Friday, December 02, 2005

Winter woes: How a mayor can be buried

Word on the street has it that a mayor can lose his job for failing to provide basic city services. Back in 1979, Michael Bilandic was voted out of office, according to local lore, for not clearing the streets following a major snowstorm. The only thing I remember from that blizzard is walking through tunnels of snow in the backyard, which I thought was incredibly cool. I guess voters back then were pretty upset that they couldn't get to work and their kids couldn't get to school for several days. Not going to work seems like a bonus, but sitting around trying to put up with children might take the joy out of the mini-vacation.

Flash-forward to 2005. You'd think a mayor would learn from the ghosts of winters past. Since then, it seems that every single snowflake that makes the mistake of falling on a Chicago street gets instantly obliterated. And yet, for the past several years, the city has somehow still done a piss-poor job of clearing streets ... not of snow but of leaves. It seems like a no-brainer; in October and November, the leaves are going to fall into the streets. The leaves are then going to stay in the gutters until removed. And until they are removed, they will clog up the sewers, causing major slush and frozen puddles for the duration of winter, which usually lasts five or six months. As someone who walks to work, I'm getting a little tired of wet shoes and socks because someone forgot to prevent puddles.

Mayor Daley, enough with all the salt after every dusting of snow. How about clearing the streets of leaves before the heavy winter freeze sets in? Or else, I hope you realize, you run the risk of a Bilandic-blunder that will get you booted from office.

I do wonder, though: Are all neighborhoods this bad? Or is it only the not-quite-gentrified areas?

And, oh, a final note. The motorcycle reminds me that this Sunday is the annual Toys for Tots motorcycle parade up Western Avenue. It's definitely the coolest, if not coldest, parade in the city.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey this is something you can get John all riled up about. He was just compalining about how he uses bags for his leaves and yet all his neighbors were just raking their leaves into the street.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct I am riled up about this. It is against the chicago law to rake leaves into the street but the city does not make a big deal of this. Just a couple of weeks ago I'm busy blue bagging my leaves while my lazy neighbors rake it into the street. Another point. while you hear about how people have heart attacks shoveling snow, why don't you hear about people having them raking leaves?

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sometimes get a heart attack just reading these blogs.

8:31 PM  
Blogger jenska said...

In Brookfield we have separate leaf-cleaning trucks! I had to do a double-take last week when I finally saw one of them...a bright yellow truck, with a giant basket where you might see a plow in winter, went up and down our side of the street 3 or 4 times until all the leaves were gone. Residents are TOLD to rake their leaves at least 1' into the street.

8:58 PM  
Blogger ap said...

I thought that in the boondocks people just burned their leaves ...

5:23 PM  

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