Monday, May 30, 2005

Busy days, Idle electrons, Buying a three wheeled bike

The boys are in People's Park with their art teacher and her daughter who speaks English good enough for a two hour lesson. I've slipped away to the nearby internet cafe to dash off a peek at email and the blog.

Last night, Erik, my oldest, and I went to see Star Wars -- in Chineese. The English version was not playing at the cinema near the swim pool. Grant melted down and opted out. This morning, Grant wants to go to the movie (Chinees version) after getting the blow-by-blow from his older brother.

Today I'm hoping to get a 3-wheeled bike around noon. We finally got to a bike shop that had such a beast. It might cost $650, down from $700. But, I only want it for two weeks. The fancy deal will be selling it back for $500. That RMB not USD. No motor, just pedals and a back bench for the boys to sit while I wheel them around town.

Thursday is water polo match. The local university is starting a women's polo team and they are trying to get more to play. I've been invited to play too. My shoulder is still in jet lag and I might opt out of that. Time will tell. Anyone have a better excuse?

Gotta run back to the park.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

New Star Wars movie -- still have NOT seen it -- but -- it was offered as a VCD Rental

The latest Star Wars flick is out and we have yet to find the time to go. Perhaps Monday.

But, in our apartment, we have a VCD player. That is NOT a DVD, but a VCD. In China, they have both DVDs and VCDs. The VCDs are a bit older. Same idea, same sized disk, same multi-language capability, remotes, etc.

But, ours does NOT work well. That's another story, tied to this one.

These movie rental palces, not much like Blockbuster, have a wierd line-up of rentals. But the kicer was the fact that we were offered a rental of the new Star Wars on VCD. The movie was out only about four days, and it was here, in the shops in Chengdu.

We passed. Rather, we'd like to see it in the theaters.

My email situation still is not as we had hoped.

Sadly, I'm still without regular internet connections. Our laptop and the loaners we have been getting are not up to snuff.

I'm able to post, this from an internet cafe. But, I've not been able to look at the blog at all.

Today we went to the panda research facility on the edge of town. Great fun again. Took a bus. The red pandas were the best this time.

The boys are learning a new Chinees Folk Song on their new violins. Jasmine. Great tune. EXCELLENT teacher too. We went to her concert on Friday night. She plays in the Provincial Orchestra. She, of course, had a solo and was a featured artist. The boys have their next lesson on Tuesday with her.

The boys are taking art classes too. Nice fun.

On Monday, there is no class for the students. They had a double period on Saturday. So, we'll go to the Chengdu Art Market.

Grant likes the spiced noodles at the Noodle House that is very near to our apartment. These are HOT dishes. Tears and sweat always. But so good.

35 years ago

The PG had this flashback from 35 years ago. I was there to cheer on my cousin at Forbes Field.

May 4, 1970 -- Langley High's Leo Rauterkus tossed a one-hitter, striking out 11, helping the Mustangs beat Oliver, 2-0, in City League baseball action.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Condre toy arrives to office

The DVD with Pioneer 16x DF Dual Layer DVD burner arrived.

Condre phone 952-294-4900

Condre Mrg. 15151 Technology Dr. Eden Prairie, MN, 55344

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

VO and Tyke Hikes, nothing more than a moving playgroup

Playgroups are an important element within the talk given by Hogan Hilling about Daddyhood. We have a two CD set that covers some wonderful parenting insights. It was presented for the first time at an event hosted by the Pgh Public Schools on parent engagement. The tyke hike effort is a wonderful match to the overall experience.
One of most popular events is the Tyke Hike series. The 2005 Tyke Hikes season features a second location and also a new benefit to Household members of Venture Outdoors. These lovely outings for parents and kids 5 and under cost $10 per family or FREE for families who have a Household membership. They venture onto the easy walking/stroller trails once a month at the Schenley Park Visitor Center (May 26, June 30, July 28, August 25), and once per month in the South Hills at the Regional Environmental Educational Center, Boyce-Mayview Park (May 10, June 14, July 12, August 9). These and other great family activities can be found on the Venture Outdoors summer activities schedule. Check ‘em out!

Tyke Hikes - Free to Household Members!
Schenley Park Visitor Center: last Thursday each month
Boyce-Mayview Park, South Hills: second Tuesday each month
Time: 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Cost: Free for Household Members/$10.00 per family non-members

Pippy Unveils Bill to Protect Taxpayers - and reactions

First, the news release from the PA Senators that is a great example of barking up the wrong tree:
HARRISBURG -- With plans to reform of Allegheny County’s reassessment process bogged down once again, Senator John Pippy (R-37) and Rep. Mark Mustio (R-44) today unveiled legislation to protect taxpayers from being hit with extreme tax hikes following countywide reassessment.

The measure requires that following reassessment municipalities and school districts determine millage rates that are revenue-neutral compared to the previous year. To set a tax rate higher than the revenue-neutral rate, they would have to take a separate and specific vote in a public meeting.

A municipality or school district that violates the limitations would have to refund with interest the excess taxes paid by homeowners.

"This legislation protects taxpayers from extreme tax increases, and ensures that any tax hike that increases revenue following reassessment is done only after public deliberation and a vote," said Pippy. "It helps prevent huge jumps in tax bills that can tear apart a family budget, while providing municipalities and school districts with the latitude to cover legitimate expenses and emergencies."

"We have introduced this 'zero tolerance' legislation to force school districts, municipalities and Allegheny County to roll back their millage rates to the average increase for their respective jurisdictions," said Mustio. "While it does not completely prohibit local government officials from subsequently increasing taxes, it would give taxpayers some extra breathing room until comprehensive and effective school property tax reform is enacted at the state level."

The Second Class County Code permits a taxing body to institute a final tax rate up to five percent greater than the amount it levied on properties the year before. Under the proposed legislation, in cases of dire need -- to purchase new equipment related to public health and safety, for example -- a political subdivision may petition the court for approval to increase the millage rate beyond the five percent that was approved via public vote.

Calculating a "revenue-neutral" millage rate would exclude new construction and improvements to existing buildings.

Common Pleas Court ruled May 12 that Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato’s property assessments plan is illegal and would create more problems for the system.

"Property owners in Allegheny County are still reeling over the last reassessment, with no relief in sight," said Pippy. "The problem has generated many proposals and speeches. This legislation has an advantage over many of the other solutions in that it's both legal and doable."

"For the sake of the local economy and improving the overall quality of life in Allegheny County, our working families and senior citizens deserve the immediate relief that this legislation can provide,” said Mustio. “The real and irrevocable risk is doing nothing or continuing to preserve the status quo while more and more property owners are forced out of their homes due to property tax bills they can no longer afford to pay."

Of course Allegheny County is bogged down once again. We agree on that point. However, when it comes to matters on how to fix the mess, we don't agree.

If the goal is to help consumers, then help the consumer directly. In this case, the individual is the home owner, also known as the property owner. The new bill has a focus on a system at the municipal level and that is not what people care about. The bill does not go to the real source of the pain and problems.

When I get my tax bill, I don't read it and say, "Jeepers, I'm so happy that my school district isn't going to have a windfall this year." The ZERO level is NOT anything that the consumer is going to feel, notice, understand nor appreciate.

When the new tax bill arrives in a person's mail box, that new tax bill has to make sense to that person, that person's budget, the past bills and any changes from one bill to the next. This is a personal struggle. That is where the focus needs to be placed.

A person does NOT care about the sum of all bills throughout the school district.

Very few people care, for example, that the school district saw its average SAT score increase by 3 points. Rather, as a parent, I care about my kid's test results, not the collective. I determine if I'm doing the right thing with my child's education to stay in that situation or not.

Pennsylvania needs "assessment buffering." The new tax bill needs to be buffered with the past tax bill on a household basis.

Freelance Daily, David C's new site

Freelance Daily Every freelance writer knows... Time Is Money.

Hope the site and efforts go well for David Copeland. Here is a link to his new site.


Community members, regional environmental planners and advisors, municipal leaders and water trail enthusiasts are invited to explore the relationships between Allegheny County river communities, the rivers and their environment.

Thursday, June 2, 2005, 6 - 8 pm

Carnegie Mellon University building in the Pittsburgh Technology Center, 700 Technology Drive (off of Second Ave). Parking is available in the lot in front of the adjacent building (Sunoco).

RSVP by Monday, May 30 to Hannah at 412-481-9400, or via e-mail to:

Friends of the River front (FOR), the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), and 3 Rivers 2nd Nature (3R2N) will present the documentation of the Allegheny County River Dialogues. Over the last three years, we organized three water trail events in McKeesport on the Monongahela (2002), Oakmont on the Allegheny (2003), and Neville Island on the Ohio (2004). At each event, community members were invited participate in the visioning of the Three Rivers Water Trail. These three events have become the basis for water trail development in the three rivers. Please join us in taking the
next step in t h e development of the Three Rivers Water Trail!

WATERTRAILS report and documentation will be available at the event!

Hannah Hardy
Program Manager
Pennsylvania Environmental Council
22 Terminal Way
Pgh, PA 15219
(412) 481-9400 ph
(412) 481-9401 fax

Maglev, been there, done that. It is fast as advertised.

On our way out of Shanghai, my oldest son, Erik, 10, really wanted to ride the Maglev. His class had covered the technology and science of Maglev. It was a reasonable request, and our tour guide was very clever in working it into our short stay.

I also remember Al's video travel snip of his visit with Maglev. I think that played as a segment to the PCTV show, The Art of News. Now, I've got a similar documentary.

Maglev runs between the new airport and the new part of the city. It only has two stations. And, like Pittsburgh's concept, one terminates at the airport. The new international airport is out of the city a bit. In a van, it took us about an hour or perhaps 75 minutes to go from the airport into the center, older city after our inbound flight.

