So what went wrong and who is at fault?


Photo credit: Sarah Brown's facebook page
Photo credit: Sarah Brown’s facebook page

By Art Gallagher

 It snowed too much too fast.  That’s what went wrong in New Jersey this week.  New York too.


It wasn’t a personal snowstorm, yet naturally many, if not most, people relate to the aftermath of a storm out of their personal concerns.   The numb minded media, especially the Asbury Park Press editorial board, who is once again is living up to their Neptune Nudniks moniker, granted a full page in the print edition to selfish rants, 12 pages on their website, contributing to an online frenzy of wind-bagging. 

The Nudniks are contributing to directly to the frenzy with yet another editorial premised on inaccurate information and assumptions.  They say the storm was predicted days in advance.  Hogwash.  Forecasts as late as Saturday night were predicting snow falls in Central Jersey in the 12-18 inch range.  It wasn’t until just a few hours before the storm hit that any forecaster was talking about accumulations of 25-30 inches with 55 mph winds.   Folks in Buffalo or Syracuse might be expected to be prepared for the type of storm we got, but the truth of the matter is that New Jersey’s various governments don’t have the equipment or the personnell to handle the this type of weather quickly.   That is why the clean up is continuing now, 48 hours after the snow stopped falling.

The Nudniks started their editorial rant accusing road crews of “surrendering” to the storm.  

I was out Sunday night to plow my properties.  The DOT crews were out.  The visablity was terrible.  It was dangerous to be plowing.  It was snowing too hard too fast.

If they were not still out there cleaning up, I would suggest those crews dump truck loads of snow that they surrendered to at APP headquarters in Neptune.  Cancelled subscriptions should suffice for cooler heads. 

It snowed too much to fast.  That is what happened.  There have been lots of rumors and comments that there have been job actions and sick outs in some towns and maybe the state.  Given how well Monmouth County’s crews performed vis-a-vis many towns and the DOT, you have to wonder.  Investigations should take place and corrective action taken where appropriate.   However the APP should be tracking down the validity of those rumors rather than wind-bagging that road crews “seem to have” quit on the storm.

The media driven brouhaha over Governor Christie and Lt. Governor Guadagno being out of state at the same time is as absurd and insulting as the Nudniks’ assumption that road crews quit.

As published elsewhere and confirmed by MMM, Guadagno and her brothers are spending what is most likely their last Christmas holiday with their father who is suffering from Stage 4 prostate cancer.  The trip was planned and booked months ago with Christie’s approval.  Shame on the pundits and politicians who have been trying to score points over Guadagno’s absence.

Once the news about why Guadagno is “on vacation” at the same time as the Governor gets around, watch he feeding frenzy on Christie step up.   I’m looking forward to his first press conference back.  I hope he shames the mindless numbskulls of the press.

There’s little going on in Trenton this week.  That’s why it was a good week for the Governor to take his family to Disney World.   Guadango’s situation made the decision to take a vacation delicate.  Senate President Steve Sweeney’s good character made the vacation doable.  But various pundits and political hacks won’t care.  Let the Christie kids give up one more thing because their Dad is tough to lay a political glove on.

Does anyone really doubt that Christie would have returned to New Jersey given the “state of emergency” if it was possible?  The airports were closed. They are just opening today.

Christie’s presence would not have made a difference in how the snow was cleaned up, or not cleaned up.   His leadership from the bully pulpit would have made a difference though.   He would have told the media the truth. It snowed too much too fast.  We’re doing the very best that we can and we’re working about the clock, he would have said.  He would have done a much better job than New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg did when he told NY that everything is OK and that they should go shopping.  Christie would have told people to remain calm and safe; to look out for the elderly and disabled.   And the media would have had something responsible to write about, rather than create a frenzy over the fact that it snowed too much too fast.

Posted: December 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park Press, Chris Christie, Kim Guadagno, Neptune Nudniks, NJ Media | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments »

8 Comments on “So what went wrong and who is at fault?”

  1. James Hogan said at 6:25 pm on December 29th, 2010:

    If you haven’t noticed, I like to over simplify things a bit Art, so here is my $0.02.

    I spent about two hours shoveling out my driveway to an unplowed street. The plow finally came by, so I spent another hour clearing my driveway at the street and took my girlfriend to work… she HAD to be at work because, and hopefully someone saves this post as evidence of what it was like in the old day, you back here in the year 2010 — you can’t be a technology company employee using a computer at home to access a computer at the office… it’s just not possible yet here in 2010… she HAD to be there, in the office… 2 miles away, doing that typing that just can’t be done here… All of this is the fault of the technology workers of the world like me who just can’t figure out how to setup a Virtual Private Network (VPN), Virtual Network Computing (VNC) or some other remote desktop system of some kind… maybe sometime, in the future, a bright young star will invent such things, maybe I’ll check the patents and be that invented because those things clearly just don’t exist, yet here in 2010, at least not for technology giants like the one my girlfriend works for…

    I then spent about three hours shoveling out a neighbor’s car. She HAD to get to work. She works at AC Moore. I don’t mean to insult the retail store workers of the work, but I do mean to insult the moms who HAVE to be at AC Moore, in a snow storm… because your Arts and Crafts just HAVE to be done, today. I understand. I’m also glad that AC Moore pays their workers minimum wage to drive on dangerous, mostly unplowed roads so that said mom’s can get to AC Moore for glue and tape….

    I spent another 2 hours shoveling out that neighbor’s daughter’s car… because she HAD to go highlight some other woman’s hair at the salon. HAD TO. Without doubt, if the woman’s hair was not highlighted TODAY, it was going to fall out, or possibly cause an Ebola outbreak because again, here in 2010, we don’t know the cause of Ebola and I have a theory that it is from a lack of highlighting product being used.

