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  • Writer's pictureWes Hazard

Did the Mayor Kill A Groundhog?

I didn't move to NYC in time to ever vote for or against him, and it took me a while to begin to get my bearings in local politics but one thing I can say for certain about mayoral sentiment in the city is that *everyone* seems to hate Bill de Blasio. Left, right, Black, white, cops, teachers, doctors, rich, poor, it doesn't matter. The man is reviled and not perceived as evil or incompetent so much as spineless and useless. His embarrassing bid for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination did not help. This video of him dropping (and potentially killing) the NYC version of Punxsutawney Phil at a Groundhog Day ceremony back in 2014 definitely did not help with that perception. I love the local Staten Island color commentary.

Here's some background, this is one of the wildest news article openings I've ever seen:

By Nicholas Rizzi

WEST BRIGHTON — Staten Island’s forecaster didn’t foresee how grim a run-in with the mayor would be.

A week after Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped Staten Island Chuck on Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, the furry spring predictor died of internal injuries, the New York Post reported.

But, according to the paper, Staten Island Zoo officials took great care to keep the groundhog’s death a secret — as well as the fact that the rodent was not really the Staten Island celebrity critter, but a stand-in named Charlotte.

Sources told the paper that Charlotte was found dead on Feb. 9 in her cage. An autopsy found that she died from “acute internal injuries,” which are consistent with a fall.

OK couple things:

  • To reiterate: the mayor dropped the ceremonial groundhog. That groundhog died within the week.

  • They did an autopsy on the groundhog. (When it's animals it's called a "necropsy" but autopsy is funnier here so I'm sticking with it.)

  • It was secretly not even the "famous"/traditional Staten Island groundhog (Staten Island Chuck) but an impostor from the zoo named Charlotte as it seems that the real Chuck bit previous Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, back in 2009.

  • The zoo tried to keep the groundhog's death (which happened a full week after the drop) hush hush to cover up the fact it wasn't Chuck and, I would presume, to prevent the Mayor from getting a rep as a groundhog murderer.

  • Per Snopes, it seems unlikely that the de Blasio drop is actually responsible for the death. Charlotte did multiple events in the week after and had been examined after her mayoral encounter and deemed fine.

Whew. This is very randomly and very marginally fascinating.

Also here is a video of former mayor Bloomberg calling a groundhog a "son of a bitch":

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