Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snowplowing City Streets Revisited

This morning I picked up the Indianapolis Star to find an op ed piece titled "Plows Work Overtime to Clear the Snow" written by David Sherman, director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and Steve Quick, president of AFSCME Local 725.

What I expected to find was the City's Public Works Director addressing the problems with the City recent response to last week's snowstorm, a response that the Star labeled as "mediocre at best." I thought even that description was charitable. Two days after the snow stopped falling, the downtown streets looked like they had never been plowed.

Instead the article was a fluff piece where Sherman and Quick simply ignore the nearly across-the-board criticism of the city's response and instead pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

Over at Advance Indiana, Gary Welsh notes that the Mayor needs to personally address the problems at the Capital Improvement Board rather than spend his time basking in the glow of the upcoming 2012 Super Bowl.

Two different issues, but exactly the same mindset of ignoring problems and hoping people do not notice as public officials try to divert the public's attention to something more positive. It's an approach that is insulting to people's intelligence and is unlikely to work. City officials would be better advised to realistically consider what problems exist and address those problems. That is what responsible, accountable government is all about.


Patriot Paul said...

I'm not going to snipe at the City about mother nature's record snowfall. The article is interesting for the time-line and the job of clearing 227,000 miles of road in Marion County. But I'm afraid it would have failed the SuperBowl test run.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I'm inclined to give them the beneift of the doubt too, Patriot Paul. For example, the amount of the snow today was not forecast and took people by surprise.

But last week, everyone knew the snow storm was coming and still 2 days later they had not cleared downtown streets. I agree that it failed the Suiperbowl test run.

By the way, I don't think it was a record snowfall.

Downtown Indy said...

Not a record, but the largest in 13 years. The record goes back to 1910 I think. This was #6 of all time.

But the plowing thing is overblown. As I said, we haven't had a snowfall that hit us like this in 13 years. Does it seem responsible to have had 12 years of funding at an unecessarily-high level, just to cope better with this year's snowfall? And for (probably) just one event during this one season?

No business operates that way and neither should the City. (Well, maybe IPL, which is trying to cut every tree branch that could possibly fall on any powerline someday. But I seem to recall that was driven by a lawsuit that stemmed from outages after an ice storm.)

At worst, the inconvenience lasts 2-3 days and people ought to be able to cope with that without it being the end of the world for them.

varangianguard said...

Tell my boss that, Downtown Indy...

Anonymous said...

At a minimum, we need to cancel all taxpayer funding for IDI.

Howard Roark said...

Dear Paul,

I'm very disappointed. Is there no way to link Dave Sherman, bad plowing and BARNES & THORNBURG?

You are off your game...



Diana Vice said...

Howard, I found these interesting quotes at the following link. I think you should read them, because Paul Ogden is living out the principles found in them.


"The important thing is to not stop questioning." -Albert Einstein

"Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over the act of perceiving it." --Ayn Rand

"Never give in - never, never never, never, in nothing great or small except to convictions of honor and good sense." Churchill