Saturday, June 30, 2007 reports on Tom Murphy's latest antics

Look out Iowa. Tom Murphy, Pittsburgh's mayor who nearly killed the city of Pittsburgh, is pushing for the cultural elite and new taxes. Ex-Pittsburgh mayor pushes for 'Destiny'
A tax increase would help cultural attractions flourish and would keeps jobs filled with young Iowans, he says.
When king's and their kingdom's covered the lands, the arts were able to flourish at the bequest of the throne. Court jesters, chamber music, salon musicians, and other cultural benefits thrived with a subsidy of the king. In turn, the kings, queens and people of the city enjoyed these cultural attractions.

However, consider the outcome when "cultural attractions" are put on a scale and measured next to another important attraction, i.e., "freedom." There is no comparison.

People will choose to die for the cause of freedom. Freedom and liberty rock the will and the spirit all people everywhere.

Great culture can happen along with oppression. Culture can go hand in hand with taxes. As taxes increase, freedom declines. In turn, the people notice and vote with their feet. They leave.

Tom Murphy has nothing to offer the people of Iowa, or anywhere else. As government chooses to back the arts, cultural attractions and regional elitism, expect one-way tickets to despair.

The Yes to Destiny sales tax is a joke. Don't fall for it. Tom Murphy is nothing but a court jester for hire.

Tom Murphy knows nothing about what really moves American society -- freedom.

Back the arts all you want -- with private efforts, not government supported taxes.

We love the arts. We back the arts. Music runs through to the highest degree.

Pittsburgh has a ballet that plays to recorded music. The orchestra was all laid off. Now the Nutcracker is danced to CD. There are a couple of productions where there is an orchestra. The "cultural district" in Pittsburgh has been more interested in doing real estate deals than really working on the arts. When the government officials play cultural gatekeepers, the cultural gatekeepers have to fill the void and become policy makers. When governmental officials play developer and use their master plans to try to impact what should occur in the marketplace, then the developers are the one's who pull the strings for public policy, again filling the need.

Public officials need to focus on freedom, liberty, defending the constitution. Everyone has a role to play. Don't let the public officials stray into arts funding. It is wrong. And, it doesn't work.

Tonight they'll play a major league baseball game in a public ballpark. The Pirates play at PNC Park -- a venue built and owned by the public -- not the baseball team. And the fans are staging a walkout in the third inning. Everyone in the region is disgusted with the baseball team, its ownership, the amount that they 'invest' into the operations. The team is a joke in terms of competitiveness. The team is one of the most profitable ones in baseball. However, the fans are getting a giant rip-off.

Tom Murphy gave sugar-daddy deals to the sports teams in Pittsburgh. This was justified, in part, to keep people in the region. Well, it didn't work. More people are moving away. The population decline continues in its downward spiral.

People move to places without baseball teams, without cultural attractions, without taxes. People move to places where government officials have their priorities straight and worry about public matters -- not the elite, cultural and unimportant.

Iowa should tell Tom Murphy to exit. We did. His type isn't welcome here any longer.

Iowa should go listen to Ron Paul. He'll make mention of a few more pressing matters that need the attention of elected policy makers and stewards of public matters.


Anonymous said...

Ex-Pittsburgh mayor pushes for 'Destiny'
A tax increase would help cultural attractions flourish and would keeps jobs filled with young Iowans, he says.


June 27, 2007

The Des Moines area faces a slow economic decline if it doesn't filter more money into arts, cultural and regional attractions, the former mayor of Pittsburgh, Pa., said Tuesday.

Tom Murphy visited Des Moines to lend support for the proposed "Yes to Destiny" sales tax that will be considered by voters in Dallas, Polk and Warren counties on July 10.

He said that Des Moines has a good base of quality jobs, and a sales tax increase and regional cooperation are investments to keep those jobs and fill them with young Iowans.

"If you don't understand that, you're not going to win in the competition," he said at a meeting with Des Moines Register editors and reporters.

The Des Moines area has enjoyed a run of success over the past few months, highlighted by the Hy-Vee World Cup Triathlon. New restaurants and entertainment venues have popped up along Court Avenue downtown. Wells Fargo and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield have expanded or announced growth plans, and Money Magazine named West Des Moines among the best places to live in the country last year.

Sales-tax supporters say Yes to Destiny would sow the seeds for sustained success.

The plan is modeled in part on Pittsburgh's. It would raise an estimated $750 million over 10 years.

About one-third of the money would be distributed by a 15-member panel to trails, cultural events and regional attractions such as Blank Park Zoo and the Science Center of Iowa.

The remainder would go toward property-tax reduction and to boost city budgets, which theoretically could further reduce property taxes.

But a sales tax increase and expanded recreational trail system did little to prevent Pittsburgh's slide to the brink of bankruptcy, which caused hundreds of employees to be laid off while Murphy was at the helm.

The city's downtown area did not flourish as promised after the sales tax went into effect, said Bill Urbanic, budget director for the Pittsburgh City Council.

He said Murphy's strategy caused "a fiasco with our downtown retail section" and contributed tax money to retail projects that failed.

Murphy, who now advocates for "smart growth" for the Urban Land Institute, said Pittsburgh's money problems, which included the city's need to ask the state for a $40 million line of credit to pay its bills, had nothing to do with the sales tax and were instead a result of the state's tax system.

He said the sales tax created a pool of money for trails, libraries, a zoo and other cultural efforts, and spread some of the cost of those attractions to neighboring cities.

Murphy said sales-tax money has been used to build about six new venues in Pittsburgh, including a convention center and professional sports stadiums, which draw millions of people each year.

"This funding has acted as a real catalyst for us," he said.

Reporter Melissa Walker can be reached at (515) 284-8451 or

Anonymous said...

The day after this post about Tom Murphy in Iowa, the Trib editors wrote in whispers:

QUITE THE UNITER, ALL RIGHT. Not too long ago we questioned the wisdom of the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation inviting former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy to speak at one of its forums.

The Des Moines Register did the same thing in a prelude to Murphy's address last Tuesday, in which he attempted to help sell a proposed three-county sales tax increase in Iowa to promote economic development.

In inviting Murphy, the foundation noted that he "successfully leveraged regional cooperation" to reshape Pittsburgh. The newspaper, bless it, did a little digging and discovered the city's situation isn't quite so rosy.

"We're basically in a Chapter 11 situation," City Council President Doug Shields is quoted in the story. "I wouldn't call that successful."

City Council budget director Bill Urbanic was quoted as saying that Murphy thought public investment with sales-tax money would draw new businesses and residents. But the strategy, he said, caused "a fiasco with our downtown retail section."

That's how we remember things, too.