Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pitt plans to negotiate for Hill District land, developer says - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pitt plans to negotiate for Hill District land, developer says - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review A legal fight with Pitt has delayed Beacon/Corcoran from beginning the second part of the Oak Hill development. Pitt owns land next to the proposed development near Robinson Court and wants additional land from the city to use for athletic fields. The amount of land is under dispute.
Pitt, Luke, Others: Put the gosh darn athletic facilities on the flat land that is now empty in Hazlewood. That is where Pitt should expand to. Call it Pitt's RIVER CAMPUS. Then Pitt could have upper campus, lower campus and river campus.

The River Campus should have ball fields, intramural facilities, an alumni hall for Pitt, as well as another for CMU, graduate student housing, the Pitt football practice facilities, and some serious community blending.

Go to down and back between the river via Panther Hollow and a people mover. WVU and Morgantown has one. Inclines used to fill this city and bring a low-tech, easy pathway. Hong Kong has a people mover, incline too.

From Pens Village

From Come Live Ove...

Nonprofit Orgs -- what are you waiting for?

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. If you're a nonprofit organization in the U.S. with 501(c)(3) tax status, apply today for the YouTube Nonprofit Program.
It is better to ask for forgiveness than approval.

Come Live Over Here: South Side ink and images in Boston Globe

Nice slide show. Our street, 12th Street, is the third image.

Boston Globe Article in Travel Section

From Come Live Ove...

A gloriously gritty groove
Moving beyond its industrial past, the South Side pulses with a funky vibe yet stays true to its working-class roots

By Necee Regis, Globe Correspondent | September 30, 2007

Thursday night at 11:30 a line is forming at the corner of East Carson and 17th streets for grilled chicken wrapped in pita bread that locals fondly refer to as "cat on a stick."

Beautiful day -- heard about another race, so I showed up -- and got in the news

I got some much deserved and desired KDKA-TV news coverage today for my participation in two races. As die-hard blog readers know, I'm running as a candidate for Controller and City Council, district 3. Well, in case you missed the news on TV, the full extent of the coverage is outlined below. Big-time news coverage can help to pivot a campaign. Earned media, like this, can't be bought. Oh boy. The campaign is going to new heights!

That's me standing next to the no parking sign on the left side. I'm clapping and cheering for the runners, so I guess that's why there is a blur.
From people & vips

My day started at 2 am, as usual on the weekends. That's the drunks outside our window. They were cheering for Ron Paul. Gosh. They must have just found out that this quarter's fund raising goals were met.

At 5:30, I wake to take my boys to AM swim practice at the JCC. Then the real fun began. I hit the starting line of the 5K. I got to wish hundreds of runners "good luck." I got to do some last minute coaching for some as well. My advice, "Remember the scene in the movie 'The Lion King' when there is a stampede? Well, run straight. Don't zig zag."

Saw some teams in the road races today. The CV basketballer squads were doing the 10K. Same too the Chatham swimmers. The BP boys and girls swimmers, with coach, did the 5K.

Saw a lot of friends. Some thanked me for running. "No, I'm not in today's Great Race. I'm running in two other races."

The setting at the 10K starting line was a bit more intense than that of the 5K. More fences, more hard bodies, more off the bus and to the back of the line because that first hill is a mean one.

From people & vips

I shook hands and shouted out to my peeps -- including one dude in a Lamb T and another in a Peduto shirt.
From people & vips

That was Jason, who was keen on dogging the mayor out on the course. That was his month-long strategy. He caught Luke at the first water stop, 2-miles. But, he was too winded to do much chatting.

From people & vips

It is an ethics violation to shoot the gun and run in the race? I understand that the Mayor could shoot the gun for the start of the 5K, and then run the 10K. But even there, his mom was in the race. It could raise doubts. What if she would have leapfrogged to the front of the line after some body language que, ala Belichick, (films are under review.) for an unfair advantage? Then, did he pull the trigger in the 10K too? OMG. I'm sure that isn't legal -- two roles: starter and racer.

I was getting ready for my TV interview, so I didn't see the start of the 10K. Here is another image, from the TV website, zoomed in.

From people & vips

Then I went to church service on the North Side.
Peek into Picasa for a peek into a wonderful verse of a splendid song, "Have you been to jail for justice?"
From people & vips

BTW, my kids got to their church service with a lift from my wife. Now, It is out again to another church service -- with a youth group. Should be fun. Pizza and a talk.

John Edwards is taking a back seat to Ron Paul

I am connected to plenty of email lists. A bit ago I got an email blast from the John Edwards Presidential campaign seeking funds. They wanted to raise $1-million in the last push of this month to look good on the campaign funding report period that ends on October 1.
Ten days ago, we put our online campaign in your hands. We did the math, and told you that to stay on target we needed to raise $1 million online by midnight tonight. None of us knew if that was possible. We knew that you had come through for us before—could we count on you again?

Today, as I write this, we only have $79,212 to go. We can do it.
At the same time, nearly, I got an email from the Ron Paul camapign. They Paul campaign folks said that they wanted to raise $500,000 in the final week.

A few days later, the Ron Paul campaign emailed back. Plus, it had one of those tickers that went up like as money came in. The $500,000 level had been passed and the re-tooled the ask to hit $1-million. And, again, a bit later, another email came.

Ron Paul's campaign goal of $1-million had been reached.

Meanwhile, John Edwards is getting close.

In other campaign news, Newt G of Georgia is not going to run for President. That's good news. Very good. His statements some months ago in New England about rights of citizens were right out of Saturday Night Live skits.

Wear Black - National Student Walkout slated for 1 pm on Monday, Oct. 1 -- in Pgh too!

This is in 24 hours:
Monday, October 1st, 2007 at 1 PM Eastern Time


Artist/ Activist Mos Def along with M1, Talib Kweli, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Sankofa Community Empowerment, Change the Game, the National Hip Hop Political Convention, and student leaders from 50 campuses call for a National Student Walk-Out to rally and show support for the Jena 6, who are being denied their human rights by the Louisiana criminal justice system.

If you wish to sign up your organization as a supporting institution email Assata at then email Shona at or Amira at to get involved with the local coalition's NATIONAL STUDENT WALKOUT MOVEMENT






1-1:15 CMU & CHATHAM Assembly Rally @ "The Fence"
1;15-1;30 The 2 Schools March down Forbes to PITT
1: 30-1:40 The 3 Schools March down FIFTH AVE to CARLOW
1;40-2;00 The 4 Schools March down FIFTH AVE to DUQ
2:00-2:15 The 5 Schools March down FITFH AVE TO THE DA"s




Good Luck Great Race participants!

Run, run, run!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Insightful TV interview of dual candidate, Mark Rauterkus, Libertarian

Test. For the next 60-seconds, this post is airing a test of the Emergency Blogger System. This is only a test. You can play around here, if this does not work, I'll not be alarmed.

This one hour interview is being posted, in part, to test the capacity of Other formats might be posted as well. Same interview with QuickTime. (This file loaded for me after about 20 minutes. And, the visual frame was trashed.

This interview will air or TV.

This interview is available on DVD.

Friday, September 28, 2007

TRANSIT TAX PUBLIC HEARING slated for Tuesday. What to speak?

I am signed up to speak. What about you?
Allegheny County Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed taxes [10-percent poured-drink tax and $2 per day rental-car tax] that may be established to provide the additional local matching funds necessary to receive the additional State funds earmarked for public transit in Allegheny County.



* Telephone: 412-350-6495
* Electronic Mail:
* IN PERSON at Room 119 County Courthouse

Public comments at this public hearing are limited to three minutes per speaker.

The restaurants and taverns of Allegheny County are organizing to oppose the poured-drink tax. At least one car-rental company [Enterprise] has already testified, in front of County Council's Budget and Finance Committee, in opposition to the rental-car tax.

If you want to make your voice heard on this issue, be sure to pre-register to speak by Monday and attend on Tuesday. At this link is the official public hearing

For news articles on this issue:

PHILADELPHIA HIKE IN TRANSIT TOKENS AND TRANSFERS - Yesterday, the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority [SEPTA] approved 15-cent increases in both transit tokens and transfers, to take effect on Monday. This was done to make-up income that was originally scheduled to come to SEPTA after the elimination of paper transfers last month. After the City of Philadelphia sued SEPTA to prevent the elimination of transfers, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge ordered that SEPTA retain paper transfers.

SEPTA has appealed the court decision and has indicated that if their appeal is upheld, the increase in the price of tokens would be rolled-back, and of course, transfers would then be eliminated.

For news articles on this latest SEPTA Board action:

Great read of an important document with values, priorities and action

Ron Paul 2008 Declaration of Independence
Check it out.

My question to the mayor candidates has been submitted. Replies welcomed. Ball is in their -- or -- YOUR court.

The Post-Gazette editors are holding a debate for the mayor candidates in the second week of October. I've email this question to them for consideration.
Rec centers and swim pools have closed in recent years. Mark Rauterkus, a swim coach and political fixture himself, claims that coaching, mentoring, programming, volunteerism and leadership of city kids, teens and young adults is poor.

