Saturday, April 30, 2005

Way to go Pitt Graduates

Hats off to you all.

Graduates, go forth and do great work. Make the world better, healthier, and more open-minded. See the big picture. Act in prudent ways. Make peace -- and stay rested as the work of the peace maker takes constant energy.

May some of you be my neighbors again. May we all think of ourselves as neighbors for a long time to come, wherever regular sleep, play, worship, study and work takes you.

Lead Sunday Editorial: Post-Gazette endorsement gives respect and reveals logic

All along, I knew I would NOT be getting the endorsement of the Post-Gazette. I have been in the trenches working with others in battles, hard-fought struggles on iissues, against the lame policies of Mayor Tom Murphy. Meanwhile, the Post-Gazette had generally endorsed the Murphy agenda.

Four years ago, I didn't get the endorsement of the PG in my only other race for public office, for Mayor in a contested GOP Primary.

Four years ago, the PG editors endorsed Tom Murphy. Frankly, I was glad I didn't get the endorsement.

Times have changed. Many of my worst fears came to pass. The fallings for the city have been noted.

I have different perspectives. The PG noted that. I got some respect in the editorial meeting, and in the recap.

The PG editors had ripped Fontana just a month prior for his failure to resign from County Council. That was noted. Strike one for Fontana. But that was less of shocker.

Diven struck out. He missed on the proposal to turn downtown public buildings into loft apartments. Strike one. Strike two on the flip flopping for the wrong reasons. And strike three on the recent pro-dem stance.

I think Diven would have gotten the endorsement had his ideas made sense. His plan for Pittsburgh is a sure-fire prescription for killing this town.

I saw Wayne Fontana tonight. He leaked the news to me on the endorsement article. He thinks it is a major victory for himself. It is. Fontana gets a star by his name now.

I feel that the PG was open minded about both Diven and Fontana. Their endorsement could have gone either way. It wasn't a done deal for either old party career politican.

The PG didn't hurt me, and for that I'm okay with the coverage.

Next up, seeing what comes out of the Trib. Wayne will be on hostile ground there. Diven might be the wonder boy -- but his stock will fall faster than a Kennedy's once the Trib editors get a sniff of the new authority Diven wants to establish.

No coverage at all is still an option with the Trib's editorial board. Perhaps the Trib editors will watch the TV debate (WBGN) and then have us come into their offices. That would be wise of them. Our TV debate comes next Sunday, 7 pm. Then the Trib editors can go deeper into materials that spin out of those debate presentations.

Time will tell.

Other media interviews, beyond the Trib, today

I was on The Saturday Morning Light Brigade in its visit to our South Side Market House. Plus, I gave an interview to The History Channel, the cable TV station.

I was on the air with Bill Peduto and a the Comcast Gov. Affairs boss.

Comcast didn't endorse anyone in our race.

Nor did the Pgh Federation of Teachers.

Great to hear the Westmost Chorus.

Furthermore, my boys, Erik and Grant, were on the air with the radio and behind the camera with the TV interview.

Investigation of driveway paving under way - PittsburghLIVE.com

Smile, you're on candid camera.
Investigation of driveway paving under way - PittsburghLIVE.com: "He said he learned about the matter when a TV reporter brought a videotape from a neighbor showing a city road crew doing the paving.

Romaniello said the controversy is the latest in a series of disputes with some of his neighbors. The two sides accuse each other of calling police, animal control officers and building inspectors to lodge petty complaints.

'All they keep doing is trying to find stuff to get on me,' Romaniello said. 'I ran for office to be in a position to help my community. I don't get paid for it.'

Costa said he plans to bill Romaniello for the work, which he estimated cost the city between $700 and $800.

Humm...
A TV 11 reporter let me know of this story before it broke. The Diven camp was very worried that the news would be associated to the campaign.

My solution: Those on school board should NOT be eligible to get onto any ballot for another public office for two years from the end of their term on school board.

School board members have used the school board as a stepping stone to other offices. Barbara Burns, Valerie McDonald, and now Mark Brently. Others are in this league too.

If school board office was a "dead end job" -- then those seeking power would NOT run for school board. Then, only those who want what's best for the schools would run for school board. The grandstanding would evaporate as well.

I still want to elect board members, but I want to have a provision that they can't run for other office. And, as is the case with Mr. Fontana on County Council too long -- as is the case with those who work in the White House -- the off-limits designation needs to sustain itself well past the "resignation."

Campaign manuals on how to run for public office often provide the advice that you should start your political career at the level of school board director. That's bunk. Worse advice might have never been given and taken as such reasonable conventional wisdom.

To grow your power base while using the students as stepping stones is ugly. This is one reason why our schools are having such problems.

We need school board members who are there to serve the best interest of education while being aware of costs and taxpayers.

Capitol Notes: Pennsylvanians recycling at a record pace

The recycled electron joke is one I use -- as I'm publishing online, and not killing trees and using much paper.
Capitol Notes: Pennsylvanians recycling at a record pace THIS NEWS IS MADE OF 100 PERCENT RECYCLED MATERIAL:
Good news on the recycling front -- Pennsylvanians recycled a record 4.45 million tons of municipal waste in 2003, the most recent year for which data is available.

That's according to reports from the 67 counties, made to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The growth of recycling is beneficial in several ways, the DEP says.

PA can do much more about efforts to recycle, reuse and restore.

Mayoral TV ads a battle of bland

Mayoral TV ads a battle of bland: "The latest television commercials by the major Pittsburgh mayoral candidates are a lot like the campaign so far. They focus on fiscal issues and are surprisingly bland.

Bland is as bland does.

Bland has been rewarded in the media in Pittsburgh throughout the years. Bland has been rewarded in the institutional circles in Pittsburgh throughout the years as well.

Bland is what career politicians seen when they look into the mirror -- and they try to use it as a benchmark of their success in this market. They have been conditioned to strive for bland.

He's a nice guy -- I know him -- Its his time -- Gotta -- Bland, bland, bland.

These guys are playing defense. Most have. They seemingly want to manage the downward spiral of the region.

To break out of the bland mold, you'd have to have something to say beyond the unified dog-license sales office, one's grandparents from Italy, and french fries sales from the days before the drive through window was invented.

Even when Bob put up an idea that wasn't too bland -- streetcar line between Oakland and downtown -- he got knocked around for it.

When Sophie put up the idea of a new baseball park -- she got knocked around by Tom Murphy for even suggesting the idea. Then Murphy went ahead and made TWO stadiums and championed the folly just months later, after being elected.

Because so little gets told in the media -- bland rules. Once you air out the story, the policies, the positions -- then bland crumbles as does the mindlessness.

I have a TV ad -- here on my desktop. It won't get onto the air. It isn't bland.

The ads should be bland, really. This is no fault of the campaigns. But, the coverage does NOT need to be bland. The coverage should be front on and raw.

Senate election expected to set spending record - PittsburghLIVE.com

Real ink for the race hits today in the Trib.
Senate election expected to set spending record - PittsburghLIVE.com Rauterkus, who is active on the campaign trail in person and via the Internet, is not expected to spend much on ads.
The only typo: My wife's name is Catherine V. Palmer, Ph.D. Her name is Palmer, not Parker. When we got married, Catherine had a long list of academic publications in her profession. She had done research and had it published in her field, and name identification in the academic world is very important -- just like it is in politics, if not more. Women who rise in the ranks of scholars have a serious burden when asked to change their name when getting married.

Presently, Catherine is the director of audiology at UPMC's Eye and Ear Institute and an Associate Professor at Pitt's School of Health and Rehab Sciences. I like to say that she is the W2 of the family.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Another round of hate mail showed up in the mailbox -- trees are moving to the city to escape slaughter.

How many times must the negative mailer be sent -- before they fall all the trees?

How many times must the insults be shared -- before the voters show that they care?

The answers my friend, are blowing in the wind. The slander is blowing like the wind.


I'm in a musical mood tonight. More direct mail arrived in my mail box today. Its like music to my ears. My old-party opponents, Diven (the new Republican) and Fontana (the Dem who didn't get a D-majority in his endorsement bid) are punching and counter-punching with four-color direct mailers to voters in the 42nd district. As their folly accelerates, they burn more money and kill more trees. That isn't what the melody I'm looking to hear. But their silly mailers are helping me climb in popularity.

What's more, the mailers are not even that good. My wife read the first mailer that the Dems sent out that hit against Diven -- and my wife's reaction was, "My, this is going to help Diven."

So, not only are the old-party hacks weak with their own case and merits on themselves, but they are floundering at efforts to illustrate weakness within the opposition.

In another week, both Diven and Fontana should have sealed their auditions for new roles in any future remake of the Keystone Cops. Children giggle at the slapstick comedy of the Keystone Cops, providing some redeaming value. In this situation with the Ds and Rs, the redeaming value lies elsewhere. Anyone else who runs against these critters, today and in the future, is going to be blessed.

Lecture invite: Stephen Zarlenga, author of "The Lost Science of Money: the Mythology of Money - the Story of Power"

Stephen Zarlenga, author of "The Lost Science of Money: the Mythology of Money - the Story of Power." presents a lecture with Q & A at Pitt in room 5401 of Posvar Hall, from noon to 2pm on Saturday, May 7, 2005.

The talk is, "Removing Structural Injustice from our Monetary System." He delivered much the same talk in Brunswick, Georgia, at "TOES" conference ("The Other Economic
Summit" -- a counter to the G8 summit). That lecture can be viewed on-line.

Mr. Zarlenga is a maverick who started his own institute nine years ago, called the American Monetary Institute. He is a serious student of monetary history. His book is an original contribution to the field.

Harold K posts, "I met him earlier this year, and can say that, like most mavericks, he is a thoroughly engaging fellow. He'll be passing through Pittsburgh next weekend on his way home to Chicago from an attempt at lobbying various of our Congress Critters in D.C."

