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Ed Driscoll

Nanny Bloomberg’s Lessons in Prioritizing

March 5th, 2013 - 12:29 pm

“Bloomberg Has Time for Soda, Not 9-1-1 System,” Bethany Mandel writes at Commentary, linking to this New York Post item on New York’s 9/11 system. Almost a quarter century ago, rappers Public Enemy famously declared it a joke; not much seems to have changed since:

Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial $2 billion effort to modernize the 911 system — billed as a cure-all for every emergency-communications ill — was labeled a boondoggle by the city’s own experts two years ago, The Post has learned.

The project “does not have a defined business case” for spending $2 billion on a new 911 system, Gartner Consulting told City Hall in a March 2011 report marked “draft — confidential.”

The consultant’s 45-page report, reviewed by The Post, explained the city was wasting its money by plowing ahead without resolving key problems. It slams the high-tech system for management failures and computer glitches, and clobbers key communications officials for refusing to cooperate and, instead, battling over turf.

The consultants report also found:

* Repeated failures of the emergency-response software were reported but were not fixed.

* The NYPD refused to merge its system for dispatching units with that of the FDNY and the EMS — although that was a key reason for creating the new system. And the departments would not work together to create a unified management structure for the new system.

* The city agencies involved in the plan would not assist the system’s architects in setting up the new 911 network.

The document has not only been kept from the public but was also withheld from auditors from the City Comptroller’s Office, who spent more than a year analyzing the mammoth project.

“If the city withheld any documents from my office during the course of our audit into the 911 system, they violated the City Charter,” Comptroller John Liu told The Post. “The Bloomberg administration should know by now that it can’t sweep its wasteful projects under the rug.”

As Mandel concludes:

Over the past several years Nanny Bloomberg’s top priority has been telling New Yorkers what to eat, writing his opinion into law as much as possible. This week restaurants around the city are preparing for what his latest legislation, on soda, will mean for customers. This sign at Dunkin’ Donuts being posted around the city puts into perspective just how ridiculous the new regulations are. While the mayor has spent his tenure regulating diet choices, the city has been struck by a devastating storm for which it was ill-prepared and has built an expensive new 9-1-1 emergency system that cannot communicate between the police, fire and EMS departments.

Two years ago, back when Mayor Mike was, as always, focused on eliminating transfats and “global warming,” rather than bedbugs and local snow removal in the midst of a massive blizzard, Victor Davis Hanson dubbed that sort of mystical worldview “The Bloomberg Syndrome:”

It is a human trait to focus on cheap and lofty rhetoric rather than costly, earthy reality. It is a bureaucratic characteristic to rail against the trifling misdemeanor rather than address the often-dangerous felony. And it is political habit to mask one’s own failures by lecturing others on their supposed shortcomings. Ambitious elected officials often manage to do all three.

The result in these hard times is that our elected sheriffs, mayors, and governors are loudly weighing in on national and global challenges that are quite often out of their own jurisdiction, while ignoring or failing to solve the very problems that they were elected to address.

Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.

And speaking of Bloomberg, why is he attempting to make it as difficult as possible for drivers in Manhattan, and dismissing telecommuting? I’m not sure how someone can hold himself out as being obsessed with environmentalism, and not favor promoting telecommuting as widely possible.

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