Monday, October 31, 2011

Commissioner Miller Mt. Lebanon Update

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: Daniel Miller <>
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:49:21 -0400
Subject: Commissioner Miller Mt. Lebanon Update


It has been awhile since my last Commission Update email so I thought it would be good to recap some recent issues before the 2012 Budget Hearings begin. 

One quick note to start with- if you would like to keep up on my latest work as 5th Ward Commissioner and Commission President, you can now follow me on Twitter @DanielLMiller. I will attempt to use this account frequently over the next two months and during our budget discussions to provide greater insight into Commission decision-making progress. Hope to see you there!

Below are highlighted topics of note and links to more information available on my website at

Recreation Pool and Field Improvements

Many people know that the Municipality was considering up to $12-15 million worth of Pool and Field improvements when I was elected in 2007. I worked throughout my term with a variety of Commissioners to present a flexible plan to handle both issues for no more than $7 million. The following lists of posts gives the most recent updates on that topic:

1) Motion for Staff Report on all related issues regarding possible Municipal Pool and Field improvements- information available here

2) Full text of Compromise Rec Improvement Resolution with historical account- information available here

3) Synopsis of Defeat of Rec Improvement Resolution- information available here

4) Latest on Compromise Rec Resolution- information available here

5) The Importance of Transparency- What is a RFP?- information available here

Municipal Website Updates

1) New Online Taxpayer Receipt coming- information available here

2) Update on New Municipal website progress- information available here

Magazine Article

In my final MTL Magazine Article I talk up some of the tough decisions we have made in relation to cost-cutting measures that impacted our Municipal staff- but not our services.

1) My latest and final MTL Magazine Article- information available here

Parking Authority Consolidation

1) Consolidation on target for end of the year- information available here

Mt. Lebanon Veterans Memorial Update

1) Big grant received and bid awarded- information available here

Other New Initiatives

1) A bipartisan effort was passed to treat our full time employees equally- information available here

2) New program in Lebo adding greater security for at-risk wanderers- information available here

Quick note as to the upcoming Election:

As some of you may know, although I have been honored to serve on the Mt. Lebanon Commission I have decided not to seek another term. This means that the Commission might have as many as three new Commissioners in January. I hope that all of you who have cared enough to contact me with questions during the last fours years will likewise care enough to vote on November 8th. These positions are very important to our town so I urge you to make an informed decision. To assist with your research I have included the following candidate websites/emails for your convenience: 

John Bendel-

Kristen Linfante-

Joe DeIuliis- no known website but I email him at

Bill Hoon- no known website but I email him at

Kelly Fraasch-

and we do have the following School Board candidates-

James Cannon-

Ed Kubit/Scott Goldman-

Elaine Cappucci, Larry Lebowitz, and Bill Cooper-


Dan Miller

5th Ward Commissioner

Meet the Press

How to fix the US Congress

Warren Buffett said: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes." Speaking with CNBC he said: " You just pass a law that says anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18-year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it.  That was in 1971... before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took a year or less to become the law of the land... all because of public pressure.
Warren Buffett is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.  In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.  This is one idea that really should be passed around.
*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*
  1. No Tenure/ No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
  2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
  3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
  4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of the CPI or 3%.
  5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
  7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/2012. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their terms and then go home and back to work!
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!  If you agree with the above, pass it on.

Judge for sale: David W.

A press release issued today by the Republicans regarding the Democrats' attempt to buy their way on to Pennsylvania's Superior Court.
Judge For Sale 
After issuing a pledge to refuse contributions from "third-party, big money, special interest groups" that have an "infecting influence in Pennsylvania elections," Democrat candidate for Superior Court David Wecht took $300,000 from a PAC bankrolled by Philadelphia trial lawyers in a desperate attempt to buy his way to victory. That's $300,000, or 60% of his fundraising, coming from a special interest group. 
Sound suspicious? 
We're sounding the alarm on David Wecht's attempt to buy his way onto the bench and I hope you will join our fight. 
There are a few things you can do: 
-Contact your local newspaper and write a letter to the editor denouncing Wecht's attempt to buy justice. E-mail us if you need assistance. 
-Donate to the PA GOP and help us fight against these special interests 
-Help us elect principled candidates to the bench instead and volunteer for Vic Stabile for Superior Court and Anne Covey for Commonwealth Court. 
I hope you will join us to send a simple message: justice is not for sale. 
Valerie Caras Communications and Technology Director Republican Party of Pennsylvania

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fwd: Fw: Multible Employment Positions Available--please share--Hiring immediately


(Far below is information on positions available with the Community Learns program operated by Neighborhood Learning Alliance, 218 N. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.
After School program Site Coordinators, Assistant Site Coordinators, and Tutors/Classroom Assistance positions are available. Send your resume to Steve MacIsaac, Executive
FULL TIME OPEN POSITION--Please share out..

Employment Outreach Coordinator


Pittsburgh CONNECTS, 5321 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 – 412-362-8580


Title: Employment Outreach Associate

Reports to: Managing Director

FLSA Status: Exempt

Employment Status: Full-time

Salary: $30,000 to $34,000

To Apply: Please send a cover letter and resume to


Job Summary

Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center (ENEC) serves as a regional resource center for job seekers that primarily reside or work in the Garfield, East Liberty and Lawrenceville communities, and manages the employment component of the Garfield Pittsburgh CONNECTS Computer Lab. Pittsburgh CONNECTS serves to expand broadband access across Pittsburgh, and has a four-fold focus on technology, health, education, and employment. Both ENEC and Pittsburgh CONNECTS labs host multiple programs each month, and operate as drop-in centers for the community. On average over 250 people utilize our services each month.

The Employment Outreach Coordinator role is a dynamic and diverse position providing support for the ENEC to implement the employment component of the Pittsburgh CONNECTS lab. Working primarily in the ENEC employment lab, the associate will assist clients with computer use and employment resources. Additionally, this position includes managing and organizing recruitment and marketing efforts for each of the initiatives. In participation with the East End Works, the associate will also assist clients in three satellite employment/tech center sites located in the Pittsburgh area. Recruitment efforts include both social media and outreach work in the community.

The Employment Outreach Associate must be a highly motivated, independent person who has a passion for community engagement, the will to push an agenda, and the expertise to effectively perform this multi-faceted position. The associate will be responsible for the following:

•               Manage recruiting and marketing campaigns for ENEC and Lab events and classes, including planning and developing recruitment strategies in the community.  


•               Provide daily assistance with clients utilizing the drop-in lab around employment resources and computer literacy;


•               Assist clients with resume building, online job search and online applications


•               Network with regional leaders and local businesses to secure new employment opportunities


•               Utilize and update our powerful database system for clients and employers ;


•               Performs any and all other duties assigned for which the employee is qualified and physically able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodation.

What it takes to be a Community Outreach Associate:


•               Must have at least a bachelor's degree and be comfortable using computer and internet technology; experience with marketing preferred;


•               Proven experience with grassroots organizing and recruitment preferred.


