Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Perhaps you missed this: I was a guest with Chris Mathews on Hardball

Panther Rants Rauterkus: I got two words for you, Chris: Poisonous Snakes. Forget using these things as research. We need to utilize them by dropping them in surrounding areas around Oakland.
So I've searched my photo archives for images of snakes, to help drive home the point. I know I've got something here.

Humping down the Snake River. That's Erik and Grant. Make more children Pitt fans!

We are, in this photo, on a raft on the Snake River.

The Great Wall of China snakes over the hills. But it is more of a dragon's tail, not a snake.

This pedestrian walkway snakes along the side of the road and under the highway. We need more elevated snakes in Oakland to take foot traffic off of the roads. Click image for a larger view.

The video from YouTube will be live in a few moments.

From planning-urban

Panther Rants invites me to a tailgate

Panther Rants We at Panther Rants don't regularly dabble in politics - we piss enough people off without getting into real hot-button issues. But when it comes to the race for Pittsburgh City Council and the Controllers Office, we feel it is in the best interest of all Pittsburghers to pull the lever for Mark Rauterkus on Tuesday.
Check it out! I'll be there!

Video: Great Interview with David Schuilenburg

The video of the interview of David Schuilenburg, guest, with David C. Adams, host.

Both Davids are Independent candidates for Pittsburgh City Council in the November 6, 2007 general election. Schuilenberg is in City Council District 1. Adams is a candidate in district 9.

I endorse both candidates for real change and new leadership in the city.

Audio: Great interview of David Schuilenburg, candidate for Pgh City Council, district 1

This is a man with a plan. Check it out.

Also available on

Schenley Spartins -- State Champions in Basketball -- Defending for the final time.

I went to the press event hosted by Mark Roosevelt, Superintendent, Pgh Public Schools. He talked about closing Schenley High School. This is its last year, according to his plan.

He didn't want to break the news this way this soon. He wanted to keep the plan under cover for another couple of weeks. Too bad.

In a nutshell, the citizens, students and family of Pittsburgh need to brace themselves. Another number of tugs and yanks are about to come. The students and families are always getting jerked around by the district. It doesn't feel good. It means more are going to depart.

Frick Middle School -- it is closing too. Yank!

Rodgers Middle School moves too. Welcome to downtown 6th, 7th and 8th graders.


In the presentation period, the five 'dropout factories' were not mentioned once. Not a peep about Westinghouse, Oliver, Carrick, Peabody nor Langley. Zippo.

It seems to me that Pittsburgh has some schools that work and some schools that don't. Tinkering with the ones that work and delaying action on the ones that don't is silly.

Schenley is a public high school. I got the feeling that the administration was looking for the Schenley graduates to chip in $20 or $30 million for fix-ups. They need $60 million, so they say. They might be looking for an endowment from the alumni. Gosh.

Stewardship means you take care of what you got.

Capital costs in the city are huge. They went ahead and designed lots of building additions that are now worthless. Poof. That's money down the drain.

Still no talk of a Vo Tech. Roosevelt said it would be talked about on or before May, 2008. Don't hold your breath.

Stay tuned..... Debate video is pending.

We've got debate coverage to post in a day or so. First, enjoy trick-or-treating with the kids.

Michael Lamb said some silly things, again. He even raised the dog license issue. Unreal.

Keep watching this blog....

Yahoo News sucks!

Mainstream media serves up another load of bull!

Fox News is in town now (yesterday and today at least) doing a story about the Mayor's Race. We used to have a FOX station. Now FOX's camera man is from Philly, freelance.

Going on a "witch hunt" on Halloween. Hey FOP, which witch is the wicked witch?

I got to speak to today in Pittsburgh City Council Chambers just after Mr. Jim M, the boss of the Pgh FOP (Fraternal Order of Police). He called the proposed domestic abuse bills and associated amendments a "witch hunt."

He provided the perfect introduction for a Haloween scare.

I don't want to dwell on the topic, but my support goes to Jeanie Clark and the good witches who hope to curb the powerful who have been given the upper hand with a badge, gun, or government job yet are known to have some feeling scared.

Jim Motznik says that all city employees with PFAs (Protection From Abuse) orders given to them by a judge should be under the same treatment.


I feel that we shouldn't hire and promote those with PFAs. And, it would be good to not elect them as well.

Pittsburgh has serious problems with corruption. The Pgh Ethics Hearing Board is one slam dunk example, woops.... what out for that 'slamming.'

Plenty of trust among the citizens in the city, and throughout the nation, has been lost. Let's act. Let's work to protect those that need the protection by taking down the ones with power. Abuse of power by the powerful should be addressed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pool Plunge Saves Couple From Wildfire, They Stay Under Rock In Water Almost Four Hours, Watching Home Burn To Ground - CBS News

Pool Plunge Saves Couple From Wildfire, They Stay Under Rock In Water Almost Four Hours, Watching Home Burn To Ground - CBS News 'We spent the next three-and-a-half hours under (a rock overhanging the pool),' Roger said, 'inside the pool, watching everything we've ever owned burn up, and melt, actually.'

Post-Gazette NOW - Local News - Early Returns

You have to read between the lines. They were all sticking up for me!
Post-Gazette NOW - Local News - Early Returns Council Trashes P-G ... Pittsburgh Council was feisty today, sounding off on the Post-Gazette's endorsement of Republican mayoral challenger Mark DeSantis, especially challenging the following sentence critiquing Democratic Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's deal with a neighbor to handle its trash collection: 'Instead of privatizing a service like trash collection, he extends it to Wilkinsburg -- not because it saves Pittsburgh money but because it's created a few more city jobs while helping a municipal neighbor.'

Members of the all-Democratic council, led by Jim Motznik, criticized the paper for, in their view, turning a positive development into a negative one. They especially bristled at any suggestion that trash collection should have been privatized, since city workers beat out two private firms in a bidding process.

The other council members joined in, sharing for city cable cameras their beefs with the P-G's coverage and endorsements, and lashing out at the media in general. Even Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle chimed in, saying the media 'sensationalizes' everything -- possibly including the court-ordered seizure of her allegedly taxpayer-funded mink coat yesterday because she faces criminal charges of misappropriating city money.

Onorato signs sex offenders law - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Onorato signs sex offenders law - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato today signed into law an ordinance that prohibits registered sexual offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school, child care center, community center, public park or playground.
How will this be enforced? You bet that there are questions.

Questions of enforcement are everywhere.

Plus, we have 'grandfathered' sex offenders. That is an interesting concept.

The distance of 2,500 feet is more than 800 yards. That is about a half a mile in distance.

I'd love to see a map that marks circles around all the schools, child care centers, community centers, parks and playgrounds. These circles would stretch out 2,500 feet from those facilities.

This is a project for Google Maps after the election cycle ends.

Townhall on Nov 13 about jobs

See the comments. It is on my google calendar too.

QED to hold late debate

My rely to QED follows this email.
Mayoral Debate officially titled: WQED Presents: The 2007 Pittsburgh Mayoral Debate will air on:

WQED TV-13 and WQED HD (13.1) will first air on Thursday, 11/1/07, 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Program will repeat on WQED TV-13 Saturday, 11/3/07 from 1:00 AM to 2:00 AM.

Program description:

Who will be the next mayor of Pittsburgh and how is that person going to address the many issues that face the city & affect the entire metropolitan region? Meet the candidates and hear what they have to say about tough issues. Moderated by Stacy Smith. Produced by WQED in partnership with the League of Women Voters.

Live Studio Audience--please report to WQED Studios, 4802 Fifth Avenue in Oakland by 7:30pm on November 1.
Live Simul-Stream at from 8-9pm on November 1
Public invited to post questions for the candidates before November 1 at
Debate panelists: Michael Bartley, Chris Moore and Tonia Caruso

George Hazimanolis
Senior Director of Corporate Communications
WQED Pittsburgh
4802 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-622-6413 FAX

WQED Pittsburgh: Winner, 2007 and 2006 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Station Excellence

"WQED changes lives."
Thanks for the mayor's debate efforts.

