Anarchy in PA

The last thing Pittsburgh needs is the G-20 Summit

Dear President Obama,

We Pittsburghers sincerely hope you enjoy your visit to our beautiful city later this week, when you'll be chairing the exciting G-20 Summit that you so thoughtfully chose our city to host without finding out whether we could handle it or afford it.

But please, Mr. President, don't think that the chaotic and barricaded and over-policed city you will see is anything like the real Pittsburgh we know and love.

The summit of finance ministers and central bankers from the world's top 20 economies will be held Thursday and Friday in downtown Pittsburgh's "Golden Triangle," the wedge of skyscrapers and priceless old office buildings that sits between the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers as they meet to form the Ohio River.

Usually, Mr. President, downtown Pittsburgh's streets and sidewalks are quiet and peaceful, as in almost dead and without life.

It's certainly not a regular tourist destination for protestors and anarchists from around the world like the ones who, thanks to you, are expected here in the tens of thousands to express their unhappiness with the global economy by disrupting our city and breaking as many windows as they can.

Usually our downtown is not sealed off from traffic and pedestrians like the Green Zone in Baghdad or guarded by 3,000 police in riot gear, as it will be Wednesday evening through Friday. And usually we don't have to show our ID at barricades when we go downtown to work.

We're grateful that federal taxpayers will pick up most of the $20 million-plus tab for extra security personnel. But we hope you didn't pick us to host the G-20 because you think we could afford it or because you really believe, as you recently said, that Pittsburgh is "a bold example of how to create new jobs and industries while transitioning to a 21st century economy."

That sounds sweet to local boosters' ears, Mr. President. But it's not really what Pittsburgh is. In the real world, Mr. President, this city is what urbanists and economists technically refer to as "a basket case."

Its unemployment rate and housing foreclosures are lower than the national average, it's true. And its famously low-low housing prices are stable to slightly rising. But it's all relative.

Much of the rest of the country is in a deep recession after having a crazy housing-driven boom. Pittsburgh's "eds & meds" economy isn't booming or busting: it's stuck in the same stagnant-to-slowly-growing mini-recession we've been in since we pioneered deindustrialization in the 1970s.

The city you chose to host the G-20, Mr. President, is in fact bankrupt and in state receivership because of decades of chronic mismanagement, stupidity, and generous pension deals that previous generations of political hacks promised their employees but couldn't pay for.

For at least the last 30 years, Pittsburgh's power brokers have wasted billions of federal and state tax dollars on a series of destructive urban renewal schemes, redevelopment boondoggles, and wasteful mass-transit projects.

Almost everything new and shiny that you and Michelle will see in downtown Pittsburgh or on its riverbanks was built with government money or millions in taxpayer subsidies—whether it was PNC Financial Service's almost completed downtown skyscraper or the new homes of the Pirates, Steelers, and (soon) the Penguins.

That kind of government intervention may not bother you and your crew of czars. But if you and Michelle get a chance to stroll around downtown this week, look for the big hole in the street in front of Fifth Avenue Place. You can hardly miss it.

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  • Layman||

    Pay no attention to those 400,000 Pittsburghers who have moved away in the last half-century.

  • Warty||

    That picture makes me hate Obama even more. Fuck Pittsburgh, yo.

  • creech||

    "Hey, we have six Super Bowl titles. How many yinz have?"

  • Layman||

    I would add that Steigerwald's column is friggin' awesome journalism.

  • Warty||

    Fuck your Super Bowls. Football sucks.

  • Barack Obama||

    "Pittsburgh's power brokers have wasted billions of federal and state tax dollars on a series of destructive urban renewal schemes, redevelopment boondoggles, and wasteful mass-transit projects."

    It's bold I tell ya! Bold!

  • Kevin||

    I think Obama chose Pittsburgh because its top executive is even wussier than he is--and that's saying a lot.

  • ||

    They complain that Labron James is the economy on Cleveland the Steelers are the Economy of Pittsburgh...suck on that with your 6 rings...

  • ||

    Interesting facts about Steigerwald...

    His brother Paul is the TV voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins and his other brother John was the lead guitarist of KINGDOM COME (of Monsters of Rock fame in the late 80s), of course his nomme de rock was Johnny Stag...

    I grew up in PGH..a nice place to be from with good hardworking people who in the words of one of my high school teachers "wouldnt vote for Jesus unless he ran on the democratic ticket"

    Bill is right that if you want to see the end results of rampant unionism and the incompetence of government then head to Pittsburgh.

    When Dan Rooney endorsed Obama, I died a little inside...

