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Police review board director shows her bias

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to the comments made by the executive director of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board, Elizabeth Pittinger, in the Post-Gazette on March 17 ("2nd Shooting for State Trooper"). Once again Ms. Pittinger publicly lambasted the actions of two police officers involved in a critical incident while the investigation is still ongoing.

Ms. Pittinger makes statements that once again show she is unprofessional and raise the question of whether she is qualified to hold this position -- a position that requires an unbiased investigation be conducted on the facts of each individual case.

Her premature statements are merely a ploy to justify her bloated $76,972 salary paid from the taxes of city residents, not to mention the entire 2009 Citizen Police Review Board budget of $468,765. In this time of recession, the money could be better spent by feeding the homeless instead of duplicating what the Office of Municipal Investigations already performs.

Ms. Pittinger is to be a nonbiased investigator, a fact-finder who then makes recommendations to the chief of police after a thorough investigation, but in reality she is an overpaid critic.

We the Fraternal Order of Police, Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, believe that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City Council and the nine members appointed to the Citizen Police Review Board should consider whether she should continue in this position because she shows her inability to conduct a neutral investigation, which is required to provide a nonbiased recommendation to the chief of police.

DANIEL S. O'HARA
President
Fraternal Order of Police
Fort Pitt Lodge No.1
Banksville


Look at the facts

Late last Saturday night a man decided to drive his SUV down the wrong lane through a busy area of Pittsburgh. When police commanded him to stop, he rammed their vehicle and nearly killed a state trooper and Pittsburgh police officer before trying to speed away. Left with no choice, the officers -- Trooper Samuel Nassan and city police Sgt. Terrence Donnelly -- fired at the man and killed him.

In 2005, this same man used his car to strike a Mount Oliver police officer before speeding away. Clearly, a pattern of endangering police officers and the public existed.

Yet, incredibly, the focus in the news accounts Monday and Tuesday was on the state trooper, who was previously involved in a 2002 shooting that made headlines. What was missing in all of the media accounts is one simple fact that ties together both incidents involving the trooper. Both occurred because felony crimes were being committed that put the public in danger and forced the trooper to react.

The Post-Gazette story on Tuesday included outrageous remarks from Elizabeth Pittinger of Pittsburgh's Citizen Police Review Board ("2nd Shooting for State Trooper," March 17). Her sensationalized comments show a clear lack of objectivity or an even basic understanding of law enforcement (or both) and should call into question her involvement on the review board.

In the future, I hope the public will remember that a trooper and city officer were nearly killed when a man -- with a history of attacking police officers -- ignored their warnings to stop. It's chilling to think what would've happened if they weren't there to stop this man on a Saturday night from driving the wrong way down a street in a busy part of town. Thankfully, they were there.

BRUCE A. EDWARDS
President
Pennsylvania State Troopers Association
Harrisburg


Third time a charm

Former state Sen. Vincent Fumo learned only one thing from his two prior trials ... how to further abuse his power in the Senate. I wish I could have been there when the jury forewoman took 13 minutes to deliver the guilty verdict on 137 counts ("Fumo, Powerhouse of Pa. Dems, Guilty," March 17). I hope it was filmed because it should be mandatory viewing every year before the start of each session in the House and Senate.

In-Vince-able no more.

JOHN M. COLINEAR
McCandless


Rooney rooked

Regarding "Steelers Owner Dan Rooney to Be Ambassador to Ireland" (March 17): What next for Dan Rooney ... a membership to the Council on Foreign Relations? I sure hope he knows what he's getting into. I sort of feel bad for him because he has gotten sucked into the Obama lie like everybody else in this country and now he can't get out.

I hope Dan Rooney can see the road to socialism that Obama is taking us down. I feel sorry for the American citizens who believed in this man for real change.

We were promised a change in Washington, and it will never happen under this presidency ... and it may never happen ... probably not in my lifetime. Change can come only from the power of the people -- we the people.

GARY J. PADUANA
Avalon


Misplaced honors

Now that hero worship of overpaid and spoiled Pittsburgh sports figures is temporarily abandoned until training camp, it's good to see that we are adulating and honoring someone else who doesn't deserve it.

Dan Rooney as ambassador? Come on ... Can the man even put two sentences together or crack a smile? He speaks in a monotone with an appearance of a deer caught in the headlights. But, since he's rich and affiliated with the Steelers, let's make him ambassador and give him accolades.

Come on, Pittsburgh -- even if the president is blinded by campaign support and rhetoric, let us be smart enough to honor real, intelligent heroes. There are still plenty of them in this region.

TOM JOYCE
Collier


Focus on a renaissance for other parts of the city

I have seen a very disturbing thought that continues to come from the leaders of the city of Pittsburgh. Talking about a third renaissance is nice and can give us all a good feeling about everything ("Renaissance Revival?" March 1), but it really means nothing because of what the leaders are looking at. They do not look at the region or other areas of the city; they look for growth only in Downtown. It seems that all efforts are being put into a very small area that is already congested.

