Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day from the Dear Leader!

A friend in art conservation found this approximately two years ago:

The Dear Leader Kim Jong-il wishes everybody a Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow + 6 days.

There is this neighborhood across the street that is situated on a hill. This neighborhood can only be really accessed by five streets, and many residents have been trapped in this neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the City didn't appear to have the foresight to um... get the neighborhood plowed until today, six days after the first night of great snow fall.

I happened to witness the first plow vehicle trying to make the first switchback road today. If you look closely, you'll notice that the vehicle's reverse lights were on... because it was stuck and couldn't get up the hill.

I feel sorry for the snow plow operators. Poor contingency planning = a harder job, longer hours, and more dissatisfied residents to deal with.

I visit the Mayor's Office's website, and found the Press Releases section.

In 2008, Ravenstahl said the following in a press release:
"The 2008-2009 winter season will begin a new era in the City of Pittsburgh's Snow and Ice Control program. We've designed a plan to enable us to deliver services better to make our streets safer. We have more and improved equipment, as well as a smarter approach to implementation. We are ready for the snow."
What did the Mayor and his appointee Rob Kaczorowski do to improve things?

Apparently he expanded the small-pieces fleet to 42 one-ton trucks and pickups, mounted with snow plows. These vehicles will be operated by crews with no commercial driver's license, and will be dedicated to cleaning secondary roads. This small fleet will then free up the existing 48 LARGE trucks will be dedicated to cleaning primary roads.

Mayor's Office:
"The previous plan called for first responders to concentrate entirely on clearing primary roads. Once the primary roads were cleared, only then was equipment sent to secondary routes."
The previous plan sure sounds vaguely familiar to something I heard earlier this week... what happened to the new plan?

Or is there some "new" unannounced plan? Maybe Ravenstahl's new plan was something like this (commentary in italics):
1. On the night of first snow fall, head to Seven Springs Ski Resort to have a birthday bash.

2. Say "No one could have anticipated this."

Ummm... the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning Friday. Most people on the East Coast were anticipating this.

3. When pressed about not being around to govern, say "I had access to a computer and phone. That's the same as what I have today at the [Emergency Operations Center]."

OK! That's an acceptable answer?

4. Get your own street and your brother's street cleared.

5. When pressed about that... say "I need to be out and about. For that reason my street has been cleared."

But I thought you had a computer and phone? What else do you need? I guess no one else needs to get to work, class, hospital, or buy groceries and get their prescription filled? Oh wait... unlike anybody else, your job actually depends on showing up and pretending to be at work doesn't it? Oh shucks, too bad about Friday night and Saturday, I'm sure the Seven Springs Ski Resort was a bad place to be snowed in.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow + 4 days.

I live on a relatively busy street that gets filled with cars during rush hour. This particular street also serves as one of the junctions that connects ambulances to the main UPMC hospital from Downtown and Bloomfield. Our dear boy mayor, Luke Ravenstahl claimed on Tuesday (4 days after the snow fell) that the city work crews have cleared most primary and worked on secondary roads - I guess most of Pittsburgh's streets must be tertiary.