Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor launched his campaign to "redd up" the city today, meeting with the Bureau of Building Inspection and issuing orders to tow cars, raze buildings, enforce codes and bring the police if things get dicey.
For those of you who don't speak Pittsburgheese, here the translation: "Company is coming so we have to clean up this place. Forget about silly rules (aka state law) and do it. I want to impress people who don't live here".
The mayor has promised to improve the city's appearance in time for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July and has said that effort will go far beyond Downtown and the North Shore.
He told inspectors to redouble efforts to have abandoned cars towed. Told that many cars sit rusting on properties for which the owner can not be found, and that state law bars the city from seizing such cars, he urged the inspectors to be bold.
"Why don't we just take a picture of the car, tow it, so if we get sued, we can say, here's what it's worth?" Mr. O'Connor asked.
"Don't be afraid to make a mistake - as long as it's not a Mercedes Benz. ... [If it's a] $200 car or less, get it out of there. ... We're not going to let these silly rules frustrate our community."
While I support cleaning up Pittsburgh, let's do it legally and for the right reasons Mr. Mayor.