PG NewsPG delivery
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Home Page
PG News: Nation and World, Region and State, Neighborhoods, Business, Sports, Health and Science, Magazine, Forum
Sports: Headlines, Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, Collegiate, Scholastic
Lifestyle: Columnists, Food, Homes, Restaurants, Gardening, Travel, SEEN, Consumer, Pets
Arts and Entertainment: Movies, TV, Music, Books, Crossword, Lottery
Photo Journal: Post-Gazette photos
AP Wire: News and sports from the Associated Press
Business: Business: Business and Technology News, Personal Business, Consumer, Interact, Stock Quotes, PG Benchmarks, PG on Wheels
Classifieds: Jobs, Real Estate, Automotive, Celebrations and other Post-Gazette Classifieds
Web Extras: Marketplace, Bridal, Headlines by Email, Postcards
Weather: AccuWeather Forecast, Conditions, National Weather, Almanac
Health & Science: Health, Science and Environment
Search: Search by keyword or date
PG Store: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette merchandise
PG Delivery: Home Delivery, Back Copies, Mail Subscriptions


Headlines by E-mail

Headlines Region & State Neighborhoods Business
Sports Health & Science Magazine Forum

Letters to the editor

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Pitt won't be first-rate as long as it yields to political pressure

I am a law student enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh's Environmental Law Clinic. I am a registered voter in Pennsylvania. I am soon to be a Pitt alumnus, receiving requests for financial contributions. That said, I am outraged that the educational curriculum at the University of Pittsburgh is once again being influenced by the far-removed, shortsighted lawmakers of this state ("Law Clinic at Pitt Feeling Pressure: Controversy Swirls Over Environmental Clients," Oct. 17).

I find it hard to imagine that law schools with reputations like the University of Michigan and the University of California at Berkeley would succumb to political pressures of their states when academic standards would be compromised. Faced with these pressures, Pitt will never be recognized as a prestigious university in this country -- something that Pitt claims to strive for.

Those of us at the University of Pittsburgh came here to learn. By backing the clinic against a wall, the university is taking away an incredible hands-on learning experience for law students. Funded by the Heinz Endowments, the clinic was established so students could tackle controversial legal issues.

Is the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission untouchable?

Squirrel Hill

A sad state of affairs

Being a transplanted Pittsburgher in graduate school at the University of Alabama, I keep up to date on the news of my home region via the Post-Gazette's Web site. I am saddened to hear of the plight of the University of Pittsburgh's Environmental Law Clinic ("Law Clinic at Pitt Feeling Pressure," Oct. 17).

The clinic should be able to provide services to those in need without pressure from elected officials.

The opinion of Caren Glotfelty, director of environmental programs at the Heinz Endowments -- that the clinic should operate free of political interference -- is one that should draw attention. Many bona fide, grass-roots organizations cannot afford legal representation. Does that mean their opinions are less valid and shouldn't be heard?

Certainly the state funds other controversial programs. Why should a program that involves the education and protection of our citizens have its funding cut? Our government is to be for the people. Are personal interests of our lawmakers influencing Pitt's funding?

The state should fund the university and let university officials decide where funds should be appropriated.

I ask the residents of Pennsylvania to keep the University of Pittsburgh's Environmental Law Clinic strong. Put pressure on the Legislature. I hope the lawmakers come to realize the value of the natural beauty of the state.

Those of us who desire to make it back to Pennsylvania may change our minds if all we find are concrete, strip malls and a deforested landscape upon our return. Keep Pennsylvania beautiful.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Fund a better forum

I read with great interest the article regarding the future of the University of Pittsburgh's Environmental Law Clinic ("Law Clinic at Pitt Feeling Pressure," Oct. 17). The clinic has come under fire, in part, because in the past it represented the Allegheny Defense Project, a group that opposes logging in the Allegheny National Forest. All of the currently available scientific evidence suggests that moderate logging, including some clear cutting, is not harmful to the forest and, in fact, may be beneficial.

I hope the law clinic will forgo its adversarial approach to environmental issues and instead pursue an approach that asks the question: What policies will promote the long-term sustainability of the forest?