The new part of the city is 15 years old, or less. Boombing development. And, that part of the city is closer to the new airport.

The ride is fast. The cars are smooth. The turn banks and it is fun to watch a bus on the divided highway below get passed as if they are standing still. The stations are modern. And best of all, the speed in Kpm is on a mini-scoreboard within each of the Maglev's cars. I think the top speed was 480 kpm on our trip.

Our morning had us load up the van at the hotel. The van then drove us 20 minutes to the Maglev station. We left our suitcases on the van and went up and took a ride, buying tickets, catching the next train, arriving at the airport.

The kicker was as soon as we arrived at the airport, walked to the terminal, we were able to meet our van and pick up the suitcases. We walked out of the terminal and our van arrived, like magic without a wait.

All in all, the Maglev, despite its speed, didn't really save any time over the van on the highway.

When we got to the airport, I was kicking myself thinking how we should have taken our bags with us onboard the Maglev. I thought we'd have to wait 30-40 minutes for the bags to arrive. But that was not the case at all. It felt weird to have the van, in essence, tie the Maglev in terms of door-to-door service.

Grant's KQV - Focus on Education - Interview

Grant, 7, was interviewed the other week with a Pgh Public School program, Focus on Education. It aired on KQV the other day. My mom, his grandmother, heard the interview by luck.

The show had a focus on 'history' and the historic South Side. The kids at Phillips have had a lot of exposure with the Pgh History and Landmarks Foundation with neighborhood walks. Plus, a Main Street program pulled more attention to the area.

Volunteers needed for PNC Historic South Side Home Tour

The historic home tour committee is seeking volunteers to work both morning and afternoon shifts during the tour on Saturday, June 4, 2005. Volunteers are needed to assist in tour homes and at scavenger hunt sites. Available shifts are 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (morning), and 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. (afternoon). Volunteers working both shifts are expected to attend a 9 a.m. orientation where you will receive materials and your assignments. All volunteers are welcome to take the tour free of charge before or after their shift (tour runs from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.). To sign up, contact Amy Camp at or (412) 481-0651.

Funny to talk of "history" and be in China

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Without Email these days, and our days are before yours.

We're without decent email these days. Sorry.

And yes, for us, it is 8:29 pm on May 24. We're 12 hours ahead. The date and time setting is accurate. This isn't a computer glitch, like the one we face for not getting email.

All is well otherwise. Tomorrow, we are going to art class at 9 am. Then violin at 2 pm. Swimming is at 6 pm. So, we don't miss email to a great extent -- yet.

The decompression from the race hsd begun and is well on its way.

Press Release from Libertarians about 42nd Race

Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2005 9:10 PM

Subject: A Different Slant on the 42nd State Senate District Special Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh
contact: Harold Kyriazi

Pittsburgh, PA -- May 21, 2005

Increased Minor Party Votes May Signal Voter Dissatisfaction with Badly Broken Two-Party System

Libertarian and Green Party activists were mildly encouraged after this past Tuesday's election, when a Libertarian, whose campaign manager is a Green Party member, received a significant boost over typical results when running in the special election for State Senate in district 42.

While the 7.2% of the vote garnered by Mark Rauterkus is small relative to that received by the two major party candidates, it represents a notable increase for a minor party candidate in a hotly-contested and expensive three-way race.

It also indicates a continued growth in respectability for minor party candidates in a region where most voters traditionally pull the Democrat lever and smaller numbers vote Republican.

Says Timothy Crowley, Chair of the Libertarian Party (LP) of Pittsburgh, "You don't want to make too much out of a loss, but we are pleased to see more locals recognizing that voting for the usual big party candidates only brings about the same old policies that drive away businesses and citizens from this region." Added Crowley, "How many more times will voters let themselves be duped into believing in Democrat or Republican free lunches? It's time to make a change and send a message."

A different view was offered by longtime local LP activist Harold Kyriazi, who said that he is most encouraged that the LP of Pittsburgh has in the past year attracted two of the most serious campaigners it has ever had. "If Mark Rauterkus, on the South Side, and David Posipanka of Homestead, continue to run for office year in and year out as they have indicated they will, they may eventually convince voters that they can trust minor party candidates, and spark a significant realignment of voter sympathies and, eventually, voter registration."

Johannes Ernharth, who maintains the local LP website, commented that "the LP of Pittsburgh hopes more people catch on that voting the same old way for the same old party has nearly bankrupted this region. Voters must realize that sending those same wrongheaded policies to the state level is only going to make things worse for the entire state. Non-voters need to consider that, too."

The LP of Pittsburgh also cautions the region's citizens of a developing trend that is designed to shift the financial irresponsibility of some Pittsburgh politicians onto more fiscally responsible areas of the state. Says Henry Haller, a past candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, "Rather than getting their house in order here in the city, the city's goal is to have state taxpayers pick up the tab. Rural and suburban communities will be getting stuck with the bill, and it appears the Republican Party does not have the political will to say 'no' to the Governor on this. Libertarians would never tolerate such theft."

Added Ernharth, "We all know that outside of government, the real world understands the importance of fiscal responsibility. By shifting the cost, there is no incentive for the city to change its old ways and it will continue to decline."

The LP of Pittsburgh represents the approximately 2,800 registered Libertarians in Allegheny County. It maintains a website at, and may be contacted there, or by phone at 412-553-6464.

Trib's Tuesday Takes gives upbeat recap

Published one week after election day in the Trib:
The 42nd lesson: Democrats may be celebrating their win in the 42nd Senatorial District race. And Republicans may be continuing to lick their wounds. But Libertarians are upbeat. And with good reason. Their candidate, Mark Rauterkus, garnered 7.2 percent of the vote. That may not seem like much to some, but for those who believe both traditional parties are broken, it's an incredible number. Competition is a good thing, remember?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Come Live Over Here - cd from a marketing firm

Pittsburgh Perspectives CD-Rom wins national award Elliance, a local eMarketing firm, brought home a gold award in the interactive media/government relations category during the 2005 Summit Creative Awards International Competition for its outstanding work producing the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance's "Pittsburgh Perspectives" CD-Rom, and its accompanying web site,

For a modest fee, the disc assists employers in recruiting talented individuals who may be unfamiliar with the region. The Summit Creative Awards was created to ecognize exceptional work by advertising agencies, video production companies, ultimedia firms and other creative groups with annual billings of $15 million or less. It is the only opportunity such firms have to compete internationally. Elliance's web site.

Trib coverage after election

Fontana defeats Diven - 'One of the biggest things, I think, in this race was the Allegheny (County) labor endorsement,' said Fontana, of Brookline. 'I appreciate that.'

Comments From Left Field - offered an endorsement

Comments From Left Field Election Day Endorsements
It was my intention to remain as neutral as possible in this election up to the last minute and while I feel that I have been successful in this effort it is not time to throw out some endorsements.

City of Pittsburgh Mayor
- Bill Peduto

Judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas
- Jon Pushinsky
- Kathryn M. Hens-Greco
- Wrenna Leigh Watson
- Beth Lazzara
- Sumner L. Parker
- Dwayne D. Woodruff
- Chuck Evans

State Senator
-Mark Rauterkus

Now get out and vote!

posted by Goose3five

Thanks Goose3five!

An endorsement, noticed late, from another blogger. Thanks Nick.

I meant to not say anything about this race as I (by a razor's edge) do not live in the district that will be come the constituency of one of three men after the polls close today - Mark Rauterkus (L), Wayne Fontana (D), or Michael Diven (R). To be brief, Michael Diven is a political opportunist who left the Democratic party because party leaders didn't set his ideas at the top of their priority list, and only joined the GOP to get an opportunity to run for a seat he would never be nominated for as a Democrat. Wayne Fontana has done a reasonably good job on county council and would prove to be a good state senator, despite his transparent stance on assessments and other less-than-desirable stances. Both of these campaigns sent out a barrage of negative mailers and ran negative ads from here to kingdom come. I'm not naive - negative ads win elections more often than not - but it says something about a man's character to run on his good traits and stances on the issues and nothing else. Mark Rauterkus has shown vast knowledge of the issues facing this city, county, and commonwealth in not only this race but various races throughout the region over the years. He has attended various community events, city council meetings, and even written his own Platform for Pittsburgh and has been an active member of the local blogosphere before there even was one. I may not agree with him on every issue, but he is the only man running that has shown the exemplary amount of knowledge and concern required for an undertaking such as State Senator. Jeebas endorses Mark Rauterkus for State Senate.
-- Nick Michaels

Friday, May 20, 2005

Diven experiment minor loss for GOP -

Diven experiment minor loss for GOP - Republicans took their best shot at gaining a foothold in heavily Democratic Pittsburgh -- and they didn't come close.

The story behind the story is yet to come, IMNSHO.


Libertarian Rauterkus Makes Inroads against "Big Two" Parties

Press Release
Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh

May 20, 2005

Pittsburgh, PA - Imagine three companies trying to sell cars in PA Senate District 42. The "big two" have to spend about $1 million each for marketing, while the principled third company about $3800. The "big two" sell about 32,000 cars at about $63 of marketing per car, while the principled third about 2,600 cars at about $1.50 per car.

Consumer data overwhelmingly reports that the "big two" models have high maintenance costs that grows every year and low customer satisfaction that falls every year. Buying from the "big two" insures that you and your children will be paying for generations to come. Contrast that to the principled third's time-tested philosophy saying that small overhead means customers can keep more of their money.

You've probably guessed that the "big two" aren't automakers, but the Democratic and Republican party candidates. The principled third is Mark Rauterkus, Libertarian Party candidate for PA's 42nd Senate district.

Mark Rauterkus made an impressive showing, about 7.2% of the vote for about $1.50 per vote. The Libertarian Party thanks him for his tireless efforts promoting new ideas as a citizen candidate and not as a heavily-bankrolled career politician.