I wish the Libertarian and Socialist were included. I understand that these guys (Tony Oliva and Ryan Scott) are NOT going to win. However, we all are less and the region goes deeper into the despair when the elites exclude. When they are not free to join on the debate stage, the young depart the region.

Their inclusion isn't for this election on Nov 6. But, they need to be included for the future elections and the recruitment of new candidates in the years to come.

You need to think bigger and into the future.

We can't count on QED. That's very sad. That's not in line with the charter of public broadcasting.

My polls (with thousands of calls to city residents) say that more than 75% of the voters today are UNDECIDED about the controller's race. Meanwhile, six to seven percent of the voters are still undecided about the mayor's race.

You mayor's debate is nearly meaningless even for Ravenstahl and DeSantis. Furthermore it is like poison to the common ground of democracy for the third party candidates and independents.

If you really wanted to help -- you'd scratch the debate as you have planned and hold a different debate among the controller's candidates. Ask the mayor candidates to attend and ask the questions (being on the panel) to Michael Lamb and myself.

Can you forward this to J. I have little faith that she'll return my call.

Last night's impressions with conversations

Last night we had a candidate night and debate in city council district 9. I arrived early and stayed late, talking with nearly everyone who attended.

Overall, I was very impressed with the number of people who read my blog, watch the videos and care what I communicate.

I got questions about our recent trip to New Zealand.

One guy said, "I know about you thanks to"

A women told me that she is a frequent blog poster to the other blogs. She reads my blog all the time. She especially likes what I have posted in the threads at other people's blogs. I invited here to post at this blog. Her reply was "why?" Her opinion was that my blog postings here generally leave no room for comment. She said, "I cover it all." She thanked me for doing a good job and she has noticed how many of the ideas have taken hold in other places.

Another candidate reads my blogs and the other blogs every day. He'll fit in on city council as many there also read this blog too.

We keep plugging. Thanks for reading. Thanks for your feedback and kind words when we meet in person.

Reason #1: We Don't Need No Stinking Reasons

There are plenty of reasons to vote "NO" on the judge retention vote on election day. But top among them is about plain old power. Power belongs with the people. The judges have gone overboard. The government has gone overboard. The people have power in their votes. It needs to be used.
From the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

Article I, Section 2

"All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper." [Emphasis added.]

We are the sovereign People. As sovereigns, we are entitled to vote in any way we choose for any reason we see fit. We do not need the permission of judges. We do not need the approval of legislators. We do not need a note from the Governor.

We especially don't need to read some handbook on "How To Vote" produced by a bunch of lawyers at the Pennsylvania Bar Association who have a vested interest in maintaining business-as-usual. And we don't need them to infer that a retention vote is somehow too complicated for us to understand.

We do not live under Lords. We do not follow the mantra of some High Priest. Judges are not better than us. They are our servants, and we can choose to fire them at will. They are not automatically entitled to another term.

Year after year, the Republican Party infers that we'd be much better off if all elections were won by Republicans. The Democratic Party fights to elect all Democrats to office. Rational Pennsylvanians know that neither of these arguments hold water, yet we have an election system that provides a 'party lever' at the polling place to allow people to make such blanket votes.

This year, PACleanSweep is advocating a 'no' vote on most (not all) judges up for retention not to place power in the hands of some political party, but to return power to the People. All three branches of government have failed to defend the plain meaning of the Constitution. When they fail, the people must step up to the plate or risk losing all their rights.

We've heard a lot of reasons to vote a certain way in any given election: Because he's a Democrat. Because she's NOT a Democrat. Because he's rich and famous. Because she has the best hair. Because he's the best looking. Because she cheated on her husband. Because we need to send a message to Harrisburg.

The fact is, all these reasons - regardless of how silly some of them may sound - are perfectly viable reasons to vote for or against any candidate. There is no handbook on the proper way to vote. There is no right or wrong reason. It is up to each individual voter to make up their own mind in their own way. This is why We the People are sovereign - because ultimately, we can make any choice we like.

We don't need no stinking reasons. Really, we don't. Despite not needing any, PACleanSweep has provided a number of rational reasons in our Top Ten Reasons to Vote NO list. The most important of those reasons is to defend our most fundamental law, the Constitution. Government has utterly failed us in this area - despite every single elected official having sworn an oath to the document - so we must act on our own behalf.

It is not just our right; it is our duty and responsibility.

A 'yes' vote on retentions is a vote for continuing the culture of arrogance, greed and corruption in Pennsylvania. A 'no' vote applies the brakes and helps turn the Commonwealth in a new and better direction.

The choice is clear. And that choice is ours to make - in private, without anyone looking over our shoulders.

We don't need no stinking reasons.

Top Ten Reasons to Vote 'NO'

Rassling with Writters' Block -- or Bloggers Block

Man, there is so much going on. I'm sorta frozen with lots of loose ends on the posting fronts. Lots of posts are in the draft folder.

Five Pgh Public High Schools are now known as "drop out factories."

The teachers and union are okay with a strike about compensation.

Lamb thinks that competition in the marketplace is going to send prices through the roof.

The P-G editorial board becomes a mind readers and fails with a zero.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tune into WTAE TV 4 -- 11 pm news -- on Monday night

WTAE TV 4 was at tonight's debate. The first act featured Michael Lamb vs. myself, Mark Rauterkus.

The second act was Ricky Burgess vs. David C. Adams.

Open thread.

Bio of Mark Rauterkus

Mark Rauterkus, 48, Libertarian, seeking office of controller, city wide.
108 S. 12th Street, South Side
412 298 3432
Journalism, Ohio U., '82, with honors
Grad school at Baylor, P.E.

swim coach

Publishing a Value Added Mini Series in video on the web, Plus, working on a book on public policy: Planks
Blog ranked 3rd most influential in PA politics (9-07)
Elected board of Allegheny Libertarians (vice chair) and ex-GOP city committee
Ran grassroots campaigns on issues and mayor, PA senate, council.
Consistent task force participant

Q: 2.1 What are the important problems of Pittsburgh that the city controller can address?

Schools. Citizen Engagement. Loss of liberty.


Schools must have discipline and parent/community involvement. Build upon successful programs. Fix high schools already.

Words = 32

Q: 2.2 What specific procedures should the controller's office use to address the fiscal crissis of the city?

I'll create and organize a CITIZENS' CONGRESS with hundreds of volunteer activists working as deputy auditors. Engaged residents must establish a tight grip on city government and schools The city is at the brink and out of control. Our values, priorities, benchmarks, and open dialog need an overhaul. We need to think again and create community with new leaders and real citizen empowerment.

I'll launch a Youth Technology Summit. I'll leverage open source software methods everywhere.

Words = 76
Total allowed, 125. Total above = 32 + 76 = 108

Twanda Carlisle's pension frozen; she must turn over fur coat

Twanda Carlisle's pension frozen; she must turn over fur coat A judge today froze the salary and pension account of Twanda Carlisle, the city councilwoman set to go on trial, and ordered her to turn over a fur coat valued at over $4,000.

Bill would limit open access to state records - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Bill would limit open access to state records - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review A state House bill would allow government officials to refuse people access to public documents if they believe a taxpayer is attempting to 'harass the agency.'

The state's existing open records law, considered one of the weakest in the nation, does not allow public officials to deny people access to documents for this reason.
Don't let this happen. The harassment of some who push against corruption is just another step to being a hero for others.

I am with the PA Newspaper Assn. on this, for sure.

Ann from the NBC Today Show is in Christchurch, NZ

She is visiting one of our homes away from home, Christchurch, NZ. Everyone on the way to the bottom of the world goes there. Next stop, South Pole.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Darn News: DeSantis Smashes Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's Face in WPXI Debate

Another blogger's opinion about today's mayor debate with half the ballot:
The Darn News: DeSantis Smashes Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's Face in WPXI Debate I can’t tell you how angry it makes me to think anyone would vote for Luke. He’s a simpleton of dubious intellect. Here are three of Luke’s most memorable malapropisms and platitudes: ...