Zarlenga is a main organizer of an upcoming monetary conference in Chicago this fall.

A PDF flier announcing the visit in Pittsburgh is available.

Gateway newspapers interview

Gave a phone interview with a reporter from Gateway Newspapers. Should run on Thursday, in six days.

Silencing of the Lamb, letter to the editor from Dan Sullivan

Letter

Friday, April 29, 2005

Two of the three viable candidates for mayor of Pittsburgh are up to their eyeballs in corporate welfare.

Bob O'Connor always grumbled about Mayor Murphy giving away the treasury before voting Murphy's way, and Bill Peduto, who has called himself "Mr. Development," is more like Murphy than Murphy.

Peduto's the one who got Shadyside declared blighted so poorer taxpayers could subsidize shopping for the trendiest neighborhood in the city and Giant Eagle could impose tax-subsidized dominance over smaller grocers.

As prothonotary, Michael Lamb, the other viable candidate, never had an opportunity to vote for corporate welfare. He could skyrocket in the polls by taking a strong, clear, unequivocal stand against it and pointing out the records of, and campaign contributions to, his opponents.

But the League of Women Voters got everyone to pledge not to be negative, so most voters don't know the facts that would to make them cringe when Lamb's subsidy-sucking opponents point to their "greater experience."

It's not that I care about whether this election takes Lamb to the slaughter in 2005. I'm more worried about the continued slaughter of taxpayers for another four years. Is there a positive way to say that?

Dan Sullivan
Squirrel Hill

Sullivan was treasurer of "Good Sports," which campaigned against the stadium
tax referendum.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Money and Democracy

We hear nearly everyday about the blessings of democracy and how it helps to preserve our freedoms as Americans. Yet, we increasingly hear about the negative impacts of money on political campaigns. There have been efforts made to reform this system, with so-called campaign finance reform. However, this reform has not been successful. We continue to lag in efforts of self-representation. Corruption grips tighter on the system and the players.

As a State Senate candidate, I have two solutions within a campaign-finance plan to fix a series of related problems.

The best way to insure transparency is to make the bank accounts themselves transparent. This isn't a private endeavor. This run for office is a public effort.

The creation of a new style of bank account dedicated for PACs would enable every citizen to have access to the bank accounts recoreds of willing PACs organizers. Such a policy would create greater accountability and improved transparency with a marketplace solution that would cut overhead in government, in campaigns and in media efforts of being watchdogs.

More to come shortly.

Paul's public questions and his discussion

Paul Senter sent out this email. It isn't the best in formats, but I let it rip anyway on the quick. I think a copy also went out via snail mail to candidates. I'll reply in earnest to the issues raised when I have another moment to spare.

short-version:
--- the Pa. Attorney General's office was called = referred to AG Investigative Unit;
--- the AG Investigative Unit was called = seems to be a local matter; referred to District Attorney's IU;
--- the District Attorney's IU was called = suggested sending outline
for their overworked attorney to look at;
--- material was sent to DA's IU;
--- the DA's IU called to say they weren't going to do anything; doesn't seem to be anything outright criminal;
it seems to be a State or Federal matter.
--- AG'S IU was called again, relating DA' s IU verbal response.

if no penalties written into the law, then
possibly no grounds;

seems like a court determination is necessary to establish disregard of the State law by elected officials; extortion, etc.

= anyone can file a motion for a Common Pleas Court hearing seeking "relief from bad actions of City authorities"



On the phone the DA's office asked if there was Federal money involved;
the AG's office has said they deal with use of State monies;
the DA's office has not yet replied in writing, as later requested;
the AG has not yet been contacted in writing.

Neither the DA's nor AG's offices seem to have any incentive to dig into the details.


At first, filing a "citizen motion" seemed a possible way to go;
it could be a real test of just how well "government by the people",
and democracy itself, exists in Pittsburgh and in Pennsylvania.
It seemed it might be worth the effort just to see how real everything is.


Progress through Common Pleas Court would surely be time-consuming and tedious, and would "they" be willing to expose their political cronies/friends (Mr. Hertzberg, City Council members, and the Mayor)?


I got to thinking there's possibly a more direct way to RESULTS:

Therefore, on Tuesday, April 26, I mailed a letter with an addressed envelope to the six District 2 City Council candidates, and the three Pa. District 42 State Senator Candidates, requesting a reply be put in the mail by April 30. They were alerted that the results will be posted to the general public.

The letters had a cover-letter and a YES-NO chart, but this is the content
of the chart (I will soon post the cover-letters and charts on the website) :



If I am elected Pittsburgh City Council District 2 Representative, I will
persist in accomplishing:

YES NO

a) within 60 days of being elected, introduction, or support of introduction and passage of
a Bill that will
-- repeal Bill 1020-2005 of February 2005
(which took $1 from the partial refund to the 4000+ owners who paid the WE-HAV tax,
so as to give $100 to the 38 or so, who paid to enroll and received a WE-HAV appraisal.)

-- REQUIRE RESTITUTION by the West Pittsburgh Partnership for
Regional Development,
Inc. Community Development Corporation, of the shortage of WE-HAV
tax funds turned over to the City, upon the September 2004 Termination of the
District 2 NID and the WE-HAV operation,
so as to provide a full $20 refund of the WE-HAV taxes
collected by the West Pittsburgh
Partnership', Inc., which as the NID Managing Authority
(NIDMA), permitted spending collected money knowing it was involved in a lawsuit that
could be lost.

b) within 60 days of being elected, introduction, or support of
introduction and passage of a Bill requiring
-- the West Pittsburgh Partnership', Inc. to produce
- a complete and fully itemized public accounting of all
WE-HAV-related funds, funds sources, and expenditures (including the $150,000 of the
Mayor's UDAG funds, accrued interest, etc.)

-- a complete and fully itemized accounting by the City Finance
Department of the "WE-HAV" funds received by the City from the West Pittsburgh
Partnership for Regional Development, Inc., upon the September 2004 Termination
of the District 2 NID and the WE-HAV operation.
- and a complete accounting of the current state of those funds.

c) within 90 days of being elected, introduction, or support of
introduction and passage of a Bill establishing and funding an elected City of Pittsburgh Ombudsman who is charged with receiving, investigating, and appropriately bringing to prosecution, grievances of citizens against the City government and its officials.

Signed _____________________
Date ___________

17 May 2005 Candidate for Pittsburgh City Council District 2 Representative



If I am elected Pennsylvania District 42 State Senator,
I will persist in accomplishing within the two years of this elected term:

YES NO

1) introduction of, or support of introduction and passage of Amendments
to the
State NID Act 130-2000, including

--if not deleting Residential Improvement Districts (RIDs) from
the Act, then

-- replacement of the NO_vote mechanism, with referendum of
targeted property owners;

-- specifically-clear detailing of the initial owner-support
requirement,

-- specifically-clear detailing of the complete procedures
required for bringing a NID proposal to the point of presentation to the respective
local municipal authority for approval/passage.

-- adding specific criminal offenses for not adhering to the
instructions and procedures of the amended NID Act.

2) introduction of, or support of introduction and passage of legislation establishing and funding an elected Pennsylvania State Ombudsman who
is charged with
-- receiving, investigating, and appropriately bringing to prosecution, grievances of citizens against the State government and its officials,

-- as well as receiving, investigating, and appropriately bringing
to prosecution, neglected or otherwise un-addressed grievances of citizens of any County or municipality against their respective County or municipal government and its officials.

Signed _____________________________________
Date __________
17 May 2005 Candidate for Pennsylvania District 42 State
Senator




This SEEMS to be a real opportunity to put concrete issues, born of our first-hand experience with the WE-HAV scheming, on the record for candidates to publicly accept responsibility for -or not.
--and then to see how whoever is elected acts, according to what they have publicly agreed to do or not do.

Persisting in the introducing and enactment (or refusing or failing to do so) of definite legislation dealing with specific matters affecting us, are specific concrete actions which we the public can see done or not done.

--In my opinion, these specific actions are much do-able and realistic than the typical campaign-rhetoric-hot-air about "jobs", "taxes", "assessments", "the budget", and so on.

It seems this might be way to provide clear instructions to those we select as REPRESENTATIVES, to make commitments, and carry through once in office --or shut up and expect to be de-elected.

I personally do not need self-proclaimed sold-out "leaders" , I want
responsible accurate representation of the electorate, which includes me.

I'd prefer the opportunity of having to decide among all fine candidates, rather than having to figure who might be the best of the worst; and I would hope that whoever of the fine who didn't get elected would join in with getting things done thereafter.

Best Regards,

Interesting interactions with media to note

Bob M of TV 4 called to ask if I was running for mayor as an Indie. As of now, I'm running for PA Senator. If I become the new state senator, I won't run for mayor. I'll make more decisions and announce them on election night as we see the results. Stay tuned.

If anyone else is running for mayor, and is not a D or an R -- that person would NEED to be not a D or an R now, due to the R.C. rule. How is Joe Rossi or Joe King registered at the county election department now?

If I would run for mayor in the general election, I'd be a Libertarian, for what that's worth.

With the Trib, I talked with Colin McN. He told me that the Trib is NOT yet sure if it is even going to talk to candidates for the special election for the PA Senate. I would love to have an opportunity to talk with the Trib's editorial review board. Time will tell if that invite comes or not.

The PG must not have thought there was anything "newsworthy" in our editorial review board meeting of a week or more ago. I don't like the fact that no news is good news. I hate the fact that Diven is calling for a NEW authority. I think that is newsworthy and should be covered -- for its madness if nothing else. So, we hurry up and wait for that ink to flow.

Answers for The Pittsburgh Catholic

What is your position on providing legal protection for unborn children from the moment of conception if Roe vs. Wade is overturned?
Comment: I support state rights. Libertarians’ views on these issues range the full spectrum. The hypothetical question defies further comment, given 30 words. I do favor efforts for the prevention of pregnancy. Generally, I am in the middle on this issue.

