTart, laker

    Halloran is alleging, and the rightie press are reporting, what amounts to a criminal conspiracy that has led to a couple of criminally negligent homicides.  

    Seems to me that Harry Nespoli (president of the Sanitation Workers' Union) ought to sue those bastards for defamation.  

  •  Bloomberg (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Jimdotz, CherryTheTart, laker

    You didn't mention in your article that Manhattan did get snow plowed and other parts didn't. So the argument of unions not actually plowing snow on that day is absurd. Snow was removed it just happen to be in Bloomberg own front lawn and Manhattan. I dislike Bloomberg because I am a resident of New York and notice all the expensive condominiums being built by the city. Majority of those condominiums the majority of New Yorkers won't be able to afford them. 500,000 dollar condominiums are being erected all over the city for Bloombergs friends. Not the average New Yorker but his millionaire buddies. I also hate the parking in New York he hasn't done anything to fix the problem. He only took advantage of it by installing parking meters so the day by day workers can carry the brunt of paying for the city. Bloomberg model is to plow the workers into the ground with debt. How? You might be asking yourself, well by installing meters he forcing the workers to pay up for the budget crisis. On the other hand the fines that come along with the horrible parking conditions in the city. The average worker in the city gets nailed with fines. There is no adequate parking available and residents, tenants have to deal with Bloomberg goons on a day by day bases. Its like a war out here people running to move their vehicle from one side to the other before the clock expires. The workers have hand nothing positive from Bloomberg. Bloomberg has placed the brunt of the economic crisis on the backs of the laborers. He is making New York a paradise for the rich and make it a nightmare for the average worker. He's literally turning New York into a fair hike, and he's in line with the MTA CEO mobsters. Every year they are announcing that the MTA cost for riders will go up. Its a method an economic model of gentrification. Only this time it's not about what color you are but what status you are in, in a scale of an economic pyramid. Bloomberg as his rich friends at the very top and the workers at the very bottom. While the rich wage wars the workers continue to hold up the pyramid and suffer because of it. When I ask will we have a real workers revolution? When? How many wars will we have to pay for after the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan wars? How many wars will we labor for and have our "economic hitman" dictate their politics to the average American worker? My God, God Help Us All

    •  Amen to that! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jimdotz, laker

      It's all about the social darwinism:  make people hop through hoops until they trip & fall, and then take 'em out.  

      And it's all about economic class tribalism: Bloomie's tribe is the Wall Street Gang, and that's who he wants in "his" city, everyone else be damned.  

      But deep down inside, Bloomie and his cronies must have thought about this at least once:

      If Wall Street suddenly disappeared with a puff of smoke, civilization would still go on.  

      But without police, firefighters, and paramedics; without sanitation workers and water treatment workers and sewage treatment workers; without plumbers and electricians and power plant engineers and the Moms & Pops who run the corner grocery stores, and bus drivers, train operators, taxi drivers, and so on: without all of those "little guys & gals," the shit hits the fan pronto and civilization breaks down in days and people die of hunger, disease, crime, accidents, fires, and other preventable causes.  

      So maybe it's time for a one-day general strike to show the Wall Street Gang who's boss.  

  •  This is enormously important (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Jimdotz, CherryTheTart, laker

    I don't live in New York nor am I in a union but the process of blame shifting, having control of the message that gets out, scapegoating, it is successful because people allow themselves to be hoodwinked and pitted against one another.  Bullies can be successful if they can isolate and then attack.  One way to isolate is to slander.  We need to stop fighting one another and find common ground so that we work in unison.

  •  Amazing that Non-Union Supervisors (5+ / 0-)

    In the sanitation department were asking union workers for a slow-down to protest job losses.

    I think we've just seen a miracle happen.

