Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Statement before City Council by Mark Rauterkus - Czars of Pittsburgh

Notes: These speaker notes were used on September 10, 2008, for a 3-minute public comment to Pittsburgh's City Council.

My name is Mark Rauterkus.

My family and I live at 108 South 12th Street in the historic South Side of Pittsburgh. My other homes include places on the internet as such as a blog, and two wikis: Fix and A for Athlete . Plus, I've been enjoying "Twitter."
My sons attend Pgh Public Schools and last month they won five gold medals at the Citiparks Swim Meet in Highland Park. We expect to run in the 5K in the Great Race.
I am the elected vice chair of the Allegheny County Libertarian Party.

We are hosting a house concert on Wednesday, September 17, 2008.

Everyone is invited. But, you need to RSVP. Send an email or call.
We've put a new roof on our house and are inviting people to gather with a great singer, songwriter and performer -- Joe Jencks. His song, Come With Me, was utilized in one of my past campaign CDs. He is a splendid performer.
This is a musical and community event, not a political rally.
I am on the ballot in 2008, but it is for a spot in the Electoral College. But I understand it is poor form to campaign for seats to the Electoral College as it only draws attention to the fact that the popular vote for President of the United States is not that important anyway.
So, at the house concert -- we'll focus on the music and the singing of Joe Jencks.

While in Beijing last month, I heard of some news of a fallen czar.

This story is much less lyrical and musical than what Joe Jencks delivers, but let's share the happenings with the public watching on cable TV.
Those in this chamber are smart and are sure to already know of this czar.
Exoctit names and customs span various government: Emperors, Pharaohs, Czars, Dictators, Kings, A revolution brews today in Thailand where they have a king and an Australian author and blogger in jail for 3 lines in a novel that sold 7 copies.
In Canada, our neighbors to the north, the Prime Minister has called for a new election.
Generally, when a czar falls, people flee and go into hiding or exile. When caught, space is put between his head and torso.
Royalty stories and their "press releases" always include family ties and relationships.

This czar and story is different.

The Post-Gazette and fellow Pittsburgh bloggers have covered this saga, not some foreign language correstpondent in some distant land.
This czar was promoted twice by a mayor -- our mayor, Luke Ravenstahl.
Mr. Pat Ford was Pittsburgh's Czar for Development. He ruled with an authority.
He is gone now. Just in August, while I was in China.
Pat Ford's fall however is not with blood on the streets. Rather, in Pittsburgh, it is different.
Development czar, Pat Ford, has not worked in many months. He was given a leave -- with pay. Now that he has resigned, he will still be paid for the rest of the year.
Furthermore, from his place in exile -- Pat Ford was able to release a blistering letter that was unflattering to the present administration. I heard that his letter was cause for an interuption of either a golf outing in San Diego or a convention in Denver.

Frankly, it is nice that he is gone.

I doubt this story is actually gone gone. It won't be swept under the persian rug forever.Rather than dwell on the negative, I like to point out other solutions with better outcomes.
In my humble opinion, it would have been better had Pat Ford been fired. He is still getting paid, to this day, even after his infamatory outbust.
Why in the blasted name of 'czars' was he promoted to such esteem? Pittsburgh is an American city. Hello. We shouldn't do czars. We don't do czars because we don't cut people's heads off.
Nice: he's gone.
Better: he's fired.
Best: nobody is re-hired. Fire the entire family and family of authorities.
Now is the time to live a long held and cherished dream of mine. Pittsburgh can get rid of all of its authorities.
They are nothing but trouble.
Yesterday's budget amendment in papers to council called for $6-M to the URA.
The stadium authority is giving land to the Steelers, again. This is the 3RS authority.
The sports and exhibition authority needs to rob the RAD funds as they can't make money.
The airport authority is a bust -- without flights into and out of Pittsburgh and a massive terminal that can't be paid for.
The PORT Authority -- don't get me started.
The Parking Authority with its new building and lighted sign.
I want democracy and accountability.

I don't even want a bike czar.

We biked around Beijing and visited a land of past emperors. It is nice to be home where we have don't have czars.