The Washington Post

Tweet of the Week, Vol. 9

In which I highlight tweets from around the area and analyze why they’re important.

Um, is Andy Shallal serious? At another one of the gazillion mayoral forums that we’ve had to deal with over the past few weeks, the restaurant owner made a slightly bizarre comment, as noted above. Maybe he meant that we shouldn’t be letting something like weather get in the way of education? Or maybe he’s just tired of the weather like the rest of  us and is tired of things getting shut down. At the time, it seemed weird even to some in the audience.

Marina Streznewski was at the UnForum, held at UDC Law School on Sunday, and wasn’t quite sure what to think. “My husband I kind of looked at each other [quizzically.] We thought he went a little too far,” she said, laughing. Strezenwewski, a Foggy Bottom resident, tried to give Shallal the benefit of the doubt, but still thinks that schools close for a couple very good reasons. “It is dangerous for little kids to be on icy sidewalks. The other thing is we’re in a much more litigious society than we used to. Bearing all those things in mind, while I get what Andy Shallal was going for, that is allowing the weather to interfere with things like education, bothers people.”

For this concept to make any sense at all, think about how many things have to go right from an overall city systems standpoint. For one, you can rule out any teachers that live outside of the District who work in DCPS. Secondarily, any kid that goes to school outside of their traditional public school boundary would automatically have a much higher burden put on them to get to school.

In short, you’d have to have a system in which nearly every other part of the transit infrastructure worked perfectly for that to even be a realistic goal. Shallal has made his name as an alternative thinker, something that is much appreciated in a world and political spectrum clouded with old-world thinkers.

As it turns out, he just thinks the city’s snow prep is embarrassing.

“It’s not just all about education, it’s about being the nation’s capital of the United States of America. For us to close because of 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground  seems a little silly, frankly, with all the resources that we have. It seems like we can certainly handle a few inches of snow,” Shallal said, parroting a popular stance, that I personally believe is flawed. “I have some nephews that live in New York and they rarely close there. Everybody functions, because they have a great transportation system and people just get around.”

But in a world of Twitter, in which context, tone and intent can be difficult to discern on a screen, he acknowledged that he might have been a little more careful with his words.

“It was sort of tongue-in-cheek, but I guess nothing is tongue-in-cheek anymore,” Shallal joked Tuesday afternoon. “It seems like if we can put a man on the moon, we can clean the streets.”

Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.



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