Wednesday, March 28, 2012

School news and request letter from parents of Phillips and South Side

Also, for Phillips parents and incoming parents for next year, there's a letter circulating for parents to sign (I believe that there are close to 100 signatures already) to Deputy Superintendent Rudiak asking that with the budget cuts that the district make three commitments to Phillips. One is to fund a Spanish teacher position out of district funds rather than the individual school budget just as the Post-Gazette reported this week that the District already agreed to do at Colfax, which is a Spanish magnet just like Phillips.  A second is that the district will agree to stick to its practice of funding an additional paraprofessional position for grades where enrollment hits the maximum numbers out of additional district funds rather than out of the existing Phillips budget.  The third is that with the elimination of two teaching positions and the hiring of a FTE to cover some classrooms, that Phillips be able to hire one of the displaced teachers who already knows the school and students. 

Below is a copy of the letter in case you and/or your spouse/significant other wish to sign on and send, or there are parents collecting signature before and after school.  I'll have a copy of the letter with me at POPS. Parents of students entering school next year are welcome to sign, too.  It's authored by Michele Margittai and Carey Harris (related by marriage to POPS Peter Margittai and John Werling).


Pittsburgh Phillips K-5 PSCC / PTO / Guardians
c/o 1901 Sarah Street
Pittsburgh PA 15203
March 30, 2012

Dr. Barbara Rudiak
Pittsburgh Public Schools
341 South Bellefield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Dear Dr. Rudiak –

We are writing, on behalf of 315 Pittsburgh Phillips K-5 students, regarding the changes to occur in the 2012/13 school year at Pittsburgh Phillips K-5. 

As you know, the parents/guardians of Phillips students have actively collaborated for many years with the school’s administration to create and sustain an excellent school environment.  This family engagement has resulted in many successes at the school including:

•     an engaged PSCC that meets with school administration about various school issues.
•     an active PTO that provides financial and other support for student enrichment activities.
•     excellent attendance by families at school’s events in support of the students’ work (e.g., Fiesta de la Paz, Are You Smarter than a 3rd/4th Grader?)

Not only have these efforts helped Phillips K-5 to be recognized locally as an excellent public school, but its family engagement efforts have also been recognized nationally, by PTO Today.

As a result of the recent budget cuts, Phillips is entering a critical time of challenges and transitions.  Families again are asking, “What can we do?”  Through the PSCC, families have already met several times with our school’s principal. Based on these discussions, we are writing to request clarity from the district, regarding several issues of concern:

·         Principal Transition: We are looking forward to working with the new principal who will be appointed to lead Phillips – particular in addressing changes that will occur regarding the budget cuts. When will the new principal be available to start working with us and what will his/her availability be for meetings in May through August?

·         Class Size:  We are concerned about the kindergarten class sizes, and want to provide those classrooms with the maximum amount of support.  Our current understanding is that a paraprofessional will be provided to support a kindergarten classroom if that class size reaches or exceeds the maximum allowed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  These additional staff members would be provided at the district’s expense, and not out of Phillips’ site-based budget.  We would like to confirm with the district that this understanding is correct.

·         FTE /ITL2:  Phillips will lose at least two classroom teachers for the 2012/13 school year.  We understand that district and building seniority will determine which teachers must leave.  We request that the FTE, who will be assigned to Phillips to supplement the schedule of the ITL2, be offered to one of the teachers whose current position will be eliminated or who will be bumped due to district transitions. .  Our current teachers are part of the culture and understand the expectations of Phillips.  As such, they are in the best position to work effectively with our students, staff, and families. An assigned FTE who is new to Phillips, would only exacerbate an already challenging year.

·         Spanish Teacher: We noted in the Monday, March 26th Pittsburgh Post Gazette article that the District is providing a Spanish teacher to Colfax to continue that school’s Spanish program.  Will the district provide the same resource to Phillips, if needed, to ensure that all of our students receive Spanish instruction at least periods per week?

Dr. Rudiak, thank you, in advance, for your time spent providing us with answers to these important questions.  Our PSCC meets again on April 17th.  It would be extremely helpful to receive a response prior to that meeting.

We look forward to working with you and your colleagues.


Pittsburgh Phillips PSCC                                Pittsburgh Phillips K-5 PTO
Parent Representative                                     President

Cc: Dr. Jeannine French

Pittsburgh Phillips Students’ Parents / Guardians:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring break: Spain or Oakmont on a bike

If you can not get to Spain to ride your bike next week, we have the next best thing. Go to Cycling Fusion for some free rides, if you are up for the challenge.

Next week we are premiering our NEW DVD in Spain for FREE! Gene will be teaching the class alongside our new DVDs and we will use the audio from the classes as a coaching track option.

Come be a part of our new DVD for FREE! 
Monday, April 2nd: 7:00 pm

During this FREE class we will premier our first Spain DVD - Climbing Sweetly in Spain. This ride will include lots of climbing as well as some rollers. The scenery will include mountains, lakes, and a breathtaking dam. This hour long class is perfect for both intermediate and advanced riders.

To sign up for the class, please either call 412-517-8163 and Laura will enroll you in the class. Or, follow this link, log in, and sign up for the FREE class.

Date: Monday, April 2nd
Time: 7:00pm-8:00pm
Instructor: Gene Nacey

Tuesday, April 3rd: 7:00 pm

During this FREE class we will premier our second Spain DVD - Power Riding in Spain. This ride will include two twenty minute sections that are perfect for doing traditional 2 X 20 power tests.  We will instead do only one power test and use the other 20 minute section to learn how to simulate multiple ways of climbing on an indoor bike. This hour long class is perfect for both intermediate and advanced riders.

To sign up for the class, please either call 412-517-8163 and Laura will enroll you in the class. Or, follow this link, log in, and sign up for the FREE class.

Date: Tuesday, April 3rd
Time: 7:00pm-8:00pm
Instructor: Gene Nacey

Laura Smith
Service Coordinator

Cycling Fusion
367 Plum St.
Oakmont, PA 15139

We want to get our Pittsburgh kids swimming and playing water polo soon -- before we do Summer Dreamers again

Hi Friends in Pittsburgh,

Last year our staff of 12 and about 150 middle school students had a wonderful time swimming and playing water polo. I loved coaching and teaching swimming to PPS students with Summer Dreamers at Peabody High Schools' pool. We had five great weeks. Now the challenge is to get that going again, this spring and summer, for campers and even some beyond the specific Summer Dreamers program.  

You are invited to attend any of the THREE informational meetings in the community in April, at different times and places, to talk about the changes for the 2012 Summer Dreamers Swim and Water Polo Camp -- and to give details for getting the kids into the water in April, May and June -- before the start of the official program July 9, 2012.

We are NOT at Peabody in the summer of 2012, but the venue shifts to UPREP and The Hill District. 

Swim and Water Polo Camp is held in conjunction with PPS Summer Dreamers, 2012 with

Neighborhood Learning Alliance
5429 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Phone: (412) 363 - 1910

We want you swimming and playing water polo again, real soon!

New players are welcome too.

Informational meetings for parents, guardians and others with an interest in the program are going to be held with Coach Mark Rauterkus,, 412-298-3432.

