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January 31, 2007 07:37 PM UTC

Hickenlooper Still Battling Snow Removal Criticism

  • by: Colorado Pols

The word “disaster” descends from the Latin term for “bad star.”

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper already knows what it means, this morning’s Rocky reports:

The misery from the winter blasts of 2006-07 could soon pass the notorious storms of 1982-83, which helped send one Denver mayor packing after failing to unclog streets.

Perhaps with that in mind, Mayor John Hickenlooper on Tuesday fought back hard against criticism, calling the current five- storm surge “unparalleled” and pledging to spend big bucks to assure that the city’s side-street ice ruts are never so deep again…

With little warming in sight, this current series of storms likely will surpass the Christmas storm of 1982 in the number of days with at least one inch of snow on the ground, according to the National Weather Service. And if the weather pattern doesn’t improve, this series of storms could possibly climb to first place, said weather service meteorologist Jim Kalina.

But all the comparisons with past storms haven’t quelled a chorus of criticism among Denverites contending with rutted streets more than a month after Mother Nature’s main blast.

We thought this was a settled matter on New Year’s Eve when a poll showed only 21% of Denver residents blamed the mayor for the city’s snow-removal nightmare. A month later with so little measurable improvement, are people re-evaluating that?


61 thoughts on “Hickenlooper Still Battling Snow Removal Criticism

  1. We have them in Lafayette and they have them in Boulder.  It is like slippery four wheeling on the side streets.  🙂  So I don’t think Denver has been *unusually* slow or inept, for the area.

    However, if this region can figure out a better way to handle a lot of snow, it seems advisable.  Perhaps the mayors should talk to cities back east, where they are used to snow that doesn’t melt for weeks at a time.

    1. Having snow stick around like this is unprecedented as long as I’ve been living here.  We can’t put too many governmental resources into snow removal, otherwise we’ll have too many snow removers lined up in years when it only snows two or three times.  Just take some initiative and solve your own problems.  It’s not our municipal government’s job to create a Utopia where we can all dance in streets magically cleared of snow. 

      1. There is no good reason for our roads to still be such a mess.  Boston hires locals with four wheel drive and a plow to work thier local neighborhods.  I think they pay them $25 an hour.  Something reasonable, but it gets the side streets plowed quickly, gets locals involved, puts a little extra money in the community, and doesn’t cost the extra millions the mayor keeps screaming about.

        All of this the ice today is the result of the first big storm that the mayor didn’t handle well.  Because Hickie, and lot of other people in front range gov. didn’t know how to handle the snow we are paying for the mess.

        1. I like the idea of hiring people with 4x4s to help plow after a storm.  Hopefully the local pols are thinking about things like this.  My point was not that it couldn’t have been handled better, but that Denver’s handling was pretty typical of what I’ve seen driving around.

  2. snow in colorado, in Jan…absolutely unbelievable…clearly a result of Global Warming! Pleeeeeze…get a grip people!  It’s not the apocalypse it’s snow!

    1. Why not take a look at every scientific research study done on Climate Change, and now the testimony from several governmental agencies that the Bush Administration blatantly changed the wording of research to fit their ideology.

      1. …spare me the trite and predictable response every enviro tries to ram down the throats of the public…there are scientists, and not just the fringers (MITer types), who have serious dispute with the data collected…furthermore, it seems that one argument that gets glossed over are the motives institutions may have with regard to stifling debate that may question global warming, and more precisely man’s supposed impact on it.  I’ve read many of the same reports you have, as well as many of the counter reports, and there is enough suspect methodology in the manner the data was collected, interpreted and presented which all legitimately call into question the credibility of the institutions and scientists who continue to put forward this faulty logic!  What is alarming to me, is the intractable nature of those ardent believers…my god, if people question the data and methodology used to collect it, then by god you are a heretic! And, you will be burned at the stake…doesn’t that kind of stifling debate scare you even a little?

          1. and eddys should post them.

            If he does, please look for the periodical in which the article appeared.  If the publication accepts writings not made available for peer review, it’s not a scientific publication.

            Science is fundamentally about being skeptical.  Climate scientists are as open to challenge and dissent as anyone, but you can’t just make things up and expect to be taken seriously.

            1. …do you work in the industry? I suspect not…science has become the 20-21st century religion…anything printed as a study automatically gets referenced as gospel in the MSM..just do a one month survey of the local news articles, nightly news and see how many studies are referenced in that time period!

              1. Yeah, so what? 

                It’s the only “religion” that can prove or disprove its tenets and is wiling to alter them as new evidence arises.

                I say that as a man of faith.

                1. science is quite often wrong…it’s absolutely ludicrous to place utter and complete faith in science and not question the outcomes of research. Moreover, how about the ethical considerations that are frequently ignored…?

                  1. Oh, come on!  That’s exactly how science works and advances in increased knowledge. 

                    And, of course, Bible Bangers always question new findings, right?

          2. I typed in “global warming skeptics” in Google and there are countless sites with information on the notion that maybe, just maybe, humans are not causing the world to end as that lunatic tree hugger Gore thinks.
            I’m not computer smart enough to send links, but a simple Google search should give you the information you are looking for.

            1. You can put anything on the internet that doesnt mean that it is factual. A peer reviewed journal means that serious questions by knowledgeable people have been asked. People who are skeptical, knowledgeable of the subject matter, and who want the facts. Doing a google search means nothing.

              1. Just because someone writes an article stating that their data shows that we are causing global warming, does not mean they are correct.

                Did you hear Mike Rosen’s guest this afternoon? I was quite busy so I only got to hear bits and pieces but he is some kind of expert and was saying the same things (only way more professionally than me)… warming is happening but there is no indisputable truth saying mankind is affecting it in even the slightest degree.
                I wish I had the time to listen to who he was but I’m sure, if Mike had him on the show, that he isn’t a quack.
                Anymore than anybody you talk of if the beacon of truth and knowledge.
                Fair enough?

                1. … doesn’t mean that their criticisms have merit.

                  Albert Einstein, one of the foremost scientists ever, criticized the notion that there could even be a thing such as quantuum physics. He just didn’t believe it could be so.

                  But the evidence piled up and piled up. The more scientists looked at it, the more it proved to be a real part of the physical universe. It didn’t jibe with Einstein’s internal beliefs about Man and Nature so he couldn’t comprehend it.

                  Same with climate change. Many of the skeptics are well respected scientists and researchers. Unfortunately for them, the data related to the human factor is indisputable. They don’t accept it because it doesn’t jibe with their understanding. That’s why their work isn’t peer reviewed – it doesn’t stand up to the rigorous process of proving what they say. Climate change does.

                  But for those who don’t understand, you can use common sense to appreciate it. 6 billion people consuming all that fuel every day… and that has zero impact? Absurd.

                  1. but, please do not be misled…peer review in the academic world is laughable…I should know…I work in that world.  Peer reviews can often be nothing more than affirmations of prevailing doctrine…even when the doctrine is inaccurate.  If the academic community is inherently biases on a particular subject, logic dictates the supposed peer reviews may, just may be bias as well…not a very compelling point on your part…sorry!

                    1. What is your suggested alternative?

                      Generally, peer review works.  I do understand that sometimes things are less than 100% forthright because of grant seeking, but what is better?

                      To jut publish an opinion even if the methodolgoy is bogus and the data says just the opposite?  You know, like “think” tanks.

                    2. …very little discussion is given to the bias that overtly exists in academia (ok, outside of your rants of rightie talk show hosts), but it is real and is a serious problem that has created an increasing level of skepticism…let me make this analogy, the public was rightly angered by the malfeasance of Arthur Anderson in their accounting scandals…why? Certainly, a significant element was due to the out-and-out fraud and the perception that another “big corporation” was screwing the little guy. Of greater concern, our country’s economic system is predicated on trust. Investors have to believe the financial statements, economic forecasts, etc. are accurate and are put forth by knowledged and unbiased experts. When AA violated this trust it shook the foundation of the very system we rely on for this accuracy.  The same holds true in academia…if the scientists, researchers and professors charged with evaluating the data allow their bias to interfere with the interpretation and transmission of their findings it marginalizes their work.  To answer your second question…I’m not sure, shockingly, I have an adequate solution.  Think tanks are certainly rife with methodological error, but there is still a lot of good work being done.  And, we both, left and right, are guilty of using the results from our favorite think tanks to support our premise…for example, Big Horn Institute was referenced extensively during the C and D campaign…I read one reporter who erroneously referred to it as non-partisan think tank…anywho…that’s all I gots to say, for now, on that subject!

                    3. Okay, tell us a detailed story about how peer review is a joke, based on your personal observations. Change the names to protect the innocent (or yourself from a lawsuit) but failure to do this will be construed by me as your bluff being called. It’s dishonest to drop little hints like that without giving up the goods. (Especially if that’s your basis of saying my point isn’t “compelling.”)

                    4. have to live with that fact that you think I’m bullshitting…and, to be sure, I’d be skeptical in your position, but I don’t have the time nor inclination to break out a long diatribe on studies in my field I’ve seen where the methodology doesn’t jive…sorry…I’ll juts have to live with the shame!  Incidentally, I can still think you point is unconvincing irrespective of my ability or desire to demonstrate my aceademic crediantials…

                    5. I guess you too make your decisions based on internal beliefs rather than external facts. Your mind is closed made up. So please… spare me the “convincing” platitude. If you still have any doubt now that man’s activities have even the slightest bit to do with climate change then nothing will change your mind.

                    6. Okay, eddys, what is your academic credentials to review scientific material?
                      I want to echo what has already been said…academics argue all the time over theories and discoveries and scientific conclusion…it is the very rigor which helps advance science….so how do you work in that world? hell, you may be a director at NOAH…but spite it out…why is your opinion so valuable?

                    7. can’t do, and that may invalidate my opinions in your eyes, and again, I’ll just have to live with that disappointment.  My opinion is no more or less valuable than yours.

                    8. I make no claim to having any hard science credentials…I always found science difficult…so I don’t make wild assertions about what is accurate and what is not…..I have a sense of how the scientific community works….some grad work in anthropology and quanitative analysis….just enough to know I don’t know and to repect those who do. 

                      But you are attempting to debunk without portfolio…..or are being coy… and say it doesn’t matter…everyone’s opionion is just as valid as someone else’s………..eddys are you a girl?

                    9. You really got me with the “eddys are you a girl?” comment…wow!  If that’s the best retort you have, I apologize, because I miscalculated what an intellectual giant you really are!  Bring something more than that to the table, moron. 

            2. Their are lots of industry paid “experts” who submit articles to refute global warming – but, I was looking for actual published scientific studies that refute global warming.  My guess – Eddys will not be able to find any of the MITer types that have published peer reviewed research articles that confirm his statements.

            “Global Climate Change,” by Dr. S. Fred Singer, 1989 (Paragon House) Dr. Singer is a professor of environmental sciences at the Univ of Va.
            “The Science of Global Warming Warrants Critical Review” by James Glassman and Dr. Sallie Baliunas, Tech Central Station. Website:
            “Petition Project” 17,000 scientists dissent from Global Warming propaganda. Contact Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine, Box1250, Cave Junction, OR 97523

          1. for the sake of conciliation, peace love and harmony…I will agree global warming is a undisputed fact…and we humans are responsible…now what?  Be specific…Koyoto has proven elusively difficult to adhere to…how do we bring India and China into the fold…what if they and other countries simply ignore the UN’s mandate…then what????  All legite questions…

            1. How can you go from your first post of “enviros ramming it down our throats” to “we humans are responsible”?  You surely didn’t change your mind in a couple of hours – or maybe you did – who knows…

              1. It was simply a point of conciliation to advance the conversation…not necessarily a change of heart…but, hey, I’m open minded enough to say let me look closer…you all made some terrific points and it’s is possible I’ve been blinded as well…halleluiah! 

            2. It is funny that so many are fighting this. The real question that should be asked, is what do we do? Do we allow it to continue? For what we know, so far, it could be advantageous. Problem is that we need more data and crunch time.

