Monday, February 28, 2005

TechyVent for March 14, 2005 with Alpha Chimp Studios

This is on my agenda. You should try to attend as well.
TechyVent - Pittsburgh: "Graphic Facilitation for Enhancing Knowledge Capture and Communication
WHEN: March 14, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM at the Pittsburgh Technology Council Building, 2000 Technology Drive with PRESENTER(S): Peter Durand and Alicia Diane Durand, Alphachimp Studio, Inc.

Reading event in Oakland at S & S

Fraud conviction earns five years in prison - Soldiers & Sailors plans reading event

Soldiers & Sailors National Military Museum & Memorial will have a Read Across America Education Program from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m. Wednesday at the museum, 4141 Fifth Ave., in Oakland.
Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy will read 'Eleanor Roosevelt' by Lucille Davis, a biography of the former first lady. Other guest readers will read books by Dr. Seuss, and the event will include a celebration of what would have been the 101st birthday of Theodor Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss.
For more information, call Casey Patterson at (412) 621-4253, ext. 206.

Thanks for working to host a reading event in our community. I'd be most willing to be a participant in the reading activities.

I've been a former publisher of 100 books on sports and fitness -- and Barbara Bush, while in the White House, once wrote a forward to a comic book that I was involved in publishing.

I have a number of great stoies to share. One set is a family classic about a dragon named YUP. It is perfect for the month of March and St. Pat's Day.

Literacy is of prime importance to me. I feel that too many of our neighborhood groups are spending far to much energy on bricks and mortar projects -- acting like developers of buildings. Rather, I'd love to see them all devoted to the development of people and the human element. Too few neighborhood volunteers are meeting and teaching others to read or be more tech literate.

International news reporting meeting set

A symposium about the myths and truths of international news reporting will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday in Room 5110 of Two Mellon Center at 501 Grant St., Downtown.

Speakers will include Ted Anthony, former editor of China News; Lisa Rose Weaver, former CNN Beijing correspondent; Rick Pietro, communications lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh; and Schuyler Foerster, president of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Registration is required. The program is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Asian Studies.

Registration is required. To register, call (412) 624-7370 or e-mail Michele Heryford at

Have you seen our photos of China?

Party switch creates a fight for 42nd state Senate seat

Party switch creates a fight for 42nd state Senate seat: "'I think the unity of the party is the road map to victory,'' Fontana said ...
Another element of the story is the fact that Fontana's resignation from County Council has not be reported upon. O'Toole is now not ignorant of that fact -- as found in the County Charter.
When does Fontana resign? Let me know, please.

Mayorial event in East Liberty on March 31

Join us for a lively discussion of the issues with the major candidates
running in the May Primary. It will take place at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty on Thursday, March 31 from 6:30-8 pm. The candidates will specifically be answering questions about the concerns of young professionals in the Pittsburgh community. Sponosored by PUMP, ULYP, PYP, and the PSVN.

Hold everything.

What does PUMP mean when the announcement is about "MAJOR" candidates? Don't you mean ALL the candidates?

By March 31, the ballot is set. You should have EVERY candidate on the ballot be at the debate.

A great reply just arrived. All the candidates will be invited, so I've been told by Jay.

Meet Joe Weinroth -- and bonus audio available

Jon Delano wrote in his email to PSFs:
By the way, the Republicans may have a candidate for mayor. He is real estate attorney Joe Weinroth, vice chair of the city's Republican Party and an elected state commiteeman from Squirrel Hill. Weinroth was a delegate at the Republican Convention this summer, and he is an articulate and passionate spokesman for his viewpoint. He tells me he's not 100 percent sure he will run, but his petitions are being circulated.
Joe was a speaker at an event I organized in 2001 with Josh Pollock. Josh and I had been candidates for Mayor. The event was at the Carnegie Library of Oakland Lecture Hall, but not sponsored by them. We had two days of podium talks and one day had a real live debate with an expert moderator / editor from The New

Joe Weinroth, then a candidate for city council, gave a 10-minute podium talk. I have that talk in an audio file, a MP3. It is rather large. However, I'd be happy to send it out to people interested in hearing it. Send me an email and I'll send it to you via email as an attachment.

In the weeks to come, I might put the file on my web site, if there is a demand.

Joe's comments were fine. Nothing great, nothing harmful.

We need people to plan and host real candidate forums in the weeks to come. Are you associated with an effort to do this important work for voter education? Church groups, sports groups, civic groups, library patrons, and non-political groups need to get into the fray from time to time and host pan-partisan events. Generally the political groups only want to promote their own candidates. So, it takes a village to get beyond and out of the rut for a wide range of discussions.

Ink in the Trib

O'Connor gets Democratic endorsement - "Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is running as a Libertarian."

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Bio on the Party Site

Welcome to the Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh: "Mark Rauterkus, 45, an activist from Pittsburgh's South Side, at-large board member of the Allegheny County Libertarian Party, accepted the nomination for Pennsylvania Senate for the special election for the 42nd District expected in the spring of 2005.

The bio there is extensive.

We can turn Pittsburgh around

Turn Pittsburgh around In the coming weeks and months, you will hear me talk a lot about my plan to turn Pittsburgh around. It's a real plan, not political promises. It's a plan based on what we need to do to turn things around.

BoB is a great turn-around name as it is the same from front to back as back to front. Forward and backwards, round and round, blowing in the wind. How many times must Bob run around, before he is ....

Missing in action among Dem's options: Row-Office Reform Ballot Question

Allegheny County voters are going to vote to chang the county charter on May 17, 2005. The option before the voters deals with the reduction of row offices from today's ten to four.

This important question, however, was missing from the endorsement vote, so I assume.

Do the Democrats either endorse or reject the vote for Row-Office Reform?

I don't think that the question was put before the committee people of the party. This isn't my party, so I don't have much to gripe about. But, what's up with that? This goes to the theme of Dems not being -- oh hum -- democratic.

Another question is in limbo, so I understand from Joe King, president of the firefighters union. A petition was submitted to put a question on the ballot that concerns the national standards in terms of response times for emergency crews to arrive.

Again, for or against isn't the question. To be or not to be on the ballot for the committee people is the real question.

The firefighters' issue is going to come down to a decision on Monday, so I was told. The ICA and the city are in negotiations. The change to the city's charter might be injected within the new contract -- somehow, perhaps.

If the firefighters get their way with the contract, they'll pull the question off of the ballot. Humm. No need to get the voters opinion, again.

I'm sorta confused. How can a new union contract force a change to the city's charter?

I love democracy. I hate how the votes around here are so confusing. I think there is great insight within the ranks of the voters and from within the process of public campaigns. It is my hope and ambition to push for the inclusion of five ballot questions each election.

Dems Endorsement

A Native American proverb says, "Tell me and I'll forget,
show me and I may not remember, involve me and I'll understand."
Today was a day of involement as the Democrats from throughout the county gathered to make their endorsements. I was there most of the day.

As I walked onto the scene, I overheard a couple of gentlemen slightly ahead of me talking as we approached. "This is a real circus."

The two were in disgust. Parking was scares. Hey, welcome to the South Side. But the point was well taken. Poll workers had arrived in the early hours hand had taken parking spaces near to the IBEW Hall. Voters, and a fair share of seniors too, had to walk through a block or two parked cars to get to the line to stand befor voting. No doubt, this was an ordeal for the frail. The crowd was large.

The results, thanks to a poster, are within the comments.

Email Blast: Hi Friends with and without spell checkers!

Two volunteers who share my overall concerns about Pittsburgh and the region, (webmaster, Jeff H., and wiki operator, Adam R) have established interesting interactive services that I'd love for you to explore.

You are invited to an online chat to occur from 11 to 11:30 pm on Monday, Feb 28, and Tuesday, March 1.

The focus of the online chat is to complete the found at:

Work on the has progressed for a few months. It has plenty of content (more than 100 pages), but I dare say, its not quite ready for prime time. We need to fill in some of the holes. And, what's there needs to be given more focus and editing help.

A face-to-face meeting is slated for the Ceramics Hobby Shop at 1302 East Carson Street on the South Side for a discussion at 9 pm on Tuesday, March 1. We'll talk about messages for the campaign and the various participants.

In my last email, I mentioned I was a candidate for PA Senate in the special election on May 17, 2005. I'm on the ballot as a LIBERTARIAN.

Today the Dem's pick their candidate for the PA Senate race. If Wayne Fontana is selected, as per the county charter, he SHOULD resign his seat there. A special election for County Council might be necessary. Want to run? I could always use some additional running mates.

On Monday, tune into 1360 AM at 4 pm as I'll be on the air with Jerry Bowyer.

