Something for Everybody

A few weeks back, I spent a while on the phone with a thoughtful reporter from the Detroit Free Press; she was researching a story on what Detroit (a seriously struggling city) might learn from Pittsburgh (a city that's put its past behind us). Her story appeared today. (And folks who criticize the backward-looking, detail-obsessed political leadership of Pittsburgh should read the comments: Pittsburgh is a shining city on a river (or two) compared to Detroit.)

I have one quote in the story: Below the bullet point: "Don't underestimate the power of community spirit and pride," addressed to Detroit leaders looking for lessons, the story notes:

More than anything else, Pittsburghers' devotion to their city seems to have kept it from becoming a wasteland. Those who didn't leave town when the mills closed have formed an emotional attachment to the area on par with the fierce loyalty exhibited by Pittsburgh Steelers fans across the nation. "People love this city like no other city in the world," said Michael Madison, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who writes Pittsblog, a blog about the area.

Absolutely true, and absolutely inoffensive and meaningless, in one fell swoop.


4 Responses to "Something for Everybody"

Anonymous said... 4/14/2008 2:07 PM

Unlike the recent Pittsburgh articles in the Philly Inquirer (and AP, NYT, etc.)... this article does not rely on cliches and is quite well researched (with three great assists from Madison, Miller & Briem). It's nice to see a balanced, nuanced article from abroad. It reflects the reality of a region that suffered a dramatic nadir and has moved forward.

Uniquetake Photography said... 4/14/2008 9:32 PM

to me pittsburgh is great for many reasons despite inneffective and intrusive government action which is a tradition we have yet to evolve from. non-profit and educational entities have prospered with state non-profit tax legislation for sure, but the high tax, inefficient local governments continue to hamper pittsburgh's future progress as far as free enterprise. relative comparisons to detroit need to be heavily taken into context. they are the ones who actually went ahead with city government ownership of a casino and proved how bad government can be ( which pgh city council threatened to do to play power games with the state to get their handouts).

Schultz said... 4/15/2008 12:14 PM

Unique Photo,

We are indeed in need of a reduction in the size and cost of government. Ever notice how many elections there are for state legislators? The first place we need to start is by cutting the number of legislators in Pennsylvania's general assembly. Currently our state has the hight number of full time legislators. For the State House, each representative only covers a district that consists of 60,000 residents. Compare this to California where 80 state house members each cover a district on average the size of 457,000. Kudos to Rep. Matt Smith who recommended cutting the size of the general assembly. Unfortunately, I don't believe any changes proposed by Matt Smith and other legislators can take place until 2010.

More data on this over at t + p .

Rick Byerly said... 4/17/2008 11:23 AM

thanks, i didn't know about rep matt smith

looks like a good blog you have there! subscribed to the feed

rick byerly

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About Pittsblog

Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

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