Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Boogie Man Thinking

This is an absurd statement in a posting on another blog: "Conservative thinking is what got us here."

The conservative tag, as well as liberal, and progressive is only a tag. None of them fit me well.

What got Pittsburgh into its mega mess is one-party rule by Democrats. We've had nothing but Dems. That's for sure. That's been constant. That's been a source of the problem. That is the first and NEXT log jam to fix.

The one tag that works throughout for all of us is ''screwed up city.''

Pittsburgh got in trouble because it was in a habit of giving too much away. Too much went to corporations. Too much went to the unions. Too much went to the developers. Too much went to the workers. Too much went to the sports teams. Too much went to the bankers for bond re-finance deals. Too much went where it should not have gone. Too much went to brownfields without any return.

We need government to focus on liberty, freedom and not the world of other things that are constant give-a-ways that are unfair to some and benefit others.


Thomas Leturgey said...

You're correct about one thing...the city has given away far too much to unions. It will be the pensions that ultimately bankrupt the city.

Instead of making the "tough decisions," too many Democrats have just given more and more away to the union workers.

Those are the cushiest jobs in the city.

Those decisions are far worse than any corporate giveaways.

Matt H said...

Cushiest jobs?

Tell that to the members of the fire, police and Parademic unions.

Anonymous said...

Cushiest jobs in the City?

Tell that to the clerks that work for the City who make a little more than 10 bucks an hour who qualify for food stamps!

Or to the Police, Fire, and EMS workers who place thier lives on the line everyday!

Privatize public services and see how much it costs when the private sector and corporations such as Haliburton rake the taxpayers over the coals.

Are you suggesting that only "RICH" people should be able to enjoy retirement?

The State needs to take over the pension system of every public agency in the state. Local municipalities are not capable of managing a pension system. Cut the middlemen (pension managers) out of the loop and watch the pension system move towards recovery.

Thomas Leturgey said...

Fire, police and paramedic union members make ENORMOUS amounts of money in the city, particularly the firefighters. Its in the Pittsburgh Business Times every year.

That's the definition of cushy.

As for the $10 an hour clerk, perhaps those people need to get another job LIKE THE REST OF US to have decent incomes.

I'll never be able to retire, so what. Everyone is responsible for their own lives.

Let these folks go out into the private sector and make equal or better money. Perhaps they don't have the resume.

Anonymous said...

I think the anon poster about the dispute about the $10/hr wages is hanging out in the wrong part of Grant Street. Your not in the IN.

But, once you are in the IN, in this town, gravy follows.

I'm not sure I have ever used in that much.

Tom, and thats a good point. And a point that the R's need to make loud and clear...we are still VERY much in a financial funk, a very dangerous place if the pension and budget issues are not resolved with revenue streams that get us in to the black with a surplus.

Why are we not getting financial resports from our leaders about this VERY large problem.

They dont want us to know about it!!

Thomas Leturgey said...

I have NEVER heard of a white collar city job that pays $10 an hour. Perhaps a part-time summer gig for kids.

Even if it were a "low paying job," the union wouldn't put up with anything less than comfortable, automatic raises, job performance be damned.

The city leaders (besides perhaps a campaigning Bill Peduto) will NEVER disclose that information.

It makes the "powers that be" look bad. As long as someone continues to pay the escalating taxes, big time jobs will continue to be dolled out to friends and relatives.

Supporters want police figures to hover around the same as population statistics from 1950, despite half the population.

While I'd love to see police in my community, it costs A LOT of money to have that many cars patrolling the streets.

In addition, if firefighters want to continue to receive OUTRAGEOUS sums of money to do their job, perhaps starting pay should be reduced, to accommodate what has become an overtime GRAVY TRAIN.

Remember, these folks are highly trained, and it MAKES THE NEWS when someone gets hurt. They are among the best. It's not as dangerous as the layman would have you believe. And it's only getting safer with better equipment and improved firefighting techniques.

Char said...

Mark makes an incontrovertible statement: Pgh is in dire financial straights because government leaders have given away too much to too many for too long.

Then we get diverted by arguing over who “got” the most. Ds vs Rs. Union vs corporations. While our ire is spent pointing at each other, lets not let the idiots who gave it all away off the hook! Better yet, lets let the current idiots know they’ve got to stop the nonsense now.

We-the-people have hopefully grown up and grown past the point where we’re happy with waste just as long as it is spent in our direction. Happy to have votes bought just as long as the big cardboard check is made payable to us. We need to stand united and “just say no” to THEM.

Thomas Leturgey said...


Best of luck to ya. Your ideas are not new...plenty have people have tried...most get tired of not going anywhere.

The best of the youngest and brightest normally have kids and leave for the greater pastures of suburbia, where they face the same issues, but with the "comfort" of smalltown USA.

In Brentwood, the politicians there just use their own taxpayer's money a little differently; by buying men's underwear and DVD's.

But Pittsburgh remains the straw that stir's this region's drink. And its Baristas are bloated.

public servant said...

Many government workers in both City and County government have more than one job because they can NOT afford not to. (more than half in clerical/labor positions, in single wage earner homes the number is in excess of 80 percent - in public safety these workers are required usually MANDATED to work overtime. Which raises thier salaries) The forty hour work week is one of the many things that organized labor fought for. Look at Europe, their workers are more productive, earn more, and work less! Why? Because they are UNION MEMBERS! In addition their health costs are NOT skyrocketing. As workers are forced to work two and three jobs to get by, they are taking less care of themselves; maybe this is why healthcare costs are soaring? America is the richest nation in the world. We can afford to pay a livable wage, provide healthcare, and retirements to our workers. Corporate greed is what has ruined our nation. If anyone questions this, just look at UPMC. They made OVER 500 million dollars last year and they pay no taxes on these profits or for the government services they use. These alleged non profits account for more than 20 percent of all properties in Allegheny County. Where oh where has our tax base gone? Open your eyes people. I have no problem with my "local taxes"; it is the school taxes that are out of control. I just hope that Patrick Dowd does more for tax relief as a councilman than he did as a school board member.

Mark R. how many tax dollars does your wife bring home in her paycheck from teaching at Pitt?

Attack the politicians folks, NOT the workers who provide essential services to our community. I know that if I lived up on Carrick Avenue or down there on the Southside I can sleep well knowing that number 23 and 24 firehouses are just a 911 call away. Ever see the news? Look at the difference between a house fire in the City of Pittsburgh, and a small town with a Volunteer Department. I hate paying the high taxes but give me professional paid public safety that are only a 911 call away. Also, look at the difference in your home owners insurance because of the fact that you have a paid fire department.

The reason the pension system is broke is because the crooks have stolen and short paid for too long. The state needs to take over the pension system.

Tommy boy what do you do for a living? You have limited knowledge regarding Police and Fire staffing in the City. The police bureau is not basing its’ officer count on 1950 population ratio stats. And while the fire service has accomplished a lot with better equipment and techniques, better building codes, and fire prevention, the City of Pittsburgh Fire Bureau has reduced the number of firehouses to dangerously low levels. If there are more than two “working” structure fires in the City at the same time, I hope you have good fire coverage because it is going to take some time to get the fire department up there to Upper St Carrick.

Don't blame the workers - out the politicians - starting with the republican party that has DESTROYED America's middle class!

Char said...

Public Servant,

I'm with you most of the way. Your version of the fire situation is one-sided and skirts around the extreme ends of the argument though. Yea we need fire. No one is saying we don't need fire. No one is advocating a volunteer fire department. There is a whole lot of room between "volunteer" and the $100,000+ wages I hear many of the fireman presently make. We can't afford TIFs for PNC and we can't afford $100,000 firemen.

Which brings me to your last point where I have to scratch my head .... "Don't blame the workers -- out the politicians -- starting with the Republican Party."


Hello.... There is NO Republican Party in the city, Pub Svnt. Not one mayor in a gazillion years. Not one city councilman. In fact, name me one city anything who is a Republican.

Whatever the Rs may have done in the rest of the country has no bearing on Pgh's BILLION dollar debt that was amassed through the wanton give-aways by the DEMOCRATS to EVERYONE like Mark originally said. It was and still is being given to the rich corp types, the rich sport team owners, the rich corp types masquerading as non-profits ..... AND because the unions wanted a seat at the give-away table, they demanded and got a piece of the give-away pie. Many union workers, not all, but quite a number, have salary and benefit packages that are totally out of line with the reality of Pittsburgh today.

So, I'll return to the sentiments of my earlier post whereby I pointed out that there is more than enough blame and greed to spread around. If we spend our time and energy arguing & chronicling that this group is 42% of the problem vs this other group that is only 37% of the problem .... nothin is going to get fixed!

We KNOW where 100% of the problem is now. Its those in power (locally NOT nationally) who continue with the give-aways and the give-away mentality. We MUST focus on this and what its going to take to get us out of the hole wer're in and that is two things:

1) We've got to get real. 2) We've got to can those who run the city that won't get real. And PS, there's not one R in the bunch.

Mark Rauterkus said...

A question was asked of me: "Mark R. how many tax dollars does your wife bring home in her paycheck from teaching at Pitt?"

That question is NOT worthy of an honest answer. It is off topic in this thread.

Thomas Leturgey said...

All right then my Public Servant friend. Apparently a suburbanite, by the way.

I do know you know how to stalk folks on folks using the Allegheny County website.

Let me use some venacular you'd be familiar with: get some balls and use your own name.

I stand by my "venacular" assessment.

And if you don't know what I do for a living, you don't pay attention.

Thomas Leturgey said...

I also just re-read the line about the Republican party.

Obviously our ACLU-lovin' Suburbanite Androgyny knows nuthin' about economics, market-driven salaries or, worse yet, politics.

The middle class is alive and well in the U.S. Just ask a public employee who makes in excess of $100,000 annually.

People work two and three jobs so they can have cable television in more than one room, more than one car (most have at least one SUV...have you looked at our roads lately); nice vacations EVERY YEAR, Steeler parties every Sunday, and cross-country field trips eight weekends a year. If the Steelers make the Super Bowl, regardless of where it is in our country, Sunday's most important championship contest is ALWAYS a Steelers home game.

People in Pittsburgh have money. This is undeniable. Why do you think they want a money-burning casino and bingos are held every day, somewhere in this town.

I wonder what a market-driven paid firefighter would make? $52,000 annually tops? In Pittsburgh, you can still maintain a very nice house on $52,000 annually.

Pull up to any gas station in our fair city. They are NEVER ghost towns. People are forever dropping $50 into their gas tanks without blinking an eye.

Corporate America employees most everyone who doesn't have an "entitlement" public gigs.

So to shat on them is un-American, and perhaps socialist at its most basic.