More than a few readers from farther south said in response to our story on the subject that the District should be responsible to shovel snow from sidewalks, not homeowners.

"Aren't sidewalks city property? If they crack, the city fixes them," wrote one reader in Charlotte, N.C., via e-mail. "I just don't understand this. ... If this were true you could just rip it out the ground if you want to."

Another reader, this one from Vidor, Texas, wrote: "This, of course, isn't an issue in the deep south. My question is who owns the right-of-way where the sidewalks exist? If the city owns it, this is their responsibility to maintain and correct this hazard, and anything a citizen does to clear them should be appreciated."

Interestingly, we received no e-mails from our northern neighbors, probably because it's common in snowy cities for property owners to be required to clear their own sidewalks. It's also not uncommon for cities to fine those who don't.

(And yes, that's a picture of former Mayor Adrian Fenty shoveling snow outside the Kennedy Recreation Center in Feb. 2007 as part of an effort to set an example for residents.)