Thanks for your concideration.

Mark Rauterkus
412-298-3432 = cell

Campaign cash, a cause of concern. You betcha!

Andy C did a nice job with the article and I'd love to build upon its conent. Here is the story behind the story.
Campaign cash rolls in from outside city - 'It's a cause for concern,' said Bill Godshall, chairman of the Pittsburgh Campaign Finance Task Force. 'Mayors are elected by the city residents to serve the residents of the city. If outside money is coming in, I question whose interests the next mayor is representing.'

I'm on the same campaign finance task force that Bill chiars. Our work is not yet complete, but it has been interesting. We'll see if the outcome is worthy of a mention or not. I am certain that the task force was necessary -- and it gave cover to the sponsor of the legislation, Bill Peduto of City Council.

The original legislation called for a $2,000 limit to donors and any donor who gave the limit was not eligible for no-bid contract. Godshall, the chairman, rightly points out that $1,999 donations would skirt the restriction that applies to $2,000 donors. A $1,999 donation would allow for the letting of no-bid contacts.

The no-bid contracts are a big problem within city business operations. This is often called, "pay to play." If you want a contract, or if you get a contract, you have to give back to the ones who gave the contract to the firm.

The way to fix no-bid contracts isn't with campaign finance reform, however. Don't do no bid contracts. End that habit. Bid everything.

Sure, putting all the work of the city out in a bid process is more work. But, that is why these folks get the jobs they have. They need to work hard. They need to be "fair."

If only one firm is capable of doing the work described in the bid, then only one firm will make a bid. Still, it is okay to bid the work. Unless, the office holders are beholden to the firms.

Two important elements of this story are not being linked to the overall saga in our election process. I stand for elements that are not easily rewarded. For example, I'm against the same-old style of leadership and their donors who crave eminent domain. For me, its no TIFs; no contract give-a-ways without a bid process; no gambling casinos; no Mon Valley toll road; no debt and the need for heavy bonds to be floated. Certain project generate the campaign donations.

Meanwhile, good governement, transparent operations, higher levels of democracy and prudent fiscal policies that invest in humans, not bricks and mortar, are not going to generate money. Kids that swim in the city's pools had a hard time paying for their summer passes, yet alone giving money to campiagns. Same too for parents who are taking their kids to the rec centers.

Face it, those in the city that have the financial means to leave the city have gone elsewhere, by and large. A crew of us die-hards remain, hunkered down. Resistance in an occupied land is best done by those who survive and don't peg themselves as part of the opposition.
In the 2001 race, Mayor Tom Murphy and O'Connor combined to raise a record $2.3 million. Without a sitting mayor, this year's race might not top that amount, but it should come close, analysts said.

I don't think the un-named analysis is "on the money" with this hunch. In 2001, Bob O'Connor and Tom Murphy each spent more than $1-million. They earned votes for $30 each. My votes were earned at a rate of $.30. Yes, that's 30-cents vs. 30-dollars.
The next mayor faces a city without any money. The public kitty is bare. There won't be extras for pay-backs. The donors know this. And, they won't be giving like in the past.

Peduto was looking to raise $200k, not $1-million. The lesser amount is more on target for what it is going to take to win.

In the fall, I talked quickly with Michael Lamb. He had the goal and aspirations of raising $1-million for his campaign for mayor. He's nuts and wrong.

Why should anyone spend $1-million to get a chance in a crap-shoot for a job that pays $90k a year?

Furthermore, why should the voters select a candidate that runs a high-stakes, high-spending, high-debt campaign to run Pittsburgh? We've been crushed by high-flying, over-spending, debt-ridden public officials on Grant Street.

Up until six months ago, Bob O'Connor, the 2nd place vote getter in 2001's Dem Primary, again, was $30,000 in debt. Debt is killing this city.

Pittsburgh has to get itself out of debt.

Michael Diven went into big debt in 2004 as he had to keep his state house seat. Some said that was the reason for his party switch from D to R. Diven took his re-election tab to the House Ds to settle as he beat the candidate funded by the House Ds. But the debt was not forgiven there and would be settled by the Senate Rs. He switched because of debt. Diven has been bought and paid for by others.

It is fun to be free. I can say and do as I please. Imagine this, I can choose to do what's right without worries of my gravy-train going away.

To vote for me cost nothing.

Finally, the money needed to prop up these candidates is to make sure that their message gets out. They have to craft a message. They need to have consultants and specialist fundraisers to cover the cost of the consultants, printers and tv ads.

My message gets to you from my head -- with my friends -- to my keyboard -- to this blog and elsewhere on the internet -- at bargain prices with depth and scope.

Some of us have messages to share, plus the necessary creativity to craft and deliver those message and a desire to run without debt in a prudent lifestyle.

In closing: All the king's men and all the king's horses couldn't put Humpty together again. We've had a great fall. And the fix for our future is not with the royalty and the few with self-interest money concerns. The future of our region can be that of prosperity as soon as we rely upon the self-reliance of the people. We need creative, new leadership for the region that can grip the problems, attack at their roots and lead a diverse commuity where interaction among people is valued and trusted.

As for campaign finance reform legislation, stay tuned. Much more is in the pipeline.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Emal blast: [412] Announcing: I'm in the PA Senate Race.

Hi Neighbors and "Generous Pace Setters,"

The Pittsburgh region needs a different representation in Harrisburg.

I'm running for Pennsylvania Senate in the special election for the
42nd district to be held on May 17, 2005.

I would welcome your donations.

Please make check payable to:

Send to:
108 South 12th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

412 298 3432 = my cell

My heart is here in the community with you. Together, we can make a
difference. In the past you've heard from me because of my blog and
other efforts. Now I'm appealing for you to help me in this state
senate race.

Thanks for the consideration.


Mark Rauterkus
412-298-3432 = cell

Candidate for Pennsylvania Senate, 42nd District. Vote on May 17, 2005.
- - - - - - can help with additions, subtractions and
changes for your email.

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances gives a mention

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - On the 'Watch List' I: The 42nd District state Senate race. Democrat-turned-Republican state Rep. Mike Diven has won the GOP committee's nomination to fill now-state Auditor General Jack Wagner's vacant seat. Democrats will choose from among four candidates on Sunday to face Diven in May's special election. Given the relative impuissance of the Dems' candidate kitty (and Libertarian challenger Mark Rauterkus), this race is Mr. Diven's to lose.

How does one read that statement? It's Diven's race to lose and my being in the race helps to insure his victory? How do you take that statement? And, what about the race overall.
We'll know in less than 24 hours who the Dems are putting onto the ballot.

Friday, February 25, 2005

School Sell Off puts "Z" at the front of the class.

PPS is starting the process for the eventual selling of four of its now empty schools. My reaction to this news is that they are taking the easy road. They want to sell of the best schools at first bush. That is exactly the wrong way to proceed. The hardest schools to sell should be the first to be put onto the market.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

I hate to see our neighborhood groups do "slam dunk projects." Rather, the non-profits around here should be doing the heavy lifting to help in our hardest challenges.

Invited to a radio interview on Monday at 4 pm at 1360 AM

I've been invited, and I'm expecting to be on the air for an interview on Monday at 4 pm, 1360 AM radio, with Jerry Bowyer.

Note the time change.

Nonprofits joining to make payments to city

Here comes the formation of another hand-picked, non-elected board for oversight. Charters and consitutions -- not needed. Rules of operation only get in the way to those who are with power. Elections are not welcomed either.

When the city is in the role of begger -- the city can't expect anything else other than crumbs from the willing. This is not a healthy position for the city. The downward spiral continues.
Nonprofits joining to make payments to city The city's nonprofits stepped closer to collecting the $6 million in voluntary payments included in Pittsburgh's 2005 city budget today with the naming of a 12-member board to oversee the funding.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but it's my opinion that the formation of a board is but one step in a journey that would span 10,000 miles. Most people can get into the airplane, some can fly a plane, and few can land it in a safe way. The journey's destination is a long way into the future.

However, I feel that the journey picks up speed after the present mayor departs and again after the next mayor is in office.

This fine group of people have their own jobs to do with their own institutions. Fixing the city isn't their prime motivations in life. They may plod along and suprise us -- but I'm not expecting greatness nor leadership for the city's mess. They'll lend a hand. But, the best way for them to help is to have new city leadership. Then the next mayor can pull them along quickly.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Schenley, 73 - 50 and winners on girls side too

The Schenley hoops teams won the city league basketball games tonight at The Pete.

