Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - Possible Fraud At Sports and Exhibition Authority

An employee was fired in early January, 2007. - Possible Fraud At Sports and Exhibition Authority
Was this information made public then, or just now?

Engage Pittsburgh seems to thaw after a winter freeze

Great news. The Sprout Fund is starting to peek above the frozen tundra. Spring will Sprout!
Engage PittsburghThe Sprout Fund will issue RFPs on March 1, 2007.

Harken: Update On The Mayor's Race Debates

The Busman's Holiday: Update On The Mayor's Race Debates 'Councilman Bill Peduto told me 'Bob and I understood the importance of getting the message out to the people and doing it, not through sound bites, but through standing and debating the issues. And I'm hoping that Luke will join me in having a series of eight televised debates, just like Bob O'Connor and I did.''

Main Page - PittsburghPlatform Bob O'Connor's quote about campaigns comes alive within the wiki,
'Pittsburghers deserve to know where the candidates stand on the issues,' said Bob O'Connor on his campaign web site in November, 2005.
Bob was right.
Right on.
Good for Bill Peduto in trying to kick it into high gear.

KQV, WQED, Urban League, Jewish Foundation, KDKA TV, WPXI, and the Pgh Business Times -- as well as scores of others, need to get on board too.

Tonight's meeting at the Market House begins at 7:30 pm

From Market House

Bev of the South Side Slopes Assn wrote an email that reminded us:
Meeting tonight regarding South Side Bar Task Force:

Wednesday, February 28th
City of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
7:30 p.m. Market House, 1 Bedford Square

Please join Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Councilman Jeff Koch and the South Side Community Council for a Town Hall Meeting to address community concerns about the bars on East Carson Street.

Prior to the meeting, all speakers must sign up by contacting Josette Fitzgibbons at 412-255-0760 or via email at

Other invited officials: Pat Ford, Deputy Director of Economic and Community Development; Ron Graziano, Chief of Bureau of Building Inspection; Nathan Harper, Chief of Police; Larry Ross, Commander Zone 3 Police; George Specter, Acting City Solicitor; Jeremy Smith, Zoning Administrator; and Kim Graziani, Director of Neighborhood Initiatives.

South Side Neighborhood Plan Survey due today:

Every 15203 resident was mailed a survey from the Brashear Association a couple of weeks ago, which includes a survey. I am not sure if you noticed the return deadline of today. It came with a return envelope that you did not have to pay postage. If you forgot to fill it out, please do so and return it today! This is important for the Neighborhood Plan update.

Karma of Metroblogging Pittsburgh hints at hostilities

Metroblogging Pittsburgh: Rauterkus thinks he is important in this city


How about: "Rauterkus thinks. What is important in this city?" Better yet, substitute "county" or "region" instead of 'city.'

I think wellness is important. I think dissent is important. I think a sustained discussions on topics and issues are important. Talking about ideas is far more important than personality.

My reply to the Metroblog wasn't able to be posted, for whatever reasons. The reply there was to be:

Thanks for the mentions.

Let's list all the things that Dan Onorato has done for wellness and health in this county.

1. Hired 3 more food inspectors (announced yesterday, employed later).



Go nuts. You tell me, if you can. I'm open to suggestions.

FWIW, I think I know my role, my value and my "importance" in our times and places. Your advice, "please stop," has been taken under consideration. I'll stop after I have witness to approaches, solutions, interactions and candidates that I can be proud of. I'd like to tell my children and their peers that Pittsburgh is a great place to build quality lives for themselves.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Live Blogging of tonight's TV show: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

This is an open thread. Click to post a comment.

We'll also be meeting on You can download the software, get your PIN (personal identification number), call a 724-phone number, and then your telephone allows us to hold real-time conversation while the show airs.

WQED Schedule for the movie:

Independent Lens: Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?
Tuesday, February 27, 10:30 pm

* Talkcast Name: Heavy Or Not
* Host: Mark Rauterkus - Mark at
* Next episode: Live blogging of Can Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Anymore? on Tue, February 27, 2007 10:00 PM EST. The show airs on WQED at 10:30 pm. We'll host a conversation while it airs, and share thoughts after the show finishes.
* Phone number: (724) 444-7444
* Talkcast ID: 3181
* PIN: The phone number or 10-digit PIN you signed up with

WQED Link: WQED Pittsburgh: TV Independent Lens

County to add three food inspectors

County to add three food inspectors - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review The Allegheny County Health Department will add three food inspectors, increasing its inspection work force by almost 25 percent, county Chief Executive Dan Onorato said this morning.

From china - foods

Allegheny County Health Department draws focus - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

This blog does more to insure wellness than the County Executive does. And, the power of the Health Department is on his side. Looks like the department has the same sickness as Bob Casey's who hopes for the best by not showing up for work. The work ethic is in the pits. The hope of the workers is even lower due to their crushing challenges. And, Dan Onorato doesn't really care.

I would look forward to being the County Executive to have the opportunity to make radical advancements of common-sense knowledge among citizens, business and the public with the Health Department's assistance.

Read this blog and you'll learn to wash mellons. Recent posts also pointed to the wonders about the Taco Bell in NYC, etc., etc.

It is great that the leadership and management of the health department is now going to be a campaign issue. Wonderful topic. Let the discussions begin with him and continue with the Running Mates.
Allegheny County Health Department draws focus - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review County Councilman Matt Drozd said he was '90 percent sure' that Onorato plans to hire more health inspectors. The county has 13 full-time inspectors.

'My question is, why didn't he do anything about it as soon as he got into office? He was the controller who did the audit. It's just common sense,' Drozd said.

Monday, February 26, 2007

[412] Two film opportunities from a swim coach in six races, TalkShoe on Tuesday Movie on Thursday

This message was just sent to those on my email contact list.
[412] Two film opportunities from a swim coach in six races, TalkShoe on Tuesday Movie on Thursday [412] Two film opportunities from a swim coach in six races, TalkShoe on Tuesday Movie on Thursday

From Art from friends

Independent Lens . CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE? . Jeff Smith | PBS After filming ended for CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE?, Smith taught government at Dartmouth College. He returned to St. Louis and decided to run again for Senate, this time for Missouri’s fourth district, which lies in St. Louis City. Smith’s campaign utilized many of the grassroots mobilization tactics he employed during his first run for Senate. In 2006, he won the Senate seat with a sweeping victory, and was inaugurated on January 3, 2007.

WQED Schedule for the movie:

Independent Lens: Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?
Tuesday, February 27, 10:30 pm

Additional viewing: Thursday, March 1, 3:30 am

WQED Link: WQED Pittsburgh: TV Independent Lens

Pittsburgh's pleading for nonprofit money called 'unique'

Interesting how unique is good for some but bad for others. Think unicorns. Think again.
Pittsburgh's pleading for nonprofit money called 'unique' Pittsburgh's pleading for nonprofit money called 'unique'

I posted what I'd do over at 2PJ's blog.

2 Political Junkies: Rich Lord on a Budget Problem The way to deal with the nonprofit problem is to call it what it is -- a nonprofit opportunity.

The nonprofits are wonderful.

The nonprofits are a success. Pittsburgh is a success. We all win.

Now that the obvious is out of the way -- (tip FYI, they can't tax nonprofits) -- we need to get the nonprofits to agree to curtail all future expansion into a bigger footprint.

I would strike a deal with the nonprofit weenie group to insist that a detailed inventory of space be conducted. I want to know how many inches of land these nonprofit folks control / own.

Then I'd insist upon yearly progress -- and a plan -- to shrink that space.

Nonprofit consolidation needs to occur. We don't need them sitting on idle land.

And when one nonprofit wants to grow its footprint, growth should occur only if another nonprofit makes an equal or greater contraction. Or else, growth of nonprofits could always occur upward. Hint: Build taller buildings.

Nonprofits should be leveraged so as to improve upon Pittsburgh's density.

Last week's example of the Cathedral of Learning by acting controller Tony P was insane. Those were foolish remarks by Tony P.

