Anyone who has followed the horrific story of four drowning deaths that occurred during the Aug 19, 2011 Pittsburgh Washington Boulevard torrential rain and ensuing flooding knew that it was only a matter of time before lawsuits were filed, another blot on the city, an expensive mistake which resulted in calamity.
The widower of Kimberly Griffith recently spoke with raw emotion of the pain that he endures every day, how he misses his wife and daughters, accurately noting that this event did not have to happen. Could there be any more sympathetic figures than Mr. Griffith, his surviving children and the relatives of victim Mary Saflin?
In fairness to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, he did what every other mayor for decades has done after having become aware of the matter, forgotten about the trap that this area of Highland Park becomes during torrential rain, or rolling the dice, praying that the horror of what occurred that fateful day would never come to be.
As readers well know, I take a back seat to no one in my drive for the lowest possible tax burden possible (some would say I am a fanatical spending hawk), but we must never, and I have never advocated cutting corners where the basic issue of public safety, the primary function of government, is concerned. Consequently, I have advocated again and again in newspapers throughout the Commonwealth for the Corbett administration to adopt some plan, any plan, to address our crumbling state roads and bridges. Finally, it appears that the administration has gotten the message. The governor's plan to allow the oil company franchise tax to rise is not the solution advocated by his transportation committee nor the preferred option of many, and it can be seen as a sneaky indirect increase in the cost of gasoline at the pump, but no one will hear a peep of discontent from me if it raises the money necessary to ensure that we need not worry about plunging off a rotted bridge with our families.
Hindsight, of course, is perfect vision. Certainly the mayor, and former Mayor Tom Murphy, now wish that they had acted with the urgency that the watery death trap of Washington Boulevard deserved. Now that a compound tragedy that destroyed lives has occurred, we act: pity.