Monday, January 31, 2005

Love great music. Universal outreach. And not hidden for long

This artwork is from the cover of a band, The Three of Us. Funny for three reasons as the small group size fits my campaign staff. The campaign committee is growing. And, a new recruiter has signed up. Second, the hidden element fits on many fronts. The candidates are just starting to climb out into the open. Third, the music behind the cover is great. One song, Burgers and Fries, is one I hope you'll hear soon.

We had a great time at three different concerts this weekend with Mindy Simmons. She played on the radio the the SLB, in Shadyside and again in a private event.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Diven's in GOP: "Who's Next"?

Michael Diven is now a member of the Republican Party. Finally, a crack for Pennsylvania Republicans to exhibit some sway in the city of Pittsburgh.

Diven, who has oftentimes voted along Conservative issues, wasn't a great city councilman. Not even a good one. Don't know how he's done in the state House. A few former constituents told me that he was unresponsive and lousy.

Let me defend Mike: maybe the Democrats in leadership let him down and didn't give him anything. But now that he's a member of the Majority party, I think it should be rather nice to be a state House constituent. Maybe some Walking Around Money will make a couple of projects "happen."

Don't know if he'll win the Republican nomination for state Senate. He's going against a decent suburban guy; not known outside of his own town...but a decent guy. Diven certainly has the "news cycles" and name recognition.

But the interesting question is: will anyone else have the guts to follow? State Representative Harry Readshaw (D-Carrick) perhaps? Readshaw is the classiest guy in local politics, the Republican party would increase its power in the region expedentially, and there isn't anyone in the 36th legislative district dumb enough to run against Harry.

If Ralph Kaiser was still in the game, you know he might have gone. GOP probably doesn't want a guy like Ken Ruffing; I've been at the West Mifflin borough council meetings as a reporter and watched Mr. Ruffin inject himself into municipal politics.

The Republicans, if they were smart, would even go after a guy like Bill Peduto...conservative fiscally...while he might be more liberal socially, who really cares.

State Senator Sean Logan from Monroeville would be another interesting suburbanite to look at.

Do you think Republicans in the state House and Senate would be smart enough to talk with County Executive Dan Onorato? Might not have to, as he ran as a stronger fiscal conservative than one-time GOP powerhouse Jim Roddey.

But the city is the big jewel. Diven has taken a big risk; even if he weren't to win the Senate seat vacated by Jack Wagner, hope he stays in the GOP as a member of the state House. With majority rule in Harrisburg, the 22nd legislative district looks like it could be a nice place to live.

It'll be interesting to see what (if anything) happens.

Sala Udin would NOT be my choice for Dept. Mayor

I'm not making these types of job offers to Sala.
Sizzle in the steak house, fizzle on the field - "The word on Grant Street is that Lamb would appoint city Councilman Sala Udin deputy mayor

I respect Sala. He has a lot of sizzle. He'd be great in plenty of roles in the private sector.

Being his own man

Mike Diven: Being his own man - "Diven's critics will say the switch is about opportunism and ambition.

Not quite. Diven gave a hint what it's about last week.

First the headline. Bing his own man. Well, I'm all in favor of boys growing up to be men. I'm also in favor of people being themselves and not morphing into your manhood or being someone else's man. Slave trades stink.

But Diven ran away from one party and figured out he couldn't stay on his own as an independent and ran himself into the cozy confines of another party. Diven ran from a straw house to one built with sticks much like the little pig did when the big bad wolf came huffing and puffing.

If he was his own man, he'd handle the thug on his own turf.

Brad also misses the point when it comes to generous, overboard hype. Diven can give a "HINT" at a point and have it turn up in some manifesto.

Diven's career has been like a string of pearls -- all hinted together. Hints are not hard hitting to me.

Finally, being his own man is really not the goal that one should aspire to in the represenative form. He was elected.

As Diven was ejected by the dems, he ran away from accountability. And Diven ran to exploit an opportunity.

If Wagner's seat wasn't open, Diven would still be a Dem.

Diven could and should switch to the R's side and not run for the Senate.

Lost his phone lines

Brookline Democrat Diven switches to GOP: "Harrisburg Bureau chief Tom Barnes can be reached at or 1-717-787-4254.)

Note to Tom Barnes of the PG: Please make a mention of the one who is IN the race. Duty calls. Friends, please give Tom Barnes a call and ask him to be an objective reporter and always mention all the participants in the race when talking about the 42nd race. Barnes (with the PG) has an message machine at: 717-787-4254.

To reach Diven, now that his phone lines were cut off and he didn't make other avenues available, use his cell phone: 412-418-6691.

To reach me, Mark Rauterkus, use my cell phone too: 412-298-3432.

County Council's phone, for good measure, so as to leave a message for Wayne F, 412-350-6490.

Listing the numbers is healthy as we have a lot to talk about in order to get this city and region healthy.

What's Jayson's phone contact? Is there a political office with a phone for the row office guy too?

A.J. SPEAKS OUT -- and goes after my heart no less

Nice rant:

A.J. SPEAKS OUT I am now registered as no affiliation and I have no intention of supporting a system that lies to it's people. I challenge everyone of you to think with your own mind and don't just vote democrat or republican anymore because they don't care about you or me and If we do nothing then we will lose the greatness of this country and that greatness starts with voting.

You go, guy! Click to see the entire posting.

Perhaps this guy should be courted to the Libertarian party.

Flaherty won't run for mayor

PG: Tom's not running. Friday, January 28.

Because of his opposition to efforts to merge some Pittsburgh and Allegheny County services, City Controller Tom Flaherty announced yesterday that he will not run for the Democratic nomination for mayor.

Flaherty has said for weeks that he was seriously considering a run but yesterday said he did not want the job.

The announcement leaves one official candidate in the race -- Allegheny County Prothonotary Michael Lamb -- as well as former Council President Bob O'Connor, who has not yet made a formal announcement.

City Councilman William Peduto likely will make some kind of announcement next week, and others could still get into the Democratic race.

Republican Party officials also are seeking a candidate.

Flaherty, oh where to begin? I hope that the people in the controller's office and who have been part of the fight of opposition will come, in due time, to join my true struggle. Sure, the 21-year controller has been a big part of the problem. But sure, he has stood up to some of the ills as well. Some good. Some bad.

Flaherty does not need a resume building campaign like Lamb and Peduto do. Flaherty doesn't want to be mayor and have the city in a worthless, weakened, stalled condition. Without the WAM, Flaherty crams. (WAM = walking around money)

I could take some of the "opposition efforts" of Flaherty and recast them into more principled counter attacks that have more purpose. And my points of opposution isn't to prevent progress, as was the case with the machine. But, we've had recent progress in the wrong directions.

In the entire SABRE Systems saga, Flaherty attacked. But, the Flaherty attacks were leveraged against the wrong points and only landed on the person of Jim Roddey, R. Flaherty didn't attack the "unified tax plan" that Bob suggested and Tom Murphy had to embarace as well. No, the baby went out with the bath water and Flaherty was a front row witness.

I had agreement with Flaherty in that the city should not have celebrated 'distressed status.' The city's leaders should NOT have given up their control of the city to overlords. The power to the people has evaporated. However, I feel that the struggle from Flaherty should have materialized for much more meaningful justifications. And, now that the oversight board is here, as well as Act 47, I can live for a new day and new rules.

Take the good and use it. There is good and bad in each decision. We can't turn back time.

Those in the controller's office can be very independent. That's good. There is hope that they'll join in the campaigns I'm associated with in the future.

Friday, January 28, 2005

AP -- Dem close to joining GOP

AP Wire | 01/28/2005 | Allegheny County Dem close to joining GOP: "Senate Democratic aides said Diven this week asked them for $54,000 in campaign funds to pay off debt in exchange for him remaining a Democrat. Diven, who reported a $35,000 debt in December, said he never made such a request and that he would not base his party affiliation on it.

I'll meet with anyone. Mike called me yesterday and we got together this AM for a civil conversation as the 2-hour delay unfolded.

Understanding that I'm a realist and not in a fantasy land, here are some highlights from my vantage point: One: I'm in the race. Diven isn't. There is a great chance that he'll get second among Republicans and not make it to the special election.

Two: I've got my ideas and platform out there now. People have a clue as to what I stand for and what I care about. I'm in this for ideas, principles, values that are dear to me and to our community. Without a platform from him, its hard to have much of a conversation. Should I see ten press releases and position papers that deal with technology with the youth (he did start a computer lab that closed the minute he left city council) and recreation -- then I can begin to lift a smile. The formation of a Park District shouldn't be a foreign to the solution line-up in the months to come.

Presently, I've never heard Diven tell Mayor Murphy to resign. He still needs to go from Grant Street. Diven likes Murphy, alot. (gulp)

Presently there is a Deer Creek TIF in the process at Allegheny County Council. I hate TIFs. I've spoken against that one at its public hearing. Wayne Fontana, Dem, possible race participant as well, is in FAVOR of the TIF. He'll have to take some heat on that sprawl position, even for infrastructure. We need infrastructure redevelopment too. Diven who voted against a TIF or two back in the day needs to put out the word that the TIF is bad. Will he?

There is more that should be left for future postings. And, its time for the family meal.

Elsewhere mentions of mine in other blogs.

