Once again the people of Pittsburgh are invited to imbibe the snake oil of welfare for the wealthy along with local government collusion. Thanks to the nonelected Stadium Authority board, 3.9 acres of prime, publicly owned, North Side real estate has been virtually donated to a joint venture of the Rooney family and a Columbus, Ohio, developer ("Steelers Ask State to Help Subsidize Amphitheater," Aug. 12).
Pittsburgh's beloved first family and its out-of-town crony seek to further bleed public tax dollars to construct an unneeded, redundant facility in the shadows of their immensely profitable sports emporium.
Look at the economics: a conservatively estimated $8.5 million discount on the real estate and a $4 million public subsidy -- all for a project estimated by the developer to cost $12 million. Why don't we build it and just give it to them? And the builder, Frank Kass, has the audacity to claim that after he builds the complex with our money, it will appreciate to a value of $150 million!
We really can't blame those who successfully scam the public for these outrageous projects. Our political leadership allows and encourages this to happen.
Whatever they may get in return, they must live with their sellout of the public trust. Only city Councilman Bill Peduto has spoken out; will any others follow?
I was lucky enough to spend the first 30 years of my life in our beautiful city of Pittsburgh. I have since lived in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, California, and have traveled all over. One constant no matter where I have lived is my Pittsburgh Steelers license plate frame, which my dad gave me when I left on my adventures.
Everywhere I have been, I have people beep and give me the "thumbs up." I have found Steelers fans everywhere I have lived.
Well, now I live in Texas. They try to run me off the road. Don't get me wrong -- I have met some wonderful people here, but the Steelers thing just seems to rub them the wrong way. They say, "You just don't know pride unless you are a Texan." I just smile and shake my head.
I briefly thought about taking the frame off the license ... briefly ... yeah right -- not a chance.
I'm fiercely proud to be a Pittsburgher -- black and gold forever. Boy, does that tick them off!
Corpus Christi, Texas
Great for cyclists
I'm writing in response to the Aug. 13 letter "Danger in the Streets." While I commend William M. Stoddart for drawing attention to the chaotic traffic conditions that exist Downtown, I couldn't disagree more with his assertion that "Pittsburgh has to be one of the worst cycling cities in America."
I have had the pleasure of living inside the city for years and have relied almost solely on my bicycle for transportation the entire time. Compared with what I've seen elsewhere in America, Pittsburgh has an extensive network of well-maintained, scenic trails.
The cycling population here is large, given the size of the city, and extremely committed to advancing bicycle awareness. Speaking from personal experience, even the motorists here are more courteous than you'll find in other cities!
Recent projects, including the restoration of the 31st Street Bridge, the addition of bike lanes on Liberty Avenue, the construction of the Hot Metal Pedestrian Bridge and the continuing development of the Great Allegheny Passage, demonstrate this region's commitment to cycling and should not be so quickly dismissed.
I am proud of the strides this city has made in recent years and prouder still of the Pittsburghers who fight to get these projects on political agendas -- let's commend them for their efforts instead of whining about potholes!
Caution is enough
How about this gas saver? Change the "No turn on red" signs to "Busy intersection: Use caution when turning on red."
BRUCE A. DABERKOW
I wondered how long it would take Maureen Dowd to attribute Barack Obama's inability to open a wide lead over John McCain to some treachery on the part of the Clintons ("Yes, She Can: Hillary and Bill Are Up to Mischief," Aug. 14).
After months of scurrilous attacks on both Hillary and Bill and columns that came very close to canonizing Mr. Obama, Ms. Dowd got her dream candidate.
Surely it is sour grapes now to blame the gracious loser, who is out campaigning for Mr. Obama, for the fact that Mr. Obama is not that far ahead in the polls. Leave the Clintons alone. Don't you have an Edwards to beat up on?
MARY ED RAHUBA
After watching four segments on The Discovery Channel of Ted Koppel's visit to China, titled "Koppel on Discovery: The People's Republic of Capitalism," I was unable to see any plump, fat or obese people in the crowds of thousands shown. I wonder how this is possible with the beginning of capitalism in China, or will they end up down the road like capitalism with obesity in our country, with sedentary lifestyles and no hard work?
To get a handle on how to get control of our obesity problem, our government should send an investigating committee from the health department to conduct a study on how capitalism without obesity functions in China. The results of this study should be the answer to our obesity problem.
We were listening to the birds chirping at 7 a.m. last Friday and enjoying the Post-Gazette with our "morning joe," but our peace and quiet were disrupted by the idling of five PennDOT trucks, a tar truck and various other PennDOT vehicles. They were pulled off the road alongside our home and sat idling from 7 a.m. until they finally moved at 9 a.m.
Almost everyone in Pennsylvania has been hurt to some extent by high fuel prices, so please, PennDOT, don't try and tell us about the high cost of fuel cutting into the repair work of Pennsylvania's pathetic highways and bridges.
Turn the engines off! Learn to cut costs like the rest of us. To gain respect, you have to earn it.
Working together, we can end global poverty and disease
Watching yet another divisive election, it's great to see opposing politicians working together.
As they laid out in their joint commentary in the Aug. 6 Midweek Perspectives ("Vote for Foreign Aid"), former political rivals Rick Santorum and Harris Wofford will be campaigning together on the same side this year here in Pennsylvania to lead an effort called ONE Vote '08 -- raising awareness of issues surrounding global poverty and global disease in the 2008 election.
Such things prove to Americans that politics is not about partisans and publicity, but about using privilege and freedom in the struggle to stop things within our power to stop. The authority we give to people in office is real, and it is so encouraging to see it used for real issues.
The fight against global poverty and disease is an issue that truly should unite. It's also an important issue for our next president, whoever it may be. With recent advances in medicine and new, innovative U.S. foreign assistance initiatives, the next president will have a huge opportunity to make a lifesaving, world-changing difference in the effort to end the plague of poverty and save millions of lives from preventable diseases.
In what can often be a cynical, negative political climate, former Pennsylvania Sens. Santorum and Wofford should be applauded for setting aside party and partisanship for a common and much more important cause.
ONE Campaign Member
We welcome your letters. Please include your name, address and phone number, and send to Letters to the Editor, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. E-mail letters to email@example.com or fax to 412-263-2014. Letters should be 250 words or less, original and exclusive to the Post-Gazette. All letters are subject to editing for length, clarity and accuracy and will be verified before being published.