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Fenty: 'There's only so much snow you can move'

By Nikita Stewart
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) could only laugh and look incredulous Thursday morning as the WRC-TV (Channel 4) anchors demanded to know when the gargantuan mounds of snow and ice would disappear from city streets.

"It's a kind of question--it doesn't make sense. Forgive me," Fenty said during his weekly segment "Connecting with the Mayor."

When it gets warm, the snow and ice will melt, Fenty explained. "There's only so much snow you can move." Later, he added, it's "going to take some cooperation from Mother Nature."

The mayor was pummeled with questions about poor trash collection from anchor Eun Yang, who said she lives on a narrow street in Mount Pleasant with three children and an unplowed alley, and is at a loss for what to do with the trash that is piling up.

Fenty appeared exasperated and seemed to make a little joke about the frequent news conferences the city has held to update residents on the progress with snow removal. So long as the alleys are impassable, he explained, trash should go in the front--in black plastic garbage bags. No need to extricate those snow-covered trash barrels from the alley.

"We have probably had 24 press conferences," he said, with details on alternate trash pickup offered at about 20 of them.

"You are a reporter at Channel 4," the mayor told Yang. He said he could not believe that she had not gleaned the vital information from these near-constant news briefings.

Yang then explained that she had indeed tried the bags-out-front method, but took the trash back inside when no garbage truck arrived for pickup. She was concerned about rats, she said.

Fenty apologized. "This is uncharted territory," the mayor said.

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By by Nikita Stewart  |  February 18, 2010; 7:16 AM ET
Categories:  Mayor Fenty , Nikita Stewart , transportation  | Tags: mayor fenty, snow removal  
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lol...not feeling so big now are ya Fenty?

And Yang, don't take it personal. You are not impervious to what has befallen the entire DMV area. Grin and bear it until the snow has melted.

It'll be ok soon enough.

Posted by: cbmuzik | February 18, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Fenty's arrogant response would be less irritiating if the city weren't putting out statement that, well, aren't true.

For example, the city has stated that major arteries are plowed curb-to-curb. Well, I believe we all consider Wisconsin Avenue a major artery. And when I was driving on it this morning, it certainly wasn't plowed curb-to-curb. Nor was Nebraska Avenue, which may or may not be considered a major artery, but is where Wilson High School, the biggest in the city, sits, so perhaps planning would indicate that when schools are open there would be a ton of traffic near the school and that the roads should be as clear as possible.

Oh, and another thing, the city declared a snow wmergency from 900 AM Monday till 630 PM Thursday. Finding that info on the DC.GOV website was, well, difficult. It wasn't the lead press statement available on the front page. Instead there was a press statement praising the city's snow removal (and stating the major arteries were plowed curb to curb). So besides not doing as good a job as they say removing the snow, they are doing a veritably awful job communicating necesarry information.

Posted by: dyedwab1 | February 18, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

It's been three weeks since DC has picked up the trash on the 1800 block of 16th Street and the 1500 Block of Swann. All garbage is in front of the houses, as DC requested, but it has not been picked up. Not even from the public trash bins. Trash is piling up. Next come the rats. Come on DC, let's man up! Put the same effort into this as you do with parking tickets ....

Posted by: Surething- | February 18, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

This is a mess and the rats will soon be taking over the District of Columbia. Fenty is an idiot!

Posted by: Ward4DC | February 18, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Yeah! It's Fenty's fault! I can't believe he allowed three feet of snow to fall on DC in under a week! I'monna grab my pitchfork and a torch and head down to the Wilson Building right now!

Posted by: EdTheRed | February 18, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Being originally from Cleveland I have seen my fair share of snow and snow removal and they aren't doing that bad. So suck it up stop looking for someone to blame. It sucks my trash is piling up too. Quit blaming Fenty what is he going to do walk around picking up your trash?

Posted by: arbeach | February 18, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Nebraska Ave, Missouri Ave, North Capitol St's northern portion -- all have snow still blocking the curb lanes.