See the comments area:

One is to Grassroots PA: "PoliticsPA."

TV 11 says Tom F. won't run for Mayor: No Bob vs. Tom rematch.

Four years ago as I was a candidate, it was generally Bob vs. Tom. A dozen debats had ONLY Bob and Tom. Bob and Tom each spent $1M. Frick and Frack. Machine politicians. Then Tom Murphy is out but inject a different Tom! Oh no!

Now we hear that TOM Flaherty won't run for Mayor, so says the report on TV 11.

Humm.... Months ago I would have never expected him to be a candidate. Then I was more convinced that it was possible. Tom has some capacity to get fired up. But, he'd have the potential to overheat and melt-down too. And, perhaps, there might be others out there that might try to make his road more trouble than it is worth.

The other alliance to watch is between Tom F and Bob O. Will Tom stay neutral as he is the chair of the Dem party? I can't see him being "above the fray" in terms of the back-room dealings.

Thanks for your feedback.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Radio shows - Here I come Homespun!

Called into the Bowyer show today. Talked a moment about the race for state senate. Tonight at a school meeting, "key communicators," one of the fellow parents came up to me and said she heard the call. She had a lot to say about the players involved.

Furthermore, I hope I was able to get Doug of Homespun Bloggers the content for the radio show he's been coordinating. Should be fun. I'm just getting some elbow room to do more with those elements in the production aspects.

Yesterday I was on hold for 20-minutes to the Boywer show and had to bolt. Spoke to the producer and just couldn't wait any longer. Not fun being behind a caller who is a real bible technical debater as those calls can eat up the minutes.

The theme then was about Pittsburgh and hitting bottom. One prior caller gave a recap of the Sala Udin rant about how he wanted to abolish the I.C.A. -- or ask that the state do that. Then the comment was, wrongly, that no others were standing up against such foolishness. Well, there is some opposition to Sala on council. I heard Alan H. say that Sala has as much chance of getting rid of the I.C.A. as they did in getting a $144 Occupation / Commutter tax. Some do have cooler heads, but then again Alan H. is about to leave city council as he is NOT seeking re-election this year.

In a nutshell, Pittsburgh has yet to hit bottom. And, I'm optimistic.

Obituary: William J. Schofield III

I will miss, as will countless others, Mr. Schofield. He was a giant in many ways. I was always warm to talk with him. Open, candid, and such a dad. He was a swimming parent -- for sure. His son, no pup now, is a coach. Mr. Schofield, we'll miss you.
Obituary: William J. Schofield III / Insurance executive with knack for politics and community service: "William J. Schofield III, a successful Shaler insurance executive with a booming voice who was involved in local Republican politics, died Monday of an apparent heart attack. He was 78."


In 1984, Mr. Schofield was defeated by Larry Dunn for the position of county Republican Party chairman. Mr. Schofield had campaigned on a pledge to shake up the GOP establishment from the top down.

He contended that the party apparatus had neglected local campaigns, siphoned local funds into state and national races and generally was responsible for a decline in the number of GOP elected officials, morale and achievement in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Saturday morning's concert details - North Side - tune in or be there

Our friend, Mindy Simmons, performs two concerts this Saturday. Please turn out or tune in. The Saturday morning event is on the radio and open to all to come for free, at the North Side's Children's Museum.

I've been providing CDs of the song, One World, written and sung by Mindy, in our activities about town in the past weeks. She is very talented and has offered a lot to the campaign with her song.

The following comes from the radio host on Saturday. He plays another role too as he is also going to be at the concert Saturday night, 8 pm, First Unitarian Church, Shadyside, on Morewood Ave.
Other great things happened this week. SLB was featured in AIRSPACE, a national publication showcasing best practices in public radio (see Also, thanks to flagship station WRCT ( you can now listen to SLB live via streaming MP3 (as before) or Ogg Vorbis, a new technology said to offer higher quality at lower bandwidth.

On this week’s radio program, ... we’ll have special guests:

At 8:20, Jeffrey Dorsey previews Unblurred, the monthly arts event put on by the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative (PAAI) as part of its efforts to revitalize the Penn Avenue Corridor between Negley and Mathilda avenues through the arts.

At 11, we’ll feature live music with Mindy Simmons, a Sarasota-based musician whose performances have been described as Peggy Lee meets Carol Burnett! In addition to her joining us on air, we’ll join Mindy to emcee her 1/29/05 performance at 8 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, Morewood and Ellsworth Avenues, Shadyside.

As always, we hope you'll tune in on the radio or be part of our studio audience. Doors open at 10. There is no admission fee, you can hear great live music, and watch how a radio program comes together as well as sample the Children's Museum's grand hall, museum store, and cafe. After our broadcast, stick around to learn more about our radio studio and visit behind the scenes or consider touring the rest of the museum with purchase of admission wristband at the front desk.

Thanks for being part of The Saturday Light Brigade, a public radio tradition from Pittsburgh, PA.

-- Larry Berger

Dan O wanted an opportunity to counter offer. Counter zero.

County Executive Dan Onorato wanted an opportunity to give a counter offer to US Airways before the news dropped as to the job losses. Dan is mad. Dan is bad that the past state, county and government money has evaporated (my word).

My approach is different.

You can't be mad at the market place. Life is too short to be mad at things like gravity. We have to deal with the facts. I do.

I would have given zero to US Airways. That's a counter offer that makes the most sense. We got burnt. Lots of money went away to them and the relationships for corporate welfare didn't have the weight to keep them here.

My plan for keeping US Airways in Pittsburgh is to rush and give away $0.

On other fronts, I'm all in favor of turning up the heat for CCAC and job training. That is an effort that gives to everyone, not to corporate welfare. I would strongly support CCAC efforts, technology efforts, lower tax efforts.

Allegheny County to US Airways: Take our spaces at $10 a square foot put on the table. Gov. Rendell offers $1.25 M for relocation and $1.2 M tech transfer. Ten day response in writting. Our offer appears to be much better. But, it needed to be ten times better. Dan thinks that the deal was a win-win for the taxpayers. Perhaps it will be a win-win that they didn't take it.

Odd way to interact: US Airways broke the leases at the airport. Didn't bargain in good faith with Jim Roddey. Don't deal in good faith with the unions.

Lynn Swan, good to meet you

I got to talk for a few minutes with Lynn Swann today. He is now aware of some of the political landscape from my perspectives. Being aware is good.

Indie, musical, South Side, launching, fundraising, community, gives voice

The common ground between myself and WYEP are so visible and pronounced.

I love and utilize music.

I love and insist upon giving voice to others.

I love and cherish all concepts that swirl around community.

WYEP is launching a new frontier with its new studio and performance space, as I am with new campaigns for public office.

We both are in the South Side. It's new office is on the same street as mine. Welcome.

A new effort to increase donations is brewing there, as about $2-million or more are needed to complete the building and move. I'm gearing up a fund-raising campaign too, but I'm not seeking that much.

Volunteerism is critical, and we both embrace them.

WYEP is a wonderful cause and voice for the commnity. We'll be happy to have them in our neighborhood. Happier still if everyone comes on the bus and dosn't park in front of our garages.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Sala to try to shred First Amendment Rights and limit Public Comment

As an introduction, when I spoke before city council yesterday, I did NOT mention that I was a candidate for State Senate. I had too much else to say. My name, email and an audio snip was part of the CDs I passed to all on council, but that was hardly spoken about in the talk at the podium.

Yesterday, at the end of the meeting, Sala Udin ranted about a few matters including the public comment elements of the meetings. He has introduced new legislation that is to more tightly define what can be spoken from the citizens. I've asked the city's clerk for a copy of the pending bill. When it arrives, I'll post it.

The citizens have three days to submit a petition to call for a public hearing on the bill. That might occur. Perhaps Sala should have called for a public hearing himself.

Twanda C. wants to co-sponsor the legislation too.

On the flip side, Councilman Alan H. said that the public comment should not be vulgar, but anything else needs to be protected.

This matter is coming to a boil, in part, because of some cruel attacks. For example, one citizen noted how Sala was missing at a meeting a few weeks ago and asked if he was at another "funeral." The next day Sala's brother died.

No doubt, trash talk and personal attacks are not welcomed in any realm. Hurtful elements are to be avoided, and I do my best to do so myself. Furthermore, I do my best to fix, right, or touch up when things go nutty on the part of others as I can.

Public officials need a thick skin.

Public comment needs a wide latitudes.

Free speech needs to be free.

Sala hopes to end political campaign mentions at the podium. It can't happen in the real world. And, it should NOT happen.

The crying shame of this all is the fact that Sala can rant on cable tv for minutes and replay some of the slogans first spoken by Tom Murphy. Sala called for ICA (oversight board) to be abolished. Then in the next breath he won't allow for others to make political mentions.

It is time for those who can't play well -- and work well -- with others to quit. QUIT.

All in all, this makes another great example of how we drive people away from Pittsburgh. The people who come before council should be embraced. The people who take the time to give their comments are the ones who have not quit. We care. We are the fighters.

If I was in council, I'd invite everyone who speaks before that body to a monthly or seasonal picnic. Let's all go out and break bread together. Make it dutch. I'd offer a banquet for the friends of Pittsburgh to come and sit among those who you may or may not have had agreement with in the past.

Even as mayor, that would be a great idea and nobel act.

