Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Jerry Bowyer radio show -- WPTT, 1360 am

Was on the Jerry Bowyer radio show on Thursday, July 1, 2004. Thanks Jerry.

Nice, short interview. Ranted a bit about how the city is so bricks and mortar based. I think they need to be doing much, much more with programs, coaching, instruction, leadership, community. I'm not so much of a hardware person -- more of a software guy.

Stadiums, convention centers, slots parlors -- all are not that important. What goes on in the community is way more telling. Those items are harder to see.

Cooperation is needed. Cooperation is hard to see in terms of bricks and buildings.

Only 74-degrees and pools are closed

On Monday, June 28, 2004, the sun was out. The high was 74-degrees. However, the swim pools closed. A call from downtown came to each pool. They were told to close. It was too cold to keep them open.


Joe King and Act 47

Joe King, head of the Pgh Firefighter's Union, said he has "done everything human-ly possible" to stop the passage of the Act 47 Recovery Plan with city council. The plan passed in a 5-4 vote on June 29, 2004.

No doubt, a lot of rants did occur. Many hours were invested in going to public hearings. Shoe leather was spent in efforts to meet citizens on the streets and pass around fliers.

However, .... Doug Shields would NOT move his vote. Nor did Gene, Sala, Alan, nor Bill.

The missing link, for those that never forget, was the link from the union to the citizens. And, the history of the firefighters help to Tom Murphy to get a third term in office is classic.

Joe King was called, not once, not five time, not 10 times, not 20 times.... Joe King was called dozens of times to meet in the past. He was closed minded. Union leaders need to go out of their ways to meet with all the candidates who are seeking higher offices in the city. Joe King should have done that three years ago. Joe King could have done that three months ago too.

Finally, Joe King said to the media that he backed the wrong horse. The Firefighters were wrong to back Tom Murphy in the 2001 election. But this is more than that. The error was really wrong as visits with the other candidates, despite repeated attempts, didn't happen. Joe, this isn't a matter of picking the right horse. It is a matter of removal of one's head out of the wrong end of the horse.

The Firefighters had the power to put Tom Murphy into office. I said last summer that they had the power -- the lynch-pin -- to get Tom Murphy out of office.

Furthermore, ranting with bullhorns on the street with Sala on the weekend before the vote is nothing more than a good excuse to blow hot air.

Venting can help, as I have done above. However, venting isn't going to get us anywhere. Pittsburgh is broke. And, we need alternative plans.

Joe King put an offer onto the table in January 2004 to pay for the now out of work Recreation Staff so as to REOPEN the Rec Centers. This was a $800-k offer, or more. Nice move. Didn't work.

Joe, we need to get the Firefighters to meet with me -- and others -- so we can build real solutions in terms of the parks and rec centers. We need some help with "liability insurance" and other technical issues. Your volunteers and your staffers can help.

For more insights, see the position paper at http://DSL.CLOH.Org.

Monday, June 28, 2004

[412] Celebrate our freedom -- July 4 house and park party w badminton

Hi Friends of Freedom,

You are invited to our July 4th party. Hope you can make it this year.

Come at or after 6 pm on July 4.


We are starting a little earlier this year as we'll play badminton and
other games in the park by our house. We have something for every age and
ability. So come to the house or directly to the park at 6 pm (or any time

Badminton is a popular world-wide, full-medal Olympic sport. We obtained
some equipment from CHINA, where they have OPEN REC CENTERS and coaches.
We'll share. We'll even tell you a little bit about our five week trip if
you ask.

Games are slated for the Armstrong Park, on 12th Street between East
Carson and Sarah Streets. The park is one short block from our house, 108
South 12th Street. We are at the corner of 12th Street and Bradish, a gray,
wood frame. Look for the "Fire Mayor Murphy" sign in the front window.

Games in the park start at 6 pm, crafts at the house, water
balloon toss, regatta fireworks at dark (9:30-ish). We supply lemonaide,
chips, cups, napkins, spoons, forks (sometimes we even manage a fruit
salad). If you want other drinks and snacks please feel free to bring them
along. We have several beds to rest babies if little ones fizzle before

Don't miss the fun. Let's spend an evening smashing "birdies" around the
park -- birdies, not skeet.

FYI, we're inviting V.P., Dick Cheney as well. (His fax: 202-456-2461)
He might be 'game,' as he'll be in Pittsburgh at Soldiers & Sailors' Hall in
Oakland around noon on the 4th.

Confirmed out-of-town guests include our nephew, Cameron (Middleburry
College and his state's top student in 2003 ACT score) and Aunt Debbie

For more insights:
Mark at Rauterkus.com
cell = 412-298-3432

- - -
Closing Pointer and Rant:

Today (sunny to 6 pm, high of 74-degrees) the public pools within the
city closed at 2 pm. And, the Post-Gazette story from today, (must read)


sums up conditions in a part of the city. We (Pgh Interfaith Impact
Network's Youth Task Force) were PROHIBITED from installing a computer lab,
at no charge to the city, at the Warrington Rec Center. Sigh.