Finally, the nonprofit universities should do property inspections on behalf of their students / customers. Not the city.

Faith and Fortitude vs. HOG WASH

Various attempts of spreading hogwash thought have been on the upswing in a few instances around the blogosphere.

Here is a peek at what I mean from a prior posting in a thread at the Admiral's site. Hogwash looks like this, "As many believe, the winner of this election will be in office a minimum of 10 years."

Smitty from the flats, some unknown person, posted that gem. Give Pittsburgh a break from the know-it-all future telling.

First of all, the winner of the May 2007 D's primary (mayor's race Bill Peduto vs. Luke Ravenstahl) gets to be in the general election in November. PERIOD. And, the winner of the 2007 general race in November gets to take the oath of office in January 2008. Period TWO.
Hurdle for members of the old parties (Ds and Rs). Get the endorsement and party backing. But, the endorsement isn't a go or no-go hurdle. Candidates can continue without the party endorsement.

Hurdle for members of the D and R parties: The primary election in May. Only the winner of the primary can advance to the general election.

Hurdle: Getting elected to the office means winnng the November general election. In the general election, the old-party candidates get to meet with Libertarians, Greens, Indies and others, if they show up.

Smitty, as proof, could you show us the archives on the web that prove to us all how YOU predicted the death of Bob O'Connor???? After we see that, then I'll feel an ounce of confidence in your statement is anything but hogwash and a 10-year done deal mind sink.

Then anonymous asked of Matt Preston and Bill Peduto, "What are you waiting for?"

Duhh..... They are waiting for 2009. Chill. Be cool. Going hyper and off the handle could be the death of Peduoto's long-term career and long-term campaign(s).

No doubt, Peduto (and us all) have to work on statements, messages, leadership and relationships. But life takes many turns.

One needs faith.

One of the last things in life that Bill Peduto needs is me coming to his defense on how he should operate his campaign, in his attempt to be my mayor. But this advice isn't so much for Bill, but for his supporters. Be strong, honest, direct and leave the wine at the vineyards.

Meanwhile, at the PG's early returns thingie (sorta like a blog), they posted a new factor for the race. A NEW hinge. A new tipping point. A new pressure point. Hark, the internet has been discovered: Web masters.

More on hogwash and my reaction to it can be found in the Oocomment utility on the left side of this blog. Clicking there takes browsers to many of my postings on many of the other threads I've posted to.

Get the signatures to enter the race and be on the ballot. No dead people should sign. The Ds and Rs have to have members of their party sign the nomination petitions. Meanwhile, those who run as Libertarians, for example, can have any eligible voter that resides in the district sign the nomination papers.

Once the nomination petitions or nomination papers are put into the election department, then comes a period of about one week when challenges can be made. People get tossed off the ballot all the time for many different reasons. The practice is standard among un-democratic democrats seeking to retain power and who are fearful of letting the people decide with the instrument of the vote.

Taco Bell had passed a health department inspection the day before

The Three Rivers Post & Standard ... the impetus for this post was an article we came across regarding the local news having exposed a rat-infested KFC Taco Bell in New York City that passed an inspection from the NYC Department of Health one day earlier. Of course, after the news item made it onto TV, the health department rushed to close the store and tell everyone they’d get to the bottom of the problem. That’s very typical of government: give the impression that you’re taking care of the problem. Fail miserably. Rush in to very publicly solve the problem and blame the company for the problem.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Swimming: UMASS Men beat D.U., in A-10 Meet

Way to go John. He is a Pittsburgh guy who had swum for a lot of years at Carlynton Swim Club. Men, Richmond Women Top A-10 La Salle freshman John Nemeth claimed silver with 2:07.29
My, The Dukes turned in some good times. They have improved greatly. Well done. Soars to MAC Championship

When I was a swim coach in the MAC -- there were ten teams in the league. Next year the league won't even be able to have its own conference championship swim meet. How sad.

There were teams at Toledo, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Kent State, Bowling Green State University, Northern Illinois. Marshall was NOT in the league when I was there, but we swam them in a meet and MU would be in and out of the MAC since then. Soars to MAC Championship 2007 MAC Swimming and Diving Championship
1. EMU 1008.5
2. Miami 801.5
3. Ohio 584.5
4. Buffalo 378
5. Ball State 349.5

The opportunities for guys to swim is much worse now than it was in the past. We're going backwards. That sucks.

Wrong turn on red lights?

Wrong turn on red lights? - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Before Peduto or any mayor of Pittsburgh starts installing the Band-Aids of red-light cameras, maybe they ought to propose a modern, coordinated traffic signal system for a city that desperately needs one -- and hire a traffic engineer to make it work.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dan Sullivan is looking for running mates to attend a global warming event by PENN Futurre

Dan Sullivan wrote:
Would anyone like to come with me to this event? I am working on a brochure that takes an anti-alarmist perspective, but I'm not sure I can have it finished in time. If not, it would still be good to make a lot of contacts and set ourselves up to issue a real challenge down the road.

Subject: Join PennFuture at our 2007 Pittsburgh Global Warming Event

Join PennFuture on March 31 at our southwestern Pennsylvania global warming conference "Global Warming 2007: It’s Time for Action."

This FREE conference will help you:

Learn the latest on federal and state legislation, policies, and global warming science.

Discuss what Pennsylvania can (and is) doing to slow global warming.

Network with citizens across the region and state taking action on global warming.

Hear experts and policymakers, including:

United States Senator Bob Casey, Jr.

Angela Anderson, Director, Clear the Air

Jeanne Dworetzky, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority

Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel, Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists

John Hanger, President and CEO of Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future

Sister M. Christopher Moore, Provincial Minister, Felician Sisters of Pennsylvania

State Representative Jake Wheatley, Jr. (District 19)

... and other experts in global warming and clean energy policy. Saturday, March 31, 2007 from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Mercy Hospital, Sister Ferdinand Clark Auditorium, 1400 Locust Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Registration is free, but required, with light breakfast and lunch included.

Free exhibit space available to organizations. Space is limited.

RSVP today by calling PennFuture at 717-214-7920/ toll free in PA 800-321-7775 or by using our online form.

Mercy Hospital has ample parking and is readily accessible by many PAT bus routes.

Libertarian Badnarik endorses Ron Paul - Homeland Stupidity

Libertarian Badnarik endorses Ron Paul - Homeland Stupidity Badnarik spoke about how our founding fathers knew, when they signed the Declaration of Independence, “that they were signing their own death warrants.” He asked the audience how many people would be willing to do the same, and nearly everyone raised their hands.

“If we had one last chance to restore liberty without bloodshed, how many of us would jump at the chance?” Badnarik asked. “That is why I’m asking you to dedicate your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor to Ron Paul’s campaign, because this may be our second to last option, and none of us want to go to the point where we face the last option.”

Presidential Poll -- I voted for Ron Paul

A new poll started today. Ron Paul is currently tied with Hillary for third.

I like that there was a full list of candidates in the poll.

Mascot from has the runs
Someone is upset at The Duquesne Club, it seems.

Wellness tip: Wash your mellons

Health news says, "Wash your mellons." Some are being recalled. Some have been packaged in containers that are tainted. Cutting with a knife can pull the bacteria onto the food.
From texture - foods

Independent Lens . CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE? . Jeff Smith | PBS

Must see, free TV for all running mates.
Independent Lens . CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE? . Jeff Smith | PBS After filming ended for CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE?, Smith taught government at Dartmouth College. He returned to St. Louis and decided to run again for Senate, this time for Missouri’s fourth district, which lies in St. Louis City. Smith’s campaign utilized many of the grassroots mobilization tactics he employed during his first run for Senate. In 2006, he won the Senate seat with a sweeping victory, and was inaugurated on January 3, 2007.