How about a thank you note or email or follow-up phone call to say, "good point, thanks for your input."

Contributors should not be mistreated. Idea contributors are the best kind.

In an on-going matter, another council member, Len B., ranted about the topics of public comment a couple of weeks ago. Len also talked with a great innuendo in his rant. I called his office to seek clarification three or four times. I emailed his office twice. Never a reply. I asked him if he thought any of my comments before city council had ever been out of bounds. I can assume that his lack of reply means of course not. ??? It was a serious question, placed off line, until now.

I don't want to be hailed as a champion of public comment, always sticking to the bills before council and never giving out my web address. But, I do want to point out how the goofyness continues on Grant Street. And, this is another instance when I'll be on the victor's side.

It made sense to set the special election date to May 17, and that was talked about by me in prior weeks. That was on-topic, as it saved the taxpayers $200,000. It makes sense to hit the "mute button" to catch four-letter words. But that's it.

"QUIT" is a four letter word that should be tolerated. Quit trying to shred The Constitution. Quit trying to block the Sunshine Law. Quit ranting yourself while trying to stop others from a small opportunity to share views. Quit walking within the shaddow of Tom Murphy. And, perhaps it is time to quit and move to the private sector Sala. Otherwise, I worry about people voting with their feet and choosing to quit living in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My three mentions to city council on Jan 25, 05

I spoke before city council today.

1) Council gave props to two other groups who are doing fine work in terms of benefits for Asia Tsanami. Another concert is planned. It runs from 4 to midnight in the east on the 30th. I spoke quickly about the benefit on Saturday and said I had some extra CDs. I gave a few away to others in the audience and to council, the clerk and the council budget office.

Mindy Simmons is featured on the CD with her song, One World. Mindy performs on Saturday at 8 pm at First Unitarian.

The CDs have 400 images of our trip in 04 to Asia. The next round, version 2.1, is packed with even more.

2) I mentioned that the hockey lock-out was about to end. Games and activities for the Market House are due to start in mid month. More news soon, finally.

3) As for the Mt. Washington outrage and developer struggles, this is proof positive that folks on Grant Street don't generally play well with others. This whole mess should have been settled well before it hit city council. Who is doing the heavy lifting? Who is making cooperation a must-have element in our public life?

Perhaps the zoning board and the commissions should just flake into nothingness. They are not doing their jobs. Take everything to city council for a 5-4 vote.

AP: Pittsburgh oversight boards squabble

Speaking of not playing well with others, here comes another sucker punch.
AP Wire | 01/25/2005 | Pittsburgh oversight boards squabble over police, fire contracts: "The controversy marks the latest squabble between the authority, whose members were appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, and the Act 47 team, which was created after the state declared Pittsburgh a distressed city in December 2003.

Here is the fix. If and when I'm in charge, we fix the problems with a few simple moves. First of all, we need to shine a very bright light on these matters. We need to have open government. We need to have these meetings put on the cable, radio, internet and with open access to all the meeting minutes.

The oversight board, meanwhile, holds a meeting without telling anyone. They've rushed to quick meetings in the past. That blows trust.

Then we are in ugly positions of not having faith in any party.

Jim Roddey was on the radio today, 1360 AM, with Bowyer. I heard some of the conversation. Roddey is worried, and for good reason. The ICA did a report on the firefighter situation. But, where is that report? It was given to the mayor and the Act 47 team. But, was it released to the internet?

We need folks to play well with others. And, we all win when these actions occur out in the open. That is where we have to put our faith. Let's toss the bumbs out. Let's set a new course with new leaders.

Party switch reported in Trib

We saw this coming for some time.

Diven plans party switch - "...has told Senate Republican leaders he will switch to the GOP to run for the Senate seat formerly held by Jack Wagner.

Those in Harrisburg have been of no help to the city. Now they send us this headache.

New hotel doesn't guarantee guests

Don't count me among those who think another downtown hotel is going to be Pittsburgh's salvation either.

PG coverage of pending deal.
If recent experiences in other cities are any indication, the new $104 million hotel to be built next to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center may not be the tourism magnet its boosters proclaim it to be.

'I can find no real empirical evidence that the new bunch of hotels has made any difference in the convention center business that we can document,' said Sanders, who has made a career of challenging cherished assumptions of those in the tourism industry.

Rather than boost business, such hotels, particularly in less than robust markets, have the potential to drive down occupancy and room rates citywide, said Sanders, a professor of public administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

His latest findings come as the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority tries to finalize an agreement with Cleveland developer Forest City Enterprises to build a 500-room 'headquarters' hotel next to the convention center.

The Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau sees the lack of such a hotel as an impediment in its efforts to attract business to the architecturally-acclaimed convention center.

The impediment in our efforts to rebound as a city and as a region goes far deeper than the lack of a hotel. The closing of the old convention center and the re-building of the larger facility without the hotel was foolish.

Of course the groups that have come need more hotel space near the convention center. That isn't a doubt. But, the convention center is too big. The convention center won't ever be used to its full potential. The convention center's annual costs are going to sink the rest of the region's projects too.
But Sanders found that new hotels in St. Louis, Sacramento, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., all of which opened in recent years amid promises of increasing tourism, have not lived up to expectations.

In St. Louis, convention and visitors commission officials predicted that a new $265 million, 1,081-room headquarters hotel would boost convention center bookings from 30 a year to 50 or more and would nearly double the number of annual room nights to about 800,000.

But in the two years the new hotel has been opened, that has not happened, according to Sanders.

Twenty-five events were booked for 2003 and 23 were expected in 2004. Convention attendance was 155,700 in 2003, only slightly higher than the 154,800 the previous year. For 2004, it was estimated at 115,300.

Pittsburgh's elected politicians are and have been chasing the wrong goals. The established priorities are wrong.

Consider that the only time our newest, biggest, best building is used by the kids is when they go to attend a college fair. We take bus loads of our high school students to the convention center. There they meet scores and rows of college recruiters. These recruiters are attempting to lure our high school students to their colleges and universities. In effect, the recuitment fair is about leaving the area. In a sense, we've used our best resource as a tool to catapult our best and brightest to far off places.

Pittsburgh and the region has a brain drain. We have a problem when it comes to the retention of our youth.

When we have successful college fairs for our youth -- we won't have anyone at home. The system is working in the wrong ways.

I have a different plan.

At the outset, the biggest annual event that should occur at the new convention center should be a multi-day Youth Technology Summit. The Youth Technology Summit would be a world-wide event where our people are in the spotlight, and the youth from elsewhere come here to mingle with our brains, businesses, academics, and residents. We don't need to fill the hotels when we have busloads of local kids coming with band directors, coaches, church group leaders, rec advisors, grandparents, artists, mentors, retirees, neighborhood advocates, teachers and more.

There are plenty of splendid opportunities for our entire community to get into the actions of technology literacy.

Earl Jones opts out of Mayor's Race, official news

Earl Jones, Dem, leader of a peace on Earth campaign, retired, candidate for public office in many races in the past, told me HIMSELF, he is NOT going to run for mayor in 2005.

This news means Dave Copeland,, a former Trib reporter and editor, is now back in play. Dave made mention in past blog postings elsewhere that he was one who was leaning toward tossing his support to Mr. Jones. I'm not sure if Earl's pull for Dave was because of his 'family values' stance or his full head of grey hair, despite being in his 70s.

I'm sure Earl is NOT going to run. Last week I broke bad news on the blog about another fence sitting candidate who is skating around these days.

Earl feels can can do more for everyone's benefit if he stayed out of the race and kept all his options open.

Once Earl ran a race against Tom Flaherty and nearly won the Sq. Hill neighborhoods, while getting 26% of the vote. (Earl told me that too.) Go to work fact checkers, please.

Earl's wife, bless her heart, passed away last year.

The one to wear the biggest smile on this news has to be County Councilman, Rich Fitzgerald. Earl seldom speaks without getting in a slam or dig against him.

Movies at Pitt

One student group I'm hopeful of working with is holding some special event movies on campus. Here is another if you see the comments. Its tonight.

State tries to quiet conflict over city oversight

State tries to quiet conflict over city oversight: "City Councilman Sala Udin yesterday called for abolishing the state-appointed board altogether."

If the state was interested, folks like John Pippy, Jane Orie, Jeff Habay, (hope I didn't just swear), and others who are elected to both houses (i.e., state reps and state senators), would be around here once in a while. We are a wasteland to these people.

Where are these people? Not to be found or seen or heard of.

The best way to quiet the conflict, so it seems all to often, is to ignore it. That is the standard mode of operation for them. The plan is to ignore and it will go away. Well, the city is going away. The city has been ignored.

If we just take away some of the downtown office buildings and put in a few subsidized apartments, then the urban core will be a suburban homestead. Then those who want to ignore will get their way.

On the other hand, when there is someone who does pitch a fit -- it comes from the wrong perspectives. A tootless watchdog barking up the wrong tree isn't helpful, Sala.

Sala ignores the gross overspending that has been a part of the deals cut by the administration. Sweetheart deals that aid others and pound the taxpayers are ignored. Face the facts -- on all sides.

