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Don Barden got shabby treatment in Pittsburgh

"Sabotaged: Hypocrisy Drove Barden Out of Town," the Aug. 27 commentary by Bob Oltmanns, just about describes what I witnessed these past two years when it came to the treatment of casino developer Don Barden.

Citizens were treated to a front-row seat to witness just why Pittsburgh continues to be one of the poorest cities in America (Pittsburgh just ranked in the bottom five when it comes to earned income).

The low-class show that our politicians, local media outlets, Pirates and Steelers treated us to reminded me of the Chicago of old before its voters came to their senses and decided to drop the "It's better to be in charge and poor than to be inclusive and prosper as a city" attitude. Now Chicago is a first-class city.

The coverage by the local media was anything but positive when it came to Mr. Barden. In the middle of a recession with sheriff's sales rising and a stalled casino project that was employing local workers, state Sens. Jim Ferlo and Jane Orie called for the relicensing of the casino -- a procedure that would have taken at least a year. So much for supporting struggling families in Pittsburgh.

There is something very foul in Pittsburgh both morally and politically -- something that can be solved only at the voting booth. Mr. Oltmanns is not the only Pittsburgher who is ashamed of the treatment Mr. Barden received. We should all be ashamed of those who claim to represent us, including the media and elected politicians.

WILLIAM FISHER
North Shore


Truly marginalized

Sister Patricia McCann in her Aug. 31 Forum article ("What's Wrong With Hope?") gives as reasons for supporting Sen. Barack Obama that he "cares about those who are poor and marginalized" and that he will lead a "return to the animating values of the founders of this nation."

While in the Illinois Senate, Sen. Obama had the chance to stand up for the poor and marginalized in the form of babies born alive following abortion procedures but in some cases left to die without care. During the 92nd General Assembly, he voted "no" or "present" when these bills came up. In the transcript of a vote on March 30, 2001, he opposed one because "a doctor is required to provide treatment to a previable child, or fetus" and "viability is the line that has been drawn by the Supreme Court to determine whether or not an abortion can or cannot take place."

When those unwanted babies, viable or not, were born, Sen. Obama didn't do anything to feed them when they were hungry, clothe them when they were naked or give them medical care when they were sick. How much more poor and marginalized can anyone be? I cannot support someone who wants to lead us back to the ancient Greek and Roman practice of exposing babies to the elements -- no matter how premature, sick or unwanted when born.

MARGARET A. LACEK
Richland


The most innocent

The Aug. 31 Forum article "What's Wrong With Hope?" by Sister Patricia McCann was poignant in her descriptions of the activities of the '60s in Alabama and other places in our country. Her indignation has led her to treasure our country's citizen rights and values for all regardless of their skin color as she announced her intention to cast her ballot for Sen. Barack Obama.

Dear Sister, you are incorrect in saying that "America has progressed since those days ... of racial violence." It has not! Please join us in fighting for the civil rights battle of the unborn. Please write to your candidate and urge him to join forces with Martin Luther King's niece in promoting pro-life for all. Watching African-American women go through the doors of 933 Liberty Ave., the Planned Parenthood abortion mill, with other women, entering as mothers and exiting as a parent of a dead child, is an experience that will help you to realize the precious gift of life. What possible rationalization could there be for denying life to the most innocent in our society? Women's rights?

What is the Catholic teaching promoted by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and Mother Teresa?

Tuesday, Friday and Saturday are days we pray and counsel on Liberty Avenue at the abortion mill. Please join us. I am a graduate of Carlow College, 1969.

VIRGINIA MULVANEY
Mt. Lebanon


Open to dialogue

I write to applaud James O'Toole's prominently placed Aug. 27 article "Casey Praises Obama as a Force for Tolerance." In that piece, Mr. O'Toole acknowledged the significance of Sen. Bob Casey Jr.'s Aug. 26 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

In 1992, Catholic Gov. Bob Casey was infamously prevented from speaking at the convention because his pro-life views on abortion differed from the Democratic platform. In 2008, his son, Sen. Bob Casey Jr., not only spoke during prime time at the convention, but he also explicitly acknowledged his "honest disagreement" with Sen. Obama on abortion.