What is your position on public funding of abortion?

Oppose

What is your position on banning the cloning of human beings for any purpose?

Oppose

What is your position on repealing the death penalty in Pennsylvania?

Support

What is your position on government requiring that benefits be provided to same-sex partners?

Government can’t REQUIRE benefits. However, everyone has specific RIGHTS. I support PUSH discussions that will one day decouple employment from health care coverage.

What is your position on school choice legislation in the form of direct grants to students to attend the school of their choice (vouchers)?

Support with comment: I attended 10-years of Catholic school: To 8th grade at St. Barts and 9 & 10th at St. Fidelis HS Seminary.

What is your position on increasing funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, which encourages businesses to donate to Pre-K-12 scholarship programs?

Oppose with comment: Schools need serious attention, but a tax credit is far from ideal.

What is your position on reform measures to make assisted living/personal care more affordable and provide more health options for the elderly so that they may choose the setting best suited to their needs (i.e., home care, assisted living/personal care, nursing home)?

Support

What is your position on legislation to impose standards to ensure that all scientific research in Pennsylvania adheres to established moral or ethical principles?

Oppose with comment: Legislators are horrible scientists. Scientists and researchers make horrible legislators. My insistence favors the “peer review legacy” over any legislation.

What will you do to address the growing number of uninsured individuals in our Commonwealth and ensure health care that works for all? Comments: Please be concise (30 words or less) to ensure that your answer may be printed in its entirety.

Wellness is prominent in my Platform.For-Pgh.org. Health care and employment must be decoupled for better medicine and our economy. As a Senator, I'd champion the arrival of PUSH (single payer health care).

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Qs without As (yet) for the Pgh Catholic newspaper

How would YOU answer these questions. Or, running mates, what suggestions do you have for me.

My understanding is that both of my old-party opponents are very much right to lifers. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being max on right to life views, I'm going to guess that Diven, now a R, is a 9.9 and Fontana, now a D, is a 9.5.

Some of these questions are insteresting in just their presentation. Clever.
1.What is your position on providing legal protection for unborn children from the moment of conception if Roe vs. Wade is overturned?
__ support __oppose __ support with exceptions – list exceptions?

2.What is your position on public funding of abortion?
__ support __oppose __comments

3.What is your position on banning the cloning of human beings for any purpose?
__ support __oppose __comments

4.What is your position on repealing the death penalty in Pennsylvania?
__ support __oppose __comments

5.What is your position on government requiring that benefits be provided to same-sex partners?
__ support __oppose __comments

6.What is your position on school choice legislation in the form of direct grants to students to attend the school of their choice (vouchers)?
__ support __oppose __comments

7.What is your position on increasing funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, which encourages businesses to donate to Pre-K-12 scholarship programs?
__ support __oppose __comments

8.What is your position on reform measures to make assisted living/personal care more affordable and provide more health options for the elderly so that they may choose the setting best suited to their needs (ie. home care, assisted living/personal care, nursing home)?
__ support __oppose __comments

9.What is your position on legislation to impose standards to ensure that all scientific research in Pennsylvania adheres to established moral or ethical principles?
__ support __oppose __comments

10.What will you do to address the growing number of uninsured individuals in our Commonwealth and ensure health care that works for all? Comments: Please be concise (30 words or less) to ensure that your answer may be printed in its entirety.

Comments

My answers will be posted on my web site, and perhaps this blog, soon.

Coro Fellow on the campaign. Welcome Tim! New press secretary duties to begin in earnest.

Tim Aldinger, 28, a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs has joined the campaign of Mark Rauterkus. Tim and the others on the team are in a quest to win the special election and make Rauterkus, the next PA Senator in the 42nd district.

Tim is working fulltime with the campaign, candidate and others until election day, May 17, 2005.

Tim is a graduate student within Coro's program that offers a diverse curriculum. His fellowship includes assignments on political campaigns.

Tim has been involved in public affairs in a wide variety of settings including a year of service with AmeriCorps and organizing an international conference on community building. His undergraduate degree in International Studies included a semester in the Czech Republic before graduating magna cum laude from Southern Oregon University.

Next year he will complete his master's degree in Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Tim's new title: Coordinator of Media Relations.

Storm over weather service initiatives

Storm over weather service initiatives Sen. Rick Santorum has introduced legislation that would limit the information that the National Weather Service can provide to the public,...

We have a bone to pick with Santorum and the White House for the recent denial of a tour while in DC recently. Now the wind blows again.

If you're for closed, hidden information -- I'm against you. If you are for open, free information, count me as an ally.

A radio interview with PA's Junior US Senator makes it seem unlike what was first reported in the press. Santorum is trying to prevent the US Weather Service from selling its data and expanding its mission. That's a different spin.

However, the alarms ring for me when I hear of any reporting that concerns one media outlet and another. The topic of media to media coverage is always highly charged and most generally wrong. In this case, the press reported something about the National Weather Service -- something that could greatly impact radio and tv news and stations. Watch out. Some hidden agendas and twists are probable.

The media needs to do much more in terms of PEER REVIEW. If one outlet gets it wrong, they should report on that matter. There are too many taboo areas among the journalists and the business outlets that pay them.

So, the story is unfolding in my view. Dig a little deeper before making a value judgement on the issue as the first reporting might be wrong by design to sway public opinion.

I'm still for open access. But I'm not yet sure who else is for open access as well. The free flow of information needs to be protected. Free speech, free travel, free trade, free markets, free association -- all help drive prosperity in America and the world.

Oakland's transit talk recap

Rapid busways were part of the transportation discussion at a forum in Oakland. I attended part of the presentation before heading to another candidates' night.

Common ground was found in a number of elements in the early presentations, but a number of missing points were also noted.

Frankly, I don't want to hear about color coordination among the buses and the signs. Striking logos, eye candy paint jobs and other designer elements was talked about and sounded much like lipstick on a pig.

Too often, we've seen those in power in Pittsburgh try in vain to re-brand, re-market, re-position, re-hoodwink. Don't bat a the leaves on the tree of misery! Let's get serious and dig at the roots of the problems.

A bus sheleter that is built like a little gazebo is no big deal. Nobody cares beyond the pencil pushers at PAT who are in front of an audience showing off their cluelessness.

A classic moment came right at the outset of the presentation from PAT's top planning official. He began his presentation with a question. He asked, "What was happening with light rail in 1978?" He was trying to make the point that light rail was not an industry then. Light rail, in 1978, was nothing but a concept on the drawing board. In the recent decades a new mode of transportation sprung into civilization.

He is right if you IGNORE what was shouted out from the back of the room -- STREETCARS.

Lightrail of the past was called "streetcars."

Duhh. PAT's top leaders are in denial of a number of serious matters.

We had light rail in the past, called streetcars, then PAT ripped it out.

We had heavy rail in the past PAT ripped it out.

We had more than a dozen includes in the past, until PAT ripped it out.

Now we have a busway extension to Carnegie. Now we'll be getting a glass enclosed subway stop in Gateway Center.

PAT has done a lot of damage to our city's and our region's transportation infrastructure. When you take the long view of that authority, it is horrid.

So, what are we doing now? Putting Mr. Roddey in charge of a NEW authority set up by the Governor to find a dedicated funding stream for transportation. Roddey used to be on PAT's board. This is NOT a good signal.

I have other notes on the event and will attempt to post them soom.

Missing topics: Out and back routes. Hub and spoke talk. Re-looking at routes that refrain buses from making so many turns on corners within the downtown streets.

PAT needs an overhaul. It isn't about the money. It is about the oversight and the leadership. There is no accountability within the system. Those in charge -- like county council, county executive, state reps -- are to blame.

As a state senator, I'll be able to ask and insist upon frank answers to tough questions. The others are giving this authority -- and the other authorities -- a 'free pass.' I'll drive home the points of being fiscally frugal -- with both the capital and operations budget. I'll demand customer service viewpoints and priorities -- that service all the citizens.

Editorial: Yes to reform / The public should vote to cut county row offices

I agree with the PG on an election editorial. Should that scare me?
Editorial: Yes to reform / The public should vote to cut county row offices Voters can end all that, regardless of which party has control, if they agree to the proposal on the May 17 ballot. Put before the public by County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and County Council, the plan would reduce the 10 elected row offices to four: district attorney, controller, treasurer and sheriff.

Although the Post-Gazette advocated a previous option that would have eliminated the latter two offices as well, the reform that reached the ballot is better than nothing and deserves the taxpayers' support. In that regard, a recent study by the county controller concluded that Allegheny County would save at least $770,000 a year by having the court and the county executive take over the six functions.

That's a good dollars-and-sense reason to vote Yes on row-office consolidation. But a better reason is to professionalize, rather than politicize, them. The voters have a rare chance to reform their government next month, and they should make the most of it.

What comes next should be interesting.
I hope the voters put a stand alone question or two on the ballot to eliminate the elections for the office of treasurer and sheriff.
Furthermore, I advocated for a yes-no decision on each office. The row-office question should have been delivered in an unbundled package, as 10 individual questions.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Help Marine Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano

The court of public opinion gets another lift. A segment on Nightline ran on this story.
Defend the Defenders - Who's got THEIR backs? - Help Marine Second Lieutenant Ilario Pantano: "DefendtheDefenders.org raises money and awareness for the defense of soldiers and Marines whose actions in the heat of combat are being second-guessed.

Absenteeism still up at Mt. Lebanon school

Absenteeism still up at Mt. Lebanon school Air sample tests returned yesterday afternoon showed that no asbestos particles were found in the air at Washington Elementary in Mt. Lebanon following a weekend abatement project that involved removing auditorium floor tile and wall panels that contained asbestos.

