Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Developer expects state to offer help with Fifth-Forbes

NO SUBSIDIZED housing downtown for rich folks. None.
Developer expects state to offer help with Fifth-Forbes: "Developer expects state to offer help with Fifth-Forbes
The View from Vegas

Wednesday, May 24, 2006
By Teresa F. Lindeman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

LAS VEGAS -- The Millcraft Industries team plans to meet with Gov. Ed Rendell in a few weeks to seek state aid to help in the redevelopment of Downtown's Fifth and Forbes avenues area. And they are expecting a warm welcome."

Keep your head above or at the surface of the water

Guards needed Lifeguards needed for county parks

The Allegheny County Parks Department needs lifeguards for the swimming season.

Lifeguards must be at least 16 and must have completed the necessary classes -- including first aid and adult, infant and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation -- prior to employment. Lifeguards are especially needed at Settler's Cabin Park, but will be hired to work at Boyce, North and South parks as well. Junior, first-year and senior lifeguards will be hired at $6.25 per hour, $7.25 per hour and $7.50 per hour, respectively.

For more information or to obtain lifeguard application packets, call the Central Park Office at 412-350-2478. Forms also may be obtained online at www.county.allegheny.pa.us/parks.

Opening day for the 2006 swimming season is Saturday, weather and conditions permitting."

Councilmen propose more reform efforts - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Councilmen propose more reform efforts - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Peduto wants to ban council members from giving some of their annual $85,000 in discretionary spending to neighborhood groups. A second amendment would require all elected city officials to produce office expense reports every Dec. 31, which would become public within a month.
Why not do TRANSPARENT Accounts -- like the banks do TRUSTS now. Then everyone at any time could see into the accounts.

Next, why not worry more about the PAC and Campaign Finance Reform. That is a big worry too and Peduto has fumbled the ball on that for nearly 2 years now. Let's get serious Bill.

Next why only one report a year? Then it is public record in 30 days. Close the account 30-days before the year ends. You should not be spending money in December.

ThePittsburghChannel.com - News - Councilman Introduces Ethics Board Resolution

ThePittsburghChannel.com - News - Councilman Introduces Ethics Board Resolution Councilman Bill Peduto introduced a resolution, setting out how the city Ethics Hearing Board will be set up.
What the heck. I was one who asked for this to come about -- as did the city's republicans. However, there is no need for a new resolution. The Ethics Board is part of the city's charter. Just appoint the people to the board and insist that the others follow the city's charter -- the city's constitution.

What's up with that???

Who said that they can't be part of a board nor part of a political organization? Is that a reading from the bathroom walls?

I think you should tap into a member of the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the Republican Party. There are three seats. Then you might as well put on a School Crossing Guard and a School Teacher for slots four and five. Get a teacher that has a class in grade K -- as that poem, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know Came from When You Were in Kindergarten is prime for this body.

If you break it -- fix it. Put things away after you use them. Global stuff.

Philly to hold rally against casino

For Immediate Release: May 30, 2006

Who: Russ Diamond, Independent Candidate for Governor

Event: Anti-Casino Rally

Location: State Building, 1400 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19130

Date/Time: June 1, 2006, 11:00 AM

Description: Russ Diamond will be in Philadelphia to gather signatures for ballot access and attend the CasiNO! rally sponsored by Neighbors Allied for the Best Riverfront, the Multi-Community Alliance and other anti-slots groups at noon. Russ will also be meeting with the editorial board of the Philadelphia Tribune in the afternoon and may make a stop at Independence Hall, if time permits.
Should there be a rally to block the casinos in Pittsburgh? Would anyone come? Perhaps Rev Simms has set the bar much higher with rally event organization -- needing street money for each to attend, transportation, t-shirts, and food.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

[412] House Concert on JUNE 2nd at South Side hosted by Mark Rauterkus with Joe Jencks

[412] House Concert on JUNE 2nd at South Side hosted by Mark Rauterkus with Joe Jencks

More details on this page, blast email archive.

Ballot Access Fundraiser with Russ Diamond, June 16

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition will be holding a fundraising
buffet dinner on Friday, June 16th, at the Shady Maple Farm Market and Smorgasbord (www.shady-maple.com), on PA 23 eight miles south of the Morgantown exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Chester County. The guest speaker will be PA CleanSweep founder Russ Diamond.

Doors open at 7 PM, and dinner will be served at 7:30. Admission is $25 per person at the door. All proceeds will be used to help reform Pennsylvania's onerous ballot access laws for independents and third party candidates.

RSVP's are requested so that a large enough room can be reserved. Questions and RSVP's can be directed to Ken Krawchuk via Ken@KenK.org or 215-881-9696. For more information about the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition, visit www.PaBallotAccess.org.

Father drowns trying to save son

Father drowns trying to save son A man drowned and a woman was in critical condition at Allegheny General Hospital after they plunged into the Allegheny River to rescue a boy who slipped into the water while wading at the edge.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Greek fans riot as PAOK faces financial collapse - Monday May 29, 2006 6:40PM

After the Steelers won the AFC Championship game, Mayor Bob O'Connor said, "Police made no arrests" following some serious street party hardy types went a bit 'out of bounds.' It is one thing to brag, and another to lie. Well, here is one that is a 'topper.'
Stadium and sculpture.

They use tear gas on fans -- and 'no arrests were made.'
SI.com - Soccer - Greek fans riot as PAOK faces financial collapse - Monday May 29, 2006 6:40PM Greece (AP) -- Police fired tear gas at soccer fans rioting early Tuesday over the possible exclusion of PAOK Thessaloniki from the Greek league and UEFA Cup next season because of financial problems.

One policeman was slightly injured in the city center clashes. No arrests were made.
When do you think Pirate fans take to the streets to riot about the team's performance?

In other leagues, the Pirates would be shifted to a minor-league and not stay in the majors.

If we shifted teams up and down in leagues -- perhaps we'd not be in a position where teams would threaten to leave a town -- purchased elsewhere.

The Penguins would slide down to another league. Then if K.C. wanted a team in the NHL -- they'd build one from scratch and not steal one from another NHL town.

What do they say about the loss of the Expos in Montreal these days? Are they playing minor league ball there?

China to make Olympics a smoke-free zone

Smoke behind the ear, but many puff and bike while on their cell phones.

This is huge news. Huge.
SI.com - Olympics - China to make Olympics a smoke-free zone - Monday May 29, 2006 3:44PM China vowed on Monday to organise a 'non-smoking' Olympic Games, but health officials admitted that changing the habits of 350 million smokers would be difficult.

China would enforce a ban on smoking in public places, a Health Ministry official told a news conference on Monday, with those places that offer services to children a top concern.

'Smoking will be banned at all Olympic-designated hospitals by the end of 2007,' Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Bin as saying.
Entry gate to Chengdu Sports University.

Podcasting Legal Guide - CcWiki

Podcasting Legal Guide - CcWiki Legal Issues In Creating Your Own Podcast. Overview Of The Legal Issues You Need To Consider.

PbgHouseConcerts@yahoogroups.com -- its JUNE 2 for our event

Joe Jencks, JUNE 2, 2006, 7 pm and 8:30pm
The wrong date got listed to an email blast. Ouch.

Join Mark Rauterkus and family (Catherine Palmer, Erik & Grant) in hosting friends, family, neighbors, bloggers, strangers and fellow
music lovers from school, church, labor and sports – and perhaps politics too, at their home and office:

108 South 12th Street, South Side, Pittsburgh.

RSVP is necessary as space is limited to 35 seats.

Call 412 298 3432 or email Mark@Rauterkus.Com

Kids who can sit and enjoy the concert are welcomed (first set).

Joe Jencks, singer/songwriter, plays guitar and is equally talented as the other excellent performers hosted in the past. Joe's original music and ballads are for the everyday, modern workers with many union songs, tunes of history, struggle, rails, fast-food workers, Rosie the Riveter (Revised), John Henry and even the Deportee.

Joe happens to be on tour with his latest CD, Rise As One. Artist donations accepted. CDs for sale.

The next release of the Mark@Rauterkus.Com CD might include the Joe Jencks tune(s): "We Won" and/or "We Do the Work." Help us decide.

WINNER 2005: Plowshares, Songwriting Contest; South Florida Folk Festival Songwriting Contest
Winner 2004: Winfield Music Festival Songwriting Contest
Winner 2004 and 2003 Tumbleweed, Folk Festival Songwriting Contest


Other upcoming concerts:

JUNE 2, Joe Jencks at Rauterkus House Mark@Rauterkus.Com

June 9 Chris Chandler and David Roe at Jim and Llousie altes -at- potomacnet -dot- com
Sept. 7 (Thurs) Sara Grey at Curt & Annie amtrimble -at- earthlink -dot- net
Oct 21 Mike Agranoff at Cindy & Rick cah -at- lonewolf -dot- com

Old notes. New twists: "Mark, You're being too global."

One of the first political efforts in my personal history in Pittsburgh had to do with the plans for UPMC Sports Center moving into the South Side Works. I didn't like many of those plans and how it all unfolded.

I raised my voice and called a public hearing in city council chambers.

Carrie Harris, SSLDC, Forum Member, Steering Committee for the site, said about the NCAA rule restrictions for member insitutions (Pitt) that prohibits professional and college athletes from sharing the same facility at the same time, "That is their problem."

Hugh Brannon said at the LTV Site Steering Committee meeting, "Mark, you're being too global."

A sugar daddy grant came from UPMC to locals to get them to buy-into the their plans. At the first go-around, UPMC promised to build a new ballfield for the community on space that didn't exist. I asked, how could UPMC build a the community a new ballfield when their playing fields were but dwarf fields.

Then the UPMC exec raised the offer to $30,000 for any fitness and sports location. Then on Feb 23 of that year, the amount jumped to $75,000. That money, it seems to me, was to sway the opinions of the concerned citizens.

The offers of "community access opportunities" at the planned UPMC compound are slim and tiny -- so I said then and still stand by today.

I listened, laughed, and can say I told you so. The SS Planning Forum took the notion and wrapped it in red tape to become a funding agent. The group didn't even have a bank account until then.

That's water over the dam -- until last week when the Pgh Public Schools hosted its second, rained out, elementary grade track meet at South Side's Stadium. The first event came to a close with a driving rain storm and hundreds of kids and teachers wet to the bone. The next event, a week later, got waved off after the kids went to school and the clouds were spitting. The kids didn't spit -- but some tears flowed from the disapointed girls.

On Friday, June 2 (before the house concert that night), we've got another date with the S.S. Stadium for the first ever "Phillips Field Day." All the kids in all the grades are going to play, compete and be outdoors.

At this point, we could start watching the weather channel -- or -- put in a call to the facility managers at the UPMC Sports Medicine Center so we'd be able to direct our efforts there, indoors, to a turf field, should the rain fall as it did those past two Thursdays -- washing out the PPS girls track meet.

Community access was promised -- and hardly delivered.

Grants for pools make a splash - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Open the pool...
Grants for pools make a splash - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review The city will pour thousands more gallons of water into Pittsburgh pools this year -- but no extra money.
Few people, the world over, would be more excited about the re-opening of neighborhood swim pool than me. I'm happy -- if not thrilled -- to see five new pools with water this summer.

But, ... Don't tell us that the pools will open without any extra money. It might not be city budget money -- but that money is still the money from you and me -- taxpayer money. It costs. It costs someone, somewhere -- and that's us.

But2 ... a swim pool is something but a swim pool with a lessons, a team and workouts can turn the concrete hole in the ground into a great learning labratory that the entire community can respect. Sadly, these pools are without programming.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

House Concert 7 pm (sharp) on Friday, June 2

with a second set at 8:30 pm

Join Mark Rauterkus and family (Catherine Palmer, Erik & Grant) in hosting friends, family, neighbors, bloggers, strangers and fellow music lovers from school, church, labor and sports – and perhaps politics too, at their home and office:

108 South 12th Street, South Side, Pittsburgh.

RSVP is necessary as space is limited to 35 seats.

Call 412 298 3432 or email Mark @ Rauterkus . Com

Kids who can sit and enjoy the concert are welcomed (first set).

Joe Jencks, singer/songwriter, plays guitar and is equally talented as the other excellent performers hosted in the past. Joe's original music and ballads are for the everyday, modern workers with many union songs, tunes of history, struggle, rails, fast-food workers, Rosie the Riveter (Revised), John Henry and even the Deportee.

Joe happens to be on tour with his latest CD, Rise As One.
Artist donations accepted. CDs for sale.

The next release of the Mark@Rauterkus.Com CD might include the Joe Jencks tune(s): "We Won" and/or "We Do the Work." Help us decide.
Joe Jencks latest CD, Rise As One WINNER 2005: Plowshares, Songwriting Contest; South Florida Folk Festival Songwriting Contest

Winner 2004: Winfield Music Festival Songwriting Contest

Winner 2004 and 2003 Tumbleweed, Folk Festival Songwriting Contest

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pittsblog - Rich people and Nerds, make a good start

Pittsblog I think you only need two kinds of people to create a technology hub: rich people and nerds. They're the limiting reagents in the reaction that produces startups, because they're the only ones present when startups get started. Everyone else will move.
BUNK. There is my knee jerk reaction to a sliver of a longer presentation. I'll get to reading the rest, in a day or so. My off-the cuff rant....

Rich people and nerds would make a good combination for "high teas" -- or "chess matches on park benches" or a fine "lawn bowling" league at the country club. No doubt.

But that combination (Nerds + Rich) is nowhere without another key, ambitions. Rich who don't want to "risk" their "capital" and be on the "offense" only delivers people in nice shoes with fancy hats and garden parties.

Rich with comfort and adverse to risk are part of the problem in Pittsburgh's landscape. All the nerds in the world won't move the idle rich from under their white tents pitched to marvel at the gardens. Getting folks to opt out of their next 'lawn bowling' appointment for other ambitions isn't going to happen.

IMNSHO, there are two types of actions in the world. Moves to protect capital and other moves to grow capital. Its either offense or defense. There are a lot of rich who play defense.

And, isn't that what HEINZ Foundations and folks like Elsie Hillman have done? They put $$$ into "Save Our Summer" a couple of years ago -- so the city wouldn't burn to the ground on some hot summer afternoons when the police and people clashed, if God forbid, the public pools were closed. Few are with ambitions to make big changes or long-term advances. There is a lot of 'feel good' investments in Pittsburgh. Many of these are 'defensive.'

Furthermore, I think that you also need products, solutions and marketplace enhancements in the original statement. Rich folks with nerds are clueless unless they've got something to sell.

This is another area where we fall when a contrast is made with Silicon Valley. They've got iPods, software, routers, and chips to sell. The devices that they need to push out to the marketplace are critical to feeding the economy.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is into this 'service economy' cycle. We take care of sick people. We fix broken bones. We raise our kids. We educate bright students from all around. We hire and stage cultural events.

The heat and passion in the mills where steel was made meant that there was a job to do, goods to deliver, products to push out the door. We were in the marketplace with mission critical tasks to perform, and as the furnaces went to room temperature, so too did our necessary hook to the marketplaces.

A bunch of nerds and rick folks (even with the fire in the bellie) can do all the head scratching they want -- calling for RFPs or grant proposals -- but that isn't going to get it done.

Again, we see a platform with two legs -- and its two or three legs short of being viable.

Finally, for MM, or the original author, where is the orginal report? Thanks for sharing an excerpt, but I'd be happy to toss more remarks if the whole package can be revealed. I don't know, it might be out there and I just didn't trip over it, yet.

My hunch: Pittsburgh is light on rich and ambitious people. We got some 'Jim Roddey folks' who love to "do go" -- but most don't really engage.

A lot of rich people is less of a need for a project's success as folks with real products and real drive can and do boostrap, growing from seeds. The rich can provide the oil to slide things along faster and to larger scales.

Without the rich, you've got to be way more patient. The American mindset trap is of a "We want it NOW" attitude. Pluggers don't need the rich and can make do without the available cash on-hand at the early cycles. Sadly, the work ethic to spend a few years or decades to sharpen ideas and projects is not often absent in Pittsburgh.

Smaller investments need to be leveraged again and again, while keeping some of the powder dry to live another day. It might take 20 cycles, not 3, to hit it big. Expect lots of heavy lifting.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Diamond gives a reaction to recent remarks from Swann on issues

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann discussed a wide range of subjects during a 90-minute interview Friday with The Associated Press. Russ Diamond, Independent for Governor, gives his answers too.



CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Swann favors the death penalty and considers it a deterrent to crime.

I oppose the death penalty, as we cannot assign any power to government we do not possess as individuals. The Constitutional flow of power - from the Creator to individuals to government - establishes this.

GAY MARRIAGE

Swann supports a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

I support traditional marriage but I believe churches are the best institutions to oversee it. Government needs to impose less upon our lives, not more. This issue is not about "marriage," per se, but about insurance, survivorship, and other rights of private contract.

GUN CONTROL

A gun owner himself, Swann said gun violence is best curbed by enforcing current laws and changing the mindset of those who would use guns to settle disputes. Mindsets are changed by providing better economic opportunities, he said.

I believe Article 1, section 21 of the PA Constitution is quite clear: the right to bear arms "shall not be questioned." And yes, we can reduce pressures that lead to gun violence by promoting economic prosperity. But the way to do that is for goverment to get out of the way, so businesses will invest in our communities.

GAMBLING

Although Swann doesn't support slot-machine gambling in Pennsylvania, he said it would be "a waste of my time and energy" to try to repeal something already passed by the Legislature.

A waste of your time and energy? Remember the pay raise? Passed in the same unconstitutional manner as Act 71 of 2004 (slots)? Regardless of whether we support gambling or not, this bill was wrong at the beginning and has been wrong every step of the way since then. If you oppose it, fight to repeal it! I will.

ABORTION

He would sign a bill outlawing abortions except under limited circumstances if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. He agrees with current restrictions in Pennsylvania law.

I am opposed to abortion but the majority of Pennsylvanians are not prepeared to completely outlaw it. I'm running for Governor, not king. If Rowe v. Wade is overturned, the legislature would need to act to change the law. Meanwhile, what we need to work on preventing is unwanted pregnancies.

TAXES

Over the next four to seven years, Swann would reduce the corporate net income tax from 9.99 percent to 5.99 percent; roll back the personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 2.8 percent; and phase out the inheritance tax. He wants to replace the state's property-tax system with a new one that would base assessments on the selling
price of real estate.

I'm left wondering what areas of the budget he'll be cutting to do that. I will work to abolish property taxes, once and for all. We must also curb government growth - which only diminishes the standard of living for individual Pennsylvanians - so we CAN lower taxes. Let's start with the oversized novelty checks and America's most
expensive legislature.

MINIMUM WAGE

Swann is neutral on the question of whether Pennsylvania should increase its minimum wage above the federal level. He said he wants more information on the effects of such a move before taking a position. The state House of Representatives last month approved a $2-an-hour increase, to $7.15 an hour, by July 1, 2007; the Senate is
considering the measure.

I believe raising the minimum wage at the state level enables the federal government's perchant for creating inflation through deficit spending. It would also cause a ripple effect throughout the economy. We don't need more inflation, we need to build a new Pennsylvania where labor is naturally well-paid because it is in high demand.

SMOKING

While noting that "smoking is not against the law," Swann said he would support a ban on smoking in the workplace. That does not extend to restaurants and bars, where Swann said the decision should be made by the owners.

We agree on this one, but let's make one thing perfectly clear: This is a property issue. Prohibiting smoking in public buildings is reasonable, contributes to the public good and limits the public's liability. But restaraunts and bars are private property - and the owners of that property have the right to decide.

What would your bumper sticker say?

If you think you can do better than “Pennsylvania is for Roadtrippers” or “Honk if you like Roadtrips” for a bumper sticker slogan for the Keystone State, then the PA Tourism Office wants to hear from you. Pennsylvania is conducting a slogan contest for bumper stickers that will be distributed through PennDOT welcome centers beginning July 4, 2006.

Sketch it, write it, and submit it before midnight July 1, 2006 or vote for one of 16 suggested slogans: http://www.visitpa.com/visitpa/bumperstickerForm.pa

View current voting results at http://www.visitpa.com/visitpa/bumperstickerStandings.pa then submit your vote or electronically enter your suggestion at the bottom of that page.

Your slogan could be in welcome centers throughout the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania welcome centers offer more than clean restrooms, assorted vending machines, friendly picnic spots and pet areas. You’ll find a wealth of information about Pennsylvania's cultural, historical, private and scenic attractions as well as the latest road and weather conditions. Getting a room is no problem either. An accommodation service provides reservations to more than 1,000 Pennsylvania hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds - all free of charge!

'Roadmap to Reform' targets spending records - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

'Roadmap to Reform' targets spending records - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review HARRISBURG - To find out how lawmakers spend tax money on meals, travel and a wide array of perks, people must submit a written request, notify the legislators involved, and then usually wait before getting a chance to inspect records at the state Capitol.

But legislative reform groups want to change that, saying each month's legislative expense reports should be available on the Internet.

That's among the items in the 'Roadmap to Reform,' an agenda embraced by liberal and conservative groups. They announced it Thursday, portraying the General Assembly as highly secretive and resistant to reform.

'Pennsylvania is unique in how very closed it is,' said Matthew Brouillette, president of the conservative Commonwealth Foundation.

Penn Hills, Bob, Rick, Voting Challenges and Jon Delano's reporting

I grew up in Penn Hills. I was a classmate of a Garver. Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the good stuff.

Jon Delano wrote a long and detailed saga in his email to PSF (politically Savvy Friends) that is re-posted on the comments section of this blog post. Check it out if you have 5 or 10 minutes and want to gut up to speed with how we are going to pick a US Senator in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

City League Baseball Championship: Langley pitcher strikes out 11 in another PNC Park win

PNC Park's stage was set for yesterday's high school baseball game -- and the teams did not disappoint.
City League Baseball Championship: Langley pitcher strikes out 11 in another PNC Park win: "Langley defeated Allderdice, 22-2, in three innings earlier in the season. Mustangs coach Leo Rauterkus was not expecting another one-sided victory, but was confident his team would prevail.

'That first game gave us some confidence to beat a good team like Allderdice, but I was expecting a tight ballgame.'"
In the Tribune Review, the quote from my cousin, Leo Rauterkus, talks about 'math' of all things.
City League Barnes burner - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 'This was typical Matt Barnes,' Langley coach Leo Rauterkus said. 'He's just a solid baseball player, a competitor. We figured if Matt had eight or nine strikeouts, we'd have a good chance. He had 11. The math was with us.'
Sports is often about 'math' and 'science' as well as 'psychology.'

Langley's team was better coached yesterday -- and it showed in a number of ways from squeeze plays to pitch outs that worked like magic.

At PNC Park, Langley, visitors, was on the first-base side of the diamond, by the way.

City Council 'consultants' funds build political support

This is what I mean by calling the miss-spending by those on City Council a "WHICH Hunt" -- rather than a "WITCH Hunt."

They all are guilty as the day is long. Guilty of fumbles in public trust. Guilty of padding their own "nests."
City Council 'consultants' funds build political support: "An activist wonk. A tree trimmer. Some buddies who can do office work. A political backer. All have been considered professional services consultants under Pittsburgh City Council's loose spending guidelines.

Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle, whose spending has been referred to county prosecutors and the State Ethics Commission, is council's top spender on consultants. Since 2002, she has steered $134,300 to two dozen private individuals for services, including a half-dozen who were also involved in her 2003 election campaign.

A review of other council members' spending shows that none steered as much money to consultants as she did. But most, at one time or another, have used city funds to pay a friend, buy something for a key community group, or even retain a lawyer to intervene in a private legal fight. The funds have served to build political support.

All council members interviewed yesterday agreed that more controls were needed, but defended their own spending."
We don't need anything more in terms of "built in controls" that go beyond the city's charter. We don't need a third or fourth oversight group as we already have TWO and neither of them are doing a good job.

What we need is already built into the city charter and has been DEAD. The city is to have a "Ethics Review Board" -- but Mayor Murphy saw to its closure. It was shut down as new appointments were never made to the five person board.

This is the same ploy that crippled the "Citzens Police Review Board." They kill the body by starvation. Don't feed it new members and appointements.

Yesterday a KQV Poll asked about the re-creation of the Ethics Review Board and a huge majority of listeners (both callers and with the on-line clicks) wanted it to come back. The numbers of the poll won't be released until the end of the week, if you didn't catch them on the closing comment at 7 pm. (sadly)

The City's GOP Committee wrote a letter to new Mayor, Bob O'Connor, in January 2006 asking for him to restart the ethics board too. That was the right thing to do -- as we have a new administration. We need the new mayor to fix ills of the past administration.

But there has been no reply on this topic, to the best of our knowledge.

Bob was part of the problem when he was City Council President. That's when the ethics board died -- also on his watch. So, I do hold out hope -- as I'm thinking about the positive. But, I'm not holding my breath.

Paul Sentner, an activist who helped to put an end to the ugly "WE HAV" program, emailed me today with another great idea. He'd like to see KQV Radio take up the cause of getting an Ombudsman put into the fabric of city and county government.

The new County Charter had an Ombudsman component that was taken out of the plan at the last moment before it went to the people for ratification. That quick switch was under the watchful eyes of Michael Lamb.

Meanwhile, Bill Peduto is all hyped about sharing his "template" for revealing how his office spends its taxpayer money, nearly $100,000 annually, or nearly a half-million dollars per term.

That was above and beyond the cool $1-million each office got as part of the "neighborhood needs money" from not too distance years. The City's Republican Party, and I too, had called for the ending of those pork accounts as well -- years ago.

The neighborhood needs money SCAM was (and is to this day) a joke. It is the personification of a big fat corruption, cronie, $9-million ploy to make the rich richer and the poor poorer -- all while keeping power right where it sat.

If any news organization wants to do a real investigation, begin to look at that money and miss-spending. Then perhaps the investigators (legal authorities) could put a few others (WHICH ONES) out of office and into the limelight of public review and eventual convictions.

