Cancelling the New York City Marathon was the right move. It’s surprising that a politician as savvy as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn’t realize that earlier. But wisdom is appreciated whether it arrives early or late.
Still, Bloomberg continued on Friday to defend his earlier determination to hold the race, saying the iconic event could lift the spirits of N.Y. residents who had weathered one of the worst hurricane in history, and were still struggling to recover from its devastation this week. He said holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort.
But even many of the runners set to take part in the marathon said now was the wrong time for the event. Some, already in town, said they had planned to participate in relief efforts and not run in the marathon regardless.
Hotel vendors also pushed back, noting that many of their rooms were already occupied by New Yorkers displaced from their homes due to lack of power. Hotel managers said they would not evict those desperate families with nowhere else to go in order to accommodate 47,000 runners, and other visitors expected for the marathon. Bravo to them.
And rescue workers pointed out that precious time and resources of police and other responders needed to be applied, without distraction, to helping recover the dead and taking care of the thousands still suffering the storm’s impact.
New Yorkers spoke loudly and clearly on this matter. Bloomberg was wise to finally listen.
Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, in his annual beginning-of-the-season meeting with Observer reporters last week, told fans he’s not going anywhere. “I’m in it for the long haul,” he said.
You’d be forgiven for wondering if that’s a good thing or not.
Jordan’s track record as president and owner has been iffy at best, as illustrated by the Bobcats’ historically bad 7-59 record last season. But among Jordan’s more recent decisions is one that’s been lauded by NBA observers. In 2011, Jordan hired general manager Rich Cho, a bright young executive who was among the architects of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s recent successes. Cho and Jordan are going about the same task in Charlotte. Doing it the right way will take time.
Already, Jordan has worked hard rebuild the relationship between the team and city with community outreach efforts that are encouraging in their consistency. His declaration of commitment last week is also a good thing, given a New York Daily News report this spring that he told associates he’d sell the team if it didn’t turn things around in three to four years. Jordan denied that report.
There are cities out there that wouldn’t mind taking on an NBA franchise, no matter what kind of rebuilding they face. A successful pro basketball team, as some older-timers in Charlotte might remember, is not only good for the franchise, but the city it calls home. We hope Jordan stays committed to that happening here.