Last night I was part of a meeting that concerned our students at Schenley and the other schools that are part of the International Studies program. My children are in the Spanish Magnet at Phillips on the South Side. We walk to school. Phillips is part neighborhood school and part Spanish Magnet.

There are a number of other elem. schools around the Pgh Public Schools District that are devoted to foreign languages.

I'm not happy to see a 23-point spread in a championship game. Nor am I happy to learn of the gap in the perceptions of the programs from the present to the past. And, some schools are working hard at the languages in their daily lessons. Others don't.

When the kids merge at the Middle School, Frick, the wide range of knowledge and preperations make a strain.

The common theme: We need to raise standards. We need to have higher expectations. We are not satisfied. We want the kids to graduate and be bi-lingual.

Porkers on the Federal Level

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named New York Senators Hillary Clinton (D) and Charles Schumer (D) Co-Porkers of the Month for pledging to fight the President's reforms of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Sens. Clinton and Schumer lashed out at the President, with Sen. Clinton describing the federal economic development grants as "a lifeline" for New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet. Yet past grants in New York have included $25,000 for construction of the Music Conservatory of Westchester (one of the wealthiest counties in the nation) and $500,000 for "streetscape improvements," also in Westchester. For resisting much-need reforms in a wasteful program, for exaggerating the supposed benefits of CDBGs, and for leaning on federal grants to cover up local problems, CAGW names New York Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer its February Porkers of the Month.

Public transit: No more band-aids.

State funding dedicated to public transportation obviously is a problem. I (and for those who depend on public transit) hope we see our State Senate and Governor, act responsibly. Pass permanent legislation to provide permanent, dedicated funding to public transit. Public transportation is vital to a thriving, growing area.

Given the population demise in Pittsburgh, along with the rising tax structures in Allegheny County, related municipalities and school district, why did the management of the Port Authority of Allegheny County not take earlier steps to tighten its own belt?

Several years ago after a rate increase, as an employee of a downtown company, I took the personal steps on my own. My former bus commute became a 3o minute walk. I made the decision to walk from home to work and back. I was lucky that I had the choice, the good health and the modest distance for a daily hike. Unfortunately, many others are dependent on public transporation and can't take the same simple steps.

The importance of public transportation is noted at Summary: "Public transportation provides greater freedom, access, opportunity and choice for Americans. It also strengthens America's communities by stimulating the economy, reducing traffic congestion, decreasing dependency on foreign oil, preserving a healthy, safe environment and creating jobs…"

Slopes Town Meeting on Monday night

ST. PAUL MONASTERY is slated for St. Paul Retreat Center, Main Lounge Area, 148 Monastery Avenue at 7 pm on Monday, February 28, 2005.

Expect Commander William Joyce, Zone 3 and Commander William Valenta, Narcotics and Vice Unit. Come with your questions and concerns.

Peduto a hockey player

Peduto officially enters mayoral race Peduto, a hockey player, noted that the United States Olympic hockey team won a gold medal 25 years ago today, two days after beating the favored Soviet Union team in the so-called 'Miracle on Ice.'

Pittsburgh has a marathon runner in the mayor's office now and the city doesn't even have a marathon any longer. The marathon ended on Murphy's watch. But, he's on the way out.

Peduto, a hockey player, has been on city council while the lone indoor ice rink in the city has stayed closed. So our next mayor could be like our last. A hockey guy with no hockey venue just as a marathon runner without a home-town race.

If Bill wants to run as a miracle hockey player -- he'd better think a bit about the now closed indoor ice rink. I've done everything I can do. But, I'm not holding elected office.

Furthermore, Bill comes over to the South Side to announce his campaign's start. Welcome to the neighborhood. He wanted to stand on the roof of an old building and look out over the city's skyline. Sounds like my house. But, he went to Terminal Way, a building that's crawling with a lot of non-profits now. That site used to be for commerce and wealth creation.

Bill's arrival into the race is welcomed. His winning the office, that is another matter to be sure. Time will tell.

Last night Bill came over to a meeting I was attending, "Drinking Liberally." Good to hear from him there. He said that a number of his views in the last three years had changed. I've noticed. I expect that the transformation will continue in the next three years as well.

Bill and I agree in most places as to the problems. So, as he talks, he is about 75% right on with my perspectives too. However, that last bit as to how to fix things -- he turns to a solution of a super authority, an authority over all other authories, as in transit. Ouch.

But, there is something to be said for talking it out.

In an email his office needs lamps, folders, computer monitors, furnature. Send that to him if you have it. I don't need any of that for my office. We're covered. However, I'm in the market for 6,000 blank CDs, jewel cases optional.

My wish list: CDs. Pointers and blank media welcomed.

Heads up for St. Louis, the other gateway city

I submitted a letter to the editor for publishing in the St. Louis newspaper as Dr. John Thompson is a finalist for the Superintendent's job there. See the comment area.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Campaign Finance Reform - my solution - as Peduto's plan was put in play

Vendors, Shade, Advertisements

The citizens are pushing at City Council on a few matters.

I stand for the free markets! If I was in charge, we'd expand and loosen the vendor restrictions.

Meanwhile, the city is going in the wrong directions. The city is kicking out the vendors in Oakland. The vendors provide valued services.

The shade tree commission is about to see its stream of income diverted into the general fund. The income to the city from the bus shelter ads is to go directly to the commission now. However, some on council want to change the existing policy.

The best solution would be the creation of a Pittsburgh Park District that would include the revenue stream and the responsibility of the existing shade tree commission. We need to work on quality of life matters and not be bogged down with other city business matters such as roads and police.

A new Pittsburgh Park District, using the model that operates in Illinois, would be a perfect setting for these discussions and deliberations and decisions.

As to the ads in the ballfields --- same solution different problem. The parks people should make park decisions. And all the citizens should be part of the public park process. An open entity, operating with the sunshine laws, devote to the green, healthy, web of life elements is so important to our mission as a region.

We need a Pittsburgh Park District. As a state senator, I'd insure its arrival. Then all these matters can flow into that body for us to discuss and act upon.

Race field narrows

Diven gets GOP nod - Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is running as a Libertarian.

Dave Brown, thanks for listing us all.
Diven gets GOP nod for state Senate seat: "Diven, the hand-picked candidate of the GOP leadership in Harrisburg, ..."

Campaign Finance Reform memo from Mark Rauterkus

From: Mark Rauterkus,

Present roles: Candidate for PA Senate (42nd dist) in the special election on May 17, 2005 Task force member of Bill Peuduto's campaign finance reform legislation.

To: Task Force, and Public

Date: Feb. 23, 2005

Our work on the campaign finance reform task force is coming to a close and now it is time to make the next push, out into the community at large. We have had some good discussions so far. Now we will see what can take root and help in our shared landscape in our political world.

I have major points to stress. I will take these points far and wide in efforts to get them approved and blended into our future solutions. I hope to get the approval of the task force on two of these matters. Points #3, # 4 and # 5 don't fit into the task force mission.

#1. The banks need to be asked to form a new type of account for PAC that is fully transparent.

#2. The enforcement needs to include a no-contract “scarlet letter” designation for guilty parties that prohibits all city contracts from such people, organizations and corporation for the duration of the candidate's term in office.

#3. The city can offer a suite of interactions among candidates and citizens that cost little or nothing so as to have better educated voters.

#4. Candidate debates should include all candidates on the ballot. Otherwise, serious measures of accommodation should be enacted.

#5. An ethics program and task force of sorts should be instigated. I'd be willing to participate in those discussions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Heavy Or Not

ACLU Pizza video is clever. It is at

Thanks for the pointer Bob.

Grassroots PA reports on the first old party selection that ended today

Grassroots PA
27 -Scoscia
2 - Jason

I posted there, in the comments, in closing: "Now to pick up and polish some pebbles so as to better arm the sling shot. (Hint: Think David and Goliath.)"

Chat Room for is functional and efforts to begin shortly.

Mark Rauterkus chat for

Please enter your nickname: _____
Please enter your password: _____
Choose a room: _____
Choose a version: _____

The chat room is open and functional. Details of our web chat schedule are due shortly.

Hempfield sacks coach Hempfield Area football players went all out in defense of their coach Monday night, but their last-ditch attempt to persuade the school board to reinstate Robert 'Bo' Ruffner Jr. was to no avail.

My heart goes out to these kids and the coaches in this saga. These stories occur around here every year, sadly. Paul Seneca, girls varsity basketball coach at North Allegheny, didn't get his contract renewed last year.

In a few weeks or months, I'd love to interview Bo in the TV studios.

One of my sideline sites is CLOH.Org. It can come to mean Coaching Legacy Of Honor. Seems to me, from being from afar, that coach is taking the high road with the situation -- as all great educators generally do. That's honorable.