Do you favor the creation of a new "Pittsburgh Park District" that pulls Citiparks, County Parks & Rec and after-school access out of Grant Street political circles and into a new, democratic, entity sustained, in part with the RAD Tax.

Mr. Rauterkus claims stronger students with a more robust kid and parent engagement in new networks are necessary to grow Pittsburgh out of its mess. Our city's loss of young talent coupled with the violence has been a 1-2 punch on the city for years.

Will you work for a new approach and cut the ties from the city to Recreation so others with more energy and vision can come to care for our parks and our youth?

Ron Paul video in Congress ranting as to how the dropping dollar hurts the poor

Electing Ron Paul to President of the US would be a wonderful move for the poor people of America.

Note to John K: Take it elsewhere already. You're behavior is worst than that of a stripper. You are a like a repeated flasher on a playground.

Great day for a bike ride. Look for us at Critical Mass

See us in Oakland at Dippy just after 5 pm on Friday.

Panther Rants: Pitt Narrows AD Search and I'm finalist #4

I'm one of five finalist for the open Athletic Director job, so reports the Panther Rants blog.
Panther Rants: Pitt Narrows AD Search Pitt Narrows AD Search
I lead some of my plans for the job in the comments there.

Photo shows a portion of the proposed "Pitt River Campus" to be built in Hazelwood. Tall buildings in background and townhouses (not shown) are for graduate students and graduates.

Jeff Koch -- here is your next job. Applications are due.

Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2008-09 Koch Associate Program and Koch Internship Program.

Koch Associate Program is a year-long, paid program designed to develop promising leaders and entrepreneurs interested in liberty and help them develop the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for careers with market-oriented think tanks, policy institutes, and other non-profit organizations. During the program, Associates work in non-profit roles four days a week and spend one day a week at the Foundation learning Market-Based Management®. Associates range in experience level from recent graduates to those with a decade of work experience. The Koch Internship Program is a condensed version of the Koch Associate Program and it is offered in the spring, summer and fall.

Virginia Okamoto, Talent Coordinator, Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, 202.393.2354 = phone: 202.393.2355 = fax

Ron Paul Letters to Editor in City Paper

Letters link.
Letters To The Editor: Sept 26 - Oct 3, Epistles of Paul
In the commendable piece on Ron Paul ["Ron Paul: Libertarian Apostle," Sept. 12] there was a statement objecting to Ron Paul's libertarian philosophy:
"I think his stance against sending troops to Darfur is perfectly in keeping with his libertarian philosophy about caring more about tax burdens than any burdens, including genocide, that actual people have to face."
Any decent and compassionate person wants murder and oppression of innocent people stopped, but consider how well government force accomplishes that. In that quote, replace "Darfur" with "Iraq" -- then with Bosnia, Kosovo, Waco, Vietnam, Cuba and Korea.

If you'd rather replace "troops" with "food," then try "food to Zimbabwe." Robert Mugabe replaced Zimbabwe's private farm system with systematic famine. When we sent "food to Zimbabwe," Mugabe channeled it to supportive tribes and regions, thus controlling or starving his opposition. Even intervening with food can backfire.

The problem with government intervention is that it becomes a government program developing hidden agendas overwhelming the original objective. Libertarians usually prefer private voluntary intervention because if things turn south an individual can immediately stop his support without an act of Congress.

At the dawn of the Iraq war, Ron Paul pleaded for non-intervention, but George Bush and Dick Cheney used "Iraq" in their version of the above quote. Conservatives and liberals today all sound so much alike.

Mark Crowley, Plum


Thank you for the great article on Ron Paul by Charlie Deitch. He obviously put a lot of time into it and talked with a lot of people to produce a well-balanced piece. I would like to point out a subtle distinction in Dr. Paul's reasoning for his Congressional votes that is apparently lost on most people. He is accused of being indifferent to human suffering because of his opposition to foreign aid, among other things. He is opposed to using tax dollars for charity, both at home and abroad. The distinction is this:

If a person sends his own money to a charitable organization, that is considered a donation. If a person takes money from someone else and sends it to a charitable organization, that is theft, unless done by a politician, for which he is considered compassionate. It's easy to be generous with other people's money. However, government has no authority -- constitutional, moral or otherwise -- to operate as a charity. To force U.S. taxpayers, whether or not they have the inclination or the financial ability, to support relief efforts all over the world is immoral.

In addition, the abortion issue is one that is easy to confuse. I am against abortion but I am also pro-choice. Similarly, I am against skydiving and boxing, but I recognize that others may enjoy those activities and that I have no authority over them to prevent them from doing what I think is risky and dangerous behavior. It affects only themselves. For those who defend the right to abortion, however, do they believe that a mother has the right to kill her 2-year-old child? I hope not. Do they believe that a mother has the right to kill her 1-minute-old child? I hope not. Do they believe that a mother has the right to kill her child who is one minute from being born? I hope not. Now, keep backing up into pregnancy asking that question. My moral guideline is that no one has the right to kill any being who can feel pain or experience awareness. I don't know exactly when the central nervous system and the brain develop to that level, but that's the point after which abortion should be considered murder.

Nicholas Kyriazi, North Side


It was good to see coverage on Dr. Ron Paul, Pittsburgh native. The racist card was unneeded; right or wrong, Paul has attacked government-supported racism and the staffer that wrote said comments was promptly fired. Paul is a constitutionalist and therefore he is right to allow state's rights to be in control of some social issues we may have strong opinions on. We are to be set up under "We the People" and if the federal government can control our diverse country, we all lose.

When it is all said and done, Paul is the only candidate that actually follows his oath of office and can restore honor to our lost government.

Philip Haddad,

Mark DeSantis bursts bubble. Won't play in Peoria - Journal Star News... ratings ... have fallen off from past highs, said DeSantis ...
The answer is here. Mark DeSantis won't play in Peoria.

I coached in Peoria. I loved my time there. And, I even got to lead a Brave team.

I was the acting head coach of Bradley University's men's swim team -- the Bradley Braves.

The Mark DeSantis in Peoria isn't the same Mark DeSantis in Pittsburgh.

But, for the record, I played in Peoria.

Allegheny County goes after private help for parks

This is crap.
Allegheny County goes after private help for parks Calling system a priority, Onorato creates a nonprofit board to foster public-private partnership
Onorato talks about the parks by saying how many geese got killed. That's it.

I don't want a nonprofit board to run our parks. I don't want Elsie Hillman and Bill Truehart to 'save our summer.' Scew that.

These parks are not about private-public partnerships. Parks are about public participation. Keep the private out of the parks.

Put the private back into business and out of the pockets of bartenders and customers who want a drink. Stop the drink tax, for instance.

The parks are the people's business.

We had SAVE OUR SUMMER with a private investment into the Citiparks -- and it sucked. I don't want Elsie Hillman telling the kids and families of the city what pools should be opened and what pools should be closed.

The foundation folks can enjoy the country clubs and health clubs -- and need to keep their nose out of the operation of the parks.
Friday, September 28, 2007
By Michael A. Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato yesterday unveiled plans to create a nonprofit board to raise private funds for the county's nine regional parks and to establish public-private partnerships to operate some of the parks' major attractions and amenities.

The board, to be named within two months, initially will be funded with $1 million from the county's capital budget. Mr. Onorato pledged to match dollar-for-dollar with county funds any private monies the nonprofit organization raises. He put no cap on how much the county would match.

Mr. Onorato said the parks, totaling more than 12,000 acres, are among the county's major assets, noting that it likely amounts to the highest acreage per capita in any county in the United States. So large is the county's park acreage, he noted, that the smallest of the nine, Harrison Hills, with 500 acres, is larger than the city's Schenley Park, with 420 acres.

Mr. Onorato said the parks need an infusion of private money to adequately fund deferred maintenance, recreational improvements and facility enhancements. He pledged that the time of county government treating parks as a frill to be ignored in tough economic times has ended.

"First and foremost, this is about the quality of life in Allegheny County," he said at a news conference unveiling the plans. "These parks are among the biggest assets we have.

"We are now going to make the parks a priority for this government going forward. We are serious about getting our assets up and running."

The action plan outlined by Mr. Onorato stems from recommendations in a "revenue sources management study" completed a month ago by the American Institute for Leisure Resources. The $25,000 study was funded by a grant from the Richard King Mellon and Benedum foundations.

"The existing and proposed service levels for park maintenance, recreation programs and environmental facilities have outstripped the available sources of revenue, creating a major unfunded backlog of current and future needs," the study reported.

In reality, the report said, there can only be two outcomes regarding the county park system -- "either lowering of the standard of living or the generation of new sources of revenue."

Among the report's recommendations the county will explore is requesting proposals from private companies for adaptive uses of the North Park Boathouse, Hartwood Stables, South Park Fairgrounds and Boyce Park Four Seasons Activity Center, including the skiing and tubing areas.

The county also will seek a private operator for tennis courts in Boyce, North and Settler's Cabin parks and will secure the services of the National Golf Foundation in Jupiter, Fla., to review the county's golf course operations in North and South parks.

Mr. Onorato said new, creative uses would enhance and expand what the parks already provide while creating new funding for them.

He gave assurance there will be no "tacky" or inappropriate uses, noting that County Council and the chief executive will maintain final say on what happens in the parks.

