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December 3, 2008
In Chicago, it's unions first, snow removal second
Via my good friend and ex-Chicagoan Tom Elia of The New Editor comes the story of why Chicago is "Da Ciddee Dat Wirx:"
Mayor Richard M. Daley said Tuesday that city crews will cut back on plowing side streets this winter in an effort to save money. The mayor said the city will only plow side streets during weekday union business hours this winter, rather than during overtime hours.I'm sure this decision will please residents who have to dig their cars out following a winter storm only to find the side streets that they would have to traverse in order to get to the nicely plowed main thoroughfares impassable. And how much snow is going to fall in those 9 hours that will make the problems with getting around the city even worse?
"Let's say we're on the main streets till 9, 10 at night. We're gonna wait until 7:00 the following morning to attack the side streets," [City Department of Streets & Sanitation Commissioner Michael] Picardi said. "So there'll be a period when the side streets will be covered with snow."
One mayor of Chicago paid the ultimate price for ignoring the problems of residents following a snow storm. Back in 1979, Mayor Michael Bilandic famously botched the snow removal and emergency management during a series of storms and it cost him re-election when his opponent in the primary - Jane Byrne (later to be elected mayor herself) - made a huge deal out of Bilandic's incompetence.
Is Daley too smart to have that happen to him? Stay tuned.