Tales in Good Government

snowmelter-meltingWashington D.C. is sometimes proverbial for its poor governance. Scandals seem to plague the district as regularly as the August heat.

Other times, the local government just plain doesn’t work.

Take for example the District’s snowmelter. Sounds like it would be a big help clearing out those snow-clogged streets, doesn’t it? It would be, if it worked.

A snowmelter is basically a giant heater. You dump up to ten dump truck loads of snow into it, it gets reduced to water. NBC News4 wanted to know why, during the biggest storm of the worst winter in Washington history, this $120,000 “emergency purchase” wasn’t out doing its job.

News4 went searching Monday for the snow melter, said to be sitting idle on a West Virginia Avenue motor pool and repair lot in northeast Washington, but it was hidden from view.

City officials declined a request for an on-camera interview, saying in a statement the snow melter needed parts, was difficult to operate and wasn’t worth using again.  So it sits on the city’s public works lot.

And just to make it more mysterious, the city government refused the News4 request to photograph it, though a source provided a couple of pictures of the machine.

We should be glad the city government is merely arrogantly incompetent, not outright criminal.

(H/t Dcist).