This shows that we are moving closer to the day we can challenge the entrenched, but decaying, political establishment even here in southwestern Pennsylvania. When that day arrives, it will happen because of a resonating message linking freedom, liberty and small government and because of hardworking citizen candidates like Mark Rauterkus.

Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh
P.O. Box 71333
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dem wins nasty race for 42nd District's state Senate seat

Fontana won. But the ink the spilled on the performance from myself, the citizen candidate is false.
Dem wins nasty race for 42nd District's state Senate seat: "A third candidate in the Senate race, Libertarian Mark Rauterkus, finished far behind Fontana and Diven.

Folks, this is why Pittsburgh is going to go much deeper into its death spiral.

The fourth estate is ten times worse than a box of rocks.

The PG and Trib are ten times worse than the mudslinging that we saw from the nasty Fontana and Diven camp. All are not to be forgiven.

O'Connor's victory takes some wind out of the sails of change for the city. But the coverage from the PG and Trib snaps the mainstay. Right track -- ha. Some can't even report on the right ocean.

Plane and simple: Thanks!


Plane, because we're getting on a plane to Chicago at 9:30 am. I've got to pack for China. The recap is going to come from the other side of the world. We're out of here for four weeks.

Just so everyone knows, our house sitters move in while we're out of town.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The most at any POLL -- was seven

The turnout was soft. But, the turnout among the non Ds and non Rs was very, very, very thin. I went to 20 or 30 polling places throughout the day. Not a single one had more than seven voters from the ranks of the Indies.

Often there are 40 or so voters in the polling place who are NON-Ds and NON-Rs. Generally there were four or so voters who had voted.

We saved $200,000 by insisting that the vote was held on the primary date. But, that blew the Indies out of the water in terms of getting out the vote. NewsFlash - Special elections fill two Senate seats NewsFlash - Special elections fill two Senate seats Special elections fill two Senate seats
5/17/2005, 1:11 p.m. ET The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A pair of special elections Tuesday were expected to restore the Pennsylvania Senate to its full 50-member complement.

Republicans currently outnumber Democrats in the Senate 30-18, with two vacancies left by former Democratic senators who were elected to higher offices in November.

In the 4th District, which takes in parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties, LeAnna Washington, a sixth-term Democratic state representative from Philadelphia, was opposed by Republican Ronald Holt, an accountant from Abington.

The winner of that race will replace former Sen. Allyson Y. Schwartz, who was elected to the U.S. House.

In Pittsburgh's 42nd District, state Rep. Michael Diven, a Democrat who switched to the Republican Party in January, faced Democratic former Allegheny County councilman Wayne Fontana and Libertarian Mark Rauterkus.

The winner will succeed Jack Wagner, who was elected state auditor general.

KDKA: Polls Open for PA's Primary

KDKA: Polls Open for PA's Primary In Wagner's former Pittsburgh district, former Allegheny County councilman Wayne Fontana, a Democrat, is competing with Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Michael Diven and Libertarian Mark Rauterkus.

Voters in Allegheny County will also decide today whether or not they want to eliminate some of the row offices.

But if political anaylsts are correct, voter turnout for this primary will only be around 20-percent of the 9.6 million Pennsylvanians who are 18 or older.

The Allegheny County Elections Department projects that only one-third of the county's Democrats and a quarter of the republicans will show up at the polls today. If those projections are correct, it would be one of the lowest turnouts involving a city mayoral election in recent years.

Election Day Buzz, so far

The poll workers are out in force. Perhaps with too much force.

At one poll, near my house, the turnout climbed all the way to 10 (ten) voters by 11 am. Right, one short of eleven. Perhaps their goal should have been 11 by 11. The gent there said, "We are leading the way in voter apathy. And we're proud of it."


People were just waiting for me to post my mini-signs there before rushing to the polls.

He also pondered that the nasty weather might be keeping people away.

It is a great day for a baseball game.

In other places, turn out is much better. I'd call it "light." When it comes to the INDEPENDENT VOTERS, the most critical to my winning in a landslide, I'm not holding my breath. Zippo is the most fitting description.

Meanwhile I hear things are going very well in suburban .... LOCATION DELETED .... I don't want to tell you, as I don't want Diven and Fontana rushing to that beachhead. Things are going well there, and they don't need a food fight to break out.

Putting Mike Turzai and Dr. C. Wecht onto KQV Radio is sure to get a lot of people to watch the TV tonight as the results arrive.

Speaking of numbers, 10 to 4 bundle to drop elected row offices has some opposition. Posters even. Same with "vote yes." And, I've not said it yet, but the 9 to 5 posters for Anthony C are clever. I saw a dozen or so of them, weeks ago, and didn't know what he was driving at. But, they do make sense. He'll put in motion a drop in city council, if elected to five members, not its existing nine.

I must admit, voting as a Libertarian isn't rewarding at all. There were all of those pink and blue judge candidates, and I didn't get to do much else other than the two ballot questions.

Perhaps the masses of Indie voters will head to the polls later in the day.

Press Release for Election Day
May 17, 2005

Contact: Timothy Aldinger, Coro Fellow in Public Affairs &
Media Releations
Tim's cell = xxx-xxx-xxxx
Mark's cell = 412 298 3432

Mark Rauterkus, Libertarian candidate for PA Senate in the Special
Election, Releases Regional Regrets

A public statement from a candidate for PA Senate (42nd) in today's special election is due in the middle of voting activities. But this candidate won't be at the polls, rather he and his sons are headed to a scholastic baseball playoff game.

Mark Rauterkus, 46, Libertarian, is running for Pennsylvania Senate. Throughout the campaign, Rauterkus has promoted a new statewide solution that also addresses city-county consolidation. Rauterkus, a professional swim coach and advocate for wellness and other types of recreational activities, wants to launch a new Pittsburgh Park District.

The state of Illinois uses a different governmental model that leverages Park Districts. These bodies with more than 2,100 elected trustees throughout the state operate under sunshine laws are distinct from city, county and state government. With elected leaders, volunteers and community involvement, the Park Districts work to root citizens in their communities with better programming opportunities and care for facilities and resources.

Rauterkus said, "A Park District is NOT an authority. I desire elections, accountability and teamwork among professionals, such as coaches, community leaders, volunteers and participants."

The WPIAL playoff game between two teams within the PA Senate 42nd district allows the Rauterkus and his two sons, ages 7 and 10, city residents, to enjoy an afternoon at a suburban sandlot, between our visits to polls.

"An iron curtain exists between the city and suburban programs that includes programs and opportunities. We can't keep splitting the cooperation among the region and thrive again," said Rauterkus.

The game is slated for 1 pm at Burkett Field, behind Burkett Elementary School, part of the Montour School District. Beaver Falls and Carlynton meet in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. Another game is at 3 pm with Brentwood and Northgate at Herb Field in Norht Hills. Gate is $5. Full brackets for AA baseball is at

A year ago, Rauterkus released a 100-plus page position paper that called for the formation of park district. He presented the paper to a number of agencies and individuals as well as the ICA Board, Act 47 Coordinators, County, City and School officials. See http://DSL.CLOH.Org/v1/

Rauterkus feels that a position in the PA Senate would empower him to push from within state government to enable Park Districts in Pennsylvania helping everyone's quality of life.

For years, Rauterkus has been a vibrant voice for change in terms of effective government.

In the 1980s Rauterkus was employed as an aquatic manager and head coach of a 200-member community team that operated by the Peoria Park District, the second largest park district in Illinois. Rauterkus understands the advantages of administrative stability with the park district model and regrets that such a system is not in place in Pennsylvania.

Other regrets are expected around the grandstands of today's game and election.

Rauterkus is sorry his participation in the three-way race was not able to quell the negative campaign waged by the heavyweight candidates, Wayne Fontana, Democrat and Michael Diven, Republican. The absurd insults and falsehoods were expected given the mentality from Harrisburg operatives and the individual candidates stances on positions. A third candidate's entry can often have a calming effect on the nasty presentations and mudslinging.

"Civility did not prevail from them, sadly," says Rauterkus. "I wanted to discuss priorities, issues and real solutions for the region. These opponents were most interested in making noise. Power politics and personality attacks are for bullies and don't have a place on the playgrounds, nor chambers of government."

Recap of Rauterkus regrets:
+ Lack of Park District,
+ Lack of Issues-centered campaigns,
+ Overboard negativity from the Democrats and Republican camps.
+ Lack of Assessment Buffering for property tax,
+ Lack of City-County cooperation in sports and park programming.

Rauterkus public campaign efforts are to continue with an open-source wiki,

As the polls close, Rauterkus is going to claim a victory on various
dimensions. The opponents and their political parties each spent
upwards of $1-million on the campaign. Meanwhile, the campaign was a frugal operation spending less than
$10,000. If 10,000 votes are obtained, that is less than $1 per vote
as far as expenses and results. The Ds and Rs might be spending at a
rate of $100 to secure each vote.

If Rauterkus is not elected to the PA Senate, Rauterkus is expected to
announce intentions to run again. The next ballot opportunity might be
Pittsburgh's City Council. Rauterkus lives on the South Side in a
district represented by City Council President, Gene Ricciardi.
Ricciardi is a candidate on today as well. Ricciardy is hoping to
leave city council for a new role as District Magistrate.

Rauterkus could mount a campaign for city council soon, getting a head
start on others. Rauterkus could be an Independent or a Libertarian in
that race.

Rauterkus is not expected to enter the City of Pittsburgh mayor's race in 2005. Rauterkus ran for mayor in 2001 in a contested Republican primary.

On the morning of May 18, the day after the election, Rauterkus, his sons and his wife, Catherine V. Palmer, Ph.D., along with two graduate students, are going abroad for four weeks. Palmer, a professor at Pitt and Director of Audiology at UPMC's Eye and Ear Institute, is to teach a course at the second largest medical center in China, in Chengdu, in a southwest provence.

