Letters to the editor
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The July 20 editorial "Peace and Protest: Could an Official Gesture Improve the G-20 Summit?" reveals its bias through its language. The summit could be "spoiled" by protesters. Police are training for the "worst." There could be "conflict"; "battle lines" are to be drawn. These terms grab the baton from the TV media in the race to induce fear among the public.
This is another example of the media sensationalizing its G-20 coverage and demonizing the very notion of protest. Moreover, the naivete of suggesting that presenting a "grievances" list on paper to "aides" -- reminiscent of the old feudal system in medieval Europe -- might replace the presence of concerned citizens is mind-boggling and insulting.
The concerns of protesters are no secret to G-20 delegates. Our eco-system is being decimated, pharmaceutical and insurance companies call the shots in health care, the economy is in crisis, banks are fed billions of taxpayer dollars while families lose their homes, climate measures are woefully insufficient ...
Public protest aims to counterbalance the voice of the corporate interests that wield influence at the negotiating table with the voice of real people: the people struggling to pay mortgages and health insurance bills, whose children will face a ravaged environment and climate issues that could threaten their existence. Protesters are not a scary problem to be avoided; the majority are just the people next door getting off their backsides to try to effect positive "change."
We need smart journalism in relation to the G-20, not a subtle spin on panic-mongering.
Yes, PG naivete
Your July 20 editorial "Peace and Protest" concerning protesters at the G-20 summit is ridiculous or naive at best.
Do you really think the anarchists are coming for dialogue or could even write a position paper?
They are anarchists who are coming to raise hell and get arrested. You cannot have a logical argument with people generally motivated by hatred and confusion.
Is there no one on the editorial board who understands anything about the world?
PAUL E. FRANCIS
A welcome idea
Congratulations to the owners and editorial staff of the Post-Gazette for the suggestion to invite G-20 protesters into a dialogue regarding the policies and actions of the world's economic powers.
This approach would be a welcome departure from the bitter, nonproductive rancor that has come to represent social and political commentary. We have seen how poorly the zero-sum mentality has worked. Now let's go for a little win-win.
'Polite' doesn't work
Was the Post-Gazette for real when it printed "Peace and Protest" (July 20 editorial), suggesting the "over the rainbow" idea that protesters voice their grievances by submitting position papers to heads of states during the upcoming G-20 summit?
One of the main reasons peace, social justice and climate justice groups are agitated and offended by the G-20 is the failed policies instituted by these criminal governments that do nothing for the poor and working class segments of the countries that they represent. These finance ministers who represent the world's most powerful countries will be here in our city to advance their own narrow capitalist agenda, not to solve the world's economic problems, end war, improve the quality of life for many or save our environment.
If positive social change happened so "politely" or "neatly," the United States would not be funding endless wars, the working class would not be bailing out Wall Street, our environment would not be offered up for corporate profit and every citizen would have the right to health care.
In the spirit of the powerful words by Frederick Douglass, "Power concedes nothing without a demand," I'll pass on submitting my position papers and will join the thousands truly dedicated to improving global issues on the streets of Pittsburgh in September.
An unpolished gem
Mount Washington's Grandview Avenue is a diamond in the rough. I would like to seize this opportunity to ask our mayor, City Council and city planners, "Where do visitors to our city go for sightseeing?"
For that answer all you have to do is look in the visitors book in the 24-hour chapel at St. Mary of the Mount Church on Grandview Avenue. They come from all over the world to see the most beautiful view from the "saddest avenue" (Grandview Avenue) in the city.
Look at the boroughs of Dormont, Carnegie, Millvale, etc. that have elegant lampposts (some with welcome signs hanging from them). Not Grandview Avenue!
The city should be worried about more than the eyesore of the former Edge Restaurant ("City Hopes to Fix Mount Washington Eyesore Before G-20," July 14). That's so sad! Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent by Councilman Alan Hertzberg, who formerly represented our area, but all of the money went into the West End Overlook. Today, the overlook is pitiful!
Our gorgeous setting -- the three rivers, the Point and our inclines, coupled with the view from Grandview Avenue -- has caught the attention of not only the country, but also the world. Should not the most beautiful view be viewed from the "grandest avenue"?
The G-20 summit will draw leaders from all over the world in a matter of weeks. Isn't anyone ashamed?
Regarding A. Cuda's letter ("Enjoying Change?" July 21), I didn't realize the editorial page was part of the comics section.
It was hilarious for Mr. Cuda to suggest that "the Obama administration's intrusions into our life are unprecedented," as if he never heard of the Patriot Act (passed under George W. Bush and the Republicans), or the various and many abuses and violations of our civil liberties that law begat.
His statement about "the so-called bailouts of the banking, insurance and auto industries" was also a humorous attempt to blame the current administration for the policies of Bush and his Republican appointees Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, which gave away hundreds of billions of dollars to those institutions before Barack Obama was even elected.
I doubled over laughing at his repeating the word "socialism," as if the repetition of the word makes it fact.
Certainly, the coup de grace was his closing statement about not even mentioning "government-run health care." His assertion of "what a mess that would be" had me laughing so hard it hurt ... a pain my current HMO wouldn't cover because it's a "pre-existing condition." I'm certainly much more comfortable with an HMO bureaucrat in a cubicle denying my health-care coverage, than any government official in a cubicle doing the same thing!
And I couldn't fail to chuckle when Mr. Cuda complains about the current administration, but offers nothing substantive or positive to help fix this mess.
Kudos, Mr. Cuda. Thanks for the laugh!
Legislators, children are counting on you
Pennsylvania still has no state budget, while the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our community depend on it. Every day in Allegheny County someone makes a phone call to report suspected child abuse. Regardless of the case, we are fortunate to have a system set up to protect children, preserve families and ensure permanence and stability for the child. But these require resources from the state.
So while politicians posture, children who are in dangerous and deplorable situations are even more at risk. In this economy, the number of abuse cases continues to rise.
The kids are counting on us, the grown-ups, to step in between them and harm's way. Yet we continue to talk, to debate, to sit on opposite sides of an aisle and argue philosophical differences on the role and size of government in our commonwealth. That is not acceptable. Our kids need us today, and unless the money comes from Harrisburg, no one will be there to answer their calls for help.
As our legislators consider different versions of the budget, I ask that they remember that some young boy or girl in each and every county and district of this commonwealth is counting on them, today, to do something to keep them safe. These children couldn't vote for you, but right now they need your help. Figure out a way to give it to them.
Child Watch of Pittsburgh
First Published July 24, 2009 12:00 am