At 7 pm on Thursday, April 12, 2012
Pittsburgh CONNECTS, Bloomfield Garfield Corporation
5321 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, 412 441-9833

At 6 pm on Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Pittsburgh CONNECTS, Homewood-Brushton YMCA 
7140 Bennett Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15208-1477, 412 243-2900

At 8 pm on Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Pittsburgh CONNECTS, Hill House 
1860 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, 412 281-8482

Our Swim and Water Polo Camp has proven to be a fun-filled option for students in PPS.

Thanks for the consideration. Feel free to forward this email or send me any additions or changes to the list. 

Mark Rauterkus  
PPS Summer Dreamers' Swim and Water Polo Camp Head Coach with Neighborhood Learning Alliance
412 298 3432 = cell

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bringing the Community to Schools, a national webinar.

The "community school" model is turning school buildings into vibrant neighborhood hubs of activity. In addition to the academic program offered to students during the day, community schools provide a wide range of services to children in partnership with local organizations. The services include breakfast and dinner for low-income children; early-childhood programs; after-school recreation; academic enrichment; and adult education.

One thriving program with a long track record in this field is the 13-year-old SUN Community Schools network in Portland, Ore., which stands for "Schools Uniting Communities." The network now includes 64 schools in six districts serving high numbers of poor and minority students across Portland and Multnomah County, and it says it has improved student academic growth while providing other neighborhood needs. Join us for a discussion about the SUN Community School model and how it interacts with students and their families.


Diana Hall, program supervisor, SUN Community Schools

Lynn Blevins, principal, Lynch View Elementary School

Ginny Scelza, SUN site manager, Lynch View SUN Community School

This webinar will be moderated by Christina A. Samuels, staff writer, Education Week

Register now for this free live webinar.

Webinar Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2-3 p.m. ET

Can't attend? All Education Week webinars are archived and accessible "on demand" for up to six months after the original live-streaming date.

Education propaganda.

Why America's Education Isn't Worth the Money

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Obama Academy is in East Liberty. School newspaper re-reprint

Posted: 24 Mar 2012 04:55 AM PDT
If you didn’t know that our school is in the neighborhood of East Liberty, you should, because you’ve probably walked or taken a bus down Penn Avenue numerous times. What you probably didn’t know, or never would have guessed, is that it used to be a booming business district. However, it’s not so booming anymore. Many of the stores are boarded up and the ones that are open don’t get the business a store in the mall might get.
The East Liberty Business District wasn’t always like that. In fact, it thrived and flourished during the 1940s and 50s. To add to the prosperous commercial businesses, the residents of East Liberty were all very close, creating a tight community.  Sometimes, it was referred to as Pittsburgh’s “second downtown.”
In 1958, East Liberty’s strength was put to the test when they experienced their first commercial vacancies.  In response, the major business owners began one of the biggest urban renewal projects. However, the project had the opposite effect that many people had hoped it would have; the small local businesses were replaced with one-story retail stores placed up and down the streets, and Penn Circle was built, which actually drew the traffic away from the business district. The failure of the renewal project was the reason so many businesses closed and families moved away.
In 1979, the East Liberty Development, Inc. was founded (ELDI) to organize the revitalization of East Liberty. However, many of their attempts to get businesses up and running again failed and East Liberty remained in the same economic situation. Starting in the 1990s ELDI began to plan more development projects and became determined to bring the booming business district back to life.
Looking at East Liberty now, we could say they have done a pretty good job. A Target was just opened this past summer on the corner of Penn Avenue. In the vacant lot next to Eastminister Presbyterian Church they are starting the construction of new townhouses, just like the ones on Negley Avenue. In the plaza on Center Avenue, there is a Starbucks, a Whole Foods and many other small chain stores. Down the street there are a bunch of newly opened small restaurants including Spoon and Paris 66, which are both very nice and expensive places to eat. We can’t forget about Bakery Square, which is right across the street from our school and has become a popular place to go for coffee at Coffee Tree and subs at Jimmy John’s.
East Liberty has come so far since its economic downfall in the late 1950s. Its business district is quickly expanding in a variety of different directions and the residential area continues to slowly make a comeback. ELDI continues to plan for development projects and look at traffic patterns. East Liberty is slowly but surely continuing to make its return to the popular, booming business district it was in the 1940s and 50s.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fwd: No Clue

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ron Paul <>
Subject: No Clue

Dear Liberty Activist,

"You don't have a clue!"

That's what my Campaign Chairman, Jesse Benton, said to an MSNBC talking head yesterday who was belittling my chances at winning the Republican nomination.

The truth is, Jesse was 100% right.  I'll explain everything shortly.

But first, Liberty Activist, if you haven't yet contributed to my Give Me Liberty Money Bomb, please do so IMMEDIATELY!

You see, the reality is that my campaign is racking up delegates in state after state, but it's absolutely critical I reach $1 million . . .

With your support, my campaign will keep winning incredible victories like we saw in Missouri today!

Just hours ago, St. Louis City and Jackson County – the second largest county in the state – held their caucuses to elect delegates to the Congressional District and State Conventions.

The results?

***    In St. Louis City, my supporters completely SWEPT the caucus – winning ALL 36 delegates and alternates to the District and State Conventions;

***    In Jackson County, after five hours of caucusing, my supporters won the overwhelming majority of delegates, doubling the number of the next closest candidate.

Click to donate

As a result, I'm now leading the delegate count in the largest caucus state in the entire country!

Rick Santorum?


While several weeks ago, Rick Santorum spent days campaigning to win Missouri's meaningless straw poll beauty pageant, my campaign was working hard to win the votes that really matter – Missouri's delegates.

That's because my campaign is strategic, smart – and very frugal with our donors' hard-earned money.

I'm making sure we spend our resources where it counts

Rick Santorum can be elected beauty queen all he wants. 

I'll stick to delegate hunting.

And all this success is despite the establishment's attempt to shut out patriots like you from participating in their elections.

Remember what happened last week in St. Charles County, Missouri, when GOP officials declared the caucus over with no winner and no delegates elected?

Well, the Missouri GOP is holding a new caucus in St. Charles – and has guaranteed a free and open process.

They've even agreed to allow TV cameras in to film the Caucus.

Click to donate

Liberty Activist, this is just one example of where you and I are WINNING where it counts in state after state.

But if we're going to take an army of delegates from Nevada, Iowa, Washington State, Alaska, Missouri, and elsewhere to the National Convention, the bottom line is my campaign must have the resources to continue organizing at the next level.

That's why I'm hoping you'll make a generous contribution to my Give Me Liberty Money Bomb!

Your generous contribution will be put to immediate use in my campaign's hunt for delegates.

So please, dig deep and make a contribution to my campaign's Give Me Liberty Money Bomb IMMEDIATELY!

You and I are ROCKING the entire political establishment nationwide.

Now we must finish the job.

Please contribute TODAY!

Together, you and I can Restore America NOW!

For Liberty,

Ron Paul

P.S.   After the results of today's Missouri Caucuses, I am now leading in the delegate count in the Show Me State.

But the battle is still raging on, and I must have the resources to continue organizing these delegates for the next step of the process.

So please make the most generous contribution you possibly can afford to my Give Me Liberty Money Bomb!   

CMU is going a field day for kids

CMU Field Day 2012

Fwd: The Black Political Empowerment Project(B-PEP)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: The Black Political Empowerment Project(B-PEP) <>

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
The Black Political Empowerment Project(B-PEP) and the Coalition Against Violence stand with the Black Graduate Students of Carnegie Melllon University in their Rally for Justice for Trayvon

Monday, March 26, 2012.

