Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pop City - The Philadelphia Story

A BID is a "Business Improvement District." Bids are a way to raise taxes without representation. BIDs do the job that should be done by government, because government is corrupt and failing to provide services.

If Philly is doing so well, why did Comcast need PA Taxpayers to give them $300-million to build downtown?

Philly's BID zone is 120 blocks. How many blocks are in our downtown? What, about 30?

Those community service reps with radios should be crossing guards. In Pittsburgh, we've taken the radios away from the crossing guards. I'm not interested in downtown ambassadors to help direct an adult with a briefcase around a homeless person.

Rather, let's hire some algebra teachers for the kids in school who are failing then out on the streets. Rather, let's hire some coaches and motivate them to be fit, to compete, to learn about teamwork and giving an extra effort in gangs that we control. I'm fine with gangs, such as an orchestra and a swim team.
Pop City - The Philadelphia Story The 120-block district formed when city business owners agreed to create a special taxing district; extra taxes would be levied on businesses in the area to clean up graffiti, beautify streets and sidewalks with seven-day-a-week uniformed service, enhance landscaping and lighting, and increase police protection in the area.

Now, the 3-square-mile area of the 100-square mile city is Philadelphia's economic engine, Levy says. The center city tax on more than 2,000 businesses raises $14 million a year for such amenities as community service representatives with radios to notify police of problems.

'Little changes in the environment can create big psychological changes in how people think of downtown,' says Paul Levy, president of Philadelphia’s business improvement area dubbed the Center City District.
Another way to get the economic engine on overdrive without a BID is to shift back to the land-value tax. Don't reward folks who create blight. A surface parking lot in a downtown space that occupies the same footprint as a ten or twenty story building should be taxed equally as the building. When you tax the land, development skyrockets. Poor performing places are sold rather than sit idle for later spculation.

I don't stand for tax breaks for rich developers for their rich people tennants so they can move out of neighborhoods and live downtown with subsidized parking spaces.

I want a mixed community. That means kids are welcome.

Serious crime in Philly was and has always been far worse than in Pittsburgh. They need to copy what Pittsburgh does. They get crime more under control to come up to our standard -- and then we want to copy their remediation?

Computerized crime mapping would make for a great tech investment and it should be mission critical and paid for by taxes for everyone's benefit. I don't want "Pay To Play" on basics, such as crime watch.

Did the crime move from the business district to the next neighborhoods?

In Pittsburgh, they'll make a sweep and pile certain problems from one area into another. That's not progress. That's elitism. That's called a blind spot. The laws on the books in Pittsburgh do not allow for the feeding of folks in Market Square. So they eat on the Blvd. of the Allies, except in All-Star Weekends. Then they get steaks and eggs in Carnegie, I guess.

Fix the problems -- the root problems. These ventures and our history shows that the current crop of politiciians are happy to bat at the leaves of the tree of suffering, not attack at its roots.

Pittsburgh has plenty of BID experiences. Not sophisticated at the application of band-aids. We don't need that type of sophistication -- err -- governmental remediation.

Philly might have great reform schools too. That's something I don't envy because I want our kids in real schools. We should aim to do the right things at the right times in the right places -- as a normal course of operations.

Their reform complicates matters and amounts to a deformity. That's DE-FORMED. That's because they screwed up so badly over the years.

We, in Pittsburgh, have a challenge to fix what we got. We have to do better with what we have.

I don't want a 120 block B.I.D. I don't want any BIDs. Then what! We'll be the envy of cities everywhere because we govern as we should.

We should be safe everywhere. We should look without blind spots. We need to deal with problems in an honest way.

BIDs are a sign of bad government. I'm against BIDs because I'm for good governement.

BIDs are a sign of BIG Government. I'm against bigger and bigger government -- and would rather have smaller, more limited governement.

I don't want tax bills from BID liabilities to come and pile on other tax bills from the city, schools, county, state and feds.

Foundation people that want to toss money around can spend it as they wish -- in private sectors. Go nuts. Don't come asking for special services and special treatments because you are rich and buy and sell police and politicians and public service workers.

We're Pittsburgh. The worth and dignity of everyone counts in these parts, still, thankfully. Let's make sure of it.

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