On January 13 and 14 a major blizzard hit the city of Chicago, and so ended the political career of one Michael Bilandic, from Wikipedia :
[Chicago’s] inadequate response to the blizzard was blamed primarily on mayor Michael Bilandic, who had assumed the post after the 1976 death of Richard J. Daley. Newspaper articles at the time blasted Bilandic; Jane Byrne, Bilandic’s main political rival in the Democratic primary (who had previously worked with Bilandic in the Daley administration and been fired by Bilandic when the two could not get along), capitalized on this and went on to defeat Bilandic in the February 27 primary
On January 26, the much proclaimed story of the century did not hit New York City, from New York Post :
De Blasio defended his move to warn New Yorkers on Sunday that 3 feet of snow might be headed toward Gotham in what he said was expected to be a historic storm.
That announcement sent Big Apple residents running to stores to stock up on food, snow shovels and rock salt and led to the general clampdown on city activity.
“You can’t put a price on safety,” de Blasio said. “We’ve seen what happens when people are caught off guard. So we made the decision, better safe than sorry.”
Mayor Bill’s decision to shut-down Gotham, can be chalked to too much caution and too much nanny state mentality. On the other hand, New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo decision to shut down the New York City subway can only be attributed to hubris and shear ignorance, from Slate :
On the other hand, as Cuomo has alluded to Tuesday, the idea that a train could get stranded during a storm is not implausible. Limiting the number of trains on the tracks and keeping passengers off trains that might become stranded could avoid a potential crisis that might slow down the restoration of full service once the storm is over.
On the other other hand, Cuomo doesn’t seem to have said anything on Monday about trains running without passengers overnight, leading one to wonder whether he in fact knew that’s what would happen when he made his announcement. As writer Josh Barro observes, Cuomo has a very recent history of making bold leadership decisions that turn out not to be supported by reason or evidence.
In large part, the city subway system is resistance to snow, as almost all track is either underground or elevated. New York City subway has rarely beeen shutdown, and an impromptu could not have been part of any emergency response plan. The city keeps the trains running to keep the tracks open. The trains were running without passengers . They could just as well have been running with passengers. Bilandic under reacted. Cuomo over reacted. Yet the reason was the same, incompetence. Will Cuomo pay the same price Bilandic did?