Privatize it! (The West Side Market, that is.)

Below is a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Dear Editor,

Gretchen McKay writes in her 11/18 piece about her travels to Cleveland that my hometown has a “landmark public market.”

The West Side Market is filled with great vendors, is in a growing part of town, and located in a beautiful building. What makes it a landmark, at least to me, is that it is a landmark example of how not to run a market.

The aptly named chief of staff to the Mayor, Ken Silliman, defends the city’s continued reign over the market because Cleveland is “about service, rather than profits.”

Reason magazine’s Nick Gillespie hit the nail on the head when he recently asked “How the hell exactly are you about service if you’re not even open three days a week? That’s not putting people first – it’s maintaining control at the expense of your constituents.”

I love my hometown team and am happy that, for the second time in so many years, our team beat yours.

Cleveland was indeed derided as the “mistake on the lake.” These days it is still making mistakes, and operating the West Side Market and a golf complex miles outside of the city limits are but two of many examples.

If you make a day trip up to Cleveland next year for a game, definitely make a point to visit the market. Never mind, the West Side Market is not open on Sunday. Service isn’t available, and neither are profits.

Jim Swift
Alexandria, Virginia

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