Random n’at.

1.  Sorry I went AWOL yesterday.  You ever have one of those days?  You sit down to do what it is you do, in my case, writing, and your brain goes,  “PUNKED!”

That was pretty much my day yesterday, possibly a symptom of the EFF THIS WINTER blues.

And how this winter continues to rage on.  I don’t know who it was that pissed off Mother Nature so very badly, but I swear to God, I will hunt your ass down and sacrifice it to her in a blaze of glory.

2.  A conversation with my conservative mother:

Mom: I was just saying to your father that when we were kids, it was like this all the time. Snowed like this every day from November to March.

Brother in Law: Did you also walk two miles to school uphill both ways every day?

Me: [snicker]

Mom: ONE mile.  But my point is that this is how it used to be all the time.

Me: Wait.  So what you’re saying is that you believe in global warming?

Dad: [snicker]

Mom: [blink]  I’m saying the weather CYCLES, is what I’m saying.

3.  Lukey sez:

The mayor bristled at any suggestion that suburban roads were pristine while the city struggled.

“In some cases they’re a little bit better than the city, I’ll acknowledge that,” he said. “But they have challenges, just like we do. Their schools are closed, just like ours are. It’s not the city of Pittsburgh alone that’s dealing with this issue.”

Comparing the suburban snow removal to the city’s snow removal and calling it “a little bit better” is like saying two dollars is “a little bit less” than 40 million dollars.

Then, SIX DAYS after the storm, this headline:

HALLELUJAH!  Six days is all it took for some people to SEE a snow plow.

4.  Because snow is a new phenomenon that hasn’t historically really been a factor in the warm, tropical climate of Pittsburgh, it is understandable that there was no plan in place for the effective, efficient and orderly removal of snow from the streets, despite the two year old promise that a plan would be drawn up.  However, in a flash of brilliance where brilliance means desperation, Lukey came up with the idea to BLITZ neighborhoods.

Yesterday and last night, 19 neighborhoods were blitzed.  SEVEN DAYS AFTER THE STORM.  That’s the worst defensive schematic I’ve ever heard of.

5.  Lukey said:

“Could we purchase more equipment? Of course we can. We can always use more equipment. Is that the prudent thing to do? We’ll have that discussion, I’m sure, over the next weeks and months,” Mr. Ravenstahl said.

Show of hands —  Who thinks that purchasing snow removal equipment would have been more prudent than spending a quarter of a million dollars on 250 replacement trash cans bearing the Mayor’s name?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Zober?

6.  Yesterday, the mayor was supposed to host a group of mayors from other cities for the Mayors’ Institute on City Design.  Mayor Luke didn’t show up, with the reason given by a staffer being that he was manning the 311 lines.


7.  Free lift passes at Boyce Park ALL MONTH LONG, thanks to the County installing a chair lift without a State permit.


8.  Pitt versus WVU tonight at 9:00 at The Pete.

Use the Force, Jamie!

Important, it is, that this game, we win.

9.  If a snow-covered street is the biggest of your worries, here’s a little perspective. Dennis Roddy is back in Haiti, this time reporting from the Hotel Montana, where they continue to dig for the remains of a Clairton native and University of Pittsburgh graduate, and five of his students.


  1. chrys
    February 12, 2010 10:43 am

    Lukey is such a weasel!! I live in the South Hills, and I can tell you in my little community the snow “removal” was a joke. It may have been a little better, but not much. As for the city.. all I can say is wow. We took our daughters to the Pens game Wednesday night, and proceeded to get stuck while driving home. It looked like a war zone of white. Ridiculous!! Lukey needs to be a leader and take responsibility.. We do have snow in the winter, granted not to this degree, but my god.. be prepared for it. Don’t go off getting hammered with your buddies.. he should’ve drove home as soon as they started predicting bad things. He is a tool, and always will be!

  2. Sooska
    February 12, 2010 10:48 am

    6. So, do I get this right, the Other Mayors showed up here? But Luke didn’t meet with them? Was it because the roads around Oakland were impassabel for a long time?

    Perhaps some of those Mayors are from northern climes and could offer advice on snow removal plans, emergency plans in general and how to get voters to forget that their street went unplowed for 6 days.