Some who's who listing -- hardly a lesson as to what's what however

State Rep. Kotik joins race for Wagner's state Senate seat: "
Two incumbent council members, Peduto and Sala Udin, face challengers Sunday. Harlan Stone, a lawyer, has filed in the 8th District, opposing Peduto, who is seeking the council endorsement in addition to his mayoral quest. Udin is challenged by Tonya Payne, the Democratic chairwoman of the 1st Ward.

The 2nd District council seat is open due to Councilman Alan Hertzberg's decision to run for judge. It has attracted six Democratic candidates: Melissa A. Rossiter, Michael Galovich, Paul F. Renne, Daniel Deasey, Paul Mastandrea and William Urbanic.

Do you believe in miracles?

I do.

Twenty-five years ago, I was coaching swimming as an assistant with the Ohio University men's team. We were at a swim meet at Bowling Green State Univ. BG had a player or two on the USA Squad, so the place was really buzzing.

Today, just hours after plugging in the PayPal account, we're able to report that the donation pipeline is "open and flowing."

Perhaps that's another miracle to some. To me, its not.

To mark a milestone, the campaign has already exceeded the total amount of contributions in cash from my past camapign four years ago. I ran for Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, in 2001. I was in a contested Republican Primary. Back then, I and others knew the city was in serious trouble. We needed to do something about our town before we drained the public treasury. Well, I ran for Mayor. I got 46% of the GOP vote, a percentage that was higher than my age. In that quest, I got votes city-wide for $.30 each when looking at the $ spent and #s of votes earned.

Mayor Tom Murphy and then City Council President Bob O'Connor got votes for $30 each. Do the math.

My efforts in 2001 was a "paper campaign" so I've come to discover. That's political jargon. As a rookie, I raised $600, then. Today, within a day of opening the new PayPal account -- this campaign has exceeded the amount raised from the entire duration of the last campaign.

The campaign is my second ever. It is the first that I'll be on the ballot in the "general election." To date, no Democrat has ever had the opportunity to vote for me. It is safe to say, I'm NOT running a "paper campaign" in 2005.

No online donations have yet been deposited within the Politics Online process / utility. That just got approval some hours ago. If you'd like to be the first -- please be my guest. The links follow below on this blog.

I'm here to join with others who want to shape the future. We want to make history -- not be a slave of it.

Thanks for your support and consideration.

Monday, February 21, 2005

New candidate jumps into race in Dem's field for PA Senate

Tonight I got to meet and greet in the 4th Ward (Oakland) and heard an interesting point among the presentations of judge candidates.

Seems that a candidate from the western suburbs, a state rep, jumped into the race against County Councilman Wayne Fontana for the Dem's endorsement. That is a new wrinkle -- if not shock. Seems that the cages rattled a bit with the news of a possible run by Eileen Wagner, but, that was just noise. This isn't.

More news later.

Politics Online Donor Button for

Green Building Awards, call to nominate.

See the comments for details on the awards and lunch events. Seems to be a first ever. Four are to be honored in different categories.

Nine city recreation centers reopening -- Ten staying closed.

Nine city recreation centers reopening Monday, February 21, 2005, PG

The City of Pittsburgh today is reopening nine community recreation centers that had been closed because of budget problems. Private donations had been sought in late 2003 and last year to reopen pools and recreation centers. The centers will be open from 3 to 10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. They will offer sports, fitness and after-school programs. The centers are Arlington, 2201 Salisbury St.; Brookline, 1400 Oakridge St.; Jefferson, 605 Rednap St., North Side; Magee, 745 Greenfield Ave., Greenfield; Ormsby, 79 S. 22nd St., South Side; Paulson, 1300 Paulson St., Lincoln-Lemington; Phillips, 201 Parkfiled St., Carrick; Warrington, 329 E. Warrington Ave., Beltzhoover; and West Penn, 450 30th St., Polish Hill.

The rec centers makes a classic half-full or half-empty question. Nine open while ten stay closed. Furthermore, the centers closed in August 2003. That's a long time for a kid, say the age of 10, like my oldest and his classmates.

Another glimmer of hope comes in the fact that the South Side Market House, a city rec center, is now a place for activities too. The volunteers and parents of the area pulled together to offer programs for the kids throughout the fall of 2004. We conducted a 10-week indoor soccer program on three nights a week for three age groups. This was without city workers, without city insurance, without city toilet paper. Yep, we supplied our own T.P.

The fix to this numbness is the creation of a Pittsburgh Park District. Pull the parks and recreation elements out of the city, county, school, RAD (Regaional Asset District Tax) Board and make a citizen driven, democratic, accountable entity.

In other news, the Market House Childrens' Athletic Assn begins its hockey programming tonight. Should have started in early January. But the city delayed operations for a few reasons including gym floor refurbishing.

Playing well with others

In the wee hours of the morning I sent out an email blast to 8,705 contacts. I have not sent out a message since mid-October, 2004. So, I'm sure I'll get a few bounces. Funny to me, the first of 26 bounces some 12 hours later is this:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Jack Wagner"
To: <>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2005 03:17:56 -0500
Subject: automated response
Thank you for your note!

We read all of the mail that we receive and try to send personal responses to each message. We just wanted you to know in the meantime that we have received your note and will be in touch soon.


I'm running for Jack Wagner's old seat. They are keeping the email on for me -- like keeping the seat warm -- or "....We'll keep the light on for ya." Tom Bodet of Motel 6 fame. Thanks for such a quick response to my email.

Is it so strange and newsworthy that people get along? In the real world, outreach and communication generally builds respect.

When old rivals get along is one thing. Wait until Deleno gets a sense of our political action committee's make up. A Green Party campaign manager, a yellow-dog Democrat as Social Policy Director, lots of Republicans and a few other Libertarians, Indies too! The big tent and playing well with others is part of who I am.

Jon Delano mentioned in his email blast to PSF:
New Found Friends:

Hey, what's with all these reports that former President Bush and former President Clinton have become good chums? I hope it's true, and certainly their trip to tsunami-ravaged lands can only deepen whatever friendship is emerging. Both men, of course, belong to a very exclusive club wherein they can call each other "George" and "Bill" (and "Jimmy" and "Jerry"), but it's probably more than that. The shared experience of being president is so unique that it ought to give the one-time occupant plenty of grist to talk about. Then, let's not forget that Bill Clinton is the world's number one charmer. Now that his son "W" has won a second term, George I has nothing to fear from the Clintons . . . unless it's Jeb v. Hillary in '08!

On a local level, I have been struck by how two one-time adversaries, former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford (D/PA) and the man who beat him, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R/PA), have become friends. I know both well, and both have told me how they have found common ground on faith-based initiatives and AmeriCorps. Santorum once ridiculed the latter [remember his Kumbayah comment?], but -- thanks to Wofford -- has now become a leading advocate for the program in the Senate. I think their friendship is genuine, even though both would admit they have lots of other policy differences.

I come from the school of politics that says lots of things are more important than political ideology. When I was chief of staff to a Pennsylvania congressman, a Democrat, back in the 1980s, some of my closest friends were top aides to Republicans like my friend Dave Gribbin, Cong. Dick Cheney's chief aide. That was considered normal back then. It's a sad comment on today's politics that it becomes a big news story when two former presidents share a friendship!

Eminent domain case to Supreme Court

High court to weigh eminent domain The question before the Supreme Court is whether the redevelopment of Fort Trumbull, which the city believes will invigorate the economy of New London, is a 'public use' that overrides the owners' right to hold on to their land if they choose.

Pittsburgh has used eminent domain as a hammer too. Let's see what the top court decides.

I strongly oppose the use of eminent domain. Too many properties are owned by the government now. There is no need to take more. The justification of taking property and from one and give it to another is lost to me.

Remember Pittsburgh Wool and the rip off the past?

Think about the other funny dealings -- such as National Indoor Tennis along the busway. PAT was to expand, but didn't.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Pittsburgh Independent Media Center blogs on the FBI

Pittsburgh Independent Media Center On Wednesday, January 26, Bill Parks, an agent with the Pittsburgh Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) visited the home of an intern and a staff member of the Thomas Merton Center.

An anoymous contributor notes that the FBI has also been interviewing local Muslim activists recently and asking questions related to potential divisions in the activist community, particularly on race lines.

If you are contacted by the FBI: you are advised to refuse to speak with them and ask them to contact your lawyer. In general there is no requirement that you answer their questions, but saying anything false, even if it is unrelated to an investigation, could be a federal crime.

