Where are Pittsburgh bloggers on the fire in Larimer?

Luke Ravenstahl acted like a fool and lied to the public.  Sad, but predictable.  Hundreds of words have piled up around the Burghosphere calling him to task for his shameless disregard for truth (and his job). 

Meanwhile, five children in Larimer were killed in a horrible house fire.  Someone blamed a non-existent teenage babysitter.  Now it appears as if the two mothers of the children left them home alone.  Actually, they left seven children under the age of eight home alone.  The oldest two escaped and had to witness their siblings' screams and pleas for help, a memory they'll carry with them to the grave.  Police believe these two boys were playing with matches, another thing that will haunt them. 

No arrest.  Yet.  But well-known criminal defense attorney Jim Ecker is on the scene, representing one of the mothers. (Ledcat called that one last night). 

Is this political?  Does the intersection of race and poverty have anything to do with this horrific tragedy or can we simply lay it at the feet of two African-American women and call it a day?  We have no way to know until more information comes to light.  But I'm saying that a 25 year old mother of four and 20-something mother of three need some support to parent well under the best of circumstances.  What kind of supports did these women have that they chose to leave their children alone?  What kind of supports even exist in Larimer?  Last time I checked, no retired Steelers are building restaurants in Larimer.  Last time I checked, East Liberty morphed up into Eastside. Last time I checked, the agencies who came to a local community event brought abstinence brochures while the Army seduced kids with personalized dog tags. 

It may not be sexy political like Luke chasing after Tiger Woods or Bill Peduto taking on self-styled anarchists.  But five African-American children died in one of the worst fires in Pittsburgh's history in one of the region's poorest neighborhoods.  It deserves some attention.  The political future of Pittsburgh is as much tied up in the lives and deaths of these five children as in Luke Ravenstahl's dereliction of his duty.

Those children, all of region's most vulnerable children, need someone to hold the higher ups accountable for their welfare and their lives.

Bloggers, where for art thou?

****************************************************************

UPDATE:   One Pittsburgh blogger covered this story.  Her name is PittGirl and she is a self proclaimed non-political blogger.  Still, she captured a moment of the underlying human aspect. 

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  • It is a necessary part of our morning routine: we see the word “fire”, and we skip instantly to the next headline. Nice catch.

  • It is a necessary part of our morning routine: we see the word “fire”, and we skip instantly to the next headline. Nice catch.

  • I've blogged in the past about the attitude the pols have toward public safety, especially EMS, since most of the “consumers” aren't big on donating, voting, or having the same skin color. It goes back to Pete Flaherty's calling Pittsburgh EMS a “non-essential service.” (You want a laugh — go back and read all the nice eulogies said about what a friend Flaherty was to EMS complete male bovine metabolic wate product. It's a pity Dr. Nancy Caroline wasn't alive to say her piece.) It's why Caliguri's forced an EMS strike (and I don't care what I said on TV, we caved after a few of the medics broke the picket line). For one brief segment of time, there were enough powerful African-Americans on City Council that an affirmative action EMS class was put together. That was a fascinating program, demonstrating pretty much every point both for and against affirmative action. That affirmative action program aggravated the sexual, sexual orientation and racial harassment of my crew to the point that it resulted in a nasty human rights case and cost me my job because I wouldn't cooperate with the harassment or turn a blind eye.
    No one cared. Eventually, I gave up blogging about it, mostly. It did come up recently in the proposal to merge Fire and EMS, and every time the City suggests privatizing EMS — why not privatize the police, too? –, but no one cares and my blogging about it doesn't do ****. Actually, I've come to realize blogging about anything doesn't do anything — go read the recent discussion about global warming on that one post.
    I guess that's why I blog a lot less and have been putting up more pretty pictures. Pretty pictures don't carry any delusions of importance or effectiveness.
    I should have blogged about Cmdr. Gwen Elliot. That, I regret. She wasn't the perfect little wind-up doll all the self-serving eulogies made her out to be.
    Ah well….

