Thursday, October 17, 2013

"and the fathers are working"


A video and longform piece worth watching and reading: Cleaning up one of America's most polluted cities on a site called theVerge.com.  The longform piece by Matt Stroud.

The piece stands on its own, but look closely at time 3:38 in the embedded video below.  The heart-wrenching soliloquy there I bet is from the 1970s. Go watch that and then think about how local environmental politics were playing out at the time. The old footage is not specifically referenced, but I have a feeling it is contemporary to when U.S. Steel put this full page, and I mean full page, advertisement (pasted below) in local papers. U.S. Steel was playing on job fears in an ongoing battle with Allegheny County's then new air pollution bureaucracy  (highlighted in the video) which was locked in a front-page legal and political battle with U.S. Steel at the time. Consider what folks were up against arguing against the region's single largest employer, arguably the region's corporate soul. The advertisement references the recent construction of 600 Grant Street (aka, the U.S. Steel building... now with another acronym on on top) which opened in 1970 and the picture there is of Edgar Speer, US Steel's Chairman at the time. This was hard ball politics that puts to shame most any recent political history. The video is all about the debate this advertisement epitomizes.

And at time 5:00 I think you get a shot of the late city councilwoman Michelle Madoff, who passed away just this week, in action.



4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a hi-res version of that ad anywhere. Would love to read the fine print.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool video. At one point it noted that USS was denounced by some panel investigation for attempted blackmail by threatening job losses. Seems like a version of that is accepted political practice these days when officials say that such and such a development project, not to mention fracking, will bring x number of jobs to the region.

Friday, October 18, 2013 9:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Helper said...

Link to hi-res ad for Anonymous #1

Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

The great hubris of that advertisement is not the crass job-fear-mongering poltics of it. That U.S.S. was proud that in the mid-70s it was still getting around to converting to basic oxygen furnaces at its Pittsburgh facilities is a travesty. Europe and Japan were decades into that conversion. Where Pittsburgh was really just beginning to make the conversion, within a year Japan had gotten rid of ALL of its open hearth production (the older technology). THere was even a basic oxygen furnace a decade old at the time of that ad in BEIJING!

Saturday, October 19, 2013 1:54:00 PM  

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