12:30pm until 1:30am.


Please join the Black Graduate Student Organization at Carnegie Mellon University as we rally for justice and remembrance of Trayvon Martin. THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND ALL UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN PITTSBURGH.

MARCH 26,2012 12:30-1:30PM ON THE LAWN (by the fence) of CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY (5000 Forbes Ave.).

We seek justice, not only for Trayvon's family and friends, but in honor of everyone who has been victimized by the plague of gun violence sweeping our communities.

We are Trayvon.

If you are unaware of the events of February 26, 2012:

On February 26th, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old high school student visiting his father and soon-to-be stepmother in Sanford, Florida was gunned down in a gated townhouse community. Trayvon had left the house he and his father were visiting to walk to the local 7-Eleven. On his way back, he caught the attention of George Zimmerman, a 28- year-old neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman spotted Trayvon and called the police, stating that he "looked real suspicious" and "looks like he's up to no good and on drugs or something." The 911 dispatcher urged Zimmerman to stay in his vehicle while the police were dispatched to the scene. Zimmerman left his vehicle to pursue Trayvon and, soon after, 911 received calls from neighbors that the two were engaged in a scuffle. Shortly after, two gunshots rang out. When the police arrived, Trayvon was face down in the grass with a fatal bullet wound to the chest. Zimmerman was standing with blood on his face and grass stains on his back. Trayvon was unarmed, carrying a pack of Skittles and an iced tea. Zimmerman was armed, carrying a 9-millimeter handgun. Trayvon was black. Zimmerman is white.

The Sanford Police Department took Zimmerman into custody and released him after he admitted he shot Trayvon, but stated he "acted in self-defense." Zimmerman has not been charged or arrested since the incident.


News reports warn that Florida's reckless "shoot first, ask questions later" law may actually protect George Zimmerman, the vigilante who gunned down an unarmed teenager with nothing in his hands except candy and a drink.

That's because, last year, Governor Corbett and our state legislature passed a law modeled on Florida's "shoot first" statute - they called it the Castle Doctrine expansion, and it allows the use of deadly force even when it is not absolutely necessary. They put our state on record as one that allows the brand of vigilantism promoted by the gun lobby.

The last thing Pennsylvania needs is a new excuse for gun violence. But that's just what this law encourages. It enables the reckless use of deadly force - and it makes it difficult to prosecute someone who guns down a person and then claims after the fact that he or she felt threatened.

The new law threw out the long-held standard that, outside of one's home, a person has an obligation to avoid using deadly force. That reasonable standard was law on the books for decades - and the gun lobby couldn't show a single case where somebody who acted in legitimate self defense was inappropriately prosecuted..

How many more innocent people like Trayvon Martin must die before Harrisburg comes to its senses? Does it need to happen so blatantly in our own community before our legislature will act?

The Pennsylvania legislature acted recklessly when they passed this law. Now we need to demand that they reverse their terrible mistake before it's too late.


In the meantime...


All students, community leaders/activists and residents to discuss the role of ethnic/racial profiling, stereotypes, and judicial bias in perpetuating violence in the United States. ALL ARE WELCOME.


Very truly yours,


Rob Conroy

CeaseFirePA, Western PA Field Coordinator

(412) 965-0383

Candidate debate in the East End of Pittsburgh slated soon.

Pa24 Debate Aala Bpep Wpbpa

To see the handout at full size, click the link at the top of the blog posting.

Save the date: Thursday, April 5, 2012, at 6:00 p.m at Ethan Temple Church, 1205 Wood Street, Wilkinsburg (Corner of Wood & North Ave). For More Information call 412-295-1935 or email

Students step out in a political way.

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 06:47 PM PDT
Mr. Reid’s ninth grade class has met with Ms. Har from YMPA (Youth Media Advocacy Project) every Thursday since the beginning of the year. Every Thursday, we discussed specific topics that we were passionate about changing (school lunches, need of upgraded technology, ect.).
Each period has changed in their topic. Period six is starting a food council so that our school’s lunches can improve their quality. First period made two billboards (one in Harrisburg and one in Oakland) that say, “Cutting our budget is cutting our future”.
On March 19, 2012, Mr. Reid gave his students the opportunity to speak at the Board of Education’s public speaking. There, we had a chance to speak for exactly three minutes about a topic that we feel passionate about. About twenty of his students went and all of them who spoke, talked about budget cuts. Our message was: DON’T LIMIT OUR EDUCATION WITH BUDGET CUTS!
I personally was one of the speakers. I was number thirty-three. I remember being so nervous my hands and legs were shaking. A lot of people showed up that evening, and I was supposed to voice my opinion to them all. That’s every teenagers dream, but in reality it turned into a kind of scary one. Once they called my name, I went up and smiled at the important people sitting at their big table, and sat in the chair. Then I turned on the microphone and started talking. I let the words come out, and took a dramatic pause to look at my audience in their eyes and I said, “This will destroy the future of our state”. I think they really felt the emotion in my speech.
Molly Newell spoke about budget cuts as well and she even commented on the poor technology that we are given. She said that we need new computers and software. Molly said, “The Pittsburgh Public School’s motto is ‘Excellence for all’, yet how can we excel with inferior technology?”
Joel Akrie, who went to speak on behalf of Sabria Mitchell, said “It was actually calmer and cooler than I thought it would be”.

Debate with candidates for the PA House 24th, in Pittsburgh's east end

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CMU Field Day for kids, April 1, 2012

It is not often when CMU does something for the kids of Pittsburgh, but this is one of those times.

PDF Poster

Link to our registration:

Liam McGrath, Organizer,, (610) 389-1534

I'll be out of town, sadly.

A parent or guardian needs to sign this release form.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fw: Stand Tall or Stand Down?

From: "Ron Paul" <>
Subject: Stand Tall or Stand Down?

Give Me Liberty Money Bomb

Dear Liberty Activist,

Yesterday, my campaign manager, John Tate, sent you a critical email about our upcoming "Give Me Liberty" Money Bomb on March 23.

If you haven't responded to his email by pledging to donate this Friday, I urge you to do so right away.

John reported on the successes we've had with securing the crucial delegate spots needed to win the nomination, and I can tell you that those are just some of the terrific victories we're experiencing.

Here's another one:

***     In Greene County, Missouri, last Saturday, my supporters won 57% of the county's delegate spots - with 63 delegates chosen to go on to the Congressional District and State Conventions!  In contrast, Rick Santorum, who was touted by the media for winning the state's beauty contest primary in February, only got 6 delegates (5%).
Matter of fact, one report on the Greene County caucus noted that party members said they had never seen so many young people show up before!

And Missouri's delegates are unbound - meaning they can vote for the candidate of their choice at the Republican National Convention!

Liberty Activist, these are the kind of results we're seeing in state after state.

Despite what the media says, this race is WIDE OPEN.

No candidate has wrapped up the delegates needed to win.

I can assure you right now that no other campaign is as organized as ours when it comes to doing the hard work needed to fight for delegates.

And no other candidate can rely on as many passionate supporters to sacrifice their time to become delegates.

There's only one thing standing between us and continuing this incredible momentum.


Click to pledge

The plain truth is, if I can't count on the funds to come in, I'm going to have to scale back in states where we could either gain a significant amount of delegates or outright WIN the delegation to the Republican National Convention.

That's why I'm depending on you to give this Friday.

Please pledge now to make your most generous contribution.

This Money Bomb's theme is based on Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty" speech.

Patrick Henry challenged the doubters, the naysayers, and the critics with his powerful words.

He stood up boldly because he relied firmly on timeless principles.

Now, freedom is being challenged again - by our own government.

And, frankly, no other candidate is going to do anything about it.

Sure, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum will tell the voters what they want to hear.

But their records prove how they will actually govern - as big spending, Big Government, status quo politicians.

Will we stand tall at this crucial hour like Patrick Henry did?

Or will we simply stand down?

This Friday's Give Me Liberty Money Bomb is our chance to prove that we're in this race to win.

That means securing delegate spots and providing them with what they need to make it all the way to Tampa.

That means keeping as many staff on the ground as we can in as many states as possible.

That means needing funds to fight back against any attempts to shut us out at the local, state, and national conventions.

And that means I'm relying on you more than ever.

Please, pledge right away and then honor that pledge by donating on March 23.

"Restore America Now" is more than a campaign slogan.

It's what we can DO - if we give it our all when it matters most.

For Liberty,

Ron Paul

P.S.  Patrick Henry stood up to the naysayers and proudly argued for liberty.

Today, our campaign is the only one promising to bring real change and get this nation back on track.

We're experiencing success after success all across the country in securing the delegates critical to winning the nomination.

But if my campaign is to capitalize on this momentum, I must have the funds to strengthen our efforts.

Please, pledge today to donate to our Give Me Liberty Money Bomb on March 23.

I'm relying on you now more than ever.

Click to pledge

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fwd: PennDOT Announces 2012 Allegheny County Highway and Bridge Improvement Projects

From: "Splitstone, Donald E." 
I thought that you might want to be aware of these upcoming road construction projects... affecting cycling and commuting routes around Allegheny County.  It's a LONG list...

[Oakland Transportation Management Association]<>

[Oakland Transportation Management Association]<>







Public Service Announcement

PennDOT Announces 2012 Allegheny County Highway and Bridge Improvement Projects

PennDOT District 11 is pleased to announce major improvements will occur in 2012 on state-owned roads and bridges in Allegheny County.

District 11 will invest an estimated $220.1 million on 102 projects to improve, preserve or rehabilitate key infrastructure including 54 bridges in Allegheny County in 2012. In addition, 69 miles of roadway will be paved or resurfaced and 12 landslides will be remediated at a cost of $13.7 million.

"This will be an important year for Allegheny County as we will see significant projects underway that are vital to maintaining our infrastructure," District Executive Dan Cessna said. "Many of those projects are going to impact traffic, particularly in the downtown Pittsburgh area. We urge motorists to use caution, be informed, be patient and stay alert in highway work zones for the safety of highway workers and themselves."

Here's a preview of the major improvements scheduled for 2012 in Allegheny County:

Parkway East (Interstate 376) Squirrel Hill Tunnel Rehabilitation:

 *   Work on a major $49.4 million project to rehabilitate the Squirrel Hill Tunnel will begin March 19. Westbound (inbound) work will occur in 2012 followed by eastbound work next year. The project includes update electrical systems, lighting system, control system, ventilation system, structural repairs to the walls and arched ceiling, installation of a water line and other improvements. To minimize impacts on the traveling public, rehabilitation work on the bridge that carries the Parkway East over Commercial Street will be performed as part of the tunnel project. Expansion dam on ramps at the Edgewood Swissvale interchange (Exit 77) will also be replaced. The work will require overnight and weekend single lane traffic in the tunnel. In addition, 16 weekend closures (8 westbound in 2012, 8 eastbound in 2013) will occur as part of the project. No full closures will occur on weeknights. Only one direction will be restricted at a time. Overall work will conclude in summer 2014.

Fort Pitt and Duquesne Bridge Ramps

 *   Work on an $8.7 million project to resurface several ramps connecting the Fort Pitt (I-376) and Fort Duquesne (I-279) bridges to various roadways will begin in early spring. Short-term closures and restrictions will occur. Overall work will conclude in fall 2013.

I-579 Crosstown Boulevard Veterans Bridge Preservation:

 *   Phase I: The $18 million Phase I project to rehabilitate and preserve bridges and ramps on Crosstown Boulevard started early in 2010. Work and lane closures will continue through late 2012.
 *   Phase II: Work on the $17 million Phase II includes ramp and mainline improvements on the Veterans Bridge. Long-term lane closures and ramp detours will occur. Work will begin in late March and conclude in fall 2013.

Route 28 East Ohio Street Improvements - Several contracts will be underway simultaneously this season to create dramatic improvements on Route 28 between the 40th Street Bridge and the Heinz Plant

 *   Railroad relocation/East Ohio Street Prep: The $24.8 million project will conclude this year. The project is constructing new ramps at the 31st Street Bridge.

 *   40th Street Bridge Interchange: The first section of the East Ohio Street widening project on Route 28 started in 2010 and will also conclude this year.  The $21.9 million project created two thru-lanes on southbound Route 28 to allow traffic to free flow through the intersection with the 40th Street Bridge. Traffic impacts should be minimal this year.
 *   East Ohio Street at 31st Street Bridge: The largest section and the fourth phase of the Route 28 East Ohio Street improvement projects started in late 2011. This $36.5 million project will reconstruct Route 28 and create a new grade-separated interchange at the 31st Street Bridge. Long-term lane closure and detours will occur through 2014.
 *   Millvale Bridge Preservation: A project will begin on Route 28 to address severe bridge deterioration at the Millvale interchange. The estimated $3-4 million project includes milling and resurfacing, bridge preservation, expansion dams, repairs, painting and other improvements. Off-peak restrictions and short-term detours will occur.

Route 65 (Ohio River Boulevard)
Route 65 through Allegheny County will be a focused corridor for improvements again in 2012.

 *   Marshall Avenue Interchange: Phase II work on the mainline bridges that carry Route 65 over Route 19 in Pittsburgh will continue with detours through late August/early September. The $20 million project is rehabilitating the mainline and ramp structures including deck replacement, substructure spall repairs, replacing expansion dams, bearing replacements, steel repairs, cleaning and painting of structural steel, approach slab replacement, highway lighting and other improvements.
 *   Avalon Bridge: Work on a $1.7 million project to replace the deck on a small bridge on Route 65 in Avalon Borough will continue through summer. Lane closures are occurring.
 *   Lowries Run Bridge: Work will conclude in early spring on this $3.3 million project to replace the bridge that carries Route 65 over Lowries Run Road east of Camp Horne Road in Emsworth Borough. Lane closures will occur.
 *   Resurfacing and Upgrades: Two projects to mill and resurface and upgrade Route 65 will occur this construction season. The first, estimated at $1-2 million, will occur from Charles Willow Street to Hazelwood Avenue in Emsworth Borough and the other project, estimated at $5-6 million, from Beaver County to the Sewickley Bridge. Restrictions will occur during off-peak hours.