  • Hacha Cha||

    when I saw the article title Anarchy in PA, it made me think about how PA had anarchy from 1681 to 1690.

  • ||

    it made me think about how PA had anarchy from 1681 to 1690.

    Good times, good times.

  • GV||

    F*@K!!!

    Thinking about that god damn subway tunnel under the river gives me an aneurysm.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    His brother Paul is the TV voice of the Pittsburgh Penguins...

    And I died a little inside when Paul replaced Mike Lange on the TV side.

  • ||

    Fuck Pittsburgh, and fuck the Steelers twice.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...his other brother John was the lead guitarist of KINGDOM COME



    aka "the most famous crappy Zep cover band ever."

    Fuck your Super Bowls. Football sucks.



    In your city it sure does.

  • ||

    "Hey, we have six Super Bowl titles. How many yinz have?"



    None. We wouldn't trade places with you for any amount of inconsequential sports bling.

  • MJ||

    "Fuck your Super Bowls. Football sucks."

    You are a philistine.

  • Mario Lemieux||

    OK, we don't have to talk about the six Super Bowls? How about we discuss the Stanley Cup instead?

  • textual abuse||

    Speaking of Pittsburgh and wasteful spending, how 'bout them Pirates? Did I hear longest string of consecutive losing seasons for any professional franchise, in any sport, ever?

    Which reminds me, I heard that when Buffalo was trying to get a major league baseball team they were turned down because baseball officials were afraid if they got one Pittsburgh would demand one too.

  • Boston sports fan||

    Six Superbowl wins, yeah, yeah, we know. Of course four of them were before anyone without an AARP card can remember. When you catch up to us for Superbowl wins this century let us know.

    And even counting your Stanley Cup (and let's face it, the Red Wings should have won that series, you guys lucked out) we're still ahead in championships this century 6 to 3.

    You can't even compete with us in wasteful transportation boondoggles. The Big Dig makes your attempts to squander money look more amateur than your baseball team.

  • ||

    The way I see it, Pittsburgh is lucky to have the G-20 dignies fly in for a short weekend. The anarchists have to eat so they will buy food at local grocery stores, and so what if they crash a few thousands windows with bricks. There's always insurance to pay for the damage, and just think of all of the glass repair people that will have work. It's like a jobs program for glass makers and repair people. And maybe the police can seal all the rowdy protesters in the tunnel to nowhere for a while. That would give the tunnel some use, right?

  • ||

    Hey Warty. F-you. I happen to live in Pittsburgh and work in Pittsburgh, I call this my home town and if you dont like it then go live in a F-ing whole. I hope you like apples and eat that one. You A-hole. and those who cant handle defeat in sports show's your mental ineptitude when it comes to sports. For the rest of you that dont like the region and live here. MOVE OUT we dont need you. This is a proud region of hard working people, that have some core values

  • ||

    Fuck your Super Bowls. Football sucks.


    I always knew you were a good person.

  • ||

    How the fuck to those fucking yinzers get a G-20 summit? Does the administration want to show the rest of the world a case study in how to kill an economy? Fuck, why not have it in Detroit and go all the way?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Liberals bitch and hand-wring over right-wingish anarchism, but they turn a deaf eye to G-20 anarchist protesters...

  • Nicholas D. Rosen||

    I can believe what Mr. Steigerwald writes, but let's remember that a good part of why Pittsburgh is broke now is that it used to have a relatively good property tax, taxing land at six times the rate on buildings. That encouraged construction, and made housing prices low. Then, after a firm hired by Allegheny County utterly botched a reassessment, Pittsburgh went back to taxing buildings as much as land (this was in 2000-2001). The city really shot itself in the foot that way.

  • ||

    Most of you commenting dont know crap about this region, as a matter of fact you have your heads so far up your anal cavity, that if you passed gassed you would commit suicide. Oh by the way those of you that dont know anything about sports, you have already done that, you fartheads.

  • ||

    This is a great town. It may not be perfect, but it is still a great town.

  • Wicks Cherrycoke||

    "The city you chose to host the G-20, Mr. President, is in fact bankrupt and in state receivership because of decades of chronic mismanagement, stupidity, and generous pension deals that previous generations of political hacks promised their employees but couldn't pay for."

    Since when did Pittsburgh become New Jersey?

  • What The||

    "I call this my home town and if you dont like it then go live in a F-ing whole...You A-hole. and those who cant handle defeat in sports show's your mental ineptitude when it comes to sports. For the rest of you that dont like the region and live here. MOVE OUT we dont need you..."

    Hammer wins today's John Award for Most Fucked-up Commentary. But the day is still young...