WQED Schedule for the movie:

Independent Lens: Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?
Tuesday, February 27, 10:30 pm

Thursday, March 1, 3:30 am

WQED Link: WQED Pittsburgh: TV Independent Lens

Friday, February 23, 2007

Expert coach, mentor, Joe Bernal, in Boston

Saturday morning, we had the pleasure of getting up at 6 am, while away in Boston, to go to a swim workout hosted by the great New England USA Swim Team, Bernal's Gator Swim Club. Joe Bernal and I are in the photo above.

In 1980, I moved to Boston (then located at Harvard) to be an assistant coach with the team. I pulled out of college to get the experience. That was the year of the 1980 Olympic boycott.

More photos shortly.

Large Post-Gazette Union Approves Deal | - Houston Chronicle

Personal trivia. When the P-G was locked out when the Pgh Press was in melt-down, a few of the staffers got some work with me and my sports editing / publishing efforts.
Large Post-Gazette Union Approves Deal | - Houston Chronicle The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's editorial union approved a new contract Thursday, another step in the financially ailing newspaper's bid to finalize a deal with its more than 1,000 employees.

The Post-Gazette reached tentative labor deals with its 927 full-time and 115 part-time employees earlier this month. The 240 editorial workers make up the newspaper's second-largest union.
Good to see some progress in this story. But, because it is a media story -- the media does a bad job at covering it. Weirdness is generally the way the story breaks locally for many compounded reasons. Trying to get one media outlet to cover what another is doing is harder than getting coverage for a Green Party Candidate. Except, of course, from Chris Potter and the City Paper. They report upon the way the wind blows in media circles and companies.

Save the date for friends of the Paddle

Full Schedule for PA Waterway Trips Spend Your Summer Paddling with the PA River Sojourns
* Chartiers Creek Sojourn – June 9 – 10, 2007
* Clarion River Sojourn - June 9 - 10, 2007
* Lake Erie Sojourn - August 16 - 19, 2007
* Ohiopyle Falls Festival - August 25, 2007

Early Returns

Both candidates botched their year end campiagn finance reports. Both should blush. But, it's not a big deal.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Local News - Early Returns: "File Councilman Jeff Koch under 'shouldn't-feel-too-confident.'

He won his seat in a March special election by taking 1,449 votes, or 43 percent of the vote. Finishing second was Bruce Kraus with 1,271 votes, or 38 percent. The third-place finisher in that eight-man race was named Bruce Krane, whose similar name and 216 votes (more than Mr. Koch's margin of victory) led some to believe that he spoiled the race for Mr. Kraus.

So far it looks like Mr. Kraus may face Mr. Koch in a one-on-one this time. Mr. Kraus predicts he'll have less money than the incumbent, but enough to run an effective campaign.

It's as yet unclear where Mr. Koch's money is coming from. His campaign expense report failed to itemize nearly $10,000 worth of campaign contributions he got at a golf outing. We're told an amended report that meets the requirements of state law -- disclosing the names of everyone who contributed more than $50 -- is coming soon."
Meanwhile, the P-G blog has not been updated since Feb 13. Things are buzzing, except on the P-G blog.

Sunday night date with a blogger

Shadow Lounge this Sunday for a grandiloquent, bombastic panel discussion with the John Fetterman (Mayor of Braddock), Nish Suvarnakar (Pgh League of Young Voters), and Deborah Todd (New Pittsburgh Courier) on the state of Pittsburgh political affairs. Hosted by Bram Reichbaum of the whip-smart "Pittsburgh Comet" blog, DJ'd by hip-hop DJ Carazmatic.

Sunday, Feb 25, 9 pm at The Shadow Lounge, 5972 Baum Blvd - $5 cover.

Announcing My Intentions to Stand for Public Office

New vBlog hosted at YouTube. Reactions welcomed.

Getting to know US Congressman, Ron Paul, candidate for US President

Mr. Paul grew up in Green Tree. He left the area for duty in the service. Now he hails from Houston.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brighton Heights Welcome Committee is forming

Gathering on Sunday, Feb. 25th, at 7:30-9:30 p.m. See the calendar or the wiki.

Nuts: Collapse blamed on bolt connection. Not dolt connection.

Dolt connections.
Collapse blamed on bolt connection - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
IMHO, we do have too many "authority schmucks" running things around here.

From Convention Ce...

Sadly, outside contractors, independent auditors, nor Gypsy fortune tellers can arrive in this city to provide a map of all the existing dolt connections. We'll have to do that ourselves.

Running Mate on the hearing about a possible PA Constitutional Convention

Fellow Libertarian, David Weiser, reported in an email:
Today I attended a public hearing held by the Senate State Government Committee to hear public opinion about the possibility of convening a new Constitutional Convention to address issues such as legislature pay raises, term limits, general assembly size, voter referendum, and the powers of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Senators in attendance are as follows:

Senator Jeffery Piccola (R) - District 15 - Committee Chair
Senator Mike Folmer (R) - District 48 - Committee Vice Chair
Senator Jake Corman (R) - District 34
Senator Wayne Fontana (D) - District 42
Senator Jim Ferlo (D) - District 38

PCN was in attendance, so keep an eye out for the broadcast. Details of the proceedings were nicely provided in the form of two different proposed acts for convening a Constitutional Convention and the written testimonies of the witnesses (these are identical to the spoken testimonies). I have organized the provided written material into a PDF for anyone who wants to know exactly what was said:

Some notes that might not be entirely clear from the raw written
material in the PDF:

- It appears that there is universal agreement that should a new CC convene, it should be limited to addressing specific articles of the PA Constitution and by no means should include any of Article I

- It is planned that at least two more similar hearings will be held. I have not heard if there are any details as to the date and location.

- Senator Piccola opposes current legislators being permitted to run for a position as a delegate on the CC. However, he appeared willing to reconsider after hearing from Lisa Krebs from the ACLU.

- Senator Piccola wants to encourage the public to contact him about their own opinions regarding convening a new CC.

In response to the testimony of Dr. Jake Haulk:

- Senators Ferlo and Corman both question the need to address term limits.

- Senator Fontana argues against voter referendum noting that it is almost never used in Allegheny County. It should also be noted that voter referendum in Allegheny County is different than what is being proposed and does not directly put legislation on the ballot.

- Senator Piccola expressed his view that either term limits OR referendums need to exist, but not both at the same time.

- In response to Haulk's closing, Piccola dismissed the notion of not allowing the Supreme Court to have power to over turn amendments made in a CC.

In response to the testimonies of Bruce Ledewitz and Dr. Joel Fishman:

- There appeared to be careful agreement that a very large part of the problem is the over reaching power of the PA Supreme Court resulting from an amendment to Article V that was performed in the 1968 CC. The end result is that the Supreme Court has the final say over the General Assembly.

Now for the slightly more pressing issue at hand. It is not at all certain yet as to whether the State Government Committee will even go forward with trying to convene a constitutional convention. However, given that both proposed pieces of legislation have very tight time requirements for petition signatures to get on the ballot to be a CC delegate, we should be prepared to mobilize. One does not discriminate by party lines and simply requires 500 signatures from the Senatorial district in which you are running. The other allows each political party to nominate two candidates per Senatorial district and allows for political bodies to nominate by requiring 500 petition signatures in similar fashion to the other proposed bill. There is no differing between minor and major political parties in either bill, but I would guess that this fact will be ignored or changed and Political Party will be taken to mean Major Political Party. So either way, we will probably need to be prepared to collect at least 500 valid signatures in each Senatorial district in a time span of about three weeks.

Bloggers in Pittsburgh, and getting history correctly recorded

Coverage from City Paper,

New Video Blog Content -- released for tonight's Blogfest

See my other site,

Trite but true: What do you expect when you don't give kids goals to shoot at and to shoot for?

From Polo
Once upon a time, I was the swim coach at Plum High School. I made a request for the water polo goals to be pulled from storage and made available for our team's use and to be set upon on the pool deck.

The goals were not easy to get to. They were behind years of clutter, such as school desks, chairs and plenty of other assorted equipment. The goals were in dirt floor space built under the swim pool bleachers. Reaching the goals would take the work of a couple of guys some hours.

