What's the fastest way to get your street plowed after a massive storm?
Call a press conference with the mayor on your block.
At least that's what one Southeast resident, Rhonda Young, assumed when she saw a plow clearing 18th Street to the pavement just minutes before Mayor Adrian Fenty was scheduled to arrive for a photo opportunity with her neighbor.
"This is the clearest I've ever seen this street," said Young, an administrative assistant at D.C. Superior Court, who has lived on the street for nine years. "This is politics to the fullest."
Fenty, who is up for reelection, arrived at about 4:30 p.m. to help shovel the walkway of 76-year-old Vivian Freeman to highlight Serve D.C., a volunteer program that has been assisting seniors in the wake of the storm.
But the timing of the plowing appeared to be a coincidence. Daniel "Big Apple" Ellis, the plow operator on the street, said he had been out in the neighborhood since 7 a.m. The only reason he was still there by late afternoon, he said, was because "people are not letting us do our job. They're getting in the way."
Ellis said residents were dumping snow back into cleared streets as they tried to shovel out their cars and others were following his plow insisting that he also hit their streets.
"I didn't want to say, 'no,'" Ellis said, adding that he knew nothing of the mayor's plans.
Young still wasn't convinced. "These seniors need help all the time. Not just during campaign time," she said.
Before the mayor left, though, Young summoned her teenage son from inside to pose for a picture with the mayor.