Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mayoral candidates debate nonprofits, privatizing - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Blast from Past: You Paid For It Report (and Reminder)

Now back to regularly scheduled programming...
Mayoral candidates debate nonprofits, privatizing - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'It has worked in other cities, and there is every reason to believe it can work here,' he said."
The question about privatization had weak answers from all the candidates. When it was asked, I whispered to the guy next to me: Zoo, Aviary, Phipps.

None of the candidates talked about what really needed to be said. Other cities isn't the same as THIS city.

I'm sure that everyone in the room has been to one of those facilities. The PPG Zoo and Aquarium, Phipps Conservancy (flower show / botanical gardens), and the National Aviary on the North Side are all wonderful examples of what should be said when there is talk of privatization.

All facilities are doing very well now. All are wonderful asset. All were once owned and operated by the City of Pittsburgh. All are much better institutions now that they are NOT under the city administration's care.

The city has a vibrant legacy with privatization. Those stories needs to be revisited, understood, retold, and reviewed.

All efforts to privatize have NOT been nearly as successful as the big three spin offs.
+ When the auto garage was sold by privatization -- the costs to the city increased.

++ The city did a half-way job in the indoor ice rink on the South Side. It allowed for a private operator to upgrade a facility in public spaces. However, there was no oversight as the private operator stumbled and eventually fell. In recent years, the city has done NOTHING but block access to this public facilities.

+++ Then there is the asphalt plant.

++++ Even the authorities need to be examined in this chatter with privatization. City officials sold the sewer pipes for goodness sakes.
What is public and what is private is not always clear -- and it is NOT as it should be.

For example, letters from the Ethics Hearing Board to the mayor should never be considered PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE.

I think the city has a long way to go in this realm. The city needs to get its act together. Be straight. It's crooked. It does goofy deals.

The Housing Authority is selling city land to one place but giving private development rights to the space above that land.

The city builds stadiums for the Steelers and Pirates -- yet still owed millions on a stadium that was torn down (3RS).

From playground - usa

Another question that unfolded at the debate last night was about Don Barden, the owner of the slots license. The question was about the treatment he was getting from the various neighbors including the other North Side institutions (Science Center, Steelers, Pirates).

My answer would have started by tossing the question to the dirt. The Steelers and Pirates are RENTERS. They are not "neighbors" in a sense of having an equity position on the North Side. I've been pushing to have the Steelers purchase Heinz Field. I'll insist, as best I can, that the Pirates OWN PNC Park. After they own those properties, then I'll consider them 'good neighbors.'

Don Barden is building his own facility, Majestic Star Slots Parlor. Don Barden has purchased the property. He is able to make money with a license given to him from the state -- but -- at least he is going to own his own property. The same should be said for the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins.

From Convention Ce...

The UPMC SportsWorks site, part of the Carnegie Science Center, was recently purchased by PAT (Port Authority Transit). PAT's move makes MORE of the North Side land in the hands of PUBLIC OWNERSHIP. Remember the Gimbles Warehouse?

The land is needed for the expensive tunnel under the river. Part of the need for the tunnel is to take people to UPMC SportsWorks. How ironic is it to build a tunnel to get tourist and visitors to the a destination that was trashed to build the tunnel.

From Convention Ce...

Furthermore, the buzz today is about another delay for the eventual opening of the slots parlor. It won't open until 2009. The politicians have been spending the incomes from that casino since the city's 2006 annual budget. Talk of fruitless, pre-mature politics has never a problem with phantom budgets.

The slots parlor could be operational already. I wanted Don Barden to purchase the white-elephant David Lawrence Convention Center and put the slots parlor in there. We could have been rolling in the cash as soon as the All-Star Game's fan fest concluded.


Schultz said...


Since you have all the answers, maybe you shouldn't have given up your spot on the mayoral ballet to Mr. Oliva???

Mark Rauterkus said...

You're not the first to make the same suggestion this hour.

Plenty have raised this question.

That's okay.

Time will tell. We are making opposition. We are empowering. We are not giving up. We are all learning. We are fighting the good fight. And, I can only do so much.

Remember the first rule from my playbook -- "NEVER BURN OUT."

Schultz said...

Mark - don't you think taking a page from Ron Paul's playbook by being a Libertarian member of the Republican party is the way to go? I mean, I recall you saying you registered as an R so you could vote for him in the primaries, but by you running as a Pub here in the city races I think that gives you a better shot winning, not to mention credibility. Just a thought.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I have been a "R" in the past. I called myself a "Free Market Republican."

That was in the days of Jim Roddey. Mr. Roddey would NOT even sign my nomination paper to allow me the opportunity to get onto the ballot. He was asked. He objected as I had been speaking out on the attempted sell off of PUBLIC TVs channel 16. We used to have WQED 13 and WQEX 16. That was lost, it seems, forever, due to too many wine and cheese parties. (sorta)

When I was a Republican, the Trib didn't cover me.

When I was a Republican, the regional Rs (Turzi, Orie, Habay (woops), Pippy, etc.) didn't answer my calls -- nor that of any city republican.

If I had a nickle ever time that it was said that there is a 5-to-1 voter registration edge for Ds, blah, blah, blah -- I'd be filthy rich.

So, being an "R" isn't the "easy way" to go.

And, it is also the party of G.W. Bush.

I feel free being a Libertarian.

However, being able to vote for and work for Ron Paul in the spring 2008 primary will make a huge difference in my political landscape. So, that will happen -- should I not get elected as a "L" in November.

I think I have credit and respect now -- as a L and given my history.

Among the voters and citizens, I (and we) do fine. Among the issues, we do great. Among the media, we do poorly -- because the media's outputs are 'tainted.' So, we must make our own media -- and that overcomes their pinched products.