Power Plowers

How well mayors and city officials deal with snowstorms is one of the best indicators of how well they can serve their cities, according to this article from <em>Governing</em>.
December 28, 2008, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"Snowstorms - or, rather, botched responses to them - have a way of burying the political lives of big-city mayors. The most famous case is that of Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic, who was cruising to reelection in 1978 when a series of winter storms dumped almost three feet of snow on the Windy City. 'Bilandic and his minions not only were unprepared to deal with it but also with how to explain it,' says Roosevelt University political scientist Paul Green."

"Streets in some neighborhoods went unplowed for weeks. But what hurt Bilandic most was what happened on the frozen tracks of the city's transit system. Trains skipped stops in minority neighborhoods, sparking outrage on station platforms as black residents watched white commuters speed by."

"For some mayors, a paralyzing blizzard or ice storm is the most serious crisis they ever face. So it's not surprising that when winter storms hit, the level of efficiency in clearing the streets becomes a proxy for municipal competence."

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Published on Monday, December 1, 2008 in Governing
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