Rauterkus said, "The trip to China is a great experience for all. We'll be playing violin, badminton, swimming, doing art and visiting parks. Meanwhile, the two grad students and my wife teach an intense course to doctors and medical students. The cultural exchange is wonderful, but the medical and healthcare benefits are priceless."

Updates are at Mark Rauterkus and Running Mates blog,

Primary 2005: Will voters pull plug on Allegheny County row offices?

Bad headline -- great article. This is MUCH MORE than a PRIMARY 2005. Oh well, you all know that. But, does everyone else know it too?
Primary 2005: Will voters pull plug on Allegheny County row offices?: "all voters living in the state Senate's 42nd District, which covers parts of the South Hills, North Side, Downtown and western suburbs, can participate in the hotly contested special election to fill the seat vacated by Auditor General Jack Wagner. Republican Michael Diven, a state representative from Brookline, Democrat Wayne Fontana, a former county councilman from Brookline, and Libertarian Mark Rauterkus of the South Side are running.

'Independents should not stay home,' said Pat Clark, head organizer for the nonpartisan group Everybody Vote. 'This is your electoral process, too.'

Forest Grove at opening of polls -- Burkett Elem for baseball game

I'll be watching a baseball game, a WPIAL playoff game, today in mid-day at Burkett Elem School. Brentwood is playing the Wildcats of Carlynton.

While there, I'll be seeking to start to advance the revolution for a new Pittsburgh Park District.

Burkett Elem is part of the Montour School District.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Muse You Can Use -- City Paper Cover Story

City Paper's cover story was called, Muse You Can Use. Why the arts must make the case for their continued existence by Bill O'Driscoll.

My son, Grant, 7, had his photo within the story. it is in the print edition, not online. He is the one holding the book at the center of attention. I had taken our boys to a class to learn about the OPERA. They both went to the opera a week or so later.

Erik, my oldest son, loves the opera. Grant fell asleep at the opera. Erik did too, for a spell.

We support the arts.

Another Letter to the Editor that won't get seen in Pgh Papers.

Send to:
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I take exception to the unstated assertion in the PG's endorsement for State Senate District 42 ("Fontana for Senate", 5/1/2005).

The editorial states that Libertarian candidate and community activist Mark Rauterkus can't match his opponents' knowledge of Harrisburg. Turn that coin over and it follows that career-oriented Harrisburg politicians can't match the community-oriented knowledge of local activists like Mark Rauterkus.

The mess in Harrisburg is made worse when well-intentioned media unknowingly promote the unspoken assertion that public service must be considered in strictly career terms that value titles and out-of-town mailing addresses over local activities and accessibility.

Volunteers from all walks of life become citizen soldiers and make our military the world's best. Volunteers from all walks of life, not career politicians, should be able to do the same for Pennsylvania's legislature.

That's why we should never dismiss a swim coach and community activist from consideration for the position of citizen legislator.

Growing Greener -- or Growing Greedier

Growing greedier, Friday, May 6, 2005

Just a reminder. The May 17 primary includes the following Growing Greener bond question:

"Do you favor authorizing the Commonwealth to borrow up to $625,000,000, for the maintenance and protection of the environment, open space and farmland preservation, watershed protection, abandoned mine reclamation, acid mine drainage remediation and other environmental initiatives?"

Is it just me, or does anyone else get suspicious when such nonspecific words as "maintenance," "protection," "open space," "preservation" and "initiatives" appear in the same sentence with "$625,000,000"?

Here's my specific answer to that bond question: "No!"

Mark Crowley

Letter to editor you'll never see -- except here about endorsement of PG

Dear Editor -

A few notes on the PA 42nd Senatorial election:

* Thank you for noting that there is a third candidate in this Special Election. (Fontana, Diven trading punches, May 7, 2005). This is more than some organizations, such as the AARP, are willing to acknowledge. Elaboration below.

* Michael Diven denies that a mailer's front-page photograph of his fiancee and nephews is misleading? Please. Then he further justifies this deceit by comparing this photo of his unidentified "family" to seniors with whom he has posed and brings in his deceased grandparents? What am I missing here?

Mr. Diven's denial of deceit should ring alarm bells as to his representation.

*The Post-Gazette's endorsement of Mr. Fontana (Fontana for Senate, May 1, 2005) notes that "In this case, picking between two dedicated public officials, and one quixotic candidate, almost demands a judgment on which party will best serve the district.."

Really? Does it demand that? Based on the publications, advertising and attitudes of the "two dedicated public officials" who are "trading punches," and by your own admission that, "two things are certain about the state Senate race featuring Republican Michael Diven and Democrat Wayne Fontana -- it's expensive and it's nasty" - I would feel compelled to demand an alternate candidate, not a "judgement" on which *party* will serve the district. That simply serves to continue a broken system.

But that's right, we *DO* have a third candidate - Mark Rauterkus, Libertarian.

Would that the voters had the opportunity to know this. But the money stream does not drip into any non-celebrity, third tributary. And money drives recognition. Unless the public has the opportunity to see all of the candidates. Such as in public debates.

But organizations sponsoring these debates, such as the AARP noted above, rely on out-of-date, discriminatory rules which define participation in electoral debates by the past performance of party affiliation.

Perhaps that makes sense in a 16-horse race. By why impose it on a three-horse race if not to perpetuate a two-party system?

The voters of the Western PA region need to accept the fact that our electoral system is broken ... and that campaign finance reform is simply the first step.

Why should third party candidates (a definition in-and-unto itself) be penalized by past performance of affiliated party members?

Big week -- and today's my birthday!

Big week.

Today, Monday, May 16 -- its my birthday. Born in the Year of the Rooster. And this year is also the Year of the Rooster!

Tomorrow, May 17 -- Election Day! Vote for the third option in the Senate Special Election.

May 18 -- My wife, kids and I get on a plane with passports! Housesitters move in -- by the way.

May 19 -- The new Star Wars Movie!

FYI, my blogging is going to slow a great deal in the next four weeks. Feel free to chat among yourselves. Drop me a note if to alert me of important happenings.

On Q sends good messages my way

The OnQ show had a call in segment with Chris Moore, Jim Roddey and a Dem. They talked about my "clean campaign" in a very positive way -- so I hear from a loyal caller to me. I'll tape it tonight after midnight. It runs again at 12:30 -- mid-day election day as well.

Predictions: Go ahead and leave a comment. Any race, any vote total, any percentage.

Okay wise guys. Time to leave a prediction or three. Use the comment form. And, don't do it namelessly.

Victory Parties!

I just called to wish "good luck" to my opponents, Fontana and Diven.

Diven's victory party is on The Boardwalk in the strip. Fontana's is at the Dormont Recreation Center.

My victory party -- 108 South 12th Street, South Side. My home office is where I'm gathering with others.

I hope to bounce to some other events on election night. Something is cooking with the media too. Gene R is having a party at Goodwill on the South Side. Sam is meeting at his home in Sheridan.

It's never too late. Never give up. Nice note from a citizen -- Encouragement like this is priceless.

Tonight's email included this gem. Thanks!
Hello Mr. Rauterkus, my name is Clement Ferguson and I wanted to thank you for running for Senate. I'm a young voter disenfrachised with the two-party system. I voted for Badnarik last year but my disillusionment had become so great since then that I unfortunately stopped following up on politics. Lately I noticed the various signs in people's yards and didn't think that there'd be a Libertarian candidate (although I did search and I don't recall finding anything about you). A friend of mine is working for Diven's campaign, so I decided to look into the elections a bit more. I had read through Fontana's and Diven's web sites and they had nothing to say but the usual vague, empty promises designed to secure their careers. I don't watch television often, but the ads that I saw on there were absurd. I really felt that I had no real person to vote for.

However, at work I saw a flyer that a student had received from you earlier today. I was blown away by your wiki and the huge platform that you had made available (with more real content on a single page than on the whole websites of the other guys), along with your blog -- and equally impressed by your use and advocation of open source software. While there are probably some points that I don't agree with you on, I have tremendous respect for you as a person of integrity who really cares about the future of Pittsburgh, and as someone who seems to be very open to discussion in the political process.

There's a great amount of people discontent with the situation in Pittsburgh, and many of them either 1) simply aren't going to vote or 2) are voting for one guy because they don't realize that there is a third who has something authentic and important to say. I know that there's probably not much that I can do at this point, but including myself I may have gotten you seven or more votes from talking with my friends and family tonight. I really wish that I could do more for you, and I regret not getting involved earlier in the process. I guess the best tool of those in power to stay in power is to make those beneath them think that there's no viable alternative, and I'm ashamed that I bought into that. I wish you the best of luck in the special election! I myself am going to reconsider my involvement in the political process and see if I can help out with local Libertarians. Reading about your accomplishments and initiatives has inspired me to do what I can for our community. If ever you need volunteers in the future, please let me know and I will assist you as best as I can.

Respectfully yours,

KDKA's Delano, a staunch Dem, gives tingling endorsmen to the "L"

Diven v. Fontana v. Rauterkus:

I never knew that Michael Diven and Wayne Fontana were such horrible human beings until the Harrisburg aparatchiks for both political parties descended on this region to tell us all their faults. Voters in the 42nd senatorial district have been flooded with reams of ugly literature and all of us have been subjected to negative TV ads that depict these two nice guys (yes, they are both nice gentlemen) as the devil incarnate. It's the battle for a Senate seat between Diven, the Republican, and Fontana, the Democrat (and Mark Rauterkus, the Libertarian), and both political parties are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to win.

