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Opinion

Stocks & Pedestal, Winter 2009

Three cheers for PNC Financial Services Group for buying National City Corp. and becoming the nation’s fifth-biggest bank. With this $5.6 billion deal—helped by $7.7 billion in federal funds—Pittsburgh’s banking prominence is rising again.  We think concerns about a lack of banking choices in the wake of the deal are overblown. Pittsburgh sports a strong …

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Fit vs. Fat vs. Finances

Every saturday, I sit in somber amazement and watch some tattooed, wide-body pile on his body weight in eggs, biscuits and sausage gravy onto a plate fresh out of the warming tray. My favorite part comes when he douses the whole monstrosity in cheese sauce. My incredulity is only matched by my waitress’s when I …

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We Have the Power

A likeable 12-year-old is shot and killed. Children settle disputes with guns. Other children fear they may be caught in the cross fire. How can this be? All of us wonder and wish for something better. More than one-third of all Allegheny County fifth-graders cannot read adequately. Without this ability, they fall behind and become …

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From the Publisher, Fall 2008

As sorry as I am to see another summer wane, how wonderful it is to look forward to fall in Pittsburgh. And what a fall it will be. When you look at what’s in store this autumn, can you really doubt the charms of Pittsburgh? I had some doubts 23 years ago when I moved …

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Wasting our tax dollars

At one end of a long, rectangular table in an Aliquippa restaurant, a grandmother of 12 sporting a big, blond hairdo was talking about how everyone in Beaver County calls her when their dog is lost. Someone even called at 2:30 a.m. the other day. She wasn’t complaining—she loves dogs and has five of her …

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The Graduate(s)

It seems that every autumn, I start worrying about my kids. My wife and I don’t have children, so “my kids” are my current and former college students. Despite their bright-eyed optimism, I always worry about whether they’ll make it financially after graduation. It’s been an irrational fear because I had never researched the cost …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Fall 2008

On a pedestal: A student star — Seth Weidman It’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness. That old expression found a disciple during the last school year in Seth Weidman, whose extra efforts have made him the youngest person to be placed on our pedestal. When he started his senior year at …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Summer 2008

Great cities take great care when it comes to aesthetics, and Pittsburgh is fortunate to be among the nation’s great architectural cities. It doesn’t continue by magic, though. It takes planning and vigilance. Going into the stocks this issue is the monstrous parking garage being planned by casino developers on the North Shore. The 10-story …

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One Myth Worth Dispelling

Sonoma, Calif. — On an unseasonably warm and beautiful April evening in the heart of the California wine country, an enthusiastic crowd with many Pittsburghers gathered to see the premiere screening of “My Tale of Two Cities,” a documentary about Pittsburgh and the life of the film’s creator, star and narrator, Carl Kurlander. Kurlander is …

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The Case for Consolidation

The governments of Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh – the two largest governments in our region – duplicate many departments and services, including parks, public works, human resources, computer services, emergency management and so forth. This redundancy of functions and services results in operational inefficiencies, public confusion and unnecessary costs.​ However, there are …

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You’ll Manage, Summer 2008

Mark Twain referred to golf as “a good walk spoiled.” I think of golf as more of a journey of revelation. It reveals whether you really want to do business with someone as you watch his behavior during a round. Or, as an unknown golfer said, “If there is any larceny in a man, a …

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From the Publisher, Summer 2008

They say you can’t break news in a quarterly magazine. Well, I’d like to give you two little news flashes that I suspect you haven’t read anywhere else. The first has to do with a new partnership we have with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be publishing the quarterly calendar …

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You’ll manage – Spring 2008

With his slogan, “It’s The Economy, Stupid,” political operative James Carville helped catapult a relatively unknown Arkansas governor into the Oval Office. And just as it was back then, the economy and health care reform are big issues as the 2008 presidential race kicks into high gear. And those same issues will be of particular …

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From the Publisher, Spring 2008

A little over a year ago, on a frigid Saturday in January, I had what you might call a date with destiny. I’d agreed to meet three men in a bar in East Liberty. I’d never been there, but I’d read about the place. As I looked for the street and then the number, I …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Spring 2008

A 15-year-old East Liberty boy is gunned down in his car while ordering KFC with his mother and little sister. A 12-year-old North Side girl is killed in her house when “gang” members drive by and spray bullets at the home. Clearly, it’s time to take action to protect families from neighborhood gangs. Some experts …

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Symphony festival wanted

Several years ago, the rush was on to figure out what should be Pittsburgh’s “First Day Attraction” — the one-of-a-kind crowd pleaser that would bring tourists to Pittsburgh. The experts pointed to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Bilbao’s Guggenhem Museum as examples. Ideas proliferated, from the fascinating to the facetious. Time passed, …

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Campaign Retrospective

“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” — Mark Twain ​ My campaign for mayor showed me two Pittsburghs. The first exists as all others do, with big problems, big challenges and big possibilities. …

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Suitcase, Unpacked

I knew my son before he was born. “That’s ridiculous,” my mother said. I was seven months pregnant and had just told her that my unborn son had a great sense of humor. “How in God’s name,” she said, “would you know that?” I knew because every time I tried to take a nap, he kneed me …

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Image and Reality: When They Don’t Match

There’s a saying in Texas, “He’s all hat and no cattle.” I don’t know why I was thinking about Texas as I flew aboard a US Airways flight bound for Ireland. It’s probably because I had just read Doug Parker’s Letter From The CEO in the in-flight magazine, Attaché. Parker’s obligatory dear-dummy letter was an …

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From the Publisher, Winter 2008

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, winter comes early. You can feel it when the mercury drops to 30 and you’re in a summer cottage with just a fireplace for heat. And so it was one late fall day, when Smokey and I were the only dog and person left on the island. Cold rain fell on …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Winter 2008

Just after saying it has no plans to cut here, US Airways has reneged again. Pittsburgh built the airline a $1 billion airport and has supported US Airways despite high fares and poor on-time performance, spurning low-cost carriers interested in this market. The result? Astounding cuts and the loss of hub status as one new …

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The Bionic Entrepreneur?

For me, fall marks not only the return of autumn leaves, cider and football, but returning to my role as a college entrepreneurship instructor. Despite this being my third year teaching this subject, I’m still troubled by a gnawing, fundamental question: Can you actually teach someone to be an entrepreneur? Is it a trait you’re …

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