TOO BAD D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) didn't return from his national tour of cities with a healthier respect for the use of sirens. They are for emergencies, for life-and-death situations -- not to improve a mayor's on-time record at meetings of the Crestwood Neighborhood League or women's health events or (worse) political fundraisers.
Part of Mr. Fenty's appeal as a candidate was his guy-next-door persona. He eschewed a lot of the trappings of office as he walked door-to-door greeting voters. When he needed a ride, he drove himself. Yet less than two months into his term, reports The Post's Elissa Silverman, Mr. Fenty is routinely being driven through traffic using sirens and emergency lights, sometimes even running red lights and exceeding speed limits. In contrast, most other big-city mayors, including New York's Michael R. Bloomberg, so much admired by Mr. Fenty, restrict their use to situations involving public safety.
Mr. Fenty's spokeswoman, in defending the practice, said that people "expect him to be all over town during the course of the business day" and that he only uses sirens and lights when he's late and on official business; this way he can get to more events. It's great that Mr. Fenty is out and about, which his predecessor wasn't often enough. But we hope a sense of entitlement isn't creeping in already.