I was there. I survived. I have a Toyota 4Runner with All Wheel drive. It was no big deal to me. I was driving Friday afternoon as the snow was starting. I stayed home Saturday during the height of the storm. I got out into it Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and had very little trouble getting around. By far, the DC roads were in much worse shape than Virginia roads right across the river.
- There is some discussion over at Blue’s Blog regarding “essential government employees”. Hey, I get it. The US Federal government is a huge bloated bureaucracy with LOTS of waste at every possible level. I totally agree that it should be smaller. But I also insist that people on my side of the fence up their game when it comes to arguing a rational point. The “fire everyone who is non-essential” is just pointlessly stupid. It sounds good. It fits on a bumper sticker. And it is intellectually vacant. “Essential” and “non-essential” are simply designations by Human Resources departments to indicate who needs to come to work, EVEN IF IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THERE. Everything else can wait until Monday. For example: The guy who buys toilet paper is needed. He does something that the office needs. But it can wait until next week, provided that there is a sufficient inventory on hand. But an emergency room doctor cannot wait until the storm clears to come to work. Also, when you have 12″ of snow on the ground is exactly the wrong time to tell the snow plow operators, “you are non-essential, so stay home”. The guys who buys ammo for the Army is Absolutely essential. But his work can wait until the streets are clear. So. Focus the discussion on eliminating useless TASKS of government, then eliminating the people who do those tasks. Do not focus the discussion on distinctions and labels created by one bureaucracy to describe another bureaucracy.
- I notice that when this storm hit, the brief flurry and icing that caused huge traffic snarls all over the city were completely forgotten. That happened Wednesday night. It was a “pre-storm” that the city was totally unprepared for. Thus, all overpasses iced over and traffic tie-ups were significant. This would normally have constituted the sort of thing that would get the Mayor of NYC fired, but it is totally forgotten two days later.
- Yesterday became the day when people in under-served neighborhoods began complaining that the city snow plows had not cleared their streets. Their narrow streets that have cars parked on both sides, covered in snow. WHAH!!! I want my free shit!!! There are some neighborhoods that will not wait for other people to dig them out and there are some neighborhoods that will stay in their homes and complain that they can’t get out. My driveway is longer than some of those streets. It was cleared Sunday morning by one guy with a snowblower (who I paid). Waiting for someone else to do it was not an option. Waiting for Spring was not an option. The thing all those under-served neighborhoods have in abundance is unskilled laborers, sitting on their asses with nothing to do but watch TV. They could have easily formed shovel brigades and cleared their own damned streets by Sunday Night. Instead, they are still whining by Wednesday morning about how the city is dissing them.
- I seem to recall in my youth, living in places with exotic names like “New York” and “Illinois” (a Native American name which means “A Whales Vagina”). In such places it snows like this several times every year. People would not stay home. They would drive on top of the snow.
- The parking wars have started. People who dig out their car on the street now believe they have a claim to park again in the same place they dug out. Claim jumpers come along and see a cleared spot in a city that has insufficient parking on a good day and move in. Anger ensues.
- The city government officials have started using words like “aggressive enforcement” for getting people to shovel their walks. You can really tell who understands the whole “protect and serve” mentality when it comes to “aggressive enforcement” after a terrific storm that overwhelmed most people’s ability to cope. City owned properties of course will not be “aggressively enforced”.
- People are also being told that they should dig out fire hydrants so that fire departments can find them. That isn’t going to happen. No one is going to volunteer back-breaking labor without some benefit that can be seen and felt. Nor is the city saying anyone in particular should do that task, just, “all of you”.
- The news reporting was, as is typical, just inane. As an example, a news “reporter” driving down the beltway during the storm, showing you the snow hitting the windows and saying, “you can see how bad it is out here. We stress that no one should be out on the roads right now except for emergency vehicles”. Just let that sink in.
- The city, county and state governments were all very aggressive in telling people what to do. “Stay in your homes”. From Friday until Tuesday. They totally ignore that their authority as elected officials has LIMITS that are described by law. They can make recommendations, but they have no authority to order people. they are not kings.