Tuesday, August 31, 2004

UN-democratic Democrats

Trib article
Tom Murphy is fighting to keep a question off of the ballot. He and his type don't want the citizens to make choices. The opinions and methods of self-determination -- yet alone the voice of the people -- seem to be meaningless to him.
On Monday, the city's leaders formally appealed a Common Pleas Court decision that allowed a union referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot. Murphy administration lawyers contended the referendum would violate the Act 47 plan, but Judge Eugene Strassburger ruled the city can only challenge the response times if and when voters approve the ballot question.

Firefighters' union attorney, Josh Bloom, said Murphy is trying "to find a loophole to gag the people's right to be heard on the matter of public safety."
The firefighters put their muscle behind efforts with signature collection. They have the "RIGHT" to get a ballot question before the people on election day. The move by the mayor to go to the courts is classic. He and the others who are in leadership roles don't want to be democratic. They don't act like Americans.

As for the question and the issue --- I'm not sure yet what to say. Research is needed. But, an appeal is still looming. In a certain way it makes sense to follow the story of supression now while there is still an a hope to foil the election day choices for the voters. But, once the appeal is resolved -- then it is due time to see the article on all the sides of the question and cover the issue as watchdogs should.

In other news, county executive, Dan O, (Dem) is locking horns with another Dem, County Council's Rich F. This is a power grab. They struggle for authority. Various roles from the different branches of government have been established for a reason. I don't need to see uncooperativeness going to the courts.

The county executive has a role. The county council has a role. The roles are not alike. The rules are clearly written and esablished. If there is some wiggle room -- work it out like leaders should. Don't sue each other. Fix the problem.

Leaders who can't lead -- should leave. Or, bicker. Go to court. Then welcome to the private sector on the next election day.

When Dems are undemocratic and when Dems are running to the courts at such frequent intervals -- then it is time for all the Dems in this city to "think again."

We can't reach our potential as a region when our dems in the executive office can't get along with the other dems in the other branch. Tom Murphy vetoed an 8-1 vote yesterday concerning the ICA agreement. Lead -- don't lurk and just suprise and bring suits. He is hopeless, and he can't lead -- rather -- LEAVE.

Highland Park's grandeur reborn as blood sucking worm

If the fountain at center of renovated entry to Highland Park is the best we can do, other than the merry-go-round slated for Schenley Park outside the main Oakland Libraries, then hell is at our doorstep.

In Highland Park, the past is present -- and I don't want to go there. The major projects at the RAD parks are jokes.

In the early 1900s, a grand Victorian entryway greeted visitors with imposing bronze sculptures, clustered Ionic columns, a fountain, reflecting pool and lush formal gardens. At that time, and for decades after, Highland Park also had segregated swimming pools. One pool for whites. One pool for colored. Fact. History.

Do these bone-headed leaders want to turn back the clock to that time as well?

Pittsburgh used to be the 4th largest city in the US. Did the garden party attitude make us flourish or is it what has pushed us to our decline?

The best we can do in our parks these days is to crave the 1930s with bricks and stone. On the North Side, the Riverview Park was slated to get and upgrade -- running water. That is right. A sink with a pipe to flow water and a real toilet that flushes. Such advancements in 2004.

If this is the most refreshing sign is a gush of sparkling water 15 feet in the air, then shame on us.

The water seen spouting comes from crews testing new pipes that have been laid. Union crews? Over the next few weeks, the fountain may be on or off, depending on the testing schedule.

Meanwhile, over the next few weeks, kids will be growing, all the time, never switching to off. We can freeze our city budgets, but we can't freeze our kids and tell them to wait.

According to city workers, no official opening has been scheduled yet. Furthermore, this is a project that has taken more than six years to come to testing stages. it has taken forever in terms of the live of a six-year old. Wait some more.

Can walkers, residents and passers-by in 2004 catch an early peek at a fountain that went to hell in 1930s?

So, we've driven our parks into the ground for say about 70 years. Hold the phone. We have had one-party rule in Pittsburgh for 70 years. So, the Dems have been in charge of the city for all this time and yet we LONG for a return to that era.

"It's beautiful," beamed Annette Marks, 67, a lifelong resident of the East End neighborhood that was laid out over 300 acres in 1778. "It's going to be just like it was."

The parks will be beautiful as soon as we break the rule of one party politics. And, as soon as we set new priorities that go beyond the brick top layer. As soon as we figure out that our kids can't be raised and made whole by only UNION workers -- and we engage all of the community -- then we've got hope for the future.

Some remember, goldfish in the pond. Now, one only needs to walk a quarter mile to the Highland Park Zoo and Aquarium and find sharks. We spent millions on places for our fish to swim, yet put $0 in the city budget for places for our kids to swim.

Anyone who wants to see goldfish -- go to the pet store and get some yourself. If you want more a more exotic fish experience, go to the zoo.

What gurgles again might speak with forked tounge.

"They're bringing it all back, reverting to what we had originally. It's going to do a lot for this neighborhood." --- what about the segregated swim pools? is that next on the to-do list?

Or, really, what could happen -- Oxford Development can build a sports complex in the burbs -- such as in Monroeville and Cranberry. Coaching shouldn't happen in Highland Park -- as the local swim team needs to have its rates doubled, (really).

The reflecting pool did get mentioned in the Park's Master Plans -- and the swim pool got ignored, other than as a place for selling refreshments.

Financial assistance also came from Allegheny Regional Asset District funding earmarked to aid the city's parks. We need to "think again" about the RAD funds for the city parks. Those funds have been a major waste. The RAD tax should be eliminated.

The project will cost about $700,000 -- and it cost about that much to run the swim pools in 2004.

"...It seems a little impractical to use funds when the city could be doing other things."

Phase two of the project, more horticultural work, won't happen if I'm elected. The rainbow of seasonal color, will be seen in our kids and the opportunities presented to them to work upon -- not in the dirt. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, a group working with the city and Highland Park community groups to rebuild the park, should be NUKED and folded into the new Pittsburgh Park District.

As the temperature steamed toward 86 degrees, the fountain was one of the coolest spots at the park yesterday -- if you don't count the swim pool.

"It is certainly tranquil," said Marette Simpson, a minister from Monroeville, jogging past the babbling fountain on her 3-mile run. "I'm ready to take a dip in it." My point exactly.

Original article by edyer@post-gazette.com.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Heart breakers and silver liners

Lauryn Williams, you go girl. The silver medal was a fantastic. The heart breaking part of the story is that she will return to Miami -- the city she now calls home.