The team and I waited a number of months and made repeated requests before those goals saw the light of day. It was like pulling teeth to get that group of adults to do something for the benefits of the program and kids.
From Polo

Here is the rub: By and large, adults are lazy when contrasted with the youth. Meanwhile, kids are not happy when idle.

At the same time I was requesting access to the water polo goals at the swim pool in Plum, PA State Police were in an all-out manhunt for weeks looking for kids who had been tossing rocks and snowballs onto the PA Turnpike that passes through the same vicinity.

A similar story is breaking now. Objects are being thrown on the Parkway West. - More Objects Thrown At Cars On Parkway West
We need safe highways. Dealing with mindless rocks bashing into speeding traffic is scary. There is no justification for this. Lessons have to be taught.

In another neighborhood, news comes as a teen is shot. The Mt. Oliver drive-by shooting hit a 15 year-old, Carrick High School 10th grader. She was headed to an evening class at Schenley and got hit by two bullets. - Teen Shot In Apparent Mt. Oliver Drive-By Shooting Teen Shot In Apparent Mt. Oliver Drive-By Shooting -- Police: was caught in the cross-fire.
We can't ignore the kids. When the kids don't have anything to shoot at -- and shoot for -- then they'll shoot at each other.

Gangs are a way of life. Gangs are here to stay. Gangs are important to kids because peer pressure becomes one of life's top motivations in their world at certain ages. One doesn't battle the gang mentality by ignoring kids. Rather, I think it is important to get kids in gangs that are positive experiences -- like an orchestra and /or a swim team -- or even a water polo team.
From Frick-swim

From violin-gang

Convention Center: They pulled in "independent consultants" -- I'd push for indie ownership

The notion of a review from indiependent consultants, guys who didn't build the building is a few bricks shy of a full load.

Don't be so keen to bring in 'indie reviewers.'

Let's push for Independent Ownership.

Sell the Convention Center. Privitize it. Unload it from public ownership. Government should not be in the position of ownership, management, finance nor oversight for a commercial building.

Don't fire the executive director of the SEA. Fire her and the entire SEA Board. Liquidate everything.

If Governor Rendell feels that he can sell the PA Turnpike, I bet it will be 100-times easier to sell the Convention Center.

A few years ago I pushed for the new slots parlor to be bid so it would move in and take over the Convention Center. That didn't happen. It should have come to pass.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - High School Sports

Nobody wins in a game like this.

The Pgh Public School District needs to pull the plug on its own section of the PIAA and join / merge with the WPIAL. The sooner the better. I'd even be happy with a staged merger, by school by sport.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - High School Sports: "Westinghouse 65, Oliver 6: The Bulldogs (22-3) reached the semifinals for the 20th consecutive year. Oliver (1-22) scored two points in the second half. This is the fifth time the Bears have finished a game in single digits.

I was thinking, it has to be tough to only score six points in a game and, moreover, to score in single digits five times in the same season. That said -- and I honestly mean this -- should Oliver get rid of its girls' basketball program?

By going 1-22 this season, the Oliver Bears have just finished a three-year span in which they went 4-63.

Yes, I am not kidding, 4-63."

Peduto: "I'd feel more comfortable if the FEDS were involved." (concerning the Convention Center problems)

On the Honz show, KDKA-Radio, Bill Peduto said, "I'd feel more comfortable if the Feds were involved."

So, you like the Feds, asked Honz Man.

It is not that I like the Feds, but I like the oversight.

This is a small town. But, even our biggest problems within our small town need to be resolved by the big players within our town.

I don't want to wish for the Feds to come in and fix our oversight. I want locals in position that have the foresight and integrity to guarantee localized oversight.

Honz Man is bucking that Mary C, the executive director of the Sports & Exhibition Authority, should be fired. She kept the news hidden from both the mayor and the county executive.

Honz Man, a big-government Republican, said that Peduto's idea isn't bad.

One year ago there was another beam separation. Beams should have been inspected then. Duhh.

Back then, Luke Ravenstahl may or may not have been on the Stadium and Exhibition Authority Board. Did that board have any hand in the cover up?

Main Page - Debatepedia

Adam R, fellow Libertarian in Pittsburgh, a prime helper in the establishment of the wiki, had a vision of doing this type of site (debates on a wiki) a few years ago. Now, the concept has come into being. It is worth the visit.
Main Page - Debatepedia Debatepedia is the new free wiki encyclopedia of arguments and debates. As a 'wiki', it enables anyone (you included) to easily present and organize the unique arguments made by third-party sources (ie. by scholars, experts, leaders,...) on both sides of a debate. By providing an innovative 'logic tree' debate methodology, it enables you to organize debates in the most understandable way. Debatepedia is quickly becoming an indispensable resource for uncovering all the unique arguments in important public debates and for developing a complete and rational position.

The organizational framework deployed is interesting. The categories of debate documents occurs, in part, by quality.
  1. "new debate skeletons"

  2. "progressing debate resources"

  3. "very good debate documents"

  4. "definitive debate documents".

Pop City - The Underground Music Scene

In an article about 'underground music' the URA sponsored newsletter gives pointers to the Three Rivers Arts Festival and Hartwood Acres.
Pop City - The Underground Music Scene Sometimes, your cost is completely zilch at outdoor shows at the Three Rivers Arts Festival (in Point State Park, Downtown) or at Hartwood Acres county park, ...
Cutting edge.

By the way, the millions of dollars that are being spent at Point State Park for a few ditches and more electrical juice to the deep-friers are costly, -- not FREE.

Blast from the past of a clip from the radio about socially conscious music.
Picasa Web Albums - Mark Rauterkus - Amy Carol Webb - MOV08677.MPG: "Socially conscious music - ACW, Mark R, - caller @ touch-screen ballots & technology"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This month's Allegheny County Libertarian Meeting - tonight

Hope to see you, if interested, around 7 pm on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at Ritter's Diner on Baum Blvd. in Pittsburgh. The Allegheny County Libertarian chapter meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7:00 P.M. All are welcome to attend. For more information, see the site,

On the other hand, the Dems in the area had a candidates meeting tonight (Tuesday) at the Serb Hall. However, their meeting was closed-door. It only welcomed those of the Dem committee in certain wards.

I feel that closed door meetings leading to a closed primary is fitting for a city that is bankrupt and moving to empty in terms of its people.

They are trying to tell us what to think. Gallop Polling Sucks

Ken wrote, in part:
Pajamas Media has decided to rig their own poll. Despite the fact that Ron Paul has come in first for the last several weeks (43.3% last week, with #2 getting only 20.1%), they have changed their policy to say, "From this point on, our weekly poll will be updated to those national candidates of both parties that score at least one percent on the previous month's Gallup Poll." Of course Gallop has not been including Ron Paul in their poll. Ergo, no Ron Paul.

This is the exact same dirty trick that was used against me in 2002 when
I ran for Pennsylvania governor. It's deja vu all over yet again.
Ken was a candidate for PA Governor in 2002. He didn't post that Gallop Polling sucks. That is my opinion.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Assessment appeals delayed while home improvement records sorted out

On hold. No, this is a FUMBLE. This is a botched play.
Assessment appeals delayed while home improvement records sorted out Assessment appeals delayed while home improvement records sorted out
Onorato's plan is a lame, silly, goofy plan. It isn't honest. It isn't even modern.

Creative Commons UK : Mix and Mash Film Contest

Creative Commons UK : Mix and Mash Film Contest The Mix and Mash Film Contest invites you to create and remix Creative Commons and Public Domain digital content into a short video. All entries will be judged by a panel of experts and the best films will be screened at the National Film Theatre and featured on Google Video UK.

Mayor appoints development head - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Where is the RFP for the still closed, lone indoor ice rink in the city?

The city planning director has had a hand in not ever getting this out to the public.
Mayor appoints development head - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl named City Planning Director Pat Ford to a newly created position in the Mayor's Office that will oversee economic and community development.

Happy New Year

The Year of the Pig is here.