It sucks when the only time we talk about the parks is to report upon the killing of geese and the associated outrage

South Side Geese Still Dead and Gone

About a dozen people protested and passed around propaganda to drivers along Second Avenue on Thursday about the killing of a group of South Side geese by the US Dept. of Agriculture on October 10. The reaction from the public was encouraging.

The "honk against geese slaughter" signs prompted a chorus of responses (including from an 18-wheeler on the Parkway) and several drivers stopped to ask in disbelief if we were talking about "the geese by the boat launch." A lawyer who received one of the leaflets emailed to tell he was filing his own FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request about the killings.

Lynn Cullen, radio show host, came out against the slaughter on WPTT 1360 on Thursday. [ - halfway through Hour 1 of the 10/25 show].

The Post Gazette published an article in which a USDA official claims that "to the best of her knowledge" the kills happened on private land

Try telling that to the local residents who witnessed it! Doesn't the USDA know where it's operating? Their main spokesperson confirmed last week that the round-up happened in River Front Park.

Write letters to the Post-Gazette expressing outrage over the killing of the South Side geese. Let the public know that this slaughter did happen on public land and absolutely no effort was made to use non-lethal methods at the Park.

TV 11 debate rehash and some coaching from myself on various issues

It is nice to watch the debate at fast speed on the web.

The opening by Mark DeSantis went straight at the negative mailer that Luke Ravenstahl sent out. It set the record straight. DeSantis didn't work for this President. Rather, he was in the White House in the term of George H.W. Bush. He is a 'moderate Republican' along with the legacy of the late Senator John Heinz.

Meanwhile, Luke said he was driven to the debate today, by the future. I guess he didn't get a ride in the Yukon nor from Mr. Zober or Mr. Ford.

"It fell to me.

"This city's future is what drove me to run for city council when I was a young 23 year old. This city's future is what drives me here today."

If I'm Mark DeSantis, I say to Luke, "If I'm Mayor, the city workers will NOT want to move out. If you are mayor, the fraud as to where some of the police reside will linger. If you are mayor, you'll need to and want to continue to enslave workers here. You'll continue to run with a policy that bribes businesses to either stay or to move here. And, all along, you'll think it is FAIR to demand that others be less free.

Discover Pittsburgh

This is an issue of freedom. DeSantis has yet to hit upon that core concept. Freedom and liberties are "pet sounds" for me. When they get said, I take note.

As mayor, (or as controller, etc.), one of my most fundamental goals is to advance freedom. I want to grow in personal liberties. And, with the expansion of freedom in our shared urban setter, we'll grow our city. More people will move here to be more free than they are somewhere else. Otherwise, when freedom is taken away, and taken away by GOVERMENT, and taken away by EMPLOYERS, and taken away by layers of red tape -- people see what's really going on. People don't like to wear a ball and chain.

As freedom diminishes, as it has for the past generations in Pittsburgh, people vote with their feet. People leave. People head to the hills. People want to give what is best to their children. This is why people depart Pittsburgh. This is why Pittsburgh is less than half of what it has been.

Luke Ravenstahl does not understand freedom. Luke wants a workforce that is less free than what I want.

A workforce that is limited as to where they live is going to be less productive, less talented, less loyal, less motivated and less willing to stay.

In the end, I want all the city employees to live and work, worship and learn, heal and even morn from time to time -- all in community -- all within our midst. The borderline at Edgewood, or Avenworth, or Baldwin shouldn't be like the "IRON CURTIN."

Pittsburgh should not be like an East Berlin for City Employees.

When we open the floodgates and end the residency requirement, we'll need to hold our breaths. We should take measure of who we are and what value the city offers to its residents. We need to monitor our performance as it relates to all aspects of life.

As we become more and more free within the city, people will flock back to the city.

Police are understaffed in the city now. The mayor has not hired as many police as required by the overlords. There are too many openings on the police force today -- because the police force is over worked.

When we can hire anyone to the police force, regardless of where they reside, we'll more easily get to the designated staffing levels.

Furthermore, existing members of the police force and recent members of the Pgh Police force have been known to resign and depart their city jobs to work elsewhere. Employee retention is an issue. They're taking other jobs. Some pay more. Some pay less. The revolving door among the ranks of the Pgh Police Force would slow if we give people the flexibility to live elsewhere.

Finally, there is fraud. People who "have to" live in the city might really sleep most of the time some where else. It is not right to ask anyone to live a lie. Let's be honest. Let's be real. Live and let live. Do it here. Do it elsewhere. We need the police and detectives to be on the job when it counts.

I don't want to pay people for sleeping. You should not get money for sleeping in the city as to sleeping in the burbs. The mayor feels it is okay to pay people who ONLY sleep in the city. If you sleep outside the city, your pay check is in jeopardy. That is bunk. Let's put this issue to rest, shall we.

Live and let live. I want to be the mayor of free people. I want to be mayor in a city that is 100% square and honest with its residents and its employees.

I'm here to promote honesty and freedom. And, I realize that we need to operate in the most frugal ways possible. We'll save money and do a better job when we are able to unlock the ball and chain from the legs -- or pillows -- of our employees.

The future of the city is what drove Luke here today. He came here from the North Side, not from Cranberry, where the last mayor would have driven from. The future of the city hinges upon the amount of freedom that we are able to build for ourselves and each other. Pittsburghers know, and they are about to understand better than any other people in the world, what it means to be free and responsible. Every ounce of freedom comes with an equal measure of responsibility.

These are keen and critical factors to a productive and prosperous life. I won't ever forget these facts nor lessen the priority I put upon being free.

Live where you and your family want. Do it joyfully. Put down some deep roots. I say, "Come Live Over Here." Others can join in that chant, from their neighborhoods. The verses will change, but the refrain is the same. Come here with an attraction, not out of a restriction.

Discover Pittsburgh

For mayor: Mark DeSantis is the choice for a new Pittsburgh

Michael Lamb, D, status quo candidate for the city-wide office of controller must be shaking in his boots reading about how the P-G is endorsing change and the ouster of one party domination. This type of thinking has to carry over to trouble for him too.

The P-G must just be waiting to the last minute, say next Sunday, to give its endorsement to me for Controller. I was the first of the endorsement meetings weeks ago. I left them a copy of the DVD. Watching that would have turned their opinions about me to positive.
For mayor: Mark DeSantis is the choice for a new Pittsburgh A Democratic mayor and a nine-member Democratic council have robbed the city of the robust political competition that renews the state and keeps the federal government in check. We see the invigorating value of shifting party control in Harrisburg and Washington, but on Grant Street we see rust, cobwebs and a city bravely trying to manage its own decline.
Well, a Democratic mayor, council and controller has been the forumla for robbing the city of its robust political competition.

Plus, the federal government is NOT in check. Hardly. It isn't in check when Congress does not approve of the war, yet more than 3,000 service men and women have died.

So, having both D and Rs in DC are not a guarantee. But, at least there is a 10-term member of the US House who is against unconstitutional wars. We have heard from him and seen his popularity rise throughout the nation and even within the ranks of those in the military.

Going from Blue to Red -- as in Blue Dem and Red Rep -- is a hard leap for the PG. Going to Indie is easier. But, it doesn't really break the log jam as others have won with the "I" label. But, making a shift to the 'purple' Liberarian, might be the best ticket yet for Pittsburgh's mindset.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Red Sox have SOME spoiled NEWBIE fans

Boston Red Sox - Red Sox have spoiled some fans - The Boston Globe There are people who claim to be members of Red Sox Nation who have no idea that Bucky Dent's middle name is Bleeping.
Some great lines in that article.

