Tuesday, February 09, 2010


We now begin day 5 of the blizzard and its aftermath, and Montgomery County's elected officials have failed to respond to yet another crisis.

The new mantra is that the county has an "unprecedented 800 pieces of equipment on the street." Note it doesn't say those 800 pieces are moving. By my calculation, the number of miles of county road, 4128, divided by 800, would = 5.16 miles per plow. In other words, the streets should have been clear by Sunday night or Monday morning, at worst.

This is only the latest example of failed leadership by this council and executive, but it's the one voters may remember most when they go to the polls this November.

They'll remember paying the highest taxes in the nation, and getting poor quality service in return. Not only was the county unprepared to respond to a storm of this size, but it appears that the county and state are so strapped for cash that they are literally waiting out the storm.
Based upon the poor road conditions, and failure to keep plowing through the storm, one can only assume trucks were idled, and road treatments kept in storage to save money.

They'll remember being trapped in freezing homes without power for days, and being told their high taxes entitled them to a comfy cot in one of 4 high school gymnasiums. Gee, thanks, guys!

They'll remember the scandal of uncleared sidewalks 4 days later, pedestrians walking in the road to reach grocery stores, and the elderly and disabled being unable to move freely around their neighborhoods.

They'll remember that unplowed roads brought our bus systems to a halt, and placed residents in danger, as emergency vehicles were slowed in reaching residents. Poor road conditions also put our police officers and firefighters at risk as they tried to do their jobs.

Councilmember Roger Berliner has been frank about the situation, compared to his colleagues who declare, "the system worked." Mr. Berliner himself is snowed in without power, and has at least emailed a "snow emergency" message to his constituents. The other councilmembers haven't been heard from at all.

He acknowledges citizens are "irate," in perhaps the understatement of the year, and that O'Malley's state roads are in poor condition (see my theory above).

And that some residents, unbelievably given the temperature, may be without power through the weekend.

My own street only got plowed last night. One pass, and it basically just smoothed down the icy snow. Great for training for cross-country skiing, but not so great for driving.

And how about those sidewalks? You had to walk in the street on Westbard! This is the same county that spent millions on an infantile pedestrian safety campaign?

The next storm is on its way. I can only say, get your groceries and supplies if you can today, try www.Peapod.com for groceries if you are snowed in, and don't overdo it with the shoveling.

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