•               Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, with ever shifting priorities.


•               Excellent writing skills, highly organized, and the ability to easily maintain paper and electronic files;


•               Strong listening and verbal communication skills, exceptional interpersonal skills and a customer service background;


•               3-5 years experience in social services or employment services;


•               Proficient in Microsoft Office (including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel); Strong internet navigation skills;


•               Current (or ability to quickly receive) Act 33/34 clearances


•               Valid Driver's License and proof of car insurance.


Working Conditions

The incumbent will perform the duties of the position in the employment/computer lab and in the greater Pittsburgh community.  He/she will have extensive direct contact with clients and will spend a large percentage of their time out of the office. Extensive communication with other agencies and employers is necessary.  The position involves using a computer, modem, social media, copy machine, telephone, and periodic automobile transportation will be necessary.  The position involves working with highly confidential information.

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative summary of the major duties and responsibilities performed by incumbents of this job. Incumbents may be required to perform job-related tasks that are within their abilities other than those specifically presented in this document.

Chip in for fighting with the SEA to save the Civic Arena 

Last week, a judge denied the SEA’s request for “summary affirmance”. This means that the case to prevent demolition of the Pittsburgh Civic Arena will likely be heard and we must file additional paperwork for our appeal next week unless we withdraw the case due to lack of funds!

In Thursday’s Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Mary Conturo, SEA Exec Director, confirmed that the SEA still intends to apply for federal funding. This statement adds further validity that the SEA is breaking the spirit, if not the letter, of the federal preservation law in demolishing the Civic Arena. This could provide further ammunition for our appeal.

Board members of Preservation Pittsburgh are tentatively committing an additional $20,000 in pledges toward our legal fees. We need a match for us to reach our need of $58,000 We need to act quickly!

Even though demolition of the roof has already started, the SEA has not yet deconstructed the structural part of the roof – only the removal of surface stainless steel and asbestos. We don’t know when our appeal will be heard. If we should win, we could ask for an injunction to stop further demolition before our case is heard in district court. In the meantime, demolition continues.

This case has the potential to set national implications for the anticipatory demolition provisions of Federal Law. Preservation cases around the country could be affected by the outcome of this case. We also need time to recruit a world class organization, Cirque du Soleil as a prime tenant! Go to to learn more!

Scott Leib, Preservation Pittsburgh

Rob Pfaffmann, Reuse the Igloo!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Free Weekly Workshops at 3 Trek of Pittsburgh locations.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

These are mostly beginner workshops, though we're planning more
advanced topics for early in the new year.  If you're new to cycling
or know someone is, come join us/spread the word!

Beginning November 8, each Trek of Pittsburgh location will host a
free weekly clinic*.  For your convenience, the topic of the week will
be covered Tuesdays at the Robinson store, Wednesdays in Cranberry,
and Thursdays at the Shadyside location.  If you can't make it to your
neighborhood Trek of Pittsburgh, catch the session across town on
another evening!  The talks will begin at 6:30 pm.   As a bonus,
participants will earn five T.O.P. dollars for every unique seminar
they attend!  Plus, take advantage of a smoking deal on the featured
item of the week.   Check our home page for updates on these exclusive

* Please note:  Some weeks will be skipped in observance of the
holidays.  See the schedule below for details.  Visit
for directions.


Week 1   November 8, 9, 10    Maintenance on the go/ Fix-A-Flat

If you haven't yet mastered the art of fixing a flat, you'll have it
down by the end of this clinic.  Bring your front wheel and some elbow
grease, and we'll have you prying like a pro.  In addition to flat
repair, the workshop will cover what to take with you on your rides
and some other basic maintenance topics like chain cleaning/lube.

Week 2   November 15, 16, 17    Say "NO" to the off season

Not ready to say goodbye?  We share your sentiments.  With the right
gear you can keep riding outside year around.  In this seminar, we'll
teach how to stay comfortable from head to toe in a variety of weather
conditions.  Come learn about the key to it all-- the base layer.

Week 3    Nov 29, 30, & Dec 1    A Guide to Indoor Training

Unlock the mystery of the indoor trainer.  We'll begin the clinic by
explaining the differences between the various models, then we'll let
you try them out and compare for yourself.  This workshop will also
cover how to set up your bike and some tips and tricks for keeping
your workouts fun and interesting.

Weeks 4-10     TBA      Check Back!

412 298 3432 = cell

Fwd: Red Light Camera Bill Passes PA Senate

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gary Denese

SB595, An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for display of registration plate and for automated red light enforcement systems in first class cities, was passed yesterday by a vote of 35-14 with one abstention. Southwestern PA senators voting against the measure were Jim Ferlo (D-38), Jane Orie (R-40) and Elder A. Vogel, Jr. (R-47). John Pippy (R-37) was the lone abstention. The bill would permit more Pennsylvania cities, including Pittsburgh, to install red light cameras. Similar legislation in the House, HB821 , providing for automated red light enforcement systems in second class, second class A and third class cities, currently sits in the Transportation Committee.
Get ready for more Big Brother surveillance, state revenue raising and vehicular accidents.

Installing red-light-running cameras statewide was one of the recommendations made by Governor Corbett's Transportation Funding Advisory Commission in it's final report on long-term transportation funding options for the state released in August. Scroll down to "Traffic Control, Enforcement, & Safety" on pages 26 and 27 (PDF page 16):
Last year, Senator Ferlo told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that he hopes the red-light camera plan 'dies a slow death', stating "this thing is very Orwellian", and the bill (at that time) "is just fraught with problems and associated with a lack of due process", and that he thinks "it's fundamentally about raising revenue".
Mr Ferlo, it seems, is correct on all accounts.
In an interview with Liberty News Network's Sam Antonio at the Liberty Political Action Conference 2011, Shawn Dow, a member of the Arizona Campaign For Liberty Board of Directors, stated that the issuance of red light camera (or photo radar) tickets violates the Fifth Amendment right to due process. There is no right to discovery and no way for issuees to fight the tickets in court. They are denied their right to question their accuser, because the tickets are signed electronically by a law enforcement officer (the accuser), and he or she never has to testify that they issued the ticket. The tickets are actually issued by a private Australian company traded on the Australian stock exchange tracking people via Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). Issuees are essentially forced to testify against themselves. Law enforcement authorities don't know for sure that you were the driver at the time the infraction took place unless you admit to it, but according to Mr. Dow they don't really care, because they have lowered the burden of proof down to the preponderance of the evidence, so you're still considered guilty no matter what you say. They consider you responsible simply because the vehicle is registered in your name, so you're guilty until proven innocent and charged with a crime you didn't commit if someone else was driving your vehicle.
It also violates the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial if the fine exceeds $20 (some of these tickets exceed $700) and the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, because so many groups and classifications of people are exempt from the issuance of photo radar tickets like law enforcement officers, judges and elected officials, those with vehicles registered under corporate names or trusts and people from out of state or country.
Red light camera proponents, including politicians, argue that they reduce the number of intersection crashes, which is cited in the PA Transportation Funding Advisory Commission's report (see pages cited above), but Mr. Dow states that there are numerous studies proving that red light cameras have actually increased accidents, and by as much as 480% in Peoria, AZ, where the cameras are now being turned off, thus proving that the politicians are lying about the issue and are actually putting people at risk. When the cameras are installed, the yellow signal time is immediately lowered, thus making the intersections much more dangerous, but the authorities get to make more money off of it, because 95% of all people issued tickets by red light cameras are making righthand turns on red. The cameras can't tell the difference and only see that someone is crossing the stop bar line.
Mr. Dow essentially says that these cameras are not at all about making people safer, but are simply another revenue raising scheme designed to cover up politicians' inept budgeting skills. The efforts of Campaign For Liberty activists have gotten the cameras banned in 15 states and 18 cities, including Los Angeles, where authorities couldn't get anyone to pay the tickets, because people knew they were illegal and could just throw them in the trash without responding to them and they'd get dismissed in 120 days. It was finally decided that there was no point in continuing to put the public at risk, because the revenue promised by photo radar tickets was not materializing.
Shawn Dow Interview LPAC 2011 - YouTube
Red-Light Cameras IncreaseAccidents: 5 Studies That Prove It
Santa's helpers disable naughty cameras in Tempe - YouTube
Gary D