    So that was my day yesterday. Today wasn’t much better. I was feeling bad that I had cleared my elderly neighbor’s walk way to the house but hadn’t made an effort to clear his driveway. He doesn’t work, so I figure he doesn’t really have a place to go, like AC Moore or the hair salon, but he does run the volunteer first aid here in Long Branch and I figure they might need him in these conditions so using my trusty old shovel and some muscle I got to work. I cleared a section of driveway about 10ft long, 6-7ft wide in about 5 hours, then I gave up, went inside and passed out on the couch. The FedEx Man, who HAD to deliver my China Made crap TODAY because *I* couldn’t wait another day, I just don’t have enough pants, a flashlight or batteries sitting around this place, woke me up 10 minutes later.

    That’s when I noted my neighbor across the street was stuck in her own driveway. Her husband is one of my *MY Republicans*, and plus I’m a really nice guy, so I grabbed my shovel and helped her out as well. Nothing like digging out a stuck minivan just enough to push it out of the way and shovel another 30ft of snow… and I HAD to do this because she HAS to get to the Long Branch Public Library tonight for work… because YOU need to return that book today, YOU can’t afford the $0.05 late fee on it and YOU can’t be without another old crusty book to read while you sit home tomorrow, because I know you’re going to read the whole book tomorrow which is why you NEED it tonight, right?

    You really want to know who is at fault? Take a look around at all of the people who NEED whatever it is they NEED, and NEED it today. I blame YOU in general.

    ..but as a side note, I was told that Monday was the holiday for many public workers and it’s possible that many towns didn’t call in their workers, or enough of them, or the extra help because of the holiday pay which would have been double-time and a half… again, I’m going to bet my nickle that when all is said and done, it’ll have been cheaper to just wait out the snow melting.

  2. That's Right said at 7:31 pm on December 29th, 2010:

    What Really Went Wrong and who is Actually at Fault: A Reply to Art Gallagher…

    Years and decades of fiscal mismanagement, waste and dereliction is what went wrong in New Jersey, New York too. Mother Nature did what she does…our local, county and State governments did wh ……

  3. James Hogan said at 10:22 pm on December 29th, 2010:

    True story Russ: I was out 3 times for about 2 hours at a time on Sunday shoveling my driveway, sidewalk and front steps. When I woke up, early, Monday morning – there was no evidence of my efforts. None at all, not even in some single little spot between cars or even under an awning.

    So, IMO, paying to get the crews out earlier wouldn’t have made a bit of a difference, I see no reasonable way to assume that comparing the scale of my driveway to shovel vs the scale of a few plows and thousands of miles of asphalt, that their plowing efforts would have been any more noticeable Monday morning than my shoveling was. It doesn’t mean that, if they were going to pretend to clear the roads, they shouldn’t have started earlier Monday and worked smarter. It also doesn’t help that many of us saw heavy equipment like front-loaders, bulldozers, bobcats, etc in place for construction at the Rt35/Rt36 sitting under the snow rather than helping clear the way.

    As another note, I can be pretty sure that Art’s (what appears to be a) 1/2 ton pickup doesn’t have the frame strength to plow roads nor is it likely that the transmission and cooling system could hold up to continuous road plowing. Would Art’s insurance cover him if he hit a parked car? fire hydrant? Took out a stop sign? Doubt it.

    But do humor me, where is it that YOU ***HAD*** to get to, today, or yesterday, that the roads *****HAD**** to be cleared well enough for me to cruise in the Benz? (which means the dust has been removed from the roadway)

  4. MLaffey said at 10:54 pm on December 29th, 2010:

    Well said.

  5. MLaffey said at 10:58 pm on December 29th, 2010:

    I would also add that for government to plan for a storm of this magnitude would have been fiscally irresponsible. To have the personal and equipment on hand to handle a storm that comes around once every 30 or 40 yearsa s quickly as they handle a normal Jersey snow storm would be a monumental waste of resources.

  6. Chris said at 12:06 am on December 30th, 2010:

    Maybe all those people had to go to work because that’s what people do – they have to earn their money. If we were French, it would’ve been OK, everybody could’ve stayed in for a week or two and survived on wine and brie.

    Computer workers should be able to earn their pay from home, let me know Joe if you need technical assistance for your girlfriend’s computer. 🙂

    As for the “worst storm in 50 years”, we just had one in early March (or was it late February?). Kinda the same (maybe 2″ less snow), streets undriveable for 2-3 days, and it took me 2 days to dig out both cars.

  7. Stormcentral said at 2:45 pm on December 30th, 2010:

    Not quite Chris. While last year’s storm may have had more inches, the intensity of this storm was much greater. 24 inches of snow in 12 hours (basically 3pm to 3am) vs a storm that accumulated over two plus days. Secondly, this storm had 70+mph winds for over 12 hours where last year didn’t have anywhere near that type to cause drifts. This storm was equal to getting hit by a category 2 hurricane. I agree with the poster above that there is no municipality that could have budgeted for a storm that we see every 30-40 years.

  8. Chris said at 12:57 am on December 31st, 2010:

    Stormcentral: Read my comment on the more recent post (the one with Mulshine’s pissing cat) comparing reaction to the same storm in Middletown and in a small NY village.

    Also, according to NWS, Middletown got 22″. By the time I left church on Sunday (so before noon) the roads were already slippery. It was still snowing on Monday at noon. So it’s more like 22″ in over 25 hours.