P-G news: Overtime hits city budget hardWhile not the #1 pay earners, Bob and Dan get to go to the Super Bowl. Is that a perk or overtime?
Just as long as the game doesn't go to overtime then everyone will be happy.
As fit citizens, neighbors and running mates, we are tyranny fighters, water-game professionals, WPIAL and PIAA bound, wiki instigators, sports fans, liberty lovers, world travelers, non-credentialed Olympic photographers, UU netizens, church goers, open source boosters, school advocates, South Siders, retired and not, swim coaches, water polo players, ex-publishers and polar bear swimmers, N@.
P-G news: Overtime hits city budget hardWhile not the #1 pay earners, Bob and Dan get to go to the Super Bowl. Is that a perk or overtime?
Bruce Krane's answer, in full, retyped from transcript:
I don't know what the justifications are to say that rumors are more accurate than the police report, first of all. Could you please read the question again? That just struck me right away.
... Q again ...
Well that is assuming that the police crime reports are inaccurate, I have a hard time accepting that.
But obviously, anybody that lives here, there has been an increase of crime that people talk about. I think that there has been an increase in some violent crimes. I think it is very frustrating that there does not seem to be picked up by the media and the truth should be told. But, when I look at the statistics, and I'm as concerned as any resident is about crime, particularlly violent crime, but it hasn't been proven to me that the numbers did increase.
There have been some very colorful crimes. There have been some aweful crimes. There have been some crimes of violence that we haven't seen before. But I would still have to go with the police reports as opposed to rumor reports on the streets. That's my answer.
Peduto sells out Until a few years ago, the Pittsburgh police, as did police forces in other city's worthy of major status, made their reports available. They are now kept from public inspection. As a result, reporters and the public are told to wait for a 'news release' that might or might not answer all questions.
Deadline missed - PittsburghLIVE.com Mayor Bob O'Connor missed a self-imposed deadline to tweak Pittsburgh's 2006 budget by today, the end of his first month in office.
Days after his Jan. 3 inauguration, O'Connor said he would make changes to former Mayor Tom Murphy's $418 million budget proposal 'by the end of January,' even though state law gives the new mayor until the end of March.
'The end of January wasn't a hard deadline,' B.J. Leber, O'Connor's chief of staff, said Monday. 'It was just a target.'
Leber said she's still negotiating budget adjustments with the city's two state-appointed financial overseers -- the Act 47 recovery team and the state oversight board. Both were created in 2004 after Pittsburgh was declared financially distressed in December 2003. "
Nine file for vacant council seat Libertarian Mark Rauterkus, 46, has run for mayor and state Senate. The Flats resident and swimming coach said he'd be 'the person on City Council in charge of youth policy and recreation.'Nine is a good number. It is a number that means "long life" in China. And, since this is now the year of the dog, it is fitting to say that every dog has its day in the sun.
He'd fight against rolling local tax dollars into $18 million in aid for the proposed new PNC Financial Services Group tower Downtown. He wants land to be taxed at a higher rate than buildings.
Bruce Kraus said in his closing statement:
There is one thing that was said this evening that I disagree with vehemently. And that is that this is not about constituency service. This election is about you. Each and every one of you. I want to set the standard for constituency service. I want to be held up as the hallmark of constituency service.
It is easy to stand here and say what I would like to do. I would rather stand here and say what I have done. I have worked diligently my entire life in this neighborhood. This neighborhood is in my blood. It is in the air I breath..To serve this community and to make this community better for each and every one of us whether it be neighborhood cleanups, fighting for police protection, having my business here and investing in my home here, my neighbors here.
I am sworn to represent your well being before the city of Pittsburgh.
I would like to say that the date of the election is March 14. I hope each and every one of you come out. Please come out and vote. It is a very important election. This is a very important position. And we must exercise the utmost care in who we select to do this job before you. So I respectfully ask to vote for me, Bruce A. Krause, on November 14 and thank you very much for your interest in this election and for taking the time to be here tonight.