Do get that degree in finance. By all means, graduate. Sadly, here it is again. Our most talented youth must leave Pittsburgh to flourish. Our regional brain and talent drain is still a big monkey on our backs.

This issue, the youthful exit from the Pittsburgh region, ranks high among all issues. Our debt is high too. And, the fact that our latest fixes are lame (tunnel under the Allegheny River for light-rail service to the lower North Side) compounds the steepness of the climb ahead.

but the linkage can't be ignored. The youth are going to leave when the debt soars. Debt is but a burden on today's youth. And, let's fix matters today by giving the shaft to the kids of today -- by closing recreation centers and swim pools.

The kids are getting more than zilch. They are getting the debt and the closed door treatments.

L.W. speaking about the 2005 World Championships is quoted to have said, "It's going to be great," she said. "I can't wait." All in due time. Great athletes excel in the management of time, space and relationships.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Bush Olympic Ad

Bush Olympic Ad
The ad is okay. It is a stretch to say that democracy is spreading like a sunrise. We do have two other nations in the Olympic Family who are what they are. But, look at things a little bit further into history.

In 1976 South Africa was not permitted to send its athletes to the Olympics. Meanwhile, a young swimmer, Jonty Skinner, held the world record in the 100-free -- establishing the new mark in Phili of all place. Since I'm name dropping on the blog, Skinner's book, Tide Teamwork, was the first book I published. Now, South Africa's conditions are different. Plus, the men's 400 freestyle relay from South Africa is second to none. And, South Africa might be hosting the Olympics in the near future.

I think it is fair to celebrate the arrival of athletes into the Olympic Games -- from all the corners of the world where there are some serious hurdles for participation.

Should that celebration be part of a political advertisement is a good topic for debate among those with little else to worry about -- or -- for those of those nations mentioned. So, it is fair ground to ask the athletes from Iraq and Afganastan what they think about the add. But, humanity and sports questions should come first.

Local slant

Not many words would need to change to get that ad positioned for Pittsburgh. In 1972 there were 40 democracies in the world. Well, we could turn back the clock in Pittsburgh and say there were 600,000 residents. Today we are half of what we were.

Then you could say, in 2003, Pitsburgh had 19 recreation centers. Today there are none. (whatever the number is as this is a moving target) And, in 2003 there were 32 swim pools in Pittsburgh, in the summer of 2004 we had 15. Mayor Murphy, we hired you to operate our facilites and manage our shared spaces. You shuttered them. Our chance for hope isn't re-opening Lord & Tayor nor Lazarus -- but working with communities, parks, parents, coaches and kids --- to make better lives for us all.

Water Polo -- shooting at the keeper

The Russian goalie seemed to be a target of the US men's squad in Saturday's action at the Olympic aquatic venue. The shots from the US side were not crisp. Aim for the back of the net!

I was able to work with Coach Monte Nitzkowski as he authored a book text book, US Tactical Water Polo, published in 1994 by my indie, small press. I gave away more books on water polo in PA than we sold here.

From the bio link above, you can get two sections of the book in PDFs: the first 24 pages, 158k, and chapter 5, (pages 119 to 180), 365k.

Notice the work with fonts and the technical delivery with the publishing elements within the book. Polo has plenty of Xs and Os to describe, (i.e., hole defender, etc.). Every graphic and every statement in that 375 page book was reworked in these efforts. Even as publisher I've had some amazing fan mail from readers of that book from around the world. One coach read the book three times, start to finish, and took his team from last to first place in one season. This book was and is the best ever for the sport of polo.

We do need to get more and more into water polo in western PA. This winter the kids at Fox C. played some polo and we injected it into one AM practice per week in November and December. Plus, we had a join polo practice around Christmas with Carrlington HS. Back in the early 90s as I was working on the book and coaching at Plum HS, we started polo and played 2 nights per week. One night was for older folks and was co-ed. Great fun.

WPIAL or city HS swim coaches wishing to have a dedicated session or three on water polo, any time of the year, give me a call and I'll come out with the balls, caps, and understanding of the game to lead a mini-clinic.

The NA HS coach, Mr. C.S., credits water polo for great advancements to the overall swim program's performance. The NA girls team went to states last fall.

Highland Park Pool is a great place for water polo. The deep end is perfect.

Pittsburghers of the year

Our sprinter, L. Williams sped into the 100-meter final today behind Yuliya Nesterenko of Belarus. Perfect so far. Both two-time winner, Gail Devers, and gold-medal favorite, Christine Arron, of France were eliminated.

Perhaps Williams will get 30-under-30 awards this year. She is a mover and shaker.

The Pittsburgher of the year -- in the running -- the gent who donated to get dad to Greece to she his daughter in her finest hour.

USA Basketball Team -- shoots a brick in first game

The first game, and the first basketball competition -- the Dream Team -- shot a brick. It was an upset as historic as it was inevitable, reported Sports Illustrated. Beaten soundly, dominated. Now it is time to "bounce back."

Puerto Rico, homeland of a Pittsburgh hero, Roberto Clemente, is much like a 52nd state. So, the sting of loss might be easier to shrug away.

Great PG article about the Clemente Sports City Dream is a great read.

What will be reported in Pittsburgh and around the nation when the mayor's office goes to someone who is not of the old-school democrats' clan? Historic, inevitable?

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Does Tom Murphy have the swagger in political circles that matches that of the NBA stars in an Olympic Games?
Trivia quiz: the mason artwork appears on the side of the building. What one? Where?


The USA squad was 2-2 in pool play and US players still expected to win the gold medal. Meanwhile, parties broke out in the streets in Lithuania. The US squad (if you can call them a team) departed Athens in the semi-final round. Argentina deserved to win.

Elephant mascots, death, tour, uploads

Wondering minds need to know about this recently uploaded image. The GOP mascot is an elephant. Tomb mention too???

Republican Elephant

Grant, 6, Erik, 9, and I are pictured above. This is one of the 125 slides in Erik's presentation given at his school this year upon our return from China.

Enjoy the PDF or HTML version.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Old news for clarity - bio notes for Mark Rauterkus

Old article: "Mark Rauterkus, a South Side resident and former swimming coach, also has stated he will run for mayor.

Since the record has been wrong before, here is a refresher on some facts that the journalists often miss.

stay-at-home father, registered Republican, not sure about running as a Republican (again), but certain to not run as a Dem, two sons.

