Although I took yesterday off from blogging, it was certainly not because the roads prevented me from getting to one of my many Madison offices (Barriques, Memorial Union, Ancora, the list goes on). The plowers had been out during the blizzard, and it showed. Mayor Dave eagerly displayed video evidence on his Facebook page to that effect.
Ever want to ride in a plow truck? I just did. Madison Streets workers are doing a hard job well. It's a bumpy video but gives you a sense of what it's like.
Of course, that post came hours after his opponent, Paul Soglin, also lauded the snow workers, commenting that the mayor finally "allowed the plow operators to do their job." Emphasizing his prioritization of snow removal, Soglin reiterated a proposal he's made on the campaign trail:
if I am elected mayor, there will be a minimum 10% reduction ($130,000) in the Mayor's office budget through the elimination of one mayoral aide. I will request those funds be used to create two additional public works positions for snow removal and similar work.
In the past the mayor has been upfront about his reluctance to jeopardize the environment for the convenience of drivers and pedestrians. This is what he wrote in December 2009:
So let me get out in front on this one: no, after a storm the streets will not look as good in Madison as they will in the suburbs. That's a good thing, and here's why.
We care about the lakes. Chloride content in the Madison lakes (and in our drinking water) has been growing steadily for decades because of the use of road salt...We don't use salt at all on residential streets. Instead we have designated "salt routes" which are major arterials, bus routes, major neighborhood connector streets and streets near hospitals and schools. And we are careful about how much salt we do use along those salt routes.
But plowing is another issue altogether. Supporting it whole-heartedly is a prerequisite for re-election in Madison. Maybe the subpar plowing in the past couple years will make constituents especially impressed by the city's response to this blizzard (here are some entertaining videos of the blizzard and its aftermath).
In a nonpartisan race it is technically impossible to define the candidates by party, and as the debates have shown, it's tricky to define their ideologies. However, one thing is clear to Madison voters: Both support snow plowing.