My wife, with her Boston roots, wants victory in 4. She says 'take no prisoners.' She wondered if after the game 1 blow out if the team could bank a few of those runs for the next game.

My son was upset that the first game went on. Why didn't they use the 10-run rule, he wondered.

DeSantis raised more than mayor since June - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

DeSantis raised more than mayor since June - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton's Grow PA political action committee donated $85,333 worth of in-kind contributions.
There is more to this than what is being reported.

Bill Scranton's team has made the Mark DeSantis campaign a skirmish in advance of the next race for PA Governor. Scranton pulled out of the race the last time after Lynn Swann arrived, much like Bill Peduto pulled out of the D party primary in 2007.

Scranton's fine. The team is fine. Great to have the buzz and help for DeSantis. But, my goals and their goals don't overlap 100%.

I want to fix Pittsburgh. I want to better this region. I want to be a part of a movement that makes our public life and governmental landscape more open and honest. Teamwork and outreach matter. Sustaining discussions and building future leadership is important.

We need to work together to craft excellent solutions. Those policies need to be tweeked, packaged, promoted and re-tooled.

That's what I crave from those at the top of the ticket. I'm hungry for real change, still.

LTE to Politicians

Letters to the editor: "A promise to politicians who waste trees and my time"
Carol didn't mention CDs nor DVDs. So, I'm in the clear.

I'm not killing trees. Rather, I using recycled electrons.

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Trib left my name off of this suggestion. That's okay. More gets done when you don't take credit for it.
Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review An observation: Acting Pittsburgh Controller Tony Pokora says the point behind his noting that the city is missing out on millions of dollars in annual property taxes because PNC Park, Heinz Field and Mellon Arena are owned by a tax-exempt government authority is the need for state revenue sharing to make up the difference. Actually, the point should be that sports franchises are big businesses, should own the facilities in which they do business and should pay property taxes. Period.
The Trib makes it an "observation." Well, Tony Pokora is a lame duck. The Trib could have made it a "LAUREL" and taken my counter to Tony's plan.

By the way, I spoke about this at city hall. I gave the statement to J.B. of the Trib and R.L. of the P-G. And, I talked with Frank G. of KQV about this too. Not that I didn't try.

The stadiums should be sold to the teams. The Stadium Authority should be liquidated. And, in the process, the fields and venues should be absorbed by the new Pgh Park District along with the RAD Tax.

That is the leverage that Michael Lamb can't see. His vision would do nothing.

Tell the teams we are selling the stadiums to the teams. And, until they are sold to the teams, they are going to be the property of the new Pittsburgh Park District. Then the Park District Trustee can use them as they wish for recreational matters and income generation.

Likewise, the RAD board too.

Perry High School could be playing its home football at PNC Park.

Some have called for a re-opener of the Firefighters contract. Be that as it may. I want to re-open the contracts for the public ownership of the facilities. That old lease would be in limbo cause there is new ownership with new attitudes.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ravenstahl doubles spending of DeSantis

Ravenstahl doubles spending of DeSantis The campaign finance reports were filed today with the Allegheny County elections division.
BTW, I'm exempt from needing to file. I've been a good boy with the campaign so as to not needlessly cut down trees to make lawn signs, hurt the environment, nor cause global warming. I'm investing in recycled electrons with the internet.

My friends are all urged to donate to the campaign of Ron Paul for President. It seems more important and pressing to we the US out of senseless wars abroad.

Mayoral Debate, live at the JCC

ONLY Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Mark DeSantis -- with the Libertarian, Tony Oliva left out in the cold.

When: Sunday, October 28

Time: 10:30- 11:30 am. Televised live on WPXI

Where: JCC, Katz Theater, 5738 Darlington Road

RSVP: Call 412-992-5251 or visit
Admission: No charge

Seating: Seating will take place between 9-10 am
There will be no admittance to the auditorium after 10:00 am

Questions go to: 412 992 5243

Fighting back. The PCTV 21 Debate went up in smoke

Tony for Mayor: Fighting back It gets pretty frustrating when the media tries to influence an election so strongly. You see, they say I have no legitimate shot so they exclude me...but in truth they exclude me and thus try to negate any shot that I would have. Hence my using the term, Self Fulfilling Prophecy.

Open Thread: S.V. school strike -- from the Baron on the Blogs

You ask, I deliver.

Chat away about the Seneca Valley Teachers Strike in this thread.

Students for Liberty Conference in NY in 2008

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania encourages students to participate

Harrisburg, PA – The first Students for Liberty Conference will be held February 22-24, 2008, at Columbia University in New York City. The purpose of this conference is to bring undergraduate and graduate students together to learn more about the cause of liberty and how best to promote liberty as college students. This is an opportunity for students from all over to meet others with a common interest in liberty and learn effective practices to bring back to their respective college campuses.

LPPa Media Relations Chair, Doug Leard, indicated “We are proud to promote an event dedicated to promoting the principles of freedom for the future leaders of our Commonwealth and our country.”

Keynote Speakers:

David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute.

Dr. Alan Kors, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Other highlights of the conference include workshops on effective campus organization and lectures on subjects of liberty. A Liberty Fair will bring a variety of organizations dedicated to liberty to speak with students about their organization, employment opportunities and other avenues by which to promote liberty (analogous to a career fair). Nightly socials will be held to encourage further discourse and interaction between participants and speakers.

The SFLC is organized by an Executive Board consisting of five students from five different Universities: Alexander McCobin (University of Pennsylvania), Sloane Frost (Cornell University), Pin-Quan Ng (Columbia University), Sam Eckman (University of Pittsburgh), and Ricky Tracy (Seton Hall University).

Inquiries concerning the Conference can be sent to
The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in both Pennsylvania and the United States. Nationwide there are over 200,000 registered Libertarians with organizations in all 50 states. Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices throughout the nation. Please visit or for more information.

Ron Paul on with Jay Leno on Oct 30

Ron Paul supporters from all across the country are sending a special thank you to Jay Lenno and the Tonight Show for inviting Dr. Paul on their show on October 30th.

Burgess in District 9: The Democrat has skills to help the community

The P-G editorial board paints itself into another weird position.
Burgess in District 9: The Democrat has skills to help the communityMr. Adams is a Marine veteran and a neighborhood activist who has his own three-pronged plan: cut crime, raise motivation and develop power.
The plan to cut crime has been released here and there in bite-sized measures. It was not something that can be put onto the table before the P-G editorial review board in the micro meeting they hold with candidates. And, it would be presented before the opposition. That isn't the time nor the place for such a release of the most comprehensive crime prevention plan this city has ever seen.

If the editorial review board of the P-G really wants to understand the crime prevention plan, come to the press event on Monday at 5 pm at St. James AME Church parking lot. Dave Adams will be talking about his plan, from A-to-Z, before that evening's debates. The debates begin at 6:30 pm. However, the plan gets released to the press with follow-up questions and discussions at 5 pm.

The Adams plan from his "Conscious Group" is a work that has taken years to mold, pitch, build, modify and launch. The blue-print isn't like saying clean, green and nice. No way. His plan claims to be comprehensive and it can work throughout the city, as well as throughout the 9th council district.

One of the most pressing statement in the endorsement article about Adams talks about his working with other council members. P-G: "Adams betrays a lack of interest in working closely with other council members." YES!

That is the problem with city council. City council allowed the corruption of Twanda to linger. Council, with Luke Ravenstahl as its president, covered up for each other. Council needs people to be elected that are skeptical of everything council does. Council needs people to speak for others from outside the party. Council needs to have an insider that isn't operating on a wink-wink basis. When the going gets rough, they all work closely to cover up corruption for each other.

Rev. Ricky Burgess is a Dem. That makes him unqualified to step in the same post that was cloaked in corruption, by a prior Dem. He is guilty by association -- as they are all guilty by association -- as they are all working in a lock-step style. The city is falling apart. District 9 has it the worst.

