It's been fun reading in the Post-Gazette about the predictions that influential local people made 15 years ago that have come true and the forecasts they have for what the future holds. It seems that in many cases the savants saw -- or see -- computers and technology having a bigger role in our lives.
Gee. Never would have thought of that.
The Morning File can use recent Pittsburgh history to develop long-term predictions that are a little less obvious, but which we calculate have at least an 8 to 13 percent chance of coming true. That may not sound very high, but keep in mind, it's better than the odds anyone would have given a week ago of Darlene Harris becoming Pittsburgh's new City Council president.
So check back with us in 2025 on how we did with the following forecasts:
• It will snow every day for the rest of Pittsburgh's history. Some days it will be light flurries, others monstrous flakes. Some snow will just fall as a welcome addition to the region's beauty, while at other times it will be fatal for motorists and snow shovelers and we will curse the hardships it brings upon us all. But make no mistake -- it will snow every day.
• There will be talk every week of every month of every year of the need for more city-county and regional cooperation, regardless of whether any movement ever takes place. In fact, the less cooperation that takes place, the more chatter there will be about the need for it.
• Someone named Costa will continue to hold public office in or around Pittsburgh.
• There will be at least one critical sports event annually whose outcome plunges the region into civic despair. It may be a loss by the Steelers, the Penguins, a Pitt team or even -- yes, over the next 15 years -- an occasional Pirates setback on the verge of a title, but there will always be something of this sort. Get used to the disappointment, but cherish the chance to invest emotionally in a big game.
• Year by year, further cracks will open in the Liquor Control Board's policies preventing purchase of wine and beer in non-state store outlets, so that by 2025 Pennsylvanians will no longer feel like they are living under the Taliban in this regard.
• 84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy will still be active in 2025, but virtually penniless due to alimony payments owed to his seven former wives.
• One out-of-towner a year will make some casual observation about Pittsburgh that affronts the local citizenry, resulting in front-page headlines, outraged letters to the editor, phony apologies, etc. It will often be a movie star filming here, but occasionally a celebrity athlete, a writer from an outside publication, a politician making a joke on the campaign trail, or any number of other individuals without any idea of the pig's muck they're stepping into.
• UPMC will grow.
• Neither the Mon-Fayette Expressway nor Maglev will be any further along than they are now, despite millions of additional dollars devoted to their study. The Port Authority's North Shore Connector will be completed, but an independent report will show the light-rail extension to be underutilized and to have caused a 16.8 percent gain in obesity among those who use it.
• Some type of gambling no one is discussing now will be legalized by the state Legislature.
• Natalia Rudiak, a young Carrick resident elected last year to City Council, will become mayor of Pittsburgh by drawing equal votes from her South Hills neighborhoods, more liberal East End residents and Obama-oriented ideologues who have been awaiting a fresh face in Pittsburgh politics.
• Route 28 to the north and Route 22 to the east will still be under reconstruction.
• Even after Joe Paterno retires from coaching Penn State on his 90th birthday, the very fact that he is still alive will prevent Penn State from being willing to schedule Pitt in football.
• On the same day one year, adjacent newspaper headlines will trumpet yet another ranking of Pittsburgh as America's No. 1 city -- and report the latest evidence of its population loss.
• The Port Authority, Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh Public Schools and numerous other entities will warn that severe cutbacks are ahead unless they receive a reliable, sustainable increase in state funding. That will happen every year, in fact.
• People will be complaining that it's too crowded Downtown because of all the people living in condominiums there, so no other city-dwellers or suburbanites will come down any more to shop, dine or patronize the Cultural District.
Gary Rotstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1255. First Published January 11, 2010 5:00 AM