'We need new direction from Grant Street. We don't have a holistic approach to our leadership,' Rauterkus said.

Grad of Ohio University (not OSU) with a degree in journalism and went to grad school (no master's degree earned) in physical education at Baylor University.

Rauterkus has worked several years as a swimming coach and instructor. He has coached at Green Tree, Canon-McMillan High School, Plum High School, Fox Chapel Area High School, and New Trier Swim Club in Illinois.

My birth: May, 1959, year of the rooster!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Mike, I guess my "under the radar approach" is working

Mike Seate's column

If you'd really like to talk about the Mayor's race, in a serious way, then let me know. I'd be glad to meet with you.

Four years ago, I announced my intention to run for the office of Mayor, around August 22. Throughout the next four months, I worked and attended more than 100 community meetings / interactions. This sechedule included time at Three Rivers Stadium, gate C, prior to a STEELER Game, with a Trib photographer there on assignment. Nothing ever ran in the newspapers despite repeated calls to the Trib editors.

On New Year's Day, 2001, Josh P., then 18, sent out an email press release saying he was running for Mayor. Josh and I had met and talked on a few instances and with other issues. Both of us helped the Greens in 2000.

Starting then, I got to ride Josh's coat tails in terms of getting coverage from the Pittsburgh media outlets.

More Trib coverage was spent on coverage of those NOT running for mayor than the individuals and issues who spoke with positive actions and real solution discussions.

The illustration of captain and a sinking ship fits. Well done there.

The "I told you so" gang -- however -- was more with fellow naysayers and less to do with Doug Shields and Bob O'Connor, guys who have been on the watch for many turns in the downward spirals.

D.Q.ed and whistleblowers

Aaron Peirsol, US backstroke star, coached by David Salo, Ph.D., of Irvine (yeah Nova) was outspoken about the fly kicking going on in the 100 breast from the gold-medalist from Japan, Kosuke Kitajima. In the 200 breast, the swimmer from Japan kept fair under the water, and still won.

Peirsol gets serious props from me for speaking up when he did and as loud as he did. Being a whistleblower isn't easy. And, he didn't have a personal stake in the breast events. Peirsol is a backstroker. Well, then again, there is the Medley Relay yet to occur. But, he went out on a limb to raise a stink when conventional wisdom and the coaches of the squad did nothing.

By the way NBC payed good attention to the flap -- after the award's were given. But, from my living room in Pittsburgh I could easily spot the extra liberties taken underwater by the swimmer from Japan, and a couple of others. So, the watchdogs, the broadcasters, could have been more aggressive on the coverage the the stroke as the race unfolded and heats were conducted. So, Rowdey gets a B+ for the the attention to the flap, but it was a little late.

Then in the finals of the 200 backstroke, Peirson got nailed for an illegal turn. Is this were they retired figureskating's French Judge?

After the appeal got into high gears, the D.Q. was erased. (I have yet to see the race.)

Peirsol was more than two seconds ahead of the silver medalist. When the D.Q. was flashed on the scoreboard, the crowd began to boo. Still standing on deck, the 21-year-old Californian shrugged his shoulders in disbelief.

"It sounds pretty bogus to me," Peirsol said. "I don't know what it is and I've got to go figure it out."

FINA overturned the disaqualification in 30 minutes time, just before the medal ceremony.

Goddard of the UK was second much off the race, only to get passed by two at the end. He slapped the water in disgust. He was edged out for a medal by 20-hundredths of a second after Peirsol's win was restored. With grace, the US squad has done little or none of those types of outbursts.

In the 100 back, Peirsol took the gold and fellow US teammate, Lenny Krayzelburg, got fourth. Lenny had won both the 100 and 200 in the Olympics in 2000. Furthermore, both are friends and now swim with the same club team and are coached by David Salo. David's team put six swimmers on the USA squad. The club's web page has the clever slogan, "Sent Six!"

The frst lesson here ---- it is okay to speak out. Speak out in times when it might come back to harm you as well. When you are at the top of your game, and when you are right, it is okay to speak out. We need more to do so.

The next lesson has to do with backlash. When bad things happen -- good officials, good people with power, need to go out of their way to make sure things are straight. The Olympic officials missed a bit in the 100 breast. I expect some officials were with a big blush -- if not red faced. A couple might have been flat out angry -- as seen in the D.Q. of Peirsol. But, it didn't stick.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

US Women's Volleyball Spiked

The US Women's Volleyball team -- 6 on 6, indoors -- are in an uphill battle in Pool B. The team lost a match to a squad who had yet to win a game in its past two encounters.

In the past, my indie small press published a number of books on volleyball. The bulk of those titles now form an E-book collection on volleyball and are on the web in PDF format for gratis downloads.

The 2004 Men's USA's Olympic Coach, Doug Beal, has been a by-line author in the volumes found in the link above.

Western PA has great tradition in high school volleyball.

Fresh Ideas for Just Harvest Silent Auction Contributions

The annual dinner for a non-profit group, Just Harvest, is looking for exciting donations for a highly anticipated Silent Auction. Their search for fresh new donations hit a motherload with creativity here. Can you donate something too?

It can be a weekend at a country home, a painting, knitting lessons. Do you know a local sports figure that would be willing to give lessons, do you have a clothing store where you can donate an outfit or maybe a local television or radio personality that's willing to tape an outgoing message on someone's answering machine? No matter how big or small it will help to raise money to fight hunger in our communities.

If you have a donation please contact or have the donor contact Shauna at (412) 431-8960 or mail to her at Just Harvest, 16 Terminal Way, 15219.

My offerings are expected to include:
  • One hour of help and hand-holding to establish your own blog and web/email space.

  • Two hours of badminton instruction, play, games with equipment provided by Coach Mark at a local park or your facility / function (schedules permitting).

  • Thirty minute private swim lesson at the Oliver Bath House in public swim time (schedules permitting) -- if the pool reopens.

  • Other ideas welcomed. These above are rather "tame."

    Tuesday, August 17, 2004

    The wind in Athens isn't always from Mother Nature

    in the past, I've been hard on NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games, I've been critical. In 2004, NBC's efforts have been better than expected. However, as a whole, trash talk isn't just of the realm owned by the USA Men's Basketball Players. The overall tone of the coverage from the print journalists is now 'officially' making my skin crawl.

    Steve Rushin, of Sports Illustrated:

    " ... The Olympics have more down time than federal prison...."


    In another story, Frank DeFord asked if Michael Phelps would be in wrestling and other sports for the duration of the games.