As an example of the potential of private-public partnerships in parks, he pointed to a lease agreement he announced in May 2006 with the Horticultural Society of Western Pennsylvania to provide a 452-acre parcel in Settler's Cabin Park for the Botanic Garden of Western Pennsylvania.

The agreement will allow the Horticultural Society to develop, construct and operate the garden on the county-owned land after first undertaking a massive land reclamation project to deal with underlying mines and mine drainage. Removing the mines and compacting soil on the site will effectively end acid drainage that has been polluting the groundwater and two local streams for years.

It is estimated the Botanic Garden will draw more than 300,000 visitors annually, ranking it among the region's most visited attractions, he said.

Also being explored as a new funding generator for the nine county parks is the possibility of selling naming rights, he said.

As a cost-saving move, Mr. Onorato has directed staff to explore working with the justice system and law enforcement agencies to establish a supplemental labor force to perform special maintenance projects in the regional parks. This work force could include minor offenders, community service workers, welfare workers and juvenile work crews.

Mr. Onorato said he plans to have "town hall" meetings at each of the parks to facilitate local input about what's desired and needed and to "re-engage" the friends organizations at each of the nine parks.

To illustrate his commitment to the parks plans, Mr. Onorato noted that he has named a County Parks Action Plan Implementation Team of top county officials including Deputy County Manager Kathleen McKenzie, Parks Director Andrew Baechle, Public Works Director Tom Donatelli, Economic Development Director Dennis Davin and Administrative Services Director Tim Johnson.
Hold your nose and run.

Rail statement at debate

Ravenstahl touts work; DeSantis says public ignored - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "DeSantis said he wants to 'reclaim Pittsburgh's riverfronts,' perhaps by asking railroad companies with tracks along the rivers to move them elsewhere."
No. You don't look at the rails and wish to move them. Rather, look at the rails and know that they are an opportunity to be used as they are. We need those rails to be put to use to move people.

Ask the freight companies to move off of a few lines so we can move people there without delays.

We have lots and lots of lines around this town. Those rail lines can be an asset again.

The Denver Car, a street car on steroids, is a contained engine and passenger car, that goes on plain old rail lines.

Ravenstahl touts work; DeSantis says public ignored - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Great news here.
Ravenstahl touts work; DeSantis says public ignored - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Both stressed the need to make Pittsburgh -- specifically Downtown -- more pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly."
We don't need downtown to be bike friendly, however. When you are downtown, you can walk. And, downtown, we need to keep all the bikes off of the sidewalks.

But, we need to get downtown on bikes. And, we need to get through downtown on bikes.

We need bikes in the Wabash Tunnel. We need bikes along Forbes Ave and/or Fifth Ave. between Oakland and Downtown. We need bikes between Oakland and South Side. But, the new Brirmingham Bridge re-do is NOT with a bike lane. The sidewalk on the Birmingham Bridge ended with a jersey barrier for the past 20 years. The state was never pushed by officials to finish the ramp by the library.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pimple Politics, a new catagory on the blog

At least this lady insn't singing, yet.

I'm starting a new category on this blog, and others are encouraged to do so as well. Let's call it, "PIPMLE POLITICS."

It will include golf, missed meetings, half-truths, girlfriends and Red Sox game sightings.

This should be a wide topic area.

Blogged To Death

From signs
We saw a lot of interesting people outside of the Byham Theater tonight, passing out candidate info, as the audience headed to the one night show, "Blogged To Death."

Ken and David of TV fame. Tom of Harrisburg and Jim, a local runner, both of the PG. Linda motored along as did David, League of Young Voters delegation and Rich. Dan didn't want the handouts from my boys on the corner as he went in the backstage door.

I had a ticket offer from Lynn, but had to turn her down.

Tonight was a bit crazy around the homestead. My two main running mates were dragged to work the lit handout at the corner while I was at the other end of the sidewalk. We had just had violin lessons. Catherine organized International Day at Pitt earlier in the afternoon. But the bad news -- Grandma is spending her second night at Presby.

So, I missed both the debate and the show -- but we did pass out 150 brochures tonight, and got everyone's homework done, I think.

Tomorrow, who is up for a bike ride?

Critical Mass meets in Oakland at the Carnegie Music Hall by Dippy around 5 pm. I'll be there with the running mates and my campaign manager, Vicki, and her son.

So, how did it go?

What were some good lines?

Seminar, How to run for office. One day! Scheduled for ifferent parts of PA

Have you ever wanted to run for public office but weren't sure of how to go about it? Maybe you'd like to help someone else get on the ballot, or even run their campaign, but lack the knowledge and experience? If so, then here's the opportunity that can benefit you.