My boys each picked up a $1 as a gift from a gift shop cashier yesterday. They were greeted as they walked into a small hotel lobby gift store with an expression from the women who seemed to be from China who said, "Happy new year." Erik and Grant replied back to her, the same expression, but in Chinees.

Zodiac plate for sale in an art-market in China. I can't even begin to express what is being communicated with the signs and characters. (Click image to see a larger view.)

$2M tag for Garden Theatre a 'bargain' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Bargain Fart. Garden Tart. Whatever. We got screwed and Zober expects us to send him roses.
$2M tag for Garden Theatre a 'bargain' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Nearly $2 million later, the city of Pittsburgh is soon to be the proud owner of a smelly old porn palace.

Water-damaged black ceilings, peeling red plaster walls and musty carpeting notwithstanding, city redevelopment leaders say the $1.1 million price tag to buy the X-rated Garden Theatre in the central North Side -- coupled with more than $700,000 for a decade of legal fees -- is money well spent.

'We got a deal, considering what our expected costs would (have been), even in the face of a victory at the (U.S.) Supreme Court level,' said Yarone Zober, chairman of the board of directors of the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Yes. The legal climate in our city, our state and our nation has made a big shift in terms of eminent domain.

If I'm elected, I'm going to work in tireless ways against any and all efforts of eminent domain. Eminent domain stinks. It should never be used in this region. Property rights need to be respected.

Plenty of empty land and spaces exist to do the projects that need to be done without going to court. Eminent domain isn't necessary.

This city is very creative. The payment for court costs for eminent domain cases is now going to flow out of TIF windfalls. They over reach. They complicate. They do what should not be done. They spend today and borrow against the future. They work for the benefit of the special interest friends and against the taxpayers.

The Garden was taken so developers can profit from the spaces. They (city administrations) rob from Peter and give to Paul. (The 'Peter pun' was intended.) This is a clear case where eminent domain was leveraged by the government for the benefit of a private individual. The ownership of this space is being taken and the government is NOT going to build a highway, not building a school, not building a public building. There is no urgency for government ownership of that property. This building is not going to be a government owned facility. We paid for it but it is going to be given away to another to make the profits.

Stubborn barrier. Jeepers, "just say no." I'll be a stubborn barrier to all efforts at eminent domain.

Are any would-be purchasers in this deal named "John?"

The once-elegant Victorian-era commercial buildings have been boarded up for decades thanks to those who over-reach, like Tom Murphy and others in city government like him.

If theaters are so important for redevelopment, how come nobody cares about the space in the North Side's Carnegie Library?
From planning-urban

From planning-urban

They want, (get this quote), "bustle and action" -- and had the Garden Theater. They had action, hustle, bustle and muscle yet didn't realize it.

Honz Man, a Salvation Army guy, KDKA-radio big-government conservative, has been calling for a new tax on porn. Perhaps in a few months he'll be calling the loss of the Garden a loss of a new income source. They want to tax to hit 50-percent, greater than the cost of the parking tax, now at just 45-percent. They do it in Utah.

The city has taken the property by eminent domain and the city does not even have another use for the building. The city aims to keep the building as it is, as a theater. No wet labs are being built. No bio-tech incubators are on the horizon. Nope. We'll get productions like V* Monologues or something with Sienna Miller.

Also see: Pgh Dish blog.

Way to go Wilburn. A PA Award

My friend, Wilburn Hayden, Ph.D., the director of policy and research for my campaign(s) for public office, has been chosen to receive the Social Worker of the Year Award for Pennsylvania by PA-NASW (National Association Of Social Workers, Pennsylvania Chapter).

From people & vips

Way to go! The news of the award came as a delightful suprise. It will be presented to him on March 3, 2007, in Harrisburg.

Wilburn and his family is on the verge of moving back to Canada where he'll be in a new role and lead an academic department at York University.

He, his wife, and son, are going to be missed in many ways.

Ex-aide for Michael Diven, an ex-State Rep and ex-member of Council and ex-Dem, gets probation

Ex-Diven aide gets probation - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Ex-Diven aide gets probation
I don't see the word "guilty" in this news coveage.

Furthermore, I don't see the other bit of background info that should be present. Debora Lynn Romaniello is the wife of an elected Pgh Public School Board Member, Mr. Romaniello, D.

Was this a plea? The judge granted.

I'm still not sure who did the deed? Did a volunteer sign the names and she just had the bad luck of being the one to take them to the notary? Did she sign the bad names?

This entire dead person on a petition ordeal has a chilling effect for folks getting onto the ballot. Meanwhile, election fraud happens and is serious. However, it seldom comes with punishments and real investigations.

I'll email Bobby Kerlik and ask what's up -- really.


Sunday, February 18, 2007


Travels for the memorial service of my father-in-law in Boston kept us busy and off-line since Friday.

Next up, sadly, the funeral for my uncle, my mom's brother.

Did I miss anything?

More on our trip later.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Think Again

Pondering questions

Is the Steelers' ex-coach Bill C. still going to be able to spend more time with his family?

KDKA TV (CW, whatever) at 10 pm ripped the coach as being hostile to the media and now he'll be part of the media. The segment was short but a big dig. And, he'll be working with CBS too.

The PA Turnpike free ride for today is stupid. Ed Rendell is going to pick up the tab! Oh my gosh. It goes to 8 pm tonight then they'll re-examine the policy. What's really up with that?

Did the hole in the convention center floor impact the pending talks with the Penguins? I think so.

Penguins and politicians now haggle

Before it got drafty at the Convention Center, arena talk was to sweeten. Now it is haggle.
Penguins, officials haggle over arena cost - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Penguins, officials haggle over arena cost

None of the remaining issues are insurmountable, as the loading dock at the convention center being unmountable.

Libertarians calls on Democrats and House Republicans to stop bonus dole

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania issued a press releases.
State Senate Republicans end bonus payouts

Harrisburg, PA – Responding to growing criticism, Pennsylvania State Senate Republicans recently ended their practice of handing out special bonus payouts to their staff.

Over the past two years, the legislature has handed out more than $3 million in payouts, including $2.3 million by state Democrats. Individual amounts ranged from less than a hundred dollars to more than $40,000.

Mik Robertson, LPPA Chair, said, "the Libertarian Party endorses the fiscal constraint shown by State Senate Republicans. I urge the Democrats and House Republicans to demonstrate the same fiscal responsibility."

James Babb, Libertarian candidate for State Representative in 2006, took a different perspective. "This should be another wake up call for Pennsylvania voters. As if the pay-raise scandal never happened, the arrogant incumbents continue to find ways to reach into the taxpayer cookie jar. Electing Libertarians to the Pennsylvania legislature is essential if we are to restore fiscal restraints in Harrisburg."

Tom Andrews, spokesman for House Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese indicated that the bonuses were an internal personnel matter.

Freshman Senator John Eichelberger of Blair County disagrees and is asking the attorney general "to investigate any possibility of political payback with taxpayer funds for a select group of individuals typically involved in campaign work."

Gene Stilp, leader of a citizen’ group called Taxpayers and Ratepayers United, has gone further, filing a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court calling for full disclosure of the names of the people who received bonuses, whether the bonuses were given for campaign work rather than legislative work, and what the source of the money was.

Robertson summarized "By ending the bonus payouts, Senate Republicans have sent a positive message about the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest and cutting government spending. This is an important issue for Pennsylvanians. All members of the General Assembly should show they endorse this action by providing full disclosure on past bonuses while ceasing undisclosed payout of public funds."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dixville Notch's victor in 1992's Presidential Election


In 1992, Libertarian Party candidate for president, Andre Marrou, defeated all of his Democratic and Republican rivals in the Dixville Notch voting that kicks off the New Hampshire primary Election Day.