    How many stories of empty seats do we need to endure? Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim headline: Empty Olympics stands lead to lack of excitement and lousy television. Frankly, the TV is fine.

    Perhaps, the fans are interested in wading past the mud so easily flug by the journalists. So, perhaps, we've got a man bites dog story unfolding. Clueless journalists might be jumping on the wrong bandwagons.

    Negativity wants to rule the day. This negativity, (U.S. boxing hasn't been competitive for several Olympics -- as lead by Richard hoffer) does nothing but illustrate lazyness from writers. Case in point: Don't tell how poor the boxers are going to do until after you've introduced the individuals and perhaps the coaches.

    New Bio and Eco Lab in Hill District

    bio lab Volunteer!

    Monday, August 16, 2004

    Political Victory in Allegheny County for voter database access

    The county voter database has been opened at a reasonable price. This makes for a major victory for open government. Thanks to David Tessitor. and the ACLU for bringing the case against the elections department before a judge. If you missed the news, catch it at 9x9.CLOH.Org/departments/politics.

    Celeste Taylor, formerly of the NAACP and Good Schools PA, said she'll be down at the county offices to pick up her copy tomorrow.

    Home team is golden

    Mens Springboard Syncro Diving --- wow! Greeks get wet and soak in the victory.

    The Greek's won. A number of other teams tanked. Nice event for spectators, even with a half-time show.
    ATHENS — After four days of Olympic competition, Canada can lay claim to a bronze medal in diving and the fool in the pool.

    Now security is going to a higher level.

    Sunday, August 15, 2004

    Men's 200 meter freestyle FINALS

    This is going to be great. Watch Michael Phelps on his turns. He'll stay in the steamline longer and have a more explosive push-off. If he takes the gold, he'll need to cook off those walls.

    Ian has better distance per stroke.

    What a race. Can't wait.

    Saturday, August 14, 2004

    Badminton, Costas called it a CULT Sport

    Ruffle Feathers, Play Badminton, Support Rauterkus

    We are going to see plenty of badminton in the Olympics, said NBC's Bob Costas as the opening parade of athletes was being conducted. Great!

    But Bob also said that badminton was a "cult sport." Hold the phone. Badminton is great. It is great in the backyard, and, it is great as a real sport too.

    When we went to China, we got into badminton, big time. At our 4th of July party we set up five courts in our local park. At our family vacation / reunion, we set up a court and wore out the grass with four continual days of play.

    If you want to play some badminton, post your comments below. We'll be playing again real soon.

    Furthermore, he mentioned badminton and tied it to another CULT sport, the winter sport of CURLING. Hey, he is hitting too close to home. I love curling too. I was slightly involved in the formation of the young Pittsburgh Curling Club. It meets throughout the winter months and is a lot of fun. I have pitched the idea of turning the now closed, indoor ice rink on the South Side, located behind South Side Hospital, as a curling center.

    Humm. Why not make the closed ice rink a curling center in the winter and a home for power badminton in the summer.

    This reminds me. I did offer to help coordinate the badminton competition for the 2005 Senior Games to come to Pittsburgh. The badminton and volleyball will be played at Pitt's Cost Center. A sponsorship of Sports Court has been established to get the flooring. It would be great to get that flooring into the now closed ice rink, before and after the event.

    Ruffle feathers. Play badminton.

    In case you missed it: Call me a snob or enthusiast, but what was that word within the NBC News Coverage from Aug. 15, 2004 about badminton?

    Pittsburgh's Marathon Dies

    Marathon article in the Post-Gazette with "post-it comments" from Mark Rauterkus

    Our marathon-running Mayor, Tom Murphy, is at the helm of the city as the Pittsburgh Marathon dies. He can't advance his own agenda, yet alone now, run in a marathon in a city that he claims as his primary residence.

    I have plenty to say about the Marathon in Pittsburgh.

    In the end, once we establish a new Pittsburgh Park District, we'd be much better along.

    Furthermore, when I'm mayor, I'd re-establish the Pittsburgh Marathon -- but do it in a much different manner and style. There is no way we should spend $1-million to host a marathon.

    The Marathon saga, woven with the Great Race, makes another great example of the lack of cooperation from the administration, the lack of creativity, and fumbles of leadership.

    Friday, August 13, 2004

    Open Debates . Org

    Go to http://opendebates.org/ and sign the petition.

    Lump Camp takes another holiday

    The summer's schedule has been full of highs and lows -- by design. We've come to perfect the concept of LUMP CAMP. Simply put, lump camp is when you sit around and do nothing. Act like a lump.

    For me, lump camp means fussing on the web, writting, reading, playing, going to the park with the kids. Even going swimming is a bit beyond the true spirit of lump camp. We will get to Ream Pool one of these days.

    For the boys, they get to play. And, as a special twist, about three weeks ago we put in a new rule. No TV. We unplugged the boob tube. It isn't going back unless we are watching the Olympics.

    Today, as the photo show, we had a rebel with crafts in our midst, an out-of-town relative. Foiled.

    So, the plan calls for some really easy days because there rest of the summer has been full of wild adventures and travels.

  • We went to China for five weeks.

  • Then to DC and played basketball on the mall with the Harlem Globetrotters.

  • Two weeks of scholars camp for Erik.

  • Music camp for a week for half-days.

  • A trip to Chicago, staying at Hamburger University.

  • Three days at Kenyon College for Summer Insititute, a church camp.

  • A week at Virginia Tech for SUUSI, our favorite summer church camp.

  • Five days in eastern PA at a state park for a family reunion, saying at the Weisel Hostel.

  • Zoo camp for a half-day for both boys.

  • Trip to Maine and Boston.

  • Trip to Montana, yet to occur.

  • Time will tell if I get all of these photos online.

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    I'm not sure, yet, if I want to put the subscribe buttons on the main blog home page. So, for now, it goes within one article.

    An interface to the other email subcription services is brewing, some how, some way.
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  • Sports Scribes, Coverage, Journalists, -- Olympics in 2004

    "Athens, in many ways, resembles a police state this week," Wise said. "You can't walk around without seeing scores of young Greek men with automatic weapons affixed to their waists."

    Sure, there will be tension this week. It will be interesting to see if the USA squad stays within the rows as it enters the stadium for the opening parade. But, the humanity can still make for a buzz that is easily able to overcome the automatic weapons.

    "We've had State Department briefings," said Terry McDonell, the managing editor of Sports Illustrated. "If the unthinkable happens, we have to be ready to be able to explain it and be inside the news."