First things first: Re-start the ethics board.

If William Peduto really wants to be candid with public disclosure on spending, he needs to re-awaken a past project I was involved with -- campaign finance reform. An advisory group was pulled together in 2004-2005. We had meetings. We issued a report to the councilman. But, the report was never made public. He sat on it. He didn't do anything.

Part of my suggested solution that came about as a result of those discussions is a transparent PAC account. PAC accounts need to be transparent, just as office accounts. And, citizen / voters need to see these funds come and go as well. And, the transparent PAC account goes way, way, way beyond what is being suggested as a 'template.' We should see real-time movement of money, not just what someone types into a computer form.

Cooking the books will be harder with Transparent PAC Accounts -- and TRANSPARENT Officeholder Accounts.

Young boy does historic swim, but not here

ESPN.com - MORESPORTS - Boy, 7, completes historic swim from Alcatraz Island SAN FRANCISCO -- Fueled by several slices of pizza, a 7-year-old boy braved the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay on Monday and became one of the youngest swimmers to cross the channel from Alcatraz Island to the city.
Nice job!

Meanwhile, we don't put our kids in the river. We should be making news on a swim from Sandcastle to Station Square.

Oh well, in due time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Who is going to win today????

BeyondChron: San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily News - Paradise Lost: A Recipe for Gentrification in Chicago, San Francisco, and Beyond

Talking about our struggles and defeating Mayor Murphy's half-baked plans.
BeyondChron: San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily News - Paradise Lost: A Recipe for Gentrification in Chicago, San Francisco, and Beyond Newsom is not the first public official to be seduced by this appealing picture. After visiting downtown Chicago in 1996, Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy decided to use the power of eminent domain to demolish 60 buildings and condemn 125 mostly locally owned businesses occupying several blocks along the Fifth and Forbes corridor in downtown Pittsburgh in order to build a multi-level retail mall containing many of the same upscale shops as the Magnificent Mile. Murphy even pegged Chicago-based Urban Retail Properties to manage the area’s redevelopment.

Through local organizing efforts, a coalition of small business owners, historical preservationists, and supporters of immigrant and African American rights eventually forced Murphy to abandon this project. Their concerns were buttressed by research compiled by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance which showed that roughly two-thirds of the revenue generated by chain stores and franchise operations like McDonald’s routinely leaves the local economy and the metropolitan area altogether. In fact, a 2004 report entitled The Andersonville Study of Retail Economics demonstrated that, contrary to conventional wisdom, locally owned, independent businesses generate 70 percent more revenue for the local economy per square foot than national chains.
Navy Pier in Chicago.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Song: The Ballad of the Pennsylvania Pay Raise

The words to the new, hit single, by Quince Eddens, (violosity -at- verizon -dot- net) released on April 24, 2006, Copyright 2006.

Listen to the MP3 by clicking here, if you computer is able to play file.
The Pay Raise

On a cool summer morning at approximately 2 AM,
The Pennsylvania Legislature voted them a new pay raise,

Within 24 hours it had hit the fan,
The radio was blastin, "It's an outrage" man,

And you could hear a tiny voice,
Echo down the Capital halls.......
It ain't about the pay raise,
What's an honest voter to do?
It ain't about the pay raise,
Because a thousand judges got one too!
It ain't about the pay raise,
A legislator can't live like a saint,
It ain't about the pay raise......
The hell it ain't.
The boys on the hill wondered, "what the heck are we gonna do"?
They thought it would be over in about another week or two,

Then a Lebanon man with a broom in his hand,
Said, "Time to sweep out the trash", "This is OUR land".

And you could hear a thousand voices as they echoed down the Capital halls.
It ain't about the pay raise,
A taxpayer ain't as dumb as you think!
It ain't about the pay raise,
Let's vote em out and get rid of the stink.
It ain't about the pay raise,
Just pack your stuff, and try not to faint!
It ain't about the pay raise.....
The hell it ain't.
We got something in this State we call
The su-preme law of the land,

And it especially applies,
To all elected hired hands!

For all the "pay-jackers"...
Here's a news flash...

Don't legislate a check, that your ass can't cash,

And you can hear a million voters,
As they heed this clarion call!
It ain't about the pay raise,
It's time to take back our state!
It ain't about the pay raise,
We'll start it over with a fresh clean slate!
It ain't about the pay raise,
It's kinda like peelin old paint,
It ain't about the pay raise....
Like hell it ain't.

Things to do: PNC Park for High School Baseball, City Championship Game on WED. gates open at 3:30 pm

Langley Mustangs...

Come join us.

Langley High School plays for the City League Title in baseball at PNC Park. Gates (left field) open at 3:30 pm on WEDNESDAY.

Parking tips: Red Lot #6 on General Robinson and Gold Lot #4 on Maz Way.

Go Mustangs.

I'll be at the park to get some of my own autographs. Yep, I'll have my nomination papers at the ready for voters of the 42nd.

He is NOT my father.

Pittsburgh Homes Daily - A Blog on Pittsburgh, its Real Estate, Realtors, Homes for Sale, and Things to Do � Supreme Court decision in Cuno a loss for

Pittsburgh Homes Daily - A Blog on Pittsburgh, its Real Estate, Realtors, Homes for Sale, and Things to Do -- Supreme Court decision in Cuno a loss for Pittsburgh residents? On May 15th, the Supreme Court handed a loss to Toledo taxpayers in Cuno when it held that the taxpayers did not have standing to challenge the decision to provide tax breaks to Daimler Chrysler. Pittsburgh also provides this type of tax break (there was a large discussion back in February that can be seen on Mark Rauterkus’ blog here). This issue is particularly relevant to Pittsburgh because of the effect of university supported developments on the tax base (check out the 2004 USA Today article here and the 2003 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article here).

It is unclear whether or not this is a win for Pittsburgh taxpayers. On one hand, it may be that the business development would not otherwise happen in Pittsburgh without tax breaks and the development will ultimately generate more revenue than is lost to the tax breaks. On the other hand, it might be a loss for Pittsburgh taxpayers because it hampers the ability of residents to challenge the decision of who gets the tax breaks and the tax breaks may not generate enough revenue to cover that which is lost.
Interesting insights.

OMG - Council wants to beef up OVERSIGHT???

This is unreal.... Unreal!!!!

Pittsburgh has two oversight bodies now. The I.C.A. and the Act 47 crew. Two where there was NONE. And now, Council wants to beef up OVERSIGHT. Do they want a third body? What about a fourth? This goes without a mention of the JUSTICE Depatartment that just left with the bad habit of being less than color blind. And yet, Mary Beth B is still poking around.

We've got overlord overload. Perhaps the Heinz Foundation should put out invitations to host an Overlords Ball. Put them all in the same room, how about the Great Hall at Heinz Field, and then lock the doors. Force them to watch QED's OnQ from start to finish, with multiple screens and gab fests, even off of the JUMBOTRON. That company and agenda, with plenty of chips and dip, will be sure to put them into a slumber of the highest order. Then we'd be able to go about with a new lease on life.

Pittsburgh Tuesday takes - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Twanda Carlisle affair has prompted Pittsburgh City Council to consider beefing up oversight of how council members spend their discretionary accounts. City Solicitor Susan Malie has referred to the county district attorney and state ethics officials several of Ms. Carlisle's disbursements. Credit City Council President Luke Ravenstahl and acting City Controller Tony Pokora for the proposal. But the question has to be asked: Why have things been so lax for so long?"
Since we have OVERLORDS now, can anyone find out if they are awake? Why can't they do the duty of being a 'watch dog?'

Back in my perfect world, we'd have real media watchdogs too.... And, to their credit, the Trib and TV 11, Rick E., have done a good job at barking up Twanda's tree.

But, in the next breath, they missed the daffy wi-fi deal, the fix is in gambling deal, the we don't have the money except from Australia Mon Valley Toll Road, the Runnel, and a rather extensive list of other folly and spending elements that are sure to keep us down for generations to come.

Pittsblog: Economic Development as a Zero-Sum Game

Pittsblog: Economic Development as a Zero-Sum Game Economic Development as a Zero-Sum Game
My post in that thread goes like this:

I too post about the feudal Pittsburgh. That is the one with LORDS and SERFs. There are favorite ones and then everyone else. The Humpty Dumpty falls, and the king's horses and men can't put him together again.

Much of that is 'rooted' (pun intended) into "land." Hence, another reason why we need to tax land and not income.

But, as to networking, more of the theme you set, I like to talk about the "lump of coal" approach. If I have it, you don't. If I sell it, it is yours. It is a carbon based transaction. Bankers in Pgh are quick to invest in iron (i.e., printing press) but won't touch an author/publisher, even with only an Olympic Gold Medal to prove one's viability.