Adams betrays the machine. That is exactly what the citizens need to know. That is what the voters need to celebrate.

The District 9 residents have not had many 'benefits' in the community because they have people who have understood the political process. What a joke from the P-G: "The people of District 9 deserve a representative who understands the political process and can use it to benefit the community."

With an understanding of that political process -- we get more blight, more crime, more vacant properties, more decline, more cronies, more special-interest tax deals that help developers and hurt residents and the marketplace.

Be bold. Betray the machine. Restore trust and hope with citizens.

When the politicians stick together, when the thugs and citizens stick together, when the police stick together -- we all loose.

I have faith that Dave Adams will have the skills and ambition to go nose to nose with anyone in the community, in the region and in D.C. and elsewhere in the government.

Burgess in District 9: The Democrat has skills to help the community - Friday, October 26, 2007 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In last May's Democratic primary, Pittsburgh Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle faced a field of eight challengers in District 9 all vowing not to be the next Twanda Carlisle.

Weary of scandal and corruption allegations against the incumbent, Democratic voters nominated the Rev. Ricky Burgess, 50, the pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church and the executive director of Concerned Citizens Community Creations Center. Running on a three-point platform of fiscal responsibility, crime reduction and economic development, the nominee promised meaningful reform for a part of Pittsburgh that has not had effective representation for years.

District 9 includes Homewood, East Liberty, East Hills, Lincoln-Lemington, Larimer, Belmar and parts of Friendship, North Point Breeze and Garfield.

Mr. Burgess has one more hurdle to clear before taking a seat on council. His opponent in the Nov. 6 election is independent candidate David Adams, 49, of East Hills. Mr. Adams is a Marine veteran and a neighborhood activist who has his own three-pronged plan: cut crime, raise motivation and develop power.

While Mr. Burgess speaks at length about trying to attract businesses and working with other council members to ensure that the district isn't an afterthought, Mr. Adams promises to build community consensus by slashing crime by 40 percent and promoting the cultivation of cultural pride. He declined, however, to detail his crime-fighting plan for the editorial board.

As to reviving the neighborhood's economy, he warned against gentrifying developers who want "to push us out." He said, "We have to protect our black areas and we don't want white people to come in."

Mr. Burgess countered by saying, "This district is not an African-American district," and that he'd work to build Pittsburgh's diversity. Both candidates are black.

Mr. Adams is ambitious, but he betrays a lack of interest in working closely with other council members. The people of District 9 deserve a representative who understands the political process and can use it to benefit the community.

The pastor has the right approach. Mr. Burgess' emphasis on reviving business, enhancing safety and dealing on Grant Street with Pittsburgh's fiscal crisis are sound priorities. While we encourage Mr. Adams to share his ideas on fighting crime with city officials, there's only one member of this duo with the skill and temperament to represent the community: Ricky Burgess.

Did the P-G endorse Twanda in the past?

Furthermore, seems that Burgess is full of double speak. He is saying one thing to the editorial review board and another in the community. The wires of loyalty with him might twist in the wind.

The Rev Ricky Burgess might have the temperament of a lamb. We don't need lambs as the city is on the brink. I'll take an ex-Marine when our homeland is under such a dire attack.

Wi-Fi carrier sought for Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

This is a set back. But, I never liked the deal in the first place. I was a naysayer.
Wi-Fi carrier sought for Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "he Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hopes to reach an agreement sometime in the next three months with a new long-term provider for the city's Wi-Fi network.

Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the partnership, said Thursday that the organization terminated its contract with US Wireless Online, which had been operating the system, because the company has declared bankruptcy and can't fulfill the contract."
They are NOT looking for a wi-fi carrier for "PITTSBURGH." No, they are only worried about downtown. Unless something has changed.

That was my whole gripe. It was only about downtown. And, when they pick the cherries, the rest get dirt.

I didn't celebrate when 3RS went into rubble.

I didn't celebrate when the Pittsburgh Promise was launched with a hefty $10,000 first donation.

I didn't celebrate when Lazarus closed, nor when it opened.

I didn't celebrate when Lord and Taylor's remodeling finished, nor when it moved out of town.

I didn't celebrate when the TIF at Deer Creek Crossing passed, nor after it crashed under its own weight.

I didn't celebrate when Pitt Stadium was trucked away. We knew then that Pitt football had better move to the Mid American Conference.

The fumbles of downtown wi-fi, something that I do NOT use (It is unsecure) are typical illustrations of the folly of Grant Street actions. Their aim-low decisions hurt the city.

A robust economic landscape does not begin with bribes, hype and over-reaching government cutting special-interest deals with some and excluding others.

Now Pittsburgh has Wi-Fi operating out the the goodness his heart.

Re-tool. Think Again. It is silly to stay committed to making sure Downtown has free Wi-Fi. That's nuts. STOP. Lay the shovel down.

We need someone to step up. Let's be committed to getting city-wide Wi-Fi. The kids need the net for homework. Kids don't live downtown. The rich business folks already have 'secure Wi-Fi' Downtown if they need it. And, they can afford it.

Put Wi-Fi throughout the neighborhoods.

The Wi-Fi deal was bad news when it was hatched, launched and operational.

Let's make headway to a great deal concerning technology.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chapter 7 of the Value Added Mini Series - covers some South Side insights

I rushed this to the web, jumping over chapter 6, due soon, as it has the woderful song that calls the city and voters to "Lay The Shovel Down."

Same 10-minute video hosted at

Same 10-minute video at

Why should black voters vote for Mark Rauterkus?

How many black businesses are there on East Carson Street?

Sierra Club Allegheny Group -- Politics of Ignorance

Sierra Club Allegheny Group � Politics: "This was the key step for Bruce and Patrick to gain their seats on City Council in January, 2008."
Ignorant. Take a civics lesson. Some should know better.

Specific quotes from Pgh City Paper article: The Third Degree -- Third-party candidates say their perspectives deserve airing too

THE THIRD DEGREE (Main Feature Extra)
Third-party candidates say their perspectives deserve airing too
By: Charlie Deitch, Melissa Meinzer and Chris Young - October 25, 2007

The specific points about me in the article are re-typed below. The article starts on page 26 and ends on 27.
Meanwhile, probably the best known of the city's third party candidates, Mark Rauterkus, is running for two offices simultaniously, city controller and city council district 3. (He abandoned a mayoral run.)

Rauterkus, a South Side political advocate and vice chair of the Allegheny County Libertarian Party, doesn't deny the third party curse.

"Conventional wisdom says my chances are not very good," he says, hit tie almost completely shielded by a name tag and two large "Elect Rauterkus" pins. "But [Libertarians] have to fight the good fight and not give up. We help to keep the other candidates honest."

For Rauterkus, that means raising questions about corporate tax incentives and other big-dollar development initiatives that have often failed to deliver the promised benefits.

"The first thing you do when you dig yourself a hole is you put the shovel down. You can't keep digging the same hole."

In his council race against endorsed D, ... Rauterkus says he could provide new energy and leadership to council's Citiparks and Youth Policy committee. Boasting his experience as a swim coach, Rauterkus says he is "phenomenally more qualified" to oversee Citiparks from a council seat than any other candidate.

As for the city controller position, Rauterkus says his opponent, Prothonotary, ... is a "Bureaucrat who won't rock the boat" while Rauterkus calls himself a "tireless, vigilant watchdog."

While he hasn't spent much money campaigning, Rauterkus say he has used his blog,, as an open-source campaign tool.

"Mo opinions are up there for peer review," he says. "My advisers are everyone. In fact, a lot of my ideas are really just other peoples' ideas."
The article was written by three reporters: Charlie Deitch, Melissa Meinzer and Chris Young. I guess it is no wonder I get so little ink. It takes three of them to cover the third party.

BTW, my buttons are not so large. They are very attractive. Each is different. And, the text of the button is my website, The new website and the new DVDs didn't get mentioned. But the song, "Lay the Shovel Down" -- did get great exposure.