    Hammer, were you "educated" in Pittsburgh as well?

  • ||

    I know the region plenty well. Da 'Burgh is a yinzer shithole.

  • NeonCat||

    I spent about a week and a half in Pittsburgh in 2005 on business. It seemed like a nice enough place to me but there were plenty of poor neighborhoods. IIRC the infrastructure seemed better there than in Cleveland or Buffalo (the other rust belt cities I visited that year).

  • ||

    Gee, I thought the name of this site was Hit & Run REASON. Judging from these very literate and educated comments, I guess the Hit & Run part is the only true name.

  • ||

    DRINK!

  • ||

    1. Steigerwald's paper was a shameless Santorum mouthpiece back in the day. Anything he or anyone else associated with that rag has to say needs to be taken with a barge full of salt. (The Trib-Review is NOT Pittsburgh's leading paper, don't be misled.)

    2. Pittsburgh is a little bit strange in that most of the economic activity of the city does not take place downtown but rather in the Oakland neighborhood where CMU and Pitt reside.

    3. True, there has been plenty of waste by the city and county govts, but no more than in any other similarly-sized city in the US. The Pittsburgh economy was not killed by govt waste, it was killed by the fact that its primary industry vanished from sight.

    4. The comparison to Detroit is completely unwarranted. Aside from city parks, there isn't a single city block in Pittsburgh that contains only one house.

  • RuthenianCowboy||

    There was, however, a witty counterprotest:

    http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/emptynetters/archive/2009/09/24/penguins-1-protesters-0-9-24-09.aspx

  • jhn||

    Pittsburgh is better off than similar cities, by far. See Buffalo, Detroit.

  • ugh||

    Tulpa is the only person who left a sensible, correct and right-thinking comment on this entire thread.

    Thanks to everyone else for reminding me why this blog is so godawful and I should never come back.

  • ||

    Here's a genius idea. Stop holding summits in giant fucking cities where you have to shut down entire blocks and piss everyone off! Find some private ranch in the middle of nowhere.

  • ||

    More news and videos are out about the police rioting and military and police abuse of protesters as well as abusing people with "non-lethal" weapons of abuse. I am a constitutionalist with strong libertarian leanings. I probably differ considerably with many of these protesters on many issues.

    However, these young people could be our children or nieces and nephews! I take strong offense at these cowardly poor excuses for policemen making a mockery of their oaths to uphold the constitution! These "men" have no integrity. They should be fired and tried for felonious assault! This is an outrage!

    If these officers abuse our young people, people like me who might have been inclined to come to the aid of an officer in trouble might think twice about it now. This is widespread and rampant abuse that is common throughout the country.

    It makes me really angry to know that if my niece or nephew were to protest something, they could easily be unjustly treated and abused.

    I keep archives of important articles. I am cross referencing several of these articles about the police brutality and police criminal behavior in Pittsburgh in the categories of 1)indications that a civil war might take place (I am not advocating this but I see the signs, that is the point), 2) Police Brutality, and 3) Totalitarianism.

    The police and other civil authorities have absolute contempt for our God-given and constitutional rights. The "authorities" have such contempt for us that they routinely call us childish if we differ with them. This is really becoming untenable. I wish that we could fire most of the police officers and district attorneys in this country and replace them with people of integrity who firmly believe in the Constitution and our Natural Rights.

    It all boils down to the fact that the authorities usually have no integrity or decency!

  • ||

    For the record, Pittsburgh fans:

    I know it's hard to keep the Four Steigerwald Media Brothers straight. But as the senior sibling of Steigerwald Media Dynasty Ltd., Inc, I'd like to point out that my brother Dan Steigerwald, aka Danny Stag, was the highly talented, bluesy lead guitarist for the Zep knock-off band KIngdom Come in 1988-89, not John.

    John was an irreverent sports anchor, acerbic tv/print commentator and talk show host (and the only sports guy to oppose all of the city's publicly subsidized stadia) for 30 years before retiring recently. He's working on his memoirs.

    Brother Paul is currently the TV play-by-play guy for the Penguins and former TV sports reporter/anchor for KDKA-TV.

    And I quit my job as columnist/editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review in March, ending a 36-plus year newspaper career in LA and Pittsburgh as one of the few openly libertarian hacks working in the daily print biz.

    Also: Please, I did not support Santorum or other Republicans. And the conservative/libertarian Trib was (and still is) often tougher on Santorum and the state's other lapsed conservatives/Republicans than the liberal Democrat paper, the Post-Gazette.

    As for them Stillers -- we Steigerwalds always say, " Go Pens."

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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