Saturday, July 30, 2005

Getting ready for some football

Crews working OT on renovations - There should be no delay-of-game penalties at six Western Pennsylvania high school football stadiums this fall.

A lot of nothing but hot air from Murphy's expresions without doing all the homework!

Tom Murphy and I have something in common. We both are gambling skpetics. However, Murphy liet the city spiral downward so that the only way we could come back to life was with a gambling bill.
City leaders advised on slots gambling, its impact 'I am a gaming skeptic,' said Murphy, as he left an hour into Lendler's three-hour talk. 'I think it will have consequences to the city both positive and negative, and it's important to understand that now.'

Too bad Murphy didn't leave after one term into his three term stint.

Championship Meet and the close of the swim season

Last night was the Championship Swim Meet for our summer swim league. I think the final team standings had: Crafton, Scott, Lebo, Green Tree, South Fayette.

Green Tree and Mt. Lebo were in a tight battle for third headed into the final relays. In the dual meet, Green Tree won out in the relays and was able to win. The same fate might have played out in the Championship meet too.

Last year, Green Tree won. But Coach Mike S., last year's coach, went to Crafton for this year. There was a bit of movement among the team's stars and that was all healthy as Green Tree had lots of new swimmers on its squad this year. Anne, a Green Tree assisant from 2004 went to Scott in 2005.

It is a great league and the kids, by and large, had a great season of summmer swimming.

South Fayette did a wonderful job of hosting the championship meet. The All-Star meet was today, since it was rained out in the early part of the week. Storms stopped three meets this summer -- more than they had for the past decade.

Erik, 10, won the breast event and was second in the relay and near the top in the free. Grant, 7, scored in the top 5 in fly and free and was second in the free relay. They both wore swim caps -- to go with their tapers. Next year we'll shave! (half joking)

The officials were tough on the DQs, and that is great -- IMNSHO. (in my not so humble opinion) We need to teach the kids that you gotta follow the rules. One bad pull, one bad stroke, one bad touch -- and you're done. Poof. That lesson alone is a great one for the kids to realize.

Next year, it would be great to get an additional team or two into the league. Perhaps a city-based squad could materialize or else another from the south burbs.

Jason Miller, a Pitt swimmer who is headed into his senior year, was our first-year head coach. He did a wonderful job. Jason is swimming at Senior Nationals next week in Irvine. Best of luck to him there. Thanks for all the work with the kids -- and with the line-ups.

The funny story of the night: Sophia, 5, was called into action. She is a good little swimmer and her older sister was in the meet. Sophia was only entered in the All-Star Meet -- not Championships. But, when a swimmer didn't show up -- we needed Sophia for the 8-and-under free relay. Thankfully, the lost-and-found had a suit that fit Sophia perfectly. She did a :32 split, dropping 4 or more seconds, and keeping her team right in 3rd place, going anchor.

Moments like that make swimming magical. Plus, we don't have the same heat stroke considerations!

Training Camp -- HEAT stroke

This is the time of year the footballers are getting ready to put on the pads. Steeler camp is starting. But the college, high schoolers and midgets are gearing up too. Furthermore, the women's volleyball squads are starting to hit the gyys too. Western PA has a great tradition with the great game of volleyball.

An online coaching site put out a message (pointer below) that makes sense and is worthy a replay, with slight adjustments. No matter how hard we work, or how good we are, our bodies will shut down when they can't cool themselves off, and the result can be death.

Full blown heat stroke is not new. In the past, football teams saw players fall a few times a week -- if not a few times a day. Coaches and players ran, crawled and otherwise navigated through serious conditioning drills.

Victims of heat stroke are often the one who are very strong and very healthy. The best athletes and ones who aim to impress are at risk.

In the olden days, deaths were seldom. These years, deaths are more frequent.

Lives are saved because everyone gets in tune with an emergency plan, in place before the emergency. Everyone knew what the plan was, and everyone was watching out for their buddies. In the old days, TUBS OF WATER and bags and bags of ice were at the field. Dinky ice packs aren't enough.

It's no hotter now than it was years ago, but we're not as acclimated to the heat now. There is more air-conditioning. We're heavier, and (for some reason) we think that soft drinks actually quench thirst.

Everyone on you team should know the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses and they should be prepared to act, because quick, decisive, correct action SAVES LIVES.

Hat tip to Wayne of

Restricting eminent domain

Finally! I've been harping against eminent domain for years. We need to curb the powers of eminent domain on many fronts. Here are some pending measures. These are reactions to the recent ruling from the highest court. I'd rather see leaders shape the powers of government on a more proactive basis. But, this is a start.

The bills are awaiting action, and the waiting might last forever.

Restricting eminent domain - Two bills are awaiting action in Harrisburg -- and more legislation is in the works -- to protect property owners from a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that allows governments to take private property in the name of economic development.

Rep. Tom Yewcic, D-Johnstown, introduced a pair of bills in the House that would bar governments from taking property from one private owner and giving it to another. Sen. Jeffrey Piccola of Dauphin County, a Republican gubernatorial hopeful, has a team of lawyers working on a bill for the Senate, as does Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park.

One interesting provision: If, after the property is taken, it is ever used for a "nonpublic purpose," the deed must go back to the original owner or the owner's heirs.

That's something to consider but would be silly in the real world. As property is taken with eminent domain, that property is purchased at "fair-market value." So the original land owners got their just compensation. They should NOT have the right to the property again should the public use be vacated.

I worry greatly about rights that last forever. We don't have a good track record in these matters. Look no further than the treatment of the Native Americans for some examples.

Consider the real world actions when a highway is built and then later turned into a bikeway and the path of public right of way can be greatly reduced or even given back in full. Even if it is only a generation away, the state should not have to go back to the original owner's heirs. The red tape alone would be a sizable hurdle so as to keep well enough alone and NOT return the property. Plus, the only one's to benefit are some lawyers.

The market place doesn't work that way. When I buy a car from you, I can sell it if I want to when I want to and to anyone who wants to buy it. I don't have to give back the car to seller of the car.

I do like the spirt of limiting eminent domain. But, we've got to be real.

The other avenue that needs serious attention is the "blight" designations. When a property is called "blighted" then it is easier for the state to take it. But with Murphy's actions (and that of city council too) most of downtown Pittsburgh is under the umbrella of "blight."

I want to see some blight reduction bills!

If I was mayor, or if I was a city council member, I'd get rid of all blight in the city or at least in my council district. Poof. With the stroke of a pen and a new designation -- the charge to take property with eminent domain got much more difficult.

To prove the point, consider this quote from the article:

When you run into (blighted) areas, a lot of times you'll find a lot of these properties have liens on them that exceed the value of the property," Gariti said. Often, the properties have been abandoned and the owners can't be found. "The only way they can be reused is if we clear the title to the property" by taking the land through eminent domain.

If owners of existing property can't be found -- often -- then I have no faith in the government to find past owners and heirs of past owners of property that was taken by eminent domain long ago. And, if the governement is mostly using eminent domain (ha, ha) to take these types of "abandoned property" then impossibible would be found within the suggested bill.

Mostly, I'd hate to see property owners hide from the government when they posses a net loss asset and then re-appear to the government in future generations when the property is being given away by the government.

We don't need more dumb laws with good intentions.

When property is no longer needed by the state, that property should be sold to the highest bidder.

Piccola said he's not sure he wants to prevent governments from using eminent domain as a development tool because it can help revitalize blighted areas.

Piccola is NOT sure. I am sure. I do want to prevent governement from using eminent domain.

Ex-Murphy aide gets probation -

There are two sides to every story, given Pittsburgh is a two newspaper town with the PG and Trib. Notice how the Trib hooks the public employee to Mayor Murphy in the headline as a former executive assistant. Same story with slightly different insights follows from the PG's coverage.

Ex-Murphy aide gets probation -
A federal judge on Friday sentenced a former executive assistant in Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy's office to four years probation and 100 hours of community service on a federal money-laundering charge.

U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Chatiqua Good, 33, of the 1600 block of Buena Vista Street, Manchester.

Prosecutors said that from December 2002 to February 2003, Good conspired to launder drug money by buying real estate along Columbus Avenue in Manchester.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Rivetti said the charge against Good was the result of a multiagency investigation into drug-trafficking on the North Side that eventually led to the seizure of multikilogram quantities of heroin. Good was fired as a result of the investigation.

Meanwhile, the same news was covered in a different way with the PG:
PG: Ex-city aide gets probation

Ex-city aide gets probation A former neighborhood policy assistant for Mayor Tom Murphy was sentenced in U.S. District Court Thursday to four years' probation on federal money laundering charges, officials said.

Chatiqua Good, 33, of the 1600 block of Buena Vista Street on the North Side, pleaded guilty in September 2003 to helping a relative, Michael Keith Good, launder $70,000 in drug money from her desk in the City-County Building, said U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.

In taped conversations, she plotted with Michael Keith Good, who she called 'Uncle Mike,' to purchase a $70,000 apartment building on the North Side and place the deed in the name of another relative, so as not to raise suspicions about where he got the money.

Chatiqua Good also must perform 100 hours of community service.

Four years of probation is nothing. The 100 hours of community service is a joke. I think she is very, very lucky. Workers who are employed by government have a higher duty to earn and keep the public trust.