In the "digital" economy, I have an idea and share it with you -- sell it perhaps -- and we both still have that idea. You get it, but I don't loose it. And, if it is valued, we both have MORE value. If it is flawed, my bottom line is not inflated with false hopes of percpetion in value.

So, we come to a better discovery of the real value of ideas only after they are shared (and/or understood) by others -- in a digital world.

Then, the real value resides in the relationships. My trust gets a boost in your realm for a tip that made sense.

This becomes and 'open source' way as well. We all prosper when real solutions are leveraged and crafted.

This gets to why downtown development, IMNSHO, is a joke with O'Connor. His cronie gets the deal, based on the land, and it is a carbon-based mine vs yours folly.

Statement from Russ Diamond, Independent for Governor, on the Pay Raise and the Governor’s Race

Website
media -at- russdiamond -dot- org
It is amusing to watch Ed Rendell and Lynn Swann point fingers at each other regarding the pay raise of July 7, 2005.

Lynn rightfully points out that Ed is the one man who could have stopped the pay raise dead in its tracks - a statement I made months ago. Instead, Ed quickly approved it with his signature and proclaimed, “it’s legal, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

Later, Ed began to backpedal when he saw the reality of voter anger. His comments ranged from calling it “good legislation” on July 8 to saying it was “possibly illegal” on September 12 to calling it “a black eye” for government on November 5.

But he signed it nonetheless, and must bear full responsibility for it.

A few weeks ago, Ed revealed that he signed the bill - which most Pennsylvanians correctly believe violated more than one section of the PA Constitution – to “kiss a little butt” of payjacking legislators in order to curry favor for his own agenda.

I have a very pointed question for Ed: What did you know, and when did you know it?
The people of Pennsylvania have a right to know what knowledge of the pay raise you hid from them in the weeks and months leading up to July 7.

Ed rightfully points out that Lynn endorsed payjacker Bob Jubelirer, stumped for Jubelirer and refused to take a firm stand for anti-pay raise legislative challengers. It has also been reported by a Pittsburgh newspaper that Lynn lent some volunteers to the Jubelirer re-election effort in the last days before the primary election. This would seem natural, as Jubelirer contributed $15,000 to Lynn’s campaign.

I also have a very pointed question for Lynn: Why does it appear that you are more worried about who butters your bread than you are about government following our Constitution? You can’t have it both ways.

After visiting their campaign websites, I have more questions for both gentlemen:

Why is it that I cannot even find a link to the PA Constitution on your websites? Don’t you know how important this document is to carrying out the duties of the Chief Executive of our Commonwealth? Do you even care that this is what the people of Pennsylvania are concerned about now, first and foremost?

In order to predict how any person will perform as Governor of Pennsylvania, voters must look to how they reacted to the pay raise. Actions speak louder than words.

Ed - the Captain of the SS Pay Raise - firmly put his stamp of approval on the legislature’s violations of the Constitution.

Lynn - by consistently trying to play both sides of the fence - is now relegated to the role of a mere stowaway on the very same ship.

There is only one gubernatorial candidate who consistently and loudly opposed the pay raise, opposed the people who brought us the pay raise, worked to raise candidates to change business-as-usual and made the principles of our Constitution - and in turn, the best interests of every Pennsylvanian - his number one priority.

The race to reform has now begun in earnest. Pennsylvanians must examine each candidate’s reaction to the pay raise to understand which of them will actually bring real change to the Governor’s office and use it as a bully pulpit for change and which of them will only give lip service to the reform agenda.

The choice is clear.
RUSSDIAMOND.ORG Blog
RUSSDIAMOND.ORG Audio
RUSSDIAMOND.ORG Newsroom

Report deals Harrah's a strong hand - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Report deals Harrah's a strong hand - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review A Pittsburgh Planning Department report praised the location of a proposed Station Square casino, but doubted its ability to handle heavy traffic.
There is no way that the casino is going to generate heavy traffic. The Pens and the Pirates can't generate heavy traffic.

The flaw of the report might and the would-be casino builders might be found in the heavy traffic that could be generated with Duquesne University and its new basketball coach. The DU team is on the rise. That is a big source of heavy traffic -- that has NOT materialized in recent decades.

If the men's basketball -- or even women's team too (but we'll sit on that as a prediction) were to get hot, as they should be, then there would be serious troubles with the casino crowd with the Isle of Capri plan and location.

But who am I to defend the Planning Department for Pittsburgh. That group has done more damage to the city than any other, other than Tom Murphy, Cox, Leeper, and the ex-URA head, Buru, and ...

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And, when you've got a failed plan to start with, you are sure to fail.

I suggested that the entire planning department be NUKED. Send them all to the private sector. Hire a traffic engineer and life in the city would improve.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Fire Fontana

Fire Fontana. This is the best Fontana has got to offer the district.
FONTANA REMINDS VETERANS TO ATTEND ENTREPRENEUR BOOT CAMP - 5/22/2006 PITTSBURGH, May 22, 2006 - State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana today reminded vetera=
ns and their spouses who are looking to start their own business to attend t=
he Entrepreneur Boot Camp Seminars.

The event is being facilitated by Donn Nemchick, a U.S. Navy Veteran and adv=
isor to entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, Rome burns.

Daily Kos: Taking the PA House; where we stand

Daily Kos: Taking the PA House; where we stand: "Taking the PA House; where we stand
by ortcutt
Tue May 02, 2006 at 04:37:30 PM PDT

The Republicans have controlled the Pennsylvania Legislature for about as long as I can remember. This control has had serious implications not only for Pennsylvanians but for all Americans, since Pennsylvania's Republican Legislature has controlled the redistricting process decade after decade. Democrats are within striking distance of taking the Pennsylvania House and we've only got three elections left (2006, 2008, and 2010) if we are going to have a say in the 2010 redistricting.

Part of the problem with these Pennsylvania House races is that there is very little information on the races. There are 203 Pennsylvania House members (a ludicrously high number). Each member represents a little over 60,000 people. It's difficult for such small races to get any attention."

Right on.

I've been working less on the blog and more on the wiki, Platform.For-Pgh.org, so as to fix this problem of little attention to state rep and state senate candidates. It is a big problem. And, a big solution is hard to unfold. But, with some technology, and a few others helping -- hey running mates -- this can be another tool for the reformers.

Peek at this. http://69.36.175.17/wiki/index.php/Special:Recentchanges

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I support individual rights

WEBCommentary - Political winds of change blow strong in Pennsylvania

WEBCommentary(tm) - Political winds of change blow strong in Pennsylvania: "Incumbent Pennsylvania legislators who did not face challengers in the May 16 primary shouldn't feel too confident that they've survived the voter backlash.

Only 61 of the 228 legislators whose terms expire in 2006 faced opponents in the primary. But 18 of the incumbents were already sent packing by the voters, primarily by disgruntled conservative Republicans, in a political upheaval not seen in Pennsylvania for two decades.

The bloodbath included the top two Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania Senate, President Pro Tempore Robert Jubilerer and Majority Leader Chip Brightbill, who collectively spent $2.5 million to defend their seats against unknown and under-funded challengers. Jubilerer and Brightbill weren't just defeated at the polls, they were slapped around by voters.

Photos of Brightbill and Jubilirer posing with Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell were widely circulated by conservatives. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Those photos may have cost Brightbill and Jubilerer thousands of votes.

Any friend of liberal Ed Rendell is no friend of the Republican Party. That's the message Republican primary voters sent to Brightbill and Jubilerer, widely regarded as RINOs (Republican In Name Only.) The two veteran politicians were the most visible leaders of the pay raise debacle, in which legislators voted themselves pay hikes of up to 54 percent in the middle of the night without any debate.

Now comes a reality check for other incumbents. Almost all of the 40 incumbents who won on May 16 will face challengers in the Nov. 7 general election. And there's another 50 to 60 candidates waiting for a chance to take on incumbents in a year when voters want blood.

That includes independent, Libertarian, Green Party and Constitution Party members. There's even a Socialist Party member planning to run against a Republican incumbent in mostly-GOP Chester County. Don't look now, but Democracy is breaking out all over Pennsylvania.

How willing are voters to vote for somebody other than the incumbent?

Consider this. James Babb, a Libertarian who plans to challenge Rep. Carole Rubley in the 157th House District reports that he collected all of the signatures he needed for his nominating petition in one day � Tuesday, May 16.

Pennsylvania election law requires third-party and independent candidates to collect 466 signatures from district voters to qualify for the ballot in the 157th District, according to the Babb campaign."

State GOP chairwoman Eileen Melvin resigns : The Morning Call Online

Another one bites the dust.
State GOP chairwoman Eileen Melvin resigns : The Morning Call Online: "State GOP chairwoman Eileen Melvin resigns

She gives no reason, but observers point to party turmoil.

The primary week purge that brought down two of the state's most powerful Republicans has claimed another victim.

