Upper St. Clair Man Finds 'Catharsis' in Writing Letters to Publications

By Brown, David | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 22, 2008 | Go to article overview

Upper St. Clair Man Finds 'Catharsis' in Writing Letters to Publications


Brown, David, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Packed into a T car with commuters bound for the South Hills, Oren M. Spiegler typically scans a newspaper on the way home from his Downtown office job.

Fellow passengers might assume that Spiegler -- cheerfully jotting notes as the light-rail vehicle zooms toward stops at Castle Shannon, Mt. Lebanon and Bethel Park -- is passing time with a crossword puzzle or maybe just doodling.

Hardly.

Chances are good that Spiegler, 51, of Upper St. Clair is pondering his next missive to the masses. An administrator in a state government job by day, Spiegler's passion is writing letters to newspaper and magazine editors.

The topics of his fervent writing range from government boondoggles to tragedies in the national spotlight. It's not a hobby, he says. It's a calling.

"I feel compelled to write," he said. "Part of it is for me to have a kind of catharsis in expressing my views to get out my feelings. I also like to feel that I have some influence with people. It is my hope that people will look at what I've written and say, 'It makes a lot of sense,' and perhaps they are looking at the situation in a different way."

A letter he fired out this week bid adieu to retiring state Sen. Vincent Fumo, a powerful Democrat who faces 139 charges of public corruption filed by a U.S. attorney in Philadelphia.

"Fumo was one of the 'good ol' boys' of the General Assembly, a man who used his three decades in office to accumulate extraordinary wealth and power, power which he arrogantly used as a weapon when it suited him," Spiegler wrote.

He added that Fumo had voted for "the infamous July 2005 middle- of-the-night" legislative pay raise, one of Spiegler's favorite topics. Generally, he focuses on what he calls government excesses, corruption, overspending and incompetence.

After seeing his first letter to the editor published in the now- defunct Pittsburgh Press when he was 17, Spiegler estimates he's written more than 3,000 letters to editors over the years. …

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