As for the garbage, I think it would be picked up quite quickly if everybody leaves it in front of Mayor Fenty's house.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 18, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Good idea, WshingtonDame. Only problem: My car's still snowed in. So is the double-parked car that is blocking me in. And even if I could get out, I'd be afraid of hitting all the schoolchildren walking in the street. Think about the children!

Posted by: Trulee | February 18, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Major arteries are not plowed curb to curb. That's a laughable lie as my commute last night will attest.

I live in DC but work in Falls Church so I drive there every day. Funny how even though they got just as much snow as we did, they've managed to clear all their major arteries completely and most of their side streets as well. Every now and then I come across a street that's still a bit iffy but comparitively it's not even close to the joke of a job DC has done thus far.

Posted by: flamingcissy | February 18, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"There's only so much snow you can move." Ridiculous comment by our supposed leader, but par for the course.
The frustration arises becasue, quite simply, all residents in this town are not treated the same. Fenty doesn't have the strength to take on that issue, so he just convinces himself that he is doing a great job. The man is deluded and must go.

Posted by: thadude33 | February 18, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Really Mr. Fenty? You had no plan before the snow storm, no plan during the snow storm, and no plan after. You have been reactive the whole two weeks. Running around like some silly rabbit holding press conferences all over the city, instead of showing leadership and being at the command center at least demonstrating that you were watching the whole city.

And to those yelling it’s not Fenty’s fault…please!!! He put himself out there when he stated Monday after the first storm “it’s business as usual” sound bite But he has quickly learned that you can’t fight Mother Nature. I think most residents and non-residents, would be less upset, if the boy would just humble himself. Admit that you wrong for trying to open schools. Admit that you wrong for sending people to work and had no way of getting their because the streets weren't plowed. Just admit "hey I was really wrong"

Lastly, the Mayor again has showed that he can’t be creative. The whole Buffalo and Mother Nature references are taken straight out to the Marion Barry "96" blizzard playbook. For those that weren’t in DC then I suggest researching the reaction from folks to Barry's lack luster removal. There weren’t too many folks claiming “it wasn’t” the Barry’s fault.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | February 18, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Yo Adrian! You have to believe in God FIRST, before you can believe in mother nature.

Posted by: knjon353 | February 18, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Fenty has been lying all along. People not tuned into the various situations just buy into his BS as the situation does not involve them. The snow is something we are all living and seeing. Collectively, we now see for all his statements, the reality is grossly different.

I've seen upper NW and I have seen SE through the course of this sotrm. those 2 areas usually represent the difference in class and race in this city. I can easily say the plow effort in both areas was simply bad.

Though I would agree we all need to maintain an ounce of patience, Fenty's arrogance is not the right approach. I go back to DC wanting to send the kids back on the 1st Monday after the snow. the city was not ready at all. On top of that Fenty seemed callous towards DC government employees. i think folks realize the City needs better leadership/management.

Posted by: oknow1 | February 18, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I saw this morning's interview and I found myself perturbed at the mayor's arrogant responses. People have valid questions based on the misinformation that Fenty's given in his 24 separate press conferences. All major arteries HAVE NOT been plowed curb to curb. One need only to see the massive pile of snow sitting in the turn lanes at 19th & Virginia Ave NW as an example. Or what about the fact that 18th Street NW from C Street to L Street goes from three to two to back to three lanes.

Furthermore, Ms. Yang's question about trash pick-up HAS been non-existent. I drove down Constitution Ave NE on Tuesday morning where I saw piles of trash bags and an assortment of trash cans sitting on top of snow piles, waiting for the city to pick them up. That same trash was there this morning. And Constitution Avenue HAS been plowed from curb to curb.

I agree with others who say we need to maintain patience. This was indeed a historic event for the DC area. But people elect their leaders to be problem-solvers. I'd have more respect for the mayor if he admitted that the current plan wasn't 100% but they were looking at other options.