Some of us are anxious to get extra help and interns. Then the TMC and the Pgh Indie Media Center are turning them away. At least they are not beating down their doors. campaign crew -- our brain trust of sorts.

Race coverage -- Fontana is to resign any hour now, it seems. Who takes his place?

Fontana seeks nomination - Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is running as a Libertarian.

With the rules of the county charter looming large, Wayne Fontana is going to resign from County Council. When that happens, any hour now, I fully expect, then a series of events is to unfold.

First, the county council gets to appoint a new member to the County Council to fill the rest of the term of Fontana. That has to happen within 30 days and that person must be of the same party of the outgoing council memeber.

So the second question is -- who gets the short term appointment.

Furthermore, who is going to announce as candidates for open county council seat? This will be a special election to occur May 17, 2005.

This is why Fontana needs to vacate his seat as soon as possible.

I'd love to have a running mate to campaign with in a shared quest.

Experts are a few bricks shy of a full load

Of course the experts in Pittsburgh, given the trends of the current administration for the past 11 years, are mostly focused on the building and the location.
Gambling in the future - "Experts say the casino's design and location largely will determine whether residents derive enough economic benefit from the business to tolerate its traffic, parking congestion and effects on the city's leisure activities.

Bricks and mortar matter greatly to those in power now. Frankly, I'm hard pressed to find much more that matters at all with them.

The location and the building of the casino have little to do with the casino's eventual success or failure.

In Las Vegas, the buildings are of all shapes and sizes. Moreover, the services are of all types too -- from upscale lavishness to gutter grit. I'd say that the success or failure of the casino hinges upon managers. The city is failing, and the managers are at fault.

Harshness on His Honor and the hell-hole harshness of negativity from the Trib editors.

Peduto lines up support for mayoral campaign - Don't believe a word this man says. Anyone happen to notice Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy's shameless attempt last week to deflect blame for exorbitant city firefighter overtime costs?

So what. The Trib is known for being harsh on Tom Murphy. But, is the Trib ready to be less harsh on anyone else? We won't hold our breath. The same article, if it is one, pokes hard at Lamb.

LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER? Word on Grant Street is that a recent Lamb fund-raiser at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown, didn't exactly result in a campaign windfall.

Someone who was there said there couldn't have been more than 90 people at the $250-per-person event, with many of those attending having received complimentary tickets.

Lamb is going to need to bring a lot more money to the dance if he hopes to have a chance against front-runner O'Connor.

It is always easy to name call and discount. John Thompson couldn't raise the money, or Mark Brentley didn't win at dog catcher, or Clinton's audio book is reselling at $9 used.

The management of decline is well illustrated in print there.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Feeling generous?

The PayPal account for is open. Click the button and make a donation to the campaign for the special election for PA Senate in the 42nd District. The election is on May 17, 2005. After clicking the button, you can choose the donation amount.

Some of the other guys

Edico - Political Announcements

The Diven for Senate campaign gets a big boost with the arrival of future Swann-ite and GOP consultant Ray Zaborney to oversee this potentially passionate race. Zaborney's presence shows that the State GOP and Senate Republicans are dead serious about winning this seat. A quick glimpse at the win column that Zaborney has had a hand in; Congressman Bill Shuster, Attorney General Tom Corbett, Allegheny County Judge Jill Rangos to name a few along with countless other state and local races. The big guys choice as commander in chief in this race speaks volumes. Curb talk has him playing a major role in the potential Lynn Swann campaign for Governor.

This just in on the nine’s… Allegheny County Councilman Wayne Fontana has just paid his filing fee to seek the endorsement to run for the state Senate seat vacated by Chancellor er I mean Auditor General Jack Wagner…curb talk had Chancellor sister-in-law Eileen Wagner as the heiress apparent and Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein as the man courted by Rendell…but at the end of the day, even with weak internal polling, Fontana becomes the candidate…which of course begs the question…When does Wayne resign his County council seat?

I dare predict that Fontana won't resign next week. Lots of the members on County Council don't like the law within the County Charter that applies to them. They might feel above the law. A change to the county charter was put before the voters twice. Both times the voters said that the law stays.

Weak internal polling means potential for strong outreach throughout the campaign. That's welcomed. Both Diven and Fontana have a struggle on their hands. Let the exercise begin. May the voters and citizens win in the end.

Steelers drop nightclub plan, look to reduce amphitheater

Steelers drop nightclub plan, look to reduce amphitheater
The amphitheater grant was criticized by some who did not believe Rendell should be awarding money to a successful private sports franchise.

The sweet smell of victory, again. The victory is not in the fact that little is happening. Rather, the victory is in the fact that the Murphy vision is more of a memory than a "done deal." The corporate welfare stinks. The real solutions to the North Side have to include a re-look at the promises offered to the ball teams. They had to put up or else. They had a timeline too. Extensions were already offered on a few instances. They can't deliver on their own.

The baseball team and the football team needs to stick to the games of their own leagues. They teams are sure to make horrid developers. They've proven that already. The teams are sure to be horrid neighbors too, for working people. But I'm sure that the teams would never see it as such.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The thought-controlled robotic arm

Engadget -

Now if we had any thought control in the robotic hugs of Bob O'Connor we'd really have something to crow about.

The link goes to a Pitt connection.

I'll say nothing about lever pullers when it comes to election day and those robotic motions. Woops. Just did.

Open Senate seats here and there

AP -- open Senate seats The outcomes of the elections won't change the balance of power in the Senate, currently controlled by the Republicans, 28-19...

... The parties expect a closely contested and expensive race in a district where voter registration is evenly split.

Democrat strategists expect Democratic Rep. Jennifer Mann and Republican Rep. Patrick Browne to spend around $2 million campaigning for the April 5 special election.

'If that's what its going to take to win, then obviously we're committed to doing it,' Mann said.

So, the outcome matters little. But, the spending is big. If you need to be committed -- wonder when and if the insanity is not so distant in the future.

With local news, I had the chance to talk with City Councilman James Motznik, Dem. Jim worked in the office of Michael Diven when Diven was in City Council. Then Jim won the special election and has since defended his seat -- and is running again for another term as well.

Some think and feel that Motznik is a potential candidate for Diven's present state house seat should Diven depart the house. But Jim made it clear to me on the phone that he would NOT run for the seat as a Republican. He is staying a Democrat.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

City Paper Article, page 12, GOP Honchos Back Newcomer Over Old Soldier

Nice coverage of the news in the City Paper, I'm not sure who is going to win the GOP nomination. I have my opinions, but you'll have to see them at the bottom of the article. Read and scroll.

A father of five, owner of a swimming pool-maintenance business, Bellevue Council member and Air National Guard reservist, Joe Scioscia didn't need to add to his to-do list. As a lifelong Republican, though, he couldn't sit still when he heard that Michael Diven -- a Democrat until last month -- was likely to represent the GOP in a state Senate race. "I'm not convinced he has a Republican bone in his body," says Scioscia.

Now Scioscia is in the race, and his entrance has sparked a Republican insurgency, pitting party faithful against county and state leaders.

After former Sen. Jack Wagner ascended to the auditor general’s post in January, Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll scheduled a May 17 special election to fill out his term. In special elections, party committee members from the district choose nominees. Five Democrats hope to win their party's nod on Feb. 27, and Libertarian Mark Rauterkus is running. Republican committee members will choose their candidate Feb. 22.

Initially, local Republicans coalesced around Scott Township Commissioner David Jayson. Then state Rep. Diven, of Brookline, switched parties and announced his intention to run. Senate Republican leadership embraced him. "It's a very difficult seat [for a Republican to win], but with Michael Diven, it's a winnable seat," says Senate Republican spokesman Michael Long, claiming Diven beats likely Democratic candidates in polls.

Diven has long been at odds with his old party's leadership, calling House Democratic leaders "cowards and thugs" in a 2001 e-mail blast, suing the county Democratic Committee over voting procedures, and twice voting against Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s budgets. "There's been a lot of differences I've had with the ultra-liberal side of the Democratic Party," says Diven, who describes himself as a pro-life, pro-gun "moderate Republican."

"He just changed dance partners. That doesn't make you a Republican," says Scioscia, who carried his party’s banner in a 2003 bid for county controller. When Jayson dropped out of the race, Scioscia figured the fix was in. But the self-described "fiscally and morally conservative" Scioscia didn't want to see the local party "add another RINO [Republican In Name Only] to the Harrisburg herd." He boasts significant support among committee members -- a claim other party insiders echo.

Scioscia has had a tough time, though, figuring out exactly who the district’s 102 committee members are. He says that when he asked for a list, GOP leaders gave him the runaround, then insisted on sending it by snail mail.