Fontana should win tomorrow, but Diven is the kind of Republican who can pull an upset. The Rs think their man is up by two points, while the Dems think Fontana is ahead by double digits. Sadly, the race has come down to trivial accusations that sometimes border on the laughable. Diven shows a picture with his fiancee and some kids (not his own), and somehow he's committed some campaign fraud. Fontana, one of 15 members of county council and the most outspoken against reassessments and former Allegheny County chief executive Jim Roddey (R), is somehow the author of every action in the county that raised property assessments. It's almost enough to make you vote Libertarian!

Behind the scenes, the battle is between Republican and Democratic state operatives. Having won a special state senate election back in Allentown on April 5, the GOP would like nothing better than to pick up another one, especially in a city-suburban district like this one. The Dems are throwing everything at it to keep that from happening. And one guy who has a lot riding on this race is Allegheny County chief executive Dan Onorato, the Democrat who does not need a political loss in his own neighborhood. Onorato has raised more than a $100,000 for the Fontana camp and tossed in some dollars of his own. If nothing else, after the rather bland mayor's race, this battle has been entertaining.

Jon Delano, always the gentlemen, tip toes around the race coverage in his email blast today. I could never hope for anything better than the above posting from Delano. To me, that is like hitting a grand-slam in the bottom of the ninth, with the other team ahead.

The entire posting, PSF, is in the comment section.

Yes, Delano is right in that there has been a lot of "operative" action in the race with Diven and Fontana. The opponents are close to puppet status, sadly. There are a lot of issues that I still don't understand, (like why the Ds would put so much money into a guy like Fontana who is so anti-choice), but I'm not going to air them out on the eve of the election. I'll get to the head-scratching elements later.

Finally, to the last word of his post, "entertaining." I wish that this race of ours was entertaining. We had ONE debate that was put on TV. One. I needed five, then the race would have been entertaining, really.

I was the clear victor in the lone TV debate. If we had a handful of public opportunities, such as should have happened with PUMP, AIA, Urban League, PIIN, within the Trib, Courier, The Front, CMU/Pitt/Carlow/Point Park/RMU, UJF, and on with WPTT, KDKA, TV 11, QED, DUQ, WTAE, PCTV and KQV -- then -- we'd ALL would be buying advertising. Furthermore, the race would be a three-way deadlock.

I know. I know. I shouldn't pick battles with those who buy ink by the barrel, nor with those who have big bandwidth, like Comcast. But, the journalist in me is again frustrated with the global efforts of voter education and media play in certain times in certain races.

This time, globally, I have little but praise for the Mayor's race coverage. Les, Hop, and Dan got enough buzz and got their message out. People and instituions went out of their way to be much more inclusive than in 2001 when I saw Josh, Leroy and Earl get skunked.

In the PA Senate race, I didn't get skunked everwhere. But, our race (and coverage from all three of us) did get zippo in certain quarters.

Finally, it is not like I'd never be satisfied. I am easy to please. I live in the city afterall. My driving theme, I want things to be better. They have improved in some sectors. More improvement is welcomed.


3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release:
Date: 5/15/2005
For more information contact:
Ken Krawchuk (Past Chair) at 267-496-3332
David Jahn (Chair) at 610-461-7755


The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition praised the Governor's Election Reform Task Force for their final report which was released today. Among the recommendations made by the 13-member Task Force was the proposal that the election laws "should be amended to provide greater access to the ballot for minor political parties and political bodies." The final vote on the recommendation was twelve in favor and none against, with one abstention.

"The members of the Governor's Election Reform Task Force are to be commended for their fine work", said Ken Krawchuk, a Libertarian member of the Coalition. "Their recommendations validate a sad fact that we Libertarians have known for many years: that our current ballot access laws are horrendous. But with their final report now in hand, we can immediately begin to focus on the next phase of our historic Coalition's mission, which is to line up sponsors in the Legislature and follow
through to finally enact fair and honest ballot access laws in Pennsylvania which are equitable to all citizens."

"The Green Party applauds the Governor's Election Reform Task Force for voting 12-0 to recommend making it easier for independent and minor party candidates to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania", said Kevin Murphy, a Green Party member of the Coalition. "The Green Party agrees with this balanced panel of experts from across the political spectrum that the current ballot access laws do injury to the voters by depriving them of choice on Election Day and reducing the electoral competition
that is crucial to a healthy democracy. When the Pennsylvania Legislature puts this recommendation into action, it will benefit all voters by giving independent and minor party candidates the same fair and equal access to the ballot that only major party candidates currently enjoy."

"Governor Rendell's Task Force on Election Reform is to be congratulated for its swift and decisive action in voting overwhelmingly to amend the ballot access laws in Pennsylvania", said John Murphy, a Coalition member representing the Ralph Nader campaign. "Their recommendation will make running for office more equitable for independent and minor party candidates and expand the democratic process for the citizens of the commonwealth."

The members of the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition believe that the right of citizens to run for political office is supreme in a free society, as is their right to support and vote for the candidates of their choice. Toward that end, the mission of the PBAC is fourfold:

1) To define a minor political party based upon statewide voter registrations (0.05%) rather than based upon the current district-by-district electoral formula (2% of the winner's vote total);

2) To allow minor political parties to nominate candidates for all offices directly according to their party rules, and at their own expense, rather than by the existing nomination papers process;

3) To allow independents and political bodies to nominate candidates for all offices via the current nomination papers process, but using the signature requirements outlined in 25 C.S. 2872.1 rather than the current district-by-district electoral formula (2% of the winner's vote total); and;

4) To otherwise reform Pennsylvania's laws to make the ballot more equitable and accessible to all citizens.

The goal of the PBAC is to implement these changes effective with the 2006 gubernatorial election. More information about the PBAC can be found on the Web at

Another Endorsement: This in from Paul Sentner from his blast list.

Paul sends out his email blasts and it includes a plug on me in the middle. He displays his logic on various matters voters are to face at the polls.

Within the there is mention and support of the creation of ombudsman positions in local, county and state government. That role is one that is absent in our political landscape. I think we'll hear more about the ombudsman in the seasons to come and it would make for a great voter driven ballot question, perhaps as soon as this fall.
15 May 2005
My personal perspective on the upcoming elections.

I expect there may be confusion regarding the District 2 City Council elections, because there are two elections, and all the mailings I've seen have made no clear effort to inform voters of the distinctions:

A. The Special Election to complete the term until November 2005, for the seat vacated by Mr. Hertzberg when he was appointed a judge by Gov.Rendell.

There are only two candidates, each selected by the committees of the recognized political parties:

Samuel Berninger of Sheraden = the Republican committee candidate

Daniel Deasy of Westwood = the Democratic committee candidate

B. The Primary Election to select candidates for the November General Election
6 Democratic candidates
1 Republican candidate (Samuel Berninger)

Samuel Berninger of Sheraden is the only one of the six City Council District 2 Candidates and the three District 42 State Senate Candidate who responded to my request for written commitments for the few simple concrete actions noted on the website at

Additionally, Samuel Berninger of Sheraden also indicated YES to all three commitments should he be elected in the Special Election.

Thererfore he is my choice in Tuesday's City Council Special Election.

In no way do I support the national Republican agenda, nor the gang of nazis in Washington, but if ethical behavior is to ever become inherent in our political parties, those individuals who seem to be so, should be given the chance to participate, and perhaps change the Parties from within, while others may work to establish additional national USA political parties as alternatives to the two major parties which now seem to be far too often mirror-images of each other.

My reasoning is to give Samuel the chance to keep to his stated intentions, if he's elected and does so, then I will vote for him again in November.

The others had the same opportunity to accept the challenge to go on the public record with these few specific actions; there has been much braying of generalities, none of which a candidate can be held to. Because of their non-response and absence of specific accountable-for commitments, I'm not going for anyone in the Democratic Primary. Too bad we don't have open primaries.

Incidentally, I do not support cutting Council members to 5 - heck, why not 3? -- or how about none, and then we can designate the Mayor to be Feudal Lord?

I'm for MORE representation, not less;
-- guess who would be under-represented if there were only 5 Council members?
-- there's too much of a buddy-system going on among the present members of Council, let alone cutting the club down to 5;
-- and that's too much power to concentrate, rather than expand.

I do think that some Districts might be re-configured, decided by referendum of the residents.

For instance, -- it seems to me that Mt.Washington (with the possible exception of Duquesne Heights?), Arlington and Mt. Oliver might have more in common than Mt. Washington has with the present southwestern neighborhoods;

-- and that Banksville might have more in common with Beechview?

I believe the area encompassed by Mt. Washington-Banksville-East Carnegie-Esplen-Temperanceville is -- too vast an area to be responsibly and knowledgeably represented by one person,
-- too easy for one representative to be unaccountable to the residents,
-- too vast to permit residents to exert their cohesive influence upon a

I have friends and relatives in Mt. Washington, but local community-wise, Mt. Washington may as well be on the Northside.

Given the deluge of bad-mouthing political junk-mail from the Parties, the absence of any assistance with the WE-HAV scheme, and conversations with Mark Ruterkus, I am going for Rauterkus for State Senator, I'd like to give him a chance and see how he does for two years.

As for the Mayoral Primary, their WE-HAV actions render it impossible for me to accept O'Connor or Peduto, and so I am going for Lamb; to see how he might do, given the chance.

I prefer to have some public control via election of officials, rather than patronage-ridden appointed officials, and thus I do not support the Row-Office reform question.

I do accept the "Greening" question for State funding of environmental matters, etc.

Best Regards,

PG calls it vicious

Editorial: A mayor and more State Senate Special Election

Jack Wagner's election last year to auditor general created a vacancy for his Senate seat in the 42nd District, which includes Downtown, Oakland, the Strip District, North Side, South Side, plus southern and western neighborhoods in the city and a large swath of suburbs to the south and west.

Since this is no primary but an election to fill the seat immediately, it's been a vicious contest into which both parties have poured barrels of money.


Say what?

Watchdogs that give a free pass are not really watchdogs at all.