Interstate 79

 *   Warrendale-Bayne Mingo Road Bridges: Only minor work remains on this $10 million project that started last year to improve the bridges over Mingo Road (Route 4041) and Warrendale-Bayne Road (Route 4052) and the ramp from northbound I-79 to Cranberry (Exit 76), which passes over southbound I-79. Lane closures will occur. Work will be completed early this year.
 *   Bridgeville to Washington County: Concrete spall repairs, signage and minor work remain on this $2.6 million project to improve I-79 from the Bridgeville interchange (Exit 54) to Washington County that started last year. Lane closures will occur. Overall work will conclude this summer.
Broughton/Baptist Road Intersection: This $3.9 million project will improve safety and reduce congestion at the intersection of Broughton Road (Route 2040) and Baptist Road (Route 3009) in Bethel Park Borough. Work is scheduled to begin in late March includes reconstructing and widening the intersection to add turning lanes, improve drainage, retaining walls, new traffic signals, curbing and bituminous resurfacing. Overall work will conclude in fall 2013. Detours and lane closures will occur.

Tri-Boro T Intersection: Work will begin this spring to reconstruct the final T leg of the elevated Route 2037 Tri-Boro Expressway intersection with East Pittsburgh McKeesport Boulevard in East Pittsburgh. The estimated $16-17 million project will require a detour. Work will conclude in fall 2013.

Banksville Road Improvements: Estimated between $4-5 million, this project will mill and resurface, upgrade drainage, guide rail, and other improvements on Banksville Road (Route 19) from Beverly Road to the Parkway West in Dormont, Mt. Lebanon and the City of Pittsburgh. Lane closures will occur. Work will conclude in late fall.

Route 30 Electric Avenue Bridges: Work is underway to replace the bridges that carry Route 30 over Electric Avenue (Route 2112) in North Braddock. The $7.8 million project will require lane restrictions, ramp detours and crossovers on Route 30 with work concluding in fall 2013.

Presto-Sygan (Route 3028) Bridge: This $823,589 project will begin this spring to replace the bridge that carries Presto-Sygan Road over Thoms Run in South Fayette Township. Traffic will be detoured. Work will conclude in late 2013.

Presley Road (Route 3031) Bridge: Work will begin this fall on a $1 million project to replace the bridge that carries Presley Road over Chartiers Creek in Collier Township. Traffic will be detoured. Work will conclude in late 2013.

Curry Hollow Road (Route 2040) Bridge: Work to replace and improve this bridge over railroad tracks on Curry Hollow Road near Route 51 and the Value City shopping plaza in Pleasant Hills is underway. A turning lane will be added as part of the $5.6 million project. Long-term lane closures will occur.

Bridge Street (Route 1001) over Pine Creek: This $1.26 million project will replace the deck on the bridge that carries Bridge Street over Pine Creek in Etna Borough and a second bridge on Freeport Road over Barge Basin in Harrison Township. Detours and lane closures will occur. The project will begin March 22 with completion set for this fall.

Route 30 Five Points Intersection: Work will begin this spring on a $2.3 million project to widen and improve the intersection of Route 30 and Old Steubenville Pike (Route 3066) near the Route 22 interchange in North Fayette Township.  Lane closures, shifts and ramp detours are expected. Work will conclude next fall.

Route 8 Hardies Road Intersection: Work will begin late this year to widen and add turning lanes on Route 8 from the PA Turnpike Interchange to Hardies Road. The $2.7 million project will require lane closures. Work will conclude in fall 2013.

Route 51 over Montour Run: This $1.8 million project will rehabilitate the bridge that carries Route 51 (Coraopolis Boulevard) over a township road and Montour Run in Robinson Township. Weekend detours may occur. Work will conclude in late summer 2012.

Hulton Road Bridge Replacement: Work on this $1.3 million project includes replacing the bridge that carries Route 2058 Hulton Road over Plum Creek in Plum Borough and Penn Hills Township. Traffic will be detoured during construction. Work will conclude in late summer.

Washington Pike Over Coal Run: Work to replace and improve the bridge that carries Route 3003 Washington Pike over Coal Run in South Fayette Township will begin in late fall. The estimate $1-2 million project will continue through fall 2013. Traffic will be maintained during construction.

Noblestown Road Culvert Replacement: Estimated between $0-1 million, this project set to begin in mid-summer will replace the bridge that carries Noblestown Road (Route 3048) over Robinson Run in North Fayette Township. Work will conclude in late fall. Traffic will be detoured.

Broadhead Road Bridge Replacement: Traffic will be maintained with trucks detoured while work on a $1.3 million project to replace the bridge that carries Broadhead Road (Route 3077) over Flaugherty Run Creek in Moon Township progresses through late fall.

Route 130 Tri-Boro Wall Repair: Set to begin this summer, this estimated $0-1 million project will repair five bin walls on the Tri-Boro Expressway between Sycamore Street and Maple Avenue. Work will conclude in fall 2013.

Route 148 Lysle Boulevard Improvements: Work includes concrete pavement patching, bituminous overlay, curb ramps, and traffic signal upgrades on two miles of Route 148 from Walnut Street to Jerome Street Bridge in McKeesport. The estimated $3-4 million project will begin in late spring and conclude this fall. Lane closures will be required.

Route 366 Bull Creek Road Improvements: Estimated between $9-10 million, this project includes bridge preservation, concrete reconstruction, drainage and intersection improvements on 2.76 miles of Route 366/1034 from Route 28 to the Tarentum Bridge in Tarentum Borough and Fawn and Harrison townships. Work will begin in late spring and conclude this fall. Lane closures will be required.

Route 885 Clairton Road Improvements: Work to mill and overlay, update guide rail, signals and drainage on 1.32 miles of Route 885 from College Drive to Lebanon Church Road in West Mifflin Borough will begin this spring and conclude this fall. Lane closure and crossovers will occur. The project is estimated at $2-3 million.

Route 4052 Warrendale Bayne Road Improvements: Work on this $5-6 million project will include intersection widening on 1.5 miles of Warrendale-Bayne Road in Marshall Township. The project will begin this spring and conclude this fall. Lane closures will occur.

Northbound Route 28 Blawnox off-ramp over Squaw Run: Located in O'Hara Township, this $1 million project started in 2011 is rehabilitating a culvert that carries the ramp from northbound Route 28 to Blawnox over Squaw Run. Work will continue through fall 2012. Minimal restrictions will occur.

Clairton-Glassport Bridge (Route 2038): Started in 2011, this $4 million project to preserve and rehabilitate the Clairton-Glassport Bridge over the Monongahela River in Clairton will conclude in early spring. Traffic signal and bridge bearing work will occur requiring lane closures.

Route 48 Boston Bridge: Started in 2010, this $17 million project to rehabilitate the bridge that carries Route 48 over the Youghiogheny River in Elizabeth Township and Versailles Borough will continue through early 2012. Short-term lane closures and detours will be required.

Route 19 Wexford Flats: Work started in 2011 on this $18.1 million project to widen and add a center turn lane on Route 19 from Longvue Road (near top of Pine Creek Hill) to just north of North Chapel/Manor Road in Pine and Marshall Townships. Long-term lane closures and traffic shifts are occurring. Overall work will conclude in late 2012.

Route 50 Washington Pike: Bridge and minor work remain on this $6.7 million project on Route 50 from Anderson Equipment in Collier Township to Boden Avenue in Carnegie Borough. Lane closures will occur. Work will continue through early summer 2012.

McKnight Road Route 4003: Work will conclude this spring on an $8.8 million project that improved McKnight Road from Nelson Run to Babcock Boulevard in Ross and McCandless Townships. Lane closures will occur through late spring for bridge and curb work.