A majority on City Council is set to squander their rights and
independence. Council bargained for our city to enter into a "distressed
status." The mayor rejoiced in its arrival. Within hours, our elected
council is set to yield to the unelected of oversight boards and appointed

Elected city leaders: "Duty isn't pragmatic!" Pittsburgh's "UN-American"
mode of operation aims for solutions that are one step better than the worst
possible, again. To heal and soar takes much more.

Loyalist (loyal to King George) of 1776 didn't have to face scornful
emails wedged within an invite to cherish and celebrate at a free 4th of
July party. How sad for them. Thanks for reading and do consider a visit to
the South Side on the 4th. And as always, thanks for your dissent.


Mark Rauterkus http://Play.CLOH.Org
xCoach at Rauterkus.com http://CLOH.Org http://Rauterkus.com
412-298-3432 = cell

PS: - - - Other dates - - -
Invite 2: July 9, Club Cafe, concert with Mindy Simmons
(singer/songwriter). Theme: "This IS America." http://S6.CLOH.Org

Invite 3: July 11, Sunnyhill Sunday Service at 10:30 am --
Intergenerational Service and Music. Theme: "Consider the Source."

Invite 4: I'm slated for a radio show, 1360 AM, on July 1 at 7:20 am to
talk about the ACT 47, Pittsburgh and a pending edition of the Park District
Proposal. http://DSL.CLOH.Org/v1/ Email your thoughts now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Library Fumbles and lack of stewardship


For release: 2004 June 22
For more information -- Glenn A. Walsh:
Daytime: E-Mail < gawalsh at andrewcarnegie.cc >
Evening: Telephone 412-561-7876
Internet Web Site:


Pittsburgh, June 22 ñ Pittsburgh City Council will
hear from the public, regarding the historic value of
five Carnegie Library buildings, on Wednesday
afternoon, June 30, beginning at 1:30 p.m. In July,
City Council will decide whether these five libraries
meet the qualifications to be considered City
Designated Historic Structures.

The subject of the five public hearings is the
nomination of five original Andrew Carnegie-built
library branches, of The Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh, which have been nominated to be City
Designated Historic Structures by the Pittsburgh
History and Landmarks Foundation. The library branches
nominated include the branches in the Pittsburgh
neighborhoods of Hazelwood (opened 1900 August 15),
Homewood (opened 1911 March 10), Lawrenceville (opened
1898 May 10), Mount Washington (opened 1900 May 31),
and West End (opened 1899 January 31).

http://andrewcarnegie.tripod.com/lawrenceville/NR-CC-HRCdesig-lib.htm >


Citizens Works (letter)

Letter was passed among many at a public hearing in City Council Chambers concerning the looming vote on Act 47

Citizens Voice

June 22, 2004

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for your interest, care and open remarks concerning our city. It is great to hear perspectives of citizens and public employees. To prosper, all of Pittsburgh must have the opportunity to speak freely. Your comments get noticed among some citizens. Thanks again.

A number of people have been gathering to make "better plans" for Pittsburgh. These plans evolve out of statements such as yours.

Please, you are invited to send a copy of your statement in an email to:

People from Lawrenceville, Squirrel Hill, South Side and elsewhere are stitching the various remarks into alternative plans.

Parts of the Act 47 plans, and some initial statements from the I.C.A. (Oversight Board), are good. Other parts are NOT. All in all, the plans now on the table are NOT good enough.

We can do better. We must do better. The decline of Pittsburgh has been ugly. Furthermore, a recovery can't occur with lame plans and performances.

Issues and solutions that perk among us can't fit within this short thank you note and invite. However, trust that they are growing stronger, with your help, and many are on the internet now.

Open archives allow others to see postings. Subscribe to the NEW mailing list to stay in the loop or debate the merits of the ideas. Surf to http://CLOH.Org.

Thanks for the consideration.

(Names of some citizens deleted from blog.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

[412] Re-tooling sessions for the ACT 47 PLAN -- after a dip in the swim pool

Hi Neighbors,

Summary -- invites:
1. Today's public comments provided to City Council:
2. June 16, TV Show of Community Forum (read position paper)
3. June 17, South Vo Tech High School Community Forum
4. June 18, Green Sanctuary Benefit Concert at Sunnyhill.org
5. Brewing REVIVAL. Reject the Act 47 plan and COUNTEROFFER.

Last month, all had agreement that the 'Save Our Summer' efforts was a
BAND-Aid upon a BAND-Aid. Some of the pools are to open tomorrow. Yeah!
However, opening limited swim pools might have really been just a new
BAND-Aid for a corpse. Is the body dead?