In China, a worker for the state who would do something like this, yet alone for drugs profits, would be put to death. That might be too harsh. However, what we have here is far to soft.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bassmaster Classic live discussion transcript

Bassmaster Classic live discussion transcript Welcome to today's chat with Don Hopey on the ongoing Bassmaster's Classic. Don is here and starting to answer questions. Just a reminder that the questions go a moderator before the answers are sent to the room.

My questions are within the text.
The chat room was a little lame as it is moderated. The questions were nice. But, this isn't 1995, is it?

Lump Camp meets Swim Taper -- Championships today.

Yesterday was our greatest day ever for lump camp. We did nothing and are so proud of our accomplishments.

The day started early as I helped my wife get into a taxi for the airport. She is now in Colorado. This trip is special for her as it is the first time she is speaking to a professional organization and giving the "keynote address." She is a presenter at many events, worldwide. But her main mission is to give 'tutorials.' So, this opportunity has a different twist. She'll also be giving a tutorial on another day.

The night before, we got her lap top set up with some music for the presentation. She'll be playing a country western song that deals with the kids being little for just a while. She helped to write the standard for babies and kids -- and their ears are little, but just for a while. I'm sure she'll provide a great and inspired talk and with iTunes, a slice of music as well.

At home, our first duty is to "hold thumbs" that everything goes well for her in Colorado. To hold thumbs is sorta like crossing our fingers. The tradition of holding thumbs comes from M, of South Africa and Northwestern.

Our second activity at home for this ultimate lump camp was play computer games. Grant's is loaded with Star Wars and I'm getting quite good. He and I often play together. Not multi-player, rather he or I will do the shooting while the other moves the character around the battle. Our sidestepping coordination is now perfected. Erik played an entire Madden NFL season, going with only 3 defeats, winning the Super Bowl, and getting to half-time in the Pro-Bowl. He plays at the New England Patriots. I don't know if that is a political statement or his hard-headed individualist notion of not cheering for the same team that everyone does.

Breakfast and lunch is on your own, fully. We do practice violin.

We had a bit of park time in the afternoon for some catch, but we didn't overdue it. We took a walk to get subs and gyros for dinner! On the way was the TV interview with KDKA.

We also took a walk to the riverfront for sunset. Saw ducks, baby ducks, geese and rats.

In our walk, I got to explain to them about a "swimmers' taper." I love great tapers. As a coach, our team always does very, very well at the championship meets. This season's taper got bumped with church camp last week as we didn't get in any swimming. Paddling, caving and a fun were replacements. That was good enough for this summer's season, but it won't work in the future. We didn't even go to evening swim practice. But we sayed up past 11 pm.

Another motivation to dink around with a few more games of Star Wars on the computer is to get their personal clocks shifted to west coast time. We'll be headed to California soon and will want to be in the groove when we get there.

There won't be many more days like this in our lifetimes. Go Green Tree Great White Sharks.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Shrink 'em, bounce 'em or sue 'em = Throw the bums out, And they're all bums.

This outrace is still a hot topic in the media. Let's fire a few new logs on the campfire and keep it burning.
Shrink 'em, bounce 'em or sue 'em: "Thursday, July 28, 2005
By Brian O'Neill

Could it be that Pennsylvania's ruling caste has finally gone too far?

The backlash against America's Largest Full-Time State Legislature for its audacious midnight money grab is wide. But is the reaction to this 16 percent pay raise strong enough to last? Or will Pennsylvanians soon return to being the meek sheep we've always been?

August 22 -- Operation Clean Sweep tv date with PCN

Russ Diamond, Operation Clean Sweep founder, will be addressing the PA Press Club luncheon on Monday, August 22 in Harrisburg. The luncheon will be broadcast statewide on PCN that evening. Stay tuned for broadcast time.

South Side violence in early morning -- a block away

The talk of the neighborhood today was generated by TV crews in the wake of a couple of thugs that seemingly hit a couple late at night. It was a "Brutal Attack." The assult lifted the tv news crews into the streets to get interviews.

I talked, while walking on East Carson Street with my kids, to KDKA's M.R.J.

Q: "Oh how the South Side has changed. Are you fearful?"

A: Sure, there have been some changes. But people have a short memory. There have been troubles here in the past. There are troubles throughout the city every week. We need to do a better job of looking out for each other. Some of that happens here and it happens elsewhere in other neighborhoods too.

Q: "But there used to be families?"

A: Families are making a bit of a comeback to the South Side. We have lived here for 15 years and there are more parents and younger kids in recent months than in the past decade.

My exact quote that aired: "These things are going to happen, sadly. We have to work as best we can in the community to prevent them and to look out for each other."

The next KDKA NEWS story, H. Ward, 29-years of age, may sit out the entire Steeler season. Then came the coverage of the Little League players who testified against their coach. The coach, it seems, offered money to one player to hurt another to keep him on the bench and out of the game. A few minutes later came a story of how State Senator, Jane Orie, is trying to raise the bar with new laws and stiffer penalties against "predators."

Victims, our prayers are with you to get well soon.

I've not heard much about the NAN (Neighborhood Awarness Network). I'll need to check into those efforts in the days to come. I hope that the organizers didn't burn out on those efforts.

e-Democracy '05: The UK's Largest E-Democracy Conference

November 9, 2005, CBI Conference Centre, London.

Early Bird Registration Rates until end August

e-Democracy '05, hosted by Headstar, VoxPolitics and the Hansard Society, is set to be the UK's largest ever dedicated e-democracy conference and exhibition, with 200 delegates and one of the strongest speaker line-ups ever assembled. Topics to be covered include e-voting, e-campaigning and e-consultation, and much more including
interactive workshops.

All registrations received before the end of August will qualify for an Early Bird registration rate of 95 pounds for public sector and 145 pounds for private sector delegates.

Sponsorship opportunities, email Claire Clinton, claire -at- headstar -dot- com.

Want to enter into the Green Building Alliance Dragon Boat for Sept. 17's festival?

The Green Building Alliance is extending invitations to join the Green Dragon Boat team! The GBA is looking for individuals to form a Green Team through the Three Rivers Rowing Association and participate in the Dragon Boat Festival in the South Side Riverfront Park on September 17, 2005. No prior rowing experience is necessary – just an enthusiasm to get out onto our rivers and have a lot of fun! Expect four practice/training sessions between August 23 - September 17. Cost for four training sessions is $65/person and to compete in the Dragon Boat Festival costs $40/person – Total $105.

Send an email expressing your interest to Karen Puff at by August 15th. Indicate the best times for you to participate in practice sessions – weekdays, weeknights or weekends. And mark your calendar for September 17th for the Festival.

League of Pissed Off Voters:hosts a Smackdown 2005 in Pittsburgh

For what its worth... and I'm not sure what that is or isn't. This isn't my cup of tea. The indy part is more of a GREEN, LEFTIE, all DEM thing mostly. The smack down was mainly an anti-Bush thing as well, I think. But, it is local. The national organization might be as big as western PA and eastern Ohio. ???
League of Pissed Off Voters:�Smackdown 2005 Input: "SMACKDOWN 2005 Application

SMACKDOWN 2005 is a national conference for League organizers and trainers and our allies. The weekend will offer performances, inspiring speakers, beginning, intermediate and advanced level trainings in voter organizing, as well as time to scheme, strategize and build with some of the dopest young organizers del mundo. It will take place from August 4 - 7 on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA. Hotel accommodations will be provided for all participants. Everyone who wants to participate in the conference needs to fill out the application form below. The application deadline is July 14, 2005.

Penn State's Keefe wins silver medal in open water swim at Worlds

Rather than bass fishing, I dream of more high speed excitement without the motors on our rivers. How's this for an event to revisit for the future?

Centre Daily Times | 07/19/2005 | PSU's Keefe wins silver medal PSU's Keefe wins silver medal

From CDT staff reports

MONTREAL -- Penn State junior swimmer Margy Keefe captured second-place for the United States in the 5K Open Water Swimming race with a time of 55 minutes, 44.3 seconds.

Keefe came within 4.2 seconds of becoming Penn State's first world champion swimmer. She led at the halfway point and at the 4.5K mark, but she was eventually passed by Russia's Larisa Ilchenko, who successfully defended her world championship in the same event with a time of 55:40.1.

From the start, the Australian and German..."

A race could start at Station Square and go to Sandcastle and back. Or, the race could start at the POINT and go up and back on each of the rivers.

The junior races could start upstream and finish downstream. Say from the boat ramp in the Mon on the South Side to Station Square or else the West End Bridge.

I'd love to take the open-water concept to the next level with fin swimming, snorkels, wet suits, and floating teather balls tied to the swimmers' waists.

Techies: An Open Source Picnic - August 7

WPLUG's 4th Annual Open Source Picnic is this Sunday August 7, 2005 from 1 pm to 6 pm. You and your family are welcome. If you've been around WPLUG for awhile or if you are a list lurker, you are more than welcome to join us.

The official WPLUG picnic website is
It will have all the important links to all of the urls mentioned in this


Looks of the park.

The reason why we call it "Open Source" because everyone who attends is to
contribute by bringing food, helping out, or organizing activities. It will be
as good as the community makes it! Like last year we will have burgers on the
grill, chips, potato salad, "not quite goulash." For fun we will have Chez Geek
and balloon critters.

All of this is made possible without utilizing WPLUG treasury funds due to
the generosity of the contributers listed on the meeting details page...

You too can help us out by making a contribution. Please consider the "Most
Needed" list as you make your pledge. We will be keeping track of the pledges
and what is still needed on the meeting details page...

