As Game of Thrones fans know, winter is coming.
Wait, it’s already here. And Santa Fe residents may already have noticed that snow and ice are lingering on some streets far longer than they should, thanks to the city’s financial woes.
This raises questions about what city governments are supposed to do for citizens, and how poorly they can do it before a place no longer seems like a city at all.
I live in a subdivision that the snow plowing people say is a Priority 3, out of, let’s see, three priorities. That isn’t where you want to be on the list, in a department that tells me it has had to shed nine workers since last summer.
For this reason, I’ve recently had telephone and personal contact with the snowplow people, and while they have been unfailingly polite, they are clearly up against it.
After learning that I live in a Priority 3 neighborhood, which roughly translates to, “We’ll get to your street when we’ve finished watching Longmire,” I asked about our side streets.
“We do those as we have time, when we get requests,” one official said.
I must have misunderstood him. “You don’t automatically plow residential streets when you see snow?”
“No, somebody has to call and put in a request.”
Mr. Mayor, let me tell you something very intimate about myself. If there’s snow on my street, you may presume I would prefer to have it gone, as soon as possible. I think this requirement for specific citizen requests could get out of hand.
“Hello, Fire Department? My house is on fire!”
“Thank you for calling, sir. Do you have a request?”
“I want you to put the fire out!”
“I’m making a note of your request, sir, but we do have some higher priority conflagrations ahead of you.”
A cynic might wonder if the worker assigned to taking requests might be put to better use actually plowing.
You have to question the wisdom of city officials. It’s not as though the city shrank in size by 30 percent, rendering many snowplow crews superfluous. We have the same streets we always did. Maybe more.
So why can’t the city go ahead and presume every snowy residential street needs to be plowed, unless the residents ask to have their snow left alone? (And who is going to do that except for the criminally insane and landscape artists?)
Those parallel situations just keep popping into my mind. I can’t help it.
“Good afternoon. I want to report that no new mail has shown up in my mailbox for two months.”
“Well, Mr. Basler, the reason for that is, our records indicate you haven’t requested any new mail.”
“Hello, Pentagon? I’d like to report Russian tanks are rumbling down Marcy Street this very moment, guns blazing! Oh, the humanity!”
“I see. And do you have a specific request?”
Robert Basler’s humor column runs twice monthly in SFR. Email the author: email@example.com