Dear Mayor Adrian Fenty,

You caved?! You closed the D.C. government? We had so much more faith in you than that.

Yes, the federal government is closed. City and county governments in Arlington, Alexandria, Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and everywhere else are closed. The D.C. public school system, and every other school system in the area, is closed (some until next week!). There’s no Metrorail service above ground and no Metrobus. There’s no Circulator. No MARC. No VRE.

But what does all of that mean? Must the District’s employees stay home just because everyone else is doing it? What is this, third grade?

What’s the saying—”What doesn’t make us stronger kills us”? Or something like that. You are so much better than that, Mr. Mayor.

Things were looking so good for a while there last night; it was well after dinner time and you were holding strong, just like you have been the last few days. Around 8 p.m., your Department of Public Works was even sending out email messages to neighborhood listservs urging residents to put their trash out for collection today, even despite forecasts calling for more snow and increasingly gusty winds (“near blizzard conditions”!): “Mayor Fenty is committed to providing trash collection if at all possible,” wrote Kevin Twine, staff assistant at DPW. “If DC Government is open tomorrow, we are asking those with Wednesday collection to place their trash bags or supercans in the front. We will make every effort to collect them. We regret your frustration and appreciate your patience.”

Never mind that 25 percent of the D.C. snowplow fleet is reported to be out of service. Trash pickup will go on!

We could picture you this morning, walking down your nicely shoveled walkway, getting into your Smart Car, hitting the gym for a workout, then reporting for duty. And all your public servants would be right there behind you.

Then, at 10:53 last night, came the news. It arrived in our inbox, a message from Alert DC with the subject line: “Government Offices Closing.” We took a breath and opened it. Inside were the saddest, most disappointing 19 words imaginable: “On Wednesday, February 10, 2010, DC Government will be closed, with only emergency and essential personnel reporting for duty.”

Seriously, Mr. Mayor, next Snowmageddon let’s do better.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery