Snow can be a weight from which politicians dig out

February 19, 2010|by Christopher Nelson | | b free daily

When problems arise, we look for our leaders to help solve them. The blizzard of 2010 was one such problem where Baltimoreans looked to new Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to get the city up and running again.

If you watched any of the news coverage (which seemed to go on ad nauseam) during both parts of the big storm, you heard everyone say that this was an unprecedented weather event. One of the more light-hearted yet telling moments from the snow coverage was when a young child (no older than 7) said the amount of snow we'd seen and the lack of cleanup "just don't make no sense."

What didn't make sense this week was how the city decided to get major roadways open again. City leaders had public works crews close down major roads during rush hour to have Bobcats pick up snow and toss it into the back of dump trucks to be hauled away. It's not the method of snow removal that was questionable, but the timing. Why city officials chose to bring roadways like Edmondson Avenue or Cold Spring Lane to a standstill during rush hour blew my mind.

So will the questionable cleanup strategy hurt the new mayor? Mayor Rawlings-Blake isn't the only leader who has faced criticism about snow removal. Officials in Washington issued scathing criticism of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and an AP article points out problems with snow can affect a mayor's re-election chances.

Johns Hopkins University political science professor Lester Spence weighed in on the idea of a single act impacting Mayor Rawlings-Blake's political career: "One incident particularly at the beginning of a term can shape perceptions of a candidate over time either creating a reservoir of good will, or a reservoir of ill will. And this ill will can, if it does not dissipate either through mayoral action or perhaps through information that counters it, hurt a mayor's agenda if not her re-election chances."

Spence went on to say that the recent snow storm was one of the worst he (a Detroit native) has seen.

What do you think about the continued snow clean up here in the city or surrounding counties? Were you satisfied or bewildered?

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