  • I've blogged in the past about the attitude the pols have toward public safety, especially EMS, since most of the “consumers” aren't big on donating, voting, or having the same skin color. It goes back to Pete Flaherty's calling Pittsburgh EMS a “non-essential service.” (You want a laugh — go back and read all the nice eulogies said about what a friend Flaherty was to EMS complete male bovine metabolic wate product. It's a pity Dr. Nancy Caroline wasn't alive to say her piece.) It's why Caliguri's forced an EMS strike (and I don't care what I said on TV, we caved after a few of the medics broke the picket line). For one brief segment of time, there were enough powerful African-Americans on City Council that an affirmative action EMS class was put together. That was a fascinating program, demonstrating pretty much every point both for and against affirmative action. That affirmative action program aggravated the sexual, sexual orientation and racial harassment of my crew to the point that it resulted in a nasty human rights case and cost me my job because I wouldn't cooperate with the harassment or turn a blind eye.
    No one cared. Eventually, I gave up blogging about it, mostly. It did come up recently in the proposal to merge Fire and EMS, and every time the City suggests privatizing EMS — why not privatize the police, too? –, but no one cares and my blogging about it doesn't do ****. Actually, I've come to realize blogging about anything doesn't do anything — go read the recent discussion about global warming on that one post.
    I guess that's why I blog a lot less and have been putting up more pretty pictures. Pretty pictures don't carry any delusions of importance or effectiveness.
    I should have blogged about Cmdr. Gwen Elliot. That, I regret. She wasn't the perfect little wind-up doll all the self-serving eulogies made her out to be.
    Ah well….

  • Well, Dan Onorato said he was going to pray. He was quoted in the press.
    I've not blogged about this as I've not been reading the paper until this afternoon.
    Plus, it is not such a I HEART Burgh topic to blog about. FWIW, your blog posting might be heard by more people who can do something constructive vs. Onorato's prayers.
    This is a time to morn. It is also a time to do the investigation.
    The day after the funeral, I hope some are served a warrant for arrest.
    I hope all citizens involved have great attorneys, and in-turn, great legal advice. Furthermore, I hope that they are given the space to morn and go through the grief process without the MSM (and bloggers) in their face and spaces.
    I think it was interesting for the school officials to NOT tell the classmates of the students that their buddie had died. They had their last day of school and went home with a sealed envelope. Interesting — not right — not wrong — just interesting.
    If my child was in that classroom, I think I would have wanted to be the one to tell my kids that their mate was now dead.

  • Well, Dan Onorato said he was going to pray. He was quoted in the press.
    I've not blogged about this as I've not been reading the paper until this afternoon.
    Plus, it is not such a I HEART Burgh topic to blog about. FWIW, your blog posting might be heard by more people who can do something constructive vs. Onorato's prayers.
    This is a time to morn. It is also a time to do the investigation.
    The day after the funeral, I hope some are served a warrant for arrest.
    I hope all citizens involved have great attorneys, and in-turn, great legal advice. Furthermore, I hope that they are given the space to morn and go through the grief process without the MSM (and bloggers) in their face and spaces.
    I think it was interesting for the school officials to NOT tell the classmates of the students that their buddie had died. They had their last day of school and went home with a sealed envelope. Interesting — not right — not wrong — just interesting.
    If my child was in that classroom, I think I would have wanted to be the one to tell my kids that their mate was now dead.

  • Rob, I cared. And, I still care about your blog — and really, about your opinions.
    Most of all, my advice to others in the policial/civic realm is, 'don't burn out.' (That is a bad pun given this thread's main topic — of course.) Keep on keeping on. Don't give up — or as Churchill said — NEVER give up.

  • Rob, I cared. And, I still care about your blog — and really, about your opinions.
    Most of all, my advice to others in the policial/civic realm is, 'don't burn out.' (That is a bad pun given this thread's main topic — of course.) Keep on keeping on. Don't give up — or as Churchill said — NEVER give up.

  • Not to be snarky, but could it be the word “Larimer”? How many bloggers have ever been to Larimer? Or could point to Larimer on a local map?

  • Not to be snarky, but could it be the word “Larimer”? How many bloggers have ever been to Larimer? Or could point to Larimer on a local map?

  • Rob,
    It is hard not to become discouraged. Ten days ago, I called my county councilwoman and the county constituent affairs staffer. I also called One Vision, One Life, a county program, and left a message for a supervisor. Ten days … none have returned my call. In the meantime, my 10 year old neighbor is being sucked in to the vortex that is my criminal neighbor — sadly, he started a fire, too. Next to my backyard. Last winter, he shoveled my walk without pay or being asked just because he thought we were nice and had a nice dog.
    I am disappointed in Brenda Frazier and Richard Garland. Someday, I may blog about it. Hopefully, I won't blog about my neighbor's arson arrest. Sigh

