Cutting Edge: New ideas / Sharp opinions

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One Hill, one future

Blogger emeritus Bram Reichbaum says it's time to celebrate -- with the customary dose of cautious optimism -- the community benefits pact signed by the city, the county, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the One Hill Neighborhood Coalition last week:

"This should generate among Hill residents and among all city residents the confidence that things can be made to change if we shake things up, leave our comfort zone, engage in the drama of our community -- if we approach our public officials with both a spirit of cooperation and a willingness to confront -- and if we do it patiently and faithfully, so that we can learn how to do it as we do it."

See The Pittsburgh Comet ( for more.

The bus stops here ...

... and here, and here, and also over there. Does Pittsburgh have too many bus stops? And if so, should we reduce the number of stops? Routes? Here's Ken Zapinski commenting on a new report from the Port Authority:

"One of my favorite tidbits in the report: the number of Port Authority bus stops compared to other benchmark systems. The Port Authority has 20.3 bus stops for every square mile of its service area. Portland and Seattle, two locales that transit advocates love to gush over, have 13.2 and 9.2, respectively. The only benchmark system with a greater concentration of bus stops is Milwaukee, at 25.3 stops per square mile."

A former ace PG reporter, Ken (we're on first-name basis) is now a bigshot at the Allegheny Conference -- and a newbie blogger at No Commuter Left Behind (, where he emitted those comments.

Costa > Logan > Fumo

414 Grant Street ( says our own state Sen. Jay Costa would be a better choice than Sen. Sean Logan to replace the outgoing -- and indicted -- Vincent Fumo, the ranking Senate Democrat:

"What is most interesting in this behind the scenes power struggle is that the outgoing Fumo, despite the scandal clouds hanging over his head, is trying to hand-pick his successor and has tapped Logan as his preferred successor. Unfortunately, with all of the corruption and scandals emanating from Harrisburg, can we really afford to have someone who is under federal indictment hand-selecting his successor for this position in a secret back room deal? Seems to us that Logan's candidacy is severely tainted by Vince's back-room endorsement and maneuvering ...

"The sensible choice here for the Democratic Caucus and for Western Pennsylvania is for the junior senator -- Logan -- to withdraw his nomination and support his senior colleague Sen. Costa."

City-county merger, DOA?

The Pittsburgh Hoagie ( sure hopes so:

"Thank goodness the 'proposed' city-county merger has hit the back burner. This was a terrible idea from the start that no one ever took seriously except maybe the blue ribbon panel that came up with the report. Why in the world would anyone be in favor of a plan that cut the direct representation we now have? Why should someone who represents Neville Island be able to dictate what goes on in the West End of the city?"

Propel Pittsburgh, DOA?

"You may still vaguely remember the Propel Pittsburgh Commission, Mayor Ravenstahl's plan to get together a bunch of smart young people to find ways to keep other young people in Pittsburgh. So far, it's been a little less than stellar; we've been around for a year, and we've yet to even make a single formal recommendation, let alone start trying to do something. [The fundamental problem] is one that seems to plague many public boards and commissions: People just plain don't show up. We know there have been several resignations, although the complete list isn't available. Beyond those, there's another five to 10 people who haven't been seen since the first meeting. There was pretty steep competition to get onto this commission in the first place, and we see a bunch of empty chairs that are itching to be filled." -- Metroblogging Pittsburgh (

Raise a glass

Last word goes to the a reader, who offered this funeral prayer (originally written by English poet Thomas Gray) after learning of Freedom teen John Challis's death from cancer:

Here, freed from pain, secure from misery, lies
A child, the darling of his parents' eyes:
A gentler Lamb ne'er sported on the plain,
A fairer flower will never bloom again:
Few were the days allotted to his breath;
Now let him sleep in peace his night of death.

Correction/Clarification: (Published Aug. 27, 2008) Ken Zapinski's name was misspelled in this Cutting Edge column as originally published Aug 24, 2008. He is senior vice president of transportation and infrastructure for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

Correction/clarification (published Aug. 26, 2008) -- Ken Zapinski's name was misspelled in the original version of this column. Compiled by Bill Toland. Please send contributions to .


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