All three matters were woven into the packets of complaints that I filed with the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board a few months ago. http://www.Rauterkus.com/ethics/ Each are resolved.
First, today's P-G reports:
Ousted politicians land on their feet at city hall Former Councilman Jeff Koch, defeated in the May Democratic primary, is now a special streets program supervisor in the Public Works Department.Word on the street was a typical, but wrong, 'to the victor goes the spoils' saga. Mr. Koch is a long-time, valued, insightful guy who departed city council at the start of 2008. It made great sense to re-hire him as a city worker to do the work of residents as great help is hard to find. Koch gets things done. He works hard. He is down to earth and straight forward in his dealings. We need knowledgeable, skilled, city employees on the job.
I was proactive in my challenge to the Ethics Hearing Board. I didn't have proof. But, the matter is resolved now.
Now we are left to wonder. Did the hiring of Koch by Ravenstahl come after the vote on Monday? Humm...
Hindsight: Koch's hiring could have happened in July. Then he could have resigned from city council and that office could have been taken out of its lame duck status months earlier. That would have pushed up the money in the city budget's vacancy allowance of unfilled positions. But, that's okay. I didn't rant about the lame duck members of council -- and their staffs -- but I pondered it. I'll make that point in a policy paper later and not be as bold in my attacks at people in jobs today.
But back to current events and inside Grant Street. The Kraus vote for Shields as City Council's President might have insured the hiring of Koch to the Public Works department. That's just a hunch.
However, it will be interesting to see if Kraus should pitch a fit, or, just get to the clean-up that is needed in Oakland.
Memo to the 'clean, green and mean' councilman, Kraus: Read the paper. Go pick-up that trash!
Incursion of slobs rankles longtime South Oakland residents Some of those who remain are demanding that the city and the University of Pittsburgh do more to combat the trash and unruliness they see all around them.Two other interesting development to watch for in the future, should Koch get on the job, as hoped, in the months to come. When you see Mr. Koch on the job, either in a jumpsuit or a three-piece suit, look to see if you can spot any message on his t-shirt. And, look to the dashboard of his vehicle for the bobble-head doll.
(insert blog artwork here)
The city should be working on INFRASTRUCTURE. That is a major plank and policy to promote at ever turn (pun intended).
Skimpy water line waylays opening of county's bioterror lab ... The $5 million state-of-the-art bioterror lab in Lawrenceville took more than five years to build and is finally finished, but the county can't move in because the water line to the sophisticated laboratory is too small to support the building's sprinkler system.A good friend of mine has suggested to me that the 'infrastructure bandwagon' is one to jump upon with full force. Libertarian and Republican candidates in the city and region could win elected office if they harp upon INFRASTRUCTURE. Our pipes are crumbling. The rash of water main breaks hurt the economy.
The 10,000-square-foot building was finished in mid-December but couldn't get a city occupancy permit because of the water supply problem caused by a corroded, 4-inch cast iron water line dating to the 1930s, ...
I'm too much of a 'generalist' to campaign on a single issue. I favor the freestyle -- ranting at will upon things that need to be addressed. But others could pick up this mode of operation and find great success in winning votes -- and perhaps -- beating incumbent Democrats.
Sewer pipes, retaining walls, rehab of bridges and street lighting are not sexy political issues for candidates. But, if the nuts and bolts matters of public infrastructure are championed, candidates of any party would earn respect and votes. And by all means, I don't mean to imply that new tunnels under the Allegheny River to get to the stadiums should be put into the category of 'infrastructure stewardship.' Building the tunnel under the river is nothing but a boondoggle. Spending the nearly billion dollars to do that project is going to further weaken the budgets to take care of what we already have.
Second: Michael Lamb, the city's new controller, has resigned from the board of A+ Schools. I have learned from Carrie Harris, the executive director of A+ Schools, that Michael Lamb made a verbal resignation. That's good. That's behind us now too, thankfully, finally.
Third: Wrangling in city council at the end of 2007 about the budget and home for the Ethics Hearing Board have taken some of the pressure off the matters with the other complaint. I think that the Ethics Hearing Board is unethical -- and filed a complaint against that entity. But, things are moving to fix these issues. Most of all, when a complaint is filed with the Ethics Hearing Board, it won't get screened by the Law Department. The Law Department sat on my complaints. The complaints were filed, a meeting was held weeks later, and the complaints were NOT put before the Ethics Hearing Board because of Law Department red tape. A major divorce has to happen between the Ethics Hearing Board and the Law Department. Sister Patrice can open her own mail.
There is much more to be done. But, that round is over. We need to be proactive. We need to celebrate victories.