Now That The Lights Are On
July 26th, 2006

The blackout may be over – but not the criticism of Con Ed or of Mayor Michael Bloomberg for defending the utility.

In its editorial today the Times is not impressed that Con Ed and its chief executive Kevin Burke worked to restore power: Thats their job. But did the utility do enough to avert the blackout? What about its fuzzy lowball math that grossly underestimated the problem at the beginning of the crisis? Through all this, the paper says, the mayors praise for Burke and Con Ed has been out of sync with the mood in western Queens.

No surprise there, writes Times reader Joseph Hirsch in a letter to the editor, who says Bloombergs continued defense of Burke reveals his insensitivity to working and middle-class people. When the transit workers went on strike last year, the mayor was not shy about expressing his opinion about their illegal actions. But when corporate executives are derelict, Mr. Bloomberg not only does not remain neutral, but he also extols them.

Robert Laird agrees. Laird was the deputy press secretary to John Lindsay when the then-mayor came under attack for not clearing Queens streets after a 1969 snowstorm. Repeatedly defending Con Ed’s conduct before all the facts are in,” Laird writes, “is not only the sign of a political tin ear, but the mark of an instinctively pro-management man.” But Laird writes in the News that Bloomberg still sits on a reservoir of goodwill.

What can the mayor and Con Ed due to fix things? In an editorial, the News notes that when Con Ed became aware of the problems in Queens last week it and the city should have issued urgent warnings to cut energy use. Noting that similar blackouts are likely to occur again, the paper says the city should establish ways to cut back before the lights go out.

But a Times reader has a more drastic remedy. Burke, says
Lawrence Racies did what he is supposed to: run Con Ed for the benefit of its stockholders. The customers may suffer if Con Ed doesnt make needed improvements, but stockholders benefit from saving the money. And so, Racies says, The realistic solution is not Mr. Burkes removal, but the takeover of Con Ed by New York City.

By on July 26, 2006, 8:01 am
In category: Gotham City,Tech | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Now That The Lights Are On”

  1. Daniel Millstone Says:
    July 26th, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Sewell Chan and Jo Craven McGinty have the first piece of real journalism on this story, in my opinion, in today’s NY Times.

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