412 298 3432 = cell

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pittsburgh councilman proposes expanded tax abatement program

Bill Peduto, this is called "Corporate Welfare" -- and it sucks.
Pittsburgh councilman proposes expanded tax abatement program: Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto today introduced legislation that aims to stimulate development with a modified tax abatement program.

The Tea Party Nation's Sellout

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nelson Hultberg - Americans for a Free Republic

The Tea Party Nation's Sellout

On February 19, 2009, CNBC commentator Rick Santelli put forth a marvelous patriotic rant for several minutes declaring that Americans should stand up and protest the Obama administration's outrageous socialist policies. And he promised to organize a Chicago Tea Party to help publicize the cause later in July.

Little did he know at the time what he had wrought. He was cheered vehemently by millions of libertarians, conservatives, and independents throughout America. By April 15th "tea parties" in more than 750 cities held demonstrations. The fervor for revitalizing Samuel Adams' 1773 Boston Tea Party rebellion against the oppressive English spread in waves across modern America. The call went out to stand against Washington's domination of our lives just as the patriots of our founding era had done. And it was met magnificently. The protests swelled into July and culminated in a massive "taxpayers march on DC" on September 12, 2009 that numbered several hundred thousand marchers.

Out of this, many of us in the libertarian and conservative movements developed high hopes that the history of Lexington and Concord could be repeated -- not violently, but intellectually and democratically. Could we not spawn a new Sons of Liberty for the modern day who would do as Sam Adams' boys had done in the beginning? The original Sons of Liberty in 1773 became the hub of a profound wheel that fanned out across the colonies with intrepid spokes of brilliance to galvanize Americans against the tyranny of King George. The combination of their provocative protests with the philosophical thought of the likes of Locke and Jefferson brought us the Declaration of Independence, the Revolution, and the birth of the world's first free nation at Philadelphia's Independence Hall in 1787. Out of such kernels of intrepidity, usher forth all the giant societal changes in mankind's fortunes. When heroic men and women of integrity become acquainted with great philosophical truth, they become willing to stand against the tides of corruption and conformity inherent in all statist establishments. To such revolutionary paragons we owe much.

It was a heady time to be alive in September of 2009. The contemptible Marxist-Keynesian political control over Americans -- orchestrated by professorial cheerleaders in the universities and enabled so shamefully by a lapdog media -- would surely now be brought to account. The dreadful decadence and destruction of our country that had been slithering over us for the past 50 years would be exposed. Americans would rally to drive out the Demopublican usurpers of our rights and liberties. New leaders would be brought to the helm of the Republican Party to challenge the vice grip that the neocon pundits, the corporatists, and the elite bankers held over the party's policy directives. The vision of Jefferson would be restored to Washington. Heady times indeed.

Einstein's Definition of Insanity

But throughout 2009 even though many of us held high hopes, we remained suspicious of any movement that set out to "reform the GOP." Such reform visions had been the goals of countless organizations and prominent activists ever since the early days of Barry Goldwater in 1960. And what had they brought us? Nothing but relentless capitulation to the welfare-warfare state for 50 years.

We realized a terrible fact that the Tea Party marchers were not facing up to: Republicans have, for many decades now, approached politics like mules -- stupidly and stodgily repeating the same course that they have trekked for decades. The history of the GOP is Einstein's definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results.

From Eisenhower to Nixon to Ford to Reagan to Daddy Bush to little boy George, the GOP has lived by one rule: once in Washington, waste no time in capitulating to Democratic socialism because that is where the votes are. Always put re-election above the country, above freedom, and above honor. If the Democrats increase spending by $200 billion in any given year, then Republicans must increase it also. Of course, our fearless Republicans only push for increases of $180 billion, and in so doing they conceive of themselves as brave defenders of the pass, as modern day Rolands at Roncesvalles. How paltry these GOP mules appear to those of us who have studied history and grasp the inherent weaknesses of human nature, to those of us who are willing to view the big picture rather than merely the next election and the assumption of power.

Neocons like Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey have done what we on the radical right feared. They have sucked the Tea Party into the black hole of their Demopublican monopoly. Gingrich and Armey quickly positioned their organizations to co-opt the Tea Party movement. And the Tea Party leaders, so flattered with this emergent courtship and accompanying media prominence, now conceive of themselves as "profound revolutionaries" that are going to heroically reform the GOP. This is the kiss of death for the Tea Party. Gingrich, Armey and their cohorts are the epitome of what is wrong with the conservative movement in America. They pay only lip service to freedom's ideals. When it comes time to match the rhetoric with action and adherence to principle, they cave in to the debt sirens like female groupies falling into the sack at a rock star's after-performance party. Yet Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation writes worshipful articles now praising the merits of neocon Newt Gingrich for President. Power rather than principle is what Phillips and the Tea Party Nation want, and they will hop onto the backs of the most disgraceful of solons to get it. This game has been played by conservatives for five decades now, and it gets us nothing but bigger and uglier government.

To paraphrase biblical wisdom, what does it benefit conservatives to win power if it must be done by joining with liberals and neocons to expand the usurpations of the state? What has been gained but a disgraceful charade? This, I submit, is the political history of the Republican Party for the past 50 years -- a disgraceful charade. Even the fabled Reagan swelled the welfare state and debt prodigiously over his eight years in office. Does Judson Phillips actually think that the likes of Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain will somehow reverse the course of this runaway socialist freight train we have created in Washington?

Stop the Disgraceful Charade

If one is brave enough to face up to this disgraceful charade on the part of the GOP, then the next step is to be brave enough to stop being a mule, to stop blindly doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Yet what do we hear from 80% of the conservatives in the Tea Party movement? "We need to concentrate," they say, "on electing to office better, more conservative Republicans who will go to Washington with a clear commitment to reduce government spending. We need to take over control of the GOP." These, of course, are the same platitudinous mouthings that conservative activists have been exhorting for 50 years. This is what I mean by being mules. A harsh word to call fellow conservatives; but unfortunately their blindness regarding the past 50 years dictates such a label.

Oh, Tea Party conservatives do have great aspirations just as those activists in the '60s, '70s, and '80s had. They envision an army of Republican Jimmy Stewarts, like his character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, marching to the Potomac and turning the tyrannical federal beast into a true limited governing body again.

What the mules are missing, however, is that once the new conservative Mr. Smiths get ensconced in the capital city, they soon get bit by the power disease and realize that it is much easier to win votes by playing the pork and subsidy game, that it is much easier to get big campaign donations by conveying special privileges to the corporations. They quickly succumb to the sordid favor dispensing game and join the ranks of the Demopublican big spenders. Very few, if any, Ron Pauls emerge from these "better, more conservative Republicans."

Why? Because without a third-party in the race, and most specifically in the National TV Presidential Debates, there is no counteracting force to mandate that the Republicans continue to try and distinguish themselves from the Democrats. Without the people being aware of another vision (e.g., that of honest money and equal tax rates), they will not demand that the Republicans change their stripes. If there is no demand from the voters, then these "better, more conservative Republicans" quickly get consumed by the Washington beast of big government. That ol' devil human nature gets in the way of their original, noble aspirations. They end up choosing another term of acquiescence to statism -- with all its celebrity in Washington -- instead of fighting for true tax reform, which brings the risk of losing on Election Day and having to return to the obscurity of life in Midville.

Unless the tax system is changed to a genuine equal-rate tax that everyone has to pay (i.e., no exemptions for anyone) there is no hope to ever reduce the ruinous levels of government spending we now endure. The "infinite demand for government services" that is bankrupting us stems from our progressive income tax system that exempts 50% of the nation's voters from paying taxes. If those 50% are not dinged proportionally as everyone else is, then they can't possibly have any real desire to eliminate Washington's egregious conveyance of entitlements. They're not paying for them. This is one of the cardinal laws of economics. If government benefits are free, then demand for them will be infinite. Only by enacting a 10% equal-rate tax for everyone can this irresponsibility be ended.

Conservative freedom seekers are wasting their time with any and all political activism without this paramount tax reform. It is the all-important linchpin. And there is no chance to get such a radical tax reform measure passed unless an independent candidate makes a Ross Perot style run and gains entrance into the National TV Presidential Debates to sell 70 million Americans on such a reform's crucial necessity in stopping government growth.

Why? Because neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will ever adopt such a tax reform proposal because they both know it would spell death to their all-consuming desires to be re-elected. Only a third-party can bring such a proposal to the public in clear unadulterated form because only a third-party (if it was properly structured) would be in a position of not needing to win office immediately. What do we mean by "properly structured?" We mean that the third-party be first and foremost a "teaching party." Such a third-party would then put the necessary reform measure in front of the 70 million voters who watch the national debates because its goal would be primarily to get the ideas of "honest money and equal-tax rates" in front of the people and let election victory come later after these two policies have won the people over. A properly structured third-party's goal would be to teach the people the truth about what is destroying our country. It would be to act as a magnet to draw the people away from the nefarious views of Republicans and Democrats.

Thus die-hard Republicans in pursuit of an army of Mr. Smiths end up fulfilling Einstein's definition of insanity because their candidates want to win office immediately and repeatedly. They've been doing this for five decades, and still they never get the message. The Washington beast destroys all Republicans who start out with budget cutting aspirations, except for those rare and noble contrarians like Ron Paul. This is why "working within the Republican Party" can never bring us a restoration of limited government. It is why the GOP will always be a party of mules. It is what Judson Phillips and 80% of his Tea Party Nation followers are oblivious to. They will never be able to reform the mules by working within the GOP. They will succeed only in becoming like them.

Hopping into the Hot Tub

To those still unconvinced, consider the following. Why hasn't the flow of new conservatives to Washington over the past 50 years grown and helped to turn the tide? Because until there is a mandate for less government among the people, almost everyone of the new conservatives we send to Washington quickly conclude that if they are to be guaranteed re-election every two years, they must join with the Democrats to increase government spending. They end up as journalist Stanton Evans told us, "treating the sewer of Washington like a hot tub." They hop in and wallow in pork and privilege with the likes of Pelosi and Reid. Consequently for every "new conservative" we send to Congress, we lose an equally new conservative to the hot tub. The freedom movement stalls, and statism continues to grow.

Why? Because the people mandate it. The people possess infinite demand for pork and privilege because our progressive tax system exempts 50% of the nation from paying any income taxes. The "uniformity clause" for tax rates established by the Founders in the Constitution has been junked, and we now have an irresponsible electorate that gets billions of dollars worth of breaks and benefits for free. This is the nefarious lure destroying the system.  

Oh, the 50% non-payers will protest that they pay their fair share because they are charged FICA taxes for social security and in many states have to pay sales taxes. But the truth is that these taxes don't even come close to paying for the massive entitlements they receive in the form of retirement benefits, Medicare benefits, food stamp benefits, welfare services, student loans, Head Start grants, earned income tax credits, unemployment insurance, subsidized housing, and all the other prodigal government programs that have inundated our Republic ever since FDR came to visit us.

Moreover the FICA taxes and sales taxes they pay don't come close to covering their share of the massive interest on government debt, the funding for the myriad of ABC bureaucracies that breed like bacteria, and the imperialist military expenditures that most non-payers continue to vote for every decade in acquiescence to Demopublican paranoia. Our social security program is broke. Our medicare program is broke. Our state governments are broke. Our federal government is broke. Our nation is broke. The ideal of a free, self-reliant America is sinking into a swamp of greed, stupidity, and the opiates of monetary inflation and "pilfer thy neighbor through the taxman." Could this travesty have something to do with the fact that 50% of the nation is granted an exemption from the responsibility of citizenship with multitudinous government functions given to them free? 

Thus to continue sending conservative Republicans to Congress, without establishing a mandate to stop the growth of government, can only bring continued failure. To create such a mandate, we have to tell the people the truth about what is causing the relentless growth of government. We have to show them how progressive tax rates and fiat money inflation act as the fuel for exponential government growth. And we must do it in a sensationalized manner. We must get an independent candidate into the National TV Presidential Debates to instruct 70 million Americans in a matter of years, not decades. We must do what Steve Jobs continually encouraged his comrades at Apple to do: "Think Different!" The media and the academy will not tell the truth. The GOP will not tell the truth. Only a third-party candidate (who's not afraid of losing the election) will. My book, The Conservative Revolution, explains how to bring this about. CLICK HERE for a review.

