ShareThis Page

Heyl: When Western Pennsylvania becomes a separate state

| Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 11:33 p.m.

Matt Drozd apparently dwells in a state of delirium.

That's evident by the Allegheny County councilman's desire to have most of you reading this dwell in a newly formed state composed of Pennsylvania's western counties. Drozd introduced legislation calling for the formation of the nation's 51st state at Tuesday's council meeting. The proposal died soon after, in a 13-2 vote against. Only Bill Robinson, D-Hill District, joined Drozd.

The independent from Ross would have called the new entity Western Pennsylvania. Bad move. That's been the region's moniker for so long that people might not realize we morphed into statehood. Think how much confusion that could cause when it's time for folks to file tax returns or order new license plates.

Perhaps in selecting a state name, we should opt for originality while still honoring Western Pennsylvania and not taking up too much room on official government stationery. Those goals could be accomplished by naming the state Westania.

Drozd, who leaves office at month's end and whose cell phone mailbox was full when I called on Tuesday, cites several advantages in seceding from Pennsylvania in his bill. He contends Westania would benefit by keeping within its borders its various natural resources, which he presumably believes are being pilfered by philistine Philadelphians.

Drozd also asserts Westania would keep a greater share of its tax revenues, which he believes provide disproportionate benefit to the state's eastern counties. His bill compares our situation to colonial times, when perceived taxation inequalities led to a relatively obscure military conflict historical buffs refer to today as the Revolutionary War.

I hesitate to label Drozd's proposal ludicrous, and not just because “silly” essentially says the same thing in one fewer syllable. I hesitate to do so because it's intriguing to consider the questions that would need to be answered if Westania became a reality.

For example, what shape would it select for a nickname? Westanians no longer could claim to be part of the Keystone State. I suppose the three diamondlike shapes in the Steelers' logo could be appropriated, but “The Hypocycloid State” isn't very sexy. Anyone know if “The Hexagon State” is taken?

Like other states, Westania also would need to adopt a variety of official state items, symbols and slogans. Although only tourism officials and trivia enthusiasts would remember what they are, Westania quickly could forge its own identity if it adopted the following:

• Nickname: The Hypocycloid State.

• Flag: Black and gold colors, of course, with a feral pigeon picking at the three hypocycloids in the Steelers' logo.

• Bird: Feral Pigeon.

• Animal: South Side drunkard.

• Plant: Jagger bush.

• Sandwich: Primanti Bros. cheesesteak.

• Dog: Pit bull that's really very gentle ‘n'at — unless yinz move suddenly or look at it.

• Slogan: “Welcome to the official UPMC-Dick's Sporting Goods Westania Slogan.”

• Motto: “Liberty, Steelers, Cold Brews 'n'at.”

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.