Sunday, October 10, 2004

Pittsburgh cutbacks don't cut into City Council's spending

e-books for free for Twanda
PG coverage "The sessions always begin with the reading of nonbinding resolutions and proclamations, followed by speeches and photographs. Last week, for instance, council read proclamations for firefighters, Lincoln-Lemington Democratic Ward Chair Dock Fielder, deaf children and Squirrel Hill philanthropist Elsie Hillman. "

I ranted about the gift to band-aid philanthropist, Elsie Hillman. I think that the city was prudent in getting the two, framed, ring toss floaty gifts by nicking them off of one of the boats that dry-docked in Point State Park in the recent flood.e-books for free for Twanda

As for the books, my advice to Twanda, study more with Project Gutenberg.
Roddey's quote:

Former county Chief Executive Jim Roddey, a Republican appointee to the city's fiscal oversight board, has long criticized the all-Democratic council, and this spring wrote preliminary recommendations to the state to dissolve the council and replace it with a part-time body.

The miscellaneous spending "is unfortunately symbolic of the attitude of some council members, that they really have no intention of changing the way they operate, and have no appreciation for the crisis the city is under, and are not responding to it," Roddey said last week.

"They don't get it. They simply don't understand what it means to be frugal."

Roddey is both right and wrong. Sure, he knows and says council is overboard in its spending and clueless in its intentions. But, in terms of the solution, Roddey is off the mark. Cutting all of council is too radical. He floated that idea and it went over like a lead balloon.

Rather than change the rules and structure of our government, we need to change the people who are in government. With new people and new thinking on council, and in the mayor's office, we'd be much further along.

The mayor could cut those budget elements to the bone in his proposals. He doesn't. And, council, with its final authority on budget matters, could cut those budget items to the bone too, and they don't.

Those frames and books are not needed as expenses. And, the stroking and boosterism for the council proclamations are not needed either. But, the ploy is to be "ceremonial" and "build alliances" so as to make more friends and schmooze more votes.

But all in all, parchment paper and gold-leaf seals are cheap. The expenses for generic city-clerk duties where as the members of city council get to kiss up to the do-gooders among us are not the real issue and sticking point with me. Rather, I despise the grandure and patronage that wraps up the entire package.

To be knighted, photographed, and put into the inner walls, like the imperial city, is another way we make Pittsburgh a feudal city. The glass slipper ordeals are not going to fix this city. All the king's men and all the king's horses are of no help. Not in this age.