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Let's cut our city leadership losses now

Consistent bad judgment and lack of effective leadership, as highlighted by the recent snow debacle, leads to the inevitable conclusion that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl must be removed from office as soon as possible. His primary interest appears to be the perks of his office as opposed to the desire to serve exemplified by previous mayors such as David L. Lawrence, Richard Caliguiri and Sophie Masloff, among others.

We can also expect more problems in many areas such as city street repair, ill-advised taxation on students, selection of improper administrative personnel and so forth. Another three years and 10 months in office could prove disastrous.

The guy just doesn't have it.

CHUCK REALI
North Side


Ultimate blunder

I can only hope that voters will remember four years from now the ineptitude of an administration led by Mayor Boy Blunder. Remember the corporate golf outings, remember taking the bodyguard to Detroit and remember being MIA recently -- other than for a few photo-ops answering 311 calls and riding with the National Guard, promising if people in the city needed help that emergency services would get to them. Which brings us to the most inexcusable offense of leaving a Hazelwood man waiting 30 hours for emergency responders to get to him and the man ultimately passing away.

It's time for you to go, Boy Blunder, and time for Pittsburghers to do their homework this next election cycle and send this mayor on permanent vacation. Unfortunately, we have about four more mayoral birthdays to party through till that glorious day arrives.

Perhaps then we can see true leadership on Grant Street with a mayor who can respond to reporters' inquiries without having a public meltdown.

RICHARD BLACKWOOD
Greenfield


Mayor's priorities

I have a passing acquaintance with Mona Murphy, the wife of former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy. A few months ago, she was telling me that one of the things she and Tom didn't miss from his days in office was late-night calls from his constituents. One time, she said, an elderly woman called in the wee hours of the morning complaining that her tap water was running brown. Tom got up, went to an all-night convenience store and drove to her home with several gallons of drinking water.

Compare and contrast to our current joke of a mayor, gallivanting off to the Laurel Highlands to party, even though he well knew that there was a predicted 8-12 inches of snow heading our way (he peevishly defended this decision by whining he was told 4-6 inches -- a little like my 10-year-old saying he "heard" me say two cookies, not one), then hightailed it back to town to field a handful of calls on his mayoral hot line, making sure the media were around to watch him do it. You'd think a strong young guy like Luke would have put his city first and been out there with a shovel, making sure the aged and infirm were getting the help they need. You'd be wrong!

Mr. Murphy, it's time for another late-night water delivery. The current mayor needs to rinse out his mouth and talk straight to us Pittsburghers, take some responsibility, stop blaming everybody else, become a true leader.

JOHN SCHULMAN
Squirrel Hill


Icicle danger

This regards the life-threatening danger of large icicles.

Having been raised in heavy snow country, I'm careful about removing large icicles above my front and back, garage and patio doors. A few days ago I entered and exited a public library building in a nearby township without paying any attention to what was overhead.

While getting into my car I glanced at the building and noticed a string of 5- to 6-foot long icicles hanging two stories directly above the entrance. I informed one of the library staff persons, and thankfully a few days later the icicles in this area had been knocked down.

Since then I've been appalled at the number of homes with large icicles in dangerous locations. Since conditions like this occur here maybe once every 10 years, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that most people aren't aware of the danger.

In addition to personal danger there's also the possibility of damage to air conditioners, (mine is directly below the dripline), gas grills and shrubs. When knocking down icicles objects below need to be protected.

DON RAMPOLLA
Whitehall


A call to action

The critical state of library funding, described in Bob Hoover's article about the American Library Association's study of library use and funding, will have long-term, deleterious effects on our communities and residents if not rectified soon. ("Nation's Libraries Get More Use, Less Funding," Nov. 15)

The article highlights the importance of libraries in our communities. Public libraries offer many benefits to residents: providing technology and the shared resources it gives everyone access to; supporting job seekers, small business owners and distance learners; offering crucial curricular support and lifelong learning opportunities; and helping non-English speakers learn a second language or study for citizenship, to list a few. Public libraries are crucial partners with parents in starting a child's education at the very beginning of life. These services support the state's economy and educational system and are freely available to everyone regardless of socio-economic status.

Libraries have adapted to social changes and remain vital and relevant. But libraries face too many challenges as they struggle to reconcile an increasing demand for services with diminishing resources. Adequate funding for public libraries is essential in a democratic society. ALA's study is a call for action.

CYNTHIA K. RICHEY
Director
Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Mt. Lebanon


People who protect

In response to Ron Bandes' Feb. 1 letter ("Off-Base Column"): Conservatives are sometimes accused of being revisionist historians. I must say that I haven't seen a revisionist contemporary before.

Yes, Republicans attempted to keep Terry Schiavo's husband from killing her. You may prefer to hide behind sanitized terms like "intimate medical decisions," but let's be honest about what you're talking about. Michael Schiavo had his brain-damaged wife starved to death. That's what happens when you remove feeding tubes from people who are unable to eat for themselves. They starve to death. Please don't insult our intelligence by pretending that it's something else. Conservatives tried, in vain, to save her from that horrible fate.

In case you hadn't noticed, that's what conservatives do -- it's what they have done for quite a long time. Yes, abolitionists were conservatives. Women's suffrage advocates were conservatives. The most ardent supporters of the Civil Rights Acts were conservatives.

Give a voice to the voiceless. Stand up for the oppressed. Defend the innocent. Protect those who can't protect themselves. From the enslaved Africans of days gone by to the murdered unborn of today, that's what we do.

If "progressives" don't despise, as Mr. Bandes claims, can he explain the amount of pure vitriol that comes from them in reference to President George W. Bush or Sarah Palin? Have you read a liberal editorial or seen the daily kooks? I'm sure you have, but it's OK. "Progressives" aren't even honest about being liberals.

WALTER GIBSON
North Versailles


Remember the eight years of ineffective response to 9/11

What's wrong with this picture? A president gets sworn into office, and he gets all the information from the president whom he is replacing, such as the situation on the economy, foreign affairs, the debt, our enemies, the environment, security situations, terrorists, etc., etc.

He receives all this information during the transition. But eight months into his term al-Qaida attacks, knocking down buildings in New York City with hijacked planes killing thousands of people and flying another plane into the Pentagon, killing military personnel. Another hijacked plane full of people crashes in a field in Pennsylvania.

The president finally appears after the dust settles on a pile of rubble and tells the crowd of people we will get the people who are responsible for this attack. And what did the American people do? We rallied behind the president.

Well, eight years later after he left office, the leaders who planned this attack are alive and well.

On the other hand, with a new president, a Democratic president, in office, a young man sets his shorts on fire in a plane and the Republicans want people fired and call the president weak on security and all kinds of nasty names. Day in and day out, media are full of how terrible this attack was; for weeks this is all you hear and read about.

Please tell me what is wrong with this picture.

SAL CASSANDRO
Shaler




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