To me, here is how it works. The oversight board is a lot like those faceless folks who are behind the cameras behind the tinted domed ceiling fixtures in a Las Vegas casino. Trouble points include the fact that Roddey and the others on the ICA have not been "faceless." The cameras need to be everwhere. They need to watch everything. But the time to be noticed most of all is when the culprits are being taken away in handcuffs. That's when the guys behind the cameras should come out for a statement.

We need oversight inside of city government. For 21 years our controller has been Tom Flaherty. So, it is a real joke to see his arch rival, Jim Roddey, pulled into that job on the ICA Board. And, it is a double gas to see Flaherrty gear up to run for the position of mayor.

I welcome those cameras (like in the casinos) within the halls of government. I don't like the casinos or slots parlors coming to town, but do like the oversight.

The ICA staff (and board) and Act 47 team need to be fiscal watchdogs that INSURE that the city stays on the straight and narrow. Watch the payments, contracts, spending and budgets. Watch the incomes, taxes, collections and under utilized assets. When things break down, despite repeated pushes to walk the line -- get out the handcuffs. Toss the uncooperative out of there.

Pittsburgh is in a big pickle because we've had far to many elected politicians who can't play well with others. As Sala calls for the abolishing of the state-appointed board altogether -- he proves the point that he can't play well with others too.

It is time to toss him out too.

This is a great time to clean house. The oversight boards and Act 47 team is on the job, we hope. I crave the opportunity to work with them. With the overlords around, the next mayor gets on board a city and helpers are to either side.

Leading Pittsburgh in 2006 is going to be much like riding a bicycle with training wheels.

Sadly, the biggest trouble won't be the bike, its training wheels nor the energy level of the participants. I see the real trouble in the road ahead -- full of potholes. The city has enough money to repave only four miles of roads in 2006. Our city's surfaces are about to crumble.

We'll need nimble leadership and helpers.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Global Warming Debate at DU Law School, 6 pm, Jan 27

Should the United States continue to reject the Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming now that Russia has ratified?

Patrick Michaels, author of The Satanic Gases, Clearing the Air About Global Warming says Yes!

Donald Brown, author of American Heat says No!

Decide for yourself!

Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 6 pm, Duquesne University Law School, Room 204

Our Hockey Lock-out To Resolve Soon

The South Side Market House is a city-owned Recreation Center that should be home to kids playing hockey on the gym floor three times a week from 4 to 7:30 pm. The season has not started -- but the delay is about to end.

If you are looking for news about the city's only indoor ice-hockey facility and the saga of the now three year old lock out -- sorry. Nothing to report.

If you are looking for news of the Penguins of the NHL -- sorry.

Summary: There have been three hockey lockouts. One is about to resolve.

A meeting was held at the end of last week at the Market House. The hockey season's registration will occur on Feb. 11. The season will start soon after. Details shortly. Days are slated for Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

This fall we played indoor soccer at the Market House on a M-W-Th schedule with three age groups and parent/volunteers running ths show. The ten week season was a great success. We had our own insurance, banquet, jerseys, officials, and visit from the head coach of the Riverhounds too.

The city is now in the process of a 'call back' for the former Citipark employees. Some are gone, moved, retired, while others are waiting to see if they'll get their job back. Some of the Rec Centers are to open. The state of flux, I imagine, was caused, in part, by the staffing and employment issues.

The Market Housse is NOT one of the rec centers that is going to open. But, the city will make a new partnership the the Market House Childrens' Athletic Association, a booster group. I'm on the board there -- but I don't speak for the board or the organization. I just speak for myself, as an engaged dad and citizen who is happy that the facilities are going to be opened for the kids.

Official news to come shortly. We'll be getting the one-page handout to the local schools shortly. Calls are going out to those who have signed up in advance based on the fall season too.

Furthermore, additional adult volunteers are welcome. Parents are expected to help with fundraising and the program's operation from coaching to clean up to organizational help.

Crime alert program to aid South Side residents, businesses

Crime alert program to aid South Side residents, businesses: "'NAN should be a reference tool -- a repository of information,' Evankovich said."

This is my type of organization and organizational thinking. I've been excited to be a part of these efforts so far. I've got more to inject. We need to work together, and these folks understand that and what's at stake otherwise.

Good article. We've got a lot of heavy lifting to do, throughout the city. Hope you have the energy to do your part, where ever that may be.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Chess match: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda -- playing chess

Got the ball inside the five, 14-points down and fourth down.

Time to play chess.

See comments for more insights.

Pittsburgh mayor likes Valley bar

Pittsburgh mayor likes Valley bar: "The mayor of Pittsburgh apparently is a Cave Creek fan.

Researchers: Help.

Is there a list of Steeler bars on the net? Or, can it be emailed to me? Pointers are welcome.

Thanks in advance.

Whispters shout back

Will John Kerry run again? The ball is in Teresa's hands - "Diven likely would face one of three Democrats if he won the Republican nomination: Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein, county Councilman Wayne Fontana or Pittsburgh Councilman Jim Motznik."

Diven, if he gets the nod, he'll be certain to face me, Mark Rauterkus. Certainty should be part of the discussion in the real world. It can be absent in the whispers realm.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Diven switch won't make opponent pull the plug -

Diven switch won't make opponent pull the plug - "Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is running for the seat as a Libertarian."

Snow: Calliope concert off but Tsunami Relief Event is on.

The Calliope concert was nuked. But that was yesterday and not snow related.

Our swim meet was also called off, but that was 24 hours ago as folks were smart and looking ahead.

Update as to the benefit concert follows:


As my dad the pilot used to say, we're having some weather. As of right this minute (10ish Saturday morning) South Side is strangely quiet, not even quiet but more kind of.... muffled?... but there are still cars and people and buses, so the city does not seem to have shut completely down yet.

As far as tonigh, do what you can. If you cannot get to the theater, it's understood completely. If you can get to the theater, I don't know what kind of audience, if any, to expect. We just have to see what happens. We have ten cases of beer, so maybe we'll just sit around drinking with each other until I decide it's a good time to unearth my old burlesque routines and demonstrate that "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" from Grieg's PEER GYNT is, indeed, a good song to strip to.

I'm en route to the theater now and will be there through the early afternoon. If anything changes I'll send another e-mail. Hopefully I’ll see all y'all tonight. I mean, it’s just snow.


Friday, January 21, 2005

Major blunder. Sorry. Source crashes. Bill didn't say he's out. Correction.

Bill Peduto's message from the 14th Ward meeting on Tuesday was presented wrongly on this blog yesterday. Sorry.

Peduto is still considering a run for the mayor's office.

Sorry again.

I got a de-brief on the meeting from someone who attended. The translation from source to this blog broke down. After seeing the mention at the DFA blog (thanks)-- I called the office and got the straight story.

Bill will decide and make an announcement in mid-Feb. He'll have to run for his city council office and the mayor's office at the same time.

Song: One World by Mindy Simmons

This song is the first to be put out as part of the campaign. It is owned and written by Mindy Simmons. We have permission to pass along the song as part of our efforts.

Mindy is performing again in Pittsburgh on Saturday, January 29. She'll do a radio show with SLB (see below) and then a concert at 8 pm at First Unitarian in Shadyside as part of the Legends series with Caliopie. Mindy's concerts in Pittsburgh this past summer were great. She played at the Green Tree Swim Pool as part of the Rotary Community Picnic, delivered a Sunday Service concert / performance, and played at Club Cafe too.

The way I feel, well it makes me scared, When I think about what’s going on over there,
I find myself thinking of the babies, see they don’t know that the whole world is going crazy
They don’t know of their father’s anger, but they’ll soon be witness to their mother’s sorrow
And they’ll grow up in the same oppression, and we’ll find their lives reflect their brother’s aggression
One World, when will we see?

Now I can say, each and every day, I’m learning more and more about the need to pray
I find myself thinking of the families, as their whole world crumbled with the steel and concrete
Yes they well know what can come of anger, and we all are witness to their pain and sorrow
But we must grow and we must be strong, and we’ve got to find a way to right this wrong

One World, when will we see? If we will have our Peace we must accept diversity.
And we must agree to be able to disagree,
without the bombs, without the fear, without suppression of idea,
Without the greed, without the need to snuff out the tallest, or victimize the smallest,
we must foresee, One World in Unity.
One World, One World

Now If I could reach into the hearts of those who hate me and whose views are worlds apart.
Well I’d try to show my own philosophy, to be one in which each point of view is free to be.
And, they would know, of my strong conviction, that each human life has every right to freedom.
And that I’ll go to every length and no matter what it takes this world will be that vision.

One World, what can we do? If we will have our Peace it’s up to me and you.
And we must agree to be able to disagree, without the bombs, without the fear, without suppression of idea,
Without the greed, without the need to snuff out the tallest, or victimize the smallest,
we must foresee, One World in Unity.

One world,

same earth, same sky, same mountain ranges, same water supply,
same God, same love, One Love, one world, one world, one world

To listen to the song or get a copy for yourself, there are a number of ways to make this happen. The best way -- attend the benefit concert on Saturday night.

Oversight board accuses city of pursuing fat deals with police, fire unions

Here is another reason why it is so dangerous and unhealthy to allow Tom Murphy and his cast to remain in office. We need to get them into the private sector. Waiting for 2006 is going to really hurt. And the real hurt isn't felt yet.

The healing for this city and the region happens when we get new people in office and these people have new priorities.