I'm sure that my kids would NOT be in school if they were students there.

County GOP committee cuts staff

Ouch.
County GOP committee cuts staff - PittsburghLIVE.com Glancy and Douglas both praised Watt's work for the party.

'I very much enjoyed my time there,' Watt said. 'I'm looking at a few different options.'

Perhaps I could speak and have my friends provide the entertainment at the 2006 Lincoln Day event.

FUD alert: Lawsuit stalls tax-notice mailing

FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.
The 0-1-2-3-4 plan is FUD at its worst.
Lawsuit stalls tax-notice mailing - PittsburghLIVE.com Allegheny County property owners will have to wait a little longer to receive already delayed assessment notices for the 2006 tax year while a county judge considers a lawsuit that seeks to overturn Chief Executive Dan Onorato's plan to cap the increase of property values.

Pittsburgh's best hope is that the plan put forth by Onorato and authored on County Council by my Dem opponent, Wayne Fontana, is nixed ASAP (as soon as possible).

Thomas Jefferson Think Tank to ponder the 5th with Grant S.

See the comments for the full announcment.

Partisan project - essay - clincher. Is this something to hang your hat upon?

partisan project "... the best secret in Pittsburgh? Simple. You matter here."

Humm.
One would matter more in Somerset.
My matter around my waist would be less if I lived in Southern California and was able to take runs on the beach.
How about we use our grey matter more here in Pittsburgh than elsewhere. There is a double meaning to the "grey" -- being old and grey, like the silver fox. Or, grey matter as in the jello-like organ that fits between one's ears.
That "grey matter" connection plays well with the theme song, "Think again."

But, let's quibble with the notion that one really does matter in Pittsburgh. I always use the example of four years ago in the Dem primary for mayor when there were more than a dozen debates between Bob O'C and Tom Murphy. There were plenty of times when the other three on the ballot -- Leroy, Josh and Earl -- didn't get to debate. They didn't have a seat at the table. They didn't debate.

This time, in 2005, the UJF holds a debate, as does the PDP (Pgh Downtown Partnership) and TV 4 (WTAE) -- and the others in the race don't matter. Only the front runners matter.

I think it is a noble idea to say everyone matters. But with contract patronage, with insider deals, with instutional bias -- it just doesn't ring true to me.

We could and should be a place where everyone does matter. I like that concept. But people are put onto the Citizens Police Review Board -- and they don't show up for meetings. They are on the board to NOT count and to discount the voice of others who care.

The citizens voted against funding for the stadiums. We said, despite large advertising money from the corporate types, that we didn't want to raise money from taxes to pay for two new stadiums and a convention center. We considered it. We voted. We won. But the new stadiums were shoved down our throats. It doesn't taste good.

The voters approved the county charter and then twice stood up for a twist in the rules that make county council members RESIGN from their seats on the county charter as soon as they become a candidate for another office. Well, when candidates announce, campaign, put in for endorsements, get voted upo for endorsements and obtain ballot status -- but STILL DON'T RESIGN -- we've got another problem. The powerful say that the citizens rules don't matter. (I'm speaking directly about Wayne Fontana's late resignation from county council.)

Do our kids matter when the mayor can just pull the plug on all the rec centers and swim pools?

Do the area fitness runners matter when the Great Race is squashed just to make a crisis reach the suburbanites to kick up dust in Harrisburg? The Marathon didn't matter and we have a marathon runner in the Mayor's office.

When we hire a TOP LIBRARIAN and the qualifications deem it necessary to have a LIBRARIAN in that post -- does it matter? Pick someone else, not qualified, but have the clout to overrule the rules.

The elected leaders don't even matter when we have two sets of overlords running this town with Act 47 and the I.C.A.

Do transit riders matter when all night and weekend service was to STOP and fares increase?

Do taxpayers matter when the assessments climb through the roof without rhyme and without reason? The folly in the system, and those that cause it, are saying to people -- this is your tough luck.

I wish everyone mattered here. Some matter more than others.

When you rob Peter to pay Paul, creat a TIF, (or call it what you wish). Then Matt, Mark, Luke and John see the poor stewardship. They hold back. They leave when they can. They vote with their feet. TIF today, KOZ (Keystone Opportunity Zone), or abatement, or Homestead exemption, or 1-2-3-4 caps, -- whatever. It is corporate welfare. It means we flounder.

If everyone mattered, there would NOT be so many blasted incentives to open or keep a business here -- as that takes from one and gives to another. Government can't create jobs in an efficient way. Government that tries to be real estate agents force the developers to be the elected ones. Things are all twisted. Our democracy is frail.

We even have troubled instances of making sure everyone matters when it is time to vote. A Democratic Party vote gets all the committee people to vote -- even the dozen who died last year. That's a great way to say EVERYONE MATTERS HERE.
And I don’t mean to exclude anyone, but I think the young people of Pittsburgh best know what I mean.

I think that the young people have a grip. I think that the young people know a thing or two. However, the young people don't know best. Don't fool yourself. Do inject, entertain, engage, criticize, run spell checkers, and ponder in public. But don't claim the brass ring for the youthful. This isn't Madison Ave where hippsters rule.

Young people have a lot to learn. Some lessons come the day you hold your baby in your arms. Other lessons come on the first day of school for your oldest kid. More know best insights come as you attend some funerals, as you dance a weddings of your buddies kid, or as you are a fulltime caregiver for someone you really don't know well now -- young or old -- family or otherwise.

That buzz about the local music scene is worthy -- but fleeting.
"... that mysterious himp that always keeps getting in the way...

Perhaps that hump is bi-modal and comes like a two humped camel. One hump could be seen when you look in the mirror and notice the ego that stares back. We are always our worst enemy. The troubles from within are much worse than those from elsewhere. That is always a given, for us all. We got to get out of our own way.

In swimming, we teach and coach how to be "streamlined."

Put in another sports and kid's example -- consider a tricycle -- or big wheel. When you are whipping downhill, you take your feet off of the pedals. There are times to get into a tuck and glide and hold form. There are other times to struggle like hell.

The experienced, artful, gifted ones are able to realize when it is time to pedal and when its time to coast and get in the draft of others.

The other hump -- I agree -- has much to do with local and state government.

I'm not too sure what you mean by the push down and pop up effect. Okay with the image of the pop up, push down effect. I get that concept. For me, and for this race for PA Senate, there is now a lot of mailers hitting the street between the old party candidates. Both are attacking. The Dems mailed a hit on the Republican candidate. The Republicans hit upon the Dem candidate. These guys, like me, are popping up. And, boy, they are getting cracked for doing so.

I, however, am a bit insulated. I've not been "attacked" in a mean spirited way -- yet. Perhaps because I'm a Libertarian. Perhaps because I'm not a threat. Perhaps because I'm such an island in terms of my life's position? I don't care to figure out why -- but do intend to bask in the community among neighbors and NOT be fearful nor intimidated.

It is great that Murphy's not running. He is part of the "old guard" of sorts. But, this race in 2005 is NOT our last best chance to strike. This is a great chance to strike, no doubt, but the end of the world isn't just around the corner. We're at the brink. It is grave, serious, and the worst is yet to come. But, the opportunities for betterment are plentyful. Great opportunities are going to be presented for decades to come.

We need to do the struggle -- but -- this isn't the last great stuggle. No way. We have to learn, grow, fight hard, and live to fight again another day.

Finally, on your finally point, the web site should be made more fresh and up to date. NUKE the part about going to the D's side as that date has passed. And, I don't feel that you need to look to the history of the past 70 years and be so beholden to it if you are really about voting for someone. We should strive to make history, not be slaves of it. That 70-years Dem rule stuff is a cut right out of the old school thinking that you hate so much in your rant.

Do the right thing for the city -- by walking the talk. Everyone matters. Republicans and Indies and Libertarians matter.

Nice rant. Keep it up. See ya around town.

Secret weapons -- the first of many -- due tonight

Tonight as I go to a few meetings, I'll be joined by my sons, Grant, 7, and Erik, 10. They'll be my secret weapons that I'm keeping on the sidelines most of the time. Most of the time, they are home with my wife, while I'm out and about. But tonight, my wife is in Washington D.C. on business.

Watch out!

If the boys on in good spirits and get charged up, they can get on a roll! I might need to yeild the remainder of my time, chair, to one or both of the short gentlemen from 12th Street.

TV 11 interview slated for May 3 at 6:30 pm

WPXI, TV 11, is going to have me on as a guest in the studio on May 3, 2005, as we head to the special election on May 17. The station does a live newsmaker interview show following the evening news. I'm looking forward to it.

Tips, questions, topic area suggestions are welcomed, either via email or in advance.

I was on this show four years ago as a candidate for mayor in the contested Republican primary. Then, I was upset at the way the Democratic Mayor, Tom Murphy, was leading this town. Today, Murphy is on the way out. There is still a lot of work to do in the city and the region. We are still dropping in terms of citizens. People vote with their feet and leave.

City Paper interview delivered

Pittsburgh City Paper is doing an election voter guide edition due to hit in the first week of May. I provided an interview and photo to Marty Levine. Hope to get some decent press there. Watch for it.

Hit Parade. Negative mailers churn with counter punches between the old-party candidates.

Another hit mailer arrived in our mail box today. This one is paid for by the Republicans of Pennsylvania against my Dem opponent, Wayne Fontana. It has Fontana's photo, some hurtful remarks on property taxes, and not a mention of Diven, the Republican candidate.

The Dems did the same thing against Diven.

Turn about is fair play, perhaps.

All in all, two wrongs don't make a right. Rather, two wrongs make it favorable for thinking again. As they slug it out in the mud with hits and counter punches, I'm running free and clear.

Anyone who wants a nice button with a kwel image of Pittsburgh's landscape, come see me. I'm the only one not doing NEGATIVE direct mail, nor negative TV ads.

