DUANE ASHLEY, who retired last year as city operations director, had a reputation as a good public servant who helped develop Pittsburgh’s amenities. So we were stunned to learn that he had authorized a $2,096 plaque reading “Ravenstahl Field” for a new soccer field in Riverview Park on the North Side. That would be former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, whose troubled tenure makes him the last person in this city who needs to be honored, even if he did champion construction of the field. Fortunately, the plaque hasn’t been unveiled and, according to Mayor Bill Peduto’s office, it won’t be unless approved by law. That law turns out to be unclear. What’s in a name? A chance to refine city policy on naming public property.
THIS NEWSPAPER prints timely editorials and other opinion but nothing was more timely than the commentary from Fred Millar, an Arlington, Va., expert on moving hazardous materials. His piece, a response to a Post-Gazette editorial calling for stricter rules for trains hauling freight such as crude oil, appeared Thursday under the headline “Danger on the Rails: Pittsburgh Must Know When Hazardous Materials Pass By.” Well, yes. That morning, 21 cars of a train carrying oil and gas derailed in Vandergrift. Some of the cars hit a building, but fortunately nobody was hurt. Point taken.
IF THE SADDEST WORDS of tongue or pen are “it might have been,” the happiest words in a cruel winter are these: pitchers and catchers report for spring training. That they did in Pirate City in Brandenton, Fla., on Thursday. One who wasn’t there was A.J. Burnett, the veteran pitcher who turned down a $12 million offer by the Pirates to sign with Philadelphia for $16 million. Who can blame him? He did the Pirates proud and was part of their revival last year. The Pirates are winning again and “what might be” are also happy words going forward.