Editorial: Size matters / Paring the Legislature should be part of reform What is needed, then, is a third wave of response from Pennsylvanians -- a reform agenda that includes, among other things, a lobbyist disclosure law, ways for the public to put questions on the ballot and a smaller General Assembly.Real reform talk happens at the Platform.For-Pgh.org wiki.
SI.com - 2006 Winter Olympics - 'Loudmouthed Texan' after�five gold medals - Monday January 30, 2006 12:12AM The Exception.
Dems pick candidate - PittsburghLIVE.com Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is running as a Libertarian.
The unofficial results:
Jeff Koch = 33
Pat Sweeney = 17
Bruce Kraus = 15
Eileen Conroy = 8
Bruce Krane = 0
My name is Mark Rauterkus, My family and I reside at 108 South 12th Street, South Side. I'm a candidate for the now open seat for City Council in district 3. Today I'll turn in my papers to get onto the ballot.Today's message is about over-reaching.
I'm hosting a community concert on Feb 2 with singer and songwriter Johnsmith. He sings a song, "Don't Put Me In a Box" that is on the campaign CD. I hope everyone gets the opportunity to listen to this CD in the weeks to come. It has music and messages that I feel are important for Pittsburgh to flourish.
Reopen West End station, residents urge - PittsburghLIVE.com: ".When a certain person in the race said he was fighting "vo-sif-er-os-ly" for the Zone 3 police station, I was joining the struggle with our neighbors to the west to save zone 4's police station. Imagine that.
'If you can't fill it properly, just leave it alone. Leave it closed, and we'll join our friends in the suburbs,' Norene Beatty, president of the West End Elliott Citizens Council, told Woodyard.
District 2 Councilman Dan Deasy, who represents the area, said officials also are discussing opening a mini-station or substation in the West End or moving the South Side station into the more accessible West End.
Although some in the audience said the idea makes sense, others said they don't want to shift their problems to another part of town.
'We're not here to pit neighborhood against neighborhood. We are not here to close Zone 3,' Romaniello said."
Democrats to choose City Council nominee - PittsburghLIVE.com Political activist Mark Rauterkus, of the South Side, is running as a Libertarian.The news behind the news is that Ed Jacob is out, as I had assumed since Thursday when he was a no-show at the candidate event.
Popularity of wireless ear pieces lessening the stigma of hearing aids 'We have not seen a big change so far,' said Dr. Catherine Palmer, director of audiology at the Eye & Ear Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. But she's optimistic that the growing popularity of ear pieces will help people with hearing losses be less reticent to use hearing aids.
Panel says let County Council members stay while running Allegheny County Council members shouldn't have to resign from their seats if they run for higher office.
"It doesn't serve any good government purpose," Don Linzer, commission chairman, said before yesterday's public meeting.
Protect Every Pennsylvanian's Right To Vote!
Come to Harrisburg on Feb. 1st and Voice Your Opposition to H.B. 1318
House Bill 1318 would require all Pennsylvanian's to present ID every time they vote instead of the current law which only requires this for first time voters.
This bill would disenfranchise an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 voters who do not have any ID including senior citizens and the poor.
If you forget your ID, your vote will not be counted until you present your ID to election officials.
The National Commission on Election Reform found that there is NO evidence that the fraud which voter ID REQUIREMENTS SEEK to address is even prevalent in the U.S.
House Bill 1318 if amended, would remove the right to vote from felons released from prison who are still on probation or parole.
Current Pennsylvania law allows individuals who have been convicted of felonies to vote while they are on probation or parole. In fact, in some states voting is considered such a basic American right that a person can not lose the right to vote even while in prison.
Disenfranchisement would affect thousands of Pennsylvanians and selectively impact African-American and Latino men.
Criminologists agree that the most successfully rehabilitated former prisoners are those who rekindle their sense of civic responsibility and become active, productive members of their community.
Join us in Harrisburg on February 1st and tell your Legislator to VOTE NO ON HB 1318!
