tv Eyewitness News Upclose ABC January 31, 2016 11:00am-11:30am EST
>> this is... >> now the woman of the hour, and, again, commend her and her extraordinary team for this great effort -- sanitation commissioner kathryn garcia. >> she was at the center of the blizzard of 2016 -- not as big a role as mother nature, but a close second. responsible for clearing the second-largest snow in new york city history -- more than 26 inches. today we ask sanitation commissioner kathryn garcia about the cleanup -- what went right -- there was a lot that did -- and what went wrong -- there were a couple things that did --
make in the department's plans going forward. plus it's perhaps the wildest presidential-election cycle ever, and now increasing speculation about former new york mayor michael bloomberg maybe, perhaps, entering the race as a third-party candidate. so, what are his chances of winning, really? we ask the man bloomberg hired to do a poll to find out. good morning, everyone. i'm bill ritter, in for diana. we're gonna start with the blizzard of a week ago, snow now mostly melted. sanitation commissioner of new york city is here to talk about that and a lot more. kathryn garcia, welcome back. >> thank you. >> you were here a year ago. you had been on the job less than a year, and now you're a veteran. >> now i'm a veteran. now i have a blizzard under my belt. >> exactly. and how do you think we did? >> i think we did -- i think that the department did phenomenally well. people really attacked this storm, 'cause if you think about it, probably 80% of the city was open almost to blacktop six hours after the last flake fell. >> almost. >> almost. >> almost. there were some problem spots. we'll get to that in a second.
so quickly? i mean, i know that on friday night, at 3 minutes to 11:00, lee goldberg right over there came to us and said -- 3 minutes before 11:00 -- "i got to revise this. we're getting more than 18 inches of this thing." you had to do some quick manipulation, as well. >> right. so, it wasn't only that we were gonna get more accumulation -- it was gonna come faster. and so i think that, initially, we thought we'd see first snow 7:00 a.m. on saturday morning. but we had forces on starting at 7:00 p.m. on friday night, which thank goodness we did and had planned for that, because we saw first flakes around 9:00. and i think that really drove the accumulation. >> so, did you plan for the worst-case scenario, even if it didn't -- the forecasters didn't say it was gonna be the worst-case? >> we had planned for going up to 18, which is a pretty big snow, and that's really all hands on deck, all ready. i don't think anyone anticipated that we would see the accumulations that we did, and i on saturday, national weather service just kept adding inches to the total.
12 inches and you plan for 18 inches or beyond, at what point does it not really matter? >> once you're above 18 or 20 inches, you've got everything in the field, and so going to 30 just means that you just have to stay on task on those routes to keep ahead of it. that's the key thing. >> so, as commissioner, tell us what you did. tell our viewers what you did. everyone -- it's all hands on deck. all vacations are canceled. >> all vacations are canceled. all days off are canceled. we are going into 7:00-to-7:00 shifts. for those of us in more senior positions, it tends to be a little longer. most people are staying at their offices who are managing the event. we are making sure that we have all of the routes which are critical ready to go. all the equipment is prepped, all the salt is filled up, and everyone's sort of geared up. >> of course, you didn't have to worry about all the salt being filled up. we didn't really have any snow until this blizzard, right? >> oh, we had plenty of salt on hand. we have used a considerable amount of it, but we had plenty of salt on hand. we had over 318,000 tons on hand. >> and what if, you know,
worker for kathryn garcia and i say, "you know, commissioner, i'm in puerto rico. what do i do?" you say to me...? >> we say to you that you need to get home -- if you can. i mean, if you are out of the country or on an island and many flights were canceled, that would be a different story. but if you're available, they're a uniformed force, and the reason they're a uniformed force is because of snow. >> that's right. and that's why they call them "new york's strongest," because they get back, no matter how strong the storm is, right? >> and they take a great deal of pride in how well they fight snow, and the conditions were extraordinarily difficult, trying to imagine driving for 12 hours in whiteout conditions. >> it was very tough. it was a big -- that's why they call it a blizzard. let's talk about -- i think that most new yorkers would say everything worked pretty well. some new yorkers might not. there were some communities in queens that did not -- woodside, corona, sunnyside. what happened there? and i know it's complicated, and i know mother nature has helped the situation, 'cause the snow has largely melted, but --
so, what happened in queens? >> i think that in queens, clearly, we saw some very intense snowfall -- more intense in some areas than the rest of the city. i know that jackson heights saw 34 inches of snow. it sort of becomes mind-boggling that it could be that big, and some of our trucks got stuck, and as soon as we get stuck, then we're not clearing the route and we get behind. >> and we're looking at pictures right now of some of your trucks actually plowing the streets, and there is not much room on some of those small, outer-borough streets. and there's not any parking garage, so people are parking in the streets. the mayor asked people not to, but they did anyway, and your trucks couldn't get through? >> right. and so what you're seeing there in your footage is actually a front-end loader, which became the only piece of equipment that could clear 34 inches of snow or more down these streets, 'cause we also had a lot of drifting. sometimes on those streets, when i was with them, the front-end loader wheels almost are touching either car. that is how narrow some of these
>> right. and they move more slowly than one of your sanitation trucks hooked up with a plow. >> yes. so, a sanitation truck in a bad storm is probably moving about 5 miles an hour. a front-end loader is literally going in, taking a scoop of snow, pulling it out, taking another scoop of snow and pulling it out, 'cause that's what we had to do in some of these very small streets. you couldn't even plow and push it. >> so, a normal block, if it just had a sanitation truck and a plow, let's say here on the upper west side at west 67th street, where it's wide and you could just go down the street -- that would take how long to go a block? >> maybe two minutes. >> right. and it could take an hour. >> oh, it took -- some blocks took us three hours to get down... >> for one block? >> ...for one block. and, also, they got stuck. i mean, like, if they moved a little bit, they would get stuck, 'cause otherwise they were gonna hit the cars. >> so, i know you're tough and you've been in this -- you've worked in the department for a long time, and now you're commissioner, so you have to be tough and all that, but when you hear people, you know, get on the air -- we had some of these sound bites on our air.
angry at you. >> oh, they're angry at us. >> yeah. so, how do you take that? >> so, the way that i view snow is that doing 99% perfectly doesn't necessarily matter. it's the 1% you missed. and snow is very personal, and people really feel like they weren't taken care of, and we respect that. we don't want people to feel like they're not taken care of, and we want to address it and move quickly to address it. >> isn't it interesting? all the important political, socioeconomic issues that plague this city and that challenge this city all go by the wayside because the snow event -- a big one -- is a -- levels the playing field for everybody. it is a great democratizer. >> yes. yeah. >> we're all affected by it. >> yes. absolutely. we are all affected by it. and everybody does feel that they -- and they do -- deserve to be plowed as quickly as possible. >> now, you did have this plan, and i don't pretend to be a snow-pickup expert. you went from a 3-tiered system to a new one called "critical and sector." explain what that is for our lay
so, in the primary-secondary tertiary system, blocks were designated as more or less important than each other. >> so, broadway is... >> very important. you know, bus routes -- very important. but maybe 55th street -- not as important. and so you would do them in order. the reason that we switched to this new method, where we call it "sectoring," is because in these very large snowstorms, if you wait to get to that side street, the plow can't get through. and so you need to stay on top of it and be plowing at 5 inches and then at 10 inches and then at 15 inches. otherwise, you're gonna lose that street. >> so, how many times did a broadway, let's say, in that 24-hour blizzard -- how many times would it get plowed under this scenario? >> so, under this scenario, broadway's still critical -- critical street -- 'cause we also want to make sure people can get to the hospital and stuff like that. >> good idea. >> yeah. it's very important. so, i don't know exactly how many times, but it would have been multiple times during a shift. >> compared to 55th street, which is a secondary? >> oh, i mean, it would have
know, two or three times more than a side street. >> some of your trucks got stuck and had to be towed out. >> had to be towed out. had to be pulled out, usually. >> but that doesn't happen very often? >> no. that does not happen very often. >> just the sheer depth of this blizzard? >> the sheer depth. the regular plows could not make it through and could not make it through in some of these tight, narrow streets, 'cause when you're pushing snow, it's helpful to have somewhere to push it to, and there really was no room. >> basic physics there. >> basic physics. >> so, you're getting good -- you know, you get praised for what happened. i mean, you're getting a lot of kudos. some people in queens weren't very happy with you. overall, though, when you sit up at night and stare at the ceiling, saying, "what could i have done better?" what are you thinking you could have done better and what will change the next time we get this? >> i think that in thinking about, when you're dealing with something 34 inches, it's having our front-end loaders out with plowing immediately with the regular trucks and into those little small, small streets and taking snow out, because they can't handle it. i think that's a change that i
time when you're talking about very large storms. you know, for queens, it's always like, "could we have moved faster to get their blocks reopened? could we have moved more equipment? one of the challenges -- we moved in a huge number of front-end loaders from around the city there. they're very slow. >> they do. it's like a farm tractor on an old road, right? >> it's a farm tractor moving, so is there any way we could have gotten them to these sites more quickly? >> so much we didn't talk about. next time you're on, i'd like to talk about organic recycling... >> absolutely. >> ...because i'm a believer. i'm one of your experimentees -- 700,000 people now. it's your little baby, and i'd like to -- >> it is my baby. >> i'd like to talk about it. >> absolutely. >> kathryn garcia, great to see you. >> great to see you. >> good luck in the next storm, 'cause we'll probably have a couple. >> i know. we still have a lot of winter left, but i'm hopeful for it being a little bit lighter than this particular storm. >> we all are. all right. thank you, commissioner. >> thank you. >> coming up next, we take a closer look at a man with a familiar name. former mayor michael bloomberg -- his possible run for president. how much time does he have to announce, and could he win? that's next. and a little later, the author of a new book on governor christie.
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>> welcome back to "upclose." political outsiders play huge roles in this sometimes cockamamie presidential-election season, and now another potential candidate, known for his independence, another new yorker, another billionaire, talking of perhaps, maybe, running for president. i'm talking about michael bloomberg. yes, he was mayor of new york for 12 years, so in that way, he's not really a true outsider, but the democrat-turned-republican- turned-independent is inarguably a political maverick. also inarguable -- he's worth about $37 billion, according to
seventh-richest american. donald trump, by the way, is the 133rd-richest american, worth about 10% of bloomberg. but let's not quibble about a few billion dollars. let's quibble about what it all means. joining us to talk about the presidential race and a possible bloomberg entrance -- two veterans of politics and campaigns, bloomberg consultant hank scehinkopf and analyst and pollster doug schoen, and, both of you, thank you for joining me. >> pleased to be here. >> let's talk -- before we get to bloomberg, let's talk about this last week's debate... >> sure. >> ...sans the big elephant that wasn't in the room. what do you think? who was the winner here? >> well, i thought certainly it was going to be ted cruz, and that was my pre-debate judgment, bill, and i was dead wrong. i thought the winner was marco rubio in the debate. i thought cruz had a huge opportunity to take it to donald trump, and he didn't succeed. >> despite the first quote, where he said, you know... >> it was a joke. it was not a straightforward, head-on hit, and you know what? i just sat there and said, "this was a real chance. you missed and lost."
vitriol, though, hank. >> cruz looked stupid. i mean, he didn't look like he was in control. he wasn't tactical in any way, shape, or form. but the big winner here is the guy with the best strategy, and that's donald trump. >> donald trump, right. >> no question. if he had had a press conference or done something or -- had i been him, i would have had a show outside the location of the convention -- excuse me, the debate. i would have had some kind of thing with veterans. i would have given somebody a million bucks, done something really wild to capture the rest of the attention. >> that's what he did. >> yeah. that's the point. that's the point. >> so, you think that it was -- a lot of people think -- a lot of analysts like you guys thought it was a big gamble. you did not think it was a big gamble? >> it was very smart. >> you know, i think trump should have shown up because i think he would have won every exchange, as he has in every other debate. there's a "but," bill. every time i've thought and other analysts have thought that he was in trouble or was making a mistake, he's only gotten stronger, and there's no evidence yet now that he's been hurt by doing what he did. >> but, you see, the wonderful
mike bloomberg -- he's the rational alternative to trump. he is an independent. he can capture the populism by coming up with real solutions so the people feel less frustrated. he can regionalize what he has to say. if you look at where this trump thing is coming from, you see a very clear delineation of who is feeling what. i mean, he fits the moment. this is the moment. it's kind of perfect if it lines up, you know? it's delineation. >> if you had to bet, at this point...? >> 50-50. >> 50-50? >> i would agree with that. look, i've worked, as has hank, for mike bloomberg for a number of years. what he offers that's unique is the ability to bring people together, to look for results-oriented solutions based on real-world outcomes, bill, not ideology, not partisanship. and given what we're seeing on the democratic and republican side, whatever happens, it's a welcome antidote to have him in the debates. >> you did the polling. just full disclosure -- you do the polling for mr. bloomberg. you're not at liberty to talk about what was found, but we know that he's a very smart guy,
out as a trial balloon and putting out the word that he's maybe gonna possibly run if the poll numbers didn't look promising in some position. if you had to put odds on, what would you say? >> well, hank said 50-50. >> yeah. you say...? >> i think we can't really sit here today and know how the next few weeks are gonna play out. we have two primaries and caucuses coming up on both sides. we have an investigation going on in the fbi of secretary clinton. so, who knows, bill? >> just as a layperson and without violating anything, your overall impressions -- can you say anything about what you're finding about how the public views him? >> well, i think it's clear to say -- and every poll has shown this -- people reject and revile the kind of polarization we're seeing. they want nonpartisan decisionmaking, outsiders from washington, and, certainly, on the most straightforward level, mike bloomberg has produced results, and he is not part of
know, lobbyist group in washington. he's the opposite. only mike bloomberg -- and, again, he's the rational trump, i.e. he can come up with real solutions that are not vitriolic, that are regionally placed, and that can get the voters. i mean, it's very serious. the argument, the problem in the midwest among large numbers of people where trump should normally do well is their changing economy. mike bloomberg knows something about that. i mean, there are real things he can say. the others are talking fluff. if he gets in there, he can do something really extraordinary -- if he gets in. >> so, let's talk about one the other elephant in this room about mr. bloomberg. in new york, home to the largest jewish population anywhere but in israel, he won re-election. he won election three times. is this country ready? we have a black president. we might have a female president. is the country ready for a jewish president? >> i'm sure it is. we had a vice presidential candidate, joe lieberman, who was jewish, who's an orthodox jew, and -- >> and he lost. >> well, loss in an election i think many people felt...
>> ...that he did win, and i think that joe lieberman's an extraordinary guy. obviously, i have great regard for mike bloomberg, but i don't think that's at all an issue. >> let's be real. popular culture is dictated by our politics and what is going on around us. if mike bloomberg can't win, then "seinfeld" isn't repeating and constantly being recycled and talked about. it is a new york show with a new york jew in the middle of it, or two or three or five. >> on television in someone's living room, not leading the country in the white house. >> every night. >> well, we have a black president. i think whatever you think of president obama -- and i've been critical -- i think it is an extraordinary sign that this country has elected someone like obama. i think it's great that hillary is running, as a woman, as an unabashed feminist, and i think it is great that we have, you know, bernie sanders as a jewish candidate, and he's doing pretty darn good. >> and no one brings that up, right? >> well, it's not discussed 'cause he is secular. he's not religious. >> that's a very good point. >> but he was brought up in brooklyn and went, i think, to yeshiva.
quickly, iowa monday -- what do you think? >> i still think the advantage is trump. >> on the democratic side? >> democratic side is very close. i guess i would give hillary a small advantage based on the polling i'm seeing. >> hank? >> small advantage to hillary. i think doug is very right about iowa -- excuse me, about new hampshire. we're talking about iowa right now? >> yes. >> i would give it to -- small edge to hillary, but on the republican side, trump is going to become the evangelical candidate if he wins that race, 'cause those caucuses in iowa are very much center-right, very much evangelical. he does that, he'll walk into the south and run away with it. >> okay. lively discussion. thanks so much. >> yes. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you both very much. coming up, when new jersey governor chris christie and his wife have a disagreement, what do they do and where do they go? he says they take their arguments into a walk-in closet. now a new book about the republican presidential candidate with some incredibly revealing details.
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my name is glenn, and i'm an independent turkey farmer. (female announcer) shady brook farms . no growth-promoting antibiotics, just honest, simple turkey. >> welcome back to "upclose." he debated for years with his wife whether they should have kids. they went to couples counseling. and when they have an argument, they wait to raise their voices until they shut the door of their walk-in closet so their children don't hear them. governor chris christie like you have never heard about him before -- a new book now, "american governor: chris christie's bridge to redemption." the author is reporter matt katz. he sat down with us last week, and i started by asking him, "why redemption?" >> bridgegate really set him back for a loop. i mean, he was the frontrunner for the republican nomination for 2016 in december 2013. this is right after he won re-election.
to beat if she wanted to win. that was the conventional wisdom. that's what the polls showed us. in january 2014, bridgegate blew open. we got the smoking-gun e-mail indicating that his deputy chief of staff told someone at the port authority, "time for some traffic problems in fort lee," the order to close the lanes, the local lanes from fort lee to the bridge, and the rest was history. he started just to fall deeper and deeper into the hole in his candidacy, and now he's trying to make a comeback. this is his effort at it. >> the hole he fell into was one of political-opinion polls, because, legally, he hasn't been charged with anything. they haven't found any wrongdoing. there's no hard evidence. his staff got in trouble, but he has not. but that's not what was important. it was the perception that he somehow -- it wouldn't surprise people if he knew about it, even though he insists that he didn't, and that's what hurt him. >> it was the perception. i mean, this is the guy who tells it like it is. that was his whole persona, and, all of a sudden, we learned there was a lot more going on underneath the surface of this administration than we realized. it also forced him back on his
he's a very aggressive politician -- lots of press conferences, always going after people. if you remember, after bridgegate, he, like, went into hiding. i mean, he stopped making public appearances. he wouldn't do interviews, stopped doing press conferences, and that really, like, hurt his what was then, like, an effort to really move toward the presidential campaign. >> and, speaking of that campaign, he's got 4% right now, which is one of his high-water marks since that whole scandal. but compared to, let's say, someone like donald trump, no one's calling chris christie a bully as much as they call donald trump a bully, right? >> it's true, yeah. >> he makes chris christie seem kind of calm. >> i know. chris christie thought he was gonna be the loudmouth northeastern bully in the race, and it turns out there's somebody with a louder mouth. >> the question -- if you live in new jersey, do you feel like he's not so much the governor anymore? >> that's what people feel like. i mean, he was out of state about 70% of 2015. there are several cabinet members who are unappointed that they haven't been officially confirmed by the senate 'cause he hasn't submitted their names.
supreme court justice. governance in new jersey has slowed almost to a halt. >> let me talk about some of the personal things in this book, because i found some of them absolutely fascinating, and you really dive deep into him as a person. let's start with the whole argument in the closet. you have some great things that, you know, he, like a lot of couples -- he and his wife -- have disagreements, and they get kind of heated sometimes. i don't think it's anything unusual. but they don't -- he doesn't want his children to hear him yell because of his own childhood. explain that. >> he grew up in a household where his parents yelled a lot. they yelled at each other. and it was a small home in livingston, in north jersey, and he did not want to expose his own children to that. he ended up being a peacemaker in his family, and he didn't want to force his kids to do that. so, the furthest room from the kids' rooms in their house in mendham, new jersey, is mary pat, his wife's, walk-in closet, and that's where they go and do their arguing. he said he used to do a lot of
he's got state troopers driving him around, and he doesn't want to expose them to that, either. so he goes in the closet, and that's where they're able to hash it out. >> doesn't want to expose them to it? doesn't want to expose himself to it, because, all of a sudden, you know, some troopers could start talking, and then -- boom! -- all of a sudden, very personal stuff gets out. not that the troopers would do that, but the people they might tell, like their spouses -- they might tell somebody, and all of a sudden, it makes it onto page six somehow, right? >> that's right. >> some other personal stuff that i thought was very interesting -- they were together for seven years as a married couple trying to figure out whether this marriage was gonna work and debating whether or not to have children. explain that. >> yeah. they got married pretty young, right out of college, and it happened to be 1986, and the governor is a massive mets fan, and every night after work, he'd want to come home and watch the mets, and every night after work, mary pat would want to come home and talk about their days. and, believe it or not, this became a source of great tension. >> watching sports instead of having a conversation? >> exactly -- watching sports instead of sitting at the table and having a nice dinner and
>> a lot of wives like to do that. sure, and i don't blame them. >> this is a common argument, right? this is a common point of tension. and they had to figure this stuff out, and they decided -- they made a decision not to have children for about seven years. and then they also went to marriage counseling, which he says helped a great deal, and he recommends it to friends. >> and i've found that part of your work, your book, so revealing and so interesting and made him more likable, i think, to people who read this. >> sure. >> because he's like a normal guy. >> yeah, and we often see the one side of him -- the "sit down and shut up," "you're an idiot" -- a bully, where he's, you know, a human being who's self-reflective. and i think that was what was most surprising -- that he would sit down on a couch and talk about his feelings in a soft way and maybe -- who knows? maybe he even apologizes once in a while. >> what does he do if he doesn't win the nomination for president and he's not gonna be governor? he's gonna be term-limited out. what do you think this guy's gonna do? >> couple options. i could see him as an attorney general in a republican administration, if a republican wins the white house.
the white house, i could see him going off and making some money for a few years on tv, perhaps, political consulting, lobbying, and then make another run for it in 2020. he's in his early 50s. i think he's a relatively young man in politics. i think he's got another shot at the -- shot at this if he wants it. and then i also can see him -- this is, you know, maybe more of a difficult chance, but i could see him running a sports league, like nfl commissioner or major league baseball commissioner. he would love that job. >> matt katz, fascinating work and reporting by you. "american governor: chris christie's bridge to redemption" -- really interesting book. thanks for joining us. >> appreciate it. >> all right. thanks, matt. a really interesting take on new jersey governor chris christie. and that'll do it for this edition of "upclose." if, by chance, you missed any of today's program, no worries. you can catch it again on our website, abc7ny. thanks for watching today. i'm bill ritter, and for all of