Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I meet with the Post-Gazette Editorial Review Board, Wed at 11:30 am

But first, a word from the archives.
This video comes via an interesting route. It was shot while I was on the other side of the world, in New Zealand. It comes after the polls close following the primary election , May 2007. It shows the arrival of a city council person, Jim Motznik, to a victory party of Bruce Kraus. Kraus was excited. Kraus won the D party primary election over the endorsed Dem, Jeff Koch.

For a few weeks, this video was part of the digital archives of Agent Ska, back in May 2007. Then it vanished. Now it returned.

The life history of this content flows much like sealed court records on the Allegheny County Pothonatary site: here, there -- gone -- now elsewhere.
Scaife demands documents from Post-Gazette: "The Scaifes filed for divorce Feb. 8. The court ordered the documents sealed in March, but, according to Prothonotary Michael Lamb, the seal was broken Aug. 28 when an employee in his office may have neglected to make the necessary computer step when scanning in a new filing in the case. The window remained open for several days after that, he said."
And, the P-G reported upon the video clip of the embrace, so, it must be news:

Catty council

When Pittsburgh Councilman Jeff Koch put the last claw in the kitty coffin of colleague Jim Motznik's cat licensing legislation today some in the chamber thought immediately of primary election night, May 15.

That's when Mr. Koch's brief political career came to an apparent end with his defeat at the hands of Bruce Kraus. Blogger Agent Ska caught on video a touching moment, when Mr. Motznik walked into the victor's party wearing a Kraus campaign shirt, and got a warm shout out and a big hug from the future councilman from South Side.

Now, Early Returns isn't saying that Mr. Koch's no vote deciding the fate of Mr. Motznik's signature legislation was payback. It's our understanding that Mr. Motznik did little to help the Kraus campaign, though he later implied that he was glad there would be some turnover on council. And far be it from us to suggest that Mr. Motznik's Sept. 5 characterization of Mr. Koch as one of the "weak links" on council would ever play into the outgoing councilman's decision involving an important civic issue.

But on council, it's often personal relationships and diplomacy that win the day as much as the merits of the issue, so who knows?

And if one of Mr. Koch's two pet cats is seen prowling around Mr. Motznik's backyard fish pond any time soon, we may alter our judgment.
First published on July 24, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Let's follow the bouncing ball.

Today, I'm going to meet with the P-G editorial board in solo interview. The last time they huddled and sent out this article with an endorsement for independence.

Kraus in District 3: Democrats should seek independence on councilMay 03, 2007 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Just when Pittsburghers in City Council District 3 were getting to know their new councilman of 13 months, voters will go to the polls May 15 to decide if he deserves a full four-year term.

Although the face-off between incumbent Jeffrey Koch of Arlington and challenger Bruce Kraus of South Side Flats is technically the Democratic primary, the eventual nominee will be heavily favored to win in November since no Republican is on the ballot. That nominee should be Bruce Kraus.

We say this although we've seen growth by Mr. Koch, 45, since he joined council in March 2006, after winning a special election that included Mr. Kraus and six other candidates. This time it's a one-on-one affair for Democrats in Allentown, Arlington, Arlington Heights, Beltzhoover, Carrick, Knoxville, Mt. Washington, South Oakland, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes and St. Clair Village.

Mr. Koch, a former employee of the city public works department and a party committeeman, arrived on Pittsburgh council by the traditional route. He has familiar allies, with endorsements from the county Democratic Committee, Allegheny County Labor Council and various units of the United Auto Workers, Teamsters, Fire Fighters and Fraternal Order of Police -- all of which gives us pause.

Pittsburgh is a city that requires courageous decisions on spending. Public-employee contracts, pension debt and streamlining the workforce are live-or-die issues for a government in fiscal distress. What happens when the needs of a councilman's powerful backers collide with the interests of taxpayers?

Councilman Koch clearly has a desire to work for the district. He is pushing legislation to limit the number of liquor licenses in dense business zones like Carson Street, lobbying the Port Authority to complete the East Warrington Avenue resurfacing project and working to obtain federal Weed and Seed funds for anti-crime programs.

But Mr. Kraus, 53, is the more independent choice.

The challenger is a forceful and articulate advocate for the district. As the operator of an interior design firm, he knows the city both as a resident and as a business owner. He has grown impatient with city government's approach to bar patrons whose drunken revelry trashes the neighborhood around Carson Street and he finds the councilman's liquor-license legislation poorly crafted and timed for election-season benefit.

Even without being on council, Mr. Kraus has rolled up his sleeves on behalf of the community -- as chair of the Pittsburgh Anti-Graffiti Task Force, an original member of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission, a board member of the South Side Community, president of the South Side Chamber of Commerce and a player in the United Way Neighborhood Leadership Program to promote healthy living habits.

The candidates agree on many issues, but we give the edge -- and our endorsement -- to Bruce Kraus because of his citizen involvement and his independent voice.
First published on May 2, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Happy Birthday wishes to Jim went out from Agent Ska, http://AgentSka.blogspot.com.

I had hoped that she'd put this clip onto a different site that is better at 'mash-ups' -- JumpCut.com. But, I'm glad to see the recycled electrons on the wire again.

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