City Ranking Ironies

Yet another ranking isannounced and Pittsburgh does well coming in 11th on the Sperling ranking of security. Predictably, City of Pittsburgh officials jump on the good score and explain how the City is doing all the right things to justify the award. The problem is-as we have commented on earlier rankings-the ranking is for the seven county region. The City itself would do poorly on public education, crime, and government finances. Only because of much better education in suburban school districts and much lower crime rates in outlying counties does the region do so well on these rankings.

Beyond the numbers themselves, there is no end of irony in the rankings. Ranked ahead of Pittsburgh are Syracuse, NY, Rochester NY, and El Paso TX. One would have thought the rankers would have noticed that just across the river from El Paso is Ciudad Juarez, the murder rate capital of North America, if not the world. Syracuse and Rochester are located in a state teetering on the brink of financial meltdown and are not well known as places anyone would want to move to.

There is much to like about the Pittsburgh region. But the region and the City face financially crippling public sector union issues; the state has a tort system that discourages private sector growth as well as an unfriendly business tax and regulatory climate. For some reason, these items never factor in the much ballyhooed city rankings.