Sounding off: Pittsburgh Marathon’s inclusion illusion |
Letters to the Editor

Sounding off: Pittsburgh Marathon’s inclusion illusion

Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Runners participate in the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 5, 2019.

The Pittsburgh Marathon brings great energy to the city, a feeling that everyone there — runner and spectator alike — is united in the common purpose of supporting each other through a difficult endeavor. This purpose transcends race, ethnicity, religion, gender, economics, and politics: Anyone who can run or who supports the runners is welcome and celebrated.

This universal unity, however, is a lie. P3R, the nonprofit that organizes the marathon, accepted a marquee sponsorship from the local franchise owners of Chick-fil-A for the Kids of Steel youth marathon. The Chick-fil-A Foundation donated more than $1.8 million to three groups with a history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination in 2017, according to recently released tax filings analyzed by ThinkProgress. This is in spite of having pledged to discontinue donations to discriminatory groups in 2012.

The franchise owners are not the same as the foundation, but one cannot be separated from the other. One wonders what P3R considers “acceptable” levels of prejudice against underrepresented populations when taking donations.

P3R, as a nonprofit that represents the City of Pittsburgh on the international stage, is sending a message to the LGBTQ community, particularly to LGBTQ youth, that the Pittsburgh Marathon and, by transitive property, Pittsburgh is for everyone but them.

In the future, I believe that Pittsburgh’s inclusiveness will be more than illusory, and it is certainly better than it has been in the past. As it stands right now though, it seems our unity is still mostly smoke and mirrors.

Erik Rueter, Franklin Park

Consequences of deer season change

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has decided to review its decision to start deer season the Saturday after Thanksgiving rather than the following Monday (“Saturday start to 2019 deer hunting season might not be permanent”). However, they’re going to go ahead and try it out this year anyhow.

The original decision turned out to be unpopular for many reasons. Although it may have been made to satisfy the preference of the hunters, it turns out not even all hunters like the idea. And now it looks like that was not the only reason it was made.

In a typical general-public-be-damned statement, Game Commission Chairman Tim Layton said they’ll be “… looking to see if the Saturday opener (increases) hunting license sales …” and, later, hunter success and hunter opinions.

When will our government servants learn that the unexpected consequences to their actions may be widespread and that it would be wise to check around a bit before making even “simple” decisions?

Ed Collins, West Newton

Politicians should be working, not campaigning

While the president and myriads of elected representatives are busy priming and prepping and appearing at yet another campaign rally or on yet another town hall prime-time special, who’s actually addressing health care, infrastructure, immigration, hunger, homelessness, veterans, racial injustice, environmental issues, opioids or any one of a hundred other local and national issues? Perhaps if our elected officials spent as much time serving in office as they do running for office, we could truly make the American “dream” the American “reality.”

Keith G. Kondrich, Swisshelm Park

Pittsburgh’s homeless should come first

To all the homeless people in and around the city of Pittsburgh: It seems your mayor has free rooms to house hundreds, if not thousands, of illegal immigrants while you live under a bridge in a cardboard box (“Sending immigrant detainees to Pittsburgh not a punishment”). You should band together and descend on his office to demand that you be the first in line for such housing. And if they’re not going to live there for free, where are the jobs that he’s going to offer them?

I think the mayor and all who agree with him should open the doors to their own houses and keep, feed, pay for and provide health care for every one of the illegal immigrants they want to invite here. Better yet, how about taking care of your own first? Wake up, people.

Dwayne Buffer, Youngwood

Muslim call for prayer, patience

This Muslim-American says shame on the Easter Day Sri Lankan suicide bombers and all who target places of worship. Contrary to the bombers’ twisted ideology of destroying churches, the true Islam instructs Muslims to in fact defend all places of worship.

It appears that the bombers were influenced by ISIS to exact revenge for the twin mosque shootings in New Zealand in March. On the other hand, the worldwide head of my Ahmadiyya Muslim community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, advised Muslims, in the wake of the mosque attacks, to shun calls from extremists for vengeance and instead turn to the golden Quranic principles of prayer and patience.

Sadly, the bombers not only terrorized innocent worshippers during one of the most important Christian holidays and disturbed the fragile peace in a nation scarred by over two decades of brutal civil war, they also defamed the pristine name of Islam and contradicted its true teachings.

Dr. Sohail Z. Husain, Indiana Township

The writer is a pediatrician and a member of the Muslim Writer’s Guild of America (

Politicians must fix health care

I am so sick and tired of politicians always fighting with each other and not getting anything done. We need to start voting in politicians who will work with each other, not obstruct each other at every turn. Their party is not more important than my pocketbook.

I don’t care if Trump and Putin colluded while in bed together wearing wigs and lipstick. I want health care fixed.

This year, I had to step down to a bronze plan because of the cost, yet I’m still paying off a $1,500 hospital and doctor bill from last year’s gold plan. On top of that, I had to change doctors and hospitals three years ago because of the price. I am not a happy camper.

The Republicans campaigned on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with something better. The Democrats campaigned on fixing Obamacare to make it better. I’m still waiting.

Susan Stiles, North Huntingdon

Paying for police, roads & bridges

The editorial “Gas tax covers police for areas that won’t” included great comments about the current situation in Pennsylvania.

I have a solution: If your municipality doesn’t have a police force, it should fix roads and bridges without state help.

Great and wonderful Hempfield Township is one that doesn’t pay for police coverage and sponges off the rest of us. How much gas tax money is going to Hempfield to fix roads and bridges? It should stop immediately.

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a per capita assessment that was shouted down by cries that “We can’t afford it,” especially in Hempfield Township.

I live in South Greensburg, home to just over 2,000 people, and we have a police department. Our borough owns up to its responsibilities and provides first-class services to its residents.

It’s time that “second class” Hempfield Township and others step up and provide first-class services like police protection or pay for their own bridge and road repairs.

And the rest of the municipalities need to go after Wolf and the Legislature to take appropriate action.

John A. Waite, South Greensburg

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