I saw a city dump truck barreling down my street yesterday morning, scattering salt and clearing the snow. It’s only a side street and there was barely an inch or two of snow to move.

Just a few weeks back, the city didn’t bother clearing our street even after we got up to seven inches. To quote the great Bob Dylan, things have changed.

Don’t get me wrong–I love my snow removal as much as the next guy. It’s just that the mayor and his administration have appeared schizo when it comes to finances as of late. One day they say they have no choice but to cut snow removal services because the budget’s hundreds of millions of dollars in the red, and the next they’ve got the boys clearing away every flake.   

I thought Mayor Daley would hang tough on his pledge to cut snow removal services, bolstered by the recent Sun-Times editorial that dismissed the gripes of residents slipping and sliding on icy streets as whiners who didn’t appreciate the enormous sacrifices our city has to make. Maybe today’s snow truck means the budget crisis has passed. 

An old pal who worked at City Hall used to tell me that the mayor’s not all-powerful in the way I make him out to be. He said Daley was actually very sensitive to public opinion. If he feels he’s gone too far–if he senses an electoral revolt on the horizon–he pulls back.

That’s one theory. I’m not sure I buy it. I think the mayor could discontinue snow removal and garbage collection and the mopes in this town would still re-elect him. After all, in the midst of tax increases, fee hikes, services cuts, and layoffs, they’re letting him get away with committing hundreds of millions for two weeks of fun and games in 2016.

Or as Bob Dylan said in Idiot Wind:”We’re idiots, babe, it’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.”