    Sportswriters and editors get annoyed when they hear suggestions that their beat isn't newsy in the first place. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, some in our sports departments are very happy to say that they are covering ENTERTAINMENT, not sports, not life, not news. And, when it comes to the harder, more interesting, more newsworthy elements -- they take a pass.

    Sports are GAMES of TIME, SPACE and RELATIONSHIP. All elements matter in sports. Meanwhile, entertainment is like a movie in a cinema that can be played over and over again, in any place, in any time. Staged entertainers can use lights and really move one's emotions and build a following and toy with 'relationships.' But, that isn't sports. The distinctions are clear to people with real understandings of sports.

    Sportswriters are professional reporters. They need editors who are real journalists too, even with a city beat.

    Pittsburgh is a sports town -- despite the sports departments in the newspapers. The coverage is frail in certain areas. Steelers talk is always going to rule the day, but, the spectrum is wide and the day is long.

    "Our strategy is to do the unusual, a story about someone unexpected who wins a medal and get the back story on an unexpected hero," Hoenig said.

    For those of sports, this is not unusual. It is expected. Bring it on.

    Drugs & Olympics

    The drug wars happen in sports too. So, there are two wars on drugs today, one in society and another in sports. With both, as is the case in all wars, the media gets twisted and manipulated. Furthermore, those in various camps are often cluess as to what the others are doing.


    In the story above, my hunch about the Greeks pulling a clever trick seems to be off the mark. It would NOT have been much of a suprise me to see them step out of the hospital to light the torch at the opening. Something is still unsaid.

    LA Times reported on Monday, day 3 of the games:

    Off the field, the International Olympic Committee canceled a hearing for a second time with Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Ekaterini Thanou, who missed a drug test before the Games and have been withdrawn by the Greek Olympic Committee pending a hearing with the IOC. Kenteris and Thanou were accused of failing to report for a drug test.

    New Jersey: Former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler

    The resignation sets the stage for a shift of focus in the Garden State. There is still more limelight to be given to the to scandals of the outgoing Governor. However, the questions of who will be the next elected governor become more pressing.

    I'm pulling for the former Jersey City Mayor, Bret Schundler. Bret, a Republican and fiscal conservative, won my attention as he was a mayor in a town that was overwhelmed with Dems. The landscape in Jersey City is even worse than what we face in Pittsburgh. One party rule was everywhere. Corruption came with that there as well.

    Bret's story is one that Pittsburghers should study. Bret will be running for the head spot in NJ as Pittsburgh seeks its way in the 2005 mayors race. So, we share a common time-line.

    Big events often happen in sets of three. Resignations happened with governors in CT and NJ. The third could be, in our wildest hope, that of Tom Murphy, mayor of Pittsburgh.

    Olympics: Phelps and Spitz


    Word has begun to leak about the swimmers' relay selections for the USA Men in Athens. This is the story within the story around the swim pool, until the real splashing begins.

    The coach, Eddie Reese, has a puzzle to handle. He is well suited to make the right decisions. He is fantastic. He is cool. He is above all the pressure. Everyone else outside of that circle of the squad now in Athens is but a pea-brain in these matters.

    Coach knows best. Period.

    Furthermore, don't rush these decisions. People don't need to know in advance, as things could change. The athletes need to prepare the best they can, and things will flow from there.

    I love Michael's approach. He is going for ONE gold medal. That's the best approach. His coach too, Rob B., is great and knows best. Wonderful coaching and approach.

    Meanwhile, the media needs to appreciate the quest and the voyage, as well as the team dynamics. I hope the press and broadcasters allow the stories to unfold and don't become the story themselves. No need to hype a slant at the Olympics. Just get out of the way and tell it straight.

    I'm going to be glued to the tv starting tonight for the opening and the lighting of the torch. I could post a million times here, or else, make a new blog. I'm not sure what to do.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2004

    Rip, Weap, Pray

    We're just back from a family vacation. Our gang gathered for five days in Eastern PA at a state park with lots of swimming, kayak, fishing and plenty of together time.

    Sadly, the vacation for the Leech family of the Pittsburgh / Fox Chapel went with a tragic ending. Swimming and beach play clashed with a rip tide and the father, Tony, age 44, (same as me), died.

    Sons, ages of 11 and 10, got caught in a rip current off the beach on the Pacific. Leech and a local resident went into the surf to save the boys. Three survived.

    This past winter it was my great pleasure to coach and interact with a swimmer on the varsity team at Fox Chapel Area High School. Her uncle was taken. In these times, my family and I pray for all in the Leech family. Such a tragic loss.

  • A Trib article, Rip currents: An uncertain threat makes for a meaningful content for a family huddle.

  • About Mr. Leech: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/trib/pittsburgh/s_207386.html

  • In the weeks to come, our family will be headed out for another swim in the ocean. This painful loss will press on our minds, always. My, how conditions can swirl and things are never again the same.

    Welcome to the neighborhood

    Move over Cheesecake Factory.
    A new, indie, Cinci-based bookstore is to come to the South Side. Welcome to the hood.
  • Pgh Biz Times article

  • The city-wide literacy figures, however, are something to ponder. Bet the sales are less than third best in the chain. Time will tell.

    What jerk would go ahead and change a petition question?

  • Trib News

  • A petition was circulated. People signed it knowing that what they signed would HOPEFULLY be put upon the ballot in November.

    Only a complete jerk who was trying to submarine the democratic process would CHANGE the ballot question.

    Now the Mayor's office has grounds to fight to get the ballot question removed from the ballot. The question isn't the same. People didn't sign for something else.

    Furthermore, any group that goes to the effort of putting a petition drive together should have a well crafted, meaningful question to propose to the citizens and to the voters. They must have their reasons, right?

    I really think we need to have MUCH MORE ACCOUNTABILITY as to WHO were the ones to change the question as it headed to the ballot. Names, offices, phone numbers.

    "The (county) election department counted the signatures when the petition was filed and they appeared to be OK," said Al Opsitnick of the Allegheny County law department. "But we rephrased the question because it was not clear that the Home Rule Charter would be amended."

    In court papers filed by the city, officials argue that the "county does not have the power to cure a fatal flaw in the question presented to the electorate for signature."

    Was it Al's decision? Is Al a jerk or what?