West End Bridge: A project to improve traffic flow on the West End Bridge in Pittsburgh started in late 2011. The $1.1 million project will conclude early spring 2012. Minor lane closures may occur.

Several projects will be underway this construction season to address major landslides:

 *   Route 48 Mosside Boulevard: Work on a $1-2 million project to repair a landslide on Route 48 in North Versailles Township and Wall Borough will begin this year and continue through early 2013. Lane closures may occur.
 *   Route 51 Island Avenue: Traffic will be maintained using temporary traffic signals as this estimated $0-1 million project addresses a landslide on Route 51 in Stowe Township. Work will begin this spring and conclude this fall.
 *   Route 1013 Saxonburg Boulevard: Estimated at $1-2 million, work to repair a landslide on Saxonburg Boulevard in West Deer Township will require a traffic detour. Work will begin this year and conclude in early 2013.
 *   Route 2001 Bunola River Road: Traffic will be detoured while this estimated $2-3 million project addresses a landslide on Bunola River Road in Forward Township. Work will begin this year and continue through fall 2013.
 *   Route 2065 Thompson Run Road: This estimated $1-2 million project will also require a detour as work begins in this summer to repair a slide on Thompson Run Road in Monroeville. Work will continue through early fall 2013.
 *   Route 4032 Fern Hollow Road: Located in Bell Acres Borough, this $0-500,000 project will stabilize a slope, repair drainage and reconstruct Fern Hollow Road this summer.
 *   Route 4063 Pearce Mill Road: Two different projects, estimated between $500,000 and $1.2 million will address landslides on Pearce Mill Road in Pine Township. Work will begin in this summer and continue through fall 2013. Detours will be required.

Group Resurfacing Contracts
The routes listed below will be milled and resurfaced in 2012 under contract group projects (work areas may be subject to change).

 *   Frankstown Road (Route 380) from Tokay Street to Verona Road (Route 2058)
 *   Freeport Road (Route 1001) from Route 910 (Gibsonia Road) to Cheswick Avenue
 *   Boulevard of the Allies (Route 2208) from Commonwealth Place to Liberty Bridge
 *   West Ingomar Road (Route 4070) from Highland Road to new pavement near Route 19
 *   Library Road (Route 88) from Washington County to South Park Road
 *   Finney Road (Route 2025) from Route 48 (Boston Hollow Road) to West Smithfield Road
 *   Boyce Road (Route 3006) from Hunting Ridge Road to Birds Meadow Drive
 *   Berryman Road (Route 3011) from Stoltz Road to Library Road (Route 88)
 *   Prestley Road (Route 3031) from Washington Road (Route 50) to Thoms Run Road
 *   Second Avenue (Route 885) from Glenwood Bridge to Greenfield Avenue
 *   Route 910 (Gibsonia Road) from Hardt Road to Route 8 and from Mountainview Road to Pennsylvania Turnpike overpass
 *   Burchfield Road (Route 1006) from Route 8 to Middle Road
 *   Soose Road (Route 4013) from Parker Street to Wible Run Road
 *   Sewickley-Oakmont Road (Route 4022) from Rochester Road to Route 19
 *   Deer Run Road (Route 4033) from Kilbuck Street to Red Gate Road

In addition to the work listed above, District 11 will be making many improvements to the transportation system in Allegheny County through various County Maintenance activities. District 11 will also be performing numerous bridge preservation and washing projects around the county in a continuing effort to address critical bridge needs.

Visit<> for more information on PennDOT activities in Allegheny County.

PennDOT advises motorists to use caution, slow down, and expect changing traffic patterns when traveling through the area. Motorists are also reminded they can log on to<> or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions and cameras on major roadways before traveling.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fwd: [ACA Google Group] ABRA, Ptag trail work day at North Park! 50% discount on race entry! Next Saturday, March 24th @ 10AM!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: JR Petsko
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2012
Subject: [ACA Google Group] ABRA, Ptag trail work day at North Park! 50% discount on race entry! Next Saturday, March 24th @ 10AM!

On Tuesday County Park Officials, Dave Biber (President of Ptag), Jamie Pfaeffle and I met in North Park regarding the April 1st North Park Mountain Bike race. We made a plan with the park administration to try to get the trail in shape for the ABRA race. We rode the trail and identified about a dozen muddy spots that need to be repaired. This combined with the sunny days should make the trail good to go barring any monsoons in the days before the race. 
ABRA has pledged to come out and do trail work next Saturday, March 24th @ 10AM. Please try to come out and help repair winter's damage to Pfundstein! If you are racing the North Park Mountain Bike Challenge ABRA MTB Series #1 we will give you a 50% discount code to use on the online entry fee. 
If the trails are too muddy come March 28th, the race will be moved to June or July but Dave and I feel that if the weather cooperates and the trailwork gets done then the race will be a go and the trail will be improved! 
Let's show Ptag our support for all their hard work by having a great turn out for this train work day!
The Deet!
ABRA's North Park Trail Work Day
Time: 10am - 3pm
Where: Olympic Shelter, across from North Park Ice Rink.
50% off race entry for your participation
What to Bring: If you own a metal rack, gloves, water and wear clothes that you don't mind getting a little dirty!
Please pass this email along to anyone that maybe interested!

J.R. Petsko
Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling p/b Pathfinder
Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association
985 Bethel Church Road
Maidsville, WV 26541

412 298 3432 = cell

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fwd: 2012 TFTP Spring Open Clinics

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eric Amato
Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Subject: 2012 TFTP Spring Open Clinics

Hello everyone,

The time has come to register for the 2012 Spring Open Clinics! Please visit the Bob O'Connor Club house to pick up a registration form or go to to register online.

Spring Clinics will start April 16th and go to May 19th. The days and times of the Spring Clinics are as followed:

Monday – 5:30 – 7:00 pm PLAYer Blue & Green

Wednesday – 5:30 – 7:00 pm PLAYer Blue & Green

Thursday – 5:30 – 6:45 pm Target 5:00 to 7:00 pm Spring League

Saturday – 9 – 10:30 am Birdie/Par I & II

11 – 12:30 pm Eagle/PLAYer Red

For any questions or more information call 412.622.0108 or visit

Eric Amato

Director of Programming and Instruction


412 298 3432 = cell

Fwd: PSF: On to Pennsylvania

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jon Delano
Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Subject: PSF: On to Pennsylvania

