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While city work crews sprayed bridges with an anti-icing mixture of beet juice and brine ahead of Wednesday night’s snowstorm, Vince Gray engaged in some press conference punnery about how he wanted his administration’s snow work to be remembered.

“I hope they will say Gray had a snow…ball,” Gray said.

Ouch, Mr. Mayor. But Gray knows that any lackluster response to the first snow emergency of his administration won’t be so humorous for his re-election bid. Adrian Fenty‘s snowstorm response in 2009 and 2010 gave fuel to the Fenty haters of Facebook and MSNBC alike. Marion Barry‘s 1987 absentee blizzard response (he was going to the Super Bowl!) is the stuff of District political canon, and Gray just spent five hours absorbing wisdom from him.

“All you’ve got to do is have one mess-up with snow and that becomes headline news,” Gray says.

Gray even has a recent example of how quickly a botched snow response can turn on a mayor. Atlanta’s Kasim Reed—-“a great mayor,” Gray insists—- came off looking distinctly not so great after his constituents were left in Mad Max-esque chaos following a 2 1/2 inch dusting last month.

Yesterday, Gray said his administration was ready for the snow, and LL hasn’t seen any reason to think otherwise so far. All the same, one would-be mayor, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, despite hoping for the best, told LL that he’d be up late Wednesday watching the response in his ward.

Also likely glued to their computers as the snow falls: District Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works officials. During yesterday’s press conference, Gray joked—-or “joked”—-that he’d made something clear to DDOT director Terry Bellamy and DPW director William O. Howland Jr.

“If we mess up with the snow,” Gray says. “Don’t call me for a recommendation for your next job.”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery