Monday, March 06, 2006

Compare and Contrast: One question, 150 words.

The following comes from a voters guide that was organized by The League of Young Voters. It is being passed about in Oakland, and elsewhere, we hope. Enjoy spring break.
Question: What specific policy initiatives will you implement to improve campus life, the quality of life in Oakland (South Oakland in particular) and make the city more student friendly?

Jeff Koch, D
After being elected to office I would not implement any new strategies initially. I'd be willing to sit down with homeowners, landlords, students, and any Universities involved with South Oakland, to get a sense of what their biggest problems are. The Universities have set up help for student renters to combat absentee landlords, but it is not always the landlords fault that his building is run down. I see the students getting involved through programs run by Laura Halula of the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation. She had a clean up just today called Adopt-a-Block in which about 50 students cleaned up trash on the streets of South Oakland. She has formed a good student base. They are working hand in hand with the City of Pittsburgh's Public Works Department (Gregg Daley) to remove large bulk debris during the time of tenant change over. These are the in roads that I plan to take to enable students, and permanent residents to cohabitate on a productive basis.

Neal Andrus, R
I would work with local law enforcement to better enforce state tenant-landlord laws. I believe that holding absentee landlord's responsible for poor upkeep of local housing could go a long way toward improving the quality of life in Oakland. Also I believe that it is crucial to inform students of their rights and responsibilities concerning rental properties, specifically in terms of security deposits, through once a year workshops informing students of their tenant rights. This could be done in conjunction with the local universities .

I am also a strong proponent of cutting the parking tax. This could significantly reduce parking rates around campus, as all lot and garage rates include the parking tax in the cost. These high rates pose an undue burden on students who have to commute in order to attend class.

Mark Rauterkus, L
Focus on freedom, liberty and justice for all favors everyone, not specific cronies nor constituents from single demographics. All benefit with: Bike lanes on streets; Trust in democracy; Annual Youth Technology Summits; Day-cares and Preschools; Subsidized housing for poor (not rich); and Graduate housing at Pitt's "River Campus" in Hazelwood. In-fill-parking treatments in established neighborhoods make more sense than subsidized garages on Second Ave.

I'll deed city-owned properties to college juniors and post-grads as bonus scholarships to encourage home-ownership and roots to Pgh past graduation. Cutting taxes, (i.e., the deed-transfer-tax) helps young home buyers.

Expect kayaks in Panther Hollow, under lights, a marathon, and community fitness to give urban participants goals to shoot at and for, not each other with guns. My tech interactions push fairness, transparency, engagement and open-source solution building. Give input at

Jason Phillips, G
Pitt’s student population: 17,000+ young people. Young people who are either commonly over looked by the city or blamed for all mishaps that occur in a neighborhood. The first step in making Pittsburgh friendlier to students would be to have a young person (who is not out of touch with the demographic) sit at the table and have a respected voice and vote when decisions are made.

A "Renter’s Bill of Rights" should be enacted to protect all persons who rent their homes. Students should not be subjected to live in substandard housing and pay absurdly high rents just because of a location convenient to the classroom.

Efforts should be taken to provide superior public safety, adequate transportation, ample parking, reasonable shopping, exciting nightlife and abundant green-spaces in Oakland. The councilman elected on March 14th should be accessible and accountable to students. I will be that councilman representing your needs.

Bruce Krane, ex-D
The first action I will take is the creation of a new part-time staff position to better serve the needs of the students in South Oakland. This burgeoning constituency base has been under-served for way too long. It is my assessment that student needs would be better addressed through the addition of specific student representation. This part-time position will be filled with a full-time university student who is a registered voter.

Specific particulars of the job description, further qualifications and remuneration will be developed based on a meeting with Student Government representatives and myself. There are obvious problems attendant to university life in Oakland that are not being dealt with adequately. Most of these revolve around matters of public safety. However, a list of all issues and their priority will be a major function of the “Student Liaison”.

Bruce A. Kraus, ex-D
The best ways I believe we can improve overall quality of life for our student population in South Oakland, and to ensure our young people stay in Pittsburgh upon graduation, is to ensure that you are presented with the opportunity to be fully engaged in the process of stewarding your futures.

Your input is invaluable and immeasurable. I will advocate for your "place at the table" to ensure that you are provided with all the opportunities to work on the solutions to the problems you are facing with regards to job creation, education, creative housing, transportation, recreation, and an active social network including nightlife and the arts.

Michael W. & Matthew B., both are Indies


Anonymous said...

Terrible idea on the "Renter’s Bill of Rights" by Philips.

The landlords are the ones who get the shaft in the courts.

stella said...

Whenever possible, simple is better. I try to keep things in my life as simple as possible. I include my life at home, my job and my work at our fire department.With fewer moving parts there is less that can go wrong.This can be applied to real estate. I know various people that have different levels of involvement with vacation rental . Some of these folks are stretched very thin by the work that is needed to maintain a real estate portfolio. They may own a lot real estate by other people's standards or not, that is subjective but if managing your real estate is a full time job and you don't want it to be, you probably have too much.