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Hamburg politician resigns for de-icing affair

DDP/The Local · 20 Feb 2010, 17:30

Published: 20 Feb 2010 17:30 GMT+01:00

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Berndt Röder of the conservative Christian Democrats ordered the winter road services to de-ice the area outside his house in the district of Groß Borstel in early February. The ensuing public outcry has now cost Röder his job, a CDU spokeswoman confirmed Saturday.

Röder recently described the decision as a "cardinal error," but refused to consider resignation for what has been dubbed "Wintergate."

The favouritism caused outrage in Groß Borstel. “People are surprised,” said Wolf Wieters, chairman of the local community association. “Streets on which many people live are pure skating rinks and Mr Röder’s street, of all places, 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 local authorities the understanding that he would like his street to be cleared first.

“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.

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.

Story continues below…

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.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:51 February 21, 2010 by nycinhamburg
As someone who has fallen not once not twice but three times and have seen numerous people fall and even injure themselves, We pay all this money in taxes and that money is to go to things that benefit the community not one politician. When will they learn!!?? I love HH and Germany but sometimes I wonder about these people!!
21:37 February 21, 2010 by Johnny Cash
With the amount of fuel tax and car tax we pay in this country motorists should expect to be driving on well cleared, gold plated roads. How come the motorist keeps getting screwed unfairly. Who is pigging out at the trough on our taxes. With tax on every litre of benzine sold in Germany at 87 cents!!!!!!!!!!!!! and Diesel 66 cents that must add up to ,well ----------- lots every day in this country. I'll leave the math to the big brains but I think most people with an imagination can visualize how big a stash Lots is.
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