In the wake of unspeakable tragedy -- "unspeakable" being an important cue, in this context, for someone with Ms. Doven's record -- came two of the dumbest statements we have ever encountered, comprising a single sentence:
"The road is open, therefore the road is safe," Ms. Doven said.
It is difficult to determined which of those reckless, dangerous assertions is worse.
The road is safe?
Many words could describe a situation in which nine feet of poorly managed water drowns a mother and her daughters inside a vehicle on a paved city street (while an elderly woman is swept to the river and her death in a storm sewer). "Safe" is not among them.
Asking whether Washington Boulevard is safe resembles Pulp Fiction's Butch the Boxer (Bruce Willis) asking Marcellus Wallace 'You OK?' -- right after Wallace had been beaten unconscious, hogtied, ball-gagged, raped, and rescued moments before an ugly death in a sadist's dungeon. Joanna Doven deserves the response Wallace gave at 8:00 of this clip. (One difference, of course -- and it does not work in Ms. Doven's favor -- is that Butch had just saved Wallace's life in an altruistic manner.)
To paraphrase Marcellus Wallace: Washington Boulevard is pretty . . . far from safe.
"The road is open, therefore the road is safe?"
At the time that claim was advanced, "the road is open" did not mean "the road is safe." It meant solely 'the same knuckleheads who observed and ignored a recent series of escalating flash floods in an area known to flood for at least a half-century still encourage you to put your family on Washington Boulevard during rush hour.'
While her colleagues in government were claiming to be powerless to prevent a recurrence, and that they had no idea how this calamity occurred, Ms. Doven (right) was assuring the public with an unqualified declaration that the flood plain was safe. This goes beyond hackery and flackery, straight to reckless endangerment.
Even by the customary standards of Ms. Doven's mindless defend-deny-deflect approach to her work, the performance in Monday's Post-Gazette established a new mark. The only generous explanation we can conjure is that for Ms. Doven, a new mother, the horrific image of two young girls drowning with their mother was enough to short-circuit every functioning synapse in her system.
Infytune: Our Lips Are Sealed, The Go-Gos (lip-synch version)
Infytune: Our Lips Are Sealed, The Go-Gos (girls can play version)