Today at City Council, I again mentioned the need to schedule a public hearing for Campaign Finance Reform. I was on that task force and our work there needs to come out into the public's view.

Democracy (small "d") matters greatly to me.

Tales of Asia - a web home page. Gordon's site.

Gordon runs this web -- err, WORLD WIDE WEB site. Plus, he's going to be a dad soon. We'll be meeting him later this year, and bringing him a gift for the baby. This will be fun. Check out his site and wonderful photos.
Tales of Asia - Home If a picture says a thousand words I just avoided writing 50,000 of them. Have a look at the photo gallery, Angkor temples, Tonle Sap scenes, China, Myanmar, much more... and bring your Visa card!

FF Union's Joe King for Mayor?

This is Tom's posting / editorial.
It's been rumored that Joe King, head of the Firefighter's Union, will run for Mayor as an Independent.

That would be disastrous for the vast majority of the public, who are not city workers.

King is a "union only" type of guy. Which is good for his job. It's a terrible possibility for the city, as 98% of the population is not of a "special interest group." A list of the highest paid city employees recently printed in the Pittsburgh Business Times (I've heard that it was in the P-G as well) is flush with Firefighter hierarchy. Some argue that that's one of the reasons why the city's in its current financial mess.

Belt tightening, making "tough" decisions and making innovative initiatives (and having the wherewithal to pull it off) is the key to this race. I have opinions on the current field of candidates, but that's for another blog rant. However, Mr. King, while an excellent representative for his union (if the union wants him to continue in that role, that's where he's best served), has not publicly exhibited the ability to take "shots to the gut" with much aplomb.

And the next Mayor of Pittsburgh will certainly be taking shots to areas of the body lower than the waistline for many years to come.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Libertarian Reform Caucus

Thanks for the pointer H.
Libertarian Reform CaucusStatement of Purpose

We, the members of the Libertarian Reform Caucus believe that America needs a real libertarian party, a party that promotes liberty while being conscious of political reality, a party designed to win elections and begin rolling back excess government now. In particular, the party needs:

* A platform that proposes a realistic vision for the next few years, as opposed to an idealistic vision of a libertarian future. The public expects a party platform to show what a party's candidates intend to do during the next term of office. If the party wants a long term vision statement, it should be in a separate document labeled as such.

* A platform that unites libertarians rather than dividing them. Where libertarians disagree, the platform should be silent. The party should be a tool for all libertarians.

* A platform based on the realization that there are other important values in addition to the non-initiation of force. Freedom is extremely valuable, but it is not the only value.

Propel officials will outline renovation plans for school in Robinson

Propel officials will outline renovation plans for school - PittsburghLIVE.com Propel officials will outline renovation plans for school


Some comments about the article follow.

Seeing an investment into a building for adaptive reuse is great.

Commissioners Chairman Bill Blumling said his main concerns are losing taxes on the building. Well, how much has the building and property pain in taxes in the past years? Let's see a chart. And, let's also not the tax increases. And, note too as to how much in taxes go to the various sources, such as schools, county, municipal.

The worry of higher public safety costs is groundless. A school is not going to be a drain on public safety costs. If so, prove it with the numbers.

A city without any people has no worry about needing money for public safety. Nobody is there.

The cost and liability of having an empty building is greater than anything a school delivers.

Seeing that McMichael Road is already heavily traveled without the school makes good sense. You WANT to put schools are busy road. You don't want to put schools in neighborhoods on lightly used roads and wedged among homes.

In the city we have some empty school buildings. I want to take the buildings that are among the houses, in the neighborhoods, on lightly traveled roads, and turn those into senior housing or else condos. Put housing in among the other houses. Put schools into the properties that are heavy with travel and transit.

"With all the schools we have in the area, I don't know that a charter school could do anything more. Why do we need one?" Blumling said.

But that question isn't one commissioners are being asked to consider, said Propel Executive Director Jeremy Resnick.


Right on. But there is more to understand. You want this school for a number of reasons. The arrival of a charter school is going to increase the service and satisfaction among those who go to the traditional public school. Competition helps. The regular school is going to raise their levels of teaching and expectations.

Furthermore, with our educational system, we know that the square pegs don't fit well in the round holes. Some are not gonig to feel at home and thrive at some schools. Others are going to do well at other settings. We want diversity in the market place of schools. We want freedom, options, choices, and other places for those who are unhappy to move to. One size does NOT fit all in most situations.

If everyone is happy with the local public school, then there will not be any students at the charter school. Hence, the charter school will float away.

Perhaps some in Robinson will move to the charter school. Those same people might have left Robinson to move to USC, Mt. Lebo or the North Hills. With the school in Robinson, Robinson wins. The local homeowners have a choice.

Others might go to the school in Robinson from homes elsewhere in the area. A teacher hired for the school who lives in Plum or Baldwin might decide to buy a home in Robinson. Same too with a family that like the charter -- but doesn't like the drive. They might move into Robinson.

Montour School Board President Charles Snowden said he thinks Propel's purpose is a bit murky. Propel appears to be attempting to capitalize on Montour's "good name," he said.
Giggle.

Debate late night

TV 4 did a debate. I watched. I taped. I should have gone to sleep. Nothing new came from the chatter.

Bob wasn't so smooth.

Mike's close wasn't so smooth.

Slogan of interest: In Bob O'Connor's open, he said, "Do more with less." And twice in Mike Lamb's close he said, "Do more with less."

One of the questions was right on target for Les as well. The question asked about "alternative funding."

Who won? Cleveland, Columbus, Charleston, D.C., Harrisburg, Buffalo, Erie.

Who lost? Everyone in Pittsburgh.

What is killing me about this race is the total lack of "pick-up power." None of the front runners are able to absorb the ideas of any other in the race. These guys are running a race that is stuck in the first inning. Give and take is absent.

However, given a long-view, many of the buzz phrases I've posted about are being injected into some of the discussions. Bob O'Connor said Pittsburgh has been too heavy in a "bricks and mortar" mindset. The Penguins of the NHL got zippo in terms of any promises from any of the candidates. Bob O'Connor is talking about schools and school aged kids. Bill Peduto raised the point about Pittsburgh's sky high 'deed transfer tax.'

Bill and Mike are improving. Bob's fade is every so gradual. The gap for those in catch-up mode might take months or years. So, the best hope is still a series engagements with updated content and an eventual knock out landed to O'Connor in November's general election.

It is going to take teamwork and fresher content. Sadly, I don't see much of a 'dance' from the challengers. And, this is a prime reason why all the challengers needed to be present.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

WTAE-TV Hosts Mayoral Debate without the full field of candidates. Another 8,000 to depart next year too!

ThePittsburghChannel.com - WTAE-TV - WTAE-TV Channel 4 To Host Mayoral Debate The debate, moderated by WTAE-TV Channel 4 Action News anchor Michelle Wright, airs April 24 at 11:35 p.m. after Channel 4 Action News at 11 p.m.

The debate will feature the 2005 Democratic primary candidates for mayor: Michael Lamb, Bob O'Connor and Bill Peduto.

This is why Pittsburgh is in a decline. Ignore real people. Think with half a brain. Close conversations. The "done deal mentality" must come to an end for Pittsburgh to thrive. Meanwhile, it lingers and another 8,000 depart on an annual basis.

Trib Whispers

Can't we all just get along? - PittsburghLIVE.com WAYNE'S WORLD WHIRLING INTO BLACK HOLE? Despite hitting the TV airwaves before his competitor, former Allegheny County Councilman Wayne Fontana's state Senate campaign seems to have hit a dry spell.

The candidate held an April 14 fund-raiser that drew only 40 people - and the two guests of honor never showed. Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Democrat U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle of Swissvale were supposed to be the headliners but neither came to the event.

That bodes well for Michael Diven, the Democrat-turned-Republican who will be Fontana's foe in the May 17 special election to fill the seat formerly held by Jack Wagner, now the state auditor general.

A fund raiser with 40? That is how many came to my event on April 7. And, our star performers were there.
But with the Dem money flowing from Harrisburg, why would Wayne even need to hold an event? He can suck down the big purse that the two old parties have built up since before gambling's arrival.
I'm not sure what big names would even go to a Diven fund raiser. Weinroth? Hillen? Pippy? Hart? Habay? Tom Murphy?
I'm sure Mike has a lot of friends. Same too with Wayne.
Colin of the TRIB, would he attend a fund raiser? Whould he return calls? Is there going to be an endorsement from the Trib?
Mark C, a Libertarian pal, wrote a P.G. LTE about the Patriot Act. His letter was in response to a Forum piece by a Pittsburgh-based US Attorney who (no surprise here) called for retaining all the powers of the Patriot Act.

Why should we trust government claims about the Patriot Act?

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan's endorsement of the Patriot Act ("The USA Patriot Act Works," April 17 Forum) reads like a televangelist demanding money to save souls.

The assurance of "no reported abuses" of individual rights brings to mind the PG story about millionaire John Gilmore ("Grounded," by Dennis Roddy, Feb. 27).

Gilmore was denied passage on a plane because the law said he needed a government ID and he didn't even have a driver's license. When he officially asked to see the law, he was officially told that his seeing that law would violate the law.

How can we trust any "no reported abuses" claim?

Congress overwhelmingly passed the Patriot Act and did so before having an opportunity to read the bill. If they didn't read it, what makes you think they would read about its aftermath?

This is why the Patriot Act doesn't work. It must be repealed.

MARK CROWLEY, Plum

"I gave up hockey for the campaign," Peduto says. "This is my workout."

In the Sunday newspaper feature, Bill Peduto was quoted.
"I gave up hockey for the campaign," he says. "This is my workout."