Updated from 10 pm on the 24th.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Where's the fire. No sense rushing into anything -- like in a hurry

This report was due after the election for mayor concluded. Imagine the shock when it hits!
City fire study recommends closing stations City fire study recommends closing stations

No changes expected soon, mayor says.
That could be the city's motto. If it printed money, and it should or would if it could, they'd use that slogan, "NO CHANGES EXPECTED SOON."

Pittsburgh has way too many abandoned houses. Each makes for a ticking fire trap. So, they double the spending on demolitions -- yet -- NO CHANGES EXPECTED SOON. The increase rate of tear downs will hardly match the increased rate of buildings that are becoming abandoned.

The city needs to get its police force up to 900 officers, so mandates the agreement with the overlords. So, a new class of recruits is to join the force. However, "NO CHANGES EXPECTED SOON." Seems that lots of other members of the police force are departing for other jobs in other cities. The new hires can only slightly increase the others being replaced.

The city fires eleven managers of various departments to show that a new leader is at the helm of this burgh. National searches occur. NO CHANGES EXPECTED SOON.

A special task force swarms the South Side on weekend nights and dish out 804 citations for pissing in public in the course of five months. Meanwhile, NO CHANGES EXPECTED SOON. Lots of people get tickets. However, behaviors don't change.

Overlords get assigned to the city to watch that the budget makes sense and spending is within acceptable ranges. The city's bond rating improves from XXX to PG-13. Yet the city's five year projection from some has the city back in bankruptcy again in the 'out years.' NO CHANGES EXPECTED SOON.

The city issues a RFP for the closed indoor ice rink. The deadline comes and folks are eager to re-open the facility, with private money. NO CHANGE EXPECTED SOON. The news in September is that the proposals all suck. Failed applicants get the news in October and cry foul.

Water main break, traffic jams, cracking bridges, under performing schools -- NO CHANGE EXPECTED SOON.

Go Red Sox!

The other blog post wonders if he was DeSantis...

IF I WERE MARK DeSANTIS...: "The Boy Who Would Be Mayor, who's never met an ethical decision he couldn't regress "
Go Red Sox. I'll have to read this when the World Series isn't being played.

Media Blitz -- next up, Erik and Grant on SLB Radio on Saturday

On this week's SLB:

-- At 10:05 a.m., Extreme Strings performs live in our studios.
Erik and Grant play violin. They're part of a class that meets on Saturdays at CAPA. This week they have a field trip. They'll be playing on the radio. The class is great. They play jazz, rock and fiddle, even with electric violins from time to time.

We know Larry, the show host, well. We've been on his show a number of times for a number of reasons.

SLB is more than "The Saturday Light Brigade." It is a non-profit organization that encourages children and adults to be together, respect one another, and learn with each other through radio and related work. Although the $150,000 budget includes money from corporations, foundations and services, the org depends on donations from people who believe in what it does.

The approach to seeking individual donations is different than most public radio and television stations:

-- We conduct our campaign once per year
-- We don't suspend regular programming
-- We send one letter to past supporters and friends (along with an email campaign) to minimize postage and paper use

If you enjoy our weekly broadcasts, value the off-air work we do with youth and the community, or believe we have made a significant impact, please consider making a contribution via or 412.586.6300 x3. You also can send a check to SLB, P.O. Box 100092, Pittsburgh, PA 15233. Working together, we can reach our goal of $15,000. We're up to $1,135 after just a few days.

SLB Radio Productions is a non-profit that has produced public radio from Pittsburgh since 1978. We produce a program of live music and talk ("The Saturday Light Brigade", Saturdays, 6 to noon), weekday workshops and related activities for children and adults from our studios in the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.

Do you have a friend who'd like "The Saturday Light Brigade"? Please forward this e-mail as an invitation to tune in Saturdays, 6 a.m. to noon, Eastern, at WRCT Pittsburgh 88.3 FM, WLFP 1550 AM, WSAJ Grove City 91.1 FM, WIUP Indiana 90.1 FM, WNJR Washington 91.7 FM or

RUN, don't walk, to pick up the latest Pittsburgh City Paper

Another strong media mention, about me, with a photo this time, is in the Pgh City Paper, now out on the streets at local news stands, cafes, bars and tattoo shops.

I'll post more about the article, if not the entire article, shortly. The City Paper web site gets updated tomorrow, a day after the print edition hits.

The cover story talks about Maria and her funk. She is a bleeding heart liberal Dem and is going to vote for Mark!

Chapters 1 to 5

Chapter 4 is too long for YouTube, yet.

Mon Wharf Parking is Closed Today...

Jason blogs about me a bit.
Mon Wharf Parking is Closed Today... Full disclosure; Mark my words!
Jason seems to be in hot water for his spelling goofs by some Perfection CZARs. Jason also has been kicking up some dust by raising wonderment as to why a District Justice (DJ), Luke's Father, is showing up in political campaign materials. Plus there is that letter to the editor in the PG.

Oh well.

Here is what Jason blogged about concerning me.
For the record Mark Rauterkus is my friend. We don’t agree much on politics, but we get along great. Over the Summer Mark taught me how to swim along side his boys at their swim practices. On another occasion we tested the waters of the “mighty Mon” in Mark’s newly purchased canoe. We even went for a few 4 mile runs together, damn sounds like Mark is mostly responsible for my weight loss of 35 pounds. I’ve also help Mark more an old refrigerator to Appliance Warehouse and move a reel type device that holds the lane dividers of a swimming pool (he reimbursed me for the gas).

Jason is a bit of a maverick, a marathon running maverick no less.

He floats well too!

I don't think that the 'lock-step boosterism' that the dominating party leaders expect from the rank-and-file, yet alone each other, is healthy. The suppression sucks and is another big example of why the city is in a tailspin and why more people move away from Pittsburgh.

If I could just get one tenth the people who have voted with their feet to cast votes for me on election day, I'd win in a landslide.

Another bit of insight concerning common ground with Jason and me. Last month, I put in three complaints to Pittsburgh's Ethics Hearing Board. At the coverage of this month's meeting, it was published that my three complaints bring the total number of complaints ever sent to them to four. Understand, the history (some 15 years on the books) of the body, has had four total complaints from citizens. I put in three and one came from elsewhere. I suspect, but don't have proof, that the other citizen to complain to them was Jason Phillips.

Jason and I both understand that it is okay to rock the boat from time to time. Plus, we both aim to work from within the system rather than picking up a brick and chucking it through someone's window.

Jason's letter ran in Tuesday's P-G (yesterday):
Letters to the editor: "This mayor still doesn't get it regarding ethics"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In a letter to Pittsburgh's ethics hearing board, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl stated elected officials and municipal employees should be allowed to accept event tickets unless the gift exceeds $500 in value, in which case the recipient should report it on their annual ethics form ("Task Force to Review Free Ticket Rules," Oct. 13).

This isn't reform -- it's adding corruption to an already questionable practice. What Mayor Ravenstahl is suggesting appears to be the price tag for a payoff. Need to influence or sway a building inspector or the "Redd Up" crew? Try giving them $500 in Steelers tickets.

Nothing of value should ever exchange hands with a city employee, starting at the top with the mayor and his underlings. City residents won't be hurt if there are no more free rounds of golf, lavish meals with billionaires or free tickets to sporting events.

Why can't the mayor come to his senses and support the Ethics Hearing Board's position? Its stance is that anything of value should come directly from a charity and not be sponsored by a third-party special-interest group that does, or wants to do, business with the city of Pittsburgh.

Come on, mayor, do the right thing. Forget about the perks.

South Side
The writer is a Democratic committee member for the 17th Ward

Think Again! See Chapter 5 of the Value Added Mini Series

This chapter has drama, action and suspense. Check it out. And, you've got to watch all the way to "the end."

