Friday, October 01, 2004

Town Meeting: Louisville on uniting city-county government

PG pushes its agenda
There is much to stay about these issues and the spin from the PG in its series.
Three time looser -- or all the wiser.I've been to Louisville. I've even taken bus-loads of people there. Young people. When a deputy mayor visited Pittsburgh a year or so ago, I talked to him following the PUMP presentation and asked, "Would the city of Louisville tolerate the closing of its swim pools?" He could not even imagine the thought nor begin to fathom the fall-out from such miss-deeds.

The merger efforts began with measures on the ballot. That's democracy. Meanwhile, we have a mayor who fights to remove the opinions from the voters. Mayor Murphy does NOT want to enable ballot questions. Our present mayor takes petitions with thousands of signatures to court to get them removed from the ballot.

Our mayor and those of his administration can't begin to even scratch the realm of the possible in terms of an earnest conversation about cooperation, unity, mergers, and civility.

We need to strengthen our democracy and our will to self-govern. Then we can begin to talk about changing the system. We have authorities that rule without accountability. We have "his honor" -- like a king who is without term limits. He buys votes with public money to stay in office.

All talks of grand principles of reform need to begin after the voters remove the lame leadership that governs Pittsburgh.

As mayor, I'd insure we put a handful of voter referendums onto the ballot at every election.

The process in Louisville took a lead-up of four referendums. That is where the seed of the real progress resides.

Meanwhile, the PG sees a false hope in more high-stakes "branding" -- such as the branding the merger to "UNITY." The switch in semantics was emblematic of a sophisticated and well-funded political campaign that sold the idea of a city-county consolidation to skeptical voters.

Give us a break.

Perhaps the $1.5 million campaign treasury just purchased the vote. Or, perhaps on the fourth attempty they got it right. The whole slew of TV commercials would not have amounted to squat had they been pushing the wrong solution. They got it right with the nod to political reality. The suburban municipalities stayed intact.

Perhaps the other votes "failed" (wrong word) because they were not good enough. Perhaps this one passed because backers were rich enough. Or perhaps, the real factor was that this measure was good enough.

More wrongheaded conclusions are being pushed upon Pittsburgh in too many articles such as this.

Furthermore, in Pittsburgh we've got this legacy that not only supresses what the people want by those who are smart enough to think for everyone. But, when the votes are taken on questions, at the polls, the results don't stick. It didn't matter that the people voted to NOT BUILD new stadiums. A short time later the new castles money were built with taxpayer money -- in spite of the referendum's result that said NO.

Skeptical electorate talk pins Pittsburgh, like the tail on the donkey. The people are not foolish for being skeptical. The people of Pittsburgh are wise to the ways of the "wire-pullers."

Pittsburgh's "done-deal mentality" has run its course. This marathon has been cancelled. Mayor Murphy and cronies have fallen for the last time and can't get up. Lawrence, Mellon and others can roll over in their graves.

Pittsburgh's revival begins with its voters and a new mindset. Think again! Pittsburgh will heal itself, thank you, as soon as all the king's horses and all the king's men figure out that they can't put it together again. Their time is up. The oversight boards have taken the mess they've made off their hands. The next Pittsburgh wave is about the people, the kids, our families, our limited and cooperative government.Send the grey guys on Grant Street out to pasture.

We can merge the city and county governments as they did in Louisville. But, we've got to run the old, grey, and worn out of the barn and into the private sector.

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