• Emanuel campaign
  • Rahm Emanuel shovels snow in Roscoe Village.

As the city deals with the aftermath of the biggest blizzard to hit in years, Carol Moseley Braun, Gery Chico, and Miguel del Valle participated in a sparsely attended forum at the Union League Club this morning. They discussed last night’s closure of Lake Shore Drive, which forced hundreds of commuters to abandon their cars.

Braun and Chico criticized the decision to close the Drive. Del Valle told me he was miffed at the city’s response.

“Everyone in the city knew that we would have wind gusts of 60 to 70 miles per hour,” he said. “They knew that we’d have a lot of drifting snow, and while I appreciate the fact that the city wanted to maintain Lake Shore Drive as long as they could to allow people to get home, I don’t understand why there weren’t enough trucks available to keep those exit ramps clear.”

(Mayor Daley’s chief of staff, Ray Orzoco, apologized to motorists today. He explained that traffic was moving steadily when a decision was made to close the Drive after several accidents near the Belmont exit.)

Chico and Rahm Emanuel each helped dig out cars stuck in snow, Emanuel in Roscoe Village and Chico in Logan Square.

Del Valle and his wife, Lupe, and son, Esteban, worked together to free the candidate’s car, stuck in an alley behind their Belmont-Cragin home early this morning. More than 500 del Valle volunteers were working the phones today, calling potential voters who might have stayed home. Del Valle, Chicago’s city clerk, said he spent much of the morning attending to business at his office.

Calls to the Braun campaign were not returned.

All four candidates were scheduled to attend a forum at DuSable High School tonight, but it’s been postponed. Chico also had planned to attend a fund-raiser at Joe’s Bar in Lincoln Park tonight; that was postponed, too. Del Valle said organizers will reschedule four events he planned to attend today.

Heavy snow has worried incumbent mayors ever since Michael Bilandic responded slowly to a snowstorm in 1979. Chicagoans voted him out of office. Though some residents have been critical of the response so far, others marveled at the plowed streets downtown this morning.

“It’s almost like Daley’s running for reelection,” said a man buying his coffee at a Starbucks at Hubbard and State.