See it on

Or on YouTube. If the file isn't able to be seen, just wait. It is being processed on the server. Might take 20 minutes or so.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Post-Gazette endorsement meeting for three seeking Allegheny County Council's At-Large Seat

The meeting is slated for Wednesday at 2 pm at the PG offices. That would be a fun one to attend. You'll have three candidates, D, R and Reform. One room. And an interesting bit of slime -- Ghostbusters sized -- to deal with.

I won't be going, but I'd love to be there for the enjoyment. It would be better than any SNL routine in years. And, to see the outcome in the paper will be most interesting too.

Libertarians Rising - TIME magaine

Libertarians Rising - TIME
My son saw this article the other day. He subscribes to TIME.

I told him the image, headline and clincher were excellent. However, much of the middle weirds out with all these labels.

They are going to be an increasingly powerful force in politics.

City Council sustains mayor's veto on parking tax

City Council sustains mayor's veto on parking tax: "'We all realize that at the end of the day, if we end up on that crash course with the state Legislature, then city taxpayers lose.'"
The city is infamous for playing games of political chicken. They all pile in and drive at breakneck speeds to the cliff. Well, really, the generally don't get in themselves. They love to pack the speeding car hurling into the future with reckless abandon with our kids and the future.

The ones being held hostage are those that would choose to put themselves into bondage by design.

This week's city clerk notice bring news of four or more public hearing devoted to the passing of TAX BREAKS for special interest groups -- TIFs.

They want to expand the TIF zone for Station Square, for North Side and for Downtown. Plus the Bakers Square tax break, TIF, comes to a public hearing too.

I'm signed up to speak at all of them. I don't like TIFs. The city should not be doing any more TIF deals.

The mayor's debate last night showed a contrast with Mark DeSantis and Luke Ravenstahl -- and I was sitting next to Mike D of the DeSantis campaign for a good bit of the event. DeSantis was trying to drive home the point that the city's redevelopment efforts have been with a complete focus on "buildings." DeSantis was saying the city is more than just some 'buildings.'

DeSantis is right, but he didn't deliver the message as strongly as I would have liked.

The city's development, planning, URA, and efforts to avoid blight boils down to buildings. I call them bricks and mortar deals. Build a T-stop here. Build a parking garage there. Make a new office building. Put in downtown condos with subsidized parking.

Those are 'hardware' elements.

DeSantis is a software guy. Same too for me.

Life, generally, isn't about the hardware. Rather it is about the software. Programming, process, smarts, and other factors that live, breath and make transactions are more important.

Buildings, by and large, big and small, sit. They can be vacant. They can be green -- but -- what goes on inside really matters more than the facade.

The crash course matters when you've got big objects that collide. Boom. It is a train wreck.

Pittsburgh needs to be nimble. Organic growth is what we need.

The ram-rod, stick-to-it approach that misses the big picture is depressing.

The big deal of the parking tax isn't 50%, 45% nor 40%. Rather, it is the ownership of so many parking spaces and parking garages by the Parking Authority. Others are not going to build their own parking garages for their tenants, workers, customers and increased returns on investments when the Parking Authority is so pervasive. The Parking Authority twists the marketplace. Pittsburgh suffers. And, the real money is within the ownership of that land and buildings.

Selling the parking garages, over time, will generate far greater incomes to the city than the extra 5% for the tax over the years as it declines.

Same too with the stadiums. Rather than bucking the sports teams to make payments in lieu of taxes for the buildings that they occupy -- the teams should own the buildings. Give a tax discount as the transaction occurs. Then have them own the buildings.

Otherwise, these teams opt to destroy the old stadium (3RS, Civic Arena) while the public still holds the millions in debt.

Not only do those on city council run the city onto a crash course with destiny -- they also have a grand old time of batting at the leaves on the tree of suffering.

Let's get folks onto Grant Street in elected posts that aim to get to the roots of the problems.

Man admits to robbery that left partner dead

Man admits to robbery that left partner dead: "Police have not charged Mr. Reid, who was visiting the apartment with another man. Detectives are reviewing the case with the district attorney's office to determine if he will be charged."
Humm.... Let's think about this for a second. Okay. I've pondered long enough.

[412] Got a major lead in an article today -- lone debate in six days

[412] Got a major lead in an article today -- lone debate in six days:

The newspaper gave some coverage to the Pittsburgh City Council races today
(Tuesday). I'm featured.

Next Monday night, Oct 29, a lone debate has been scheduled. I'd love to
have you and yours attend.

Program beings at 6:30 pm (don't be late), at St. James AME Church, 444
Lincoln Ave, Pittsburgh 15206. I'll be on the debate stage speaking as a
controller's candidate. Following our 30-minutes comes the two candidates in
the city council district 9 race.

I'd love to have large turn out, and associated buzz in advance of the
debate as there is reason to wonder if the opposition candidates from the
party of domination, will even attend. This debate is hosted by both the
League of Women Voters and B-PEP (Pgh's Black Political Empowerment
Program). It won't be on TV or radio -- so bring your cameras.

I'll have DVDs for all in the audience.

Chapter 4 of Value Added Mini Series: Youth Tech Summit, Schools, Literacy

On Google.Video.

Other pointers to same video via
Link to the video.
AVI file of the video for downloading.
Web flash video.

Libertarian, 2 independents enliven City Council races - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Got ink in today's Trib. Libertarian makes the 'headline' even.
Libertarian, 2 independents enliven City Council races - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Libertarian, 2 independents enliven City Council races"
Solid article.

Now I get the newspaper and the headline in the print edition and the online headline is not the same:

On the web = Libertarian, 2 independents enliven City Council races

Paper edition = 3 take on Democratic dominance

Article stretched the heigths of the newspaper. Photos of the six of us are included in the newspaper, district 1, 3 and 9. My head shot is one from the past, but it is okay. The one of David Adams is the one I provided to the reporter from his kick-off event.

Blended within the masthead are photos of Ravenstahl and DeSantis from the debate last night. The lead of the local section is the headline of the Controller asks teams to pay city. The city council race article is on page B3. Also on the page is a 4 column photo of a Carlow student getting her hair cut. Hair jokes aside, the lone ad on the page in the bottom right corner is with the headline, "Are you still suffering?" (Chiropractic)

Notes: Bruce Kraus, "lifelong South Sider" went to high school in Baldwin. My high school, Penn Hills, isn't mentioned but Ohio Univ and Baylor Univ is.

Five of the six have Previous elected office: "None."

Updated at 6:52 am.

Controller asks teams for payments in lieu of taxes - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Controller asks teams for payments in lieu of taxes - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Acting City Controller Anthony J. Pokora released an audit Monday suggesting the sports teams make payments to cash-strapped Pittsburgh in lieu of property taxes, which the teams are exempt from paying because their venues are owned by the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority.
Tony went for a release of this news on Monday, following a Sunday night loss by the Steelers.

I don't agree with Tony Pokora. He asks the teams to pay in lieu of taxes. Heck no. The property taxes are just a pimple on the face of the whole stadium saga.

The taxes on the stadiums are not nearly as expensive as the stadiums themselves.

Heck, I'll try to work a tax break to the teams -- once they buy the stadiums. Buy the stadiums. The venues are what should be sold -- not the lieu of taxes.

I want the teams to own their respective venues.

Presently, the Steelers are renters. The Pirates are renters. Even Don Barden is going to own his own building. Don Barden, as an investor in the North Shore, should not be too worried about what the renters might say about traffic and parking.

If the Steelers want to buy Heinz Field -- it is for sale.

PNC Park is for sale.

And the new arena, for the Penguins, should be owned, operated, insured, programmed, updated, maintained, heated and cleaned by the Penguins.

Keep the names: Assessment Web site doesn't need a fix

Keep the names: Assessment Web site doesn't need a fix The Post-Gazette Editorial Review Board is in agreement with me. The names should be posted on the website.

Wonder if the Editorial Review Board is watching what I have said about technology.