The Heinz Endowments, instead of funding the law clinic on this issue, could preferably fund a joint working group that includes all stakeholders and brings to the table the latest scientific information on how to manage the forest for both biodiversity and the wise use of natural resources. These issues deserve a productive forum outside the confines of a courtroom.

Grove City

Editor's note: The writer is an associate professor of ecology at the University of Pittsburgh.

The domino effect

I was just folding clothes. The labels "Made in Turkey," Malaysia, China and just about anywhere else in the world but here hit me between the eyes.

Do you think it has occurred to anyone contemplating bringing down the hated U.S. government that if we go, most of the world goes with us?


Better days

Remember when our country's biggest concern was the approaching Y2K computer problem? Doesn't that make you yearn for the innocence of the good old days?


Meaningless to most

What's all this hubbub about who should control the Frick Archive ("Ours and Theirs," Oct. 13 editorial)? My reaction to this is, "Who cares?" In effect, this is a form of homage being paid to one of the most unscrupulous exploiters of working people who ever lived.

Rather, we should build a monument to those he and his fellow robber barons so brutally used and who, in reality, did more to build this great nation than he and his kind ever did.

My father, an immigrant, arrived here in 1910 to work in a coal mine located in Westmoreland County, which was part of the Frick empire. He was frequently required to work all day for nothing, clearing out the debris resulting from a roof fall the previous night. He did not get paid until he produced coal.

The safety measures that the owners refused to incorporate resulted in mine disasters in which hundreds, if not thousands, of miners were killed. These conditions existed until the United Mine Workers were successful in organizing under John L. Lewis when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. These are just two examples of the conditions that existed as a result of the insatiable greed of Frick and his cohorts.

In retrospect, we children of immigrants are thankful for the sacrifices our parents made for us, that the exploiters were finally brought under control, and that we have been given the opportunity to work toward a better life for ourselves and our progeny.


The weaker link

When the light-rail transit line to the South Hills was being constructed, a way had to be found to cross the Monongahela River, not by tunneling under, but by going over, because the Panhandle Bridge was there. The movers and shakers of that period were true intellectuals who took advantage of the proximity of Arlington Avenue and the Mount Washington transit tunnel in relation to the bridge.

Now the movers and shakers and alleged intellectuals are planning on tunneling under the Allegheny River, even though the old Fort Wayne Railroad Bridge is there. It is double-decked, with the bottom section not in use. One does not have to be a structural engineer to appreciate that this supremely sound and magnificently overbuilt creation is ideal for use as the light-rail extension to the North Shore.

The existing spur to Penn Station should be extended to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and from there tracks should be laid to the lower deck of the bridge. Including the convention center as one of the major stops would make possible a convenient way for visitors to attend events at PNC Park, Heinz Field and the Carnegie Science Center.

Mt. Lebanon


Citizens and Congress shouldn't blindly pledge allegiance or support

Every day in school I used to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Even then I sort of wondered why I did this. I wonder even more today why children are asked to do this.

Are we afraid that if the children don't, they will go out and commit some outrageous act, or is it to condition them to go off to war? Religions don't even allow children to make a commitment until they are 11 or 12.

If I pledge allegiance to a flag, might that mean that I must then follow any idiot who decides to physically or allegorically raise that flag in my face? Am I breaking my pledge if I don't?

I would feel better pledging allegiance to our Constitution. However, since we change our Constitution occasionally and reinterpret it constantly, I'm not too sure about making that pledge either. Even the president of the United States is required only to defend the Constitution.

I hope that our members of Congress come to feel the same way. As I understand the process, they are elected to make considered decisions on our behalf. I received a letter from one who said he wholeheartedly supports the president in any decision he elects to make. Wait a minute! That is not the role of Congress. Those in Congress should make their own decisions. One would hope that some of them, when carefully thought out, would coincide with the wishes of the president and that some would not.

I believe in the process of the republic for which the flag stands. I do not believe in presidential infallibility. Slavery, the McCarthy era, Japanese internment camps -- such national memories leave me suspect even of the process of a republic.


bottom navigation bar Terms of Use  Privacy Policy