We need everyone to RSVP by sending mail to
Please consult the meeting details page to see if your name is there. If we
don't see your name then we do not know if you are coming or not!
The RSVP list will be updated on our meeting details page...

As you RSVP, please let us know how many people you are bringing and if you
have a special diet. This is a pot luck however some of us have
volunteered to make meat-free dishes if we have some vegetarians.

I can not emphasize enough that we need *you* to RSVP! At the rate of
$3.50/minute WPLUG treasury can not afford to consult psychic hot-line to find
out how many hot dogs buns we need to buy. Please consider the more economical
decision and drop a note to Tux would RSVP so should you.

Hope to see you there!

Pittsburgh financial oversight agencies strike a deal

Don't do today what can be put off for tomorrow. Might as well make nice. The city isn't going anywhere.
Pittsburgh financial oversight agencies strike a deal A peace treaty between the City of Pittsburgh's fiscal overseers encourages the city to further cut its Fire Bureau.

The Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, created by the General Assembly, and the Act 47 recovery team, empowered by Gov. Ed Rendell, agreed yesterday that they would require the city to seriously consider new cost-cutting measures by January 2007.

When oversight is of the mindset to hurry up and wait -- we are not sitting in a good spot.

On the other hand, I don't think law suits are the way to fix anything. But, I'd be more encouraged if those who are to be instramental in fixing things would meet more than once a season. The "no" vote by phone proves my point.

Perhaps a collaborative relationship with the city is fine -- like us all 'drinking the coolaid.'

It is not about the firefighters, nor the stations, nor some other blame game that could be sheltered with some 'expert report' and 'commissioned study.' This is about do nothingness. This tailspin is about being asleep at the controls. Now, the slumber is proven to be deep for the oversight board too.

Africa making waves in pool. Quotes from David Salo, author and Irvine Nova coach

David Salo is quoted in today's trib in the article about the rise of swimming medalists from Africa. David authored a technical swim training book, Sprint Salo, that I published. That was the second book I published. The indie imprint was called Sports Support Syndicate. The book is now out of print. I get requests for it every other week or so.

Africa making waves in pool - "The move surprised U.S. men's coach Dave Salo.

'It's disappointing,' he said before Michael Phelps led the Americans to a relay victory. 'Our guys want to win the gold, but they want to win against the best.'

The other point that is behind the text of the article is Jonty Skinner, a world-record swimmer in 1976. Jonty's home is South Africa. In 1976 he set a world record at the US National Championships in the 100-meter free in a meet in Phili. South Africa was not permitted to compete in the Olympics that year. Jonty was a scholarship swimmer at Alabama.

The first book I ever published, Tide Teamwork, was authored by Jonty Skinner. It is a swim training book too.

However, Tide Teamwork and SprintSalo are at two different ends of the spectrum in terms of workouts and coaching philosophy. Both books are great and were perfect for their time. Each helped to advance the realm of understanding in the sport of swimming and offered plenty of groundwork for a sustained discussion.

In the days to come, we'll be in Irvine, California, at Dave Salo's pool to watch a bit of the US National Swimming Championships.

It is great to see the world send its best and brightest to America for education and competition with swimming. One of my biggest hopes is that those in Allegheny County can keep up.

Petition to revoke the PA House & Senate pay raise is online

To sign a petition to revoke the pay grab, click on the link below. Feel free
to leave your comments too.

I think Ray H set it up. I was the 21st on the list.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Worst of the worst is behind us -- and way out of my view

These guys and gals are so excited -- more so than a large-mouth bass in our rivers. More so than the Marlins who host the Pirates. More so than a married white guy with two kids.

Pittsburgh is out of the basement when it comes to lifestyles for the single.
PSVN, PUMP, Venture Outdoors and the Coro Center (and a coalition of other organizations yet to be announced) invite you to celebrate Pittsburgh's success!

We know it is short notice, but join us anyhow!

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 28th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM - brought to you by Bossa Nova, Pittsburgh's Cool Downtown Bar for Singles and Young Professionals (providing $1.00 off drinks and free chips and salsa!)

It's official! Pittsburgh is moving up in the world of best cities for singles and young professionals. As noted by the Post Gazette and the Pittsburgh Trib, Forbes has re-ranked Pittsburgh by moving us up 11 spots towards the top! We are being recognized for, among other things, our great nightlife and cultural opportunities!

This brings us to the other half, we got hammered on "Coolness" which we totally disagree with and know that the leaders of Pittsburgh's Business, Non-profit, Education and Political Institutions can do something about it for next year. So, in addition to celebrating we are inviting you to strategize with us on launching a city-wide campaign on how to get everyone else to realize what we already know, that Pittsburgh IS Cool.

We look forward to seeing you at Bossa Nova!
I'm not sold on the fact that Pittsburgh IS kwel. And, I'm certain that being with a label that says "I'm kwel!" should be far from a top priority.

I'd rather say I'm free. Or, I'm educated. Or, I'm prosperous. Or, I'm stable among others in a sustainable community. Or, I'm rooted. Or, I'm among trusted peers. Or, I'm happily engaged in a wide-family landscape.

By the way, the best way to be cool is to live it. Deeds and acts matter, not hype nor hot-air.

Be merry!

Wanted: More Running Mates and Writting Style Partners

I'm looking to get a few more Running Mates to help with this blog. If interested, send me an email, It takes a village, or a family, or a cadre -- to get ideas in order and ready for prime time. More helpers and perspectives are welcomed.
Poynter Online - By Way of Advice: Seven Style and Voice Tips Find a writing style partner.
'Don't give each other notes about whether your writing 'works,' whether your themes are valid, your characters believable, or even whether your voice is mellifluous. Those things are all important, and it's undoubtedly helpful to get feedback about them -- but when style is the issue, they change the subject. Instead, when looking at the other person's stuff, focus in on sentences, or phrases, or words. Where the writing seems tired or cliched, where the word used means something other than what was intended, where the phrasing is awkward, wordy or grammatically questionable, mark it, and suggest an alternative.'

And, if you need a Gmail account, let me know too. I'll send you an invite.

Mon-Fayette Expressway walk - and Braddock ponderings with Christine

Christine and Jon, splending community thinkers, along with Ground Zero (a network of friends and mostly vibrant people who care about the region) make this call. It is worthy of your full consideration.
Pre-Enactment: Mon-Fayette Expressway Walk & Community Planning Dialogue Saturday, August 6th, 2005 (August 13th rain date for Mon-Fayette Expressway Walk only)

Pre-Enactment is a two-part performance/dialogue event focusing on Braddock’s future. Braddock citizens, politicians, organization leaders, the media, and the general public are invited to spend the day with us, not to plan Braddock, but to help think about and advocate for Braddock’s future. Pre-Enactment is the public culmination of Looking for Braddock’s Fields, a project of the GroundZero Action Network.

1. Mon-Fayette Expressway Walk (9:30 am – 11:30 am)
Meet between 6th and 7th Streets in the parking lot on Woodlawn Street, parallel to Braddock Avenue and one block closer to the Monongahela River.

2. Community Planning Dialogue (12:30 pm – 3:00 pm)
Braddock Carnegie Library, 419 Library Street, Braddock .

To RSVP, or for more information, please contact: or 412-443-4210.

1. Pre-Enactment: Mon-Fayette Expressway Walk
The first part of the event is about understanding and experiencing the impact of the proposed Mon-Fayette Expressway through Braddock. Participants will walk through the central part of the proposed right-of-way, while two groups of volunteers mark the edges of its directly impacted area with large banners. During the walk, the proposed highway design will be discussed, along with its impact on Braddock and the potential treatment of land/space along its path.

2. Pre-Enactment: Community Planning Dialogue
The second part of the event will take place at the Braddock Carnegie Library where a dialogue about Braddock’s future will be facilitated. A large-scale model of Braddock and surrounding hillsides will be the centerpiece for the discussion, illustrating the Borough’s existing physical conditions. A removable overlay will model the proposed expressway and its impact on the surrounding community. Braddock’s richly layered potential for change includes consideration of: the proposed highway, the re-emergent green spaces, the river, development forces, etc. The goal is to integrate ecological, cultural and social values into future plans for Braddock, and to help strengthen the community in the process.

Project Background
Looking for Braddock’s Fields is a project led by Christine Brill and Jonathan Kline of the GroundZero Action Network. The project began with a month long residency in June 2004 sponsored by the Monongahela Conference on Post-Industrial Community Development based at Carnegie Mellon University. We are working in Braddock as artists who have skills and expertise in architecture, urban design, planning and landscape ecology. We came to Braddock to look, listen and initiate a public conversation about Braddock’s past, present and future. Our project is not a plan or a proposal for Braddock; instead our work is about understanding and exploring Braddock’s potential through maps, models, pictures, and most importantly, conversations with its citizens. Our goal is to collaboratively expand the horizons for what Braddock can become.

The intended outcomes are increased awareness and discussion of the proposed highway design and the possibilities for Braddock’s future particularly along its riverfront. The dialogue will explore ways in which potentially incompatible visions can be reconciled. The results will be documented and distributed to key participants in Braddock to use as a tool for thinking about and advocating for the Borough’s future. An installation documenting the project will be exhibited in a show called Groundworks: Environmental Collaboration in Contemporary Art at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University from October 14 to November 11, 2005. The work will also be presented in an exhibition catalog and a two day symposium on October 15-16, 2005.

