Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm too angry to post about this at the moment. Interaction with a detective / PAT Police at public hearing.

A women came to me while I sat in the front row of the 3rd public hearing hosted by PAT about its looming service cuts. I had testified a few moments ago. The place was packed, but they were running ahead of the slated agenda time. I spoke quickly about the Octopus Card. These electronic bus passes would provide PAT with much better data on trip "segments." Better access to data would lead to better decisions on routes and price adjustment options. (More later.)

This women comes to my side. "I'm from Achieva," she said. "Could you come with me?"

Well, okay. I packed my coat, briefcase and camera. I had heard about 10 folks give their rants. Its is all 'rip your heart out' insights, as Steve Bland was quoted in the radio news today about yesterday's experience. As a speaker ended, I moved from my seat to the back of the room. She wants me moving faster, and then wants me to move with her out of the room and down the hall and away from everyone else.

"No way. I'm not going into some private room with you, woman. What is it you'd like from me?"

She insists, but I'm just outside the door to the main room, and I'm not moving. Then she shows me her badge attached to her belt. She idenitifies herself, now, as a police officer.

Fine. Now that I know you are a police officer, and not working for Achieva, a nonprofit agency that owns the building where the hearing is hosted and does wonderful work with special needs populations -- I'm still not going down that hallway and leaving this public gathering.

You can whisper what you'd like to tell me now.

She says, "We were talking, and my camera is making people uncomfortable."


"Yes, I've got my I.D," I tell her. I easily offer my name, address, a peek at my check-book that was handy in my back pocket. "No, you don't need to see my drivers license. No, you don't need my social security number either, for your report."

I stay cool, but puzzled and say I'll keep my camera in my bag and go back into the meeting. Clearly, she doesn't want any video of the meeting.

I let uon the I think it must be Steve Bland, PAT's CEO, that has become uncomfortable. PAT is a public agency. The detective grunted.

I wish I had the camera running when I went back into the room for an additional 20-minutes or so. PA's Auditor General, Jack Wagner, showed up at the meeting. And, I wish I had the pep talk presentation from Ken Z, the dude who is yacking at every hearing from the transportation committee of the Allegheny Conference. Oh well.

At City Council's meeting today, also at 10 am, I had just talked about cameras. (More on this blog about that later.)

I've got another meeting on "red light cameras" to attend at 1:30 today.

For the fourth meeting today, there isn't any public coverage concerning the 2 pm meeting at 200 Ross Street about the South Side Bar Bill, in City Planning.

The PAT public forum today was packed, just like the prior two hearings. Bring your camera if you dare.

Gotta run, and do a cool down. Her name is Kerr, and she works for the PAT Police. And, I don't want to read about this in some Yapper blog in two years. For what its worth, I wasn't handcuffed.

(First posted at 1:15 pm.)


Mark Rauterkus said...

PittsburghJack asked:

Tell the truth: Were you handcuffed?



(Can't edit the blog easily today. So I did a cut-and-paste into a new posting.)

Mark Rauterkus said...

I saw Bob Grove, PAT's media relations guy, at the public hearing #2 in Oakland. He didn't have an extra press kit to share with me.