In the lead of the article, the PG editors wrote:
... some kind of Senate race in Allegheny County where two guys are saying the most nasty things about each other. ...

That's officially some kind of description for some kind of senate race. It all makes sense now.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 NewsFlash - Election action in Tuesday's primary mainly local

AP ink: NewsFlash - Election action in Tuesday's primary mainly local In Wagner's former Pittsburgh district, former Allegheny County councilman Wayne Fontana, a Democrat, is competing with Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Michael Diven and Libertarian Mark Rauterkus.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

NY Times gives ink for mayor's race

The NY Times gave some coverage to the Pittsburgh mayor's race.

Same too with Boston Globe. See comments.

Rauterkus got some ink in the latest Diven Mailer

If you look close, my name is on the latest Diven mailer, twice. The mailer zooms in onto the voting machine levers.

1-SP = Wayne D. Fontana, Democratic
2-SP = Michael Diven, Republican
3-SP = Mark Rauterkus, Libertarian

Then the middle of the mailer says, The Choice is Clear. But, the presentation isn't so clear as the contrast is only between Diven and Fontana.

The text talks of Diven's reputation for being independent. Diven's I-like behaviors should have materialized in an INDIE race for PA Senate. He thought about that option but went to the Republicans. Diven knew he could not win as an Indie. The third party folks are sure to look close and see my name within the same mailer and get more excited than picking a "R".

If Diven spent his career doing what is in the best interest of the community -- why is he so blasted negative now? Why are we seeing Jack Wagner come to the defense of his buddie, Fontana, while Diven says he is putting people above politics. The claim doesn't fit.

But to voters, May 17 is a SPECIAL ELECTION -- AND -- a primary election.

Then the line, "The winner will represent us n Harrisburg immediately." But Michael is already a representative in Harrisburg now. Poor word choice, again. Diven is a state rep. If he gets second or third in this race, Diven stays a state rep. And, Diven stays as a Republican.

But, if Diven wins -- then a new special election chain of events is to unfold. We'll have to live through this again with another special election. The date will be set in 60-days after Diven drops out of his present office.

OMG = Oh my gosh. That alone is reason to not vote for Diven. Who would the Republican's run? I doubt a new switching Dem be found?

The flip side of the mailer has "Attention Independent Voters" with uncle same pointing and one eye closed.

To bad Diven didn't do what I would have done -- make mention of the special election in City Council District 2. I've talked at city council on that race and that special election on twice already.

Yes, May 17 isn't just a primary. It is a 'dual election."

The ballot questions also give others beyond the old parties additional reasons to vote.

The Diven braintrust gets additional thanks, today, again, for increased help with the lastest mailer.

Ghost voting and ghost calling

So far, we've seen slams from Fontana about Diven's ghost voting. But, we've also seen the ghost of Ronald Reagan, J.F.K,, 1960 Pirates, Magician, and Uncle Sam come into our mailboxes.

If Diven's win becomes as exciting as the '60 Pirates World Championship, then what would my victory match?

But the headline on the front of Diven's mailer is wrong too. It reads, "For the first time since the Pirates played at Forbes Field, we have the chance to elect a Republican State Senator." It seems to me that Diven is saying that the Republicans never even ran a candidate for State Senator. Perhaps the real story is the fact that we've had lots of opportunities to elect Republicans for State Senate since the closure of Forbes Field -- but they never won!

Now I wonder if we ever had the chance to elect a LIBERTARIAN State Senator?

That could be factually correct. Did a Libertarian ever run for State Senate in the city or in the county?

So, Diven's headline is not truthful. And, Diven's headline fits me like a glove -- if you swap out the Republican word and insert Libertarian.

Council race really hits close to home - with more negativity

Council race really hits close to home - "Printed next to the photo, fliers mock Payne's campaign slogan -- 'Let's get our house in order' -- with the slogan, 'On May 17 tell her, 'No Tonya, you get your house in order!'

See the comments for the entire article.

Internal polls -- reported in other sites

The skinny from elesewhere:

Fontana, the negative D, 44%
Diven, the new and negative R, 31%
Rauterkus, L, 25%

The internal poll numbers from the Fontana camp -- mentioned on the front page of PoliticsPA and GrassrootsPa, were reportedly from mid-weed, this week.

This is why neither Diven nor Fontana wanted the participation from a charging, popular, citizen candidate in the AARP debate.

Furthermore, the old-party candidates with negative campaign operations knew that I was the clear victor in the lone debate of the campaign, hosted in Mt. Washington on April 21.

The numbers above leave a lot to be desired.

What isn't being shown in the numbers above is the voter apathy to both Diven and Fontana. They are sapping out any energy from the race with their constant, negative mudslinging. Turnout is going to be much less than expected on this election because loyalist Dems and loyalist Republicans won't vote. They'll hold their noses and move onto another part of the voting machine, such as row-office reform or a local friend in a municipal race, school race or judge race.

Up to 90% of the voters who are still undecided are the ones who don't read junk mailers and don't watch TV. The final wave of undecided voters are breaking for the third party option. These are active and engaged citizens. These are the "do-ers" in the communities, and they have little faith in the status quo. Those who appreciate real grassroots campaigns have no confidence in what is being promised by Diven and Fontana.

This weekend's schedule is geared to connect with the busy community people who might still be undecided: Brighton Heights road race, a house tour, Pedal Pittsburgh on Sunday morning, a number of church visits in between, and a science presentation with elementary school kids in a local library (South Side), plus musical lessons (Carnegie) and a swim team function (Green Tree). Yesterday we watched a high school baseball game in Crafton with Langley.

I would love to stand next to one or both of the other candidates at Pedal Pittsburgh on Sunday morning. The contrast is dramatic.

The polling numbers also help to explain by a Diven operative approched us with enticements for pulling out of the race.

The Diven base crumbled. The personal friends that are clearly part of the Diven camp do not stretch to a district with more than 200,000 voters. Furthermore, the Diven approach does not work well with traditional Republicans. These people are principled voters who care about the big picture details such as message, freedom, and integrity. Diven's name ID is a factor. But, to the GOP core, the Diven name hinders. Diven has been part of Pittsburgh's city council and tied with close relationships with Mayor Tom Murphy. Diven has been a "self-proclaimed back bencher" and that does not build a viable resume to seek senate status.

Both Diven and Fontana have made a habit of putting up lawn signs in public right of ways and at empty / for-sale properties. Often two of the largest signs go at either end of the property line -- one for Diven and the other for Fontana. The foolishness is evident to the locals, some who even had signs appear in their yards without consent. At least the two heavyweights give themselves shelter from the folly.

Think again.

The campaign is doing much better than expected, in part because the heavyweights are doing their best to repeatedly harm themselves. Thankfully this is only a 19-month term.

Onorato's PAC (political action committee) gave $80,000 to Fontana recently. It was Fontana who co-sponsored the 0-1-2-3-4 property tax plan, pushed by Onorato. That bogus plan for taxing Allegheny County residents got tossed out by the judge for not being constitutional, and rightly so. That $80K can do plenty to whitewash the bill's memory from voters, but not so near to the election day.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Base Closures - hold on. Let's not fight among ourselves in expensive ways.

Pennsylvania survived with less damage than was widely anticipated. Facilities widely considered at risk are slated for expansion. Carlisle Army War College is to stay open and Dickinson Law School stay operational in Carlisle for 20 more years.

The Naval Air Station in Willow Grove, Montgomery County, is slated for closure, with a potential loss of 1,200 jobs.

The Air Reserve Support Unit in Pittsburgh is to close.

Pennsylvania will lose 429 civilian jobs out of the 18,223 civilian positions being cut - 2 percent of the total. We're losing 1,435 military positions of the total 10,728 cut or about 13 percent of the military jobs lost.

Rendell is doubling efforts to defend the jobs with a fund in excess of $1 million dedicate to fund local defense groups and Chambers of Commerce to persuade the DEFENSE from the removal of Pennsylvania installations from the closure list.

I don't want EXPENSIVE fights between two entities both funded with taxpayer money -- because then we all loose. A spending match between the two hands of the same body is a sure way to stay poor if not become poorer.

We need to present ideas. We need to think it through. Wise solutions are not held with the thickest wallets.

CMU scores a Robo Cup victory

CMU team wins Robocup U.S. Open

Carnegie Mellon's team of Sony Aibo legged robots and its Search and Rescue team took first place at the International RoboCup Federation's U.S. Open competition, May 7 - 10, at Georgia Tech.

The team of autonomous soccer playing legged robots -- CMDash'05 -- beat the University of Pennsylvania in a closely contested championship game, winning 2-1 in overtime.

The Search and Rescue team placed first in the Advanced Mobility Class and in the Advanced Autonomy Class, and placed third in the RoboRescue League.

Carnegie Mellon teams will compete in the International RoboCup July 13 -17 in Osaka, Japan.

Venture Outdoors Festival needs helpers

Venture Outdoors, a one day festival with activities for the family is seeking volunteers and participants. It is at Pittsburgh’s North Shore Riverfront Park– near Heinz Field from 10 am to 5 on Saturday, May 21.

(412) 255-0564 or

The Venture Outdoors Festival is a free event where individuals and families can sample the many outdoor activities available in our region. The event features canoeing, kayaking, biking, dragon boating, rock climbing, inline skating, fishing and more. Participants can hone their skills or try these activities for the first time — with experienced instructors to provide guidance — and learn where to enjoy these activities all season long.

More than 80 different clubs and organizations with exhibits and information about outdoor recreational opportunities in the region. Local outdoor shops will also be on hand selling the latest gear. In addition to the physical activities, there will be an arts and craft section sponsored by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and tours of the river discovery vessel, the Pittsburgh Voyager. Free parking for Venture Outdoors will be available at Gold Lot #1 (you must enter the lot before 3:00 PM) Membership is not a requirement for participation – everyone is welcome.