"Mr. Scioscia has absolutely no problem at all getting committee lists," says county Republican Committee Chairman Bob Glancy. "He needs to do things in a civil and procedural way." Glancy calls Diven "an interesting young man who has a great deal of support" in the district.

Scioscia knows he’s monkeying with Senate Republican leadership's plan to ensure a 10-seat majority in their chamber. He says those plans were made "assuming that Republican Committee people are patsies" -- an assumption he hopes to disprove.

If Diven wins out over Scioscia, then I'll be psyched to deal with a giant. He'll be in fits and be understood for what he's been. The hand-holding with Tom Murphy is a sure reason that the voters will have for voting against Diven in the general election. Diven won't win the state senate seat in the general election. And, he could get third in the race.

If Scioscia wins, the sizzle in the race is sure to be softer -- but the steak is sure to arrive. Scioscia and myself, and Scioscia's people and my people, are willing, capable, and eager to debate each other, in the city and out of the city, on 30, 40 or perhaps 50 opportunities. We'll debate in the bakery section of Giant Eagle. We'll hit every PTO and scout meeting and church group from Avalon to the Zambonie in Castle Shannon and Island Sports. The candidate that advances from the Democratic party is sure to be invited -- and sure to be idle. That candidate is the expected the heir apparent.

Can't wait. Time to make a difference! Time to prove our distinctions as well.

Open Source Model: Release those new assessment numbers, now

My call in to Jerry Bowyer show about Dan O's position with the new county property assessments included these thoughts.

The tax bills were snatched away from the jaws of defeat before the bills went to the postmaster for mailing. So presently, the talk of any solution is about the devil we don't know against the devil we still don't know.

Let's release the numbers on the web site. Generate some data now. Put out the spreadsheets. The county has the numbers. Don't ponder them in private. Ponder them after they've been released.

With an open-source model, one would release the numbers. That's the raw source code. Then allow the brain power of the people to enter the discussions with keen awareness.

Assessment cap plan seen as 'regressive,' 'pandering'

Assessment cap plan seen as 'regressive,' 'pandering'State and former county officials yesterday sharply criticized county Chief Executive Dan Onorato's proposal to cap Allegheny County's 2006 property assessment increases at 4 percent, calling it 'regressive' and 'pandering.'

Onorato wants to cap increases at 4 percent.

I have many opinions on this matter. But, one of the worst things that have been done is that the people are being left in the dark, again. The reason to put out an order to NOT mail the new tax statements that show the homeowners new assessed value is to prevent outrage. Confusion stinks. But, worse, is in-action and a dense, dark fog.

At the last minute, Dan Onorato choose to go with the FUD option. FUD is Feat, uncertainty, doubt.

If I'm in charge, we would have done this in a different way. I would have released the new assessments on the web. We'd use technology. Don't pay the printers and postmaster and have to re-send these bills. The bills are going to be in dispute. But if we knew what the county executive knew as he knew it, we'd be able to see what's what.

Upload some new tables. Put some new fields on the county database. Release the insights now. Then lets all ponder what to do next.

I don't want to hear that the average home incrase is 22% in some area and another percentage -- on average -- elsewhere. Give the numbers on the web and then we'll all see for ourselves.

City Paper on candidates

News Briefs ARCHIVES
GOP Honchos Back Newcomer Over Old Soldier

A father of five, owner of a swimming pool-maintenance business, Bellevue Council member and Air National Guard reservist, Joe Scioscia didn’t need to add to his to-do list. As a lifelong Republican, though, he couldn’t sit still when he heard that Michael Diven -- a Democrat until last month -- was likely to represent the GOP in a state Senate race. “I’m not convinced he has a Republican bone in his body,” says Scioscia.
Now Scioscia is in the race, and his entrance has sparked a Republican insurgency, pitting party faithful against county and state leaders.
After former Sen. Jack Wagner ascended to the auditor general’s post in January, Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll scheduled a May 17 special election to fill out his term. In special elections, party committee members from the district choose nominees. Five Democrats hope to win their party’s nod on Feb. 27, and Libertarian Mark Rauterkus is running. Republican committee members will choose their candidate Feb. 22.
Initially, local Republicans coalesced around Scott Township Commissioner David Jayson. Then state Rep. Diven, of Brookline, switched parties and announced his intention to run. Senate Republican leadership embraced him. “It’s a very difficult seat [for a Republican to win], but with Michael Diven, it’s a winnable seat,” says Senate Republican spokesman Michael Long, claiming Diven beats likely Democratic candidates in polls.
Diven has long been at odds with his old party’s leadership, calling House Democratic leaders “cowards and thugs” in a 2001 e-mail blast, suing the county Democratic Committee over voting procedures, and twice voting against Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s budgets. “There’s been a lot of differences I’ve had with the ultra-liberal side of the Democratic Party,” says Diven, who describes himself as a pro-life, pro-gun “moderate Republican.”
“He just changed dance partners. That doesn’t make you a Republican,” says Scioscia, who carried his party’s banner in a 2003 bid for county controller. When Jayson dropped out of the race, Scioscia figured the fix was in. But the self-described “fiscally and morally conservative” Scioscia didn’t want to see the local party “add another RINO [Republican In Name Only] to the Harrisburg herd.” He boasts significant support among committee members -- a claim other party insiders echo.
Scioscia has had a tough time, though, figuring out exactly who the district’s 102 committee members are. He says that when he asked for a list, GOP leaders gave him the runaround, then insisted on sending it by snail mail.
“Mr. Scioscia has absolutely no problem at all getting committee lists,” says county Republican Committee Chairman Bob Glancy. “He needs to do things in a civil and procedural way.” Glancy calls Diven “an interesting young man who has a great deal of support” in the district.
Scioscia knows he’s monkeying with Senate Republican leadership’s plan to ensure a 10-seat majority in their chamber. He says those plans were made “assuming that Republican Committee people are patsies” -- an assumption he hopes to disprove.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Any friends within the banking and/or credit union business with an extra 20-hours or even five hours in the next two weeks?

Request: A project just hatched. It needs some attention right away. This is a call for a volunteer or a few volunteers to help. The project is more for the benefit of the community and not for So, anyone could be welcomed to participate.

If you are willing to work with and among those in the banking industry, please send me an email and note your contact information. Tasks include, writting, outreach, a few phone calls for advance research, follow-ups, presentation crafting, emailing (of course), assisting, and an eventual media release.

From start to finish, this should be a project that takes two weeks. Then it ends.

Here is an opportunity to play a role in the ongoing efforts for reform and new ideas within our political landscape. Participate! Life isn't a spectator sport. This is strictly volunteer efforts.

Email me at:

Thanks for the consideration. My cell: 412 298 3432.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

U.S. women's soccer coach, Heinrichs, resigns

If I was mayor, or if I was a front-running democrat seeking the mayor's office, such as Bob, I'd offer a letter of praise to this coach. Furthermore, I'd tender an offer for employment. Individuals with high-level performances in sports and elsewhere, should consider Pittsburgh as a possible home town. - Soccer - �U.S. women's soccer coach Heinrichs resigns - Tuesday February 15, 2005 10:23PM April Heinrichs is resigning as the United States women's soccer coach, six months after leading the team to an Olympic gold medal.

Since I'm only a candidate, the best I can do is put out a call to include Coach Heinrichs as a speaker at a sports lecture series, S6.

Miss conduct in final motions in council on the We-Hav shut-down

The city was treated to another experience of total disregard the by City Council members. They collectively displayed a wipe to the people of District 2, and thereby all City residents.

Without any discussion or comment WHATSOEVER the vote was 8-0 in favor of passing Hertzberg's Bill 1020-2005. Sala Udin was conveniently not in the room.

Paul Sentner, an At-Large member of the committee,, wrote a blast email that incuded:
I have lightly mulled this event over, and at first I felt I /we should have spoken during the pre-meeting public comment period..

BUT -hey, they had the information via my e-mail document Thursday morning;
-their staff member had the phone conversation with me, AND the
information Friday afternoon;
-and a few others that I know of contacted some Council members;

Should not elected officials be expected to do the correct thing when
presented with the appropriate information?

--I concluded, as I decided to get this e-mail out, that if anyone of the Opposition had spoken this morning, and if speaking would have somehow embarrassed the vote into defeat of the Bill, we would still not know where the Council members are each coming from.

NOW we do; in my opinion, not one of them is worthy of elected office; not one stood up for the principle of the matter; except for a few owners who supported the tax, but weren't interested in enrolling, and those 40-some who did enroll, that money was -stolen- via -extortion- .

..that money is not Hertzberg's or Council's or anyone else's to do anything with but refund it (because it was illegitimately gotten, no matter what the NID Act says about funds reverting to the municipality.)