Clearly, when Sen. Obama tells us that he is open to dialogue about abortion, it is not just empty words. This openness, in connection with his positions on issues like poverty, environmental degradation, equal pay for women, corporate corruption, the minimum wage and the war in Iraq, make Sen. Obama an excellent candidate for voters who, like Sen. Casey, are concerned with the entire tradition of Catholic social teaching and the common good.

Sen. Casey's speech was a significant moment for the modern Democratic Party.

KARI J. LUNDGREN
Shadyside


Polls aren't 'facts'

I was very disturbed with the "Enough Said" feature in the Aug. 31 Forum section. The piece discussed the polling of Americans regarding their views of illegal immigration.

These are all opinions, not "facts that speak for themselves." Polling in this country is already ridiculously out of control. When your newspaper begins blatantly reporting opinions as facts, it makes me believe more strongly that the media are incapable of competent reporting.

JUSTIN WHITE
Bloomfield


Civility and citations

As often happens when I read comments from the local leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union and the follow-up editorial from their sycophantic followers on the Post-Gazette editorial board, I was both disgusted and infuriated. The inaccuracies portrayed by your article on Sept. 2 ("Cops Challenged on Citations") and your newspaper's Sept. 3 editorial ("Blue Language: Free Speech Doesn't Mean Much to City Police") show yet again how the Post-Gazette is willing to be a shill for the ACLU and its extremist agenda.

For anyone to believe that it is "an unacceptable number" for a police department of nearly 900 officers in a city of more than 300,000 people to write -- over a 20-month period -- 188 citations for disorderly conduct for swearing and making obscene gestures is simply advancing his or her own agenda. Before your paper slanders our police department, perhaps someone should research the facts.

According to Witold Walczak, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, "Nobody likes to get sworn at, but you can't make it a crime." Well, as so often happens, Mr. Walczak is wrong. According to section 5503(a)(3) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, it states that a person commits the act of disorderly conduct if that person "uses obscene language or makes an obscene gesture." Mr. Walczak is correct in stating that simply stating an obscenity or making a gesture to a police officer is not considered disorderly conduct; however, that does not make it socially or legally acceptable to simply walk down the streets of Pittsburgh spouting obscenities.

Perhaps your newspaper should interview the residents of our city's neighborhoods and ask them if they appreciate our efforts in maintaining civility on our city's streets.

SGT. WILLIAM VOLLBERG
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
Zone 4
Squirrel Hill


Regarding drinking, let's consider the 3.2 option

Regarding the Aug. 24 editorial "Campus Ferment: America Needs to Examine the Drinking Age": There is an alternative course to lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 or 19 -- bringing back 3.2 laws.

I grew up in Minnesota, a 21 state, and went to college in Colorado, which had a 3.2 law. Eighteen-year-olds could drink 3.2 percent beer, which has a slightly lower alcohol level than regular beer.

College-age kids in both states drank, but the patterns were very different. Because beer was just as illegal as hard liquor, the kids in Minnesota tended to get the strongest stuff they could buy. Because they couldn't go to a club and drink, they tended to drink at private parties or, worse yet, in their cars. Because they couldn't get caught with alcohol, they tended to drink until the bottles were empty.

The kids in Colorado occasionally sampled the strong stuff too, but far more often, they tended to go to 3.2 clubs, which offered dancing and the opportunity to meet someone of the opposite sex. At the larger schools there were plenty of clubs within walking distance of campus.

I realize that this is just as anecdotal as the evidence the professors cite; however, 3.2 laws offer an alternative to letting kids under 21 have access to hard liquor and still give them access to responsible drinking experiences.

CRAIG B. CLEMMENS
Apollo


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 letters@post-gazette.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.



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