Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My Comments to City Council - Wed, 4-4-2007

Notes from my statement to city council today:

1. Thumbs up to Michael Phelps and the rest of the USA Swimmers for such a great performance at the World Championships. Phelps won seven gold medals and set a few new world records.

I'm entering the election on November 6, 2007, in multiple events. I too hope to set new records.
A goal of mine is to make history, not be a slave of it.
I wore a red Beijing Olympic polo shirt. We hope to attend the 2008 Olympic Games and see witness some of the competitions ourselves.
2. At 7 pm on Tuesday, April 17, 2007, I've called a community meeting to be held at the Phillips Elementary School to talk about the RFP and the now-closed city-owned ice rink on the South Side. The RFP has finally come, thank goodness. The facility has been a dark hole in the neighborhood, if not the county, for nearly a decade. All are welcome to attend and share insights.

3. The Pittsburgh Promise is a big lie. Others have been to council chambers recently. When they tell lies, it hurts everyone. People are skeptical of politicians for good reasons. The money is not there and it is not going to materialize. If people on council want to worry about the future of our schools, there are many other better things that should be done.
  • Worry about school buildings. Work with the URA and be certain to take over the closed school buildings. The URA has been dragging its feet on taking the responsibility of the closed school at the back of Mt. Washington, South Hill High School, for YEARS. There are plenty of closed school buildings that are in the city that are a major drain to the school district now.

  • Worry about city-wide transportation. Focus on PAT. Make sure our kids can get to school and back. Get our teachers and staff to school as well. Busing is a major cost and the flow of traffic on our roads is bad.

  • Worry about after school. Get the city to join the WPIAL. But that means folks in suburban districts will need to and want to come to the city after dark. Oh my. We need our kids to compete in a global marketplace but can't ever play sports against the others in Allegheny County. An iron-curtain circles our kids and we need to play together. Raise the bar there.

  • Work on access to our facilities. Back in Save Our Summer efforts of 2004 we pointed out that there were dozens of great indoor swim pools, gyms, computer labs that are closed to our kids and our communities throughout the summers, weekends and evenings.

4. Nearly an hour of online debate coverage from the Dem candidates in the city council district 9 race is now posted at my blog. Blog readers know this, but the word needs to spread to others in the community.

5. I've been in a battle to get election forms from Harrisburg and Allegheny County in a digital format. They still have not been provided. Dozens of hours have been sunk into this project trying to battle the 'red tape.' More time is still necessary to get the forms into the hands of eligible voters with the correct information. These efforts could have been resolved in about 15 seconds if the person in Harrisburg would only send out the Word file as an email attachment. The struggle to get onto the ballot is monumental.

6. Citizens who want to run in the November general election have only a week or so to change their party registration. They can't be either "D" or "R" past mid-April. So I provided a form to a few in the audience and I also gave a form, in a public way, to Bill Peduto. We'll see if he changes his registration shortly.
I'm still waiting for a reply from Councilman Peduto about my open letter to him about the revival of campaign finance reform legislation.

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