Mayor Bloomberg Tempers GA Criticism

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has distinguished himself amid a chorus of panic-button-pushing politicians by, in diplomatic terms, urging them to get a grip. Bloomberg, a pilot who's been in a couple of emergencies himself, was among the first on the scene of the crash (he lives in the neighborhood) and identified parts of the aircraft to rule out involvement of a helicopter. When the smoke had cleared, he told reporters he considered [pre-TFR] New York airspace safe. "We have very few accidents for an awful lot of traffic," he said. "Every time you have an automobile accident, you're not going to go and close the streets or prohibit people from driving." Bloomberg was effectively drowned out (and pushed to the end of most news stories) by the I-told-you-so invective of state and federal politicians. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who's tried various ways of ridding New York airspace of helicopters and small aircraft, set the tone. "A smart terrorist could load up a small, little plane with biological, chemical or even nuclear material and fly up the Hudson or East rivers, no questions asked," said Schumer, D-N.Y. "I hope this will be a wake-up call to the FAA to re-examine flight patterns, which, amazingly enough, they haven't done since 9/11." New York Gov. George Pataki also jumped in, saying the federal government needs "to take a much tougher line" with GA flights over the city, but he didn't say just what that line should be. Even former Mayor Rudy Giuliani got into the act, telling Republicans in New Hampshire (where he was putting out feelers for a potential presidential bid) that he agreed with Pataki.