This victory was the lead news item all across the nation the following morning, but when voters called into TV networks wanting to learn more about Andre Marrou and the Libertarian Party they were repeatedly told that it would be a waste of time to do any additional reporting about Marrou and the LP. The networks argued that the Dixville Notch vote was clearly a fluke. NBC even said this on the air in response to one voter who called in, asking for more coverage of Marrou. Our campaign staff pointed out to the networks that Dixville Notch, because of its small population, had represented a rare opportunity for Libertarians to have their views heard by voters to the same extent as the Democrats and Republicans. Therefore, the Dixville Notch result was indicative of how other voters might respond to LP candidates if the media were to inform the public of who the Libertarians are and what they believe. The established corporate news media rejected this reasonable argument out-of-hand and provided no additional coverage at all.

Libertarian Party of Allegheny County features site and video pointer.

Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh - We’re Government… And You’re Not.
The Local Libertarian Party has had a site upgrade and a new video from YouTube graces its front page. It is well worth the time. This is a citizens guide for America today.

City seeking displaced high-rise residents -- finally - News - News - Pittsburgh City Paper

Often, people vote with their feet. Does the city just think that the people are going to get kicked out and then hang out?
Pittsburgh - City seeking displaced high-rise residents -- finally - News - News - Pittsburgh City Paper More than three years ago, to make room for new development, the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority displaced nearly 300 families from the low-income high-rises in East Liberty. Today, new housing is going up in the neighborhood, but city housing officials are wondering where the people are.

Former residents have first claim on the rent-subsidized units in the new housing complexes. They filled up the more than 30 units in Penn Manor, which opened in January at North St. Clair Street and Penn Avenue. But officials have lost contact with many of the displaced families -- about 150 by URA estimate. As more than 100 new housing units become available at the former high-rise sites by this fall, officials are anxious to hear from those who wish to return.
The URA wants to do outreach, but people don't know about LERTA. When the URA does outreach to the people, duck. History says, URA outreach is more often a smack down.

Too little, too late.

It is no wonder that the police have a hard time getting witnesses to come forward when crimes occur.

Education expert talking about giving intensive, relentless instruction

Expert swims against trend of special ed students in mainstream classes Although more schools are enrolling children who have disabilities in regular classrooms, an expert in special education made the radical suggestion yesterday that they be 'separated from the general school population and given intensive, relentless instruction.'
It is a sad, sad day when it becomes radical to provide students with intensive, relentless instruction.

This is why I'm a swim coach and not cut out to be a classroom teacher in today's setting. I'm too radical. I expect intensive and relentless instruction. And, it should be for the special education kids and the average kids and the gifted kids and -- all kids. Sure, the lessons are not always the same. But, the expectation of being pushed, pulled and challenged with instruction should be universal.

Mark Roosevelt, the Pgh Public Schools Superintendent, says that he wants to put discipline into the schools -- next year. We'll be radical and begin to talk about discipline in eight months. Eight months.

These statements present additional justifications for great and inspiring after school programming for the kids. It needs to happen after school because the schools have given up the struggle for excellence within the school day. So, a longer school day that is filled with soft structure and casual instruction on hit-or-miss basis is much more like child care than schooling.

Pittsburgh's Rec Centers are running on empty. Even when they operated with decent staffing levels, the coaching and relentless building of community and character based upon technical instruction in sport that transfers to life was not a universal priority.
Sharyn Denhan of Harrisburg is an executive board member of LDA and parent of a son with a learning disability. Her son was taught in regular public school classrooms, but benefited from support services. Now 29, he has a degree in civil engineering from Drexel University.
Everyone benefits from support services.

"My son is basically a success story and I'm very proud of his accomplishment," Ms. Denhan said.

"The problem with learning disabilities is it's this huge broad spectrum. It's not one size fits all. It's a very hard issue to deal with and very unique to the child."
This is a moment and lifetime of PRIDE. That sounds like a good title for a movie, but that is for another thread. Kids present a meaningful opportunity to build pride.

If we want to put pride in our community again, I think that the best way to do that is with our kids. Our children are the keys.

Schools are a part of that formula, but only a part. Parks and programming matter too. As does parenting. Mentoring, instructing, teaching, and even modeling all matter greatly.

I hate it when the leaders (Roosevelt and Luke Ravenstahl) sit on stage and tell our kids and families that they should come to Pittsburgh Public Schools and get a college scholarship when they graduate from 12th grade if they keep their nose clean -- but only have $10,000 in the bank.

That's modeling that doesn't work.

Show us relentless on that promise.

Ten-thousand dollars might get everyone a back pack, calling card and a ticket home if they flunk out in their first semester. That's about it.

One size does fit all. In our public life it is liberty and freedom. That fits. In educational settings, the size that fits all might well be relentless, intensive instruction.

It will be a happy day when those concepts are not so radical.

disinter: Pennsylvania Libertarian to run

Rather say, to STAND for office vs. to RUN. But, perhaps that comes with the next breath and conversation.
disinter Pennsylvania Libertarian to run for six offices…simultaneously
February 15th, 2007

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A 47-year-old swimming coach, he said he will run as a Libertarian for Allegheny County chief executive, county councilman at-large, county councilman for District 13, mayor, city controller and city councilman for District 3.

Ink in the P-G.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Signal Item - News

Signal Item - News Rendell at library far from certainty

Education Crusader: Objections to PA Secretary of Education

Education Crusader: Letter to Dr. Zahorchak, PA Secretary of Education As is widely known, it is impossible for a charter school and a charter applicant, such as the Education InnovationsLAB Charter School, to be treated fairly by the Pgh Public School District.
By the way, at least a two-hour delay for Thursday.

Oily men Letter to editor

Dennis McGlone of Gibsonia was credited for this in the Trib:
Oily men - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Gov. Rendell and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato continue to prove that they are typical 'tax and subsidize' Democrats ('Onorato backs oil-profits tax,' Feb. 8 and

Their latest plan to bail out the financially distressed Port Authority of Allegheny County calls for replacing the existing corporate net income tax on oil companies with a gross profits tax. This confiscation will raise tax receipts more than 10-fold.

Unfortunately, they have a problem -- Hillary Clinton has already staked her claim to oil company profits to fund (i.e., subsidize) alternative energy sources.

I have a hunch that Hillary's confiscation will trump Rendell/Onorato. They might try fleecing steel companies, banks, investment managers, even corn growers (corn futures have just about doubled this past year).

No wealth redistribution politician has dibs on those companies' 'windfalls' ... yet.

State pledges $1M toward redevelopment of Nabisco site

Corporate welfare looks like this. I hate these deals.
Pop City - State pledges $1M toward redevelopment of Nabisco site State pledges $1M toward redevelopment of Nabisco site Bakery Square, a major brownfield redevelopment in East Liberty, has received a $1M grant from the state. Gov. Rendell released the Growing Greener II funds on Feb. 9 to pay for cleanup of the 495,000 square-foot former Nabisco plant. The Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania will use the grant, along with $335,000 of its own funds, to remove asbestos, PCBs, lead-based paint and other hazardous materials from the site. Development plans for the 6.5-acre area call for 223,000 square feet of office space, 165,000 square feet of retail and a 120-room hotel.

“This project stands head and shoulder above many others,” says Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty. “The Governor is making a particularly substantial investment in a beautiful structure that will come back into productive use as a community asset.”
Note, this is a building, not a brownfield. The building was in production just a couple of years ago.

Kathleen McGinty said that this is a beautiful structure. It is. And it is a way for the beautiful to get more beauty -- and richer from taxpayers elsewhere in East Liberty. Beautiful structures should pull their own weight.

The state funds are not just cleaning up something from the past. Right. That's a brownfield endeavor.

A million dollar grant is NOT going to swing a structure from "lifeless" to "dripping with life and activity." Give us a break.

The state funds are needed to help move this project forward and stop all other deals from advancing on their own merits. Nothing moves without state aid when you subsidize over and over again.

Lie: This will create 1,600 new jobs. They must be moving the jobs not created from another boondoggle, such as Deer Creek Crossing or Pittsburgh Mills, into this lie.

I'd be happy to see 16 new jobs. The total of 1,600 is such a joke.


Posted by Picasa

Despite my rambling blogging ways, it is not easy to express love to the love of my life on this day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

No school again for WEDNESDAY

Happy V.Day -- without school.