A Corrupt and Ossified Institution

It is time to dramatically change our strategy. All conservative activist groups need to see the GOP for what it is -- a corrupt and ossified institution that no longer serves a meaningful purpose. The GOP is like the tragic protagonist in Oscar Wilde's nineteenth century novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Because Dorian Gray had made a Faustian bargain by selling his soul to the devil, he never ages over the years. Only his portrait becomes effete and grotesquely wrinkled, hidden away from friends in the attic. This deal with the devil enables Gray to continually live in debauchery. In like manner, the GOP sold its soul to the devils of massive debt and privilege and thus continually lives in debauchery. It conveys privileges to banks and corporations who donate money to them in return, and it creates massive debt for the free entitlements it grants to the lower 50% of income earners in return for their votes. To imperceptive observers, the GOP, like Dorian Gray, appears to be beautiful and idealistic. But in actuality it is like Gray's hidden portrait in the attic, a withered and decrepit gargoyle of greed and blindness.

Because of the Faustian bargain they have made with the banks, corporations, and seekers of "entitlements for nothing," Republican politicians will always choose to be Demopublicans and can never become Jeffersonians. The snare of fiat money and progressive taxation defines their existence. They will always be profligate Dorian Grays irresponsibly cavorting through life, stealing from the productive and bankrupting the future. Why? Because it is the only way they can get re-elected under our distorted tax system, and re-election is what they want more than freedom, more than honor, more than justice.

How do we end the tragedy of this Faustian bargain? Only by restoring the concept of "equal rights under the law" to our tax system. In other words, by repealing progressive tax rates and enacting a "10% equal-rate tax" that requires all citizens to pay proportionally for their government services. We cannot have equal rights without equal rates. Our progressive tax rate system is the cardinal evil that Democrats and Republicans signed onto decades ago.

The Dorian Grays of the GOP cannot and will not change this. Only a third-party can. Once a third-party based on "honest money and equal tax rates" is in the mix, everything changes dramatically. There would then be a chance for reform because the people could be shown an alternative political vision that is rational. They could be shown what is causing the tyrannical expansion of government. There would then be a competitor to the Demopublican monopoly and its Faustian bargain of tax and spend in return for votes. The flow of political ideas would be opened up.

The statist establishment controls the minds of the populace through its control of the schools, and it controls how they vote by controlling the flow of political ideas through the one-party charade of Demopublicanism. Until this monopoly is broken, Republicans will forever be mules fooling themselves in the worst way with hopes of reform.

This is simple human nature. Monopolies in the corporate world, in the labor arena, and in the ideological arena are all destructive. They stifle the flow of people, money and ideas. They asphyxiate the country in which they are tolerated. Well, we now have a firmly entrenched political monopoly in this country that is stultifying the process, and the ossified GOP is a major part of that monopoly.

Tea Party activists are playing a fool's game if they think the likes of Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain will do anything other than what Republicans have been doing for 50 years -- cross over the aisle to hop into the hot tub of pork and privilege to insure their re-election. If we are not wise enough an

Continued elsewhere.

412 298 3432 = cell

FW: Massachusetts Physicians For A National Health Program: The fundamental flaws in the Massachusetts (and ACA) model

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Molly Rush

The fundamental flaws in the Massachusetts (and ACA) model


Massachusetts Physicians for a National Health Program

October 2011

The Massachusetts Model of Health Reform in Practice

The reform has not addressed the health care crisis that most Massachusetts residents face, and that renders our entire health care system increasingly unaffordable. Health care costs – which are straining employer and household budgets, edging out all other spending priorities by the state and municipalities – have increased at even more rapid rates following reform. Administrative waste in the system has grown as a consequence of introducing new payers into an already bureaucratic health care system. Cost shifting under employer-sponsored insurance, particularly for small business employees, has accelerated. Reform has not achieved universal coverage, despite the mandate, largely because the state has been unable to ensure that truly affordable plans are available. Reform has not reduced the burden of medical bills or medical bankruptcy on Massachusetts' families. The demand for safety net services by the uninsured and underinsured has remained high, and has begun to grow, while reform and subsequent state policy has created a financial crisis for safety net providers serving low-income and minority communities in the state. Reform has not been able to significantly slow the rising use of emergency departments for care.

Most concerning, the modest gains achieved by the reform have come at a high cost – even after the state has successfully shifted many of these costs on to federal taxpayers. The costs of the reform are widely acknowledged to be unsustainable and the state has been forced to restrict benefits and shift costs to residents, employers, and federal taxpayers as a consequence. This may help explain the declining support for reform noted in recent years. Moreover, the costs of the reform have not been born equitably, with low and middle income individuals bearing a disproportionate share of the costs.

The Massachusetts reform has not addressed the fundamental deficiencies in the health care system. The reform contained no proven or robust cost-control measures and thus the state has had to struggle to afford expanded coverage in the face of unsustainable cost increases. The Massachusetts reform introduced new programs and rules to an already complex blend of public and private insurers, leaving the state with increasing administrative complexity – and increasing costs.

There is every reason to believe that the recently passed national reform law based on the Massachusetts reform (The Affordable Care Act) will result in similar mixed outcomes. Our hope is for an equitably financed health care system that serves all Americans in a cost-effective way, without requiring cost-sharing that prohibits needed care. A Massachusetts-style reform will not achieve these goals.

Comment:   The Massachusetts plan has been successful only in nominally increasing the numbers of individuals insured, but at a trade-off of making almost everything else worse, including the insurance coverage itself. The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) used the Massachusetts model, and experience with the implementation to date indicates that we can expect the same or similar fundamental deficiencies, making unaffordable under-insurance the new national standard.

In a PNHP press release, Dr. Rachel Nardin, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of this study, stated, "The Massachusetts reform built on a complex blend of public and private insurers, adding to the administrative complexity and cost of the system. To achieve cost-effective, high-quality and truly universal care, we need a single-payer system."

To better understand why the Massachusetts/ACA model can't work, it would be worthwhile to read the full 46 page report, accessible at the link above.

412 298 3432 = cell

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Statement to Pittsburgh Public Schools Board and Administration from Mark Rauterkus, October 24, 2011

Statement to Pittsburgh Public Schools Board and Administration from Mark Rauterkus, October 24, 2011 *

Hello Board members, Superintendent and staff. My name is Mark Rauterkus. I live in the South Side and have two children that attend Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Later in your agenda you will see a personell matter. I am very happy and excited to say that I've accepted the swim coaching position for the high school boys swimming coach at Pittsburgh Obama. I am really thrilled. It is going to be exciting to work with the kids and such. I won't let the students or you down.

One person emailed me and said the whole burden of PPS Athletic Reform Task Force, something that I was working on prior, is now falling on my shoulders. This is something that I'm willing to accept. If I have enough access and good support, and I think that will come, we will do some amazing things and hopefully we can be that model.