If you or your high school or college-aged children or friends would like to volunteer for the Venture Outdoors Festival, please call Donna Bour at (412) 412-780-7802.

Subsidized housing for the rich is backdrop for Growing Greener 2 rally

Growing Greener II Rally with Secretary Yablonsky is slated for Friday, May 13, 2 pm at Summerset at Frick Park.

Contact: 717-787-5825

You're invited to a rally with Secretary Dennis Yablonsky this Friday to celebrate the Commonwealth's continued commitment to both economic development and our environment.

Smart Growth Conference, May 20

I will not be attending this event. Consider it. Be there with an open mind and challenge some of the content as you see fit.
Smart Growth Conference: Regional Participation for Sustainable Development, a gratis event is slated for Friday, May 20, 8:00 am – 3:30 pm at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown Pittsburgh.

Keynote Address: John Norquist, President and CEO, Congress for the New Urbanism (former Mayor of Milwaukee)

John Norquist is a national figure and proven leader on issues ranging from transportation reform and urban design to school choice. Under his leadership, Milwaukee transformed its downtown, revitalized its neighborhoods, and built world-class cultural facilities. He is author of "The Wealth of Cities: Revitalizing the Centers of American Life.”

Featured Speakers: Esther Bush, Jane Downing, Royce Lorentz, R. Damian Soffer, Linda Gwinn, Allen Kukovich, Steven Nesmith, Dennis Yoblonsky, Allen D. Biehler, Ron Painter, James Hassinger, Lew Villotti, F. Michael Langley

The conference will address the role of regional planning and public investments to revitalize Southwestern Pennsylvania’s communities.

Hear about proven strategies for sustainable development and targeted growth. Provide input to update the region’s official long-range plan through a special session by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission. Contribute to a policy guidance document that will be shared with public agencies responsible for the region’s planning processes – state, region and local.

Co-Chairs: Esther Bush, Urban League of Pittsburgh; Ron Painter, Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board; Kevin Silson, Oxford Development Company

To register, email: or call 412-258-6642.

Another endorsement slips through the cracks

I was taught to not say anything is if I couldn't say something good. At least, I didn't get a LANCE in today's edition for making a huff. It might come to me sooner -- or -- it could come to me just after the election. But, I'll chime in on the Trib's ways. Until then, here are two postings from the Trib:

Endorsements 2005: Diven in the 42nd - "Endorsements 2005: Diven in the 42nd

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

When Democrat state Rep. Mike Diven became Republican state Rep. Mike Diven, House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene County, fumed that it was not unusual for him to 'abandon organized labor or Gov. Ed Rendell.'

Mr. DeWeese, fond of $50 words, got downright down-home when he said of Diven, 'He forgot where he came from.'

Rep. Diven, a former Pittsburgh councilman from Brookline, knows exactly where he came from. He was elected on a good government platform to the House seat formerly held by Frank Gigliotti, a veteran Democrat officeholder who pleaded guilty to extortion, mail fraud and filing a false tax return.

Diven faces former Allegheny County Councilman Wayne Fontana in next Tuesday's special election for the 42nd District state Senate seat. The district opened when Jack Wagner became state auditor general.

We have little to say about Mr. Fontana. He remains a machine Democrat in a city whose finances were destroyed by machine Democrats, and that says enough.

In Harrisburg, Mr. Diven found a party that in his estimation is run by left-wing thugs. We won't argue with that.

Declaring his emancipation from the ruinous policies of the Democratic Party puts Diven head-and-shoulders above his opponent and has made DeWeese and company furious.

So, in the 42nd, Mike Diven clearly is the right choice.

The Trib (5/13) has a Laurel and Lance blurb:
Lance: To Wayne Fontana. The Democrats' nominee for the 42nd Senatorial District seat complains that the Trib endorses Republican Michael Diven in Tuesday's special election only because Mr. Diven "is a Republican." Sorry, Mr. Fontana, but Diven clearly is the better guy. Oh, Fontana conveniently omits that the Toledo, Ohio, Block Bugler's main reason for endorsing him is that he's (drumroll, please) a Democrat. But that's OK, right, Wayne?

Sadly, Pittsburgh's worst days are still to come.

Wiki quote from Government 2.0 book

In the past weeks, I've done very little with the wiki, We do have it on disk now. We do have buttons for the platform as well. That effort is a long-term project. Enjoy this snip.
Tomorrow's creative, flexible lawmakers will be tech-savvy politicians who use a variety of electronic means to help their constituents become better citizens and themselves be better representatives. In time, politicians who fail to embrace e-democracy tools are likely to see their bills defeated by sophisticated online issue advocacy campaigns - or see themselves pushed out of office altogether by tech-savvy newcomers.

William Eggers is Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Global Director, Public Sector for Deloitte Research. An edited extract from his book Government 2.0, published by Rowman and Littlefield, ISBN 0-7425-4175-4, is at the wiki now via another e-newsletter.

PCTV Mayor's Forum Line-up

Your Last Chance to ask the mayoral candidates questions open forum on non-profit development comes on May 13, 2005, 6 pm.

The only live call-in show on Comcast Public Access Television Channel 21 "So you Wanna Be Mayor" with live call in phone number, 412-231-2288.

All candidates will be present.

PCTV's repeated live broadcast time and dates of the live forum May 13, 2005:
Saturday, May 14, 11 pm to 1 am

Sunday, May 15, 10 pm to midnight

Monday, May 16, noon to 2 pm

Tuesday, May 17, 1 pm to 3

Darlene Terry, is the Outreach Director of Pittsburgh Community Television, 1300 Western Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. 15233. Phone: (412) 322-7570. Fax: (412) 231-2292.

Sadly, the PA Senate Race didn't have a bleep with PCTV. Furthermore, few among city council races were present there too.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Next Pittsburgh Mayor Faces Budget Cuts

Next Pittsburgh Mayor Faces Budget Cuts The city has $1 billion worth of debt, it has been reduced to no-frills budgets _ this year's did not even include money to fix potholes _ and it has two quasi-governmental boards that have a tight hold on the city's purse strings.

Seven Democrats and one Republican are running to succeed Mayor Tom Murphy, who is not seeking a fourth term.

'Right now I'd be happier with anything but what we've had,' said Jim Mannella, 48, lifelong Pittsburgh resident. 'I'm not sure how much better it can be.'

Email blast to 412 list: Final days before the May 17 election

Hi All,

Tuesday, May 17, 2005, is election day. It's a DUAL election, and I'm a candidate in the special election for PA Senate. Every registered voter (in the 42nd), regardless of party affiliation, can go to the polls and vote for me. The winner of this one-time, special election gets to be a state senator for 19 months. This is NO PRIMARY. Rather, May 17 presents a general election to fill an unexpired term.

In addition, two ballot questions (one is row-office reform and the second is on growing greener) give YES or NO choices for everyone to vote upon. Vote in the special election for state senate -- and -- vote for these ballot questions too.

The Post-Gazette's voters guide was published on Monday.

The Pgh City Paper printed an article and photo of me. See page 10 and 12.

HELP: We printed 40,000 fliers (black & white, positive) five days ago. More are still on hand in the office. We've been passing out the fliers around the district and downtown corners (also part of the district).

If you can help -- come over and pick up a bundle of literature. I'd LOVE to motivate another two dozen workers and provide you with your own materials for your own, self-paced LITERATURE DROPS. Give out the fliers to your neighbors, co-workers, fellow parents, church friends and transit riders.

Call me at 412 298 3432 = cell.

Materials (handouts, buttons, CDs) are at our office, 108 South 12th Street, South Side, just two blocks off of East Carson Street.

Most of the people we approach are very happy to vote for a POSITIVE CANDIDATE with real solutions. Lots of people in this district of nearly 200,000 are still undecided. Most of them are coming to our side as they become more aware of the options and choices.

Call me if you can help "spread some love."

Carol Rubley slammed over Growing Greener II scam

News release from James Babb, 2006 Libertarian Candidate for Representative in the General Assembly, District 157
Lower Providence Twp. - Libertarian candidate, James Babb is calling on Pennsylvania voters to reject the $625,000,000 bond scheme at the polls on May 17th. Citing the massive cost and ineffectiveness of similar coercive government programs, Babb joins other environmentalists and taxpayer advocates in opposing this new debt burden.

"I'm not surprised that career politicians like Carol Rubley co-sponsored HB 2, the deceptive bill that authorizes the bond referendum. "Formerly regarded as the 'party of small government', our Republican representatives in Harrisburg are helping Ed Rendell expand government at an alarming rate. Growing Greener 2 is just the latest example. Tax hikes alone can no longer satisfy their thirst, so politicians like Rubley are reaching for the taxpayer's Visa card again" noted Babb. "Even if you have no interest in the D & R primary races, concerned voters need to show up at the poll on May 17 to rejecting this bond scheme."

"HB 2 is so broad, that we can only guess where the money will end up, however, all sorts of goodies are promised in the state's own advertising materials, including industrial bailouts, farm subsidies, housing subsidies, and a wave of other socialist programs. Virtually every special interest group is represented in the proposed loot distribution. Sadly, the interest group not represented in this scheme, is that off our children and grandchildren, who will inherit this legacy of high taxes and debt."

"Voters need to know why the politicians are asking voters to authorize an additional $625,000,000 of tax-payer funded debt. Under the guise of environmental protection, the GG2 bond scheme rewards polluters in Pennsylvania, by shifting their cost of environmental cleanup on to the backs of overburdened tax payers. In addition to polluters, the GG2 scheme is a boon for some other groups. Bankers and investors will earn some handsome interest on $625,000,000. Perhaps as much as another $625,000,000. Politically connected lawyers and real estate firms will also profit handsomely at taxpayers expense."