Mark Crowley's most recent Letter to editor -- ran in Trib

Mark Crowley wrote:

I had a LTE today (2/13/2007) in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about a hot topic -- global warming. It was in response to a Bill Steigerwald Q&A interview with a climatologist who is skeptical that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. I offered some libertarian reinforcement to an astute political observation noting how well it fits the standard big government template.

Global foolery, Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Climatologist Timothy Ball made an astute observation about the strategy shift that sunspot-deniers are applying to global warming ("The politics of global warming," Q&A, Feb. 10 and

He noticed they "switched from talking about global warming to talking about climate change." That's chillingly familiar.

Remember how Osama bin Laden morphed into Saddam Hussein? Or how the mission switched from finding WMDs to freeing Iraq? Or when border security became citizen surveillance?

Next, politicians will put carbon dioxide on the altar of unending wars alongside terrorism, drugs, smoking, trans fat, etc. Expect a new Cabinet-level Department of Hot Air.

Also expect the Department of Education to require that "Greenland" be renamed "Glacierland" to rewrite an inconvenient history about that island's more moderate climate around 1000 A.D.

If the temperature cools rapidly over the next decade, government will proclaim "Mission Accomplished." Do you think, however, that dismantling misguided government programs stands a snowball's chance?

While global warming deserves debate, there's no debate why big government supporters are hot for global warming.

Mark Crowley, Plum

Monday, February 12, 2007

Save Ohio Swimming and Diving

Please sign this electronic petition.
Save Ohio Swimming and Diving Ohio Swimming and Diving

'Dedicated to preserving our Tradition.'

Tonight at 11, news by neighbors / Santa Rosa TV station fires news staff, to ask local folks to provide programming

Who is looking over his / her shoulder at this wave of citizen journalism now?
Tonight at 11, news by neighbors / Santa Rosa TV station fires news staff, to ask local folks to provide programming Tonight at 11, news by neighbors
Santa Rosa TV station fires news staff, to ask local folks to provide programming
This is good news and bad news.

News executives are scared as hell. Media owners are now in the game because of ego or other reasons, beyond profits of the status quo. When musical chairs means the folks with the cameras and microphones are given pink slips -- things get more and more weird.

Perhaps I'll file a story there.

Trust is a big word thought the article. But, what happens when a the City Paper article on "Going to the local Political Blogs" omits early arrivals? Is that any way to build trust? GrassRootsPA's blog started years ago in Pittsburgh by a D.U. student. That site is a hub for local content harvesting.

Mark Roosevelt on the web with Jon Delano -- fine programming

It was great to be able to watch the Sunday Business Edition on KDKA TV on the web. Nice use of technology and video blogging to sustain the conversation.

My note to J.D.:

Thanks for the interview with Mark Roosevelt. I watched online. Nice.

IMHO, the Pittsburgh Promise is a bold face lie. We can't get the respect of the kids when they know they are being lied to.

Roosevelt will be gone before this proves to be but a dream. (Nothing personal. Fact: The average job tenure for school superintendents is about three years. These guys and gals come and go faster than a rash of pink eye.)

Plus, the city's student population is departing as well.

Furthermore, the stessing of discipline is welcomed. But, why wait until next year?

This is the year of the lie and next year the year to be stern?

Another Supplemental Spending Bill for the War in Iraq

Another Supplemental Spending Bill for the War in Iraq Congress continues to spend more than the Treasury raises in taxes year after year, by borrowing money abroad or simply printing it. Paying for war with credit is reckless and stupid, but paying for war by depreciating our currency is criminal.

'Redding-up' abandoned houses taking longer than city expected

'Redding-up' abandoned houses taking longer than city expected List of condemned properties gets longer
Where is that list? Does anyone have a pointer to it on the web?

Does anyone have a list of streets and roads that need to be re-paved this year?

What about the list of the more urgent "to-do" matters that come from the city's 3-1-1 line.

Where is the list of what the redd-up crew did yesterday, last week, last month? If there isn't a list of things still to do, is there at least a list of things that has been done?

Who is keeping a record?

Is there a list of equipment, cars and trucks that are sitting in the garage? How are the repairs from the privatized garage progressing? How is the back-log today? What about those expenses?

Is there a list of what repairs are needed to be done at the various summer recreation spots? What is on the capital expense budget? What is going to be done at the RAD Parks? What pools are going to be open? What repairs are going to be made at the pools.

Is there a list of all the schools that are owned by the city and still not sold to the URA? Is there a list of all the closed schools? Is there a list of schools that are going to move from open to closed or closed to open? How many school facilities are on that list? What facilities might be sold and what are worth keeping? Why?

Who is keeping a list of local experts that should be included on the new Allegheny County committee (whatever) for advancing the democratic process. Seems that the board of elections is going to have a new booster group, of sorts. That's great. Who keeps the list as to who is on and who is off.

Where is the list of Authorities, Commissions and Task Forces in city, county and school agencies. Where is the list of people who are on those boards? Where is the list of people that have been nominated but not put on the boards? Where is the quorum for the Hearing Ethics Board -- and why are the minutes for that entity not public?

The PROPEL Pittsburgh committee (for the youth movement) is about to be born. Who gets picked? Who keeps the list?

Santa Clause checks his list twice. I'd love to see more lists put out into the open.

Is PAT going to issue a list of suggestions it has received at the recent round of public hearings? What suggestions got favorable reactions and have been implemented? What are slated to come into being? What are judged, by PAT, to be bogus?

What supplies are needed to board up a vacant home?

Why do we need a list of property owners of rental properties when we have a recorder of deeds? Can't the lists of the property owners show how to contact landlords?

Where is the list of properties that are owned by the city?

Where is the list of property leins that are on the buy back list? The city is going to spend a few millions, pennies on the dollar, to buy back the leins on various proeprties -- but that list hasn't seen the light of day, to my knowledge.

What properties are for sale in the city, by the city?

Where can someone find a master list of all the rental properties in the city?

What happens when a house is boarded up and a family of four needs shelter from the cold, enters a house, a fire occurs, and lives are lost as the folks can't get back out -- like the recent story in Philly?

Is there a list of abandoned homes that are not really abandoned?

I want a list of lists. I want the lists to be thoughtful and graded. Lists should be linked.

Sadly, I fear that city council and the mayor's office -- as well as the workers of the city -- are each running in circles trying to catch their own tails. Perhaps catching one's own tail is overboard. Some running is to 'CYA' (cover your ass). Other bits of running is to put out fires. Other jogs aim to cover up or complicate.

No doubt, everyone cares. However, who cares to manage and post the list makters? Can those lists be put online?

Candidate branding from the John Edwards '08 Blog

Branding is a favorite topic of a past chairman of the Allegheney County Libertarian Party, J.E.
Join the Campaign to Change America / John Edwards '08 Blog ... active website communities, and are clearly benefiting from the Internet. But that really isn’t the answer to anything.

What matters is that they both have active public personae which draw the public to the candidates, and then their communities.

Personae that are based around emotional issues (global climate change, poverty); bringing a human element to both “candidates”. (I include Gore as he may or may not enter this or a future campaign.)
In this article, the concept of the candidate brand goes beyond party brand.

Talk Radio 93.7 Needs To Think Big

For 93.7 FM in Pittsburgh to be taken seriously as a talk station, management must do something bold. Pioneer News talk 104.7 FM has a fabulous lineup with locals Quinn and Rose, but virtually everything else is syndicated (Ellis Cannon, of course does the sports talk thing from town). Granted, if the rumor mill is true, the introduction of both Scott Paulsen and John McIntyre will be a good start. Both are among the most talented talkers in the market.

But alas, the talk market industries’s most intelligent, most diverse—stop with the hyperbole—the unrivaled best talk show host ever to click on a microphone continues to sit on a sprawling fixer-upper estate in one of the farthest southern suburbs of Allegheny County.

Open the checkbook for Jerry Bowyer.