Last chance to catch the TV broadcasting of the community forum on PCTV
21 is from 7 to 8 pm WEDNESDAY, (in about 24 hours), June 16. If you don't
have cable, email me off line and I'll try to share my tape.

While some of the pools open, some of the schools are closing, including
South Vo Tech High School -- and Connelley Tech School for adult education.
Thursday, June 17, we'll gather at South Vo Tech High School Library at
6:30 pm to talk in another community meeting. You're invited. See South

Green Sanctuary benefit concert:
On Friday June 18, at 7:30 pm, Jim Scott, http://www.jimscottmusic.com,
holds a concert at Sunnyhill.Org. Advance is $8.00/adult and $10/adult at
the door. Kids are $4 and $6, respectively.
Call Amy at the church (voice: 412-561-6277 --- fax: 412-561-6592) to
reserve the ticket, and pay at the door.

Some concerned citizens and leaders are starting to buck for City
Council to REJECT the ACT 47 Plan. A better plan can be crafted and made
into a counter offer. I expect that the counter offer would include elements

Version two of the position paper is starting to take shape. New sources
of revenues are getting examination.
For example: PA House Bill 1216 from 2003 gets more than $9-million per
year for the city -- or better yet -- for the NEW Pittsburgh Park District.
Mr. Ludwig predicts and documents $50-million in a SODA (Pepsi / Coke) deal
to happen mostly AT THE PARKS. The Citizens Police Academy, located in a
PARK, can get an upgrade and be made to MAKE money and offers services to
other areas beyond the city.

In a NUTSHELL, the ACT 47 Plan just released Friday, in my humble opinion,
is NOT good enough. It can be made better, much better.

If you'd like to help with input or debate on issues within and without the
ACT 47 Plan -- and be document centric to craft a COUNTER, then we're
meeting with others at 7 pm on FRIDAY at Ritters, a diner, 5221 Baum Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224. Their phone (for directions only) is 412-682-4852. By
the way, I'm NOT going to CHAIR this meeting -- but will be an active
supporter / participant.

As always, thanks for listening and doing all you do for our shared


Mark Rauterkus http://Play.CLOH.Org
xCoach at Rauterkus.com http://CLOH.Org http://Rauterkus.com
412-298-3432 = cell

PS: If you want to opt out, you can do so yourself. Or, email, and I'll
help you unsubscribe.

PS2: If you have no idea who I am -- we can fix that at our annual 4th of
July house party -- July 4th after 7 pm. We'll be playing badminton too.

PS3: Photos and more insights from our China trip might take a couple of
weeks, yet.

Before City Council, mid-June, 2004

My Name is Mark Rauterkus.My family and I live at 108 South 12th Street, South Side. Internet hang-outs are Rauterkus.com -- and CLOH.Org.

At 6:30 pm, on Thursday, June 17, 2004, I'll be helping to coordinate another community meeting. Everyone is invited. The meeting is on the South Side -- at South Vo Tech High School. We'll meet in the School LIBRARY. Come early as we'll be finished by 8 pm.

South Vo Tech is closing. Today is the last day of regular school for 450 students. Have a great and safe summer vacation.

A number of concerned citizens made objections concerning the decision to shutter South Vo Tech. This meeting won't be only with a focus of South Vo Tech -- but given the setting, it will be part of the discussion.

I advocated for a staged shut-down of South Vo Tech throughout a three or four year period. I think that the kids that are there now (9th, 10th, 11th graders) should be able to graduate -- even with night and summer school.

Otherwise, the drop out rate are going to be massive. The worst move possibe is what is school board has done. A couple hundred kids are NOT going to terminate their high school educations and NOT graduate.

The shift to CHARTER Schools is expected -- costing district MORE money. The outward migration accelerates. Families get yanked around again. And, the impact upon the other schools that must absorb the displaced South students is going to trouble everyone.

Students in HEATING & Airconditioning,
Commercial Art,
Small Engine Repair,

Go to Brashier for academic work and still use the South Vo Tech Annex for trade work. Then the following year they'll need to move to Peabody. Treating High School students to a smorgasboard of four schools in their career within the district is a prime example of why we are in such a serious decline around here.

To phase out the school is a little more trouble for the ADMINISTRATION -- but in the long run it still gives the tax payers the same results -- and for the students it offers a world of difference.

When people see this treatment to other people -- they want no part of it for themselves. They choose to NOT come here.

Furthermore, this same group of kids won't be able to go to Connelley Technical School for adult eduation -- as that too has been closed.

These are Dr. Thompson and Bill Isler CAST-OFFs. A whole group of kids -- within a special category -- get flushed away. These kids are NOT the darlings of the CULTURAL DISTRICT.

