Vanaski: There's always a next time, Leetsdale
It's not every day the president and the vice president of the United States make plans to visit your small Western Pennsylvania borough.
It's also rare to be teased by the possibility only to have the plans scuttled just days after they're announced.
On Friday, the White House announced President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would be visiting Leetsdale the next week to talk about the economy, specifically their new plan to spend about $600 million on competitive job training and apprenticeship programs.
By Monday, however, the White House had announced a presidential switcheroo — Obama and Biden were going to the Community College of Allegheny County's West Hills Center in North Fayette instead.
Leetsdale police Chief Jim Santucci said the borough was notified on Friday that it was a candidate for an Obama-Biden appearance at its industrial park. He talked with Secret Service agents at the state police barracks in Moon about the possibility. But even at that point, he said, Leetsdale as the destination wasn't a certainty.
“We were in a holding pattern,” Santucci said.
On Sunday, the chief said he was told the president wouldn't be coming. He said Secret Service officials didn't say exactly why, but he acknowledged that it would have been difficult to make the industrial park secure enough for the president and vice president.
“It has one way in and one way out,” he said.
Santucci said he was excited about the possibility of a visit “because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve on a presidential detail. But at the same time, it's not my headache anymore.”
Coordinating security with the Secret Service, Pennsylvania State Police and other local law enforcement officials would have been difficult for a Leetsdale department of four full-time officers (including Santucci) and six part-timers, Santucci said.
“But we were more than ready to accommodate.”
The chief said he doesn't have hard feelings. He hopes the borough (population 1,218) is considered again someday.
Not everyone was so forgiving.
Jim Circle was busy cutting hair at Mickey's Barber Shop in the Quaker Village Shopping Center when I called to ask his feelings on getting ditched. But to say he was disappointed about the change is an understatement.
“I was sitting here (last week) cutting Mario Lemieux's hair and telling him: ‘No one famous ever comes here.' So I'm P.O.'ed, you know?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Acme man’s ephemeral sculptures appear to defy laws of physics
- Rossi: After L.A., NFL should tread carefully
- Oncologists wary of scaled-back guidelines in cancer screenings
- Early success in White House race a pleasant surprise for Carson
- Cal (Pa.) softball loses slugfest; season comes to an end
- 4 dogs found dead in Beechview home; woman charged
- Saudi King Salman vows retribution for suicide attack on mosque
- Starter Liriano strikes out 12, leads Pirates to series sweep of Mets
- Neighbor arrested after McKeesport house fire, authorities say
- Posthumous election wins have happened in Western Pa., nation
- Photo Gallery: The Zac Brown Band kicks off summer with First Niagara show