Appearing on News4 Today’s Connecting with the Mayor segment, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty had quite a reaction when asked about snow cleanup.
“When should the last of the snow be cleared, and when should things be back to normal?” NBC4's Eun Yang asked.
Fenty, after the laugh and an "are you crazy"-type look, said the question “doesn’t make any sense, if you forgive me."
"The snow has fallen," said Fenty. "It’s not going to be gone until the temperature gets warm enough that it can melt.”
When asked why the District can’t remove what’s left, he said, “There’s only so much snow that you can move.” But the mayor reiterated that the city is trying to shovel as much of it into dump trucks and haul it to the grounds of the former D. C. General Hospital.
He also emphasized that the area has experienced an extraordinary series of snowstorms.
“I mean there’s tons of streets, not just in D.C., but in Maryland and Virginia and, probably, Pennsylvania and beyond, where there’s still a lot of snow because it’s not like what happens normally in our region, where you get snow and, then, it gets up to fifty degrees and it’s melted, ” he said.
“It’s still in some streets because it’s just got nowhere to go, but you’ve got a lane open in most cases. Some cases you have two lanes open, and we’ll move as much of it out of the way as is humanly possible,” said Fenty.
He called it “pretty much common sense. You [plow] the streets as much as possible, move as much snow as much as possible, but getting it down to the point where there’s no snow at all…is going to take some cooperation from Mother Nature.”
Hizzoner also entered into a bit of a feisty-go-round with Yang, who lives in the District and said to him: “I haven’t seen a trash truck in my neighborhood…I don’t know what…I need to do because I haven’t been told what the process is, so that I can make sure that my trash is picked up. It’s been two weeks now, and I have three kids, and it’s piling up to high heaven.”
“You work for Channel 4 news. We have had, probably, 24 press conferences, and the last 20 of them, we have said to put the trash in front of the house," said the mayor in response.
“But we did that, and they never showed up," Yang said.
“We apologize if that’s happened,” Fenty finally said.
“These are all difficult circumstances. Sixty inches of snow have never fallen in our city. If it doesn’t get warm, the snow is going to be with us for a while," he added.
During his interview, Fenty refused to criticize former Mayor and current D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry, who has been the subject of a conflict of interest investigation and may face Council censure or, even, prosecution.
When asked whether Barry’s alleged behavior is giving the District government a bad name, Fenty said, “I’ve always had the same refrain. It’s up to the voters to decide what elected officials do to their own name and to the city’s name. It’s my job to work with elected officials who are sent down to city hall by the voters of the District of Columbia.”