On Friday, state Republican Chairwoman Eileen Melvin announced that she will not stand for re-election when Pennsylvania's GOP foot soldiers gather for their quarterly meeting in Harrisburg next month.
What does this have to do with Swann's run?

Two hot areas...

http://www.greaterphilachamber.com/currentissues_state.asp#9

PA Lobbyist Update - Chief Justice of the PA Supreme Court Ralph Cappy recently responded to PA Speaker John Perzel's request indicating that he is unable to create an advisory group to assist with development of legislation regulating lobbyists because it would compromise the unbiased consideration in potential litigation. He suggested that legislative leaders consider input from retired judges such as Russ Nigro. Perzel issued a statement outlining his plans to work with House and Senate members and the Governor's office to enact lobbying reform measures that lead to more openness and true transparency in government.


And a song, http://www.pacleansweep.com/payraise.mp3
. That will need to go onto my next CD.

More notes about music to come shortly.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Boycott Bud - a new BLOG pops it lid, cheers!

Some in the blog world might be gathering at Finnigan's Wake tonight for the blog fest. We'll see what beverage they choose.
Boycott Bud: "Word was handed down from St. Louis today that Rolling Rock beer will no longer be brewed in Old Latrobe, but instead in Newark, New Jersey.

Newark, New Jersey!

Clearly, this is the end of Rolling Rock as we know it. It may be in a green bottle, but it ain't Rolling Rock if it comes from Newark! If you love our region and its beer, strike back at Anheuser-Busch by never again purchasing or drinking one of its beers. Let us strive to never again look down a bar and see one of our fellow Western Pennsylvanians swilling any of the following evil brews:

All Budweiser brands
All Busch brands
All Michelob brands
All Natural brands
O'Doul's NA
Bacardi Silver
Bare Knuckle Stout
Tilt
Tequiza
Hurricane malt liquors
King Cobra malt liquor
Red Hook ESB
Hefeweizen
Harbin

And, yes, sadly...Rolling Rock. Show me a mountain spring in Newark!

Leave your name, hometown, and comment below to show Anheuser-Busch that we won't stand for them killing our beer!"
Cheers.

Witch -- err, WHICH Hunt gains speed

I've said all along that this is a "which hunt." Which one do you want to peg first? Which one next? I feel that they all are guilty of fumbling their duties in respect to the needs and wants of the citizens and taxpayers. They all are guilty of driving our city into the gutter.
Solicitor refers Carlisle inquiry to DA Pittsburgh Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle spent approximately $400,000 in city money on 26 consultants since 2002, and some of that spending warrants referral to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala and the state Ethics Commission.

That's the result of a two-week inquiry by City Solicitor Susan Malie, requested by Council President Luke Ravenstahl, and revealed today.

Council President Luke Ravenstahl said he will propose reforms to council spending procedures Tuesday.
Forbidden City's doors are about to open... ever so slowly.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fast Ed on KBN: "She clocked everybody."

Much like an ancient spanking, if you know what I mean.
Clocker....
Gov. Rendell said Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll's runaway victory over three opponents in the Democratic primary for that office proved an absence of anti-incumbency sentiment in that race.

"Look at Catherine Baker Knoll," Rendell said at a stop in Bethlehem, Pa., yesterday. "She clocked everybody."
Valerie wasn't about a 'fresh face' either. She is way younger, but has been around the block from row office, to row office protection spokesperson, to city council with some failed budgets and school board member with huge divides among students.

Furthermore, voters in PA have a way of thinking one way when it comes to selecting individuals to serve on legislative bodies and another way when it comes to picking executives. Often, and this is my theory, the voters go to one way in one category and the other way in the other choice. For example, when Rendell was elected, same too were more Republicans put into the state house and senate.

So, if this holds true again, if Rendell gets elected with KBN -- and they 'clock' both challenging camps, then, I expect that a number of other Democrats will fall too.

That's balance.
Got Balance?

The Editor's Blog: Unplugged

Great advice. "They should have logged on and listened." Great advice. Did I say that twice?
The Editor's Blog: Unplugged It's in no way surprising that ousted lawmakers would beat a drumbeat of excuses for their defeats, anything other than a disconnect with ordinary people on issues that matter. But, still, I'm disappointed with Dennis Leh for not giving credit where credit is due.

Challenger Billy Reed didn't beat me, Leh said. 'The papers did. We deserved some of it, but the papers just crucified us.'

We'll put the Jesus analogies aside and not take anything away from the mainstream press. But what about the impact of the Internet, which wasn't in everyone's homes the last time the legislature tried a late-night pay grab? It was the bloggers -- unlimited by the finite space of the print media -- that kept the pay-raise issue rock 'n' rolling for nearly a year. Not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of taxpayers who expressed their outrage on this blog alone, vowing payback.

Leh and the gang should have logged on and listened.

Put this rocket into your date book, May 20th at 10 pm.

I can't say much else, except, visit this site:
Down and Derby Party.
Roller skating goes on in the lobby areas of the sports stadiums, daily, in central Chengdu in southwest China. Could you imagine the Steelers setting up a skate rink for ongoing operations day-in-day-out in The Great Hall in Heinz Field. Yeah, right!

In other news, speaking of skating, I got another call the other day from a possible investor who wants to Re-OPEN the now closed (still) Neville Ice Rink on the South Side behind UPMC's South Side Hospital. The rink was shut and never re-opened, due to a lack of political will from Mayor Murphy.

New York park goers to get free Internet Wi-Fi - Yahoo! News

Park in Chengdu, China. Put wi-fi in parks.

New York park goers to get free Internet Wi-Fi - Yahoo! News New York's Central Park and a number of other public spaces will become public Internet hubs starting this summer when the city's parks begin offering free wireless net access, the city government said.

'We expect Central Park to be launched in July, and the rest of the parks in the late summer,' the Department of Parks and Recreation said. Among those green spaces going on-line for public Wi-Fi access will be Washington Square, Union Square, Brooklyn's Prospect Park and Flushing Meadows.
I suggested this for Pittsburgh. Our city's politicians should be more concerned with putting in wi-fi in parks and public spaces, not for downtown street corners.

City Council could have easily insisted that wi-fi come to all the swim pools and rec centers as it is being installed downtown. They didn't, sadly.

And it isn't just me. Another wrote on the WPLUG list: "Wish we could get this in Pittsburgh city parks! We have far less square feet of park space to cover than Central Park in NYC so costs should be significantly lower."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

500 votes were needed, and a sum of 358 were scored

Vote totals from Allegheny County's 2006 primary among ONLY Ds and Rs with write in totals displayed.

SENATOR IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 42ND DISTRICT Vote for NOT MORE THAN 1 (WITH 248 OF 248 DISTRICTS COUNTED) WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 358 100.00 Total . . . . . . . . . 358
The 42nd PA Senate district is open this year and the Republicans didn't put anyone into the race. Meanwhile, the Dems have only one candidate. I'm hopeful I'll run in the race in November as an Independent.

Yesterday there was a possibility that a candidate could have done a 'write in' on the open seat in the Republican primary and won -- if more than 500 votes were recorded. Well, only 358 write-ins were scored. That isn't enough to gain entry onto the November ballot for a PA Senate race.

We won't know who those votes were cast for for a while, I think. Some are sure to be Donnald Duck and Goofy. Others might be for more legit candidates.

I didn't mount any efforts to secure that write-in position myself, but I should have done so, if I was willing to burn a lot of extra cycles in those areas.

I'm happy that the slot will be empty. This sets up a 1-on-1 race for November between a Democrat and an Independent, (me).

(See comments for more insights.)

One Year Ago.... I was on the ballot for PA Senate. Lasting public anger boils more boldly.

PennLive.com: NewsFlash - Voter backlash continues in Pa. over legislative pay raise In a demonstration of lasting public anger over a legislative pay raise, Pennsylvania voters ended the political careers of two veteran state Senate Republican leaders and at least 12 House members in a major shake-up of the General Assembly.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Trojan Horse -- Big Pink Pig -- on a trek to the scrap-heap of life, with some help from our friends...

Big pink pig.... Roll it on out-a-here!

I'm crossing my fingers. Let's hope some of those piggie paygrabbers get dislodged and move to the private sector tonight!

Dave Winer and Dan Gillmor on the future on news | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com

Who do you trust? Getting set to go "On Air" with Pitt undergrads with the Pitt Radio Station.
Dave Winer and Dan Gillmor on the future on news | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com Dan talked about how reputation, voting, ranking–combining community driven attributes along with who we know and people we trust–can help filter the signal from the noise. Agreed, and it's one of the areas where a lot of innovation is needed. Whether you are a professional journalist or blogger, you have to earn trust, and there are elements (links, subscribers, ratings, etc.) that can be used to determinine reputation, as in my diagram below.
(see the link to see the diagram)

Russ hits the TV airwaves tonight as the election results roll in -- if the machines work.