  3. Scott
    February 12, 2010 10:53 am

    As I commented earlier this week, here in O’Hara Township, our roads are completely devoid of snow…completely. Have been for three days. Several people commented on how pathetic Sharpsburg’s snow removal effort has been, and I agree having driven through there a half dozen times this week. I sent a polite email to the Borough Manager asking what the problem was. He sent the reply below. PLEASE…I encourage you to email him and call him out. He may be worse than Luke. Here’s his email to me:

    Mr Xxxxxx,

    Sharpsburg Borough owns a fairly standard fleet of public works vehicles. Many of these are capable of snow removal.

    The recent historic (4th largest in state HISTORY) have put an extremely large burden on our staff and despite unrealistic work hours performed by our people and tens of thousands of dollars of un-budgeted expense, the removal of the snow from the community streets remains quite a challenge.

    Please understand that two of our main streets (including Main Street and North Canal) are PENNDOT maintained roads and are under their “blanket” for maintenance. I believe that these may be those traveled on your way through to O’Hara Township.

    If you have a specific street concern, I will do my best to address the maintenance schedule. Otherwise, we have a specific plan that is being followed;

    -Priority to the most oft-traveled streets.

    -Specific attention to areas where residents have special medical needs.

    -Response to specific resident requests.

    Mr. Walters, I think if you watch the news and speak to people in other municipalities, you will find that we are all in a similar situation.

    Although I appreciate your concern, the tone with which you sent your communication should be saved for a time when its validity may be more appropriate!


    RON B.

    Ronald L. Borczyk
    Sharpsburg Borough Manager
    (412) 781-0546 x11

  4. G-Man
    February 12, 2010 10:55 am

    I live in Richmond, Virginia and we had the same discussion about the city vs. non-city (Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties) roads being plowed in a timely manner. (I live in Henrico.)The city was woefully behind and citizens were all over TV complaining they had not been plowed 4-5 days after the big snow here on 1/31. The mayor finally revealed that the previous administration has sold off snow plows and other equipment because they had not been used often enough.
    I guess this illustrates your mother’s point that winter weather comes in cycles.

  5. gunnlino
    February 12, 2010 11:17 am

    Lukey’s not a leader, he’s a politician and as a result is only concerned with his power base and reelection of he or his party. Which do we need, more trash cans or heavy equipment ?
    Yeah, keep pulling the “D” lever on election day, that’ll solve the problem.

  6. Amanda
    February 12, 2010 11:18 am

    Our Baldwin Borough street was passable on Saturday and clear on Sunday, so we ventured into the city to watch the Super Bowl at a friends house. Wow. We didn’t get stuck, but we did park at a local store lot and walked to their house. Stopping to help three stuck drivers along the way. What a mess!

  7. W. D. Orkoskey
    February 12, 2010 11:18 am


  8. Political Party Pooper
    February 12, 2010 11:21 am

    “I don’t know who it was that pissed off Mother Nature so very badly, but I swear to God, I will hunt your ass down and sacrifice it to her in a blaze of glory.”

    That’s my fault, Virgina. I laughed at her earlier this year during a big snow storm, because as I was snowblowing, a gust of wind blew an immense cloud of snow and super-cooled air down my throat. So, I did what I usually do, which is to shake my fist and say to her,

    “Is that all you got?!!! You bitch!? Is that all you got?!!!!!”

    I fear her wrath is better than her aim.

  9. mike
    February 12, 2010 11:27 am

    The question I would like to ask the city is what grid to they use to plow the streets. How can you miss a street? The mailman takes the same route everyday, the paper deliver takes the same route, the UPS man takes the same daily route, I am assuming the snow plow operator has an area which he is assigned to plow and takes the same route every time he plows. The past storm was not the first snow of the winter. How could a street be missed. Maybe I am Mr. Obvious here but I have yet to see an explanation on why parts of the grid were missed. I travel around the Heinz plant and the streets there have still yet to be plowed. Someone should be fired over this. Maybe Lukey will do that in the spring, I am not holding my breath.