Tough love counts here. And, the unions need to know that the people are worthy of playing well with others. The city has begged for the move to arbitration. That gives the elected, do-nothings, the cover and smoke to pass the responsibility. But on the other hand -- the union leaders have no respect for the elected officials. That respect has been squandered. Spoiled. Rotten. And they have seen their ways unfold in many instances.

Trust is gone.

Jim Roddey should be sending out these memos. But, he needs to be doing more to right the situations. He should be outraged at other issues too. Some issues are not just for tears -- but are for actions that mend, fix and heal.

Oversight board accuses city of pursuing fat deals with police, fire unions The contract actions -- which could not be independently confirmed yesterday -- show a 'total lack of cooperation' and a 'total disregard for what we understood to be the common goal of determining the best interest of the city,' the letter from the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority said.

'We believe that the citizens of the City as well as the hundreds of thousands of non-residents who come to the City each day including the workers who now pay a $52 annual occupation tax deserve better,' the board told lawmakers.

'Most important, under these circumstances, we must inform you that the ICA can no longer provide you with the assurance of financial stability for the City of Pittsburgh.'

Mayoral spokesman Craig Kwiecinski said the city has not entered into a contract with the Fraternal Order of Police. Rather, an arbitration panel handed down a contract award last month that is still under review by city officials.


Come on out for a great time among community. Many artists and performers are joining together.
In the Wings: 1/21/05A partial list of acts: Ruth Draper monologue by Kyle Wagner; musical selections from Doug Levine and Karen Dryer; short play by Chance D. Muehlick, LIVE Theater Company; short play by Jason Planitzer, the Summer Company; short play 'Twist & Lout,' with Brennan and Daniel Krell; reading of Walt Whitman by Martin Giles; excerpt from 'Mrs. Shakespeare' with Yvonne Hudson; excerpt from 'Daddy's Girl' with Kendra McLaughlin; Shakespearean sonnets, by Unseam'd Shakespeare, with Elena Alexandratos, John Shepard, Mark Staley; performance monologue by The Tortured Genius; spoken word by Nathan James; poetry by Bob Scott and The Dirty Poet; multimedia installation by Mark Rauterkus; storyteller Alan Irvine; reading by Kevin Clark Forsythe; sword solo from Olivia Kissel, Zafira Dance Company. Whew!

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - Trib

Pittsburgh "Here's to an independent thinker."


Yes, Here, here!

Did someone say something about a big snow job today?

We did it. May 17 is the official date of the special election.

Today's PG is reporting:
Special election set for Wagner's Senate seat

Special election set for Wagner's Senate seat: "Special election set for Wagner's Senate seat

Friday, January 21, 2005

Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll has set May 17, the day of the primary election, as the day when a special election will be held to fill the now-vacant seat of former state Sen. Jack Wagner, D-Beechview.

The Democratic and Republican committees in Allegheny County will meet soon to choose a candidate to run in the special election in the 42nd Senate District, which includes parts of Pittsburgh and some of its western suburbs.

State Rep. Michael Diven, who is currently a Democratic House member from Brookline, is thinking about switching to the Republican Party and running for the open seat.

At least two Democrats have been mentioned as potential candidates, county Treasurer John Weinstein and county Councilman Wayne Fontana.

Mark Rauterkus of the South Side is running for the seat as a Libertarian.

The district has more Democrats than Republicans, but some Republican officials in Harrisburg are optimistic that Diven's name recognition would give the GOP a chance.

Not being mentioned on the D side is Frank G., Jr. Missing from the GOP side is David J of Scott. Humm.

Thanks to all who have helped put forth the message so as to set the proper election date.

Pitts - burra an at so says the Queen.

NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF INDEPENDENCE by John Cleese has been sent to me by Ken. See the comments. (humor)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

While DC danced, we pulled nails in Carnegie.

Today the nation watched as the oath was given at noon, as per the Constitional instructions. Meanwhile, I was in Carnegie along Sixth and Fifth Ave. Yanking nails, preping for more drywall, putting buckets under a leaking roof, moving household belongings -- just lending some hands.

Lots of residents were on the edge of the creek just a few days ago. It was within four feet of an exit from the banks, again. It is way down again, perhaps 15-20 feet.

For fifty years or so, the creek was left to its own. One neighbor has common sense by saying it is the duty of Carnegie to keep the waterway clean. After the Corps of Army Engineers worked the channel -- nothing has ever been done. Decades of neglect.

Many are going bankrupt now. Others who have lost their life's savings from cars to homes to furnishings to rental incomes are on the edge. The fortunate have been able to bunk with family in other neighborhoods around the region.

But the question still that remains unsolved -- will it happen again? What can be done to dredge, clear and streamline the water's path to insure that the water flows rather than floods?

Aid to Asia, the concerns for the ones in Florida -- some hit twice within months -- and our Carnegie and Millvale (plus others) -- makes me numb. The celeb balls and DC parties don't even interest me. I didn't watch a second of it today. Not even the evening news. There is a lot of heavy lifting to do -- and it can't get done without getting some mud on the tires.

Next year, January 2006, we'll have a new mayor. If I'm in that role -- we'll hold a modest event in City Council Chambers. Then with a mass transit re-schedule, we'll hold a ten hour block party within the Wabash Tunnel. No fireworks. No Convention Center. No beer. No parade. Just Station Square, Tunnel, tunes, talk, and neighborhood reunions. And for the kids, we'll have some age-group parties that.... Hold the phone. Time will tell.

Musings from POP! Public Relations -- The Silece on Ketchum is Deafening

Musings from POP! Public Relations: "The Silence on Ketchum is Deafening

'I have raised points that I thought should be picked up by other PR bloggers, where we would all raise a red flag ... and silence.'

That was my quote last June for PR Week's article on PR bloggers push forth the medium.

What happened? Nothing has really changed - I blog about issues that I see as wrong in public relations ... and it's not picked up anywhere.

Why don't PR bloggers raise the red flag on issues within PR? Why have we stayed silent on the Ketchum debacle, and not raised our voice. While this is a PR issue - and we are all about how blogs are the new communications tools, change the world, blah blah - Ketchum has barely been brought up in the PR blogosphere.

When the story broke in the mainstream press, a local radio host, Lynn Cullen, (she leans way to the left), ranted about the story. My call to her and her guest, who was not then on the air, was about Ketchum. The PR firm and the ad agency are not the same. I understand. However, there was a Pittsburgh connection. I think Lynn should have pulled others into the discussion. It is her show. I tried to do so.

Larry Berger of Saturday Light Brigade -- getting set to rock the Burgh!

Larry has made a new studio and put it within the North Side's Childrens' Museum. I've yet to be there, however, in two weeks, our dear friend, Mindy Simmons, is booked for the show. We'll be there then. So should you.

Larry writes (with editor's insert of URL links) in his recent email newsletter:

We always dreamed that a well-designed studio with room for guests, performers and a live audience would allow us to better serve our community. And this week’s show is a great example of what can happen!

We’ll have our usual mix of acoustic music and puzzles for kids, adults and everyone in between as well as some very special guests:

At 8:20, Carol Rasco, President and CEO of Reading is Fundamental (RIF). and Cindy Krappweis, Executive Director of RIF Pittsburgh, will preview “Read With Me: The 2005 RIF Community Reading Challenge”, a national RIF event for which Pittsburgh is the official launch city! The kickoff celebration is January 26th, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and SLB will be on-hand along with other people, organizations and celebrities who care about literacy and reading. Following Pittsburgh’s kickoff, over 1,100 schools from around the country will participate by taking part in two weeks of creative reading activities between January and March. For details, visit or

At 8:30, Susan Orr and Jackie Keiner-Szwarc from Girl Scouts Trillium Council join us to preview this year's Cookie Sale.

At 10, we’ll celebrate the City Theatre Young Playwrights Festival, showcasing plays by middle-school and high-school students and running from January 22nd through February 6th. Tune in to hear excerpts from the plays, meet the student playwrights and hear alumni discuss how the festival has impacted their lives.

At 11, oldtime banjo player, storyteller, and novelist Sheila Kaye Adams peviews her Saturday night concert at Carnegie Lecture Hall that also features Hutch and Dave (Bob Hutchinson and fiddling Dave McLaughlin). Tickets are still available via ProArts (412) 394-3353 or at the door.

At 11:30, Calliope School teachers Martin Destin (guitar) and Ceinwen King-Smith (voice) join us along with Donna Isaac (fiddle) to discuss upcoming classes and how folk music is part of their lives. They also will play and sing a tune or two. Registration is underway.

Remember, kids and adults can be part of our live studio audience between 10 and noon -- this week and every week, no reservation required. Our studios have comfortable seating, great sightlines and a rare chance to be part of a live radio program. There’s no admission fee and you also can sample the Children's Museum's grand hall, museum store, and cafe. After our broadcast, stick around to learn more about our radio studio and visit behind the scenes or consider touring the rest of the museum with purchase of admission wristband at the front desk.

The Saturday Light Brigade is more then just a radio program -- we're a place where people of all ages can get together and enjoy each other’s company as a community. We hope you’ll tune in or be part of our studio audience. As always, thanks for being part of SLB.

Diven mulls joining GOP for Senate race

Diven mulls joining GOP for Senate race: "Diven mulls joining GOP for Senate race State representative may switch parties to vie for Wagner's vacated seat.

