Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Statement about rich getting richer while poor grows poorer -- before City Council

The following notes were used as I delivered a message to City Council on Feb 21, 2006.

I'm Mark Rauterkus. My family and I live in the historic South Side at 108 South 12th Street. I'm a candidate in the special election for City Council slated for March 14, 2006.
Before my children were born, I published books.
I edited, designed, crafted, marketed and sold books and other titles. I never published a “cook book” but I did resell some. Nutritional guide books and eating for cutting-edge athletes who were my customers was part of our mix.
Recently, I've been working on a new book, an online wiki. This book covers good government.

The book, Platform.For-Pgh.org, examines what's cooking in city hall. The voters and citizens should have an understanding of what's being fed to them in terms of public policy. Pittsburgh would be healthier if it more of our diet came from my suggestions.
Books give instructions on what to do – and what to avoid. The Warning Chapter gets a new page today.
Pittsburgh is going to continue along a pathway of despair if council continually helps the super rich in get richer and the poor get poorer. That is no way to govern.

With eight Democrats now on council, you don't see it as I do. As a Libertarian, I know and understand that freedom, liberty, and justice for ALL – must be applied to everyone – cronies or not.

I think it is wrong to hatch deals on City Council and with the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) that create subsidized housing for rich people. Especially subsidized housing for rich people in downtown locations.

I think it is even worse – double wrong – to do deals in council that subsidizes the parking of the rich people who live downtown in subsidized housing.

Even worse, -- triple wrong -- is to do deals in council with downtown developers who are sitting on tax delinquent properties in the neighborhoods, such as Brighton Heights. Big properties that don't get the attention that they deserve depress the values of hundreds of other homes of average citizens and become open sores that spew nasty quality of life issues.

Thanks Rich Lord, for the wonderful P-G article on Sunday.The Trib editors get public thanks for slamming PNC Plaza and its $30-million grant from Pennsylvania plus $18-million TIF (a tax break).

These big ticket public subsidies allow the rich to get richer. School children loose and cronies win.

I want to come on council and say, Lay the Shovel Down. Stop already. Enough is enough.

I would rather do deals that address real needs – such as subsidized housing for poorer families within neighborhoods so that the supply is increased and everyone wins with more affordable housing.

Along Second Avenue, I don't want to give a tax break for parking garages in what amounts to a suburban office park. Serious parking problems happen in established neighborhoods. Some “in-fill parking treatments” would increase home values for everyday citizens rather than corporate interests and institutions.

If you wanted to subsidize a day care, then let's talk. The 30-new jobs in a much needed day care and pre-school could guard our most precious assets, our kids. A day-care makes our workforce more productive and keeps people in the city.

The city's school district is about to close 20 schools. A waiting list of nearly 200 kids exist as families want to get into the city operated PRE-Schools. But schools are closing and the wait list for pre-schoolers is sure to grow too.

The reasoning behind the city's continual population decline is clear.

I want to set policy and make prudent investments in the lives of children and the young families in our neighborhoods. Get away from corporate give-a-ways that cost the rest of the taxpayers more money and don't help the overall health of the city – except for the cronies.

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