Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Trib says the three should be out of here

Conflict! Conflict! Conflict!: Three members of Pittsburgh City Council will vote themselves out of office today. At least that's what should happen to Council President Doug Shields, Bill Peduto and Bruce Kraus if, as expected, they cast a final vote for the public to cover the nearly $11,000 cost of employing a lawyer without the full council's approval. It's a clear conflict of interest that, given they will derive a pecuniary benefit -- not having to pay a private bill -- might just be considered self-dealing. But no matter what it is, it's wrong. And Messrs. Shields, Peduto and Kraus have no business staying on City Council.
More than just the Trib is saying these three should depart. The first shot along those lines came from the city's attorney.

Shields wants to make everything right by bending time. That's his best solution. He must be a good buddie with Dan Onorato who fixes the folly of the property assessments by turning back the clock to a time before he took office.

Kraus is clueless and offers no solution -- just questions. He'll talk for five minutes after being told by the chair to be brief. He is along for the ride and his rookie mate took another option by not showing up for work.

Kraus thinks that this is important. This is the job of the council, so he says. The $10,000 bill has already taken hours for weeks. There is a great need to have members of council knowing how to behave and how to act as individuals and as a body -- but -- those lessons need to be understood and demonstrated before getting onto council. And, the capacity to move with clarity has to be present too. A city in crisis does not have the luxury of providing "on the job behavior lessons" for clueless members of city council.

Shields can go.

Kraus can go.

Peduto can go too. Peduto can also win back his seat in the special election.

They could go. But, I don't predict that they will -- unless some players choose to put their skin in the game. The law department will not. Mayor Ravenstahl will not do anything extra either. And, members of council won't buck up on each other in any real measure. The missing factor is the "push come to shove" jagoff who cares about the pledge of Feb 14 and the commitment of no conflicts of interest: real, perceived and imagined.

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