"In a time when Pennsylvania is facing job losses and reduced revenues, its time to reduce government spending, not increase it. Pennsylvanians want to preserve the environment. Lets let them do it by reducing their tax burden and protecting private property from polluters." The Libertarian added, "Instead of paying for another failed industrial bailout or agricultural welfare scheme, Pennsylvanians should be free to invest in the parks or conservation projects of their choosing. We don't need to filter our efforts through Harrisburg bureaucrats. By holding polluters responsible instead of taxpayers, we can attract more nonpolluting businesses to the Commonwealth, increase prosperity, increase jobs AND protect the environment."

"Pennsylvania is the home of hundreds of thousands of environmentalists that have voluntarily contributed valuable time and resources to make our state beautiful. I hope you will join me in preserving the natural beauty of Pennsylvania by volunteering at your local park, contributing to a worthy conservation charity and voting NO to this bond referendum on May 17th!"
- -
James Babb is a business owner, musician and father. In 2004, his
campaign for State Rep. earned 18% of the votes in his home county.

Illegal: Onorato and Fontana's plan of 0-1-2-3-4 is Toast

The Judge proved what many, myself included, said for a number of months. The plan put forth, in large measure by my opponent for PA Senate in the special election, Wayne Fontana, Dem, and the County Executive, Dan Onorato, is ILLEGAL. It isn't able to be applied to property taxes for county residents. Their plan was not fair.

The plan was bogus from the outset.

The property tax mess in the county is massive. Fontana has been the chair of this failed effort and committee.

The 0-1-2-3-4 plan was a short-term fix. I hate short term fixes.

To soar, to thrive, to prosper again, we need leaders and concerned citizens who are going to work at getting to the roots of the problems. Too many around here are just batting at the leaves on the tree of suffering. Some of us care about the system wide problems.

We are not back to square one. Wrong. We are now behind the 8-ball again. We are now in deeper crisis mode. We are again putting matters before the judge to decide.

I want elections to decide. I want judges to come to the forefront when problems exist. I don't want to make problems at every turn and run to judges. The way to fix the mess -- elect candidate with solutions and a desire to get to those solutions.

The top solution for this challenge: ASSESSMENT BUFFERING.

We need a state senator who can take a state-wide fix, assessment buffering, and champion a new model, like is done in Maryland. When an assessment arrives, the increases in property values are buffered. Taxpayers have an opportunity to know what the taxes are going to be in the years ahead. Increases are much more gradual.

The assessment buffering utility is universal for all property owners. Hence, assessment buffering fixes the snag with the state constitution and the "uniformity clause."

Fontana's law about 0-1-2-3-4 was broken because it didn't have any fairness. Fontana's law wasn't uniform. It was clearly junk legislation. That is the best they can muster, sadly.

We can do better.

Another solution to this whole mess, and another idea that gets to the roots of the problem -- LAND VALUE TAX. As soon as we put more of a value upon the land, and less upon the building, then the system has stability and even greater fairness. This shift back to the land-value tax would send the region into a new round of building and growth.

Today, property owners are rewarded for letting their buildings decline. Turn you house into a shack and get a property tax break. That's wrong. Turn your house into a beautiful home and get penalized. That is wrong.

We want people to grow the value in their homes. We want people to be good neighbors and fix up their buildings.

Today the land speculators are getting rewarded for doing nothing with their weed covered plots of land. That isn't good economics. That isn't good for the neighborhodds. That isn't good for our region.

Once we tax the land to a higher degree than the property -- the land speculators will sell off the holdings because the taxes are too great. Or, the land speculators will try to do a fix up and make the property one of the best in the neighborhoods to maximize the investment and long term return.

Furthermore, our downtown office towers are becoming empty. The values to those buildings are dropping faster than ever. We need to keep the value in downtown and keep the taxes off of the backs of the smaller property owners in the neighborhoods. The taxes situation in the city is shifting away from downtown office building owners and onto the backs of the little guys.

Smart people who think again can appreciate the situations and we can make changes. We can fix the decline with some different policies.
Judge rules county can't cap property assessments Onorato convinced County Council to change the county administrative code to allow the six categories because without them, he said, many taxpayers would face huge increases in their property taxes.

In a 20-page opinion and order, Wettick acknowledged the county had some problems after its last reassessment in 2003. But the cap system enacted by the county 'works to exacerbate rather than to correct these problems' because the caps would not allow properties to be assessed at their actual values.

Text of News Brief from City Paper

The article is in news boxes, and now live on the website.
State senate race: Third-Party Third Candidate Gives Office Second Try

Mark Rauterkus is hoping for an astounding voter turnout in the 42nd District state Senate race on May 17, one of the only spring contests that’s not a primary. Rauterkus, the Libertarian candidate, figures all he needs are several hundred Republican votes, maybe a fifth of the Democrats -- and all 8,000 people in the district registered with third parties, or as Independents.

Rauterkus, a 45-year-old South Side resident and Carlynton Swim Club coach, styles himself "a citizens' candidate. Let the idea reign supreme, no matter who it came from," he says.

It's the sort of thing you say when you’re fighting for attention amid ugly television ads from Democrat Wayne Fontana, until recently a County Councilor, and Democrat-turned-Republican Michael Diven, hoping to move up from his state House seat. All want to replace Jack Wagner, elected as auditor general in November. Rauterkus ran for Pittsburgh mayor in 2001.

Rauterkus is one of the few candidates this season without a major-party endorsement who nonetheless is mounting a full-scale campaign, albeit without money for television ads. He says his first legislative priority is the kids: He wants to create a "Pittsburgh Parks District," which would require the city, county and school district to pool their parks under new oversight.

County-wide property reassessment is at the center of the other two candidates’ campaigns, despite the state's less-than-central role in the process. Rauterkus’ solution is assessment buffering: splitting each new assessment increase into three parts and adding one per year for three years to ease the pain.

Like many third-party candidates, he sports the most specific -- or unusual -- ideas on other issues as well: The region should use heavy rail instead of light rail, and not under the Port Authority’s control. In fact, we should get rid of the various city authorities, or at least make their members stand for retention votes a while after they’ve been appointed. Rauterkus has also proposed the formation of transparent political action committee (PAC) accounts, in which citizens can track political contributions with the same ease as they can get a bank balance via ATM.

"Some of these items require senator-type leadership," he notes. "I'm trying to step out of the party game, as far as being a D or an R." Of course, the letter L has some implications as well. But Rauterkus isn’t worried. He points to the lack of polling in this campaign as a positive sign -- the other fellows must be afraid of his candidacy.

"It sends a message to me that I’m doing pretty well," he says.

See, or

Dave's promise

Dave Copeland, new and improved. Dave Copeland 2.0
New blog, new content, new stuff debuts summer 2005

Electronic medical records the goal of Murphy's bill

A Doctor friend at UPMC, Dr. E for now, is busy working on a few book chapters and papers. He and I have spoken about this record keeping nightmare that faces the nation. He took a year to do extensive research on the issues. Much of his work is about the human interface and the work habits of the doctors.

In the past the records were a tool to help doctors better care. Now a great deal of time is spent on the patient record so as to stay out of the courtroom. Seemginly more and more time is devoted to the paper trail and less and less to the sick, injured and unknowing.
Electronic medical records the goal of Murphy's bill WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tim Murphy introduced legislation yesterday with a bipartisan group of House and Senate colleagues that would provide new grants and loans to develop electronic medical records systems in an attempt to reduce medical errors and health care costs.

Wellness is important.

This theme would be a great course of action, or track, for the proposed Youth Technology Summit.

I was at another event last night, and heard of a new concept -- a mini medical school. Humm. It sounded a bit like the citizens police academy, but for another major topic area.

Lifelong learning is so important.

A campaign in the neck

A campaign in the neck Republicans are attempting to make a beachhead in the city with Diven, who has been a Republican for about a half-hour. He was elected to City Council as a Democrat, and then to the Pennsylvania House, but Diven jumped to the other party when he saw this opening, prompting a most uncivil war.

The level of innuendo and half-truths from both sides is exceptional even by the low standards of politics. These two have done everything but accuse each other of persuading Ben Roethlisberger to ride his motorcycle without a helmet, but then there are still five days until the election.

Both sides is not all sides, here, and in most places in life.

Growing Greener 2 Ballot Question

Ballot question:
Do you favor authorizing the Commonwealth to borrow up to $625,000,000, for the maintenance and protection of the environment, open space and farmland preservation, watershed protection, abandoned mine reclamation, acid mine drainage remediation and other environmental initiatives?

Clean Campaign for Mayor while a SEA of Harrisburg Mud flows in from the South & West

I went to this press event. There is a clean election campaign. So, it is more than just the League of Women Voters. And, the campaigns are somehow not to use the news as any "endorsement" -- but just report upon the grade.
Recap: Bob O'Connor and Mike Lamb both got graded as "B" and Peduto got a grade of A-minus. The others didn't get a grade, sadly. But, they were mentioned.
PRESS RELEASEContact: PJ Lavelle - 412.583.0206 --

Peduto for Pittsburgh Campaign Rated "Cleanest Campaign" by League of Women Voters

PITTSBURGH -- The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh's 'Clean Campaign Committee' rated City Councilman Bill Peduto?s mayoral campaign the most positive campaign of the Democratic Mayoral Primary today.

The committee awarded Peduto an A- for 'exceptional performance.'

Peduto for Pittsburgh Campaign Manager PJ Lavelle said Peduto directed his campaign to stay positive.

"Bringing other candidates down, won't bring Pittsburgh up. We're focused on communicating Bill's plan to revitalize Pittsburgh, and Bill Peduto's positive vision is resonating with city residents," Lavelle said.

Lavelle said the campaign will continue to stay positive during the final week.

"Bill Peduto has proven his ability to make the tough choices and move Pittsburgh forward, so we have the luxury of being able to run on a solid record of reform," he said.

The pointer to the press release,