Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Issues of the hour in City Council: Prop Pgh and a $.6 M contract to M. Baker Corp for what!

My prepared 3-minute statement slated for city council chambers on transportation and PAT (Port Authority Transit) got put to the side today because of pending conversations devoted to the bills on the agenda. Preliminary talk and votes among the nine members was to come. I felt the need to express views on a pimple-faced Propell Pittsburgh legislation effort to creat a new commission in the city. Plus, a give-away to a corporation to the tune of nearly $600,000 was on tap. The expected contract approval came without a clear scope of work and centered on a silly downtown evacution plan process.

Oh my gosh. These typical yet goofy elements get chucked to city council's realm and there is only a short window of time when the public can put in its two-cents. I called on council to think again about both matters. What the heck is the administration thinking? My comments help set the tone of the meeting that followed. Both agenda points were de-railed -- or perhaps delayed.

So, I played a role by speaking and offering up the typical nay-sayer protest. But, this time, today, they listened and back-up was provided.

The Propell ordinance got push aside and will become a topic of a pending public hearing. Great. Calling for public hearings is a great way to shine more light on half-baked proposals. Getting more people engaged is always welcomed on Grant Street.

Pittsburgh needs a new commission like it needs another hole in its head. This Propell Pgh effort isn't about boats. Rather, it is for those 'propeller heads' that seem to vote with their feet and depart Pittsburgh. The sacred 'young people' are to be given their own commission from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Humm. It didn't smell right to me. I'm trying to work to smaller and more limited government and the Mayor wants to make it bigger. No thanks. Booster groups are fine, but the booster groups should reside outside the realm of an ordinance and change to the city's code (laws).

A pre-agenda item was the approval of a new member to the Pittsburgh Clean or Green Commission. Whatever. The folks on city council didn't know what that city-sanctioned group did. Neither did the appointee, who is a a current member of the mayor's administration. Duhh.

The approval of the contract to Michael Baker Crop. got voted upon and advanced with a 3 yes, 1 no and 3 abstain margin. But, there are nine members of council. Weirdness prevailed instead of the regular white-washing.

(More to come shortly.)

No comments: