February 21, 2014
Poor planning and poor execution best describe the performance of our elected officials during our recent snow event. This morning, Feb 13 at about 10 a.m. I was required to travel from Lake Murray to the area of Newberry Hospital. During this approximate 20 mile trip, I did not see a single piece of government owned snow removal equipment at work or a single piece of evidence that any work had previously been done since the snow began two days earlier.
Consequently, the road conditions were nearly impassable. I did, however see eight pieces of privately owned construction equipment being used to plow private parking lots of businesses that were mostly closed because their employees and customers could not reach their locations due to the overall road conditions. If all the available government owned snow removal equipment was being utilized on roads with higher priority than Hwy 76 and State Route 391, would it have been too much to ask of our elected officials to have an emergency plan in place to utilize privately owned equipment to remove the snow from our roadways before being released to plow empty parking lots?
It is a primary function of government to have emergency plans in place and to execute them efficiently when those emergencies arise. More than half the continental USA have worse winter storms for four or five months out of every year than the one we experienced this week. How to effectively deal with such conditions is not forbidden knowledge. Is it too much to ask that our elected officials have a plan in place for a once-in ten-year event? The current official plan seems to be to advise citizens to stay at home until the spring thaw comes and melts the snow on it’s own. At first glance this approach may sound reasonable, unfortunately however, this approach doesn’t work well in case of an emergency or when the conditions persist over a longer period of time. Lets face the facts, our elected officials have failed us yet again in this recent event!