--and restitution should be made for the money spent because as I have noted before:
they knew what they were doing was illegitimate, and they went on with the rip-off anyway.

..don't kick sleeping dogs... and don't stir up the hornets...

This whole matter should be investigated by the proper authorities. Any ideas who the proper authorities are?

FYI: This "We-Hav" program was started in the city in certain neighborhoods. It was terminated due to a massive outcry among the citizens. The termination happened a number of months ago. Now as a final insult, the money that should be refunded to the citizens is getting shifted. Some of the money is going to go to those who purchased a home assessment. The assesment was a service that was provided. It came as a discouted price. The services were offered and rendered. But, the tax -- and artificial collected fee by an organization that had in its bylaws that citizens were NOT permitted to attend board meetings -- is getting less of a pay back.

I was against the We-Hav program. I was for its termination. I salute the citizens who mobalized and won the struggle in the end.

QED's series, Back To Prosperity begins to air

The report that the tv series is based upon is online, Back to Prosperity can be downloaded at:

Economic Club of Pgh gathers on Feb 23

Ken Cuccinelli, President & CEO of Quest Fore Inc. sent along this info. I'm happy to say, I'll be there. Consider it yourself.

Timken President and CEO James Griffith to Headline February Meeting of The Economic Club of Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH - James W. Griffith, president and CEO of The Timken Company, will be the featured speaker at this month's luncheon meeting of The Economic Club of Pittsburgh. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.

Griffith will discuss how a Midwestern-based manufacturing company can be globally competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace. He also will provide an economic outlook for Timken and the manufacturing sector for 2005.

The Timken Company is a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered bearings and alloy steels and a provider of related products and services. With some 26,000 employees and operations in 29 countries, Cleveland-based Timken reported record sales of $4.5 billion in 2004.
Forbes recently named Timken one of its best-managed companies, and Business Ethics selected the company as one of its 100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2004.

Griffith has had extensive experience in manufacturing, international business and strategic planning during his two decades with Timken. Since joining the company in 1984, he has managed Timken's rail business and North American automotive business, as well as its regional activities in Asia, Australia and Latin America. He was named president of Timken in 1999 and CEO in 2002.

Luncheon reservations can be made via e-mail to, The cost is $25 for members, $35 for non-members and $15 for students.

Founded in 1910, The Economic Club of Pittsburgh is a local chapter of the National Association for Business Economics. The club provides a forum for informed discussion on regional, national and global economic policy issues, as well as a vehicle for exchanging insight and developing solutions to today's economic challenges.

Pitt News - O'Conner enters third race for mayor

The Pitt News - O'Conner enters third race for mayor: "We're headed in the wrong direction," O'Connor said, citing the city's precarious financial situation and untended relationships with county and state government. "We need to put Pittsburgh on the right track."

The right track. What is the right track, Bob?

Four years ago, as Bob and I were on the campaign trails, I had the opportunity to hear Bob speak often. Perhaps more than 100 times. And, I've watched Bob operate as a member of City Council as well. I have a good memory. I observe like a lifeguard should.

My suggestion four years ago to Tom Murphy, one of Bob's opponents, was to brand the expression: "When you don't know where you want to go, any road will take you there."

Pittsburgh needs to be put onto the right track. No doubt. But, what track should we pick? Why? How do we get there?

The quality of our directions is what is needed. We can't say, any longer, go to where the Roy Rodgers was, turn left. Then turn at the bend where the Isley's was, and go past the former factory site, blah, blah, blah.

We need a compass that isn't mired in mud. We need roads that are not with ruts and potholes. We need maps -- with fresh concepts and excellent leadership that know and understand the region.

Time will tell if Bob's campaign is but another re-tred or not.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Meet: Katrina Brabham, Campaign Manager

Katrina comes to us from the San Francisco Bay Area by way of New York City and Washington, DC. A graduate of Columbia College, she lived in the Bay Area for 11 years where she worked primarily in the biotech industry. Katrina moved to Pittsburgh in 1998 with the hopes of working in the nascent tissue engineering industry. Currently, she works in a local company's R&D facility as a laboratory technician. She is also working towards a B.S. in Chemistry, Bioscience Option, at the University of Pittsburgh with the hopes of graduating in December 2006. Her ambitions include an eventual Masters Degree in Bioengineering.

Katrina's Pittsburgh home has always been on the North Side. First, she resided in the Mexican War Streets and now lives in Observatory Hill. Her home is in the city but not within the borders of the PA Senate 42nd District.

In the past two years, Katrina has become more and more politically and socially active. She is a member of the Urban League Young Professionals, the Green Party, and Observatory Hill, Inc. Last year she worked on the the campaign of a Green Party member in the General Assembly, District 21 election.

Call for new business network by Herb for GOPers

Herb and Ron are putting out a call for a new business network. See the comments for details.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Libertarians gather for the monthly meeting this week. Join us if you wish.

The February meeting of the Libertarian Party of Allegheny County is starts at 7 pm on this coming Wednesday, February 16, at Ritters Diner on Baum Blvd.

All are welcome to attend.

Wiki coverage. We do this at

New tools ease collaboration and publishing online The idea is to make it easy to quickly post and remove stuff from digital bulletin boards where the online communities of the future will gather to catch up and trade ideas, images and work.

'We're turning the Web into a conversation,' said Glenn Reid, chief executive and founder of Five Across Inc.

Link goes to a nice article. But, that isn't new, really.
Blogs can get you fired ... she started a 'Bloggers Rights Movement,' calling on other bloggers to sign a petition demanding that companies let employees know their blog policies."

Meanwhile, the backlash is nasy for some who are not insulated.

What I'm doing, running for public office, isn't for everyone. I realize that I'm one of the very few who are fortunate enough to have the built-in protections with job safety. I'm not an island. But, I don't have a the normal sets of worries that 98% of the rest of the population.

I'm thrilled to study, endorse and greatly extend sensible bills of rights for bloggers and whistleblowers.

As we clean house and put fresh insights into office, piles of dirt are going to surface. Everything won't be fixed with one victory on the polls on election day. In time, as others see that we are strongly committed to open, direct, accountable, responsible, problem solving -- a flood discussions will emerge.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Server Re-tooling and upgrades

The servers we deploy within our efforts are being upgraded. More capacity, more utility, more focus. Hence, some of the pages won't be accessible for a few days, perhaps.

Thanks for your understanding.

It is okay to email me at:
Call: 412 298 3432.

Parties set to make picks for Wagner's Senate seat

Today's ink in the Post-Gazette:
Parties set to make picks for Wagner's Senate seat: "Besides the Democratic and Republican candidates, there will be a third hopeful in the race -- Libertarian Party candidate Mark Rauterkus, a South Side community activitist.

This is a solid article on the race as it looks today.

Yesterday I went to the Election Department and obtained the list of all the county's committee members for both of the old-parties. The list is a little old in that the open spaces can be filled with appointments. Those appointments are not always reported with frequency to the Election Department.

I could fax a copy of the public list to anyone who might be interested.

These lists should be open and revealed to the public, in my opinion. I like open and transparent representation. Both of the old parties try to guard their lists to a degree. Prove me wrong if you can. I'd be happy if it were not so.

Some stonewalling treatment would be expected if you tried to seek the list yourself.

Zappala must be busy.

Zappala probing payment to Wecht Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. has launched a criminal investigation of county Coroner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht for possible violations of state and federal law.
the DA's investigation is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Claus, who oversees the office's public corruption section. He also is in charge of an inquiry into whether Mayor Tom Murphy and city firefighters union President Joseph King broke state law in connection with the 2001 mayoral primary.

I can't begin to figure out what's up with all of these cases. I dare not go there but only to say that, at times, it takes a new broom to sweep clean. We need to clean house. We need to pull ourselves up and out of the mud, the court cases and corruption.

Part of the looks at the trend to run quickly and often to court. If elected, I'll try to raise our margin of litigation.

Song: Don't Put Me In a box by Johnsmith

I grew up in a big clan, small town in the heartland.
Was the third of ten kids, good Irish Catholic.
We went to school down at ol' St Joe's, we had catechism with the nums in the robes.
They took their chalk and drew our souls, boxes full of sins on the big blackboard.

Sometimes, some people try so hard.
To put us in a box, and tell us that's who we are.
Well I'm not, no no I'm not.
I am more than what they see. I am one more mystery.
Oh please, don't put me in a box.