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Mistakes: Being Very Anxious

    We don't have a convention center hotel in Pittsburgh, but those hopes are being revived by the probable slots parlor that seems to be in Pittsburgh's future. The slots revenue could bridge fiscal gap, a $34 million gap. So, once again, the marketplace in Pittsburgh becomes a slave to bogus spending with lots of zeros in the price tag.

    PG news:
    "We're very anxious to get the project moving," authority Executive Director Mary Conturo said.

    Citizens --- talk like that above makes me scared. There is good money going after bad money. And, the leadership in this town is anxious to spend more and spend it quickly.

    Friday's meeting will be the first between the authority and Forest City, the firm selected by Mayor Tom Murphy and former Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey in April 2003 to build the hotel.

    The bid process, the open evalution, the design contest, the competitive call --- all happened when?

    Forest City and the Sports & Exhibition Authority are nearly a year behind schedule in breaking ground for the hotel, originally planned for fall 2003, and still have not finalized a formal development agreement for the project.

    Wrong! The hotel is five years late. It should have been done along with if not BEFORE the convention center. This isn't one year. The convention center should NOT have been built without the hotel. We've got a WHITE ELEPHANT on our hands now. Prior planning fumbles can't be sugar coated into some simple one-year blunder. This has been a long-term, repeated, warned of blunder.

    "It's just an organizational meeting to get the project moving forward again," she said.

    Another great reason why Mayor Tom Murphy should resign. His agenda is stalled. He can't do even what HE wants to do. Pittsburgh can't heal itself with him in office.

    Still, the fact the authority and Forest City are talking again is good news to many local tourism officials who believe the lack of a headquarters hotel is preventing the convention center from reaching its full potential.

    This might be good news for the tourism officials -- and it is BAD news for the locals. The local tourism officials can all fit within a parked taxi cab in Pittsburgh. Local blood suckers might make for a better description.

    Members of the Greater Pittsburgh Hotel Association have been split on the need for a new hotel, however, with proponents believing it will help bring more conventions into town and opponents fearing it will create a glut of rooms and drive down rates.

    Even those in the industry -- not local tourism officials -- are split on the hotel's merits. We have a real hospitality trade. We have a real B to B infrastructure and trade show marketplace. But, what we also have is a small minority of folks who are quick to be on the take.

    Old News: The lack of hotel space near the convention center has been an impediment to some groups considering Pittsburgh for conventions.

    Thursday, August 05, 2004

    [412] Welcoming the HOPE of Olympic FEATs --- and join casual chatter at a blog

    Hi All,

    The Olympic flame sparks to life in Athens in a matter of hours. I love
    these times as the world gets a single focus to celebrate humanity. It would
    be great if everyone with a weapon or in war could take a vacation from the

    Violence has hit hard in our areas too, sadly. There is much to do.

    It seems to me that if we were spending more time in efforts to create
    literate Olympians, every week, we'd be much safer, stronger, and smarter in
    our quests to know ourselves and our communities.

    Today's invite and personal plea: Please visit and comment at:


    You too might consider starting your own blog. Then we can link their
    feeds in a hub in the weeks to come.

    Stay safe. And GO OLYMPIANS!


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

    Getting Volunteers for Community TV Efforts

    If you'd like to be part of a new class of recruits to become a "PRODUCER" at our COMMUNITY TV STATION, PCTV 21, then contact me. Mark@Rauterkus.com

    Tour Invites Expected

    On the advice of a blast email reader, we'll be setting up a tour or two of the PCTV 21 Studios. A simple, short show-and-tell can be organized before we get into the education and details of being a volunteer for full productions.

    Thanks for the consideration. This will be a lot of fun.

    To Few Olympians in Western PA

    To few -- PG Article

    We have two in Athens. That is a sad statement for both the region and city. In 2000, we had five. We should have dozens.

    Create Literate Olympians Here

    I don't agree with Dejan, the writer, that we have "an abundant, varied selection of athletic programs at the formative levels and beyond." We are failing our kids, ourselves and our stretches to world-wide performances.

    Perhaps those that are closest to the issue who struggle for a definitive answer are fooling themselves.

    Pitt has a rising NCAA Division I program, but it lacks a track that can host a meet. Finishing in the middle of the pack in the Big East and fielding Olympian are not so similar. Good point to make that NONE on Pitt's track team come from the city league.

    One city league facility, South Stadium, has a track. But, there isn't a program there that uses the facility. And, no public uses occurs at the stadium. If we have facilities and no access -- we don't have facilities. Just as with the Rec Centers. They are there -- but not open. So, first things first.

    Yes, we do have some problems within the coaching ranks in the region too. You can't expect coaches to flourish when given so many challenges that have nothing to do with the athletes and the sports challenges.

    "Healthcare Not Warfare" - Rally on Aug 15


    Running on empty

    By December, the city is projecting a cash shortfall of $8.8 million, said the budget director. The City Controller's office said the shortfall could be up to $12 million.

    The budget director said, "When we see this picture, we just don't sit back." Meanwhile, the city's reserve fund had been in past years as great as $80-million. That fund balance has dropped by $20-$30 million each of the past few years. Now it is running to empty.

    Fear not. The city is not hiring. Many are retiring. Attrition is high.

    Sala's first line of questions was to the timing of additional borrowing. The slogan "tax-and-spend Democrats" won't fit any more. Rather the new slogan needs to be "borrow, spend and beg" -- and in that order.

    "We know that 2005 will bring a balanced budget," said the budget director. To bad the last two years saw illegal budgets.

    Every year for at least the next three year, Pittsburgh will need a tax note at the start of the year to borrow some $30-million.

    The hole that Mayor Murphy and the others in leadership positions have been digging is very deep. And, the real digging has yet to end.

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    South Side Summer Street Spectacular Sucks

    The South Pittsburgh Reporter newspaper on the 2004 event: "It's the worst thing that South Side ever came up with," citing the "nastiness, urine, and puke."

    Seniors, especially, suffer as they are fearful of leaving their homes.

    You've got until August 13, 2004 to fill out a five question survey from the South Side Local Development Company. Like they didn't even plan this years event until June. Rush to give that feedback.

  • Residents' Survey

  • Business Survey

  • The event should be terminated. There are many other, better things that should be done. Frankly, I'd love to see the field used as a ballfield.

    The South Side Spring Sports Showcase should occur with partnership of Pitt. Pitt's spring football game should be played at South Stadium. A parade should go from UPMC's football facility to South with players, coaches, tailgaters, and other sports activities throughout the neighborhood.