A lot of sports, and I don't want to get all Knute Rockne on you, is about playing well with one another. I think we need to use sports as best we can to keep the kids good goals.

It is alarming that the Schenley building is for sale for $2-million and it is a loss of a swim pool, something I care about most, but also the gym.

My suggestion to you is, if you must, sell the school building but do not sell the athletic facilities. Perhaps you can put a rider on the sale of some sort.

When the schools with grades 6 to 12 were created, you have to remember you have a middle school facility with their own middle school teams. They need to be practicing after school. Then these schools also must serve high school teams as well. They all need to be practicing after school.

Let's hold onto those athletic facilities and use them.

Even right now, with the closed Peabody facility, we have to use that, all the time. That is another access thing. It is sitting idle and we should be using it for our swim season, swim lessons, water polo, fitness.

In September I took a team of high school boys to Columbus, Ohio, for a water polo tournament. We played in the JV brackets as Pittsburgh Combined in Worthington. In the last game, at Worthington, we won in a game over Upper Arlington. I want to thank Dr. Lane for putting that news into the Superintendent's report and our players were very happy to hear her congratulations on their play. Two weeks ago I gathered 17 players from the city and a few from Shaler, and we played two games on a Saturday evening against North Allegheny's Club Teams. The kids did great. Everyone was proud, as they should be. Then they figured, "Boy, if we had practices and a legit schedule, we'd be really, really good."

Speaking of access, I'm expecting we'll work out access to Westinghouse High School so we can do afterschool programs there and build up some aquatics programs there.

Speaking of Westinghouse, it appears to me that the name, Westinghouse, the colors and the mascot is important to them. It would be best to keep the name Westinghouse as well as the colors and the mascott.

Houses in the Schenley Farms neighborhood sell for more than $2-million dollars. This is a giant building and it has a swim pool and gym. If you must, sell the school, but get a fair price. And by all means, do NOT sell the school on the cheap and then have the new owners expect to get a tax break or tax abatement into the future. I'd say "No way to that." I have always been against TIFs and tax-breaks that take money from today's students. Different people, like homeowners, need to carry more of the tax burden. Plus, a tax break for some amounts to a bribe. That is never healthy.

We could use that swim pool and gym that is within Schenley. It is new. It is of great size for a high school programs. A condition of sale could be for the new owners to occupy the school and the district to retain the sports facilities.

We have talked about this before with the creation of the schools that span from grades 6 to 12. These schools need to have VARSITY, JV, FRESHMEN and MIDDLE SCHOOL teams. The Sci-Tech and U-Prep schools were built for middle school teams. Use the sub-standard gyms and pools in those schools for sports play for middle school students and then give access to the high school students of both U-Prep and Sci Tech, an easily walk, to Schenley for their JV and Varsity teams practices and games.

Intramurals present another area where PPS needs great expansion. We need to have the space available in the evenings to do those programs. Some can be done on a city-wide basis at Pittsburgh Schenley.

It is with sports where be learn how to best play well with one another. We have heard plenty from the factions at Oliver High School and Perry High School. We need more common ground. We need sports facilities so we can have better coaching opportunities, better school spirit, better fitness and a district that is going to retain its students and families.

Our kids need high goals. So don't take away these goals, the physical hoops in the gyms, by selling the facility that is necessary for our schools to thrive.

And when the time is right, I would like to work to put in swimming and water polo programs at either Perry or Oliver High School as well.

* These were not my exact words.

Arita Gilliam Rue to PPS Board in October 2011

Arita Gilliam Rue to PPS Board in October 2011 in Google Document

Family at a famous water fountain. Can you name this spot?

Grant outside the Navy Academy Swim Pool

Statement to the PPS School board from A.W.

Annette S. Werner PURE Reform

I'm here to talk about the proposed sale of the Schenley building.

The Schenley athletic addition - pool and gym- are asbestos free.

Again, the pool and gym added to Schenley in 1987 do not have asbestos plaster.

That is important information, because pools and gyms are of course very expensive. The district said the cost of just a new gym for Miller is $8M- and that would be a K-8 gym. The Schenley addition, which cost over $9M, would cost $18M in today's dollars.

It is bad enough to sell an $18M plus asset for 2M. Soon, however, we will be talking about money the district will need to spend to purchase what it just sold. The athletic facilities at U Prep are not suitable for a high school and not comparable to those enjoyed by other high school students in the district. Eventually it will become necessary to remedy the situation by adding new sports facilities, at great expense.

With the current state of the budget it will be difficult to roll in a wasteful expense unnoticed. There will be consequences in terms of higher taxes, more crowded classrooms, or both, and then repercussions in terms of enrollment and decisions people make about whether to live and locate businesses in the city. There are plenty of examples of urban school districts that ignored these considerations and have never recovered. Pittsburgh is not immune to these problems.

Now is the time to look ahead and prevent these unpleasant consequences. Put a padlock on the classroom portion of the Schenley building and preserve the very valuable sports facilities for PPS students. Maintenance costs of retaining the building can most likely be offset by fees for making the building available to other schools and organizations.

Looking beyond just this one building, insist on a realistic calculation of renovation costs when schools are closed or consolidated, and open those calculations to public scrutiny. Consider also the loss of options for the future when schools and plans don't turn out as expected. At some point we are going to have to take a good honest look at how the experiments of the last 6 years have turned out and one way or another, changes will need to be made; the only question is how much it will cost us.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Third letter on this blog about the sell off of PPS school assets

October 20, 2011

Dear General Wagner,

I am writing you today as a citizen, and former Pittsburgh Public Schools Board Member, to express my great concern about the sale of a public asset. I am writing about the proposed sale of the former Florence Reizenstein Middle School to the development company Walnut Capital. I believe that this sale would constitute an irresponsible stewardship of public assets by the Pittsburgh School Board and Administration. And that it should be stopped for the following reasons:

1)      According to Allegheny County Assessment Office the Building and Land is worth $22,920,500.00

2)      Sole Bidder bid $5,700,000.00

3)      Bidder announced plans for $119,000,000.00

4)      Bidder has history of seeking tax exemptions, thereby reducing or eliminating tax revenues to City, State, and School District.

5)      There was only ONE Bidder

6)      Bidding process was "fast-tracked". A shorter bidding process from other buildings for sale.

7)      Property is within an area (East Liberty) that has seen great economic investment in the last 10 years(A Target store opened 3 months ago)

8)      Board did not properly (only locally) advertise this property for sale.

9)      Bidder developed property across the street from school.

10)   Property not appraised by a least 3 appraisers.

11)   School building only 30 years old.

12)   School building is used for many community activities.

13)   Building is modern facility with large gymnasium, pool, and air conditioning.


I believe that this property should remain a school. There is currently one proposed charter school for East End of Pittsburgh with of others likely. I believe the property's continued use as a school is highly possible and, most likely in the future, necessary.