  10. Julie
    February 12, 2010 11:36 am

    I live in the South Hills and work in the city. It is always better in the suburbs than in the city. Always. When it snows and I have to drive home, I pray until I hit the city limits.

  11. Little Miss Misha
    February 12, 2010 11:36 am

    @ Scott — Thank you for the info on that. I’ll be emailing Mr. Borczyk later on today. After watching backhoes drive through some of the side streets aimlessly on Wednesday, I’m beyond annoyed with Sharpsburg. I’m going to pass that response along to some friends who live in the borough.

  12. OldNorthSider
    February 12, 2010 11:39 am

    Well, 19 neighborhoods blitzed. Only 71 to go!
    I think my old stomping grounds were well represented in the initial snow removal efforts though. Curious as to why no North Side neighborhoods listed in the inital city’s neirghborhood blitz schedule:

    • Lawrenceville

    • Bloomfield

    • Friendship

    • Lincoln Place

    • Garfield

    • East Hills


    • Hazelwood

    • Hill District

    • Bluff

    • Oakland

    • Greenfield

    • Carrick

    • Overbrook

    • Brookline

    • Allentown

    • Knoxville

    • Shadyside

    I guess Lil Like and Aunt Darlene Harris took care of the family’s roads on Monday.

  13. unsatisfied
    February 12, 2010 11:48 am

    @ G-Man — greetings and salutations from a former henrico-ite. in the 3 years that I lived down there, we had a grand total of 3 inches of snow. (though, I did live through one of the scariest ice storms one winter — I still get the shakes thinking about it….)

    one weekend, my parents came down to visit me — and, they must have brought the pittsburgh snow with them because we got an inch of it. that sat night, we went out to dinner to some italian restaurant on broad street. while my dad went out to get the car after we ate, my mom and I waited in the entryway. a couple walked in and noticed us waiting to leave. he looked at us and said, “hey, better be careful with all of that snow out there….”

    I don’t think that my mom and I ever laughed any harder than that in our lives…..

  14. Bojack
    February 12, 2010 12:05 pm

    Lessee, hmmm, the city is in F’ing RECEIVERSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Because we had MORONS in office!!!

    Doesn’t anybody get that????


    But I still don’t see how goofball bought his name on the trash cans?

    The only way he spent the $16mill G20 money was with City Council’s sign-off!!

    SO, why the F*** don’t they “sig-off” for REGULAR snow removal let alone a blizzard plan???



    or worse-


    yesterdays’s Trib:

    [Kaczorowski said broken-down vehicles and lack of manpower and equipment hurt the department. Plows had to free emergency vehicles that got stuck in snow, and remove downed trees from roads.

    “Everybody looks at Public Works as second-class citizens, but we’re the cog in the wheel,” he said. “We’ve been doing it all.”

    Because the city has a state-appointed financial overseer, it cannot hire more Public Works employees or buy equipment, he said. The department has more than 600 employees and about 50 trucks.]

  15. Scott
    February 12, 2010 12:06 pm

    Bojack has spoken.

  16. Linda
    February 12, 2010 12:39 pm

    I live in the city and I saw plenty of plows on my street the past six days. They went up the street, they went down the street. But they didn’t have the plow down and they weren’t throwing salt.

  17. Joe K.
    February 12, 2010 12:44 pm

    Dysfunctional city is dysfunctional. Keep looking for the ‘D’ at the voting booth!

    One of my pet peeves is when the old folks say ‘it always used to be like this.’ No it wasn’t. There was one bad storm in 1950. It wasn’t like that every year!

    The other thing is, people used to live much closer to where they worked, so driving wasn’t nearly as big of an issue.

  18. Joesaiditwould
    February 12, 2010 12:46 pm

    Why doesn’t anyone complain about the high-paid local meteorologists who completely whiffed on the forecast? All 3 stations? That is a part of this story that no one ever seems to bring up. Yes, the snow probably could have been removed better. But, could we have been more prepared to do so had we not been expecting 4-8 inches and get 20+?