              But most likely, it is bad for us. all of the long range predictions are NOT good. In fact, none of them were good overall (some places will come out better). So now we have to move forward. Funny thing, is that most countries do better when we are forced to change. America in particular excels during these changes. It seems like the last 6 years has been an exercise in holding back a tidal wave and trying to keep the oil companies in power. Instead, this can be used to really push us into what Nixon, Ford, and Carter wanted more than 30 years ago. What is needed if for the feds to get out of the way and quit trying to give an advantage to oil (and coal). The Republican’s tax breaks to the oil company was about as stupid, warped and traitorous as I have ever seen.

              There is a simple answer to all of this. Do not give anymore tax breaks. Do not fund any projects beyond the research partion. And do not try to mandate that cars must be a certain MPG. Instead, put on a tax on all Gas and Diseal vehicle. Only start if off slow and increase it every 6 months. Most importantly, congress and the president must have enough courage (not likely) to make it such that it can not be retracted. If customers KNOW that gas will go up .(25|50) every 6 month, then they will start demanding the vehicles such as the volt happen. Now. OTH, ppl such as W, Cheney, Bill Gates, and others with obscene money will still buy their Hummers. But so what? There are good places for such vehicles. More importantly, over time, even the wealthy will move from the hummers, Porsche, caddies  to a Tesla motors SUV.
              As to coal plants, Poppa Bush pushed for America to use capitalism on reducing pollution (market driven), but it was never implemented correctly. And EU’s approach is simply a horrible implementation.  If we take the same approach but implement it correctly i.e. cap it today at what we have, and then reduce the amount over time.

              But hey, that is just my .02 cents.

              1. You have stated one of the real issues…the presumption we have the power to “stop it.”  This is what I know for sure.  First,  we don’t have generation studies of our technology in real time. Second, we can not anticipate what might be “unintended consequences” Third, whether we have the technological capacity to control our impact on climate change or not is  debatable.

                I think your question suggests a false premise and that is that we can control this, it is just a matter of political will…..hey, that sounds like the debate on Iraq…”Do we want to win or not?” 

        1. Welch: Interference in science “stunning”

          Seems the White House doesn’t like it when scientists use the phrase “global warming.” Much like cons don’t like hearing the phrase because *gasp* we might have to change the way we do things.

          I’ve said it before… We can debate the exact extent to which mankind impacts the environment and climate change, but thinking that 6 billion people consuming hundred of millions (billions?) of gallonsof fuel and tons of coal every day has no significant impact is being willfully ignorant.

        2. 1.  Is the earth warming over the last centurya, say?  Possible answers are Yes or No.  Obviously it is.  Ocean temperatures are up, icecaps are melting, weather is increasingly radical and intense as computer models show, polar bears are drowning.  Logical response is “Yes.”

          2.  Is man causing some, or all, of this warming?  Possible answers are Yes, No, or WHO THE FUCK CARES, IT’S HAPPENING!

          Not so many years ago the hydrocarbon industry shills, I mean conservatives, insisted that global warming wasn’t even happening.  After a decade of news stories about geophysical changes, they no longer claim the absurd.

          Now, they are insisting that humans have nothing to do with it, despite a 1/3rd increase in carbon dioxied and other gases which most definitely have an effect on climate.  It didn’t all come from volcanoes and cows. 

          Question #2 is really a straw man argument.  So what if it is or is not caused by man?  We have a crisis on our hands, and we can either ignore it until it is too late, or we can do something about it. 

          What I find so fascinating psychologically is that the conservatives take the position they do.  Why?  Does it threaten a status quo of Big Oil and Big Coal and SUV’s and economic development with a Pay Me Later pricetag? 

          I guess so.

          1. …in fact, the best argument lefties can make to combat terrorism is to tie national security to an energy independent nation (which is something you’re starting to see).  That’s an eminently more persuasive argument.  Furthermore, what specific remedies do you suggest we, the US, take to curb greenhouse emissions and at what costs?  I find the fervor over global warming incredible…lefties will downplay global terrorism and the increasingly brazen efforts of Muslim extremists to impose their beliefs on the world, and deny the very freedoms we have come to embrace…yet so much of the resentment and anger is too often misguidedly directed toward anyone who might express doubt about the causes of warming…my god…perspective!

                  1. “I find the fervor over global warming incredible…” and then proceeds to the end. A lot of that reads like right wing talking points. To me, straight partisan rhetoric, on either side, generally comes across like platitudes.

                    By the way, what is up with the elipses? Just curious.

                    1. You know how a dog whistle is at such a high frequency pitch that dogs can hear it, but humans cant? Dog whistle politics is a term used to describe phrases and lines in talking points and speeches that resonate with a specific group of people, and designed to elicit a certain response. Read David Kuo’s book, he was a speech writer for Bush and others, and used specific terminology used to resonate with christian fundamentalist, in one case unbeknownst to the person giving the speech. Other terms include things like MSM, Democrat party rather than democratic party, San Francisco Liberal, and others.

                    2. is it a worthwhile read?  If so, I’ll add it to my list.  Also, to answer your question why I like to use ellipses…an internet thingy.  I certainly do not use it for papers, correspondence and the such.

            1. That lefties are starting to see energy independence as a way of reducing terrorism?  Starting?  Did I get this right?

              I guess Haliburton, Enron, the Bush administration, and the righties are the ones pushing alternative energy, right?

              1. …the dems have just started to pick this up as a theme in their national lexicon…I suspect you will hear it even greater abundance in the next 2 yrs…and, for the record, it is one of the most compelling arguments out there for supporting alternative energy infrastructures…I am not so myopic as to think it is not in our national interest to seek ways to be free from the middle east teat.  I would love nothing more than to be independent from their wells…

                1. Carter and others argued this back in the 70’s. Hart (and Rudmann) argued it 9 months before 9/11. You know, where the terrorists did exactly what hart/rudmann said would happen. They even pointed out that the nuts were not all that nuts, but being funded by oil imports. Problem is, that conservatives simply do not listen to reason.

  3. I saw the actual pavement this morning where the ruts are.  Of course, now it’s snowing again……..

    Even my Jeep has been thrown suddenly to one side or another cruising the ruts.  Had a (rather foolish) friend try to turn around on Columbine near DU and she tried to cross the ruts exactly perpenducular (sp?).  Of course, her wheels just dropped into the ruts.  It took a number of us and a real shovel to get her out.

    I would guess that a plow is ineffective against this frozen hard stuff.  A grader with a number of long teeth might do the trick, break the ice into many small pieces which would enhance melting. 

      1. But I can’t believe that between our Yankee genius and high tech that it can’t be done. 

        Two weeks ago I watched a front end load just mostly spin wheels with a lot of noise and commotion.  That welded on ice can stop a lot of things.  Graders are the gizmo that works, whatever the blade or tool is down there.

    1. And then they cleared the streets of snow. (Ba-dam BOOM!) It was neat. I took my 2 year old daughter out to watch the big scraping plow work together with the front loader as they pile up snow 12 feet high, then loaded it into big trucks to haul it all away.

      Hick deserved some heat for the initial slow response, but other than that I challenge anyone to do a better job without the expense of maintaining a big fleet of plows for a city that typically doesn’t get this much snow or this many storms.

      1. My street had a pretty thick layer of ice. I think it was a grader that plowed it up, leaving a thinner, pretty uniform layer that mostly melted late last week. So it can be done.

  4. The issue is ruts. They are everywhere and killing the wheels, suspensions, and axles (and yes, they can break axles).

    Taking off all the snow is a VERY slow process esp in the cold weather. But instead, they could quickly fill in the ruts with snow!. In highlands ranch, we had some major ones in the firelight area. After 3 weeks, I got pissed and filled in the worse ones. Then several days later, the plow ppl came and took off part of the snow during the cold and left us back in a bad situation by doing it just half-a*&

    If these gov. want to handle this somewhat cheaply, then do not try to plow it all. Simply fill the holes via plow and then come back and do it right, when you have time (esp when it is warm).

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