Bill isn't the only city resident to give up hockey. The city has a lone, indoor ice rink that had plenty of hockey teams -- until it closed. The closed rink behind the South Side Hospital, in the area below Quarry Field, used to be home to Pitt's club hockey team, the Penguins and even a NHL All-Start practice. But, it closed a few years ago. It sits vacant, idle, and with little hope of ever getting opened again under the current administation of Tom Murphy -- and present members of city council.

Bill is a hockey player. Bill knows our lone indoor rink is closed. Bill has done nothing to reopen the rink.

The rink can and should re-open without costing the city a nickle. The rink was operated by a private individual with a long-term lease. The city still owns the land and building.

I'm not a hockey player. But I want the community asset to open again.

Bill is a hockey player. He and others on council have done nothing to open the rink and be stewards of our resources, our assets, our programs, our opportunities, our youthful experiences, our volunteer capacity venues, nor our park spaces.

This goes to the lack of 'teamwork' that Bob O'Connor harps about. Bob is able to echo the chant from my rants in the past years. "They don't play well with others."

We, as parents, as coaches, as educators, as volunteers, as concerned citizens, as taxpayers -- and as voters -- need to see our elected officials engaged in solving problems, in making efforts, and in being productive.

The outcome in terms of being a hockey player in the city is -- no ice.

The program, HOCKEY IN THE HOOD, had a great feature on WQED's OnQ TV show. There are kids who get into vans in the heart of the city, trek to the airport a few times each week, fighting evening traffic, to play hockey. They should be able to do these activities in the city.

If you're in a "hockey family" -- you're going to move out of the city. Why not go to school at B.P. and walk the length of the parking lot from school to rink? Why not do the same in Mt. Lebo. Rinks are throughout the burbs. Hence, folks into that game go to the burbs, generally, if they have the family to enable that move. It is a no brainer.


Bill gave up hockey for the campaign. Peduto's hockey hobby was left behind because his professional calling in politics drove him to campaign for mayor. Implied is the meaning that the youngster, Peduto, matured and settled down for serious campaign efforts and a new challenge. Bill has skated away from lesiure sports to politics.

For me, the realm of sports in the city was such that I was called into politics. I too left the day to day of sports. But my sports, team, coaching quest of high performance and reaching potential helps to drive the Elect.Rauterkus.com campaign.

I walked straight to politics and a campaign and away from sports when I had had enough. My swim coaching retirement and efforts in politics has sports-minded goal. I want to fix sports because the system around here is broken and the public treasury is broke too. Plus, we might as well fix the rest of the city and region as well by injecting more freedom, liberties and free-market expectations as well. That's real competition, accountability, competitiveness.

I helped to rescue a floundering swim team that practices at the Oliver Bath House. The team, Three Rivers Aquatics, TRA, was set to close forever. The parent volunteer booster board was pulling the plug. Hosea Holder, the head coach, and I didn't let that occur. We moved to restore the team's operation in the summer of 1998 (or was is 99). I've been fighting upstream ever since.

Hired coaches!


Coaches for the Green Tree Great White Sharks, summer of 2005. Bill Straw and Jason Miller.

I was on the board of the swim team and we conducted interviews and hired these guys.

Swim team sign-ups happen in the spring and the kids got the chance to meet and mingle with the coaches before the summer season began.

Race for Mayor: Peduto says he's unfazed by critics and doubters

Wow, my recent posts about the issue distinctions of Bill Peduoto's campaign made my heart skip a beat when I saw this at first. I got a bit of ink, and it isn't harsh to the Peduto camp, thank goodness.
The Race for Mayor: Peduto says he's unfazed by critics and doubters: "Those communities are the chief targets of his effort, quarterbacked from his crowded headquarters at the cusp of the Strip District. There, the results of his team's door-knocking and phone calls are entered into computers nightly, and charted by a geographic information system program. Peduto's Saturday foray into Beechview strayed from his focus communities. But those neighborhoods can't be ignored, because a special election for its state Senate seat contest is expected to spur an unusually high local turnout. That race, between state Rep. Michael Diven, who recently switched to the Republican Party, former county Councilman Wayne Fontana, a Democrat, and Libertarian Mark Rauterkus is a priority of both statewide political parties.

More on the overall letter tonight.
Now I'm running out to see Rebecca F of Green Building fame with a presentation at our church, Sunnyhill.org.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Allegheny County Health Department: lends good excuse for not running TV ads this week

I'm not going to air any TV ads for my campaign for PA Senate in the 42nd out of the utmost repect for this fine effort from the Allegheny County Health Department. We do need to get out more and exercise -- until our own Park District forms.
Allegheny County Health Department: The Allegheny County Health Department is asking you to pledge to participate in TV Turnoff Week!

Meanwhile, more mud tossing is expected between my loyal opponents on the boob tube this week. They gotta get their message out there. And their messages are way out there now.

County Bar Association releases judicial endorsements

County Bar Association releases judicial endorsements

Highly recommended
Kathryn M. Hens-Greco, 47, of Squirrel Hill; Jon Pushinsky, 50, of Highland Park; Jack McVay, 48, of the North Side; Dwayne Woodruff, 48, of McCandless; Edward Borkowski, 54, of Stanton Heights; Chuck Evans, 62, of Squirrel Hill; Anthony Mariani, 52, of Ross; Tony Basinski, 58, of Upper St. Clair; Beth Lazzara, 39, of the North Side; James Mahood, 57, of Richland; Roger Wise, 59, of McCandless.

Recommended
William T. Simmons, 55, of East Liberty; Jacqueline Morrow, 48, of Squirrel Hill; Michael E. McCarthy, 55, of Ross; David Joseph DeFazio, 50, of Shadyside; Frank Cecchetti, 56, of Mt. Lebanon; Patricia A. McCullough, 48, of Upper St. Clair; Dan Cusick, 56, of Mt. Lebanon; Alan Hertzberg, 48 of Crafton Heights; Wrenna Leigh Watson, 50, of the Hill District; Sumner L. Parker, 54, of Ross.

Not recommended at this time
Douglas Walgren, 64, of Mt. Lebanon; Kelly Eileen Bigley, 39, of Upper St. Clair; Tom Flaherty, 54, of Shadyside; Kathleen Miskovich, 48, of Richland.

Unqualified
Stephen Begler, 46, of Squirrel Hill; Robert Downey Jr., 51, of Penn Hills.

Mayoral hopefuls debate police review board - Anybody But Bob comes between the lines

This issue was a big issue four years ago. It has not gone away.
Mayoral hopefuls debate police review board 'If you have a mayor who coddles the police, they're going to continue to run amok. Bob O'Connor's in bed with the [Fraternal Order of Police] -- he's not going to challenge the FOP,' Kendrick said.

James Carmine and I were both in strong agreement with the Citizens Police Review Board in 2001. Meanwhile, the front-running Dems were not.

In 2005, Bob O'C has not chaged his tune. Now Bob is the only one still out of touch on this important issue.

But, as a small note, where is the City Council member to the Citzen Police Review Board? A seat designated for appointment by that body has been empty for a year. So, what's up with that?

Peduto pushed for the Citizens Police Review Board at the start -- but what about the follow-up? I worry and wonder.

Continual execution of the plan and continual outrage of its stumbles are needed from council's members -- and other leaders who might like to one day be mayor.

We don't need Bob to build new bridges here and there as much as we need hi to walk all around the pavement that is already in place. We don't need new bridges. We just need the right people to be forced to show up -- or go work elsewhere.

And I don't take too much comfort in the answer from Bob about how he'll "follow the law." If a lawyer told me to do xomething -- then that's what I'll do. Yeah, right. The lawyers you pay often have a way of giving you the answers you want to hear. Mayor's have a good pool of lawyers to leverage on their behalf.

The citizens voted to enable the citizens police review board. The citizens want it still. The review board has never worked well. The city has an opportunity to recraft energy for the board and get it rolling.

In two or three years, then we can look to retool the CPRB, if needed. Let's get it moving as it should in 2006.

African Americans in the arts honored in youth essay contest - Not this year Erik!

Last year, my older son, Erik, won first place in this contest in his age group. He and a school mate were pictured in the PG's coverage.

This year, he didn't enter the contest. However, something much better arrived at our house this week. The cash prize from last year's win was very, very nice, but we'll take his report card grades over a win in the city essay contest. The big milestone, Erik got a "B" in his handwritting grade. Grandma had to come up with $10.

Students who entered the event -- and to the winners -- way to go. My hat is off to your scholarship and self expression, as well as research.

African Americans in the arts honored in youth essay contest This year's essay asked writers to look at contributions of African Americans in the arts.


Writting has become another hot area in schools in recent times. Some are taking handwritting classes, while in high school even. There has been a shift to a hand-written component in the standardized college entrance exams -- such as the SAT (or is the ACT?).

In China, there is a great bit of empahasis on penmanship, and brush strokes too. They use ink and paper in traditional forms. At parks there are often art salons areas for kids to do paint by numbers, coloring, brush work.

On our next trip, I hope we can get the boys some lessons.

In schools today, the pressure to do more writting is hard on the teachers. If you have 30 students, and need to correct spelling tests -- that is one thing. But, try to handle a three page paper and the challenge increased by 20 or more times.

I think that there could be more volunteers to work at the schools in reading and grading duties.

I think we could have more essay contests, more poetry contests, more public grading challenges, more community interaction on written elements. The volunteers would NOT even need to come into the buildings nor ever meet the children.

Just as peer review works in the research and higher academic settings, some style of group feedback among volunteers in the public would serve plenty of benefits among the overall educational missions and outcomes.

Do you think the teachers' union would care?

Definitely doable. Kwel. CMU's student web site, unofficial, to hack PSP for surfing

Two tech articles, both with local connections, shows the range of the topic area. First I love. Second not so much. You'll need to snoop into the comments to get the full force of the other story, from Freedom.

At the outset is a how-to for getting the most out of a new piece of high tech hardware. A CMU student is mentioned, but not by name. Who is this bloke? Tell him or her to keep up the good work. We'd love to have him stay in the area upon graduation.

This is another great reason why we need to have an annual, YOUTH TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT. We need to get folks like this on stage, among community, sharing insights, being problem solvers, crafting relationships. If nothing else, it is a no-brainer workforce development gold mind.
Quad-City Times Newspaper Online - the Quad-Cities Home Page: "Start browsing: First, start “Wipeout Pure,” and head over to the Download section. Once there, select the name of the connection you just created. This will take you to an unofficial PSP Web site created by a student at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. Then, use the PSP’s buttons to type in a URL or enter a search query into Google, which is a link on this site. Because there is no keyboard or touch screen, it can be a little tricky to navigate the Web or check your e-mail, but if you have patience, it’s definitely doable.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Peduto is getting to resemble Al Gore

Al Gore invented the internet. Yeah, right.

Bill Peduto seems to have invented everything Al didn't. -- OMG.

PITTSBLOG: I wanted to be the first democratic mayoral candidate to recognize the importance of local blogs, and I hope the other campaigns will follow suit.

The pioneer is generally the one with the arrow in his back.

Being first is always a great claim if you want to get in serious trouble, especially on the internet. The hype is moving past the brim.

Bill did write that he wanted to be the first "democratic" mayoral candidate... But, I don't even care. Be right. Be truthful. Be straight. To peak early isn't always such a good thing. And, peaking earlist is nothing to brag about.

I feel frustrated as I think that less time spent patting oneself on the back for being the early bird could be replaced with more time wrestling with the issues.

In our office now we have three words: Message, Media and Matterials. The message isn't the media nor the matterials. But, I need the media and the materials to get out the message.

In every box of Cracker Jacks there is a suprise.

Here is another sports jargon story -- to put me over the top. When I hear a sports reporter say that the team's game plan is to get on the scoreboard early, I giggle. Think again. The game is won by those who score more points as the game concludes. The rabbit does not win the race. The winners are those that stick to it and perservere.

More twisted statements: Because it is true. Because its absent on Grant Street. Those are the reasons to be optimisitic!

How depressing.

Here comes another authority. The overloard jumps ship into a new vessile

I don't like overlords. I don't like authorities. I want real democracy. This is a major problem for the city and the Pittsburgh region.
Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - PittsburghLIVE.com: "Laurel: To Robert Jubelirer. The Republican president pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate has named former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey to Gov. Ed Rendell's new statewide transit advisory panel. It's a deft move given the nine-member commission was shaping up as a rubber stamp for diving into taxpayers' pockets. Mr. Roddey says 'reform' is the key. And reform we expect to see. Perhaps Messrs. Roddey and Onorato can forge a wonderful working relationship.

Lances for attempts to defend the indefensible

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - PittsburghLIVE.com: "Lance: To Mr. Onorato. The ACE says he's 'extremely disappointed' that the Sto-Rox School District and a Franklin Park homeowner have contested his cap on property tax assessments. Well, what did he expect? The cap is a blatant violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution's tax uniformity clause. Instead of calling on Stowe and McKees Rocks residents to express their displeasure with the school board, he should be planning on how he's going to justify the expense of defending the indefensible.

Wayne Fontana helped in this parade of misery. Fontana sponsored the bill.

Let's hope that the courts step in quickly before that tax bill goes out. Then Allegheny County won't spin its wheels too much.

Would be nice to get a court verdict before May 17 as well.

Dan should not be the only one to have his neck on the line.

This vote, for the 0-1-2-3-4 plan, came down to a 1-vote margin. There were plenty on council then that wanted to delay the entire process. To wait was an option. But, with Fontana on the council then, as he should have left by then already, the vote to table for a year was NOT passed.

A friend suggested that the ethics group be called. Perhaps the vote to table could be put into question because Fontana was on the council when he should have been off.

Then, the chief executive, Dan O, does not need to pay out the money to defend the indefensible. Rather, the indefensible isn't made part of the laws of the land -- until more study has occured.

Would-a, could-a, should-a!

I would have never gone for a 0-1-2-3-4 plan.

Fontana could have fixed the mess while he was on council.

Fontana should have resigned sooner and taken himself out of the urgent re-do of the mess in property taxes. Fontana was the chair of that committee.

PennFuture Joins Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidates, and Other Local, State and National Leaders to Launch Statewide Campaign to Keep PA GREENER

My Earth Day activities included this press event. My expression is, "Referendums Rock."
PennFuture Joins Governor, Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidates, Other Local, State and National Leaders to Launch Statewide Campaign to Keep Pennsylvania Growing Greener The ballot question will simply ask Pennsylvanians whether they approve of the Commonwealth borrowing up to $625 million for the 'maintenance and protection of the environment, open space and farmland preservation, watershed protection, abandoned mine reclamation, acid mine drainage remediation and other initiatives.' Anyone who is registered to vote in Pennsylvania may vote on the ballot question, even if she/he is a registered independent or belongs to a political party that is not holding a primary.

It is great to have this question go before the voters. Even more splendid is the fact that the question comes on the same day as my special election. This gives those outside the two old parties another reason to go to the polls on Tuesday, May 17, 2005. One is to vote for me. Another is for Row-Office Reform, a county government structure issue. The third is this bond for $625 million.

The bond comes with a few questions from my point of view. In a way this is much like a new credit card arriving at your door. You get to borrow more money, and it has a high capacity. However, you are not sure how you are going to pay for the spending once it occurs. And, as is always the case, there are a number of items that are WANTED.

One's needs and one's wants might not be one in the same. In PA with our politics, it is generally safe to assume that the ones in power now want to spend the money. They want more power. They want to be putting programs in place. They want to spend.

Plenty of worry comes with this question.

Art All Night - Perhaps I'll see you there.

Art All Night The Annual Lawrenceville Art All Night event is a Free Show, No Fees, No Jury, No Censorship. It is slated for April 23-24, 2005 from 6 pm Saturday to 2 pm Sunday

Think again: Fester wrote about impressions of Fontana a while ago

Fester blogged and wrote, in part, a week or so ago:
I was most impressed by both his willingness to say "I don't know" and a general reluctance to criticize his opponent either by name or by innuendo.

This impression must now be blown to bits. The hit mailing against Diven showed up in my mailbox yesterday. Same too with the TV ads, so I hear.

The race tactics of of the Democrats in having any reluctance to criticize DIVEN is now only a fleeting memory. The smack down has started. Its paid for by the Dems.

I don't really want to republish the text of the mailer. I had it with me last night at the debate, but I didn't use it. Diven gave it a short mention.

Fester -- a retraction of sorts might be in order now. Or, at least you should re-set your levels for being impressed.

Smith for Mayor Campaign Begins Guerilla War

Smith for Mayor Campaign Begins Guerilla War 'This was not a good week for Steve Reed's morale,' said Smith. 'My opponent can outspend our campaign 100 to 1 and he can illegally use cable Channel 20 as his political house organ, but our Mayor for Life cannot beat the commitment, creativity, and passion of my volunteers. We have a plan for the future of Harrisburg, and my volunteers have the drive to win this election, against any hardship.'

Good police work, off the beaten path.

A NAN report. NAN = Neighborhood Awareness Network.
Thursday, April 21 at 11:30 PM, a foot patrol officer coming through an alley near 12th Street observed a man breaking into a car window using a tool pulled from his belt. He observed the man entering the car and releasing the trunk from inside, then going through the trunk and removing items from the car. He apprehended the man and placed him under arrest. The owner of the car was located at a bar on East Carson Street.

Several items were found in the man's possession including a radar detector. The man is described as a 45 year old male who resides in Swissvale. He is currently being held at the Allegheny County Jail. Police Detectives will question the man regarding other car break-ins in the area.

This report is a summary of a conversation with Officer Christine Luffey of Zone 3.

J.R.'s program, BUILD YOUR OWN POLITICAL POWER

I'm not going to endorse the program, with the details that follow. But, it is worthy of your consideration. If you go, let us know what you think.
Monday, May 2, 8 p.m. at St. Andrews Lutheran Church, 304 Morewood Ave., corner of Centre Ave.

You're already involved in the May 17 primary. You've got a candidate or a couple of candidates who you're working, a campaign that matters.

Why not work for yourself, too?

Many jobs you can do for your candidate can also build your own political power.

In fact, much of the most important volunteer work in a campaign helps you build a base for the future - especially when the volunteer work in the campaign is done well.

How to use your involvement in the upcoming May 17 primary to increase your own political power will be discussed Monday, May 2, at 8 p.m., at St. Andrews Lutheran Church 304 Morewood Ave., corner of Centre Ave.

We will NOT discuss and recruit you for any individual candidates. You probably already have a candidate in whom you are interested. We will discuss how you can help your candidate in ways that do the most for that candidate and also build your own political power

You want to make a difference for your candidates and your causes. This means increasing your own personal political power. Building your own political power can help accomplish personal goals for you and your community, and also can be fun

We will discuss various strategies, tactics and techniques.

The session will be right after the MoveOn May meetup, which is at that church at 7. However, you are welcome regardless of whether you are associated with MoveOn, Democracy For Pittsburgh, the Sierra Club, the Thomas Merton Center, or anyone or no one. (You don't have to attend the MoveOn meetup, although of course you're welcome.)

There will be more sessions later on how to build your own political power. Possible topics include: the Democratic Party Structure, Duties and Responsibilities of Committeepeople, Circulating Nomination Petitions (and how to challenge them), Turnout - How to "Pull" Voters, The Structure of a Winning Campaign, Electoral Politics and/or Direct Action?, Third Party or First?, The place of Anarchism in Progressive Politics, the Internet and Electoral Politics, Absentee Ballots/Provisional Ballots, and From Paper Ballots to Touch Screens.

