Wednesday, December 03, 2008

City of Chicago Will Cut Back on Snow Removal

Yup. You read that right. Long-time residents of Chi-Town will be surprised, because messing up on our winter pile-trials is political poison here, for those who are not running unopposed. CBS 2 Chicago recalls:

Snow removal has been a hot-button issue in Chicago for decades, ever since a snowstorm nearly 30 years ago that bounced a mayor from office. Jane Byrne ran her campaign against incumbent Michael Bilandic in 1979 around Bilandic's inept reaction to a pair of snowstorms that left about 2 feet on the ground.
But these are desperate times for the City budget, or so we're told, requiring desperate measures. Fran Spielman, our favorite City Hall reporter, explains:
Daley revealed that Monday's first-of-the-season storm, which brought 2½ inches of snow to the North Side and 1½ inches to the South Side, cost taxpayers $490,000, despite the city's best efforts to control costs.
Wow. $490,000. That's about what 4 city lawyers cost. (There's lots and lots of those. I wonder if they can shovel snow? Meaning actual snow, of course. Not the figurative stuff.)
Asked what advice he would give to Chicago motorists during these belt-tightening times, the mayor said, "Slow down when you're driving during rain, snow or ice. . . . We have to slow down because you cannot keep incurring huge costs."

The mayor warned: "Next year is gonna get worse than this year. ... Once January comes, hold onto your pants."
Pants?? Oh wait - he probably meant wallet. But it's not that he isn't concerned. ABC Local news shares these comforting words from our Mayor:
"While safety remains our top propriety, the cost is also very important in the age of shrinking revenue and increased costs," said Daley Mayor.
Safety is indeed still proper. Good to know that he recognizes this. Now this may seem to be much ado about nothing to some veterans of Chicago winters, who no doubt remember when snow-turned-pack-ice on side streets looked like a pair of luge tracks. But for those who forget thier winter driving basics, the main points are basicky these: Slow down, because you cannot keep incurring huge costs. Shovel your own side street. And above all, in January, hang on to your pants.

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