This October, the Reclaim Our America Foundation is sponsoring a one-day seminar, How to Run for Public Office, at several locations across Pennsylvania.

The seminar covers everything you need to do to organize your campaign, get on the ballot, and get your message out. The material is applicable to Democrats, Republicans, delegates to their National Conventions (such delegates pledged to support Ron Paul), third party candidates, independents, even those who want to start their own political party.

Among the topics covered are:

* GETTING ON THE BALLOT, including how to get the necessary forms, collect signatures, file all paperwork, even substitute candidates, if necessary;

* PENNSYLVANIA CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTING, including forming a political committee, how to file reports, and what to expect should you be audited;

* GETTING YOUR MESSAGE OUT, including writing news releases, handling the media, creating your own news, speaking effectively in public, and the basics of designing websites, literature, and signs;

* CAMPAIGN ORGANIZATION, including managing volunteers, establishing campaign communications, fundraising, and staging events.

The material is being presented by Ken Krawchuk, a two-time candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, past chair of the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party, and a professional public speaker. In 2006, Ken was a co-trainer of the candidates for Russ Diamond's, with 109 out of 110 candidates ultimately making it on the ballot for the Pennsylvania legislature.

The seminars are being held at the following locations:

Pittsburgh -- Saturday, October 20th
Monroeville Holiday Inn
2750 Mosside Blvd
Monroeville, PA 15146

Harrisburg -- Sunday, October 21st
Harrisburg Holiday Inn
148 Sheraton Dr.
New Cumberland, PA 17070

Valley Forge -- Sunday, October 28th
Michael's Deli
130 Town Center Rd.
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Each seminar runs from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Admission price is $60 in advance, $70 at the door, and includes copies of all handouts and a buffet lunch. To register online, or to download a snail mail registration form, visit

The 2008 elections are just around the corner. The time to start preparing for your campaign is right now!

The Reclaim Our America Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit educational organization whose mission is to enrage and engage the average American and their elected officials by educating them about the Constitution to encourage its enforcement. For more information, visit or e-mail

Running Mates -- you need to attend. But more, everyone needs to start to shake their networks of friends for possible candidates.

Even if you'd like to help on a campaign -- you could attend.

If you might like to run for office in 2009, such as for city council against Jim Motznik -- or for his seat open after he becomes mayor and liquidates the Parking Authority -- attend.

Be there if you care: 3:30 pm on Thursdays at Carol's.

From people & vips

World anti-doping chief praises Beijing Olympics preparations, help in U.S. steroid raids - Thursday September 27, 2007 12:49PM

The war on drugs -- Olympic style. - More Sports - World anti-doping chief praises Beijing Olympics preparations, help in U.S. steroid raids - Thursday September 27, 2007 12:49PM The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency on Thursday praised China's assistance in massive U.S. raids on illegal labs that recovered millions of doses of steroids, much of which originated in China.

Dick Pound also endorsed new Chinese drug-control measures and said the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics were on track to be the most doping-free in the event's recent history.

David Adams yanks at his opponent to get out into the community -- or else

From the Office of the Adams for the 9th Campaign Team

Press Release:

David Adams, independent candidate for the 9th district city council seat, expressed frustration with Ricky Burgess’ obvious apprehension with meeting him to discuss an opportunity to debate informally, in order to provide the constituents of the district an opportunity to view the candidates and base their decision upon their plan, or in Adams’ case strategies for the district.

“I am sending this press release in order to satisfy 9th district residents Adams said, everyone I come in contact with wants to see us together discussing what we believe are the important issues.

Hiding as he is will not keep him from discussing the issues. We both will face the editorial board of the Post Gazette on October 10th. The residents of the 9th district have suffered from this kind of under cover, underhanded scheming for far too long; Burgess has no plan, other than opening the door to the corrupt developers, who sit in wait licking their lips to take over our district land. Through my investigative team the Conscience Group, I have received serious information about the true nature of Burgess’ agenda; it may not be his at all!”

“If Ricky Burgess does not come forward, by calling the office of the Adams for the 9th campaign team, by Monday October 1, I will personally challenge him in his church during a service, or resort to Marine tactics which will definitely force him out in the public,” Adams stated.

“The choice is his, Adams said, I represent the youth, the young adults, progressive seniors, and the residents who wish to preserve and rebuild our community, and especially our neighborhoods. We may not have the big money everyone outside of our community continues to throw in our face right now, but I swear before my God, this city will not push us out of our district! They may have purchased “Burgess,” thinking they have the key to the 9th, but I send this out to all that may hear… THE 9th DISTRICT IS NOT FOR SALE!!!! Under the Adams administration, residents can count on something similar to the Harlem Project.

