John G. Craig, Jr.

Before his death in 2010, John edited daily newspapers for 33 years, his final 27 as editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette until 2003. He was president of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Indicators Consortium and former co-chairman and executive committee member of the Riverlife Task Force.

Underlying Problems/Solutions

The impact of population decline was very much in the news at the end of last year, a reminder that, for all the accolades at the recent G-20 Summit about Pittsburgh having moved beyond its industrial past, painful choices still face the region, particularly its local governments and major service institutions. I have in mind …

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Have We Turned the Corner?

The recession of 2007-2009: I am sticking my neck way out… but I bet that when we look back 10 years from now, the last two years will be seen as the tipping point for the Pittsburgh region, a time when we finally got four decades of negative history behind us. The national recession, which …

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Risking Women’s Health

If I told you that breast cancer kills Pittsburgh women at a higher rate than women in other cities, and that Pittsburgh women die of heart attacks at a higher rate than women in other cities, what would you say? And what if I compounded the negativity by telling you that African American women are …

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You’ve come a long way, city

The 2009 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranks Pittsburgh 52nd in the world. This annual report aims at an international business audience and compares 215 cities based on 39 criteria. Among the most important are: Political/economic stability, safety, education, hygiene, recreation and transportation. Each city is indexed against New York (100). The top five cities …

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Life After (And With) Steel

With recession upon us and its attendant unease, taking stock is an unavoidable activity for people like me in the information business. The exercise is made more intense because the past 30 years in Pittsburgh have been times of high drama that attracted international attention and visitors coming to see for themselves. They ask about …

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Safety in Numbers?

Pittsburgh is a safe city. Pittsburgh is a safe region. This has long been the case, and the latest data on crime indicate that the shoe still fits. These four statements need to be tempered, however. This is because with public safety what matters is not regional or municipal crime rates as much as whatis …

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Lacking Nonconformity

Perhaps we can blame Richard Florida, the former Carnegie Mellon professor, who popularized the notion that, yes, there is a creative class of people and a direct relationship between their representation in a region’s population and the social and economic prospects of that community. As Florida still tells it, everyone loves to be in the …

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Conformity or Confirmation?

I recently received correspondence from a man who posed several excellent questions about the Regional Indicator project and the city-state of Pittsburgh. “I understand the importance of facts and fact-based decision making,” David Palmieri wrote. “However, I view facts like I do data as the basis for information. What information and intelligence can we glean …

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The City’s Fortune Depends on It

Among subjects of continuing public attention, none resonates like the size and efficiencies of local government. For some months now, a citizens group under the leadership of Mark Nordenberg, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, has been investigating the potential merger of city and county government, either in total or in part. I cannot recall …

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Getting It Right

Time flies even when you are not always having fun. That’s the lesson I take away from 18 months publishing indicators on pittsburghtoday.org and writing about them in this space. My ambivalence is a product of pride that we have developed a regional information system that can serve us well if we expand and sustain …

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Job Health Not So Simple

If you read the daily newspaper, listen to news radio or watch the local TV news, you’ll get a report in the first week of every month on the latest Pittsburgh unemployment rate. It is a news tradition of decades. The data come from the state Dept. of Labor and Industry one month after the …

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We’re Art Lovers to the HIlt

Last fall, PittsburghToday commissioned the first-ever survey of arts involvement in the 22-county Pittsburgh region. Done by the University of Pittsburgh, the survey asked several questions including: What arts events do you attend? What arts activities do you engage in personally? What arts activities have your ever had instruction in? The results are interesting in …

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Let’s Solve the Region’s Fiscal Strain

Very much in the news these days are the related subjects of unfunded pension liabilities and escalating costs of employee benefit packages because of rising health care costs. They are delivering a one-two punch to local governments and school districts throughout the nation, with the situation being particularly acute here in the old industrial heartland. …

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The Truth Can Be A Good Thing

Let us take a few moments to ponder the corrosive nature of pessimism and its companion, bending over backward in the face of bad news to put the best face on things. Both are civic diseases of significance in our corner of the world. This is not merely anecdotal testimony from someone involved in public life …

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Gambling a Boon to Travel Industry

The public discussion about the pending arrival of casino gambling in the region has been largely preoccupied with one tangential, if related, subject. Is there enough money to be made from a slot machine operation within the corporate limits of Pittsburgh to fund the construction of a new civic auditorium to replace Mellon Arena? This …

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Conventional Wisdom of City is Not So Wise

They were by reputation and position an informed group of citizens. All were guests at a November coming-out party of a new consortium promoting “Pittsburgh Regional Indicators.” The question put to them was a simple one: Commuters in which of these cities face the most traffic congestion going to and from work? St. Louis. Indianapolis. …

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