PA Primary

AP Wire | 05/16/2006 | Pa. primary to set stage for hot Senate race, test voter anger Most of the challengers on the ballot were recruited by PACleanSweep, a group organized at the peak of the pay-raise furor with the goal of bringing about major turnover in the Legislature.
Clean sweep em.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Boat US Foundation: Online Boating Course

BoatUS Foundation: Online Boating Course General Boating Course: Test your nautical knowledge with our 60 question (50 general boating and 10 state-specific), General Boating Course. This test covers a broad range of topics that are appropriate for powerboaters and sailors. You will receive a certificate upon successful completion of this 60 question, NASBLA approved course.

Where might one find this type of boat? (see comments)

2 Political Junkies: I endorse...ME!

Voting advice from a blogger that makes sense.
2 Political Junkies: I endorse...ME!: "I endorse...ME!"

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CATHERINE BAKER KNOLL HOSTS ELECTION NIGHT PARTY - 5/12/2006

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CATHERINE BAKER KNOLL HOSTS ELECTION NIGHT PARTY - 5/12/2006 PITTSBURGH – Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll today announced that Allegheny County Democratic candidates, poll workers and supporters can await election results at a party she will host at Finnegan’s Wake on the city’s historic North Side after the polls close Tuesday night.
Fitting place for an election night party, if you know what I mean.

Gov. Rendell's "Blah, Blah, Blah" Campaign Strategy

Grant R. Gulibon of the Commonwealth Foundation released a message on 05.15.06:
Ever had a conversation with someone who starts to tell a story and then, midway through, says "Blah blah blah" (or words to that effect) and then skips ahead to the end-without providing details on what happened in between? This often leaves the listener confused and wondering what important facts the speaker is omitting.

Well, whoever wrote Gov. Ed Rendell's first campaign commercial is that kind of storyteller-because the ad employs the "blah blah blah" strategy of relating the beginning and end of a tale about the governor's fiscal policies, while leaving out some critical information about what happened in the middle. And in this case, the story's listeners-Pennsylvania citizens-really ought to hear more about the Rendell record on taxes and spending.
See the rest in the comments or at their site.

UPMC mulls expansion plan - Pittsburgh - MSNBC.com

UPMC mulls expansion plan - Pittsburgh - MSNBC.com The site already has received zoning approval for a mixed-use development and has community support, Peduto said. The project also has been awarded $11.1 million in tax increment financing, as well as state grants to help overcome water and sewer line issues that have played a part in the project's delay.


First off, recind the tax break to the developer who didn't move on the development. We don't need to have that floating out there any longer.

Who is the most important voter?

Russ Diamond Podcast: Pennsylvania's Most Important Voter

Description: Audio podcast encouraging voters to support PACleanSweep candidates from Russ Diamond, Independent for Governor.


Vote for one:

A. Clean Sweeper on a bike.

B. Lead Clean sweeper touching up the bus stop and the ten million signs.

C. Inventor of the water tank, brush bike for removal of grafitti.

D. Brush building on the sidewalk.

E. Man picking crack.

F. Hand brush salesman on bike.

G. None of the above.


Leave your vote in the comments section of this blog.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

An accidental Pittsburgher - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

An accidental Pittsburgher - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Kevin McClatchy had to squint.
Golly.

PNC Park is "breathtaking" -- or is it really built to take something else away from the people -- beyond one's breath. By the way, I'd say it is better to go to a swim pool and swim laps for a real 'breathtaking' experience. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, ...

More swimming pools could be reopened

More swimming pools could be reopened Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor said yesterday that he hopes to open 17 or 18 city swimming pools this summer.

That's up from 14 last year, but down from 31 in 2003.
What does the Aquatic Task Force say about these pools? (giggle, giggle)

Getting the pool ready to open. Unravel the "red tape."

This outdoor pool also resides, in part, under a building. So, the pool is part outdoor and part indoor. The building above is a "rec center" of sorts. It holds badminton courts. The city's stadium is next door -- just 50 yards away (behind and to the right of the photographer's position).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Writers Wanted for 'mind washing blog' -- not really

Here is a job opportunity for the Running Mates to sell some soap and sound off on all those pent up feel good stories.
Progress Pittsburgh Forums :: View topic - Writers Wanted: Writer’s Wanted

Writers for Pop City, a new e-magazine and Web site with features on economic development, technology and business, arts and culture, and remarkable people and places. The goal is to document the continuing transformation of Pittsburgh through lively articles that portray the authentic and thriving Pittsburgh. Contact editor at tcerto@adelphia.net and log onto www.popcitymedia.com.

Day of decision interview from Bill S of the Trib

Thanks for a great interview Bill.
Day of decision - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

You look back two years ago, out of 193 House incumbents seeking re-election, only 15 had opponents in both the primary and general election. This year it is a hundred and something....

A: I don't have any sense of that because I think that the people are not looking at it as a party problem but as a government problem. You would think that the Republicans would have more to lose, because they have been in control of the Legislature for 14 years. It's not an irrational argument for people to say, "Well, gee, 14 years you've controlled the House and our Senate - and where's our property tax relief?" But the Democrats haven't exactly been a force for change and improvement, either.... There really isn't a difference between the parties. It's not a partisan problem, it's a government problem. We need to reinvent our government in a way that actually responds to the needs of citizens - that addresses the real problems that we have, whether they are economic or social or anything else, and that people have confidence that it's working for their benefit. We don't have that now. The Issues.PA poll that came out yesterday shows that confidence in government is at an all-time low. That reputation is well deserved. The people in office have not done a good job. Period. End of story.
Read the entire article for more insights.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Prep for Bike To Work Week

Bike to work!

Scene from the West End on a recycle a bicycle event hosted by Citiparks in the past.

May 15–19 is Bike to Work Week!

Help get the word out about these fun events intended to network, grow, and promote the Pittsburgh bicycling community!

Monday, May 15 – Biker Breakfasts from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
* Whole Foods, East Liberty
* City-County building, downtown
* Carnegie Library in Oakland

Tuesday, May 16 – City Council proclamation will acknowledge Bike to Work Week

Wednesday, May 17 – Bike Breakfast at Carnegie Mellon (8am outside of the University Center)

Wednesday, May 17 – Commuter Clinic

* Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker will offer tips on getting to and from work on two wheels, 7 p.m. at REI on the South Side

Friday, May 19 – End of the week party at the Brillobox (Corner of Penn and Main in Bloomfield). Come out and meet fellow Pittsburgh bike commuters and Bike Pittsburgh – the folks working to make the city better for bicycling. Members get 1 free drink!

Learn more about Bike Pittsburgh at www.bike-pgh.org. We’re working hard to make biking to work, shopping, and exercising by bike safe and fun for everyone in Pittsburgh!

Bike to Work Week is part of Great Outdoors Week which includes Venture Outdoors Festival (May 20th on the North Shore between the stadiums) and Pedal Pittsburgh (May 21 at Station Square Amphitheater.

Encourage others to bike to work.

Offer to meet a coworker somewhere along the way —- such as the Eliza Furnace Trail or Highland Ave. -— so you can ride to work together.

Make the most of MapHub and ByCycle or get involved with a BikePool to find routes and fellow riders.

Host your own biker breakfast! Bring coffee and bagels to share with your coworkers who ride in. You’ll be very popular.

Talk to your employer about installing bike racks, lockers, and even showers to encourage more people to opt to ride instead of drive to work.

Looking for more information? Please feel free to contact info -at- bike-pgh.org.

Bicycle vs. car facts:

According to a survey conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, 40 percent of all trips are within two miles of the home, and 50 percent of the working population commutes five miles or less to work. Yet more than 82 percent of trips five miles or less are made by personal motor vehicle.

Cycling at least 20 miles a week cuts in half your risk of heart disease compared to non-cyclists who take no exercise, according to the British Heart Foundation. The British Medical Association also recommends that you cycle daily.
Grant and Erik sit in the back seat of a bike in a bike shop -- before we purchase it. Photo from May, 2005, when we were in Chengdu, Southwestern China. We rode that bike all around that city for four weeks. We'd go back to various bike shops, on a near daily basis to get various fixes and adjustments. It was like a fine-tuned sports car.

A month later, as we were about to depart China, Erik and Grant got to wheeling and dealing with a crowd of bike "experts" and "prospective buyers." The bike was "for sale" and the boys were trying to make a bargain with some locals. None spoke English.

