Snow removal brings up issues
Most of the information requested by Councilor Rooke should be instantly available on the Internet. Why is it not? This is symptomatic of the way the city communicates with its citizens. Never once have I gotten a reasonable response by treating people the way I would want to be treated. The mayor is talking about the casino on a daily basis, and Springfield daily has a lot of space to report on it.
Was the Springfield's response to the snowstorm adequate? Al Chwalek of the Department of Public Works became much more loose lipped after everyone was blaming him. Now we find that we are prepared for a 15-inch snow storm at the most. Of course the smart thing to do in that situation is to start plowing to keep up with the storm as many other cities did.
Chwalek did not cause the financial problems that he cites. That was caused by the mayor and the City Council who always find money to hire more staff at city hall and spend for "public safety," which means more cops and cruisers. The city gets billed for state police patrols from a governor who had promised property tax relief. The Legislature continues to spend on failed programs.
Should we spend money on bucket loaders? Chwalek says it does not make sense because most of the time they would be idle. I hope we do not have any fires, but if we do not I do not want to cancel the Fire Department. Nor so I want the ambulance I see in the parking lot gone because he did not get any calls today.
Now we find that many of the trucks broke down. Maybe because they tried to plow 20 or more inches of snow instead of four inches at the start of the storm.
Rooke's idea of opening up parking garages for people who have no place to park their car makes sense. The car owners get villainized every snowstorm. They are used as an excuse for failure. When I lived in an apartment I would have liked to get my car off the street during a snow storm even if it meant walking or taking a bus home from a garage.
Now we find that the crews were working 20 hours before their mandatory break. This is too long to be working at snow plowing. The shift should be 12 hours at the most.
Robert Joseph Underwood
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