Buses leave Wednesday 2/1/06 from: The Hill House, 1835 Centre Ave in the Hill District @ 5:30am & Allegheny County ACORN, 5907 Penn Ave. in East Liberty @ 6am
Buses return Wednesday 2/1/06 at 10pm
For more info contact: Western PA Voter Coalition (see comments for more info)
The Connecticut Post Online - News School journalism hits safety roadblockThis is wrong.
Students' names removed for protection
GREG SHULAS email@example.com
Student journalist Peter Wiley finds it rewarding when he sees his byline atop articles he writes for The Advocate, the award-winning newspaper at Jonathan Law High School in Milford.
So when Wiley, the publication's editor in chief, learned that a school security policy forbids him from using his or any other student's full name on the newspaper's Web site, he was a little discouraged....
HIV / AIDS is still a major health problem in the United States.
Fact: Minority Youth are one of the groups at highest risk.
Fact: Education is key to prevention.
So, what is the Pittsburgh Public School system doing to educate our minority youth population about HIV / AIDS?
Find out at the February Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Pittsburgh Meeting. Patrick Dowd and Thomas Sumpter, Pittsburgh Public School Board Members will be speaking.
The meeting is Thursday, February 9th at 7:00 p.m. at United Cerebral Palsy Association of Pittsburgh (4925 Centre Avenue).
For more information on the Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Pittsburgh visit our Web page at www.gertrudesteinclub.org.
Development taking flight near Pittsburgh International Airport A simulated ground-breaking ceremony inside the Findlay Municipal Building -- they hauled in the dirt -- kicked off development of the 240-acre Clinton Commerce Park.
My name is Mark Rauterkus. My family and I reside at 108 South 12th Street, South Side of Pittsburgh. I am a candidate for the now open seat for city council, district 3. That special election is slated for March 14, 2006.Five years ago, I didn't like our great city's propensity of giving away large sums of land and money to corporations and non-profits. Mayor Murphy's economic plans were a sure-fire pathway to a large economic crisis.
Democrats and Republicans Both Adept at Ignoring Facts, Study Finds - Yahoo! News Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.
And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that's contrary to their point of view.
Researchers asked staunch party members from both sides to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 Presidential election. The subjects' brains were monitored while they pondered.
The results were announced today.
'We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning,' said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. 'What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts.'
Bias on both sides
The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.
Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.
The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.
SI.com - NFL - Pa. student humiliated over Broncos jersey - Tuesday January 24, 2006 12:30AM Vannoy was wearing a No. 7 Broncos jersey on Friday, because he is a fan of John Elway, the Broncos' retired Hall of Fame quarterback.In other news, there is now a push from a few to put a new uniform code into the schools. It calls for one day a week, Fridays, to be a "dress-up day" with good clothes. Not dress down, but dress up.
Vannoy said he was so unnerved he left at least 20 questions blank on the 60-question test, and just wants out of Kelly's class because he's afraid the teacher won't treat him fairly now that the story reached the media.
Democracy For America In 2004 Democracy For America, in partnership with Latinos For America and 21st Century Democrats, embarked on an ambitious goal to train thousands of grassroots activists for the upcoming elections.
The next speaker, Mr. Rauterkus, ran for mayor in 2001. While he wasn't elected, he said he learned a lot and fought a lot of good fights.
He opposes any corporate welfare, such as the proposed $18 million in tax increment financing, or TIF, for a PNC Financial Services Group tower in downtown Pittsburgh.
If elected, he would be fiscally prudent, accountable, and beholden to only one special interest group: residents.
Point State Park makeover starts with utilities, irrigation What planners euphemistically refer to as Downtown Pittsburgh's green living room will get a new carpet and utilities this summer, preparing it for the decorators to perform an extreme makeover in future years.I've always had my issues with Point State Park. There isn't even a swing set there. It is nearly impossible to find a swing set anywhere downtown. That is an obvious example of what's missing.