Told ya. Oh well, time will tell.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Council in four hour meeting

Recall of Citiparks workers is due on January 25, 2005. Many fired employees are being contacted to see if they want to come back to work in their former jobs. Many retired. Many took jobs elsewhere. Some might return. Time will tell. At the end of the month, the city has a snese of who is going to return to work.

Then comes the decisions as to what to open or not.

Meanwhile, we need to open these centers. A meeting is slated for tomorrow with the Market House Childrens' Athletic Assn. board (of which I'm a member). We need to get a straight story from the those on Grant Street.

A RAD Board request to a new trust fund has been put into action. The city get a portion of the 1% sales tax. In the past this amount for the four regional parks has been $750K for capital funds and $4.6-million for operations.

The summer food program, a pass through operation from Feds to State to School to City is on again for 2005. That is a $770K program.

Mt. Washington turned out by the bus load to speak for and against a development plan on Virginia Ave. The rush to City Council again shows just how poor the system of zoning works (or doesn't work). Frustration with Grant Street is still on the rise.

A flipped car on Mission Street on the South Side slopes gives another good reason to ask for 'salt boxes.' Self preservation matters. We should do more to empower the citizens.

And permit parking on the South Side, near the South Side Hospital and the Zone 3 Police police, fire and EMS station has been delayed for a week. An officer suggested that Mary Street be turned one-way so angle parking can occur.

Performers at Saturday's Benefit Concert at Strip District's Open Stage Theater -- I'll be on stage and CD.

Project Pittsburgh

Dog & Pony Show’s Tsunami Relief Fundraiser is at Open Stage Theatre, 2835 Smallman Street, (enter from the back of the building) in the Strip District at 8 pm on Saturday, January 22, 2005. A party follows at 10:30 pm. Suggested donation of only $15, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross Tsunami Relief.

Seating is limited, and reservations are strongly recommended. Call 412.431.7580 or

Kyle Wagner: “The Italian Lesson,” a monologue

Doug Levine & Karen Dryer: musical selections

Chance D. Muehlick, directed by Melanie S. Armer, and featuring Robert Haley, Christopher Kirsch, and Nadia Cook-Loshilov, presented by LIVE Theater Company: short play “A Gathering”

Summer Company: short play by Jason Planitzer “Playground”

Lissa Brennan and Daniel Krell, presented by Dog & Pony Show: short play “Twist & Lout.”

Marty Giles: reading of Walt Whitman’s “As I Ebb’d With the Ocean of Life”

Yvonne Hudson: excerpt from one-woman show “Mrs. Shakespeare” written by Yvonne Hudson

Kendra McLaughlin: excerpt from “Daddy’s Girl”

Elena Alexandratos, Lissa Brennan, John Shepard, and Mark Staley: Shakespearean sonnets, presented by Unseam’d Shakespeare

The Tortured Genius: performance monologue

Nathan James: spoken word

Bob Scott: poetry

The Dirty Poet: poetry

Mark Rauterkus: multi-media installation

storyteller Alan Irvine: Japanese folk tale “The Lord’s Sacrifice”

Kevin Clark Forsythe: fiction reading

Olivia Kissel of Zafira Dance Company: sword solo

If you’re unable to make the performance, please feel free to join us for the party after 10:30 pm. The party has food, drink, an art auction, and live music from John Gresh, selected members of Adam Evil and the Outside Royalty, LEAN, Mr. & MR$. Funky & Marty, and Highway 13.

We hope you can come out and show your support of a very worthy cause.

Rookie, long name that begins with "R", from mid-american conference, sensational!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Today's the day PA Senator resigns and moves to Auditor General

Jack Wagner moves from PA Senate to PA's Auditor General in a matter of hours. He's my senator, and I'm running for his seat. I've called for the special election to be scheduled for May 17, 2005, along with the primary. That move saves $200,000 for PA taxpayers and would get more people to the polls to decide the outcome of the election.

What date will the powers that be select?

Please help. You too can call the PA Senate members (leaders too) and ask them to schedule the special election for PA 42nd for May 17, 2005 as a "dual election."

Forum: We can't afford a 'caretaker' mayor

Michael's editorial in the PG on Sunday shows a number of telling points to me. I read what is on the lines and what is between them as well. However, I'm not going to rip into the article on a point by point basis here and now. If you see me around town, ask. Then we'll talk. But these two points need to be shared.
Lamb's editorial in the PG.... "a belief that city government can do more with less.

That is why I am uniquely prepared to take on this job. My campaign will be predicated on a new approach to leadership and a new approach to government.

He wrote it now after saying it before, "do more with less." That's the slogan of Les Ludwig. Les has been around town saying, "Do more with Les." Perhaps Lamb will be saying "Bob's Back" next week?

Furthermore, this bit about being uniquely prepared for the job does not sit right with me. I could rattle off the names of 300 people who live in Pittsburgh who are prepared to do a much better job at running Pittsburgh when contrasted to what we've had in the past dozen years. I know more than 100 people in town who have superior preparation to what Lamb delivers, without doubt. Mike is well qualified. But if he thinks he is uniquely prepared for the job of mayor, then he isn't well suited for that job. Time to "Think Again" Mr. Lamb.

I think we have hundreds of people who could run this city. I bet that there are hundreds more that are here that I've not had the opportunity to meet, yet.

Running Pittsburgh is not about annointing a new king and heir to a new dynasty. Unique blood lines are for souls to worry about in other continents, not in Pittsburgh.

Rather, I think we need a team player, a populist mayor, a champion of principles and creativity. And, we need a communicator who doesn't lift bumper sticker slogans from other candidates in the race -- while discounting him as a person.

I'm not wild about sticking up for Les and Earl. But, I'm not the kind of guy that is going to say nothing. Lamb has pulled a subtle backstabbing. It is either by intent or out of ignorance. Either way, it makes me think of Leroy Hodge and Rosa Parks. If you're gonna force others to ride in the back of the bus, you'd better hope that the other passengers on the bus are mere Lambs. I'm not. I'm going to stand up and quickly side with the one who is getting pushed around, popular or not.

I'm not itching for a fight. But there is a sense of duty within me and the process. Pittsburgh is shrinking because there is an elitism that hinders common-sense with matters of justice. The others on the bus might see the miss-treatment and get the heck out of there. They'll vote with their feet. They'll not come back. No me. I'm staying put.

If I'm a white guy on a bus and Rosa is shoved to the back -- there is now my heat from a different angle to contend with. I'm standing tall. Think again. That's my brother. If you think that way, you don't have any business driving our bus.

Not today. Not any day. Especially not on this holiday.

Have a just and brotherly Martin Luther King day!

As for Mike, a fix on your four page website is welcomed. Looks as if you need some content anyway. Say the following: You're not the only person in the race. Say you'll avoid the slogan, "Do more with Les." Say you think that all Pittsburghers are not less prepared than you. Say that the new approach to leadership means give and take with critics and you'll be happy to debate anyone in the race at any time, and you'll insist that everyone be included. And for good measure, wish everyone a peaceful MLK day too.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Star-Telegram's POSTCARD FROM THE ROAD in Pittsburgh


By Charean Williams, Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Greetings from Pittsburgh,

See the comments for the article. Sign. This, "junk food," is what we'll be famous for now? What splits NYC from the 'Burgh is but the thickness (or lack of) of pizza crust and the color of the catchup from Heinz.

I am tickled at the thought of an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl. But, I wonder who in the media has the courage to break the first story on Dutch Hex Signs?

Could we change the Superbowl logo, what is the Roman Numeral, to a PA State Flag?

How about if Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell both parachute into the stadium before the game, one with the game ball and the other with the coin for the toss. At halftime the two can hold an eat off.

Still looking for links, of course.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Ever since the January 7th breaking news story of Armstrong Williams' contract with the U.S. Department of Education, the Internet has been buzzing with questions on the where the lines of journalism are drawn.

Both right and left wing bloggers had a variety of opinions on Williams this week, however the topic became secondary in blogoshpere soon after CBS released its independent Memogate report. Right-wing bloggers, who originally brought Memogate to light, were doing most of the talking, with some claiming a small victory over mainstream media bias. Others felt the 234-page report left a lot to be desired in specifically reporting whether or not the investigated 60 Minutes airing had a "political agenda".

By Friday left-wing bloggers had their own conversion on journalistic principles. The debate began when the Wall Street Journal reported that the former Howard Dean Campaign worker Zephyr Teachout told the newspaper that in 2003 Dean's presidential campaign paid two bloggers, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD, "as consultants so that they would say positive things about the former governor's campaign in their online journals." Although both bloggers did publicly disclosed their working for the Dean campaign, neither have ever claimed to be journalist and questioned why the others felt they needed to adhere to journalistic principles. Moulitsas also questioned why the Journal did not mention the instance of two leading South Dakota blogs, who never disclosed they worked as paid advisers to John Thune's Senate campaign.

Complete CBS Report

Columnists' Group Agrees: Armstrong Williams Not A Journalist

Howard Dean Paid Cash for Positive Airtime

Pro-Thune Bloggers Paid By Campaign

Mainstream Media Whitewash

Sunday work party at theater space

Open Stage Theatre, the gracious hosts of a relief concer/performance yet to come, is at 2825 Smallman Street in the Strip District. It is the site of a work and clean-up day on Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. All are welcome to help of course.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Running mates, and South Hills spiking mates?