The Vo Tech vision in this district is an undisputed failure. That burden goes to Mr. Fondy -- of the Teacher's Union (who has serious ties to South and yet he can turn his back upon them) -- and the TRADE UNIONS of Great Pittsburgh.

The UNOINS have been worthless here -- when it comes to our treasured future.

Another invite

On Wednesday, June 16 from 7 to 8 pm --- people in the city can tune into a TV Show on PCTV 21. Our last meeting held on the North Side at the National Aviary was turned into a show.

We talk about the Save Our Summer -- and beyond.

Looking back I called Save Our Summer a process that put a band-aid upon a band-aid and that it didn't address the real wound. I think I might have been TOO GENEROUS with Elsie Hillman's and Bill Truehart's efforts -- in tandem with Citiparks.

I think we have a new band-aid that has been applied to a system held together by old band-aids ----- but the new wrinkle is something that I've not seen before. Then I read the ACT 47 RECOVERY PLAN.

The band-aids -- are going onto a CORPSE.

They want to put on a big show -- work on this to save face -- but THE BODY is DEAD.

City Council -- you might have expired. The last breath of city life in Pittsburgh might be just a memory. When the ACT 47 Agreement is signed ..... we should all send flowers -- to have the aroma to cover the stench -- even if it is another tempory fix.

We need a Lazarus - like REVIVAL. To come back from the dead is going to take a lot of work. It starts with the understanding of cooperation and serious -- all day all night work in proactive ways. If you want ME to help you with the COUNTER OFFER -- as a REJECTION of the ACT 47 plan --- we can do it.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

[via China] Re: [noise] A call to action!

Hi All and Cori,

One suggestion from another was to get a legal opinion before you proceed in additional directions. With a legal opinion understood, then the conversations with others (elected officials, etc.) can be more measured.

As to the free speech matter --- I'd say, "That RIGHT, among others, is messy." Ours is a small price to pay. With RIGHTs come responsibilities -- within all sectors. Even as bystanders we must be more responsible from time to time.

By the way, I did see the photos and trucks in both the South Side and in Oakland for many days. I too have a 6-year old, our second child. But, as a point of contrast from China, I'd assume that those posters wouldn't fly here. And furthermore, second children are not permitted. To explain 'the more than one child freedom' to a family with more than one child becomes quite personal.

short snip --- but rather the pictures they use on their placards being that I had to explain to my then 6 year old the images she was seeing. I am furious at this manipulative method of getting one's point across. I am a avid believer in free speech, however, this group, whoever they are, show very poor
judgement and I will not tolerate it in my community. I hope that many of you feel the same way.
--- end snip

So, we agree with the poor judgement part, but don't agree on how much to tolerate in community. Being free means we have to take it all, and explain / teach the younger ones all about living in an open society. IMNSHO, people should be free to show their poor judgements.

For me it is 9:30 am on Friday -- while you all are at 9:30 pm on Thursday. We are on the other side of the world -- as I type -- and Cori, we are on different sides of the issue as to what to do NEXT. Tell Abby (the kdis) that everything in China does NOT look upside down. However, we've discovered that it is much more difficult to run backwards without falling. At a recent sports practice we noticed that the kids from China were more skilled at running fast while moving backward than blond haired kids from North America. Kids from China do tumble from time to time, but not nearly as frequently. Our theory holds that it might be nearly impossible to run your second leg of a race in an over-and-back fashion, all while backwards. Just be warned. There might be something about being over here and running backwards in an "over-and-back race" that trips you..... just a hunch.

Well, here is hoping that the next time I see you ---- you're not going backwards.....

PS: today is our last full day in Chengdu. Catherine's class ended yesterday. To Hong Kong on Saturday. Then to Chicago on Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

June 1 = Childrens' Day in China

Today, Tuesday, June 1, is "Childrens Day" in China. I just found out about it. No school -- except at the International School. They do have school there. And, we are going to visit it for a half-day -- just for fun. All English at the International School. Sorta small -- yet -- here in Chengdu. One third grade class -- and the 3rd grade teacher has his daughters (3) swimming with Erik and Grant -- and I met them all at Sunday Church Service -- in a hotel conference room (only foreigners).

In the AM we're going to an amusement park at the edge of town.

Last week -- lots of running around to get it all in.

Went to a soccer game this past Saturday and ate HOT POT.

Our friend, Kevin.

This is Kevin. We got together with him for a play day on National Childrens' Day. Kevin swam on the swim team and was most friendly. His mom worked in D.C. and his dad was a big help with some meetings we had too.

China, and other nations around the world, celebrate CHILDRENS' DAY. This is a major vacation day. Most parents get a half or full day off of work to be with their children. We don't celebrate this in the US, yet! Posted by Picasa

More photos of the amusement park are available. It was a bit like Kennywood -- but different.