Why not encourage growth in the Hill District and the North Side (past the stadiums) and continue growth and renaissance in areas such as Lawrenceville? The city is going to grow if areas of the city expand, not if Downtown expands, because there is nowhere for it to expand. Build an upscale apartment building somewhere else, where a community needs a renaissance and revitalization; then support new development with better roads and public transportation. Don't continue to put them in an area that has these things and has already had a renaissance.

The city as a whole will grow if the government can realize that growth is not measured by the amount and height of buildings Downtown; it is measured by the quality of the city as a whole and the people who live throughout the city and region.

RYAN GURRENTZ
Murrysville


We receive more letters than we can fit into the limited space on the editorial page, so we'd like to share some additional letters with our Post-Gazette Web site readers.



Congress, get a grip on our real problems

It was always my belief and understanding that the U.S. Constitution was a document that represented the format and foundation around which laws were to be enacted by the legislators -- of the people, by the people and for the people.

If this is true, how do Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., intend to pass a law (create a new law) specifically aimed against a small, targeted group of people who are or were employees of AIG ("Congress Looking at New Taxes on AIG Bonuses," March 17)? If this is not unconstitutional in the sleaziest form, then I suppose those named above, or any other for that matter, could enact legislation against me or anyone they see in their biased crosshairs who appears to be the benefactor of some good fortune.

The individuals from AIG have a binding contract, the validity of which was previously ascertained and assured by some of those named above in the context of President Obama's stimulus package, and now they are prepared to rescind their prior approval; at least that is as I see the picture.

The amount of money relative to those bonuses in question amounts to $165 million. This is but a teardrop in the ocean compared to the $2 trillion stimulus fiasco that they helped to create, which seems to have our economy spinning its wheels in place and even moving backward.

I believe the activity against AIG, which seems now to command so much time of the Senate and House, is nothing more than a smoke screen to distract our attention from the real problem, which is a budget stuffed with pork and provisions for very questionable special-interest causes.

E. ROBERT HASIS
Pleasant Hills


We're getting the Obama treatment

I am gratified to learn that President Obama conducted a health-care "summit" at the White House, one of whose goals is to minimize the number of Americans who have no health insurance.

By the time the president finishes wrecking the economy through his vision for a grand entitlement/welfare society, and as we watch the value of our investments approach zero due to a financial community that has responded to the radical changes with fear and panic, millions of us will need to be hospitalized!

OREN M. SPIEGLER
Upper St. Clair


About the Yucca decision

Regarding the March 12 editorial "NIMBY Rules": The Yucca nuclear waste decision by the Obama administration is not disappointing.

Yucca was born as a replacement for nuclear waste processing plants during the late 20th century when electric utilities stopped building new nuclear plants.

Two hundred nuclear plants were committed by utilities during the 1970s to be served by nuclear waste processing plants recovering 97 percent reusable uranium and useful radioactive chemicals for medical and industrial use.

It's easy to guess that the Obama administration is waiting for the electric utility industry to plan enough new nuclear plants before announcing nuclear waste processing.

BOB FURST
Upper St. Clair

The writer, a retired professional engineer, has 40 years' experience working with the electric utility industry.


Video poker is here to stay

Regarding your "Double Loser" editorial (March 8): I think more research needs to be done before you form a final opinion. I am no fan of gambling, but let's face it: Like booze, it's here to stay.

I say more research is necessary because I suspect you'd find there are thousands of these machines in bars and clubs already. I noted the variety shop in Sharpsburg recently connected to the killing of an FBI agent had several machines. How long have they been there? Quite a while, I'd bet (oops).

DON WALKER
Morningside


Free trade is making for inequality

"Equal justice under law." These words are etched on the U.S. Supreme Court building. If law enforcement would only hold the politicians accountable to these words we would not be in a financial crisis.

The Senate and House revoked the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated the banking and insurance industries after the Great Depression. I would argue that they did this knowing what the consequences would be. It was a means to profit by manipulating the law. Free trade combined with the tax code is a bigger scam than the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

A government does not exist without taxes. When you eliminate a percentage of the taxpayers, the rest who still pay taxes pay more. Free trade and the tax code allow corporations to avoid paying taxes in the United States but still benefit from selling their products here.

Housing prices will continue to fall until the average American can afford the average house. This will not happen until the tax code is changed and the corporations cannot launder their profits overseas and avoid paying taxes at home.

Tax all goods sold in this country at the same rate as goods manufactured in this country. This would not cost trillions in a bailout but would generate millions of jobs and tax dollars. "Equal justice under law."

LARRY MILLY
Clinton


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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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