    The promise of Social Security is not negotiable.

    by bink on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:40:20 AM PST

  •  Geez, jumping the gun on both sides here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What happened, it seems to me, is that (1) a member of the city council claims that some "whistleblowers" made accusations; and (2) there is a call for an investigation to see if those accusations have any basis.  When a member of the city council makes such a claim about an alleged whistleblower, it seems to me that a call for an investigation is the proper response.  The investigation will presumably show whether (1) there is any basis to the accusations; (2) certain people did make such statements to the city council member but they were lying to him; or (3) the city council member was lying about being told those things by alleged whistleblowers.  No matter what the facts ultimately will prove to be, it seems to me that an investigation is warranted.  

    Those who claim to "know" that the accusations are true are jumping to an unsupported conclusion.  But those who claim to "know" that the accusations are false are also jumping to an unsupported conclusion.  

    If this were an accusation against a non-favored (at this site) entity (like, say, a big corporation) people would be clamoring that they were "sure" it is true.  But because the accusations are against a favored entity (a union) people here are "sure" it is false.  

    I consider myself a rational, reasonable person, who tries my best to stay away from partisan, knee jerk reactions in favor of the facts.  And, for that reason, I'll wait for the facts to come out in the investigation before I reach any conclusion.  

    •  FYI, I've been highly skeptical of.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... many of the instances where the left has made allegations against various corporations and even against various Republican elected or appointed officials.  

      I tend to go with Occam's razor on most of these things.  And the allegations against the DSNY workers in this case just don't pass that test.  If you know how DSNY works (I do, I've read the forums where they hang out), you know how utterly improbable this is.

      •  You're obviously, like me, in the minority (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, VClib

        at this site if this is true:

        I've been highly skeptical of many of the instances where the left has made allegations against various corporations and even against various Republican elected or appointed officials.  

        My experience at this site is generally that, if the accusations are made against the right, they are presumed true, but if they are made against the left, they are presumed untrue.  You and I are definitely the minority on that.  

        I certainly understand healthy skepticism on your part about the accusations.  My only point is that, it seems to me, that once such an accusation is made by an elected official, it can't simply be dismissed out of hand.  Instead, it seems to me that, once such an accusation is made by an elected city official, an investigation is the only proper response.  If the elected official was concocting that accusation out of whole cloth, or if some purported whistleblower was lying to that elected official, I want that to come out in the investigation.  On the other hand, if there is ANY factual basis for the allegation, I'd want that to come out as well.  

        •  speaking of shooting sacred cows... (0+ / 0-)

          ..... I've been running around saying that Julian Assange should be prosecuted for some of the stuff he's released (sources & methods info, and the critical infrastructure list).  This has made me highly unpopular in certain circles where Assange is idolized, but I've "stuck to my guns" on that stuff regardless.  

          And I also still support the war in Afghanistan despite that being a highly unpopular position around here.  

          Sure, NYC should investigate those allegations.  And they should also investigate the reassignment of outer-borough plows to Manhattan, an allegation that can easily be checked via the records for the outer-borough garages as to where their plows were working (every transfer like that in DSNY has to be documented: and if it's not documented that's a very big deal).    

          I'm betting that the "union conspiracy" thing turns out to be nothing more than some shop chatter by the guys in between shifts (show me one place where workers don't talk shit about their bosses), and the reassignment thing turns out to be provable.  

      •  Could you please ... (0+ / 0-)

        provide a link to the DSNY forums?  I would love to read what they have to say.

  •  Preposterous propaganda-Deputy mayor left NYC (4+ / 0-)

    Even the NY Times knows exactly what happened.  They've reported extensively on how the FUBAR unfolded.

    There were three main causes:

    1.  Bloomberg failed to declare a snow emergency.
    1.  As Brooklynbadboy reported, the deputy mayor for operations overseeing snow removal (forget his name) had instituted a new "centralized" snow removal plan.  The plan should have been called "operation f*ck up".
    1.  As if the new plan wasn't bad enough, this same deputy mayor LEFT TOWN just before the snow storm, leaving NO ONE IN CHARGE.

    The idea that it was union sanitation workers is beyond preposterous.  

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