This Just In: February 18 - 25 | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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This Just In: February 18 - 25

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The Costa Advice Is Free

Summary: Pittsburgh's beloved former Public Works director, Guy Costa, plays Monday-morning quarterback on snow-removal efforts. Reporter: Rick Earle, WPXI Channel 11 Airtime: 1 minute, 55 seconds on Feb. 12 Visuals: * Costa wielding a shovel in South Oakland. * Motorists and pedestrians struggling as they traverse our "Winter Wonderland." Highlights: * Earle at the helm of an SUV, cruising down a city street as Costa, in the passenger's seat, assesses the aftermath. * When Earle describes their trek: "From Oakland to Squirrel Hill, we traveled the streets with former Public Works director Guy Costa. Costa took us to this street in South Oakland, where the ice is still several inches thick. But how did this happen on main roads, like Fifth and Forbes?" * When Costa analyzes, "[I]t's evident that streets weren't plowed ... [T]he wet slushy snow was compacted by vehicles. The colder temperatures came and froze it." * When Earle reports, "The city has said some plow drivers were called off routes to help with stuck emergency vehicles. But Costa, who praised road crews for their hard work, believes there may be an even bigger issue." * When Costa reveals, "I think a lot of employees are very unhappy, and they're afraid to do anything -- 'cause they're worried if they say something, they'll be retaliated against." * When Earle elaborates, "Costa, who admitted for the first time [that] he was asked to resign or be fired, said he called the city Saturday to volunteer his expertise, but was told he wasn't needed." * When Earle asks, "Did the city fail?" and Costa responds, "I don't want to say that. I just simply want to say, that based on the weather storm that they had, they got behind and again -- once you get behind, it's very difficult." * When Earle reminisces, "Costa ran the city's Works department for nearly a decade. He did face some criticism after a snowstorm two years ago, but believes that was politically motivated." * When Earle presses, "You'd still be there if he didn't want you out." Costa agrees, "Yeah, I'd still be there. But if this would have happened, I woulda been terminated." Earle laughs. What We Learned: Guy Costa is a class act. Unanswered Question: "He"? You wouldn't by any chance mean Luke Ravenstahl, would you, Rick? News Value: 5. As Pittsburghers, it's our nature to want to live in the past. Guy certainly satisfied us. But what, exactly, are works crews unhappy about? And what about Ravenstahl's response? It would have been fun to see Earle at least try to get an answer out of him.

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