Peduto floats Pittsburgh parking plan - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Peduto floats Pittsburgh parking plan - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pittsburgh City Councilman William Peduto is asking state lawmakers to require the city's parking authority to reduce rates in line with a parking tax reduction.
Gosh darn. Peduto is running to state lawmakers. Talk about hopelessness doesn't want to go away.

The PA lawmakers demanded and mandated the reduction in the parking tax.

But my big concern is that Pittsburgh people and Pittsburgh's leaders are NOT taking care of Pittsburgh's problems.

The Parking Authority is a city authority. Why not take care of our own mess ourselves?

Furthermore, I have no confidence that the Harrisburg politicians have any clue as to how to find the best solutions.

Wal-Mart is pulling out of Kilbuck site

Wal-Mart is walking out of the development in Kilbuck Township.

Meanwhile, Jeff Koch, D, city council member for a few more months, has been calling Wal-Mart officials to try to get them interested in moving into city council district 3. I think that there is a site up the hill -- near or in Arlington.

Those calls have not started today. They've been plugging away for a few weeks.


I'm glad that Wal-Mart has had the smarts to "Think Again" about its site with the mega land slide. That's a mature move. Be flexible. Have the capacity to think again.

So, thumbs up to Wal-Mart for finally making the right decision in the end.

Wal-Mart gives up on Kilbuck development: Wal-Mart gives up on Kilbuck development

Ethics Hearing Board boss, Sister Patrice, due any moment on KDKA Radio

Why would Sister P.H., boss of the Ethics Hearing Board, be slated to a KDKA Radio call-in show today? She'll be on Kevin Miller's show. Who is booking her to those appearances?

Is the Sister going to speak out about the arrival of the new Bishop?

Is the Sister going to speak about the secrecy of the Pittsburgh nonprofit trust fund that generates money for the city in unknown ways from unknown sources in unknown amounts with an unknown future -- by design?

I hope to call into the show and ask her if she'll hold a meeting in October. The last monthly meeting was scratched as a quorum was not present.

Am with good assumptions that the Sister would have gotten copies of these documents by now. They were delivered to her via the Pgh Law Department on Friday.

As one who files a complaint, I'm under the thumb of 'confidentiality.' But, is she?

Blab about it bloggers.

Message to City Council on Sept. 26, 2007

Raw video of my message to Pittsburgh City Council, September 26, 2007. Talk begins under protest as there were only four in the room as the meeting began. As I was talking, a fifth member of council arrived. Five are needed to make a quorum.

Mentioned ethics, Jim Motznik, a DVD gift, education, schools and campaigns.

Quote: I've been filing a few ethics complaints. I'd hate to have reasons to file some more.

The Ethics Hearing Board has been having a hard time getting a quorum for their meetings. (Last months meeting did not happen as not enough members showed up. Many meetings were missed in the past because members of the Ethics Hearing Board were not showing up to do their duties.

In my talk, I call out to the members of the Ethics Hearing Board to show up for the October meeting as they have some work to do.

Message to the members of the Ethics Hearing Board -- "Come on down!"

Next meeting of the Ethics Hearing Board is posted on the second Friday of October, October 12. See the Google calendar.

I care a great deal about schools and lifelong learning. City Council and the City Controller could do a lot for education and citizen learning, as well as schools.

The decline of the city has a lot to do with the condition of our schools. As childrens get older, families often move out of the city as the oldest child hits 5th, 6th and 7th grades. Middle schools are "iffy" in the city. The high school are worse.

I was hopeful that the new high school reform agenda would talk about high schools. I've been disappointed, sadly.

We need to fix Pittsburgh by growing a new generation of competitive students. They need to be part of a region that has opportunities and prosperity. These kids are in our schools now. They are precious and the kids are the key to Pittsburgh's future.

Sunday event, Pgh Design Fair on North Side, 11-5 pm

Click for larger view. Check the Google Calendar for events.

My liquidation plank gets mentioned by Motznik on Nightalk TV show

Jim Motznik, D, of Pittsburgh City Council was on PCNC's NightTalk TV interview show last night. Motznik was absent at that day's city council meeting. See the other link about my address to council and my birthday gift for him.

As I watched the interview with Mr. Motznik, the highlight of his chatter was a comment that Motznik would, "liquidate the Parking Authority after becoming mayor."

Both parts of the statement by Motznik, (the liquidation and being mayor), are worthy blog bait.

Jim Motznik isn't running for mayor. He never has run for mayor. He has run for city council president and couldn't get a majority of nine to vote for him.
Would Mayor Motznik hire Michael Diven as his Denny Regan / Yarone Zober? Would Mayor Motznik call County Executive, Luke Ravenstahl, 'the boss?' Would Mayor Motznik call for more bailouts from Governor Dan Onorato?
I doubt that Motznik would get far in his big-government circle with talk of liquidation.

