With the city in good shape after Hurricane Irene's visit to New York, one person scored a big political victory: Michael Bloomberg.
As early as Thursday, the city's mayor constantly held press conferences throughout the next several days, warning New York City residents of the potential for flooding and severe wind damage. He ordered mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas of the city, such as the Rockaways, Coney Island and Battery Park City. He continued regular press conferences throughout the weekend to assure residents that the city was adequately prepared for the hurricane.
With the storm not causing the damage or problems that were expected, some inevitably groused, saying that the mayor may have overreacted to the situation. However, most have lauded the mayor for his response to the storm.
This was Michael Bloomberg saying, 'You know what, nothing else is going to happen on my watch,' Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Brooklyn) told the New York Daily News. Some people are going to say he overreacted, but you know what? It's better to be safe than sorry.
It hasn't been smooth sailing for Bloomberg, as his popularity has taken a hit in the past couple of years. He received substantial criticism for pushing a change in the city's term limit laws allowing him to run for a third term of office. Despite arguing that his financial industry experience was important in uncertain economic times, Bloomberg only won reelection in 2009 by a small margin against Bill Thompson, the then-New York City Comptroller -- even though Bloomberg spent a record $102 million on the campaign, according to The New York Times.
After the campaign, the mayor's troubles began. He frequently had fights over the city budget and the deficit. Earlier this year, he received criticism for picking Cathleen Black to succeed Joel Klein as chancellor of the New York City school system. Black, a long time newspaper and magazine executive with no prior experience in education, resigned after less than 100 days in office following a set of verbal gaffes.
Last winter, Bloomberg was widely criticized for the city's response to a massive snow storm. Bloomberg was in Bermuda while the blizzard buried the city. His administration was roundly criticized for being unprepared to cope with the storm's aftermath. Many residents complained of slow response by city officials, trash collection grinded to a halt for extended periods of time, and some areas of the city, especially the outer boroughs, weren't plowed for days after the storm.
As of March 2011, Mayor Bloomberg's approval rating had fallen to 39 percent, but has trickled back up to 45 percent as of July 2011, according to Quinnipiac polling.