Monday, October 02, 2006

part 3 - Jeff Koch's role and excuses

Then there is Jeff.
Pittsburgh city hall lacks old hands, has fresh faces 'It's taken time to get acclimated to how slow the process is,' said Councilman Jeff Koch. He has spent much of his six months in office crafting legislation to give neighborhoods control over bars moving in and pushing the bureaucracy to remove graffiti and to seek an operator for the shuttered Neville Ice Arena.
Jeff is crafting legislation to give neighborhoods control over bars. Right. I'm sure he is. Might as well take a big ice ball and push it to the top of Mt. Washington all summer long.

I've got a lot to say about bars and the neighborhood. But Jeff is going to strike out. The outcomes are never going to materialize. Worthless efforts. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

As to the shuttered Neville Ice Arena -- that is a no brainer. I could have had it opened by now. I could open that in about 2 weeks. I get calls every other month from people from around the county that want to open the Neville Ice Arena. My last call was from an ex-Pittsburgh guy who was with a firm in the state of Washington. Another call was from a local Pittsburgh guy who was very 'secret' (a turn off to me) who was putting together a team of investors. (Doubt he was successful.)

A request for proposals (RFP) for the Neville Ice Rink was promised to me and the community on mulitiple instances. It never came. It must have been done three or four times over. Then the local do-nothing types had a park plan that was not worth the paper it was written on. They wanted to get their hooks into the building and facility. They fumbled too.

The Neville Ice Rink is a 'sports facility.' To move that project you'll need someone who understands 'Recreational Leadership' to get involved. Our Citipaks programs and leaders there have been all about closing fewer facilities. They have been trying to make chicken soup with nothing but chicken shit. For them to shift gears and put any effort into a closed facility, when they have dozens of others that are also closed and are going nowhere, and when another dozen are on the brink of being closed is impossible.

The South Side Market House should have 200 kids playing indoor soccer this fall. That isn't happening. Jeff Koch didn't help. This is the first year that that program has been axed. Fumble.

I've offered to help. No luck.

The Markethouse could be opened and should be opened. Same too with the ice rink. But no. We'll slide backwards some more.

Jeff needs to do some projects that work. Jeff has nothing to point to as a success in the community yet. Jeff is up for re-election in May 2007 in the primary and November 2007 for the general election. His honeymoon is over.

Jeff is going to need to shift into excuse mode soon. He'll have to make excuses as to why he didn't get anything done. I wish that there was more for him to lean upon and point to.

Can't skate in the city -- yet city kids skate. That's B.Mc. on the right from a performance in a suburban rink in 2006.

Market House Soccer -- red team. My son is bottom left. I'm top right.

My son is on bottom right and I'm at top left in this photo of a Market House Soccer team.

Another city pool -- empty. This is a summer-time photo.

Just to be clear about myself: I coached and was on the parent booster group of the South Side Market House Children's Athletic Assn for a number of years. As my kids got older, we went to our sport -- swimming -- we left Market House activities. Now I'm coaching my son's team in swimming, in the burbs, no less. When I left the Market House, things were running smoothly. The activities ran last year, without my involvement. But, that happened without much help from the City. Volunteers ran the program at the Market House and were spent because of it. Day to day programming with volunteers isn't ideal.

We have serious recreational issues and problems in this area.

I'm a swimming coach for five days a week, if not seven days. I've coached this year in Canada (for 2-weeks), with the Carlynton Swim Club (year round), ran a water polo clinic, began a swim team at Phillips Elementary, and coached the summer season with the Crafton Swim Team. I've coached swimming since 1976.

I coached swimming in the city in 1999-2000. That fall the city yanked the pool permit from the team at the Oliver Bath House, sadly. That season I worked with Coach Hosea and we saved TRA (Three Rivers Aquatics). Parent boosters wanted to kill TRA, so I came onto the scene. The old TRA team is now in our winter swim league for 2006-07 season and it operates as the Kingsley Stingrays.

We'll begin our swim practices with the Phillips Elementary Swim Team again shortly. They practice for one swim meet and gather only on Sunday nights.

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