The model American male devotes more than 1,600 hours a year to his car. He sits in it while it goes and while it stands idling. He parks it and searches for it. He earns the money to put down on it and to meet the monthly installments. He works to pay for gasoline, tolls, insurance, taxes, and tickets. He spends four of his sixteen waking hours on the road or gathering his resources for it. And this figure does not take into account the time consumed by other activities dictated by transport: time spent in hospitals, traffic courts, and garages; time spent watching automobile commercials or attending consumer education meetings to improve the quality of the next buy. - Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity

The bicycle also uses little space. Eighteen bikes can be parked in the place of one car, thirty of them can move along in the space devoured by a single automobile. It takes three lanes of a given size to move 40,000 people across a bridge in one hour by using automated trains, four to move them on buses, twelve to move them in their cars, and only two lanes for them to pedal across on bicycles. Of all these vehicles, only the bicycle really allows people to go from door to door without walking. The cyclist can reach new destinations of his choice without his tool creating new locations from which he is barred. -Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity

Erik and I at Ohio Pyle -- on a rest stop -- for That Dam Ride, a 2-day 140 mile trip. Photo from September 2005.

Beijing to boost patrol force for '08 Games to 50,000 - Friday May 12, 2006 7:52AM

Multiple fences beteen the spectators and field.
SI.com - Olympics - Beijing to boost patrol force for '08 Games to 50,000 - Friday May 12, 2006 7:52AM Beijing will build a 50,000-strong civil patrol force by 2008 to bolster security ahead of the Olympic Games, a Chinese newspaper said on Friday.

The force would comprise 70 percent permanent residents, 20 percent retired soldiers and 10 percent from Beijing's non-permanent resident population, the Beijing News reported.

Already 21,000-strong, the force would grow to 30,000 by the end of the year, the newspaper quoted police official Miao Lin as saying.

The government had already spent 200 million yuan building the force, the official added.

Patrol members were responsible for checking criminal activity, accident damage control, venue security, assisting in emergency situations and managing dangers within their jurisdiction, said Liu Yucheng, a Beijing Public Security Bureau official.

In addition to a fixed monthly salary of up to 700 yuan ($87), members would receive accident and injury insurance, and bonuses for assisting in emergency situations and making arrests that led to criminal charges, Liu added.

Police stop people and an instant crowd gathers right around the action. When we were stopped by the police, while on our bike, we were encircled within moments. The circle of onlookers was five deep and 20 or more around.

Walk For A Healthy Community for DePaul School for Hearing and Speech

We are almost a week away from the Fourth Annual Walk For A Healthy
Community presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield on Saturday, May 20, 2006 at the Chevrolet Amphitheater in Station Square. We have a few very special announcements to make to all of those who've registered to support DePaul School For Hearing and Speech.

* Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. and it's recommended that you arrive for the Walk before 8:30 a.m.

More details in the comments section.

Brainstorming could remake Fifth-Forbes

Brainstorming could remake Fifth-Forbes Mayor Bob O'Connor's effort to chart a new course for the run-down Fifth and Forbes corridor Downtown takes another turn next week. But you'll need an invitation to take part.
By invitation only. Right. That is a fine way to get a consensus plan that you want. Just invite who you like.

This is no 'starting point.' The starting point is that the all the king's horses and all the king's men won't be able to fix Pittsburgh again. That start has come -- gone -- and proven itself to be true time and time again.

While Mr. Murphy came under fire for not being inclusive enough in his planning for the Fifth and Forbes corridor, Mr. Dettore does not believe that will be a problem this time around.

"I think every base has been covered," he said.
Every base -- now that POP has a blog -- they can say they have 'bloggers too.' There were few others who even knew what to do with the 'blogging concepts' back when there was a plan of public participation in 2000 and 2001. That was a joke too. Every base has been covered..... Give me a break.

They want to rush ahead and build upon the failures of the past.

The theme song, "Lay the Shovel Down" seems to fit again. As does the message, "think again."

Mr. Gallaher "was miffed...." Get in line pal. We've all been miffed. We've all been through it before.

Swimming season is here!

Indictments Announced In Huge Drug Bust

Good work. But, let's not call a big drug bust -- "fantastic for our city."
kdka.com - Indictments Announced In Huge Drug Bust "This is fantastic for our city," said Mayor Bob O�Connor.
Where are the visitors to the All-Star Game going to go to get their drugs? Not to a two-bit auto repair place nor a hauling company with trucks an at.

Help wanted: Drug pushers with nice cars and no record of zoning abuses. Come quickly while the city is still without a personelle director nor a 'weed and seed' director.

GOP's Hillman backs Democrat - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

GOP's Hillman backs Democrat - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Hillman said her endorsement of Wagner is part of the 'Run, Baby, Run' campaign, an effort to get more women elected to the state Legislature. Hillman also noted that there is no Republican candidate on the primary ballot.

Dormont pool group gets pat on the back

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Laurel: To Friends of Dormont Pool Inc. A door-to-door campaign has raised enough money to open Dormont Pool this summer after all. The borough council this week reversed a decision to close the pool that's in need of major repairs. It also approved a deal that will see the grass-roots group pay for those interim fixes. The effort redefines for the better what the word 'community' really means."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

PLUM Students Walk Out In Protest At Plum HS

WPXI.com - News - Students Walk Out In Protest At Plum HS ... About 60 students walked out of school in protest of the proposed 2006-2007 school budget.

In the new budget, students would have to pay a $50 participation fee to play sports or other activities.

Also, anywhere from six to 20 teachers positions could be eliminated.

School board officials said it is to help the district cut its budget, which is currently almost $2.2 million in the red.

The protesters said it's not fair to make the students have to compensate for the district's financial problems.

Student Sarah Urbanowicz said, 'We don't deserve to have our teachers cut who help us so much. This morning they told us we could write letters and stuff that would work but they didn't listen to us in the board meeting. Why would they listen to letters? We can't take this so we walked out.'

I Want My M-TV..... and make it free ... and where's Waldo?


Posted by Amy Gahran

Where Is That Stephen Colbert Video Now?

Stephen Colbert's now famous/infamous performance at the April 29 White House Correspondents Association dinner launched an online firestorm. C-SPAN shot and broadcasted the video, which was immediately recorded and widely reposted online by enthusiastic Colbert fans, Bush detractors, media critics, and others.

C-SPAN, which holds the copyright to that video, recently asked the popular video-sharing sites YouTube (http://youtube.com) and iFilm (http://ifilm.com) to remove the Colbert performance from their offerings. Both services complied. (Although, as of this writing, iFilm is offering an ABCnews.com closeup video of President Bush watching (http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2724944) Colbert's "audition tape" spoof -- and appearing none too pleased.)

C-SPAN recently announced (http://www.c-span.org/special/colbert.asp) that it has entered into a non-exclusive arrangement with Google Video (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-869183917758574879) "in order to increase the Colbert event's free availability. We worked with Google because they agreed to post both dinner segments in their entirety with links to c-span.org."

Of course, the Colbert video is distributed far and wide, and is by now impossible to recall -- from the fan blog Thank You Stephen Colbert (http://thankyoustephencolbert.org/) and video-sharing site DevilDucky (http://www.devilducky.com/media/45146/) to respected media organizations like Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/ent/video_dog/politics/2006/04/30/colbert_press/inde
x.html) (where I first saw it).

I can understand C-SPAN wanting to protect its copyright. However, when news footage "goes viral," there's no containing or corralling it. So the question becomes, what can news organizations do -- if anything -- to leverage such viral runaways? Please share your thoughts on this in a comment below. I'd love to hear some ideas on this.

Are you ready for some.... 'soccer.'

"Soccer" in U.S. and "football" everywhere else, the sport with most fans in the world, will have its World Cup competition in Germany in June. Are you ready?
Soccer ball in front of a sports stadium in Chengdu, China.

Congress critters to hit against "my space" and other social sites with pending law

The problem with this proposed bill is it tries to draw a line that in the real world won't be so clear. It will be impossible to draw. Enforcement will be lax and a joke.

Perhaps a solution or suggestion could be vendor ethical practices that call for parental consent to enter such networks. This would rest on the backs of the vendors.

A couple of states attorney generals (or auditor generals) could force this issue to them -- in advance of a congressional law of blacklisting.

I think blacklisting, as the law is being hatched, is a bad idea.

Free D.C. event for student journalists

On Friday, June 2, "The Nation" and CampusProgress.org will co-host a FREE Student Journalism Conference at the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C.

Student writers will have the opportunity to come together for a day of conversations, workshops, panels, and trainings featuring numerous "Nation" editors and writers, including Katrina Vanden Heuvel, David Corn, John Nichols, Liza Featherstone, William Greider, Eric Alterman, Laura Flanders and Victor Navasky, among many others.

Registration is free including meals. A limited number of travel stipends are still available. Both undergraduates and graduate students are welcome.

The application deadline is May 15.

For more information, http://www.alternet.org/nationinfo or, to apply, http://www.alternet.org/nationapply

For progressive journalism, Kristina Rizga, Editor, WireTapMag.org

Online Journalism Awards: Entries Start May 15 to June 15. The entry form is not yet online, but will be available shortly.