Mary Beth T asks: Interested in playing volleyball on Monday nights? The Mt. Lebanon United Presbyterian Church is in dire need of new blood for their co-ed pickup game from 7:30 to 9 p.m. (or 9:30 p.m.) Call Rhonda at the church at 412/531-3387.

Feb 14 public hearing with GASP and cleaner air

A proposed regulation is headed to a public hearing at 10 am on Monday, February 14, 2005 at Building #7, First Floor Conference Room, Clack Health Center, 301 39th St. Pittsburgh, PA 15201. Attend or send written comments to voice your support.

Needless diesel and gasoline powered vehicle idling is of concern to our air quality.

More info at

Learn of the proposed amendments to Allegheny County Health Department Rules and Regulations, Article XXI, Air Pollution Control. See the proposed section 2105.92 "Diesel Powered Motor Vehicle Idling." The proposed addition is to prevent unnecessary idling by heavy-duty diesel powered motor vehicles.

Copies of the proposed amendment may be examined beginning January 14, 2005, at the Allegheny County Law Library, Room 921 City-County Building, Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM; at the Allegheny County Health Department Library, Building 7, Clack Health Center, from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM Monday thru Friday; on the Allegheny County Health Department web site:; or by calling 412-578-8120 to request a mailed printed copy. It can also be viewed at GASP's website

Oral testimony is pre-scheduled by calling 412-578-8008 by the day before the public hearing. Speakers get up to five minutes and should bring a written copy of comments.

The Board accepts written testimony concluding Monday February 14, 2005, by mail: Board of Health, 3333 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 or by email:

Teachers, contracts and strikes

I love teachers. My dad is a retired teacher. Many in my family are teachers. None hold teachers in higher esteem than me.

However, I don't think teacher contracts and strike provisions need to be handled in quite the same manner as those for police and firefighters.

Presently teachers can strike for a limited number of days each year, right? And, advance notice has to be delivered, right?

What's wrong with what we got now?

Chime in on this topic at if you are interested.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Mass transit bill weighed

Put this into the trends: The devil is in the details and be careful for what you wish for.

Trib: "Mass transit aid bill weighed

HARRISBURG -- Mass transit agencies across Pennsylvania would get $200 million more each year from the state under a bill introduced with bipartisan sponsorship Wednesday to raise the state's realty transfer tax.

Wrongheaded indeed. To raise the realty transfer tax is exactly the wrong way to go.

EXTRA CREDIT: Bush Outlines Plan for HS

From Associated Press:

"President Bush on Wednesday began his push to require high school students to take the math and reading tests now required of younger students under the No Child Left Behind law, the most ambitious item on the president's slate of second-term education proposals.

'Testing is important,' Bush said at J.E.B Stuart High School in this Washington suburb. 'Testing at high school levels will help us become more competitive as the years go by. Testing in high schools will make sure that our children are employable for the jobs of the 21st century. ...

Testing will make sure the diploma is not merely a sign of endurance, but the mark of a young person ready to succeed.'"

"In education, Bush's focus is on high schools and on expanding the No Child Left Behind Act that is designed to raise achievement among poor and minority children and penalize schools that don't make adequate yearly progress. It's part of his campaign pledge to improve high school standards and enhance the value of high school diplomas.

" 'We're not interested in mediocrity,' Bush said at the school, which was the lowest-performing among those in relatively prosperous Fairfax County, Va., in 1997, but met its academic goals under No Child Left Behind Act in the 2003-04 school year. 'We're interested in excellence so not one single child is left behind in our country,' he said.

"Bush wants to require states to test students annually in reading and math in grades three through 11. That's an expansion of the law he signed in 2002, which requires those tests in grades three through eight, and at least once during grades 10 to 12.

"The president also wants to give states $250 million to require that the 12th grade National Assessment of Educational Progress be administered in every state in reading and math every two years, just as it is in those subjects in grades four and eight. That would produce the first-ever state results for high school seniors on this national test, helping policy-makers evaluate their school standards.

Receive the NCLB Extra Credit update.

NCLB Extra Credit provides a regular look at the No Child Left Behind
Act, the education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support. For more information, contact the U.S. Department of Education at (202) 401-1576.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Kind reactions to today's meeting


I was discussing the meeting with Terry and we feel that your assertion about getting the keys to the recreation center to let the kids in is completely correct. It is wasteful and ridiculous if these expensive buildings, that belong to the taxpayers anyway should be left idle all summer. We also discussed the possibility that in light of the financial problems with the city would the payments have been made to procure the insurance to keep the city from being sued. I don't know. I really sincerely hope that we can find a way to assist the kids this summer because to do otherwise would be unthinkable. Please if I can be of any help I'll make every effort to do so. I can't help feeling betrayed by Mayor Murphy. Just like the CEO of a company he bears the responsibility of keeping the city financially sound. I'm sure many people feel the same way I do. Thanks for what you are trying to do this family appreciates your efforts. I can't help feeling a little frustrated myself. I want to do something I just don't know what!!!

Robert E Michel

P.S. I like your version of the flyer its more eye catching.

New TV show, The E.D. Speaks, from PCTV 21

Pittsburgh Community Television is premiering a new show, The E. D. Speaks, airing on Pittsburhg's Cable Channel 21. The E.D. Speaks is hosted by Thomas Poole, PCTV's executive director, and Barry Hamlette, president of the board. The program looks at the inner workings of the organization, promotes the work of community producers, has interviews with media experts and showcases a variety of talent that is associated with PCTV.

Watch but also e-mail or call (412) 322-7579 Tom with feedback. What works and what doesn't? What types of segments and guests would you like to see? Who do you think can benefit from this show?

Air dates:

Wednesday, Jan. 12 11am-1pm

Friday, Jan 14 6pm-8pm

Saturday, Jan.15 9pm-11pm

Tuesday, Jan.18 7pm-9pm

Friday, Jan. 21 6pm-8pm

Tuesday, Jan. 25 7pm-9pm

Thursday, Jan. 27 Noon-2pm

Mr. Roberts doesn't know when city council's votes occur

Mr. Roberts told our city council president that he was against a bill that was slated to pass. Mr. Robers had thought that the final vote was the other day. Nothing from Mr. Roberts was put on paper, yet it was requested.

City Council votes to spend leftover funds despite recovery team's opposition: "Pittsburgh City Council approved some small budget changes yesterday that were opposed by the Act 47 recovery team, which may also get it in hot water with the city's fiscal oversight board."

We need to end encumbered funds for year after year spending. This is a plank in Platform.For-Pgh.Org within the finance section.

The administration and various departments have had secret passbooks that are leveraged for matters that council may not want.

Weird accounting that favors the administration has to go, even if and when I'm heading the administration. Ideal accounting principles would have ongoing, weekly reports and charts as normal operations. We need to run the city more like a household. The administration policy is twisted by design. Even members of city council don't know when or if money in various accounts from past years has been spent -- or not.

Block grants for neighborhood needs should have listings on the reports too. Not only is the budget process in need of an overhaul, but same too the general fund and various balances within the system. Income from one year should be matched with spendings that same year.

Consistent treatment for all departments is but a pipedream now.

Act 47 coordinators have an obligation to inform city council when actions violate the plan. They don't have an obligation to make statements on their likes and dislikes. The obligation stands for violations. Wants, needs and violations are all distinct.

The mayor has squirreled away money in so many different locations that it might take a year of constant searching to uncover the situations.

Another matter is the lack of any capital money. Now the West End landslide occurs and the budget impact is $600,000. But, no money is available.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Security is on everyone's minds

Tonight at a community meeting on public safety, we heard from a women who had her car stolen once, suffered two home break ins, had been robbed twice as well. She's upset. It's understandable. I'll try to meet with her to build a quick response network to warn each other of troubles and issues.

More news on that soon. Another type of warning signal came in via email from good sources.

Be aware of new car-jacking scheme where you walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. Then you lock all your doors, start the engine and shift into REVERSE, and you look into the rearview mirror to back out of your parking space and you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle of the rear window. So, you shift into PARK, unlock your doors and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view... When you reach the back of your car that is when the car-jackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and take off!! Your engine was running, ladies would have their purse in the car) and they practically mow you down as they speed off in your car. BE AWARE.

Drive away and remove the paper that is stuck to your window later. A purse contains identification, and you certainly do NOT want someone getting your home address. They already HAVE your keys! This scheme has been reported to have occurred in the states of Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan.

He's running

Howard Dean, M.D., is running for the DNC Chairmanship. See comments for his email.

Cullen show and blogging

On the web, and in the blog landscape, there are a lot of folks to the far right and the far left. But, this blog is a centralist, populist blog. This is where most are.

Sure, there is some bad info. But free expression is welcomed.

Eastern PA sets Special Election for PA Senate to April 5, 2005 -- OMG

I'm a participant in a special election for the PA Senate in the spring of 2005. The date has been set for eastern PA, April 5, 2005.

Our opening is due to occur on January 18. So, the date should be known after that date.

Parking Authority opens its own court and privitizes the judges too

The Parking Authority is going to privatize the entire operation of court, judges, ticket collection and more.

