Hamburg politician puts the ‘I’ in street de-icing

Hamburg politician puts the 'I' in street de-icing
Photo: DPA
The president of Hamburg's city parliament is reportedly in hot water for ordering authorities to clear the footpaths of ice outside his own home while leaving the rest of the city to slip and slide their way home.

According to the daily Hamburger Morgenpost, Berndt Röder of the conservative Christian Democrats ordered for his street to be cleared in the area outside his own door.

The apparent favouritism is causing a stir of anger in the Groß Borstel district of Hamburg, where Röder lives.

“People are surprised,” said Wolf Wieters, chairman of the local community association. “Streets on which many people live are pure skating rinks and of all places Mr Röder’s street has been painstakingly cleaned.”

A parliamentary insider confirmed the suspicions of the people in the area: the president of the city-state’s legislature had given city authorities the understanding that he would like his street to be cleared of ice.

“It extended past three corners, but the matter was quite clear,” the insider said, adding that no other politician had made such a barefaced request.

After months of steady snow, and with Germany’s temperatures still languishing below zero, the permanent ice has caused a spike in injuries. Many hospitals have seen a rise in broken bones, which they are blaming on poorly cleared streets. Some hospitals had so many cases they’d stopped counting, according to a survey by news agency DPA on Monday.

Röder has been in trouble before, in 2004, when he decided to test the real-life response time of the Hamburg police by faking an emergency call. He was strongly criticised by the police union and the media, and fined €2,500.

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