The seminars will be planned to be especially useful to new committeepeople and people considering running for the Democratic Committee next year.

The "Build Your Own Political Power" seminars will be led by Jonathan Robison. Jon is a long-time activist in politics, the peace movement, and the community. He has worked in over a hundred campaigns, going back to Gene McCarthy in ’68, and ran three times for Pittsburgh City Council. He is an attorney and vice-chairperson of the 4th Ward Democratic Committee in Oakland.

The sessions may be on a regular monthly basis, structured so that people can attend ones that interest them. Interested groups will be consulted on the schedule, and those at the May 2 seminar will be asked about dates and a place.

Contact: Jonathan Robison, 154 N. Bellefield Ave. # 66, Pittsburgh 15213, 412-683-0237 jonmary1@juno.com

New York's West Side stadium could be on hold until after Olympics vote

Bob O'Connor talks about walking out of his hotel, recently, in New York City, and seeing a merchant with a hose that was washing down his sidewalk. He was suprised. He said that act isn't done here in Pittsburgh any longer.

Bob makes the point that they are trying to clean up New York. New Yorkers are trying to do it for themselves. He wants to inject the same kind of pride or self-serving spirit in Pittsburgh to make the same occur in Pittsburgh. When he's mayor, he'll work on it.

Yeah, right.

Think again.

First, New York now has its SECOND REPUBLICAN Mayor.

Perhaps that can do spirit is washed away with a one-party mentality. If the election for the mayor's race is over on May 17. Then, it seems, the duty for sweeping up the mess is always going to reside on the backs of the city.

I love the self reliance part a great deal. But the leap of faith that this is going to change because it is Bob's time is a bit of a stretch.

I hate B.I.D.s. BIDs = Business Improvement Districts. BID areas get to charge an extra tax on the merchants in the district to do things like street sweeping. BIDs are one reason people don't care to care for the space right out their door as payments have already been made to others to take care of those spaces.

Here is another NYC story where some with more prudent approaches are advancing with caution.

SI.com - Olympics - West Side stadium could be on hold until after Olympics vote - Friday April 22, 2005 2:30PM NEW YORK (AP) -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says it's unlikely a key state panel will give final approval to a West Side stadium in Manhattan before Olympics officials decide who will host the 2012 Games.

'I don't see the necessity,' Silver told NY1 News. 'Senator (Joseph) Bruno has indicated he doesn't see the necessity, and we may not have it before July.'

New York's West Side stadium could be on hold until after Olympics vote

Bob O'Connor talks about walking out of his hotel, recently, in New York City, and seeing a merchant with a hose that was washing down his sidewalk. He was suprised. He said that act isn't done here in Pittsburgh any longer.

Bob makes the point that they are trying to clean up New York. New Yorkers are trying to do it for themselves. He wants to inject the same kind of pride or self-serving spirit in Pittsburgh to make the same occur in Pittsburgh. When he's mayor, he'll work on it.

Yeah, right.

Think again.

First, New York now has its SECOND REPUBLICAN Mayor.

Perhaps that can do spirit is washed away with a one-party mentality. If the election for the mayor's race is over on May 17. Then, it seems, the duty for sweeping up the mess is always going to reside on the backs of the city.

I love the self reliance part a great deal. But the leap of faith that this is going to change because it is Bob's time is a bit of a stretch.

I hate B.I.D.s. BIDs = Business Improvement Districts. BID areas get to charge an extra tax on the merchants in the district to do things like street sweeping. BIDs are one reason people don't care to care for the space right out their door as payments have already been made to others to take care of those spaces.

Here is another NYC story where some with more prudent approaches are advancing with caution.

SI.com - Olympics - West Side stadium could be on hold until after Olympics vote - Friday April 22, 2005 2:30PM NEW YORK (AP) -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says it's unlikely a key state panel will give final approval to a West Side stadium in Manhattan before Olympics officials decide who will host the 2012 Games.

'I don't see the necessity,' Silver told NY1 News. 'Senator (Joseph) Bruno has indicated he doesn't see the necessity, and we may not have it before July.'

Sam's Club Good Old Fashion Cook Out

Landslide Victims Engineering Study Fundraiser at Sam's Club Mountainview Drive West Mifflin, Friday, April 22 - - 10 am til 4 pm.

See comments for additional details.

KDKA and Carnegie events

I really, really, really wanted to attend the special event at the Carnegie Fire Hall last night -- and the KDKA radio broadcast this morning. But other campaign, community and family conflicts prevented a visit.

If you have some time and are willing to work another community event on our behalf -- I need the coverage. We now have the micro-lawn signs, literature, cool art buttons, and the CDs are next.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

First TV debate in the can

We had two community encounters with the various candidates for PA Senate tonight including a TV debate in a packed Senior Center in Mt. Washington.

The score on a ten point system, from the perspective of one involved community member:

Rauterkus = 8
Diven = 7
Fontana = 5

After the event, I talked to a number of people. Some were clearly of the impression that I was the "winner." Others thought that it was a bit close to call. None said that I was third.

I've got a good portion of the comments on my recorder. I'll try to fiddle with the playback in the days to come. But, the entire one hour event was recorded and will be on cable TV in the future.

At the end of the event, I gave a closing remark that went back to a prior question. I made the point that there is a distinction and that the job of a state senator was not about bringing back pork to the community. I was less concerned about answering to the people back home. I am about living in a lawful society, giving full consideration to the constitution, about freedoms, justice, liberty.

Three women at the back of the room were being watched by one of my silent supporters. The session ended, and they all stood up to talk among themselves and were heard to say, "Isn't it great to have such an intelligent young man running for office. I think he was great."

My feedback was, "Mark, you clearly won. You wiped them up pretty good."

This is how a Libertarian thinks was okay. Don't say it too often, being that the city is so full of Democrats. But you did it just enough to make it clear and understood.

Sure, not many in the city might know and relate to the term, "WIKI" -- but being able to say that I can and do interact with other citizens on the web site was obvious. People must have thought he it going. My whole campaign is structured to citizens -- and can still appeal to the consitution.

The room was packed from the 7-8 pm slot with candidates for city council. The feedback from that session wasn't too positive. I only was able to watch about five minutes as we had another event. I was told that most of their (city council candidates) "responses were so typical. YEAH, integrate some services. That was dull. Totally dull."

We also scored a few bonus points for working the crowd afterward. Diven left right away.

One knock, I covered too much in the realm of sports. But another said it kinda wove together for his understandings.

My more official supporters LOVED my reply about TIFs. They thought that was my brightest moments, hitting it out of the park.

Nag me for the transcripts. Others can post comments.

Mico Lawn Signs are here

We have a supply of 1,000 new micro lawn signs! These are micro signs that give an artisitic style to the message of Elect.Rauterkus.com while linked to our vibrant Pittsburgh background.

Typical lawn signs were called, "Litter on a stick," by former city councilman and present PA Senator, Jim Ferlo. There is a statement by Ferlo that is easy to have total agreement with. These signs in the campaign are not typical.

The south and west neighborhoods of the 42nd district are now being flooded with lawn signs by the old-party candidates.

Les Ludwig, candidate for Mayor, Pittsburgh, raised a post-card he was sent by an political advertising company at a meeting this week. He said the lawn signs cost $1.50 each and he'd not be investing any cash into them.

Four years ago, as a candidate in the Republican primary for Mayor, I didn't invest in any lawn signs either. Such a waste of materials and such a clutter for our neighborhoods.

P.G.'s Editorial Review Meeting, recap by new press secretary

Tim's recap of the PG Meeting. On his first hours on the new job, Tim and I went to the Blvd and into the PG's main conference room.

On Tuesday, April 19, 2005, State Senate hopeful, Mark Rauterkus, 45, Libertarian, participated in the Pittsurgh Post-Gazette's Editorial Board meeting with competing candidates, Republican Michael Diven and Democratic Wayne Fontana.

The meeting was the first instance that all three up for PA Senate joined in the same meeting. Jack Wagner vacated the seat to serve in another office, PA Auditor General, so a special election is slated on May 17, 2005, the same day as the primary election.

In the one-hour meeting, covered by a news reporter and photographer as well as attended by more than five from the PG, every candidate was given an opportunity to present his background, his reasons for being qualified for the job and describe two important issues that would be addressed during service to the state as a senator.

Rauterkus spoke on his dedication to community issues and the leadership he has gained from diverse experiences such as coaching swimming and publishing books.

Rauterkus distinguished himself on two different issues: the elimination of authorities and merging the city and county with parks as the next logical area for effective govermental and citizen actions.

Rauterkus noted that authorities are undemocratic institutions often governed by those who may not be most suited for the job, but are there due to some political favor. “Across Pennsylvania, government authorities try to solve problems, but usually make things wrose and serve the well-connected. Those that can’t be eliminated must be made more open and accountable to those they serve and to the taxpayer.”

Rauterkus also spoke on his progressive idea of merging the city and county park system, plus dealing with afterschool activities in facilities owned by school districts. This merger would be patterned on the state of Illinois’ acclaimed system which includes citizen service in the management of the parks. Such a merger would “put democracy at the forefront” and help the system improve. The state of Illinois currently has more than 2,100 elected citizens serving without compensation on governing boards.

Fontana began and discussed his background as a county council member and his focus on property taxes, mass transit and medical costs. All of the candidates gave comments on each topic.

Diven spoke on his experience in Harrisburg and his ideas about a downtown office building that would consolidate city, county and school district administration offices. Diven's program calls for the creation of another authority, and a $300-million finance deal ($50-M for Pittsburgh). Rauterkus raised strong objection to the new Diven plan calling it a potential final nail in the coffin for Pittsburgh. Diven's program for blighted properties within the city caught the distain from Rauterkus with the clincher that properties would be sold for $1 each to insiders based on highest and best use -- not competitive bidding.