The NFL now has Golden Boy Bill Cowher sitting out a no-compete clause to become perhaps a $10 million dollar (a year) coach. Cowher’s legacy will only balloon; his legendary chin will jut just a little further, much like Paul Bunyan and the blue ox Babe.

Talk radio, Pittsburgh chat radio in particular, has its own Golden Boy waiting in the wings. Jerry Bowyer first appeared on the scene as the head honcho of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy ten years ago. He led the drive to knock down a ½ percent sales tax increase in Allegheny County and nearly a dozen other neighboring counties. The money was supposed to pay for two new stadiums and infrastructure around the region.

I have a confession: early on I despised Jerry Bowyer. He seemingly didn’t care that my beloved Pirates—the primary reason I declare as the reason I moved here nearly 17 years ago—would possibly leave town for greener, albeit still losing pastures.


Around the time of that near-debacle, Jerry started to fill in on 1360 WPTT, (although he might have started earlier on an AM religious station), and showed some real talk show chops. His personality and knowledge of virtually every hot-button talk show chestnut converted me from ideological opponent to aficionado.

Before you knew it, Jerry was on full-time. It was then you got to know him and his encyclopedic knowledge of everything from the minutia of science to politics, as well as cartoon trivia. Then there was his mastery of economic theories and business, most accepted religions, and a rather lofty insight regarding Hollywood starlets. For a guy with a complicated relationship with baseball (his father was a MLB scout), Bowyer could cover all of the bases.

On the show, Jerry would often dismantle usually adroit talk show guests who got too persnickety. Bowyer could make polished fiscal pariah “Living Wage” union boilerplaters sputter and froth, thus showing their true colors as selfish, under-educated, special-interest cretins. I was so impressed with one particular verbal disrobing that I called Jerry to proclaim the interview was a comedic send-up.

It wasn’t.

Because of that admiration and my eventual offer to write a feature story, Jerry and I became somewhat friendly. Over the next few years, I ended up writing two lengthy pieces on him and his show for a couple of periodicals. Our budding friendship expanded to the point in which we worked together to bring a business and entrepreneurial charter school to Pittsburgh’s southern neighborhoods, but were ultimately sold a bad bill of goods from our sponsor. For the record, that company never did roll out their ambitious plan for several local Charter Schools, and the one it does run here is virtually invisible of the learning landscape.

We’ve communicated about collaborating on a book about leadership and nearly got into the television business together.

And on an even more personal note, Jerry proved to me that a religious man could still enjoy those potty-mouthed brats on South Park. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to return to church had it not been for his masterful ability to make religion seem “cool.”

It was Jerry’s desire to add more religious talk to his secular radio show that ultimately made him move from his comfortable post at WPTT AM to the Christian FM-talker in town. I remember him saying that he thought he could make more of a difference in an arena where he could focus on the Good Book. Apparently, that move bit him in the posterior when management there didn’t want him to deviate from the all-religion talk, even for important regional issues.

In addition to trouble with format content, health issues have also plagued Bowyer in recent years, as a result he’s retreated to the sidelines, to be with his beloved wife Susan and seven children, who the couple home-schools and/or runs various family businesses. It’s also possible that Bowyer’s made outlandish sums of money by utilizing financial techniques he’s cultivated with some of the best brains in the marketplace.

I have no idea whether Jerry would even contemplate a return to the airwaves. Perhaps 93.7 could build him a studio in his home, ala the persistently-injured and vastly overrated Fred Honsberger.

If the folks at 93.7 want to do something incredible, and revolutionary, with its impending talk show venture, they need to at put out some feelers with Jerry Bowyer.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blast from the past: Pooling your resources

The movie, Pride, is due in a matter of weeks -- and we're getting psyched. Here is an older article about a clinic that I helped to organize. This fellow visited with our kids at the city meet and at zones. He had been a swimmer in LA. But he grew up in Cleveland.
Pooling your resources Pooling your resources

Olympic hopeful urges local youths to live up to their potential

Sunday, August 15, 1999

By Laura Pace, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Byron Davis doesn't believe in victims.The 29-year-old Olympic hopeful looks into the faces of children and tells them, time and time again, that the key to life is choice.

Will lethargic GOP put up mayoral candidate in the 'Burgh? - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Will lethargic GOP put up mayoral candidate in the 'Burgh? - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Will the Republicans, whose mayoral hopefuls usually perform as sturdily as Silly Putty, bother to field a candidate this year?
Another little asked question that I still want to have answered, before jumping to the Mayor's race, is will the City's GOP Party file papers to get a question about the reduction of the size of city council onto the ballot?

This opens up a big can of worms about ballot access -- another teachable, insightful moment.

A similar interaction happens with the postings at 2politicaljunkies and purdent spending, agendas, principles, practices and standing tall.

Colaizzi seeks seat on city council

Stepping stone. There has to be a song about this????

I don't like our kids being used as stepping stones. I think that an elected posiion on the Pgh Public School's board should be terminal. A change in the city's charter is in order. Once one is a school board member, he or she should NOT be eligible to run for any other elected post. Board members would not be eligible for the ballot for a period of five years following their exit from the school board seat. Then, people will serve on the school board for the right reasons. Then the tone and mission of the board would change to everyone's favor -- not just that of the special interests and powerful.
Colaizzi seeks seat on city council Pittsburgh school board member Theresa Colaizzi yesterday said she will challenge City Council President Doug Shields in the May 15 primary.

Ms. Colaizzi, 46, of Greenfield, said she would ask the Allegheny County Democratic Committee to endorse her in the District 5 council race. Mr. Shields is seeking re-election to council, but he's also running for city controller.

Ms. Colaizzi is serving her second term on the school board.
I understand that my wish is but a fleeting prayer.

From a PIIN meeting in the past.
people & vips

The move from Colaizzi is a brush back pitch to C. O'Connor. That isn't a bad thing.

Finally, for now, I can't get that whispy bangs comment (from aother blogger) out of my head given that T.C. is a hairdresser.

Love? Nooooo. Sweetheart deal more like cheap tease. Rather have a ...

Free parking in the city on the evening of Feb 14 is one of the last things that the city needs to provide. The deed is sorta like giving an overweight, diabetic great aunt a big box of chocolates in a red-shaped box. Stupid yet sentimental.

There are a lot of bad ideas that would be slightly better than the free parking display of 'love' from the city. Let's give credit where credit is due. It is better to do something. There is merit to having bleeding heart liberals mark a day where wearing red and wishig for cupid's arrival, based upon a religious Saint's Feast, is marked.

Slightly better would be the hiring of private ambassadors from the PDP to direct downtown office workers on ways around the drunks in Market Square after making eye contact and winking at passers by.

I'm sure Ms. Mon's suggested a V.D. idea of wet kisses from crossing guards and elected politicians stationed at corners throughout the city, to stem the speeding traffic, would have been deemed too much of a gotcha / come on with drunken driver liability.

Pittgirl's ideas can't be re-typed here, as this is a family blog.

Another idea floated on Grant Street was to have political bloggers run heart shaped pretzels out to tug operators as they chugged up the river, unclogging the arteries of commerce, showing gratitude after a thaw.
Getting Around: City loves yinz, offers free Valentine's evening parking Getting Around: City loves yinz, offers free Valentine's evening parking

Sunday, February 11, 2007
By Joe Grata, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wednesday is Valentine's Day. Pittsburgh wants to show how much it loves yinz by offering a sweetheart deal: free parking.
I'd rather just tell the world that Pittsburgh's parking tax will be dropped to 15%, (not 50%, nor 45%, etc.) as soon as 75% the Parking Authority garages and assets are sold and its final 25% of assets are proven to be on the market.

Yes, I think that the Parking Authority should be sold. I've stated that plank for years.

From china - bike

It would be much better to sell the Parking Authority than the PA Turnpike and the water pipes under the city's streets.

Then the city could establish a parking department to manage the meters, enforcement and be accountable.

New parking garages would be built with private investments again. Parking rates would climb.