I'm a whole lot more than these arms and legs, hands or feet or whiskered face.
A while lot more than my family tree, or where I'm from or the friends I keep.
I went down to the bank to ge me a loan. The man at the desk said to fill out the form.
Your name, your age, your job, your pay, your whole life story on one small page.


Will I dreamt myself a dream last night. I dreamt the gates of heaven were open wide.
Ol' St. Peter was holdin' a sign. He said there aint no boxes allowed inside.
So when I got up, I got to thinkin'. Maybe ol' St. Peter, he wasn't kidin'. Maybe it's time I lit a match. Burn my boxes, and never look back.

Sometimes, some of us try so hard, to hold onto our boxes that tell us that's who we are.
Well I'm not, no, no, I'm not.
I am more than what they see. I am one big mystery.
Oh please, please, don't put me in a box.

Don't put me in a white box.
Don't put me in a black box.
Don't put me in a straight box.
Dont' put me in some gay box.
Don't put me in a rich box, poor box, young box, old box.
Smart box, stupid box, left box, right box.
Red, white, and blue box.
Please don't put me in a box.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Rarely Pure and Never Simple: A Local Rant

This comes from another site. Talks about the battles among Ds and Rs.

Rarely Pure and Never Simple: A Local Rant: "One more reason why I hate republicans is because they buy democrats.

IT spending on the increase among Fed budgets -- especially for VA efforts

Government spending on technology efforts allow for better services and efficient operations.
Bush wants 7 percent IT increase President Bush's proposed budget for fiscal 2006 calls for a 7 percent increase in information technology spending governmentwide to $65.1 billion, including significant increases for the Homeland Security Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The proposal, to be sent to Capitol Hill Feb. 7, represents a modest 4.9 percent increase for the Defense Department and a 9 percent increase for civilian agencies. Overall, it seeks a 7.1 percent, or $4.3 billion, for IT governmentwide.

Budget documents obtained by Federal Computer Week include proposed IT cuts for other agencies. Among the losers are the Social Security Administration, the Office of Personnel Management and NASA.

But the biggest winners in the proposal, which is expected to be altered significantly before it becomes law, are DHS, which would get a 24.7 percent increase; the VA, which would get a 29.2 percent increase; the Justice Department, which would get a 20.2 percent increase; and the National Science Foundation, which would get a 25.6 percent increase.

Wired: ponderings about new music with technology changing the landscape

Music matters for me for three different reasons. First, I enjoy and support it as a consumer, audience member, and fan. Second, the digial landscape is important as we build the campaign. We'll inject music and have done so already. Third comes the challenge of being one who governs. The lawmaker in me is going to be able to put my insights into action in the state house and among other law-making bodies.

Wired 13.02: VIEW Record labels are threatened by technologies that give fans access to music in ways no one ever planned. They plead with Congress for more laws to control the fans. Activist organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge (on whose boards this columnist sits) are fighting back. They (we) demand an end to the war, and the attack on innovation that it represents.

I am a friend of the open-source ways. And, I'm much more than a friend of those styles when I'm elected. We need to look out for the public domain. We can't just cave to the corporate lawyers.

These issues are in quick evolution in education, publishing, industry and the global culture. We need to have an understanding of the various forms and a strong sense of responsibility to the public at large.

Re-Wiring the Future of Community Organizing

Interestng article for civic folks and the internet. Rosen, a Pittsburgh guy, gets nice ink for his work in the early cycles with Howard Dean.

DDN Articles - Re-Wiring the Future of Community Organizing

One of the saddest bit of internet news came last weekend when it was announced that D-Net was dead. That was a project of the League of Women Voters.

New thorn in the side of the NO-We-HAV efforts in west end.

See the comments to see Paul Senter's latest email. The refunds due some months ago have not yet materialized.

Get out of town. Downtown roadblocks = URA and Tom Murphy

Heavy handed Grant Street actions are going to kills this region. The recovery and healing can't occur while those folks are in charge.
Broker: City is blocking Lazarus-Macy's deal A local broker for a New York City developer who once had an agreement to buy the vacant Lazarus-Macy's building Downtown claims the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority and mayor's office have been trying to scuttle a sale ...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

City Paper Letter:

Our leadership doesn’t “suck,” but rather needs to become a more vigorous competition of ideas and direction for our city.

Well said John Fetterman of Braddock.

Mayor Tom Murphy and Michael Diven have been holding hands for a decade

It is my strong belief that Michael Diven is much like Tom Murphy. I've been fighting the good fight against Tom Murphy at every turn for the past seven or eight years. I'm not excited to see Diven rise in stature in the public realm. Diven and Murphy are close buddies. Their policies have hurt our region in a number of ways.

City Council to ask PennDOT to fix I-376 'bathtub' - State Rep. Michael Diven, D-Brookline, was appointed by Mayor Tom Murphy to a seat on the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority. His term will expire Dec. 31, 2009.

PG letter to editor about the defection of Diven

Letters to the editor: 2/10/05: "We are Democrats

With Michael Diven's recent move to the Republican Party, he has in effect decided for me and thousands of other devoted Democrats who voted him into office that our vote should have instead gone to boost the Republican majority in the Pennsylvania House and Senate ('Brookline Democrat Diven Switches to GOP,' Jan. 30). What? As once said by Helen Keller: 'Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.' But in voting for Michael Diven, I in fact voted for both Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and now see that I did in fact choose a real and avowed autocrat.

Apparently it does not matter to Michael Diven that we who elected him are loyal Democrats, committed to the ideals for which the party stands, and that to us, the designation of 'Democrat' is far more than a name. Mr. Diven is an ingrate to believe himself to be bigger than the vote of the little folk who elected him. He is a fool to believe himself above the values for which the Democratic Party stands, and for which I faithfully place my vote.

He has no concept that he was elected to a public service position and has showed his complete disregard for the will of the voters.

When my street is not paved in the summer or cleaned in the winter, when our local businesses and schools are shutting down, when my neighborhood is overrun with crime, when I cannot afford my public transportation or when I cannot sell my house because my property value is decreasing, I am certain that the Republican majority will stand up and fight for me, since the avowed autocrat-elect, Michael 'Tweedledee-Tweedledum' Diven, upon his personal volition, has decided that I and my fellow lifelong Democrats would be better served by Republicans.

Democratic Committeewoman
22nd Legislative District

Meet Wilburn Hayden, Ph.D., Director for Social Policy and Research

As a member of commitee in the role of Director for Social Policy and Research, Wilburn Hayden, Ph.D., bring many skills and experiences to the campaign.

Home owner: 91 South 24th Street (South Side) – Not in 42nd District.

Wilburn is an experienced social worker educator. He is a Full Professor and Director of the Masters of Social Work Program at California University of Pennsylvania.

He has been active in mostly Democratic political campaigns and politics for more than thirty years in North Carolina, Ontario, Canada, and Pennsylvania. Wilburn currently chairs Pennsylvania's social workers political action committee. Wilburn has had major responsibilities in more than 10 political campaigns.

Calliope Legends Concert, 8 pm on February 19, 2005

From Wilburn: This is NOT an event associated with
An Evening with Kreg Viesselman: Rusty voice of a classic singer/songwriter/straggle hell-bent on raking the dregs with his six string while showering souls with humorous and humane lyrics; Heart wrenching, warm, poignant…yet laced with acrid wit…the road-worn voice and country blues-steeped guitar of Kreg Viesselman echo the long gone tradition of the rambling singer/songwriter. This guy is good… he's writing some great stuff! ”-Taj Mahal. It's no surprise that Kreg's songwriting is fetching such praise, as his wanderlust has taken him from the small Midwestern town in which he was born and placed him beside some of the most bizarre and intriguing characters in America.

8 pm on Feb. 19, First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, 605 Morewood Avenue, Shadyside (at the intersection of Morewood & Ellsworth Avenues). Admission for the Evening is $15.00 at the Door. Students $5.00.

Please pass this on to others interested in acoustic music and folk singer\songwriters.

Calliope still has tickets for Feb. 12 8:00 PM - Alvin Youngblood Hart; Brad Yoder – opening artist Tickets: 412-394-3353 or Alvin Youngblood Hart … a 2003 Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy Award nominee

touch screen voting

See the eVote blog for a re-post of a discusion / announcement about a future endorsement vote.

Another mention in the press -- and I'm 45 years old.

The line up of candidates in the PA Senate's special election is getting confusing. Let's use ages like jersey numbers as the buzzer sounds at a basketball game to call for subsitutions: Now entering the game for the Democrats,...

Eileen Wager = #60
Mark Rauterkus = #45
Michael Diven = #34
David Jayson = #36 (recently elbowed out of the game)
Joe Scioscia = #48

Another Wagner - Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is running as a Libertarian.