Posted by: teejackson_93 | February 18, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Ooh. Maybe the city should ticket people for their uncollected garbage! And then we'll have money to fix plows and remove more snow!!! Brilliant!

Posted by: krhoward | February 18, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could live in Mount Pleasant and experience only uncollected garbage. I live off Georgia Ave and have uncollected garbage plus little violent thugins running amok every night.

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | February 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Can we PLEASE get a viable candidate to run so we can vote this joker OUT?

He was so unbelievably rude this morning to anchors who routinely softball him at every turn, I could hardly believe it. Even for the usually personality-challenged Fenty he was in rare form, being obtuse and evasive about routine questions regarding Councilman Barry, and then obnoxiously blaming Mother Nature for his administration's inability to handle unusual snow circumstances, as if anything they did to address it was somehow above and beyond the call of duty.

IT'S YOUR JOB, Mr. Soon-to-be-Ex Mayor. Please don't get annoyed at people for expecting you and your staff to do more than roll up your sleeves and take credit for problems you haven't solved. That seems to be what you and your team are good at.

Posted by: cknott1 | February 18, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Adrian Fenty is so ridiculous and incompetent. I can't wait for him to get kicked out of office.

Posted by: FiatBooks | February 18, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the city did have historic snow. But planning could have been better, even with a small amount of snow DC is in a tail spin. The snow removal employees aren't doing a good job most will ride around the city with the shovels up and collecting overtime pay. Mr. Fenty need to realize that he answeres to the residents of the District of Columbia.

Posted by: PThompson1 | February 18, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Fenty lacks interests for DC. I grew up here and of all the mayors that have come and gone, he is the worse, I've ever experienced. I'm so glad my parents went home to glory, before they had a chance to experience his lack of leadership for us as a people of color and the Nation's Capitol.

Posted by: family94 | February 18, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The District needs to send people out during rush hour to find the pressure points that can be relieved by a bit more of snow removal. For example, in the morning, there is a half hour back-up to go from River Road to Wisconsin Avenue because the curb lane has not been cleared. This one is not quite as bad, but, eastbound Massachusetts Avenue is in very good shape until you get to Westmoreland Circle, where the merge lane is just one rather than two lanes. The result is another bottleneck that can easily relieved.

At a minimum, there should be a widely publicized telephone number to receive information about situations such as these. Oh, also, a snow plow should then be sent to clear it out.

Posted by: mhs101255 | February 18, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I honestly believe Mayor Fenty has done a good job with these unprecedented back to back blizzards. If you think that conditions would be different if someone else were mayor you're just fooling yourself - Give the man a break and a BJ - I would!

Posted by: davisdustin | February 18, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Fenty is correct. You can only move but so much of the snow. Where is it going to go? People in DC do nothing but whine about everything. Especially those who live in upper NW. From all news accounts it looks like the snow didn't stop those whiners around Cleveland Park, and Dupont Circle from going to Starbucks, or to some beer-hole to get sloshed in the middle of the blizzard. They then proceeded to go back out in the blizzard, bust their a$$3$ on the ice, and then blame it on the mayor and the DPW for not shoveling the sidwalks. Get a life, or better yet, get out of town!

Posted by: rkayblock1 | February 18, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

While Mayor Fenty may be correct about the removal of snow, "where does one put it," "only so much snow can be moved"...etc. There are some things that can be done better, much better.

First, why do we NOT use front end loaders to clear our Potomac River and Anacostia River bridges? Dump the snow into the Potomac River and Anacostia. When snow melts, it goes into those rivers anyway.

Second: Why do we NOT use snow melters? A snow melter is a fixed or portable device, that has a heated hopper, into which snow is dumped, melted, with the water being directed into a storm drain. This ends the creation of those hugh piles of snow that serve to hamper and endanger traffic and pedestrians.

Third: Does any of the jurisdictions in the Washington area have truck mounted snow blowers? I saw for the first time, in Montgomery County, a truck mounted snow blower, from a private concern, making it clear that the truck mounted snow blower was RENTED for this occasion. A truck mounted snow blower could also be used on our Potomac River bridges.

Truck mounted snow blowers are very effective at removing snow. While not suited for every street, they do perform better than the plows in certain situations, such as bridges over waterways,(our Potomac and Anacostia River Bridges) along limted access highways, (RT 295) and roads that border unimproved land. (Several locations)

While not every year presents with the problems we are still experienceing, there is a need for the various jurisdictions to have their own truck mounted snow blowers, and snow melters.

There is no single solution to snow removal, except for Spring.

Local governments: This stuff is simple. If you want to remove snow quickly, and efficently please invest wisely in snow removal equipment. Every jurisdiction in the Washington area should have multiple snow melters and truck mounted snow blowers.

By doing so we can make the nightmare of the next heavy snow a thing of the past.

Posted by: | February 18, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

OOPS! Thanks to Mayor Fenty's arrogance and comments, DC soon will have more rats than NYC!!

Posted by: rmozosa | February 18, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I think the mayor enjoyed the 15 minutes of fame he earned by appearing on network newscasts early on, so he could entertain the entire U.S. with his vapid statements about how things would quickly return to normal.

Now that the networks have moved on, he seems irritated that the only audience left for his ongoing vapid statements are the ones who know him all too well.

Posted by: JohnRDC | February 18, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Fenty is pompous and probably thinks he's the king of the jungle. Yes, I said jungle. But wait, I can get out of the jungle faster than I've been getting back and forth to work. He's full excuses. Not once did he mention a real snow removal plan. If he's waiting for mother nature to solve this one maybe we should also ask her about our school system and a host of other issues plaguing our city. So when can we start the "Let's get Fenty out of office campaign"

Posted by: native_1 | February 18, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Trash piling up in the streets leading to rodents is "new territory" for Fenty? What a complete moron. How did this pooh-butt get elected? It is not enough to read this article please press play and watch. It is too bad he has no viable opponent for mayor.

Posted by: MikeMIke3 | February 18, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Fenty is a poor strategic planner.

He fired hundreds of city CDL operators during the reduction in workforce due to "spending pressures" in the spring, even though those were the same workers that push snow. This forced other workers to double duties. For instance, city trash collectors are now working 12 hour shifts to push snow, the same people assigned to two essential operations that run parallel was just poor planning.

More, the Mayor knew before the storm that the city's snow equipment was down 25% due to damage (often cause by the ridiculous speed bumps) and disrepair with no hope of a speedy fix. Why, then, did he not early on declare a federal emergency to avail himself of federal resources? The feds do benefit a great deal from city operations. I'll tell you why, EGO, EGO, EGO.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | February 19, 2010 6:42 AM | Report abuse

bahahahahahaa "It's my job to WORK WITH" the elected officials. Please tell me that was a bad joke.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | February 19, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Well Baltimore is melting there snow and could someone from the mayor's office explain to me the rationale for plowing snow that blocked alley entrances? The same alleys that normally allow the trash trucks to pick it up? How long will it be before I see the trucks in the alley again? Other than the mound of snow they created, the alley is quite drivable.

Posted by: candycane1 | February 21, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

I have moved on from the snow to the garbage. Trash is stacking up all over the place! I went to the car wash, and, it was filthy, trash filling all the bins. And it is normally neat and tidy.

I call on Mayor Fenty to step up to the plate on the trash issue. Don't do a news release, just find out how this city can get rid of three weeks worth of trash in a week. Because it makes the city look upleasant, diry, and well, trashy!

Posted by: tacard1 | February 21, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Can you help me with determining who tells the worst lies? Is it Fenty or Rhee? LOL! Really it's sad because I think they are beginning to believe the lies!

Posted by: dcrez1 | February 22, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Who tells the worst lies Fenty or Rhee? LOL! Really it's sad because I think they are beginning to believe the lies!

Posted by: dcrez1 | February 22, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

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