Sept 10 event - Celebrating Diversity

Here is an invite that might catch your fancy.
Saturday, September 10: Join Celebrating Diversity to share your Dream
for America in song, poetry, or just words. Bring and share international snack and finger foods, enough for 8 to 10 persons. Drinks/plates/silverware provided.

Southminister Presbyterian Church, 799 Washington Road, using entrance on Castle Shannon Blvd., 12:30pm. to 2:30pm.

Alternate activities planned for children.

To participate in the program and for setup purposes, please RSVP Elizabeth
at 412/344-2469.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Allegheny Land Trust gets second state grant - August 16 hike

This makes me worry. In the central part of the state, these property purchases are known as evil. Here in the city, they are mostly a mystery.

At least this comes with a block party and free hike. If you know how to get there, post directions, please.
Allegheny Land Trust gets second state grant To stir interest in the effort, the trust is planning a property previewfrom 6 p.m. to sunset Aug. 16. The public is invited to a section of the property on Magee Road for a hike and nature viewing.

Kraynyck said the trust hopes to acquire the property within the next six to 12 months.

Celebration of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)

If you can attend this event and are inclined to pass around some CDs, please let me know. I've got a CD that can be prepared for this event and would love to have someone there to hand them out to people. A small donation would be nice to prime the pump in this effort.

The CD has a book in PDF format, Time Out, I Didn't Hear You.The book helps those with hearing issues join their scholastic sports teams.
Disability Pride Day

Disability Pride Day fund-raising award dinner and silent auction, July 27, 5:30 to 10 p.m. The Rivers Club, One Oxford Centre, 301 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Cost: $100

Three Rivers Center for Independent Living is holding its second Disability Pride Day Fundraising Dinner on July 27th at the Rivers Club at One Oxford Centre. The dinner commemorates the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enacted in 1990. This year TRCIL will recognize the recipient of the Disability Pride Award and will honor youth with disabilities as they transition into adulthood. The evening will be a celebration of all the work done by, and for, people with disabilities. Donations are currently being accepted for the silent auction.

Please contact Amana at (412) 371-7700 x175 or for more information about the dinner.

Rally for Disability Pride, July 28, Courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse
12 – 1 p.m.

Speakers will discuss the power of youth with disabilities. There will also be a proclamation ceremony. All are invited to attend.

For more information, call 412-371-7700 or visit

Southern Beltway I-79 to the Mon/Fayette Expressway Open House Public Meetings

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
August 1, 4-8 pm at Canon-McMillan High School, Elm Street Extension
Canonsburg, PA

August 2, 4-8 pm at Finley Middle School
6023 Route 88, Finleyville, PA 15332

These public meetings are being held to present all the alternatives under consideration for the Southern Beltway Transportation Project, the impacts associated with each of the alternatives and to obtain input on the alternatives before the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)/Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation /Section 404 Permit Application for the Southern Beltway Transportation Project from Interstate 79 to the Mon/Fayette Expressway is completed.

Information regarding effects on historic and archaeological resources will also be provided. Right-of Way specialists will be available to answer any questions on property acquisition. Information received from the public will assist the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in evaluating the alternatives and will be considered in future development of the project.

For more information about this meeting or to arrange for the attendance of persons with disabilities, requiring special assistance, please contact: (724) 755-5261, (800) 585-2996 or via email at: lyackovi@paturnpike,com

Letter to editor: Down right pathetic ... about the pay raise and suggestion to fix it.

It's down right pathetic that politicians from both parties conspired to give themselves an undeserved 16% pay raise when they've failed to tackle the major problems facing our state. The latest pay raise fiasco is an excellent example of the current mindset of both grand old large at the taxpayers expense.

Many people are extremely upset by these recent events and are at a loss as to what to do. I would suggest that if you want to send them a signal they won't soon forget, then change your voter registration to Libertarian. It's easy to pick up a voter registration form at any Drivers License Center or the local post office and use it to take a stand. Unless people abandon the old parties they will continue to think they have your vote in their hip pocket.

I made the change and it feels great to be part of the growing libertarian movement towards personal responsibility and constitutionally limited small government.

Ronald L. Goodman, Carlisle, PA

The sleaze capital - from Trib and Ralph R. Reiland

When I was about to run for public office, my sister let her opinions known to me. She hated the idea because of the political landscape. She knows that the politicians are so dirty and she worried that I'd be put into that same ugly mess, right along with them. She feared for me, her big brother. I asked her to worry less and that all would be fine. I promised to do my best to stay pure and prove her wrong. So far, so good for me. But the sleaze factor still remains as high as ever.
The sleaze capital - PittsburghLIVE.comHarrisburg is one of the sleaziest state capitals in the country,' said Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for Salon, and that was before he saw the sleaze that oozed from under the closed doors of the state Legislature at 2 a.m. one recent night after the politicians voted themselves an illegal pay hike.

Open House for First Vehicle Services, outsourced company that manages the city's fleet

The open house is at 6 pm on Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 29th and A.V.R.R. Streets in the Strip District. Contact 412 255 2770, Jake Harvey or Tim Booth.

Ads have been on the radio and in the newspaper.

Lame-duck mayor should "Lay the Shovel Down!" Rather he says next 5 months to be 'very active'

Lame-duck mayor says next 5 months to be 'very active'Murphy isn't slowing down

Perhaps because he's wielded so many ceremonial shovels, Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy took the lead at last week's groundbreaking ceremony for a new parking garage near PNC Park.

The message is clear: It is time to lay the shovel down.

Murphy and the others on Grant Street have dug a huge hole for the city. The city is in a massive mess. More digging isn't going to fix our debt, our community, nor our spirits.

The most important things in life are not things. Murphy's dirt and shovels have proven to be a big burden. That burden is going to be around for generations to come.

The parking garage to be built is too big and won't allow for easy entry and exit. We need to have the parking garages be with a mixed use. Are there apartments on top? Are there vegitative roofs?

Years ago I asked that the Steelers and UPMC Sports Medicine move back to the North Side, in the areas around the stadiums. They could have built a set of parking garages that serviced the city and also had tops that included medical offices and practice fields.

In Georgetown, the DC campus has a football field that is on the top of a parking garage. The team practices on the rooftop.

Consider the setting should the team be able to practice on the roof, with one or two fields as grass and a couple others as artificial turf. Some could have a bubble for the colder months. The team would be visible from Mt. Washington.

UPMC's rehab patients would be able to hobble to the North side facility, park in the garages and take elevators to the right floor. UPMC would have great visibility from the blimps on game days too.

Hey Tom, "Lay the shovel down."

Fumbled Forever: Two named to city police review board - Finally!

Mayor Murphy and City Council -- both -- have been in fumble mode, seemingly forever, when dealing with the citizens police review board. The board was approved by the voters. However, it has never been able to operate as it should. One member has not been to meetings in more than a year. He's on a continual boycott -- just to play the role of a laggard. Other appointments have not be forthcoming in earnest from those who have a duty to appoint.
2 named to city police review board Mayor Tom Murphy has nominated Deborah Walker of Allentown and Mary Jo Guercio of Lincoln Place to four-year terms on the city's Citizen Police Review Board.

If the two are approved by City Council, the board will be at its full seven-member strength for the first time since 2002, said board Executive Director Elizabeth Pittinger.

There is some question as to the scope and power of the citizens police review board. However, there is no question as to the way it was starved for years on end by both city council and the mayor.

We need to get the board to operate in a regular and normal way for a few years and then make another evaluation of that process.

Mayor Murphy is moving out of city hall. When it comes to some matters he'll leave the office dry. In other matters, he'll get the suds building before he bolts. Mayor Murphy is going to try to stick it to those that follow him. And, this is one way to make that occur -- finally load up on the citizens police review board. Only a slime ball politician would put in people now -- at the end of his term.

The article should have had statements from O'Connor and others in the November Mayor's race. They should have been interviewed for the story -- and should have had an opportunity to interview the appointments.

Those who are now seated on the review board should be standing up to say that they will offer their resignations to the next mayor in the first days of the next term. Perhaps the next mayor would not accept the resignations. Time will tell. These appointments may or may not stick. But what needs to happen, above all else, is a new leaf with a functional citizens police review board.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Neighbors at odds over rules in city park. I've been at odds with the park's master plans for years.

Here is another great reason why we need to have a new, Pittsburgh Park District. The problems in the parks can be settled by those most interested in the parks. The coaches, neighbors, professionals and volunteers need places to go to work out their concerns.

Neighbors at odds over rules in city park: "Neighbors at odds over rules in city park
Westinghouse Park signs add to confusion over what is permitted

Monday, July 25, 2005
By Diana Nelson Jones, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Playing football is not allowed in Westinghouse Park, but you'd never know that from the posted signs. They read, in part: 'Permit is required for sporting activities and organized sports.' That would imply you can get such a permit.

My knee jerk reactions are as follows:

The park can't be trashed. The kids, parents, coaches and organizers of the sports teams need to leave the fields and areas in conditions that are better than then they arrived. The teams need to not only clean up after themselves, but they need to help sustain the park setting in other ways. This upkeep needs to happen every hour, if not ever minute.

I'm going to assume that the park gets trashed. When an event and practice happens, trash is bound to pile and gather. Work needs to occur.

The city could provide some large cans. Perhaps the city could provide a dumpster if necessary. But, the city does not need to have a litter crew hit the park every day. That should be the role and responsibilities of those that use the park.

Enforcement is a seldom used concept in the city behavior efforts.

But most of all, I want to use the parks for programming. I want to see the kids in the parks with coaching, supervision, conditioning, practices, workouts, drills, and play. I want teaching, learning, striving and teamwork to be a bigger part of the lives of our kids, coaches, volunteers and communities.

If the kids need a place to practice -- let them practice in the park.

Finally, the park's master plan for ball fields is a joke. The process was lame. The outcome documents are little more than a way to pay off some consultants. There is little, if nothing, good that I can talk about to support the overall planning for our park's usage and understandings.

We need a Pittsburgh Park District.

We also need a city council representative to work in the parks and offer a dedicated vision of engagement.

City has agreement with nonprofits on contributions -- Right On -- In Our Dreams!

This is a great example of Tom Murphy management and spin. The city has built a budget based upon $6-million from non-profits. These non-profits don't pay taxes as they are tax exempt.

The first trick is to get blood from a rock.

The second trick is to measure how much or how little blood can be sucked from the non-profits. They article says that the crisis is over. But, the amount is unknown. We can all sleep easily now.

City has agreement with nonprofits on contributions The contract, currently under final review by the city solicitor, does not include a dollar amount that the nonprofit institutions would contribute.

This isn't news. Rather it is fabrication of fiction.

Commonwealth Foundation : Research Library

Commonwealth Foundation : Research Library: ... Job creation, personal income and population growth continue to stagnate in Pennsylvania relative to the rest of the nation, the legislative “bonus checks” and pay hikes for governors and judges lack merit in the minds of most taxpaying citizens.

I'm for getting a new governor. Rendell has worn out his welcome. Some of the reasons why we need a new top politician in Pennsylvania are woven into that article.

Dense Comcast phone operator (S)

This conversation is being recorded for customer accuracy. Today was the day that a Comcast service guy was to set up two new phone lines. But, he only had orders to do one. His information on the unreadable computer printout was wrong information. I ordered two new lines, not one.

I want two lines, like ordered, or none. I don't want one. Most of all, I don't want TWO service charges.

Time will tell if a service manager at the call center calls me back.

The service guy who came into the house was nice, kind and understanding. He said that the second line could be activated from afar without a need to come back into the house.

I'll be paying $39.82 a month for the service. I don't want to pay two fees to turn on the service.

Possibility Thinking

A freind sent me this email, quoted below, that hits upon a theme of faith, change and timing. It strikes me as our family just returned from a week in Virginia (Va Tech) with an annual church camp. It is easy to call this a week of study and community.
Exercising Faith by Dr. Robert Schuller

The core of Possibility Thinking is the mental activity we call "positive assuming." Even though the idea may have been unsuccessfully tried before, you should do the following:

• Assume that the times may have changed.

• Assume that nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.

• Assume that there are solutions to the problems that have defeated the dream before.

• Assume that there are solutions to the money problems.

• Assume that costs can be cut, revenue can be increased, or the project can be refinanced over a longer period of time.

• Assume that smarter people can be either hired or invited as partners to make this challenging idea possible.

• Assume that obstructionists can be bypassed, isolated, or invited to join as partners in prosperity in a new joint venture.

• Assume that instead of a collision you could form a coalition!

Now you're exercising what religious people call faith. Faith is sometimes spelled A-S-S-U-M-E.

I've got faith that views are changing, and changes are for the better in some ways.

Case in point: My city council represenative, Gene Ricciardi, ran into my wife at the local Giant Eagle the other week. They had a nice chat and he was good to point out to her how, "Mark was right all along" when speaking about "programming" within the Citiparks programming. Gene mentioned he has seen the light, now, that the big issue is "programming" and that the kids need things to do to challenge them in meaningful ways.

Yeah! My wife couldn't do much but nod and wonder what is being done on these themes NOW?

Case in point 2: See the Lynn Cullen talk show interview posting (above) about the Land-Value Taxation conversation.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

China punctuates diving dominance at worlds

I too have seen a slice of the diving program in China. - More Sports - China punctuates diving dominance at worlds - Sunday July 24, 2005 9:30PM Taylor has visited China and seen the country's diving programs.

'They've got a great system,' he said. 'They have everything you could possibly want -- good funding and good support.'

Sure, they do have a great program. Sure, there is plenty of motivation. Excellent coaching is present. However, to say they have everything you could possibly want -- might be a bit of a stretch. However, they can stretch to the water -- at all ages and in all the corners of the vast country. The divers in China are the tops in the world. They'll stay that way for some years into the future.

I'm an uncle -- again. Welcome to the world Joey Leo

Today we got to visit with my littlest sister, her husband and their newest baby. He is so sweet. All is well. Baby time is great.

Operation Clean Sweep: Pennsylvania

While at church today, a woman asked me about "operation clean sweep." Here is a pointer:
Party switching, as part of the strategy:Operation Clean Sweep: Pennsylvania: "Whenever it's time to reapportion legislative districts, incumbents always find a way to do it in a fashion that further secures their own political futures. It's time to use that against them by casting off your party label. In 2006, it's not Republicans vs. Democrats; it's the Incumbent Party vs. the Citizens Party.

Sounds great to me. Presently there are only two candidates on the line-up.

Candidate Declaration

I, the undersigned, hereby declare my commitment, upon election to the Pennsylvania General Assembly by the citizens of my legislative district, to sponsor and/or vote to enact legislation to specifically meet the following goals:

1. the repeal of House Bill 1521, effectively returning compensation for members of Pennsylvania's legislative, executive and judicial branches to pre-HB 1521 levels;

2. establishing a policy whereby all future compensation changes for Pennsylvania's legislative, executive and judicial branches shall be subject to voter approval by referendum; and

3. establishing a policy whereby no legislation in the General Assembly shall be considered for final passage until the citizens of the Commonwealth have been given no less than ten business days to review such legislation and provide comment to their respective legislators.

I also declare that while my party affiliation and/or personal ideology may differ from others who have signed or will sign this declaration, those differences are far less important than the primary need to reform the Pennsylvania General Assembly into a body which is more responsive and accountable to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

I agree to meet all requirements set forth by the Commonwealth in order to qualify to appear on the ballot for the office listed below in the 2006 election year.

Finally, I declare that, upon taking the oath of office, the pursuit of the above stated goals shall take priority over all other legislative issues.

Candidate Name:______________________________________________________________

Office Sought:_____________________________ District#:________ Party:______________

Residential Address:____________________________________________________________

Phone:_______________________________ Email:__________________________________


Sworn (or affirmed) and subscribed before me this ______ day of __________, 20_____.

(Signature of Person Administering Oath)

My Commision Expires: ______________________

Heisman hype a year early for Palko - Butkus to Montour - Steelers' camp

Are you ready for some football?

The seasons are just starting to take shape. I'm very interested in the rookie season for Pitt's new coach. Furthermore, I'm interested in the arrival and ongoing coaching of #51 at Montour. Both should be fun. Prisuta: Heisman hype a year early for Palko - "Palko was included along with 11 other preseason Heisman hopefuls for 2005.
As for the Bassmaster Classic -- I'm going to keep an open mind, of course. It looks like it might be fun for us to check out the South Side boat launch one day, bike to Point State Park another day, and hit both the weigh-in and the expo too. The other event that looked interesting was the movie night of some sort at PNC Park. What's up with that?
The PG on Monday (less than 12 hours from now) is to have a "preview edition." Pointers are welcomed.

Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool

Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool Coverage provided by NBC Sports. Saturday August 6, 2005, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. ET Sunday August 7 1:00 - 2:30 ET
Check local listings for the time in your area.

Aug 6 and 7th -- community festival in Point Breeze with wellness

Untitled Document 2nd Annual Black Family Reunion
A Community Festival
A Pledge for Peace Through Safe Passages To Health and Wellness
August 6th and 7th
Mellon Park, Point Breeze
(Corner of Fifth and Penn Avenues)

Concept Summary
Continuing in its tradition of providing socially relevant and need-based services to disadvantaged communities, CEA anticipates its upcoming 2nd Annual Black Family Reunion to positively impact those who attend. The community festival is projected to attract several hundred individuals and their families looking to spend quality time learning about themselves and having summertime fun. The premise for this year’s theme “Safe Passages to Health and Wellness,” is based on the concept of empowerment that CEA has advantageously developed over time.

CEA is strongly committed to family and community empowerment to achieve healthy lifestyles. People who are empowered are able to define standards of health and wellness for their own community based on cultural traditions that promote positive outcomes.

MyRaceDay dot com

Click and view a Pittsburgh Triathlon race photo of me upon the exit of the swim at the following address:

My bib number was 168.

Slots locations

Pgh City Paper:
Slotting in Slots Locale Remains Local


"We're victims of his addiction," says anti-gambling activist Bruce Barron of state Rep. Mike Veon's latest effort to ensure Harrisburg has the last word on where the state's slots casino will go. "I can't believe he calls cramming a casino down an unwilling neighborhood's throat an overwhelming need," says Barron, president of No Dice, a local group that opposes the expansion of gambling in Pennsylvania.

Although no decision has been made on where Pittsburgh's gaming facility will land, Democrat Whip Veon (D-Beaver Falls) wants to make sure the state Gaming Control Board has control, despite the state Supreme Court's recent ruling that local municipalities can make the final zoning decisions. Veon did not return multiple calls. On July 10, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that this was “one of the rare times that the state should override local zoning."

Contends No Dice's Barron: "An amusement park would bring in a lot more revenue than rows of slot machines and the state would never step in and overrule local zoning to place one of those Downtown." Veon, he adds, "is clearly addicted to government sources of new revenue, because there's no justification for taking a business like this and putting the decision for where it should go in the hands of the state. It makes absolutely no sense from a public policy perspective."

The move has been widely denounced. A recent City Paper story (main feature, "Letting Chips Fall," July 6) highlighted how free-for-all slots placement has turned West Virginia into an even less desirable place to go.

Site-selection battles are being fought all across the state, from Bethlehem to Gettysburg, Barron notes. It's unsettling to think the final decision is not going to be made by local officials about placing a slots casino on the North Shore, for instance, or in Station Square or the Hill District.

"If Mike Veon gets his way, this very important decision is going to be in the hands of an organization whose main interest is to maximize casino revenue," Barron says. "The people driving this thing don't care what happens to your neighborhood as long as they get their profits. The only thing worthwhile Harrisburg can do for us now is to cancel this whole business before we live to regret it."

It's not only gambling opponents who have a problem with the lack of local control. Robin Rosemary Miller, executive director of the North Side Chamber of Commerce, says parking czar Merrill Stabile, who is trying for a license for a potential North Shore casino, seems very open to working with the community and developing a program to give back to the neighborhood. But she still withholds judgment.

"No one better understands the impact something like this will have on a neighborhood than the people who actually live in the community," Miller says. "Someone from Harrisburg isn't going to know what's best for this neighborhood. That final decision should remain here."

New cleanup commission is just more smoke and mirrors. Getting to the roots is a dream mission.

A new creation - Murphy to announce cleanup commission

Mayor Tom Murphy plans to announce the creation of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission at a news conference Monday morning.

The city-controlled commission would work with the Pennsylvania Resources Council, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven environmental protection group, to find low-cost ways to clean up streets and sidewalks.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields, of Squirrel Hill, said the new commission would require $10,000 to $20,000 of the city's recycling and street beautification money to match local and state anti-litter and recycling grants. Shields said the commission would consolidate cleanup efforts from several city departments and various environmental groups to make Pittsburgh more attractive to environmental protection grant providers.

Another great, progressive idea surfaces from Mayor Murphy -- only 12 years late.

What has become of the shade tree commission? Perhaps that group could have its scope slightly expanded. Or, perhaps that group should be put to rest and folded into the new commission.

Getting intra-city cooperation is a huge problem. The departments don't often communicate in effective ways, if at all. One of the worst ways to make this occur is to form a new entity where the cooperation needs to reside. It is like passing the buck. Here comes another excuse to not talk now. Cooperation among the departments needs to occur on an hour-by-hour basis.

The stated motivator -- to make Pittsburgh more attractive to the grant providers. That's spin. That's perception. That's handout envy.

One does not need to "consolidate" cleanup efforts. Rather, I'd want to see a spark for energizing all cleanup efforts among all departments.

In the past months, I ranted about this from another position. As the city budget was being put into place, many noted with disgust that the city would not have ANY money in a capital budget. The city's captial budget is ZERO. That's bad. But what's worse is what happens next.

When you don't have any money to get new things -- you have to spend all your energy and time to take care of what old things you've got now. Care matters most. Cleanup is right in that theme. It costs little or nothing to pick-up what is around and on the roads. And, the bill for the litter clean-up can be paid by those who do litter if enforcement is put on notice.

We have many existing environmental protection measures and laws that are already on the books. In the South Side you can't have an open dumpster for example. The lids need to be closed. You can't walk with an open beer container on the streets. The drinking needs to be done in the drinking establishments, not on the sidewalks or in front of the homes.

Enforcement is nill.

Everyone needs to be more aware of what's to happen. What happens when things get soiled. And, how to prevent that from ongoing acts.

We don't need a new commission on clean-up. We need all throughout the city staff to have a new mission and dedication to cleanup.

Friday, July 22, 2005

China bows to pressure, cuts yuan's ties to dollar

Here is another bad example of bad advice and bad pressure from the Bush Administration. Wrongheaded.
China bows to pressure, cuts yuan's ties to dollar China bows to pressure, cuts yuan's ties to dollar
Friday, July 22, 2005
By Jim McKay, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

China yesterday announced it will no longer peg its currency to the U.S. dollar, a long-awaited change sought by the Bush administration, the nation's manufacturers and much of the industrialized world.

The motivation for the Bush Administration to force the cut gives the Bush Administration and others in DC more power and extra leverage to mess with, jack around about, manipulate, de-value, inflate, twist, and generally screw up the relationship of our currency situations.

These governmental, power-hungry, agenda driven, short-sighted political hacks can soil and broker relationships now.

In the past, as the dollar went, as did the currency of China. American's couldn't zig without a matching move from the Beijing money markets too.

I like it when forces of nature and the force of the marketplace are stable, untouchable, and established. As the world gets to understand and respect the greater forces at work in our global landscape -- forces that can't be put currency into a toilet or elevated -- by wire-pullers -- then we allow ourselves and others to stand or slump on our own merits.

If you need to prop up some favorite friends (donors, lobby-interests) then you need to have a bigger tool-box to play games with economic interests. That's bad for the little guys, IMNSHO.

However, China's leadership is smart enough. China earned some good graces with the Bush Administration by allowing for the 'float.' But, this float is thin -- as it should be.

The basket of foreign currencies is now being used by China instead of just the US Dollar. The position of the US influence just took a massive step back into the middle of the pack.

America should be the place where others try to hitch to. American should be the shooting star of properity. America should encourage others to tie their energy upon our momentum.

The way to ease the huge US trade feficits is to make better stuff. We need to be the place for the best and greatest. We need to be about the most modern, effective and efficient systems and outcomes.

The move allows American laggard survival and lessens the level of the quality of life for the American family.

Austin coverage of Catherine (my sweetheart) Musicians should protect ears

My wife, Catherine V. Palmer, is in the news today.
News 8 Austin | 24 Hour Local News | Health Beat | Musicians should protect ears Musicians want to hear their music, but they don't want the very same music they create to gradually deafen them over time.

These state reps and state senators love to gamble.

Potter has a good idea. I'd spin it slightly to a different level. How about this idea. If the state legislature does not submit and enact a budget by the deadline, then all the members of the house and senate work without pay for the year. The deadline should have accountability in the formula. As a reminder, for the past four years, the budget has been delivered after the deadline.

Pittsburgh City Paper article on the state pay raises:
7/21/2005Wage-ing War -- You get what you pay for … and that’s the problem


If you ask me, the biggest problem with our state legislature isn’t that these guys make too much money. It’s that they work too hard for it.

That’s not a popular sentiment nowadays: Thanks to a midnight deal bundled into the state budget early this month, rank-and-file legislators are getting a 16 percent pay hike to $81,050 a year. Those in leadership positions will earn even more.

But at least the ass-covering and hypocrisy that followed was almost worth the price. Almost.

“House Democrats Laud Budget’s Commitment to Most Needy” trumpeted a statement by House Democratic Whip Mike Veon and Minority leader Bill DeWeese. Among the “most needy,” apparently, were House Democrats themselves. But there’s no mention of the pay hike in the 851-word release … which did, however, assert that the budget “represents a shared sacrifice across state government.”

Um, yeah.

The hypocrisy in these situations is often bipartisan, of course, since the measure couldn’t have passed without Republican help. In the end, though, I’d be willing to pay all these guys a few more bucks if they’d stop trying so hard to serve me.

Look at Veon, for example. He’s so committed to public service that he’s doing the job of local officials as well, trying to prevent cities like Pittsburgh from exercising any control over where casinos will be sited. Can’t we just tip Veon an extra couple bucks to go away, like the violinist playing beside your table at the restaurant?

After all, the Pennsylvania Economy League notes, the real problem isn’t that legislators make so much money. It’s that there’s so many of ’em.

“[W]hile the increase in each legislator’s base pay irks a lot of people,” says the PEL, “the size of the legislature is an even bigger driver of cost.” With 253 members, Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is the largest full-time state legislature in the country. And those 253 members have the largest combined staff in the country, the PEL says -- not to mention one of the fastest growing. The number of legislative staffers in Harrisburg has more than doubled since 1979.

Of the 12 other states PEL looked at, meanwhile, only half have year-round legislatures. So although state legislators get only average per-diem reimbursements, they have a lot of diems in which to earn them. Our legislators would be less expensive, in other words, if they didn’t work quite as much. (Note that I didn’t say “quite as hard.”)

When you factor in other factors like pension and benefits, you end up with a legislature that costs $20.5 million a year. By any reckoning, that’s the most expensive state legislature in the country. The General Assembly costs 20 percent more than the next most expensive legislature -- New York’s -- and almost twice as high as the assembly in California.

This is the point where we all agree to throw the bums out. But state legislators in Pennsylvania win re-election well over 90 percent of the time, and the conventional wisdom says that public outrage will fade before the next election.

Still, if we want to change how business gets done in Harrisburg, we’ve got two things going for us. First, these legislators can obviously be bought. Second, we want them to do less, because at least half the time they do more harm than good -- and because we end up paying for it either way. And if there’s one force that drives a political hack more than greed, it’s laziness.

So here’s my solution. Next year, legislators should be offered twice their current salaries … if they agree to cut their number in half and promise to serve us half as diligently. After they vote for the wage hike, their district numbers will be put in the state’s Lotto machine. The drawing will, of course, be supervised by a senior citizen. The first 25 Senators and 101 House reps whose numbers come up … well, their numbers will be up. Voting in favor of this bill would mean there’s an even chance of coming out with twice as much money, and of ending up jobless. Those are better odds than you’ll find in the casinos Veon wants so badly.

And one thing we know about the state legislature: These guys love to gamble.

Fast Eddie -- PA Gov -- in town for some news and gifts

From an email source:
Governor Rendell has announcement on Sunday and a series of economic development announcements on Monday. Feel free to spread the word. Please let Clayton Wukich, 717-787-5825, know if you can attend.

An announcement regarding Seniors from Mt. Washington Senior Center at 122 Virginia Avenue in Pittsburgh at 11:30 am on Sunday, July 24.

Economic Development Announcements from Carnegie Mellon University, Co-Lab, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh at 10 am on Monday, July 25.

Economic Development Announcement from American Eagle Outfitters, 150 Thorn Hill Drive at Warrendale at 1 pm on Monday, July 25.

Expect an Economic Development Announcement from Frontier Steel, 4990 Grand Ave, Neville Island on Monday, July 25 at 3:30 PM on Monday, July 25, 2005.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Trimmer Honsberger is still on talk radio

A trimmer Honsberger is still talk radio's heavy hitter Honsberger is more upbeat and agreeable than the old Fred. Others have told him he is even nicer to callers.

The feature on the lean and mean Fred "Honsman" H of KDKA radio was long and wide.

If he has turned a new leaf, perhaps he'll consider having me on the show as a guest?

Fred has never been one to show up in the community at events outside the S.A. -- as far as I can tell. He isn't a city guy. Perhaps he'll have a lot more events as a paid presenter for Allegh. General Hospital?

Race -- a 1.4 mile fun run

Erik, 10, and I ran a 1.4 mile fun run on Tuesday morning. At the start, I told him I'd give him a :45 second challenge. If he ran to a final time that was within :45 seconds of my finish, he'd be the winner. If the finish times were more than :45 apart -- I'd call it my victory.

My time was 11:04. I went a bit too fast in the first 200-yards. Plus, some of the hurt from the Triathlon, just 2 days prior, was brewing in my legs.

At the turn-around, I was impresed with Erik's position. I had a good lead over him and wasn't going to loose to him -- but he was chugging along.

Meanwhile, there were a number of real runners in the race -- fast. I was way out of touch with them, for sure. The winner went less than 6-minute mile pace. The second place finisher is headed into his senior year of high school and runs cross-country and track (400 and high jump). He also is a wrestler and is gonig to be a Marine. The 3rd place finisher does Ultras and wants to come down to qualify for the Boston Marathon at the Johnstown Marathon this fall. In the end, I was 8th, but not near any of those leading me.

Just before the home stretch of the race, friends were on a bench cheering. I asked, "Do you see Erik?" They said, 'NO.'

At the finish, Erik was 11:35, within the :45 margin. He wasn't seen when I asked the question -- but he came streaking by just after. Erik picked up a metal for the 'first youth.' I got a blue ribbon for first in 45-49.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Idlewild to expand water park - but still waiting for a competition pool

This is nice news. Sandcastle, Kennywood and Idlewild are all related.
Idlewild to expand water park Idlewild amusement park in Westmoreland County today announced that it will expand its water park by 20 percent next year.
The million-dollar expansion will also create a pirate-themed attraction at the water park section of the Ligonier park.
The yet-to-be-named expansion project will includes six water slides and play areas with water guns, crawl tunnels, a net climb and bridges.

I'm still waiting for an expansion of competitive facilities.

The lifeguard marketplace is looking better too.

Triathlon results are up -- I finished.

: "235 168 TRI Mark Rauterkus 46 M PITTSBURGH PA 145 35:32 39:29 4:36 246 1:34:03 15.8 0:52 243 1:10:44 11:24 3:25:45 18/20 CLYDES 191/214 M

My total time was 3:25.45.

I was in 145th place after the swim, then I seem to let 101 pass me on the bike. Then I passed three on the run, ending up at 243rd. The bike part wasn't so fast I guess. Nor was the run, but I was still paying for the bike while in the first 2 miles of the run with a serious side, body cramp. I didn't walk after mile 2 on the run, except to drink water, take off my t-shirt -- and then pick it up later and put it back on -- and on the hill into Washington's Landing Bridge. ;/

I really have to work on the bike portion of the race.

Next year's goal: Finish under 3 hours.

More race-day pondering to come later.

It was a wonderful event. I'm glad I did it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Mark Cuban, of Pittsburgh and the internet -- and now Dallas, can't discount notion of owning Cubs

On July 15th, I ran this blog entry:
Cuban can't discount notion of owning Cubs Cubs owner Mark Cuban.
It has a certain ring to it, don't you think?
Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, will play the role of guest conductor during the seventh-inning stretch today at Wrigley Field. But in the future, he conceivably could play a much larger role in the Cubs organization. Or so Cubs fans can hope.
Cuban is a born-and-bred Pittsburgh Pirates fan, but he knows a good investment when he sees one. If the folks in Tribune Tower ever find themselves in the mood to talk sale, Cuban would listen.

Years ago, I suggested an approach to the Pitt Rocks crew that they should get Mark Cuban tp purchase Pitt Stadium. We could have put graduate student housing around the ring on the top with an upper deck.

On July 16, the Trib gives this more coverage.
Cuban would be interested in owning Pirates -

Reminder: Mindy Simmons concert at 10 am Sunday at Shadyside's First Unitarian

Mindy Simmons performs on Sunday morning at 10 am at First Unitarian. She has a wonderful voice, message and performance with her guitar.

This is a Sunday worship service. The event is free. And, she is doing more than just a few tunes. She is leading the service.


Our copy of the HP book is here

At 1 am, I don't do too many blog entries. But, our copy of the new Potter book walked into our house around 1 am. The party at J.B. Booksellers in the South Side Works was nice, but hardly worth the time. Our kids made a short visit and were then sent home to sleep.

In the morning, the reading began.

Olympics - Russia-China alliance troubles USOC (sorta) - Olympics - Russia-China alliance troubles USOC - Friday July 15, 2005 4:50PM COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- The Chinese are looking beyond their own 1.3 billion countrymen in an attempt to beat out the United States in the Beijing Olympics. They want Russia's help, too.
In an arrangement the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee says could 'clearly be suspect,' Olympic committees from Russia and China have agreed to work together in hopes of knocking the United States from the top of the medals table in 2008.

'To beat America we need to unite our efforts and knowledge ... to achieve better results in swimming and track and field, where they are strong,' Russian Olympic Committee chief Leonid Tyagachev told The Associated Press last month.
And while USOC chief executive Jim Scherr says he isn't against countries working together -- sharing training techniques, advances in medicine and the like -- he has a problem if the effort is targeted at a single country, specifically his.
'It's not uni ...

Suspect???? OMG.

Sports is to be all all about cooperation AND competition.

Interesting to note, the name of the head of the USOC wasn't put in the lead of the article. The first name in the article was that of the Russian. The American on the hook with me for sillyness is Jim Scherr.

I'd say it is fine to have the world's best athletes looking to out perform the American team. I'd be flattered. I'd be proud. I'd be getting on to more work and excellence. The USA squad is rich with talent in these times. Mostly due to the fact the the rest of the world is so weak. And, because the rest of the world often sends its best athletes to the USA for ongoing training. We thrive, if you think we do, in part because we accept the participation of the foreign athletes.

In the medal standing, as the Games go to Beijing, I expect China to be in the top three -- if not first -- in total medals. Understand, that no country wins the Olympics. That is just a media scorecard. However, that is what happens.

2004 (Athens) Olympics
Nation, Gold Medals, All Medals
USA = 35, 103
Russia = 27, 92
China = 32, 63

This is a most funny statement to me, "The elaborate Beijing national training center." There is some history here. As a book publisher, I did a few books with the first western athlete to ever enter the national training center in Beijing. To couple the word, "elaborate" with that description -- back then -- is folly. You'd have to read the book, Search for Greatness, and know what I'm digging at.

The first foreigner from the west to be invited to the center was Dr. Judd. His story is in that (rare) book.

These days, the center has had a facelift, to say the least.

But, back to the gist of the article. -- It is fair! I have no problem with the new partnerships with China and Russia to beat the US -- even in swimming.

Stan to get into politics?

Jon Delano wrote in his PSF email newsletter:
FoxSports broadcaster Stan Savran is taking a serious look at the race (for US Congress as a Dem to oppose Republican Congressman Tim Murphy). Stan is well-known to Pittsburgh Steeler fans as host of the "Bill Cowher Show" featuring the Steelers coach. Also looking at the race is Allegheny County clerk of courts George Matta of White Oak. Matta is about to lose his job because of county row office consolidation.

But the 1000-pound gorilla in the race, so to speak, would be (now a Dem again) Barbara Hafer, well-known to all, close to Gov. Ed Rendell, and unafraid to take on Murphy mano-a-mano. In 2004, polls done privately for Dems showed her beating Murphy in a match-up race, and the Dem consensus is that Murphy is weaker today than he was a year ago. She has not yet made up her mind and is still consulting with political leaders.

Where does Stan live? I'll have to look that up in the voter database.

City funds appear short -

Let's blame this on the NHL and the Penguins.

And, I'll take a little of the blame too. I didn't buy a swim pool tag for our family this year. We're swimming a lot -- but not in the city pools in rec swim times.

City funds appear short - By the end of June, the city budget projected collecting $242 million in taxes, fees and donations. The city actually took in about $236 million, according to second-quarter numbers released by city Controller Tom Flaherty.
'From the revenues side, things are certainly not good,' Flaherty said.

Parking is an interesting point to note. By now we should have had a full report and coverage on the parking tax increase. Have the higher fees raised higher incomes to the city? Or not? It seems as if the City Contoller's numbers are at odds with what some of the downtown merchants and business people are saying.

Pittsburgh City Paper - News on The Hill and the long-awaited Grocery and Pharmacy

When it rains, it pours.
Pittsburgh City Paper - News: "When City Paper spoke with Udin in May before that election, Udin said any talk of him obstructing proposals from Williams were "pure rumor."

Pure rumor. Humm... The rumor is true? The rumor is so thick that the pulp is still in it?
Part of the trouble is that the developers have to go to the URA and the City Councilmembers. The red tape slows down the marketplace advancements. So, it doesn't advance. The article, in the comments, has a nice recap of the various vision as they begin to unfold.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Big Green Bus from Dartmouth rolls in to play an game of ultimate

There was a time when Mayor Tom Murphy cut a deal with the Ultimate Frisbee young professionals. Murphy promised to build them new frisbee fields in Highland Park.

That was another empty promise the second it was made. I knew it -- and told folks about that in no uncertain terms. Furthermore, Murphy wasn't going to allow the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network volunteers work to install mini-computer labs within the Rec Centers. Then a few months later the Rec Centers would be closing -- in the scare move by Murphy to claim how distressed everything was -- mostly by Murphy's own making.

Well, to this day, I feel sorry that I had to much such a stand upon the cause of the rookie ultimate frisbee folks. They were getting suckered, Murphy style, and I wasn't okay with them being taken for such a ride.

I'll do my best to attend this event. Sounds like fun. I'll even wear my tye-dye t-shirt, man.

Big Green Bus at Frisbee Fuel Fest

Tuesday, July 26th
4:00 PM until dusk
McKinney Field in North Park

Fifteen Dartmouth College students conceived of The Big Green Bus as an effort to spread information about alternative fuels and social responsibility by networking through their favorite sport.

Dartmouth will first square off against a Best of Pittsburgh's Youth squad, comprised of students from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, as well as the best juniors from the Pittsburgh High School Ultimate League. Later, the finest athletes from Pittsburgh's 24-team recreational summer league will challenge the Big Green Bus with an All-Star squad, whose players will range in age from 15 to 45.

In between games, Dartmouth will make presentations and answer questions about their other passion: alternative fuel. While the world's increasing dependence on fossil fuel consumption will necessitate change for all of us, the Big Green Bus demonstrates that there are alternatives available right now.

For more information call 412-628-0882 /

Run, Mary, Run

I hate the name. I'm not looking to see "babies" on the ballot. We've already got too many of them. But, the concept of getting people out to seek public office is a great one. Furthermore, I hate to see the exclusion of anyone -- even guys! The for women only meeting is bogus.

However, I expect I'll be there, at the door, to give away a gratis CD with some great content for would-be candidates and serious citizens. Here is the news on the date:
Run Baby Run

September 17, 2005, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, 305 Wood Street.

Registration: $15 (includes lunch)

The Women & Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania is sponsoring a workshop that'll give you the information you need to run for office. Elected Officials & campaign managers will share their knowledge and experience with you.

If you're considering running for office, the Run, Baby, Run workshop will give you the information you need. In this one-day session, elected officials and campaign managers will share their knowledge and experience with you.

This workshop is designed for women only. A limited number of scholarships are available.

Contact: or download the registration form at

I read with interest the numbers you provided ... Q&A with Mary about going to the "D" side.

Mary wrote an email to me saying:
I read with interest the numbers you provided in your most recent mail and checked the PG results the day after the election to see how you did in my voting precinct.

I wondered if you might ever consider reregistering for the next run at office as a Democrat?

How many voters can really define "Libertarian"?

I know you are right to be encouraged at the numbers, but many people tend to do little research, and I feel you would optimize your chances if you would consider the idea. I realize it is easy for some of us to disdain participating in "the machine", but things change so slowly locally that I really think it is something you should discuss with your advisors.
Good points.

Others have suggested I move to the "D" side to win the race.

However, I won't do that for now. I'm not interested in being in the same party that has, in the city at least, driven us so far down. I can't be in Tom Murphy's party. He is the #1 Dem in Pittsburgh. That is not my cup of tea. And, I'm not too excited about Bob O'C either. Those Dems need viable challengers.

So, I'll stay as either a Libertarian or Indie. But, being an Indie in the 3rd race would be a third party for me. So, I bet I stay as Libertarian.

The next email she wrote to say:
Okay, Mark. It is just hard for some to keep waiting. I am just concerned that in this city your chances of gaining office as a Libertarian are miniscule. I find things to be so upside down when someone like Tom Flaherty, with no courtroom experience, can win nomination as a judge. He was Dem party leader. He is highly visible as city controller. I do respect your conviction.
My reply:

I think my chances are okay. Not great, but okay.

And, if I would win -- it would be a major, major victory and celebration. So, let's shoot for the stars. Then, getting things done in office will be much easier. A sweet victory in the election will set the stage for some serious actions once in office. That's what we need -- breaking of the status quo.And, we need to go in the right (prudent, democratic, grassroots, more liberty-like) directions.

Thanks for asking.

BlogShares - Fantasy Blog Share Market

I just discovered this interesting site. Talk about naval gazing.
BlogShares - Fantasy Blog Share Market BlogShares is a fantasy stock market for weblogs. Players get to invest a fictional $500, and blogs are valued by incoming links.

I think this blog is grossly undervalued.

News feed
Valuation B$9,448.78
Added 15:11 29 Jun 2004
Last Updated 19:33 12 Jul 2005
Status Available to Trade.
Industries None

The game is still young, however. There is sure to be a lot of new activities in the weeks to come. Plus, I've got a lot of photos yet to upload to the blog. So, the futures look good, IMNSHO.

Buy, buy, buy!

Coverage about gambling crime from another state

The first blog posting was on June 19. And update in the comments was posted on July 15, 2005.

Peoria and Pittsburgh are similar in a number of ways. I lived in Peoria and coached a number of kids from Pekin. Here is a nice article to consider as gambling knocks on the doorway of Pittsburgh's future.

STLtoday - News - Illinois State News: "Gambling-related crimes no longer shock Pekin, Ill.
By Kevin McDermott, Post-Dispatch Springfield Bureau

PEKIN, Ill. - The mayor is facing criminal charges of betting city funds at the local riverboat casino, but that's not necessarily the most startling thing about Pekin's latest gambling scandal.

Full story with click to that site (no registration required). Or, see it in the comments of this blog.

I don't like gambling's arrival to Pittsburgh. We need to monitor and have strong watchguards on that entire endeavor.

Furthermore, when the gambling incomes are diverted to pay off debt such as desired with the SEA (Stadium and Exibition Authority) and the Convention Center overhead, we are sure to be a loose twice.

The upside with the gambling incomes needs to be robust, helpful, meaningful and boost the overall community. If the upside is going to lead into nothingness, then it would be much more prudent to do without.

The proposed gambling incomes are over hyped. The promises are sure to be broken. The total amounts are fabrications. The "upside" isn't that high at all.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Council calls for diversity in appointees. That is the WRONG verse and WRONG tune.

Council calls for diversity in appointees -

Nice thought. But, this call is for the wrong goal.
If we had democracy and accountability that was tied to the appointments, then we'd be sure to put the shoulder to the diversity call.

This goes to the notion of, "Queen for a YEAR" flubbery.

Put all appointed board members into a process that requires retention votes.

Liberating Fifth & Forbes, Trib op-ed by J. Potts (blogger too)

Liberating Fifth & Forbes -
Pittsburgh received what could be good news last month when developer Carl Dranoff dropped out of a plan to redevelop the Fifth and Forbes shopping district Downtown.

The op-ed ran, but just a day or three ago, the URA announced it was to purchase MORE properties.
The call of the mall - The call of the mall

New exit on Rt. 28 and bingo -- the hook is there for a new mall. Yet to come, Deer Creek Crossing, with its TIF too.
The churn and sprawl continues. Plus, it gets a good push on new energy from government funding and government screw-ups too.

When I was a kid, we went to the Monroeville Mall -- with its indoor ice rink. I fail to see how bumper cars are a new trend.

Potts writes, "the solution is simple." I generally agree. Potts calls for the sell of of URA property. I think that is wise. But, for years now I've also called for the selling of the Parking Authority properties as well. The Parking Authority is another place that needs to be taken away from the city powers and put into play with the marketplace forces.

Yes, The city needs once and for all to get out of the Downtown real estate business.

However, the two of us turn at this mention, "Free parking for residents would be a good place to start." Parking is a priority -- but the simple solution isn't to just make it free. It is rather to free the authority from itself.

Potts also hits hard upon the eminent domain issue and gets right into the talk of "blight." Right on, again. The simple solution, hinted at but not talked of directly, is to eliminate all blight downtown. Take the designation away. Without "blight" the steep climb to eminent domain is back in the favor of the owners.

My clincher isn't about turning downtown as a hub for youth, student, single, loft, and empty nesters. We don't want -- nor should we strive to do subsidized housing deals for rich folks. Rather, when we figure out that the best way to make disversity is to do housing that urban families can enjoy as well -- then we've turned the corner.

If you are trying to mastermind with the building a global village, anf if that space isn't suited for families -- then you're building a failure.