Furthermore, the Reizenstein building is a valuable asset to the East End of Pittsburgh community. This building, because of its central location and access to public transportation is a natural meeting place. Its gymnasium and pool are used by many groups and organizations. It even housed the Pittsburgh Public Schools"Summer Dreamers" education program for hundreds of students.

The taxpayers of the city have invested tens of millions of dollars in this building and property. They should have every right to expect the property to be put to the best use for students and, if this property is to be sold, to receive the maximum amount possible. This sale should be halted for the purpose of determining if this has occurred.

Looking back over the years, I also believe the handling of this property to be a prima facie case(s) of, not only wasting precious tax dollars, but of NO fiscal planning by the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

I placed before the Pittsburgh School Board in April 2008 a resolution to cancel the planned move of students from the closed Schenley High School to the Reizenstein Building. $10 million dollars was slated to be spent to make the facility more appropriate for High Schools students. However, the Board knew at that time the move would be temporary because Business Affairs Director stated "that to make building permanent home for High School students would cost $40 million in upgrades". I asked Board to move those students to an existing High School. The Pittsburgh School Board voted my resolution down. In May of this year, the Pittsburgh School Board voted to send Reizenstein students to that very same existing High School. Yet, it does not end there.

The East End of Pittsburgh is an area that is experiencing great commercial and residential development (Coincidentally, the bidders for Reizenstein are proposing a $119 million dollar residential development). The communities of Garfield, East Liberty, and Highland Park are all doing significant building of new homes. Even the struggling communities of Larimer and Homewood have plans and funding   and are beginning long overdue community re- development. We are already seeing many new families moving into the East End of Pittsburgh, and I believe many, many more will follow. What if the School District of Pittsburgh finds, in a few short years, that there is a need to build a new school for the new families? A new school will cost at minimum $40 million dollars. The East End also has many schools that are over 90 years old. How long will it be before it becomes cost prohibitive to maintain and upgrade these buildings? How long will it be before these buildings are obsolete?  The Reizenstein property would provide a large parcel of flat land in an attractive location. If a new building is ever constructed the existing sports facilities might well be incorporated at significant savings. The lack of planning may cost the taxpayers of the city and state tens of millions of dollars.


I am writing to ask your office to intervene and investigate the sale of this building. I believe that tens of millions of public dollars are at stake. Yet, most importantly we are facing the loss of a building that has helped to enrich the educational experience of thousands of students. I believe that a building with excellent amenities make for a well-rounded education.  Pittsburgh has long believed that well maintained facilities are important to a child's education. We have long believed in the importance of pools for our children to learn to swim and large gyms and fields for them to play and grow strong. This current Pittsburgh School Board has forgotten this. My hope is that you will us here in Pittsburgh to remind them.




Randall Taylor

Former Pittsburgh School Board Director, District #1

(412) 867-8170

Friday, October 21, 2011

Duquesne school district to close the end of the school year

Duquesne school district to close the end of the school year: Duquesne school district to close the end of the school year.
Perhaps we can say too little and too late.

This is big news. And, it is a big impact to everyone in the region.

Allegheny County and the overall region is just too small to have such a failure in such epic amounts. Those kids are neighbors. Those students are getting screwed and have been put in jeopardy for decades.

The drag of Duquesne City's School District is an anchor that we all must lift and correct.

Back in the day I spoke at a PPS public hearing to the PPS board and took some heat from a person in the audience who was another citizen. She told me in no uncertain terms in a private conversation that she didn't want to hear me, a guy from the South Side who was seeking public office in the city, talking about Duquesne Schools. To her, that was out of bounds. She wanted me to rant about things within our neighborhood, our district.

I felt I had an important message to deliver and it was spot on for PPS to worry about. For a while, PPS had a consulting or management contract with the Duquesne School District for something. That didn't seem to pan out, I guess.

But my worry then and at the microphone that night was about the closing of schools in the 'right size plan' that were in Hazelwood and to the far east and south of the city. That is the part of the city that needed capacity because the Duquesne students might come flocking into the city some day as that district crumbles.

Well, it has happened. My prediction has come true, sadly.

And, the PPS is without the school buildings and without the capacity in the system to do something positive there.

It is a stretch, but not impossible, to get the kids from Duquesne into the city for school, even in the K-8 stages.

Oh well.

What would Churchill say to Gandi about the race for US President?

Kathy Fine makes a statement about the selling of PPS school facilities

From Kathy Fine, a Pittsburgh citizen who helps with the education blog, Pure Reform.

Enough is enough.

Four years ago, the PPS administration proposed closing Schenley High School based on deceptions and out and out lies.
  • They lied when they said that that would keep Schenley open after the community outcry.
  • ·
  • They lied about the level of danger due to asbestos and the urgency of removing students from the facility.
  • They lied about forming a stakeholder committee to discuss possible reuses for the building.
  • They lied about the cost for renovations.

And now their lies are public knowledge. The district let Schenley sit unused while they spent tens of millions of dollars on renovations on inferior buildings and instituted controversial reform experiments that we new would fail (and sadly, we have been proven right). Now they are proposing selling this historic building on invaluable city property for $2M dollars to a developer that will convert the old school into apartments for a cost of $35M dollars. That’s right, $35M dollars to gut the entire facility, remediate the asbestos, replace electrical and HVAC systems and build separate apartments. 5 years ago, the PPS administration told us that just updating the mechanicals and remediation would cost up to $81M!

The students at University Prep are worse off than they were at Schenley. They are faring no better academically, but now they are housed in an inadequate middle school facility and their sports and other extracurriculars have been decimated.

The closing of Schenley has resulted in the resegregation of our high schools and separate but unequal facilities and programming for the minority students in the East End of our city. While the predominantly white high schools like Brashear, Carrick and Alderdice have remained untouched, with beautiful buildings and sports facilities, the predominantly minority high schools like Obama (the new IB school), University Prep and Sci-Tech are squeezed into middle school facilities or facilities with no windows or natural light and have been forced to give up any real sports programming.

And the proposed Reizenstein sale also raises concerns. The county has assessed this property at over $22M, but the bidder the district is putting forward is offering only $5.4M Moreover, this flat, conveniently located property with some of the best PPS parking in the East End is the go to spot for district wide meetings. It is also the site of a popular pre-school program. DeJong, the facility consultant, recommended keeping the property, reportedly so that it would be available at a future time when the district wishes to build a new modern facility.

PLEASE, come to the public hearing at 6PM on Monday, 10/24 and tell our school board that we cannot see our district dismantled piece by piece. Call 412-622-3600 and sign up to speak by 12N on Monday. Or just come to lend support! Some talking points:

  • End the separate but unequal treatment of the minority students in the East End.
  • The lack of accountability regarding the deception about the true cost of renovation
  • The failures of the reforms that took place at the cost of Schenley High School
  • University Prep is a failed experiment
  • Sci-Tech’s building is too small to accommodate all of the students that want to attend
  • Sharing sports facilities between middle and high school has resulted in tremendous scheduling difficulties, with some students having to wait until evening for practice.

