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USA Today: Mayor rejects criticism of plan to hold NYC Marathon

2:28PM EDT November 2. 2012 – NEW YORK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday rejected criticism of his decision to go ahead with Sunday’s New York City Marathon, saying it would give the storm-ravaged city “something to cheer about.”

Critics have slammed the mayor’s decision as “idiotic,” insensitive and a diversion of city resources at a time when New Yorkers have lost power, their homes and their loved ones.

Bloomberg said the expanded restoration of mass transit and projected return of electrical power to most of Manhattan by Friday night would free up many police officers and other city personnel.

The city resources required by the marathon, he said, are not resources that would make a difference in storm recovery efforts.

“If I thought it would take resources away” from emergency work, “we would not do that,” he said.

Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg also tried to fend off criticism by saying this year’s event will involve more private contractors than past years to ease the strain on city services, ESPN reported.

The mayor also noted that Rudy Giuliani, his predecessor who had staged the annual race only weeks after the 9/11 attacks, supported his decision as a way to demonstrate solidarity among New Yorkers.

The marathon, Bloomberg told reporters, will “give people something to cheer about in a week that’s been pretty dismal.”

“You can grieve, you can laugh, you can cry, all at the same time,” the mayor said.

He also said the race would pump much-needed money into the economy, which was brought to its knees by the storm……..Read More

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