The parking tickets given by the police are going to be put before a judge in court. But parking tickets given by Parking Authority officials are going to the parking authority court.

I'm in favor of an elimination of the Parking Authority. Take it out, over time. This is a function of public life.

Those in the Parking Authority have seen the storm clouds brewing. They are now in a land grab mode and are expanding. That is wrongheaded. They are going in the wrong direction.

I am not in favor of an additional Parking Authority court system.

Public Hearing set for Ballfield Ads in Parks

At 9:30 am, Wednesday, February 9, 2005 in City Council Chambers. Be there.

Should and how should the city sell ads for the fences of the ballfields?

The art-advertising elements in the city need to be explored and applied. There is gold in them thar hills -- if the prospectors to the job with the heavy lifting and with the heavy thinking.

Controller sues both Mayor and council because of the cuts to the department

This story is finally getting some ink. It has been brewing for a while.

One of the planks in addresses the level of litigation within city government. Too often the decisions are taken to the judges to decide. The best solutions in life are worked out among parties and don't include people in robes. But that's hard work and heavy lifting that takes a grand view -- and Pittsburgh is short in those characteristics with the officials we've had.

PG coverage 'Mayor Murphy and the Pittsburgh City Council have refused and neglected to comply with the reasonably necessary funding requirements of the controller's office and are thereby impairing and/or destroying the city of Pittsburgh's home rule government,' the lawsuit says.

Flaherty's lawsuit, filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, is the latest court challenge to the city's Act 47 recovery plan: Both the police and firefighter unions have cases before Commonwealth Court attempting to block its contract controls. Flaherty pledged last year to sue if the city followed through on the cuts to his office.

Pittsburgh's controller is an in-house auditor, who performs yearly financial reports, studies government services -- through so-called performance audits -- oversees bidding and contracts, and cuts checks to employees and city contractors.

Underscoring all the possible functions of his office, Flaherty's lawsuit contains 18 pages of appendices listing jobs his employees perform.

Wonder how many pages, or if anyone will ever count and report upon the length, of this blog? What about the number of pages in their platforms? Les has two pages, one sheet, front and back. How long is Lamb's platform. What about Bob's? Do they exist?

Flaherty, who has been controller since 1984, has used the performance audits as a platform to criticize government policies, often going after tax increment financing plans and other business incentives and Allegheny County's property assessment procedures.

That often gets him in hot water with other government officials, which Flaherty claims leads to politically motivated attempts to cut his office down. When then-Mayor Sophie Masloff tried to cut his spending in 1992, Flaherty also sued, and Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick ruled the controller's office should have 74 full-time workers.

Flaherty has used that 12-year-old decision to ward off other cuts, though he said his office has dwindled to 65 full-time workers currently.

Flaherty was a vocal opponent of the Act 47 recovery plan last year, and the latest cuts required by the city, the Act 47 team and the oversight board are another attempt to silence him, he said.

The controller's office is 'treated the worst in the entire city and I'm just tired of it. There was no analysis done on our office. This was punitive, arbitrary, capricious, you name it,' he said yesterday.

Asked if there was some irony in the city's fiscal watchdog trying to block spending cuts, he said, 'I'm not trying to get more money, I'm trying to keep what I have. ... I'm trying to keep the fiscal watchdog office there, or it'll be lost in no time.'

Mayoral spokesman Craig Kwiecinski had no comment on the lawsuit.

Tierd. Hard work. You name it.

We don't need a sleeping watchdog. We don't need a big watchdog office. We don't need need a watchdog without teeth that barks at the wrong things. We do need a new sense of fairness.

Monday, January 10, 2005

I'm in. Peduto invited me to join his Campaign Finance Reform task force

Today I got a call from an aid to city council member, Bill Peduto. I've been invited -- and accepted of course -- to participate on the panel that is going to study and put forth solutions to the city's campaign finance reform measures -- in 12 weeks or so.

I'm happy.

Now there is some serious responsibility and interesting challenges to navigate.

I know a few of the others who have been picked. Should be interesting. Stay tuned.

Ideas on campaign finance reform are welcomed, of course.


Way before its time.


The sacrificial lamb jabs are now off the radar. When I was called such, I held a gyro party for my supporters. Yep, I know. That's really goat, not lamb.

I do have a great story about the three billy-goats gruff brothers, if you care to see it performed -- just ask.

When Lamb gets edged out, I hope that he and his supporters will come to my campaigns. And, even before the primary, we'll keep him in the loop as to the run for PA Senate. He can vote for me on May 17, 2005. Because I'm a DEM, I won't vote for him. And, I'm not too sure why I would.

Tip to Mr. Lamb --- come up with a statement about the Mon Valley Toll Road. How could you not know?

Lamb officially enters race for mayor - Michael Lamb, Allegheny County's prothonotary, became the first person to officially enter the race for mayor of Pittsburgh, which is trying to turn around its bleak finances with reduced spending and altered taxes.

This news is very bad news for Mr. Ludwig. This is bad news for Mr. Jones too. And, its bad news for the citizens fo Pittsburgh as well.

1 + 1 + 1 = third.

We're being told 1 + 1 + 1 = first.

These other two are not people?

These other two don't have the "rights" to run?

As Pittsburgh is in a crisis because of numbers. Those on Grant Street can't ad when it comes to budgets. And, there is a problem with balance.

Other candidates have announced for mayor but are not expected to run legit campaigns that pay for TV, radio and print ads.

Lamb could have stood up and said, in part, he's happy to enter the campaign and debate the issues with all the other participats. If I'm Lamb, I'm asking the others who are running for the same post to drop out and support me.

Finally, it was very interesting to hear the radio news blurb. Lamb spoke saying he'd "Do More with Les." Exact quote. It is right from the Les bumper stickers.

Once I run the city, we'll be sure to do events like this each month. OpenOffice.Org plug

OpenOffice.Org is a splendid open-source software package that can take the place of Microsoft's Office for $0. It works on WIN and other platforms. Go get it yourself. I use it.

As part of the Technology Summit we should be holding, we'd hold other build-up events such as this. Details posted from The Conference Team.

After Hamburg in 2003 and Berlin in 2004, we are searching for the perfect location for the Conference in 2005.

We are collecting applications from teams who are willing to organize OOoCon 2005 in locations outside Germany.

Interested teams should send their applications to the mailing list in the following format:

Key Question: In 200 words or less, answer this question: Why is your location and the date you propose the best for the OOoCon 2005?

Your application MUST INCLUDE:
* Location (country, city, conference center/university)
* Proposed Date(s)
* Team Lead (main contact person)
* Team Members (all members should be willing and able to commit at least 3 hours per day to planning the conference during the last two weeks before OOoCon 2005)
* Local events that are taking place in parallel (or right before/after)
* Special visa or entry requirements, e.g. vaccinations

Your application COULD INCLUDE:
* Large local deployments (for user keynotes and success stories)
* Names of local developers (for developer sessions)
* Names of local vendors/partners (potential sponsors)
* Travel costs (e.g. flight costs from the following cities: London, Paris, Rome, Beijing, Sydney, New York, Hamburg, Dublin, San Francisco, South Africa, Tokyo)
* Accomodation costs (youth hostel, hotel)

According to the OOoCon 2004 attendee survey, proposed locations should meet the following requirements as much as possible (order by priority):

* attract the largest number of community contributers
* be near enough to allow a large number of Sun's
developers, who are in Hamburg, to attend
* low accomodation costs
* cheap flight and train tickets
* the conference venue is for free
* alignment with large IT event (e.g. CeBIT, Systems, Comdex)
* strong local community
* strong sponsor support

The deadline for submissions is January 23, 2005. Shortly after that date we will publish the applications at
and call for votes.

Information about the last two Conferences can be found at:

Pittsburgh House Concerts Promotion

Click here to join PbgHouseConcerts
Click to join PbgHouseConcerts

City to feel pain before the gain

Trib article
"To get the city back on track financially, everyone will have to feel some pain -- both inside and outside of government," said Bill Lieberman, chairman of the city's state-appointed financial oversight board. ...

Hitting the mark, however, will be easier for some officials than others.

Hitting the mark with Mark! How's that for a slogan / button / bumper sticker?

Pain is here. Pain is going to linger. I don't see a guarantee of gain -- yet -- from them.

The gain plan is to be found in our campaign and with its successful outcome.

Deadly high drama on the rivers with workers and tons of coal

The stories, lives, heavy lifting, struggles of the rivers, industries, and event the history should be made known and shared to a much higher degree. This is our legacy and a larger share of our present day landscape. But, to most, it is unknown.

Three die in barge wreck - "The tug was pushing the barges -- each loaded with about 1,000 tons of coal -- out of the lock chamber when the intense current pushed the barges sideways into the river, dragging the tug with it.

'He was shoving out of Montgomery Lock and Dam and something happened -- we have no idea -- and the boat went over the dam,' said Don Grimm, president of Campbell Transportation, one of the region's largest river-transport firms. "

Scattered Abroad: Thousands of Pittsburghers who left yearn to return

People vote with their feet. People leave. We all know this. But, in time, people might vote with their feet again and return -- if there is a significant change.

Scattered Abroad: Many of the thousands of Pittsburghers who left yearn to return Scattered Abroad: Many of the thousands of Pittsburghers who left yearn to return