Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Post Gazette LTE

Braddock progress
Your Monday piece about Braddock Mayor John Fetterman was timely considering the upcoming primary ("Braddock Mayor Has His Critics," May 4). As a council member of a neighboring municipality I would like to report on some changes I have noticed in Braddock since Mayor Fetterman's arrival.
Obvious aesthetic changes include: basketball courts, murals, re-paved roads, trees, an urban garden, UPMC additions, new housing and several revitalized buildings on historic Library Street. Practical additions have included a stronger youth program, a jobs center, a vegetable-based fuel business, a district art show, a farmer's market, creative artists space and the return of the annual street fair.
While it is true that many people have worked to keep Braddock viable since the loss of the steel industry and no one disputes that, Mayor Fetterman's unique character and dedication have created a buzz that has generated grants for the town, politicians' attention and movement on the much-delayed neighboring Carrie Furnace development and Rankin bridge repairs next to the popular Waterfront.
The residents of Braddock would be well-served to embrace the change that their mayor has helped them realize and work with him to continue to move their neighborhood forward.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Too much in our stuff.

Driving today I noticed that even though a lot of cars look exactly the same, you can only tell what features they have if you take the time to examine the letters after their names. As the letters change you get more stuff. Stuff like better AC, a bigger engine, sun roof, and leather seats. For example, the BMW 3, 5, and 7 series. Each of them look the same to me, but there are even more combination of letters on those. The i, the ix, and the l. The letters seem to change every year. At some point it was the S, IS, and the M. As the letters change, the prices go up. The BMW's are dependable cars and get you where you are going, exactly what a car is supposed to do. But they also have features such as leather heated or cooled seats, heated steering wheel, navigation systems, DVD screens with headphones, satellite radio, hands free phones, heated and or cooled cup holders, and much more. Their maximum speeds are more than twice the legal limit and they poses enough horse power to merge into any possible traffic scenario. I wondered why people had to advertise what type of car they were driving, and how what was on the outside even mattered when you are inside driving it? Why do you need to drive a race car to work? Does anyone need that much horsepower to pick up some takeout? Are letters on the back of our cars the new status symbol or do we simply buy more car than we need? Do we buy more of everything we need? Only the blind should qualify for an 80 inch plasma TV. Who needs surround sound? Do we really need to be surrounded with anything? Why am I paying for 110 cable channels? I couldn't get it out of my I came home and pulled out my DELL 6000 computer with Windows XP, game, video, camera, and multiple other programs I have never opened...and used it for word processing. Then hopped on my titanium framed racing bike, which is held up by a stationary trainer and thought some more.

Post Gazette LTE

Controlling forces

The Dec. 17 editorial "Drilled" falsely claims in the subhead that "Consumers Will Pay for Lack of Oil Exploration." The editorial board is assuming that gas prices are based on supply and demand. They are not. Gas prices are manipulated by multinational oil companies and OPEC.
The economics of oil is not based on a supply-and-demand model. And the true economic, public health and environmental costs of fossil fuels are not included in the price. Unless we move to renewable sources, such as solar, the price of which typically goes down as demand for its use increases, we will continue to see energy and gas prices that are controlled by sources other than the free market.