Juli Weiner at Vanity Fair:
Newark mayor Cory Booker is now taking requests from snowed-in constituents. Since the East Coast blizzard hit on Sunday, residents of Newark have been tweeting appeals for Booker to dispatch snowplows and rescue vehicles to specific streets and neighborhoods. “I need street names and patience,” he told one cold and concerned tweeter. We simply cannot wait for the graphic-novelization (and subsequent Zack Snyder movie!) of Booker’s post-blizzard Twitter feed. (@CoryBooker, can you make this happen?) Let’s review his 10 most heroic moments thus far.
10. “will get someone to your mom’s street, tell her to stay put RT @sexylp40 my mom stuck on 9th ave and 12th that whole block wasn’t plowed”
9. “Can u DM me his phone #?RT @NewNewark: @corybooker rec this text Tell mayor, Mr Lou Jones 224 Richileu ter. He’s disabled needs help.”
8. “I seriously had that fantasy today RT @papistorz: wouldn’t it b easier 2 get a flame thrower n melt the snow?”
7. “God Bless the 5 guys who just stopped to help me dig a van out. I am so grateful for all of Newark’s heroes today.”
6. “I’m coming on the scene now RT @Cutiepie27: come on orange st. and help this truck get out the snow he been stuck for like 30 minutes now”
5. “Sending team immediately back there 2 ensure hospital is clear RT @Babihead: still has yet to clean my street & I live across from hospital!”
4. “I just doug out ur car. All the best RT @MsXmasBaby: Is there NE city volunteers 2 dig some1 out? I’m going 2 have medical procedure done”
3. “Just doug a car out on Springfield Ave and broke the cardinal rule: ‘Lift with your Knees!!’ I think I left part of my back back there”
2. “Just freed a med transport van here at Cottage Place in Central Ward. Private contractor needs 2 be arrested 4 leaving these folks stranded”
1. “Thanks 4 asking, back killing me: Breakfast: Advil and diet coke RT @itsmywayRob Hows ur back from lifting car last night? I hope u’re OK”
Jen Doll at The Village Voice:
A hero has emerged from all the snowflake rubble and ice, and that hero is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Yesterday Myles (who’s out shoveling as we speak!) mentioned that Booker had been delivering diapers to babies, patroling the streets with his trusty shovel, and even helping kids understand the strength-in-numbers beauty of a snowflake, all the while Tweeting his aid to those who need it
Sam Gustin at Wired:
But Booker’s Twitter clinic wasn’t the only innovative use of social and web-based media during the Snowmageddon of December 2010.
By Tuesday morning, tech-savvy citizens were using Ushahidi, a crowdsourced mapping tool, to collect reports of various problems around New York.
Snowmageddon Clean-Up: New York had more than 100 reports by midday Tuesday, detailing such issues as: “Multiple elders on this block as well as a disabled young adult. Should an emergency arise, the City will have a lawsuit on their hands.” And: “Entire apartment complex snowed in. We cant get out. running out of food…” (That one’s from Highlands, New Jersey, but you get the, uh, drift.)
David Freedlander at The New York Observer:
At Mayor Bloomberg’s Bronx news conference today, The Politicker asked Hizzoner if he had been peering over the river to check out his friend Cory Booker’s efforts to deal with the snow clean-up. Bloomberg after all has been swamped by criticism for suggesting that New Yorkers take advantage of being unable to get out of their homes the Snow Day by checking out Broadway shows.
Booker, on the other hand, earned the nickname “Mayor Plow” for delivering diapers to a housebound mother, digging out snowbound seniors, and for responding to residents’ pleas for snowplows personally via Twitter.
In response to our question, the mayor replied, “I think Cory Booker is a great mayor. And what’s appropriate for Newark and for his people, I am certainly going to take a look and see what he is doing. I am going to call him this afternoon and say, ‘Hey, you know, what are you doing?’”
When pressed by another reporter if Booker was being lauded for presenting an image of working hard to help his constituents deal with the blizzard, Bloomberg said, “I’d like to think that we have that image as well. I can’t work much harder.”
Now Booker has weighed in (via Twitter, of course) writing, “People far 2 rough on @mikebloomberg – still fighting 2 clear snow in NWK & we are 1/29th size of NYC.”
Nonetheless, Booker’s hands-on approach to digging his city out of the snow has garnered international attention. It’s not a gimmick either. Since becoming Mayor, Booker has been active in turning Newark around after decades of being governed by mostly corrupt Mayors, and he’s allied himself with Governor Christie on issues like education reform even though the two of them come from different political parties. And on that note, there has already been talk among New Jersey Democrats of nominating Booker for Governor in 2013, although nobody seems to know if he’s actually interested in running for that office. If he does run, though, Booker may find that just as snowstorms have been the downfall of politicians like New York Mayor John Lindsey,Chicago Mayor Michael Blandic and D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, Cory Booker could be proof that actively responding to constituents and helping them through a crisis works to a politicians benefits.
Credit for The Simpsons reference must go to Jake Tapper. But everyone would have thought if it eventually.