If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.
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Dear Politically Savvy Friends,
It's been quite awhile since I penned an email to my PSF (or Politically Savvy Friends) list, but I thought the Ides of March was a good time to chime in. 
Those of you familiar with these occasional newsletters know that this is a labor of love -- written and sent to you without cost to my PSFs.  If you are new to this list, I hope you will enjoy the contents -- and send me any "off-the-record" comments you have may.  There is certainly a lot happening in Campaign 2012, especially as it pertains to Pennsylvania. But I have no desire to be spam, so if you have no interest in this election ,there is a way to remove yourself below.
The principal focus in this email is Rick Santorum, a man I have known for over 30 years.  Having defeated the congressman I once worked for in 1990, thereby changing my career path, Rick has often taking credit for my media and academic career over the last two decades. I have no problem with that, and I have (as you will read below) incredible respect for his political skills.
But before I go on . . . two brief announcements I always make at this time of year. First, if you are still planning a summer vacation, please know that we have a family home on the island of Nantucket like many Pittsburghers, including Dick Scaife & Teresa Heinz.  Believe me, our home is considerably more modest than theirs and, unlike them, we need to lease it (to cover expenses) to friends for part of the summer.  If you'd like more details on a Nantucket rental, email me at
Second, I love to talk politics (no surprise), so if your organization needs a speaker on anything political --  Campaign 2012 or its aftermath -- check in with me for details at the same email.
Now . . . on to my take  of this unusual campaign for president. 
Beating Obama:
 I'm always amused by that "inside the Washington Beltway" talk that President Obama is the odds-on favorite to win reelection in 2012.  Nothing from my perspective in the hinterlands suggests that the president has anything more than a 50-50 shot at reelection, and there are days when I put the odds against him.
Sure, the Republicans have made several tactical mistakes in the late winter months.  But in the end, the errors of February-March won't matter much in October-November.
Presidential elections like these are always referenda on the incumbent, and in the end, Americans will assess how well their families are doing, how well the country is doing, and how well Obama is doing in helping them to do well.  It's almost that simple.
That's one reason why it is so hard today to predict what will happen on November 6. It's eight months away, and who knows how we will feel then about anything!  The improving economy bodes well for the President, but higher gasoline prices have given Republicans an issue. Again, this election is a long way from a wrap for the Democrats.
 But one thing, in my view, is certain.  The Republican nominee -- no matter whom that person is -- already has 195 electoral votes of the 270 needed for election.  There is just no way that Texas (38) or Georgia (16), are going to vote for Obama in 2012, let alone most of those other southern, rocky mountain, and plains states. 
At the same time, I count only 175 certain electoral votes for the President, which include states like California (55), New York (35), and Massachusetts (11).  These states will never vote this year for a Republican. Some analysts boost Obama's electoral vote up to 227 by giving him six states that lean blue (or Democratic) right now:  Maine (4), Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), New Mexico (5), and Oregon (7).  I think the Democrats are overly optimistic,  but even giving all five to Obama, he is still short 43 electoral votes.
That leaves the battleground states, which in order of electoral clout are: Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Virginia (13), Arizona (10), Colorado (9), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), and New Hampshire (4).
Pennsylvania Up for Grabs:
The 'Keystone State' could swing either way in 2012.
First, a quick historical review.  Four years ago, Obama-Biden beat McCain-Palin by 10 points and 620,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a remarkable victory for the Democrats.  It was based on strong support in the city of Philadelphia, where Obama clobbered McCain by 479,000 votes, and the Philadelphia suburban (generally Republican) counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery that voted Democratic by a 203,000-vote margin.  Add in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh plus suburbs), which Obama carried by more than 100,000 votes, and it's easy to see how the Democrats won.
Fast forward to today, and nothing is certain at all for the President.  While Philadelphia will certainly vote Democratic, will it turn out to vote in the numbers it did in 2008?  Are the Republican suburbs of Philly so enamored with Obama after four years that they will vote Democratic again?  And what about the rest of the state which could hold the key to a Republican victory in 2012?
In 2008, Obama lost traditionally Democratic counties in Western Pennsylvania, where conservative values (yes, we do 'cling' to our Bibles & guns) and perhaps some racism (remember the late Jack Murtha's comments about this region?) play a role.  In any case, I see little chance at this stage for Obama to win these counties in 2012.  Right now, I think a Republican could even win Allegheny County, although that requires a near-collapse of organized labor.
Since 2010, Pennsylvania has a Republican governor (Tom Corbett), a Republican state Senate, a Republican state House, a Republican-controlled Supreme Court, a Republican U.S. senator (Pat Toomey), and 12 of 19 members of Congress are Republican.
This is true despite some numerical advantages for the Democrats.  Of the state's 8.2 million registered voters, 4.1 million are Democrats, 3.0 million are Republicans, and 1.0 million are independents or affiliated with other parties.  The key for Democrats is turning out their own vote and winning independents.  Obviously, state Republicans have been doing a much better job of that lately, and 2012 will test whether 2010 was a fluke or a pattern.
Choosing a GOP Nominee Could Involve PA:
It remains unclear whether Pennsylvania Republicans will play a determinative role in choosing the Republican nominee for president on April 24. But after the latest primaries,  I think it's likely  all four candidates (Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul) will battle it out in the Keystone State.
On Saturday, March 17, Missouri (which supported Santorum in a non-binding primary) will caucus for delegates (52 delegates). Puerto Rico votes Sunday (23 delegates).  On March 20, Illinois votes (69 delegates) followed by Louisiana on March 24 (46 delegates).
That brings us to April.  Romney will be well ahead in delegates but n where near the magic 1,144 he will need for nomination.  And some big delegate states vote in April, May, and June.
On April 3, Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia vote (98 delegates), followed by what could be called the Northeast Primary on Tuesday on April 24:  231 delegates are at stake on that date in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware.
My guess is that Pennsylvania Republicans (yes, it's a closed primary) will get a chance to cast a meaningful vote in this presidential selection process, and the latest Quinnipiac Poll shows Santorum leading Romney, 36 to 22, even though Romney seems to have more support (so far) from state leaders. 
Pennsylvania has a statewide 'beauty contest' that allocates NO delegate votes, but will no doubt be trumpeted by the media.  Unlike most states, Pennsylvania Republicans elect delegates in each of the 18 congressional districts without knowing whom that delegate is backing for president.  GOP voters vote for a specific delegate candidate like (former Allegheny Co. executive) Jim Roddey, who's running in the 14th CD, without knowing who his candidate is (he's actually endorsed Romney). A bit whacky, if you ask me.
Can Santorum Really Be Elected President?
If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me if Rick Santorum could really win the White House, I might be as rich as he is.  Yes, to his credit, Santorum has released more tax returns than his opponents. In his first year out of the Senate, he reported approximately $659,000 (2007) in income, up to $952,000 in 2008, then $1.1 million in 2009, and around $923,000 in 2010. By most standards, the Santorums are very wealthy -- hardly the blue-collar type -- but, hey, I'm just envious!
The short answer to the question posed is . . . yes, Rick Santorum certainly could be elected president, even if his mathematical odds of winning the nomination are getting  harder. 
But never underestimate Rick Santorum.
I called Rick the day after the Iowa caucuses to congratulate him on what ultimately turned out to be a win.  I told him that, over the years, he has consistently outperformed expectations, and that's a good reputation to have.  His response to me was simple. "It's my secret weapon."
I also believe that Santorum is running for president in 2016.  Like Romney did in 2008, this is Santorum's "test run" -- a chance to develop the state-by-state network and national presence that propels him in the future.  Santorum, of course, will deny that this year is anything but a practice round.  He should deny it, as a good 2012 candidate. But, mark my words, Santorum will not give up this quest after only one attempt.
