Thursday, December 9, 2010
Snow Fun at All
Watching the France2 news last night--a half hour devoted almost entirely to mammoth traffic jams in and around Paris caused by a 10cm snowfall--I wondered if there would be any political consequences. Among American mayors in the northeastern United States, it is an article of faith that if you don't get the snow off the streets, you won't be re-elected. But who is responsible for snow removal in France? (Sorry to ask such a mundane question. I know I'm supposed to be an "expert," but "expert" knowledge sometimes fails to burrow down to the nitty gritty of daily life, and I live 3,000 miles away, in a New England enjoying a remarkably balmy December.) Is it the city, the region, le Département de Chasse-Neige auprès du Ministère de la Ville et de l'Urbanisme, ou je ne sais quoi encore? Will someone be blamed for this? I mean, a region of 12 million people that can be paralyzed by 10cm of snow and freezing rain looks like a political, not a natural, disaster from where I sit. What about it, Parisians? Is the blood boiling over there sufficiently to melt ice, or are you just accepting this as one of the inconveniences of modern life?