  19. BethH
    February 12, 2010 1:33 pm

    @Linda — We had a similar experience in Greenfield. I was helping my father shovel snow on Sunday afternoon, and a City truck with a plow on front drove down the street, turned around, and drove back . . . all with plow up. My dad, a very gentle soul, kindly asked the guy when he stopped why his plow wasn’t down. The response: “Oh, we were just sent out here to see what needs to be done.” Uh, okay. We didn’t see a plow again until Tuesday afternoon. And the “blitz” — as my mother said, it was more of a bli-.

  20. PittinDC
    February 12, 2010 1:35 pm

    It is like that in every city. DC finally (sorta) dug itself out today, so I am at work for the first time all week. Maryland (suburbs) was fine.. DC was a mess. Plus, the Metro wasn’t running well, so a normal 30-45 min. commute took 2 hours. My dad has been able to go to work in the City of Pittsburgh most days this week, just fine. So, take solace in the fact that its at least better in PA than in DC!

  21. opus2270
    February 12, 2010 3:55 pm

    “In some cases they’re a little bit better than the city, I’ll acknowledge that,” he said. “But they have challenges, just like we do. Their schools are closed, just like ours are. It’s not the city of Pittsburgh alone that’s dealing with this issue.”

    Can someone please explain to me how schools being closed has anything to do with the mayor’s lack of leadership skills and the city’s lack of snow removal? Maybe I’m snow blind, but I don’t get it.

  22. SpudMom
    February 12, 2010 8:22 pm

    @Opus – schools close because buses can’t navigate the streets to pick up the kids. So, Lukey is saying that the suburb streets can’t have been that much better because their schools were closed, too.

    Well, I live in the ‘burbs. Our streets were leaps and bounds ahead of the city. Still are, in fact. And the kids in our district went to school today.

  23. Ecstatic Pitt Student
    February 13, 2010 12:54 am

    Look Ginny! We didn’t throw stuff! AND WE WON!

    I should also mention that the red leis everyone in the zoo was wearing were to support heart health awareness. And we didn’t throw stuff. And Skippy Skeeve held up Zoo “Stand Up and Cheer” signs for us. And Mike Tomlin, via jumbotron, told the Zoo to keep up the good work. And we were awed. That’s why we didn’t throw stuff. Even with some pretty horrible officiating (which ruined the momentum of the game for both teams)…WE DIDN’T THROW ANYTHING. Pitt students know what is important. This team has heart.

  24. Amber
    February 13, 2010 1:21 am

    It literally took me a full hour to get from my house on Forbes in Squirrel Hill, down Wightman (which was HORRIBLE), past Poli’s and onto the ramp to the Parkway East. A 5 minute trip took a FULL HOUR because nobody can take side streets and everyone is on the main roads (it was rush hour, but even in the worst normal traffic it only takes 15 minutes). I was driving to Johnstown, and it was amazing how bone-dry the roads were there. Embarrassing, really, considering the fact that they had the same snow to deal with and they got it taken care of. And this is an entire week after the snow.

  25. yefilwiha lij
    February 13, 2010 8:16 am

    Or you got another option instead of hunting whoever’s ass who pissed off mother nature, you get your ass acquainted with the reality of Climate Change – surely your fellow conservatives are playing dumber (you know they are already dumb when it comes to FACTS) as to what “Global Warming” is…

  26. Greg
    February 13, 2010 8:22 am

    I, for one, am tired of hearing the residents of the city complain about the Mayor.

    You elected him. You knew who and what he was… what he is… and you elected him.

    Live with it.

  27. bucdaddy
    February 13, 2010 9:16 am

    25.yefilwiha lij Says:
    February 13th, 2010 at 8:16 am

    So … if it’s sunny and 70 all winter, it’s Global Warming.

    If’s it’s 20 and snows like hell for a month, it’s Global Warming.

    You get to have it both ways, I see. How convenient. Means there’s no evidence than can convince you otherwise because your mind is closed and you are right. Must be nice being you, so certain of everything.

  28. Bojack
    February 13, 2010 12:07 pm

    @Greg, @BucDaddy-


    Bojack<<< Finally chased back to da Burgh by, of all things,
    …….. 7" fresh snow in Beaufort, N. Carolina!!!
    You wanna see some crying??? :-)

    I must say, it looks prettier on the beach than on the Northside!! LOL