The Schenley building and sports facilities are worth much more than $2M. There has been talk of building a gymnasium for University Prep at a cost of $8M. We could use the Schenley sports facilities for University Prep, Obama and Sci Tech and save $6M, while providing these three schools with a centralized location for their sports programming.

Stop the fire sale of Reizenstein and Schenley.

The TIME IS NOW to stop this charade of “reform” and put a halt to the sale of our precious public school resources for a pittance.

Kathy Fine
Pure Reform

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TJ needs a swim coach

Hello My name is Barb Hill and I am part of the booster club for the Thomas Jefferson High School swimming and diving team. Our high school swim team is desperately searching for a high school swim coach for this 2011-2012 swim season. I found your name on the website for USMS Allegheny Mountain Masters. I was wondering if you might know of anyone that has coaching experience that would be interested in coaching a high school team. Thomas Jefferson High School is located in Jefferson Hills, PA and is part of the West Jefferson Hills School District. This is a paying position. We have about 25-30 high swimmers that are anxious to get started. If you are interested or know anyone that may be interested please have them contact myself or William Cherpak the athletic director at the high school at 412-655-8610. Thank You Barb

Fw: cc letter waste/ mismanagement

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 16:59:15 -0400 (EDT)
To: <>
Subject: cc letter waste/ mismanagement

October 19, 2011


Mr. Ron Tomalis, Secretary of Education

Pennsylvania Department of Education

333 Market Street

Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333


Dear Mr. Tomalis:


I am writing with a concern about possible waste and mismanagement of Pittsburgh Public School assets.


As you may know, in June 2008 the PPS Board voted 5-4, despite strong opposition, to close Schenley High School.  The reason given was the presence of asbestos plaster, although it was later shown that other functioning Pittsburgh public schools had similar if not identical plaster issues.  The Board mandated that a committee be formed to consider re-use of the building, including possible re-use as a school.  Over the next three years parents, community members and some Board members requested formation of this committee.  Suddenly last summer, without committee input, the district announced that the property was for sale and that the bid deadline was December 31, 2011 (a date that was recently moved up to October 13, 2011).   A bid for $2M, which the district appears likely to accept very soon, was revealed this week.


HOWEVER, the Schenley athletic addition (including gym and pool) does not have asbestos plaster problems.   It was added in 1987 at a cost of $9.4M (about $18M in current dollars).  Similar recent projects in neighboring districts have cost $20M - $25M.  Even looking at just the athletic facilities, PPS will be handing off an extremely valuable asset for a pittance.  Minimal marketing took place, and it is quite likely that other potential purchasers did not know the building was for sale or that the gymnasium and pool do not have plaster problems.


More importantly, our Pittsburgh public school students could benefit greatly from this athletic facility.  Schenley was replaced by three 6-12 schools which in some cases lack facilitiesappropriate for a high school, such as regulation sized pools.   In addition, the high school level students must wait to use facilities until the middle school day is over, and then must work practices and meets around middle school practices and meets.  Because schools are small, joint teams are necessary and students  must travel between locations.  The Schenley athletic facilities are in a central location (Oakland) and would 1) greatly alleviate the overscheduling and inequity created by the 6-12 configuration and 2) provide a single location for the joint teams (which include charter school students) to practice and play.  And, because other Oakland organizations are in need of pool and gym time, there are real revenue opportunities that could well offset the cost of maintaining the building, even if the classroom portion just sat in reserve.  


An additional concern is that the district put the cost of making Schenley available for continued use as a school at $81M, while the bidder for the property indicates that it will manage to convert it to an entirely new use (residential) for only $35M.  I urge the Pennsylvania Department of Education without delay to investigate this discrepancy as well as the issues surrounding the athletic facilities and to ensure that our properties are being handled in a manner that is  fiscally responsible and equitable to all students.


Annette S. Werner (


cc:  Auditor General Jack Wagner

Fwd: Closing Statement BLACKED OUT

From: Ron Paul <>

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bakery Square expansion proposed; three school sites for bid

No deal.

Do not sell the Schenley High School for $2-million. Sell it for $20 or $30 million, not $2-million.

Do not give a tax credit to the new owners of Schenley High School. If they want it at a seal, then don't let them seal us into the future as well. Sell it at a fair price, and expect them to make an investment, without the price of a tax credit.

The Reizenstein property was to fetch $30 or $40 million dollars, not $5 or $6 million.

No deal. We (citizens, taxpayers, parents of school children) are getting robbed.

Bakery Square expansion proposed; three school sites for bid: Developers propose carrying housing, retail, office space across Penn Avenue to site of shuttered Reizenstein school

Economic Plan from Doctor Paul

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Book Includes Buhl Planetarium History

From: Glenn A. Walsh

A history of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, including its rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope Observatory, is included in a new book published by the University of Pittsburgh Press titled Palace of Culture, Andrew Carnegie's Museums and Library in Pittsburgh. The author of this book is Robert J. Gangewere, former adjunct professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University and former editor of CARNEGIE magazine for three decades.

The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center) merged with Carnegie Institute in 1987, thus the reason Buhl's history is included in this book. Mr. Gangewere interviewed me, regarding Buhl's history, for this book.

Mr. Gangewere will conduct a free-of-charge lecture on the new book, and a book signing this TUESDAY AFTERNOON, OCTOBER 18, 2011, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) at the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.

Here is more information about the book --

Link to information from the University of Pittsburgh Press web site:

Here is a book description from the CARNEGIE Magazine web site:

Palace of Culture

Told through the eyes of a longtime insider and gifted storyteller, the far-reaching history of Andrew Carnegie's lasting gifts to the Steel City and their worldwide influence comes to life in Palace of Culture, Andrew Carnegie's Museums and Library in Pittsburgh.

Published by University of Pittsburgh Press and written by Robert J. Gangewere, former adjunct professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University and former editor of CARNEGIE magazine for three decades, Palace of Culture is a thorough look at the life and times of Andrew Carnegie's Carnegie Institute, which today comprises four distinctive museums and a separately operated system of libraries.

"It makes for a fascinating account that not only is a tribute to Andrew Carnegie's vision but also demonstrates that libraries, museums, and concert halls can have a powerful, even transformative impact on cities," says Petra Chu, professor of art history at Seton Hall University.

In his 2004 farewell note in CARNEGIE magazine, Gangewere promised to tackle this important project by sharing unforgettable stories—like when Carnegie, sitting on a log in Cresson, Pennsylvania, first told minister William Holland that he wanted to do something special for Pittsburgh, like build a library. "It's a very American story with no simple parallel in the larger world of museums," Gangewere wrote. "I can't wait to tell it." After scores of interviews and unprecedented research, Gangewere has accomplished his goal.

Join Gangewere for one of his scheduled talks about his book: October 18 from 3-5 p.m. in the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater; November 9 from 7-9 p.m. at Ligonier Public Library; and January 14, 2012, from 2-4 p.m. at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland.