Driven up the wall
In the Architecture column regarding the North Side "Charm Bracelet" ["First Time's the Charm," Feb. 21], Charles Rosenblum cited the pride, expressed by Children's Museum Executive Director Jane Werner, over gutting a wall of the original Buhl Planetarium. Before being replaced by a large window, the wall included an astronomical inscription from the 19th Psalm. ("The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.") Rosenblum failed to mention that the gutting of this wall section was vehemently opposed by both Friends of the Zeiss and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, at a March 2002 hearing before the Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission.
To gain commission approval for gutting this wall, Ms. Werner talked about reassembling the Biblical inscription nearby. But right now, unorganized fragments of the inscription are scattered on Buhl's east lawn, with some of these fragments forming borders of flower beds!
This is not surprising from a museum management that also insisted on removing the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and other historic Buhl artifacts -- all of which continue wallowing in storage, educating no one!
Is this how the Children's Museum wants to connect to the community -- by total disregard of North Side history, and the sanctity of an inscription from the Bible? I call on Children's Museum management to reassemble this inscription, and use the other Buhl artifacts to teach science to children visiting the Children's Museum. That will show the Children's Museum truly values this North Side historic legacy.
-- Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss
No call for union at DAM
I have worked at Direct Advantage Marketing for more than six years. The DAM that I work at was not reflected in the article I read in City Paper ["Progressive call center hanging up on requests for union," Feb. 21].
DAM callers will decide if we want a union, not management or the union. It is unfair to blame our lack of a decision on management.
Christian Dupain is well meaning, but I disagree with his faith in unions. I think I am not alone in feeling mistrustful of unions. They remind me of how I feel about the Democratic and Republican parties: I do not know whom they are supposed to represent, but often it is not me or the people I know.
I wish we had parties worthy of the people, and unions worthy of the workers. And I wish we had management that really let workers share in important decisions. Workers need a better voice at DAM, that is true. I just do not think a union is that voice.
Christian said the rate of turnover at DAM is "endless. If the company thought it was a problem, they could do something about it."
Let us face reality about tele-fund-raising. Turnover at call centers is always high. Most people do not like asking for money and getting a lot of rejection.
DAM serves the needs of some of the best nonprofits in the world. Those nonprofits help untold numbers of people and animals here and around the world. They need financial support, and they trust DAM to get it. That means finding, developing and keeping the best callers for the job. If you are a good caller, you will do well at DAM. If you are not, than maybe another line of work would be better.
The two women who run DAM, Sheila Hollums and Lisa Drane, are two of the best leaders I have ever worked for. And Alex Soro, who is just below them in authority, is someone I trust. I trust them more than a union to watch my back.
The benefits at DAM have gotten better over the years. I and other callers can now make our calls from our homes. You can imagine how much time and money we save working from home.
I also take issue with the part of the article that talks about the "the irony" of an organization that works for progressive causes taking an anti-union stance. Sheila, Lisa and Alex have all said that if we want a union, they will work with it. It is we who are not sure, so do not blame DAM management.
Christian says at the end of the article, "Unionizing is your federal right. I can't imagine not wanting to exercise my federal right." It is my God-given right to make my own decisions about a union. And I choose to say "no" at this point in time.
-- David River Gibeaut, Plum
Violet Law's article on bus cutbacks ["Fare Minded," March 1] was most informative. It reveals to all -- and particularly us city people -- the degree of hurt that will be imposed on some folks if the proposed cutbacks are put into effect. From her articles, we note you have a great humanist on your staff.
-- Ralph Lund, Squirrel Hill