My value added mini series, chapter 4, is out today. It includes the campaign song as well. Watch for the next post.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pennsylvania Political Landscape -- presidential votes

An article from 2000 about the way PA operates in undemocratic ways.
2000 Pennsylvania GOP Primary

Land of the Blind, February 2000

(author attribution at the end)

No one has cared about the Pennsylvania presidential primary for decades. Coming as late as it does, so late on a national front-loaded primary calendar, presidential nominations in both parties have been resolved long before Pennsylvania’s primary. The Bush/McCain contest, however, holds out the promise, slim though it be, that Pennsylvania might become important in the Republican nomination race.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that thousands of state Republican primary voters cannot be sure their vote will matter. They might not matter because of an essentially anti-democratic and somewhat cynical political anachronism known as the “blind primary.”

Blind primaries are aptly named. In these primaries delegate candidates are listed on the ballot without any information regarding which presidential candidate they support. Voters are asked to vote for convention delegates--often popular and well-known public and party figures--while literally kept in the dark about delegate intentions.

Blind primaries make it difficult or impossible for GOP voters to express their presidential preferences. On April 4th Republican rank-and-file voters will select convention delegates out of congressional districts. Voters will have a choice of electing either three or four delegates, depending on the congressional district. The
delegate candidates include many of Pennsylvania’s most important political, public, and economic leaders, who happen to be the choices of Republican organizations throughout the state. The implications for Senator McCain and his insurgency are ominous, since many Republican organizations have already thrown their support behind Governor George W. Bush.

Many voters, in fact, won’t have the foggiest notion of whom the presidential delegates are supporting, and even if they did, there is no guarantee or pledge that the delegates elected to the convention will support the desires of the voters of the congressional districts. More typically, voters end up casting ballots for names they recognize, which usually are the better known political and public figures in their communities.

If all of this seems troubling enough, it is not the only problem. Pennsylvania Republicans combine blind primaries with non-binding “preferential primaries,” better known as “beauty contests.” Beauty contests are top of the ticket presidential elections in the state, but the outcome of the presidential election is not linked to the selection of convention delegates

Voters participating in these beauty contests have the opportunity to express their candidate preferences by voting for a presidential nominee--but these preferences don’t determine the selection of delegates. They are merely “advisory.” In other words, they don’t count.

Presidential beauty contests coupled with blind primaries can produce the electoral perversion in which one candidate wins the popular vote, but loses the delegate vote. This is not merely an unlikely possibility. It happened in Pennsylvania in 1980 when George Bush won the popular vote convincingly over Ronald Reagan, but lost 80 percent of the delegates because voters had little clue as to the presidential choice of the delegates they elected. Amazingly, it could happen again. It is conceivable in 2000 that Senator John McCain could win the popular vote of Pennsylvania Republicans, but actually win few convention delegates.

Defenders of blind primaries argue that rank-and-file voters should contact party officials or consult “slate cards” on primary day to discover the presidential choice of delegate candidates. The other defense made for blind primaries is that Republican candidates run technically uncommitted. So once elected, they are free to support any candidate they wish at the convention.

Neither of these arguments in defense of blind primaries is convincing. Expecting voters independently to track down information about whom a delegate really supports is wildly unrealistic. Why not simply list delegate intentions on the ballot rather than burden the electorate with that task. Moreover if delegates were really uncommitted, information about whom they support wouldn’t be available anyway. John McCain might discover how really uncommitted these delegates happen to be.

These specious arguments in defense of blind primaries are really just smokescreens covering the real reason blind primaries remain a part of Pennsylvania politics. The real reason has to do with power. Blind primaries allow powerful party insiders to control the selection of delegates--while keeping rank-and-file voters in the dark. Keeping voters dumb as well as blind is what these primaries are all about.

By themselves, blind primaries amount to little more than a cynical fraud perpetrated upon Pennsylvania’s rank-and-file Republicans. Combining blind primaries with presidential “beauty contests” adds insult to the injury. First, voters are asked to cast ballots for convention delegates, but are not told whom the delegates support. Then these same voters are asked to vote in a presidential primary election that doesn’t count. It would be hard to conjure up a system that treats the electorate with more arrogant disdain than this one.

G. Terry Madonna, Director, Center for Politics & Public Affairs, Millersville University

Dr. Michael Young, Director, Survey Research Center, Penn State Harrisburg

The Real ID Act is NOTHING that I support, either

I do not like the Real ID. That fight is brewing in PA now. Some great work is being done by a few experts in recent weeks.

Are you in favor of the federal government collecting, maintaining and sharing your personal and sensitive information both domestically and internationally?

This should be a rhetorical question, but unfortunately, it is not. The Real ID act would require that sensitive information be transmitted to a centralized database, and even shared with MEXICO and Canada as part of a new treaty! This information is not simply numbers and letters. Real ID paves the technology way for personal, financial, medical, and even biometric (retina scans, high resolution photography, DNA, etc.) information to be attached to this new federalized driver's license!

How many times in the recent past have there been stories telling us how a government agency allowed sensitive, personal information to be stolen?

This is being billed as an effort to stop terrorism. Let me ask you this. How many times have criminals made sure to follow the letter of the law before committing a crime?

Real ID can only serve to codify and control the citizens of this nation. Speaking as a Pennsylvanian , it should be the sworn duty of all Pennsylvania legislators, in upholding the oath they swore to Pennsylvania Constitution, to oppose this legislation to the utmost. Speaking as an American and a Veteran, this bill is an affront to everyone who shed even a drop of blood for this country and is a direct violation of the Bill of Rights.

Rep. Sam Rohrer introduced a bill, HB1351, that says, in no uncertain terms, that Pennsylvania will not abide by such draconian federal tactics and will take no part in Real ID.

Now the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee does not feel that the House is intelligent enough to decide this for themselves and will not release the bill to the floor . In fact, Rep. Thomas issued a memorandum asking for co-sponsorship of "a resolution urging the federal government to make changes to the Real ID act in order to reduce the cost of this unfunded mandate on the Commonwealth and all other states required to implement the act."

Frankly, I am disgusted with the thought that this man could stab Pennsylvania in the back by reducing our rights and our privacy to dollars and cents.

Every legislator in the House and Senate of this state should bring every effort to bear in forcing Rep. Thomas to allow HB1351 to the floor so that we can live freely as our Founding Fathers intended.

If they are to live up to their oath of office, every legislator, (including Rep. Thomas), must oppose any measure that will pave the way for Real ID, such as Mr. Thomas' 'just make it cheaper' option.

This is not about money; it is not about whining over 'unfunded mandates'. This is about preserving the shred of liberty that we have left as Americans and as Pennsylvanians.

Our legislators are supposed to be servants of the people. We need to let them know that "We The People" need them now.

Jim Comptonm AFTF Pennsylvania State Coordinator

Chapter 3 of the mini series

More about the person and the family.

Same video but posted on YouTube.

Marty Griffin on KDKA Radio gives a teaser about the FOP endorsement

My message to Marty on Instant Access:

The FOP endorsed Bob O'Connor -- and O'Connor was NOT a "sitting mayor."

The 'sitting mayor' statement for 70 years is wrong.

The valid question for him to investigate and talk about is how much MONEY from the FOP came to Mark DeSantis with the endorsement. When the Pgh Firefighters endorsed Joe Weinroth and gave $0 to his campaign it makes people wonder. The Firefighters endorsement was a 'gottcha endorsement' to snub O'Connor.


Count "payback" with MEASURED DOLLARS from those institutions. Capitol Ideas with John L. Micek Blog Capitol Ideas with John L. Micek Blog: "Rep. Mike 'Wants To Be Governor So Badly It Makes His Hair Hurt' Turzai, R-Allegheny, holds a press conference on unemployment compensation reform. He'll be joined by members of the PA Chamber of Business and Industry."
Look at the new nickname given by a blogger/journalist to North Hills State Rep, Republican, Turzai.