  • Rob,
    It is hard not to become discouraged. Ten days ago, I called my county councilwoman and the county constituent affairs staffer. I also called One Vision, One Life, a county program, and left a message for a supervisor. Ten days … none have returned my call. In the meantime, my 10 year old neighbor is being sucked in to the vortex that is my criminal neighbor — sadly, he started a fire, too. Next to my backyard. Last winter, he shoveled my walk without pay or being asked just because he thought we were nice and had a nice dog.
    I am disappointed in Brenda Frazier and Richard Garland. Someday, I may blog about it. Hopefully, I won't blog about my neighbor's arson arrest. Sigh

  • Good for Dan. Pray and investigate. Then how about making sure there are plenty of county services available to Larimer residents and other single mothers — be it D&A services, child care services, job development, parenting, economic development, afterschool programs, etc. Let's avoid the temptation to narrow this down to a specific reason with type-cast characters and focus on preventing the next tragedy.
    What's frustrating about this situation is the parallel with the Greene County family that died because of space heaters — all the $$ spent on teddy bears and flowers could probably repaired the broken furnace and prevented the entire situation. I laughed each evening as KDKA presented information on energy assistance programs, implying that this poor misguided family didn't know about them. Ha. Most low income families know programs and services better than this social worker. The problem is they aren't accessible or eligible or at all helpful.
    My prayers are with the families. My hopes are that the investigation sheds some light on very real urban problems that aren't being tended to by Mr. Onorato and Mr. Ravenstahl very well.

  • Good for Dan. Pray and investigate. Then how about making sure there are plenty of county services available to Larimer residents and other single mothers — be it D&A services, child care services, job development, parenting, economic development, afterschool programs, etc. Let's avoid the temptation to narrow this down to a specific reason with type-cast characters and focus on preventing the next tragedy.
    What's frustrating about this situation is the parallel with the Greene County family that died because of space heaters — all the $$ spent on teddy bears and flowers could probably repaired the broken furnace and prevented the entire situation. I laughed each evening as KDKA presented information on energy assistance programs, implying that this poor misguided family didn't know about them. Ha. Most low income families know programs and services better than this social worker. The problem is they aren't accessible or eligible or at all helpful.
    My prayers are with the families. My hopes are that the investigation sheds some light on very real urban problems that aren't being tended to by Mr. Onorato and Mr. Ravenstahl very well.

  • No it was not the word “Larimer,” not in our case. We've been to Larimer and covered Larimer.

  • No it was not the word “Larimer,” not in our case. We've been to Larimer and covered Larimer.

  • Oh, and:
    “Last time I checked, East Liberty morphed up into Eastside.”
    Wait, I'm confused. It it bad when some of these neighborhoods start doing well, because it leaves the others behind?

  • Oh, and:
    “Last time I checked, East Liberty morphed up into Eastside.”
    Wait, I'm confused. It it bad when some of these neighborhoods start doing well, because it leaves the others behind?

  • There is no such place as Eastside. It is an artificial place that strips the community of decades of history and culture. Place-fear is a well-known phenomenon around here … the Shakespeare shopping center morphed into “Shady Hills” a few years ago. And its grounded in racism and socio-economic oppression.
    East Liberty has this wonderful rich history (as does Shadyside). Eastside is a marketing ploy to assuage the fears of white preppy shoppers and developers who want their money.
    Of course, economic development is good for the community and, hopefully, lifts up surrounding communities. But changing the name of a community to appeal to developers, investors, and most importantly white shoppers is not okay.

  • There is no such place as Eastside. It is an artificial place that strips the community of decades of history and culture. Place-fear is a well-known phenomenon around here … the Shakespeare shopping center morphed into “Shady Hills” a few years ago. And its grounded in racism and socio-economic oppression.
    East Liberty has this wonderful rich history (as does Shadyside). Eastside is a marketing ploy to assuage the fears of white preppy shoppers and developers who want their money.
    Of course, economic development is good for the community and, hopefully, lifts up surrounding communities. But changing the name of a community to appeal to developers, investors, and most importantly white shoppers is not okay.

  • I work in Larimer. It's a community that is in a huge decline. I don't know if that community can ever rebound.
    It was aterrible tragedy but I didn't feel the need to blog about it.
    What could I say about it?

  • I work in Larimer. It's a community that is in a huge decline. I don't know if that community can ever rebound.
    It was aterrible tragedy but I didn't feel the need to blog about it.
    What could I say about it?

  • I agree with Sue. I am all for community development, but what they have done in “Eastside” looks like straight gentrification, and I don't see have it help the community itself.

  • I agree with Sue. I am all for community development, but what they have done in “Eastside” looks like straight gentrification, and I don't see have it help the community itself.

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