    Football Fumbles with City League out of sync with WPIAL

    My rant is a follow up to the call to merge with City League with the WPIAL and the spledid story in the Trib.

    Mt. Washington's REAMS swim pool - opening

    Citiparks has some 16 swim pools that did NOT open this summer. These are mostly outdoor, neighborhood pools that were opened last summer until mid August. In August 2003 a major ax swing shut down most of the pools and closed the Recreation Centers.

    One of the now closed pools, in Mt. Washington, next to a Rec Center, is about to re-open. Thanks to a lot of pushing and pulling by some locals and community folks -- money has been raised, water has been flowing, and the grounds are ready for patrons.

    REAM pool had its big, grand opening on August 6, 2004.

    Learning of the terms of the deal will be interesting. Happy swimming. Photos soon.

    Fire Response Time on Ballot - show for PCTV?

    So, the firefighters got a petition together and a question seems to be on the ballot for November's election. Well done. I love it when issues are put to the people for a vote. Democracy (with a small "d") rules.

    A pending idea is floated at S6, my special events sub-site. Read it there and react if you can.


    US Senate Race goes five ways -- it seems??

    PG article

    Thanks for doing the whole story in the story of Specter and Hoeffel debates. Seems that the two men are going to have two debates. But, the race is larger than just a D and R. I'm glad you, Jeffrey Cohan, and the PG made mention of Jay Russel of the Libertarians.

    But, the Constitution and Reform parties made a submission of signatures to get candidates on the ballot -- but -- what are the names of these men and/or women?

    Please cover the entire story. Our democracy (small "d") depends on the watchdogs doing their jobs to the fullest.

    And, when are we going to hear about others beyond Nader who have gotten onto the ballot for the President? I've asked Tom Barnes -- and don't have a reply yet.

    $15,000 for Highland Park fountain

    City council voted to spend $15k on the entrance and fountain at Highland Park. This is a turn-back the clock upgrade to make the entry like it used to be near the turn of the century -- not 2000 but 1900. That's a great example of how Pittsburgh's leaders sum up the progress in our parks today.

    X-Game, Dirt Biker


    The photo in the Trib on Aug. 4, 2004, page C13, of the X-games athlete, Chris Doyle of Plum, on an airborn bike, without a helmet is shameful. The photo editors, photojournalist and athlete should be scolded.

    Good to see the coverage in the paper. Good luck in the games. But, athletes and media pros need to be responsible to the physical body and only loosers are wreckless.

    The headline, Taking to the air, might be fitting. Going to the air isn't the hard part. The trick is landing. Good to see the photo off of the web site already.

    Wylie Ave deal -- typical smoke and folly

    So, let's have a public authority own the land and the developer own the buildings. Then we ask for a PILOT (payment in lew of taxes).

    Sala, it is underhanded to have the land owned by someone and the building by another. That is underhanded and underfooted and under the foundation junk wrangling.

    The sweetheart deals are deals that are not freemarket deals. The well of the marketplace has been tainted with poor deals in the past. Real development and real prosperity would flow into Pittsburgh once City Council stands up to these lame efforts.

    "It is a new day!" said Councilwoman Carlise. However the old way of thinking came when it was time to vote. This 9-0 means more of the same.

    Another one bites the dust - PDP boss departs

    Ms. Geyer, head of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, (PDP), is leaving town with no major disappointments during her tenure. Accomplishments include bike racks, new trash cans and a back alley facelift.

    Fifth - Forbes failures and the lack of a downtown grocery store .... ho hum.

    The PDP can go away, along with its executive director.

    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    Our city: a time of JEOPARDY


    The College Championship shows are to air from the Petersen Event Center, one of Oakland's finest food courts. Its grand prize is $100,000.

    Quiz, Answers, Comments, -- all welcomed.

    Quiz Utility at CLOH.Org

    You can roll your own quiz for placement on the web at the URL above.

    Wishing again for a MN political landscape

    Those open-minded folks in MN are at it again, freethinkers making their points, based upon what and how one thinks -- not based upon a lockstep of mental numbness and norms established by some conformity.

    St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly (a DEMOCRAT) Endorses President Bush

    snips of news... St. Paul, MN -- In a remarkable show of support, St. Paul Mayor, Randy Kelly announced his endorsement for the re-election of Bush-Cheney.

    Democrat Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) stated, "I am really pleased Mayor Randy Kelly has joined me in the effort to re-elect George W. Bush. Mayor Kelly knows, as I do, that George W. Bush represents the values of America's heartland. President Bush is a man Democrats and all Americans can rely on to stand by his commitments to fight terrorism and support our troops. The President is also making sure that working people keep more of their hard earned money and send their kids to schools that give every child a good start in life. These are values that my fellow Democrats and all Americans can support."

    "Mayor Kelly today again proved what I have long known: he is a fine man, whose first priority is not partisanship, but the wellbeing of St. Paul and the entire nation. Mayor Kelly recognizes that jobs are being created and that tax cuts have stimulated that job growth. He has done the same for St. Paul. He also understands that we are engaged in a war on terror and now is not the time to change horses in mid-stream. The mayor has never been afraid to reach across party lines to get things done. I applaud him for following his conscience and his concrete convictions. This is bipartisanship at its finest,” stated Bush-Cheney '04 Minnesota Campaign Co-Chair Senator Norm Coleman.

    Kelly concluded, "With just over 90 days left before the election I feel extremely confident that the message, priorities, and policies of President George W. Bush will better serve America and the people of Minnesota over the next four years."

    The point of this story is to show that people elsewhere break ranks. People in power, even mayors, can endorse candidates of other parties. In Pittsburgh, we are too old school. In Pittsburgh, our "lockstep style" is a turn off. In Pittsburgh, those who break ranks are forced to vote with their feet and leave town. Pittsburgh is half of what it was because of the culture that demands lockstep actions. As we shrink in our freedoms and are held back by past anchors, our local dispair will sustain.

    What elected DEM in the city would endorse a Republican?

    The conventional wisdom and standing joke is that the devil himself could get 100-percent support and endorsements with local Dems. Could that be true? I have heard variations on the same story many time on the streets in Pittsburgh.

    However, it was very interesting to note that Al Fondy of the Teachers Union passed an endorsement of Senator Spector, R, -- for re-election of his umpteenth term with a huge campaign war-chest. How can that be explained? Perhaps it is don't back the looser? Perhaps it is don't buck the establishment?

