Friday, August 21, 2009

Pittsburgh G-20 Buyer's Remorse?

Go read this now, then rejoin us:

IMO, this [hosting of the G-20] is a sham. Pittsburgh, like all marks, has been duped because in our dark place we want to be the showcase of the world, and we've been sold our own dream. If somebody dies (police, protester, bystander) what accomplishment will justify their death? (WWVB)

That would have sounded pitiably pessimistic only a few weeks ago, but as the closures, restrictions and above all else the great security Catch-22 has become more apparent, ideas like this are starting to crop up more frequently.

On the right:

And certainly on the left: listen to Al Hart, United Electrical workers union, in a post at the Slag Heap. During the press conference, Hart went on at greater length about how the world's "rich" intend to take, take, take from Pittsburgh during this summit-- and from Pittsburghers themselves, considering lost wages and productivity -- and offer nothing in return.

I've also gotten wind that some City Council members -- I actually do not know which ones, so it may not be the ones you would immediately imagine -- are resentful of how Mayor Ravenstahl and County Executive Onorato kept the negotiations a big secret and then made a big surprise out of it, instead of hashing it out with their coequal partners in government. Now they own it exclusively, for good or for ill.

Remember back in May:

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he knows the G-20 poses some security problems likely to be felt by Pittsburghers.

"Of course, it will be an inconvenience in some ways," he said. "But it's an opportunity for the residents of this city to experience something they've never seen before."
(P-G, Roddey & Sherman)


Mr. Ravenstahl said the event will result in "traffic, chaos and experience," but he and Mr. Huss said there should be no reason for residents to avoid the Downtown area during the summit. (P-G, Ed Blazina)

I still instinctively agree with those sentiments, mostly, and even find them admirable, as you can read in my comment under a prior WWVB post. "Chaos and experience" are things to be embraced in my view, and opportunities are there to be seized.

At the same time, having now read Vannevar's newest post, I have to wonder if my -- our -- assumptions were justified.


  1. I have no idea what will happen. I'm not leaving home, but I'll have milk, bread, and at least two cases of beer in case something closes the stores for two days.

  2. Don't forget toilet paper. Bill Flanagan keeps equating it to a blizzard and you know we always get toilet paper with an impending blizzard.

  3. Oops, watching too much Charlie Rose again. Nice to see you're still out there, Felix, this G-20 seems like a subject tailor-made for you!

  4. Speaking of windy...

    This pigeon sez "see ya later alligator after while crocodile"


    The privileged (women) bit hand that feeds...very manly!

    Aztecs used to pry beating hearts from chests and offer to Sun God....

    Spaniards slit throats of local tribes...

    'Both are Church'

    Dilemma remains…

    Better to worship with drunk in gutter than, with those that understand church. Good Company Kept..

    Fellowship is understanding without language, meaning or words.

    If this is what 'Pittgirl" means by church... than I am a fan…


  5. It's a snowstorm. That's all it is. A bad snow storm that messes up traffic, closes schools and business for a couple of days, and poses a risk to the safety and lives of city residents. And then we move on.

    But, snowstorms don't have many upsides for adults and the G20 meeting will for us in Pittsburgh. In any event, its happening so there's no real point in hand wringing about it. Everybody seems to be getting the message to hunker down in their neighborhood until it blows over.

    Besides, there are probably a few spies that have been in town for weeks renting hotel rooms, eating at the O, and so on. Espionage-fueled economy. SpyBurgh '09.

  6. RoboticGhost:

    My youngest Daughter shares your concerns.

    Secret Service assures her everything is cool on 4th Ave and Smithfield.

    ...SS asked her how come there are no sandbags stacked out front of building...?

    'This is Pittsburgh' she replied...'we don't sandbag, we win Super Bowls and Stanley Cups...'

    She went on...

    '...Looking for unused sand for bags...PNC infield is across the river. Take the entire infield and nobody would be the wiser...'

    'Manager over there would reply "good team, played well...Secret Service will go long way in playoffs".

    Hey, don't kill the messenger...



  7. City council is not a 'coequal partner in government.'

    Bram wrote, in part: "... resentful of how Mayor Ravenstahl and County Executive Onorato kept the negotiations a big secret and then made a big surprise out of it, instead of hashing it out with their coequal partners in government..."

    Different branch is not equal branch. PURPOSE matters.