Point State Park, a national historical site, will undergo a $4.5 million upgrade to install new electrical and water lines and permanent utility hookups for vendors to use during major events.
The project also will change the design and use of the four-acre front of the park, nearest Downtown; replace existing asphalt sidewalks with terrazzo and bluestone edges; and eliminate the main stage in the larger part of the park closer to the Point.
The Key Communicators’ Meeting scheduled for tonight-January 24th- has been Cancelled. It will be rescheduled on Tuesday February 21st.This is very bad news. We need more communications -- not less. We need more interactions in one-to-many settings -- not fewer. We need to be community -- not simply taxpayers.
Places: Market Square ain't broke, so please don't fix it Eckstut's observation was a sound one, but his solution was flawed. And for much the same reasons, only part of O'Connor's idea is worth embracing.
There's much good news for Libertarians and for Pennsylvania's voters regarding the Voter's Choice Act and ballot access reform.
On Wednesday, January 11th, 2006, members of the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (PBAC) met with the House State Government Committee in Harrisburg to talk turkey over the contents of a ballot access reform bill. Most of the twenty state representatives who sit on the committee attended the two-hour informal hearings, listening to testimony from Libertarians, Greens, Constitutions, Reforms, Naderites, Socialists, the League of Women Voters, and the public. There were about half a dozen reporters in the audience, and the hearings were subsequently well publicized. Selected articles are included at the end of this report, and photos from the hearing can be found at http://tinyurl.com/cgp3r.
From a historical perspective, the meeting went very well. The last round of hearings regarding ballot access reform were held in 1997, and at that time the committee members were hostile and argumentative. However, this time the atmosphere was cordial and friendly, and the dialogue was open and productive.
Several suggestions and compromises were discussed at the hearing, including:
1. Equalizing the number of signatures across the board for all candidates regardless of party affiliation. That means 1,000 or 2,000 signatures for statewide office, not 67,070. The PBAC accepted this compromise.
2. Equalizing the length of the petitioning window to three weeks for all parties rather than the current four-to-five month period for third parties. The PBAC also accepted this compromise, with the provision that the petitioning window for independents and third parties include primary day.
3. Including third parties in the primary process once their membership reaches 1% of the statewide voter registrations. While the PBAC accepted this compromise, it was noted that the Libertarians do not believe in a taxpayer funded primary.
4. The PBAC's proposed redefinition of a third party per the Delaware Model did not seem to raise any concerns with anyone. This change should make it into the reform bill intact.
In the end, the committee chair stated that the committee would be drafting legislation to achieve these goals. In the meantime, the PBAC will continue to keep up the pressure for the passage of a ballot access reform bill. At this time, the odds of that happening in the next few months appear to be excellent.
Concerned citizens can help the efforts of the PBAC by calling their state representatives and state senators immediately and urging them to push for ballot access reform this month, as outlined in the bill being authored in the House State Government Committee. For more information, refer them to the PBAC's White Paper on ballot access reform which can be found on the web at www.PaBallotAccess.org.
As things stand, the situation is both promising and urgent. There are only a few months left before petitioning for 2006 begins. The more pressure that can be brought to bear on the legislature, the better.
Chair, Legislative Action Committee
Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
c/o PO Box 260
Cheltenham, Penna. 19012
3915 Union Deposit Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
Monthly Review December 2005 Charles McCollester - Pittsburgh—The Glory and the Gutting In the birthplace of American unionism, the collapse of steel has been followed by the collapse of government.
Cavalier disregard for democratic process and majority rule, the imposition of unelected authorities, and the blocking of popular participation by arrogant elites who define “freedom” as the power to rule in their own interest without restraint or restriction, these are characteristics of our age. Anti-democratic, selected-not-elected models are being developed in the heartland as well as abroad. Little noticed among the impositions of governing authorities in Iraq and Haiti and the assault on popularly elected leadership in Venezuela is the dismantling and usurpation of public authority and accountability in Pittsburgh. The banana republic comes to the rust belt.
The steel rust-belt area from Youngstown, Ohio to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, centered in Pittsburgh and strewn with once mighty but now financially broken towns like Aliquippa, Braddock, Newcastle, Steubenville, Sharon, McKees Rocks, and Duquesne, is sinking into spiritual and financial bankruptcy.
Bits&Bytes:Innovation Works to add a little extra to competitors' coffers In the rare event that you missed last week's business blogging event jointly sponsored by local trade groups TiE Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Technology Council, Pittsburgh Bloggers (www.pghbloggers.org) co-founder Mike Woycheck, who moonlights as an information technology specialist at the tech council, repeated his advice for novice bloggers worried about how to promote their blog in the 'blogosphere.' Bloggers should rely on 'word of mouth,' said Woycheck, and list with directories such as his. Adding a key word or category that can be listed in such blog search engines as 'technorati.com' and 'blogsearch.google.com' also helps. Ultimately, commenting on similar or related blogs -- online Web journals for the uninitiated -- where you think your audience might be reading is an enormous boost. 'You can read blogs, watch them, create your own blog and engage others through comments,' Mr. Woycheck said.
Grand jury still investigating Murphy, DeFazio - PittsburghLIVE.com Grand jury still investigating Murphy, DeFazioTwo might be a bit conservative. The left to topple list includes the I.C.A. and Act 47 overlords, the PA House and PA Senate, and a few other power-brokers that are too high on themseves to do the work of the people and the constitution.
PennEnvironment Clean air. Clean water. Open spaces. Of the largest metropolitan areas, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania experienced the most days with spikes in fine particle pollution, recording seven exceedances on seven different days. The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area in California ranked second among the largest metropolitan areas, recording 14 exceedances on six different days.
Citizens group demands open primaries, calls upon political parties to “let the voters decide.”Do you think the local Dems, given that there are nearly ten in the race for city council, could encourage them all to run as Indies and NOT offer an endorsement. That might be more democratic -- with a small "D."
ANNVILLE, PA [1.19.06] - Continuing their battle to return government to Pennsylvania’s citizens, the grassroots citizens group PACleanSweep has called upon party leaders throughout the Commonwealth to refrain from endorsing candidates prior to the May 16 primary election.
"2006 will see more contested legislative races than any year in recent history," said PACleanSweep Chair Russ Diamond in an open letter to the Republican and Democratic State Committees. "Voters are demanding real choices. Party leaders who interfere in contested primaries do a disservice to their party, its members, and the spirit of a free electoral process."
PACleanSweep maintains that primary elections should be decided by the voters and not by a handful of power brokers.
"Primary elections exist to allow the party's rank and file to choose the nominee," said PACleanSweep Strategic Director Mike Bergmaier. "The party endorsement process is undemocratic as it disenfranchises the vast majority of voters."
Diamond noted that Pennsylvania's current political climate makes the case for open primaries even more compelling. Public outrage over the legislative payjacking cuts across party lines, and voters increasingly feel that political elites are out of touch with the people they represent.
Sunday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review underscored the need for open primaries when it reported on the inexcusable conduct of a Mercer County GOP state committee member.
According to the report, Cindy Robbins said she was refusing to support gubernatorial hopeful Bill Scranton, "because Scranton publicly dissed the recent pay grab that the Legislature – including her husband [state Sen. Robert Robbins] – voted in favor of."
Robbins' out-of-touch viewpoint runs in stark contrast to public opinion and underscores the reason voters deserve open primaries where candidates face off on a level playing field.
"The people are waking up and demanding more say. They want choices and are understandably skeptical of backroom politics," said Diamond. "If party leaders meddle in primary contests, expect a backlash from the voting public."
"Pennsylvanians spend millions of dollars on primary elections, and we deserve our money’s worth," concluded Diamond.
Read the open letter...
Allegheny County councilman to challenge Diven for state House seat Under a provision in the county's home rule charter, he will have to step down from his council seat to run for another office. He is consulting legal experts about when he must formally resign.