A Few Thoughts on Santorum's Political Roots:
I first heard of Rick Santorum on Election Day 1988.  My friend and boss, Congressman Doug Walgren, was winning his 7th term in the House in a suburban district of Pittsburgh drawn by the Republicans to elect a Republican. Walgren, first elected in 1976 when John Heinz moved on to the U.S. Senate, was the first Democrat since World War II to win that suburban seat. Through hard work and strong constituent service, he had managed to hold onto a district even as Republican candidates for other offices swept the district.
At the 1988 victory party, one of the campaign workers said she had heard that somebody was at the polls at Markham Elementary School in Mt. Lebanon, (a school I attended and where I still vote), telling people he was going to run and beat Walgren in 1990.  That young man was Richard John Santorum, a lawyer who had recently bought a modest home three blocks from me, presumably to run for office.
To say that everyone underestimated Santorum in those early years is to state the obvious. His own party didn't give him a chance or any money, for that matter. But Santorum sort of sneaks up his prey, as he did with Mitt Romney in Iowa and other states, and then lunges with a ferocity that can take you aback.
I'm not going to relive that 1990 campaign, except to stress two points.  First, Santorum built his campaign from the ground up. It's a quality I greatly admire in him. From the beginning, Christian conservatives have been his stalwarts.
While he admits that he was pro-choice on abortion and not particularly religious coming into his first campaign [see Eric Konigsberg's article in the December 1994 Philadelphia Magazine], that changed quickly in early 1990. Walgren was a pro-choice Catholic, and Santorum was never going to beat him on that basis.  So Rick declared he was pro-life, although not quite as pro-life as he is today, and rediscovered his faith.
As a practicing Christian myself, I will not question Santorum's original motives. I am happy he found his faith.  My own view is that, whatever motivated him in 1990, he clearly believes what he says today, and nobody should for a moment believe that, when it comes to religion, the pre-1990 Santorum bears any resemblance to the Santorum of 2012.
His affirmation of faith and his generally pro-life views gained him the foot soldiers he needed in his campaign against Walgren.  I have always felt that Santorum's narrow win, five votes per election district, was directly attributable to the Christian conservatives who rallied to his campaign.  He owes them, and hasn't forgotten that.
Santorum's views on religion went well beyond abortion in 1990, too. I remember one piece that attacked the incumbent because he "voted for federal funding for teaching about homosexuality and bisexuality" and "voted for liberal bills that increased government regulation, limited parental choice, and discriminated against stay-at-home mothers and church-based providers of child care." 
In a piece that was addressed to "persons concerned for traditional Christian and moral values," Santorum declared in 1990, "Having returned to my church after a period of absence, I now understand the connection between a personal, vibrant faith commitment and the moral fiber our nation needs."
And then he declared, in language that certainly distinguishes him from the words of John F. Kennedy that he finds so offensive, "While I will represent all the people of my district, I will do so in a principled fashion, derived from my religious commitment." 
I recall at the time that a number of Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh were so concerned about this language that they sent a letter to their members on behalf of Walgren.
The second point is that Rick's first campaign was based on a theme that ultimately led to his undoing -- residency.
Santorum, who had only just moved to Pittsburgh's suburbs to run for office -- he lived up north  in Butler during part of his youth and in Harrisburg when he was a state Senate staffer -- made Walgren's residency "the" issue in the 1990 campaign.  Unlike Rick, Doug had grown up in the district (Mt. Lebanon) and returned home to practice law and ultimately run for Congress several times before he won in 1976.  Doug's family home was always his residence, although he and his wife did have an apartment nearby.
After his children were born, Walgren moved his wife and young children to the Virginia suburbs to be with him, at least five days of the week when Congress was in session.  Santorum accused Walgren of 'not living in the district.'  After Rick or one of his supporters door-knocked a resident in the summer of 1990, for example, that person would receive a letter that stated, in bold-face, "My opponent, who lives full-time in McLean, Virginia, spent only 29 days in Allegheny County in 1989."
Walgren could never figure out where Santorum came up with these numbers, a number that changed several times during the campaign.  It was pretty absurd and easy to dismiss as unbelievable. But given the general unhappiness with Congress that year, the basic Santorum attack line -- Walgren is  out of touch with his district because he doesn't live here anymore -- hit home with enough people.
One week before the election, Karen Santorum (who had married Rick that August) sent a postcard to voters, announcing the happy news that she was pregnant with their first child and repeating, "Rick believes we deserve someone who will live in our community."
Of course, as many western Pennsylvanians know, this was a pledge that Santorum abandoned as soon as his children started to arrive.  Walgren had predicted this before his loss.  During the 1990 campaign, he told a reporter, "I can guarantee you that if Mr. Santorum is elected to the House of Representatives and if he has children, he will bring those children to Washington and he will stay with those children in Washington during the week because if he doesn't, he will never see them."
After Santorum reneged on his pledge, the editorials were pretty scathing.  A 1995 Post Gazette editorial was headlined: "Virginia Rick:  In moving, Santorum mimics 'out of touch' opponent."
Later, Santorum bought a house in Penn Hills (another Pittsburgh suburb) next door to Karen's parents, but that only made matters worse because neighbors said he was never there. The growing Santorum family actually lived first in Herndon, Virginia, and later in Leesburg, Virginia. 
The whole residency issue still gets raised repeatedly in this area. Rick used that Penn Hills home to register to vote while he was in the Senate.  At one election when he showed up to vote, a local Democratic leader challenged his right to vote, saying he didn't live in that house.  Santorum won that challenge. But later when he had local Penn Hills taxpayers pay for cyber-schooling his kids in their Virginia home, that proved too much for local officials. Rather than fight that one in court and the media, Santorum ultimately reimbursed the school district.
No surprise, in his successful 2006 campaign against Santorum, Bob Casey turned the residency issue back on Santorum.
The Post Gazette editorialized about this, when the newspaper tried to send Santorum a questionnaire for their voters guide to his Penn Hills address.  Editorialized the PG: "Back from Penn Hills came the letter with a sticker from the U.S. Postal Service checked as 'Not Deliverable As Addressed -- Unable to Forward.' That is all you need to know about the nasty dispute between the Republican Sen. Santorum and his Democratic opponent, Bob Casey Jr., in the November election.  The whole thing is rooted in one inconvenient fact for Sen. Santorum:  He doesn't live here anymore."
Nationally, the residency issue means nothing.  But, in Pennsylvania, it defined Santorum as a hypocrite, fair or unfair.  And, if it comes down to Romney & Santorum here on April 24th, somehow I think we just might hear more about this in some SuperPac advertisement!
Ironically, it is because Rick Santorum lost so badly to Bob Casey (by 17.4%) that nobody really gave his presidential campaign much chance of success.  His decision to 'camp out' in Iowa during much of 2011, door knock, and network reminds me so much of 1990.  Dismissed by most, Rick just stuck in there, connecting with that religious conservative corps that came through for him two decades earlier.
It's another quality I like about Santorum -- he believes in himself and his ultimate success.  And as crazy as some of his words sound to many, he also believes what he says. That's a bit refreshing in a politician.
Whether Rick Santorum wins the GOP nomination or not, he has already reframed some of the issues in 2012.  Who would have thought birth control would become so controversial?  If nothing else, he has pushed Romney further to the right, which may have its own consequences in the months ahead.
For Pennsylvanians, the chance to vote on Santorum again will be interesting.  One of his closest advisors told me not to expect a repeat of 2006.  It's not that Rick has changed since his loss to Casey, says the Santorum insider.  We Pennsylvanians have changed.  We shall see.
That's enough for today.  I'll have more on the 2012 election, especially some of the other races in Pennsylvania sometime before the primary.  In the meantime, feel free to be in touch via email at  I'd love to hear from you.
All the best,
Jon Delano
Political Analyst
H. John Heinz College of Public Policy & Management
Carnegie Mellon University
[As always, these views are my own and not those of the wonderful organizations with whom I am associated].

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