D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, is being criticized for his response to the back-to-back winter storms that brought record-breaking snowfalls.
Kwame Brown and Harry Thomas Jr. — two of 13 members of the D.C. Council — said the mayor should have asked the U.S. government to declare Washington a federal disaster to get access to additional money and equipment.
“If there is ever a time for a state of emergency, this is it,” Mr. Brown, at-large Democrat, said Wednesday, after the second storm in five days piled a total of roughly 3 feet of snow on the region. “The District is not only facing a crippling snowstorm, but we’re facing a crippling budget shortfall and citywide safety issues. We need to call for federal government dollars and resources just like our neighboring jurisdictions.”
Mr. Thomas agreed with Mr. Brown, saying the Federal Emergency Management Agency should have been called in after the first storm.
“We didn’t get the first snow off [sidewalks and streets] before the second snowfall. We didn’t take it to the level,” he said Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews.”
Mr. Thomas, Ward 5 Democrat, also criticized Mr. Fenty for not closing schools immediately after the first snow. He said the mayor deciding against opening Monday two hours late only after pressure.
He praised Mr. Fenty, however, for listening to constituents and said he might have been influenced by President Obama chiding city officials last winter about closing schools after a light snow.
“We under-reacted, instead of over-reacted,” Mr. Thomas said.
Criticizing a mayor for his response to a snowstorm is nothing new in politics.
In 1987, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was in Southern California attending the Super Bowl — and purportedly getting a manicure — as a snowstorm buried the city.
Mr. Barry survived re-election, but other mayors have been less fortunate.
Chicago Mayor Michael A. Bilandic, for example, lost in the 1979 Democratic primary after failing to adequately remove snow that winter, Mr. Matthews and other journalists pointed out this week.
Mr. Fenty faces re-election this year. Though his approval rating has dropped since being elected in 2006, his roughly $3.6 million in re-election funds and no official challenger this late will make him difficult to defeat.
“Everybody liked him for a while, [but] it’s time for a competition in the next primary,” Mr. Matthews said. “It’s time for somebody to run. This city needs a little better effort.”View Entire Story
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