Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Suburbs melted into Ontario's 'Steeltown'

PG covers Ontario's 'Steeltown': "Government consolidation -- or what Canadians call 'amalgamation' -- took place in Hamilton in two stages spaced nearly 30 years apart. In 1974, the province of Ontario eliminated through mergers five of the 11 municipalities in the Hamilton area. Simultaneously, the province superimposed a new county-like government, called the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Council."

Fine. That's called "evolution." Pittsburgh needs to evolve. Pittsburgh does NOT need a massive jamming.

This is a serious but subtle problem with Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh's leadership has been stuck in self-service and can't and won't evolve with modest steps. To close schools, for instance, takes a massive upheaval. Rather, schools should be phased out over time and everything at everytime needs to be under constant evaluation. Rather than call for the elimination of seven or eight or nine row offices in one sweeping cut of the ax, let's close one office each year for the next five years. Row office reform was such a hot topic a year ago and both candidates (Dan O. and Jim R.) wanted some type of it. However, now is the time and it isn't getting done.

I don't want "metropolitanism." Rather, I want serious, measured, ongoing change that is calculated, managed, obvious and sets a trend to actions based on principles and common sense. Furthermore, everything is on the table at all times. The creativity needs to be in the mix at all juntions.

For example, the hoped for merger of EMS and the Firefighters didn't happen. People in the Mayor's office have been working on that for years and failed. Then then hope of getting the hospitals to pick up the EMS units is now the pathway of narrow-minded, agenda driven, top-down wish-for-the-sky approach. Folks, it isn't going to work.

All the king's horses and all the king's men can't put Humpty together again.

For example, think Fifth and Forbes. The Mayor's plan called for a massive re-do. His golden ticket was tied to "critical mass." Now it is time for us all to be critical of the mayor and his mass-appeal. He can't move along his agenda as he isn't creative. He is spent. He is an all-or-nothing bone head who can't manage day-to-day instances.

Finally, the media doesn't get it either. The PG is looking for that fountain of youth and award winning story. It is hard work to cover the ordinary done in exceptional ways.

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