Letters to the editor
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Pittsburgh should have a food policy council
The anger and frustration Lawrenceville residents are experiencing over the loss of their neighborhood grocery store is understandable ("Please Notice Lawrenceville Residents' Needs," Dec. 21 letters). Food is a basic need, and residents of all neighborhoods, regardless of income or age, should have access to it.
Other cities, such as Portland and Chicago, recognize the importance of this need and understand the vital role that food systems play in local economies. They have established food policy councils and adopted food policies that guide their cities' planning and development. The policies include everything from supporting the growth of urban agriculture to promoting the purchase of local food in city schools to requiring that all community master plans include a consideration of food production, distribution and access.
It would not be difficult to create a food policy council in Pittsburgh. There are numerous individuals with knowledge of our regional food system who could serve on the council, and the policies of other cities could serve as models. The Urban Redevelopment Authority has begun to take steps in this direction by initiating conversations with local growers and planning farmers' markets in select neighborhoods. But with a more balanced and comprehensive commitment, the URA/city could work toward providing food security for all Pittsburgh residents.
In an era of fast food, contaminated food and diminishing family-owned markets, access to affordable, nutritious food is imperative to our economic health and quality of life.
The writer is director of Allegheny Greenworks, a green consulting business.
Regarding "Thieves Cause Hazelwood Grocery to Give Up" (Dec. 23) and "Market Collapse: The Neighborhood Loses a Grocery, and Part of Itself" (Dec. 24): As difficult as it is to see, I believe there is opportunity in every crisis.
For many years I have advocated what is being called "relocalization" of food production with individual and community gardens. With inflationary pressures adding to the cost of food, and federal bailouts likely to greatly further increase these pressures, it seems to me that we should be going full scale toward as much locally grown food as possible.
With the help of the city, the Penn State Extension Service and volunteers, some of us have begun to turn empty lots into gardens. Next year, with the continued help of the Hazelwood Initiative, Hazelwood Harvest hopes to take up some of the added burden of providing food.
As the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is receiving more calls for help along with fewer donations, organizations like Meals on Wheels are increasingly strapped because of higher food and energy costs, and everybody is feeling pinched at the checkout counter, it's clear that working together to grow food is becoming a necessity. To the extent that we can all enjoy growing food together, sharing with each other rather than stealing from each other, we can maintain the whole community's nutritional status and a civil society.
This is 'experience'
Last Sunday's Post-Gazette included Brian O'Neill's usual intelligent piece on the state Legislature and its slush fund ("The Soft Corruption of Harrisburg's Slush Fund," Dec. 21). There were separate pieces on the candidacy of Caroline Kennedy ("Clamor Over Caroline," Forum, and "High Drama in N.Y.").
I found this an interesting contrast. I have little knowledge or interest in Ms. Kennedy's New York candidacy except for the claim that she has no experience. Personally, I would have more interest in a person's decency, intelligence and honesty. What is this experience? The Harrisburg type where all those experienced folks won't give up their slush fund? The fact they won't reduce their bloated ranks by half?
Is that what all their experience tells them is the right thing to do? I'd love to be a fly on the wall at some of those Harrisburg meetings where they laugh themselves silly at our apparent helplessness.
In the story on geese hunting at Brady's Run Park, Beaver County Commissioner Charles A. Camp explains that he opposes destroying goose eggs because he is a "pro-life father" ("It's a Wild Goose Chase as Hunters Try to Thin Flock," Dec. 23). Is he being facetious? Is he really applying Christian abortion morality to goose eggs?
He supports hunting adult geese, so why does his "pro-life" stance not extend to them? Seeing how his morality appears to be applied equally to both humans and fowl, does that mean he supports the hunting of overpopulated human adults?
Is Mr. Camp outraged by the millions of unborn chickens that are destroyed every morning at the breakfast table? I sincerely hope that his moral fortitude and concern for the unborn bird have kept him from indulging in depraved dishes like the breakfast omelet.
Beaver County residents need to be concerned when one of their leaders clings so tightly to conservative Christian values that he begins applying abortion morality to water fowl.
Bag these hunts
Regarding the Dec. 23 letter "It's a Wild Goose Chase as Hunters Try to Thin Flock": I've been reading with interest articles regarding the goose hunt that the Beaver County commissioners decided on. Many people love going to parks and enjoying the wildlife, along with other activities that parks offer. From what I read, there were other reliable alternatives that people offered, or possibly some people would have volunteered to help with cleanup efforts if necessary.
Leave it up to the county commissioners here to get rid of beautiful creatures so that they can let the hunters have their fun. It's strange that Charlie Camp turned down a good alternative, though, proclaiming he's a "pro-life father." Either he doesn't know what pro-life means or the hunters used fake bullets and the 12 geese are still alive. Which is it, Charlie?
Farewell, Joe Grata
Seeing Mr. Know-It-All Joe Grata wrap it up is a disappointment and leaves me with an empty feeling ("After 38 Years, Mr. Know-It-All Wraps It Up," Dec. 21). Even though my predecessors feared and hid from Joe because of his many exposes, I will miss him.
Mr. Know-It-All was exactly that!
Joe was always fair and made sure he had all the facts correct before he went to print -- traits we don't find today in other news outlets.
Joe, good luck, and I know there's a need somewhere for your vast knowledge of transportation issues.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
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First, our commitment to access has never been greater. Our goal is to make it possible for all admissible students to attend our institutions, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
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Americans are blessed with the availability of a rich variety of higher education institutions. We, in particular, are joyful for the opportunity to provide exceptional educational experiences for our neighbors in Western Pennsylvania.
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Carnegie Mellon University
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Washington & Jefferson College
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First Published December 28, 2008 12:00 am