    On the flip side, there are a number of GOPers who would and do endorse Dems. Jim Roddey won't help a Republican candidate. Western PA's Barbara H supported the Dem for PA Gov. while she was holding state office as a Republican.

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    KQV voters had it right in poll about paying for conventions

    The Libertarian Party asked the Republicans and Democrats to pay for their own conventions. The Libertarians say the Republicans and Democrats each receive $14.5 million from the Federal Election Commission. Security costs add another $25 million. Taxpayers foot the bill for nearly $40-million for each event.

    Do you agree with the Libertarians that the Republican and Democratic parties should pay the full cost of their conventions?

    Results: 90 percent of the voters did agree with the Libertarians.

    Get the data at http://www.kqv.com/phonepoll.php?vo=9

    Afterschool Funding as Campaign Issue

    Candidates for school superintendent, mayor, Congress and even President are vowing to increase funding for afterschool programs in recognition of the importance of the issue and its appeal to voters.

    Support for afterschool makes good political sense. A poll conducted for the Afterschool Alliance last fall found that nine in ten voters (94 percent) agree there should be some type of organized activity or place for children and teens to go after school every day that provides opportunities for them to learn. The poll found that support for afterschool was strong across all demographic and party lines.

    U.S. Conference of Mayors

    In a measure of the growing support, the bi-partisan U.S. Conference of Mayors rallied behind afterschool programs in June, 2004. At their 72nd annual meeting, the mayors passed a resolution calling on President Bush to increase funding for the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) afterschool initiative to $2 billion next year.

    The resolution urges federal, state and local governments to increase their investment in afterschool programs because afterschool programs "provide a way for communities to reduce the risk of youth involvement in crime, violence, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and gangs" and "enhance the physical, social, emotional and moral development of youth."

    Kerry Proposal

    John Kerry recently unveiled a plan that would provide full funding for the 21st CCLC initiative. The "School's Open 'Til 6" plan would significantly increase funding for afterschool programs, keep schools open later, and offer reliable transportation so children can get home safely.

    Senator Kerry also pledged to fully fund the "No Child Left Behind Act," which would increase afterschool funding from its current $1 billion level to $2.5 billion in 2007. This would give afterschool opportunities to 3.5 million students - a significant increase from the 1.4 million children currently served by federally funded afterschool programs.

    "Increasingly, candidates from both political parties recognize that afterschool is a winning issue because there is a compelling and urgent need for safe, reliable afterschool care," Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Judy Y. Samelson said. "Today in America, one in three middle school students care for themselves after school. With juvenile crime spiking between 3 and 6 PM, we all benefit when youth are in safe, learning, supervised activities."

    Support from Senator Dole

    In another noteworthy move, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) wrote a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leaders in July urging them to increase funding for afterschool programs in Fiscal Year 2005.

    "My request for a modest ten percent increase of $100 million would allow 140,000 more youth - 3,200 in North Carolina - the opportunity to participate," the Senator said in her letter. "It is a step in the right direction... I believe that an investment of $1.1 billion for the 21st CCLC Program is the right thing to do for our communities, for working families, and for children throughout America."

    "Senator Dole has demonstrated that she is a true champion for children by asking for an increase in federal afterschool funding next year," Samelson said. "Afterschool funding has been stalled at $1 billion for four years, and millions of children are missing out on the learning opportunities and other experiences these programs provide. As an important new voice, Senator Dole's actions have helped to raise the level of debate on this vital issue in the Senate."

    More information on how afterschool advocates can raise the issue in the context of elections, in a nonpartisan way, at http://www.afterschoolalliance.org. Click on the "2004 Elections Guide" button on the upper right.

    Sunday, August 01, 2004

    Bloggers: The New Media Or A Fad?

    Neither. Bloggers are "new media" and hardly a fad. But, it isn't really new. We've been blogging for years.

    Big Media Tried To Steal Bloggers' Thunder at DNC

    Blogging Has A Role In National Debate, But It Isn't Journalism

    This blog, by the way, has as its principle author an old-school J-School grad. I have a BSJ degree in Journalism from Ohio University. So, blogging can be done by journalists and can be real journalism too.

    Bloggers Make Their Presence Felt At DNC and the GOP Invited Bloggers to its convention.

    GOPers in Pittsburgh get nods for various roles

    Ron Hicks, a Republican committee member from the South Side, as Solicitor to the County Republican Committee. Ron has assembled a team of twelve Assistant Solicitors who-were they to join forces-would be one of the most formidable law firms in the city. This legal team played a critical role in the GOP's only statewide victory in the last two years when
    they worked diligently on the re-count in Susan Gantman's ultimately successful campaign for the Superior Court.

    Ted Owen of Pine will head the Leadership Committee, a group established under our bylaws to ensure that party officers benefit from the insights and experience of other party leaders and elected officials.

    The single most important aspect of our work is the development of strong local committees, and it is appropriate that our newly elected Vice Chairman, Dave Majernik, will chair our committee development committee with the able assistance of Dave Weinstein from White Oak. Both have proven track records as the leaders of committees that have shown how to win local
    elections even in solidly Democratic areas.

    You can't win elections without raising money, and I am pleased that David Jason of Scott has agreed to head our Finance Committee. He brings an innovative approach to this important role, and he will be ably assisted by the committee's vice chairman. John Rangos.

    Lou Nudi will chair a committee to review the county party's bylaws and propose any changes they believe to be necessary. A number of local committees have asked that we offer a "modular" set of bylaws they can adopt after making any changes their own circumstances may warrant.

    Next year, there will be a minimum of six vacant seats on the Common Pleas Court bench. I have appointed a distinguished lawyer and long-time Republican activist, Woody Turner, to head a committee to interview and screen potential candidates. Last year, Jill Rangos showed that it is possible for a Republican to win one of these seats, and she is today the only Republican on the county bench here. We can elect one or more Republican judges next year, but only if we recruit candidates of the highest caliber to carry our party's banner.

    Finally, I have asked Marcy Reed to head a candidate development committee to recruit and work with potential candidates for important city and county offices.


    One of the most important positions to be filled in this year's election is Auditor General. It is vital that we elect a Republican to rein in the spending excesses of Governor Rendell and the Democrats in Harrisburg. I am organizing a fund-raiser for Joe Peters which will be held on Thursday, August 19 at Wildwood Golf Club from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Melissa Hart and Tim Murphy have agreed be our special guests, and nearly every Republican representing our county in the state Senate and House will serve on the host committee. For RCAC members, tickets are $75 per person. We have more information about this event in next week's update.