Thursday, August 16, 2007

Grass isn't greener for Bloomfield football team - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

This isn't right.
Grass isn't greener for Bloomfield football team - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review The city has committed $300,000 to $350,000 to tear out the turf, plant grass, install dugouts and irrigate the land. That's most of the $450,000 available in the yearly public works budget earmarked for 'park reconstruction.' The work could begin by September -- once a contractor is chosen -- and could take six to eight months to complete. Gable said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl approved the project. As for the one-sport restriction. Gable said the decision conforms to a 2002 study of the city's fields by North Side-based Pashek Associates that recommended limiting each field to baseball, softball, soccer or football to give the grass time to grow between seasons.
First of all, the 2002 field study is a joke. It is nothing to pin any hopes and policy upon. It is crap. I have and have had big problems with the field study. I followed the work of the field study. I care about kids and recreation. The field study is not worth the paper it is printed on. And, it is printed on paper so large that it can't be put on a simple photo copy machine. And, the field study wasn't even made into a PDF nor put online.

City Planning played around with the residents with plenty of half-baked plans and studies over the years. Often the studies are ways to get consultants cash -- much like kick-backs. These come from hand-picked groups, generally. Or better, when there is a bid process -- all the groups know that they have to 'pay to play.' They all are on the line and hook for political donations.

Just last night I was at another city-wide meeting and there was talk about the 'pedestrian plan' of the city. My only question was, 'When is the next meeting?' The answer, after some delay, was "DECEMBER, we think."

City planning has a meeting about a city-wide plan process in August 2007 and the next meeting four months into the future. Glaciers move faster.

I dare anyone to go to the City's Planning Department to get a copy of the city's field study of 2002. I doubt that they will give it to you. I doubt you'll be able to find it online. I doubt you'll be able to read it and have it make sense. I know that the people who put it together did NOT consider the kids and traditions of the sports organizations in the city.

A few years ago the city told the South Side Sabers that they would NOT be able to use that team's field for a year. The city wanted to plant grass. So the city thought it would be okay to tell the team to go away. Growing grass is a higher priority than coaching kids.

The team, rightfully so, said no way. They had the season.

The Park's Master Plan presents another major study effort that is nothing but bunk. I went to the meeting where that was revealed and offered one suggestion. I told them that they had a document with the wrong title. They could have satisfied my objections by calling it the "Parks' LESSER Plan" as it wasn't 'comprehensive.' That document talked about the vegitation and plant life in the parks. The word "coach" was not in the docuement at all. Zippo.

Thousands of hours were invested. Perhaps $200,000 in city taxpayer money was spent. Teams of consultants were engaged too.

The big bang outcome for the city was to be, get this, a park pavilion upgrade to include running water. That's right, indoor plumbing. Another park was going to get a new garden that was similar to the one they used to have in the 1920s.

Any moron knows that there is a major shortage of ballfields in the city. So the city's angle of attack is to take the fields and devote / convert them to single sport venues. That is the wrong way.

We need more play on the fields, not less.

We need to use the parks and the fields so we can teach our kids how to play nice with one another.

We need to put the management and organization of our parks, public parks, into the hands of those who are working with the kids on a day to day basis.

Screw the consultants.

Screw the Grant Street Politicians who are clueless on how to care for our kids. They don't even want to try.

Here is what we need to do, as a city.

First, we need to get all parks programming off the hands of the City of Pittsburgh. Citiparks should be spun off of Grant Street. Furthermore, the Allegheny County Parks and Rec Department has its issues too. They don't care either. So, the County Parks need to be cut out from the County.

Think of the last time County Parks were a topic of discussion. It was about the killing of the Canadian Geese. Before that, perhaps the drivers on roads in the parks when Jim Roddey was ACE. Or, perhaps the shallow water in North Park's lake. We can do better, much better.

Merge Citiparks and County Parks & Rec into a new entity -- the Pittsburgh Park District.

This new entity is NOT an authority. It is NOT like the Pgh Parks Conservancy. It is NOT run by consultants. It is NOT run by women with big hats. It is NOT run by Elsie Hillman nor Bill Trueheart nor other foundation weenies.

The new Pgh Park District needs to be run in an open, democratic way. People who run the programs need to control the parks. Meetings need to be open, on tv, with lots of voting among lots of citizens, parents, coaches, park players, swimmers, footballers, and even Ultimate Frisbee yuppies.

Footnote: Bram of the Pgh Comment blog fell (hook, line and sinker) into a past ploy of Mayor Murphy to get support for a broken promise.

Fields and permits and sports teams should not come under crony considerations. Fields should not be treated like the system used for repaving roads. It is all crooked. Corruption rules.

Every once in a while this comes into focus with a story in the newspaper. But it is a daily event on Grant Street. It needs to be fixed. The way to fix it is to elect people who are NOT Democrats. We need to break the back of one-party rule. Then we can get new people who are loyal to principles of good behavior for the sake of doing the right things.

The Dem politicians do what they do now because they are looking out for their jobs. They take their clues from others in high places who are needed to keep their jobs.

Now the football players in Bloomfield need to rush Grant Street -- blitz if you will -- to raise a stink. Luke has to save the day because he and the others that have come before him and who are on council now have fumbled. They screwed up. They have made dozens of mess ups on top of dozens of other mess ups.

It is time to put some new perspectives on Grant Street so we can get new reform that makes sense.

And I don't want to reform Pittsburgh now because that implies that the people that are on Grant Street now will do the reforming.

I've said that if I'm elected to city council, I want to be the one who is the chairman of the Citiparks committee. I want that job.

Furthermore, if I'm elected to the post of 'controller' I'll be sure to review each of the past master plans and call them bogus by pointing out their weaknesses.

It is obvious to me that bad decisions are being made -- constantly -- because they rely upon bad data. The priorities are messed up. The benchmarks are a joke. And they don't have the perspectives nor creativity to clean up the mess.

The ones who made the mess are the ones who are least capable of cleaning it up.

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