Editor: A snowstorm is an act of nature, and no one can predict when the next mega-storm will arrive (next year, 10 years?). So I was saddened to read this paper’s opinion piece blaming the Town of Leesburg for a failure in road-clearing strategy (i.e., “something went horribly wrong”, “poor performance”, etc.). We live in a culture of finger pointing, stressing that someone else is to blame, and that if those people only had our wisdom, things would be made right. That attitude is poppycock.
I’ve lived in northern Virginia for more than sixty years, so I know that thirty-four inches of snow from one storm is rare. When we’re faced with the challenge of removing such a quantity of snow, we do the best that circumstances allow. I live in one of Leesburg’s subdivisions mentioned in your editorial, but the guys who usually shovel driveways for me and most of my neighbors couldn’t get into our neighborhood. They couldn’t even walk down a street covered in waist-height snowfall if they tried. But it never occurred to me to blame town officials for my being snowed in. If anyone was to blame, it was Mother Nature.
Worse, Supervisor (and former Leesburg Mayor) Kristen Umstattd was quoted on your front page as saying that the town’s snow removal plan of clearing primary roads first “seriously and unnecessarily” jeopardized public safety. Really? Citizens of some towns in nearby Montgomery County, MD, criticized their own jurisdictions for doing just the opposite—raging that subdivision roads serving few people were clear, while major routes remained narrow and slushy.
I’m proud of the way our town responded to this recent snow emergency. Snow removal equipment operated day and night. Neighbors helped neighbors, and most of us were adequately prepared to be house-bound for an extended period. Seldom has a snowstorm been so accurately predicted, especially so far in advance, and almost no one lost electricity. For that, we should all be thankful.
Terry Sisk, Leesburg