In March, my RedState colleague Joe Cunningham wrote up a story on one of the mistakes the commonwealth of Pennsylvania has made in its reaction to the Wuhan coronavirus: it closed all of its liquor stores. And as Joe noted, PA can do that because all of the liquor stores are state-run. Now, that sounds terrible, of course. But there’s a spot of positive news for some Pennsylvanians Friday.
Democrat Governor Tom Wolf pronounced that new areas that have moved into a Phase One “yellow zone” will reopen 77 liquor stores, with limited access for mask-wearing customers. If you’re keeping score at home, he’s essentially opened the western and northern parts of the state. Not Philadelphia, for sure, as WHYY/NPR reported.
But you know there’s bad news mixed in the cocktail: none of the stores are within Allegheny County, where the state’s second-most populous city, Pittsburgh (about 2.36 million, metro.), is located. I know a bunch of good people over there, so I feel for them.
Though CBS Pittsburgh goes on to note some of the locations are just north of there.
Speaking of the ‘Burgh…
On Wednesday, the city’s Public Works department filled the West Penn Skate Park with truckloads of sand, as ABC4 Pittsburgh reported. Mike Gable, Pittsburgh Public Works Director told them, “We take no pride or pleasure in doing that,” but insisted, “We had to do what we had to do.”:
Gable said they previously removed the goals on the basketball courts and the nets on the tennis courts, because people were ignoring the closures there as well.
ABC4 wrote about the city’s inspiration for the move:
Pittsburgh took its cue from California, which dumped tons of sand into a San Clemente skate park to keep people out, but that didn’t deter the dirt bike riders.
Well, Pittsburgh’s city employees arrived at City Hall on Friday morning to a huge surprise:
— Ben Schmitt (@bencschmitt) May 8, 2020
Then a light bulb lit up for the folks at the Pittsburgh Tribune… could it be?:
Someone dumped sand in a revolving door at Pittsburgh’s City Hall after a public works crew put sand in a shuttered neighborhood skateboard park to prevent repeated break-ins. Coincidence? https://t.co/WzymJqtGl9
— TribLIVE.com (@TribLIVE) May 8, 2020
The Tribune wrote:
Someone dumped sand in a revolving door at Pittsburgh’s City Hall Thursday night, hours after city officials reported that a public works crew put sand in a shuttered neighborhood skateboard park to prevent repeated break-ins.
Public Safety spokesman Chris Togneri said police were investigating the sand dumping in a doorway at the Grant Street entrance to the City-County Building, Downtown. He declined to comment on the possibility that the two incidents were related, citing an ongoing investigation.
It’s unclear whether the dumping was captured by city cameras.
Unfortunately, like their liquor stores, this may be just one more way the Keystone State could signal to the rest of the country why red states are (generally) better places to live than blue states.
How? Back in April, a similar situation cropped up in suburban Phoenix. On Sunday, April 19, someone captured images of Queen Creek’s Mansel Carter Oasis Park’s skate park filled with sand, as the Arizona Daily Independent reported. The area’s parks were open, but with the now-familiar, social distancing rules. In this case, a local councilman and other Arizonans spoke up:
A shameful display of tyranny in my legislative district this weekend by a rogue bureaucrat. Thankfully, councilman @JMHoffman got on this immediately and the sand is being removed. https://t.co/4OuHjJ6niH
— Travis Grantham (@TravisGrantham) April 19, 2020
Like Pittsburgh, basketball nets had been taken down, for, you know, everyone’s safety.
Queen Creek Town Council decided the following day, which was a Monday, to return the nets, unlock the park gates, and post a sign reading: “Park open, use at your own risk.”
There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
And while no one knows yet whether the sand in the skate park and the sand in the Pittsburgh City Hall revolving door are a coincidence, you know what they say: “What goes around, comes around.”
Update [8:52p.m. ET, 5/8/20]: A Pennsylvania friend pointed out that all of southwestern PA, save Beaver County, is set to move to “Yellow” status a week from Friday (May 15). Duly noted, thanks!
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