February 6, 2011
A storm big enough to close Chicago schools was in the offing; but still businesses stayed open. You can't close for every snowstorm, but this one was obviously the real thing.
As a result, 900 abandoned cars blocked Lake Shore Drive, impeding rescue vehicles and snow removal.
Traffic accidents needed to be dealt with. Patrolmen had to be out in the storm helping people who were stuck or hurt. It risked their lives, and it cost a lot of money.
After the storm, things were still at a standstill, because over 900 cars had to be removed all over the city. And the city isn’t charging for the removal. That will make a nice dent in the city’s budget. (And now people are griping about the city because they can’t find their cars, according to today's Huffington Post.)
People are proud of being able to deal with any kind of weather, but there’s a limit. Businesses don’t want to close and lose revenue, and people don’t want to lose wages. But there’s a limit. And everybody pays when we go beyond it.
Can a city the size of Chicago say to a business, “Close and get your people home, or pay up?” Probably not. Can people be fined for being on the roads when they have no business being there? (Not just people leaving work, anybody at all.) Probably not.
But if I were the mayor, I would find out; because at this point, I’d have reached my limit.