Letter to the editor: Nature will decide county's fate
The Feb. 18 “Quotables” section poses an interesting question: Is it necessary that a community grow? Or should nature be allowed to take its own course?
Pittsburgh proper's population fell from a high of 676,000 in 1950 to a current estimate of just over 300,000. Is the city less livable today than it was in 1950? California's population has swelled to over 40 million. Is California a better place to live today than it was in 1950? I believe the answers are “no.” Pittsburgh was rated a best place to live just a couple of years ago. California is on the verge of bankruptcy. Its school systems, highway systems, housing prices and other quality-of-life measures suggest eventual self-destruction.
My point is, certain local public officials are overreacting to the population decline. They fail to cite that the western portion of Westmoreland County (Penn and North Huntington townships and Murrysville) is doing quite well. It's the former coal- and steel-dependent and agricultural regions that have fallen behind. In time, these communities will become what they will become. Government can do some things to promote growth or community development, but the essential thrust will come from people with entrepreneurial drive and instincts.
The idea of increasing diversity, suggested by county Commissioner Ted Kopas in an earlier article, is off the mark. Generally, people follow jobs; jobs don't follow people. However, I'm glad the commissioner is on top of the subject. At least continued discussion could produce new ideas or even encourage entrepreneurs to look at the county and appreciate its assets and opportunities. However, in the end, nature will take its natural course.
Louis F. D'Emilio