For years, I've been saying that the Parking Authority should be liquidated. So, perhaps, Jim Motznik is reading from my playbook and the I love liquidation talk. However, there are important additional steps that I am promoting that I have yet to hear from Jim Motznik.

The gist of Motznik's interview was about keeping a high parking tax. The parking tax in Pittsburgh was elevated to 50% in the recent past. For example, if a $10 parking fee from a parking garage operator in the city gets joined by an additional tax of $5 for the city. The tax gets slapped on what the garage operator gets so that the total to the consumer is $15.00.

State laws have come into being from suburban legislatures that mandate lowering the parking tax. The bailout that the city got from the state required that the parking tax decrease. It was 50%. In 2007 it had to be 45%. In 2008 it is to go lower.

The city budget is out and the fight is about to get hot. The 5% drop in parking tax hurts the city about $3-million a year.

When talking liquidation, let's begin with the Parking Authority and move beyond.

I want to make liquidation talk happen without needing to be mayor first. Jim Motznik could introduce legislation to liquidate the Parking Authority as a member of city council.

But the kicker of my platform plank that wasn't mentioned by Mr. Motznik. I suggest that we drop the parking tax by large amounts as liquidation began and it would end up at 10% (or so) as full liquidation occurs.

Civic Arena Free Skate

Tom, Grant, Erik and #86, Simon. Grant took off his helmet for the photo, as they exited the ice.

By the way, the RAD tax still stinks. It needs to be re-tooled.

And, the Civic Arena should still be saved.

Today's meetings

I'm speaking to a group of senior citizens at the South Side Market House today at 11 am.

I'm speaking to any interested media at 3:30 pm in the West End at Carol's Restaurant, 410 South Main Street.

Luke's lies get hammered on KDKA and Jon Delano makes nice, again

Jon Delano takes the mayor at his word. Delano is a sucker.

The meeting at Langley High School on Monday had all the suits of the city there, so says a caller to the Marty Griffin show. Guy Costa, Fire Chief, Police Chief, Community Contact in Mayor's office, Public Works Zone director, Citiparks Director, City Planning folks, etc., etc. -- they are all going to these community meetings. The parade was there a couple of weeks ago on the South Side Slopes. The ploy sucks.

Those people are campaign pawns, thanks to Luke.

This is why they were all asked to resign. But, this is why they all had their resignations not 'accepted.' Ha, ha.

I don't want the mayor to show up to community meetings with the city administration.

A few weeks ago I told the mayor's staff to take off. For the rest of September and all of October, the staff should NOT work in the evenings and nights, unless they are at their Grant Street offices.

I don't want the police chief to be a political pawn.

One guy with ethics, the ex-director of Building Inspectors, lost his job. Perhaps he didn't want use his BBI uniform as a campaign pawn for Luke's benefit in neighborhood meetings -- when campaign debates should be happening.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Senate Endorses Plan to Divide Iraq

Senate Endorses Plan to Divide Iraq: "Senate Endorses Plan to Divide Iraq By Shailagh Murray The Washington Post Wednesday 26 September 2007

Action shows rare bipartisan consensus.

Showing rare bipartisan consensus over war policy, the Senate overwhelmingly endorsed a political settlement for Iraq that would divide the country into three semi-autonomous regions."
A few years ago, I talked about this same concept. The US power-players have been trying to 'hold together the nation of Iraq' for some time. So stupid on many levels.

So, Iraq won't be the 51st state. It could be 51, 52, and 53.

Next up, let's split Pittsburgh Public Schools into different school districts.

Program aims to get city fit - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Oh my gosh.
Program aims to get city fit - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review The city closed the bridge for the event, which began with 30 minutes of dodgeball. It's great exercise, which is exactly what Pittsburghers need, officials said.
No. Playing dodge ball on a closed bridge in the middle of the day is NOT exactly what Pittsburghers need, Mr. and Mrs. Official.

I am all about fitness. Fitness is one of the cornerstones to my framework. Fitness is super important. I wish I was able to attend this event. It might have been as fun as playing basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters on the mall in front of our nation's capital.

insert photo

But, jeepers: Playing dodge ball isn't what city officials should be doing -- exactly. Not for the next 250 years nor 250 minutes.

I'm going overboard on this quote, I understand. It is twisted out of context, I hope.

Let's talk and do fitness frequently.

Rauterkus = Uberblogger via The Busman's Holiday's Holiday

The Busman's Holiday: The Busman's Holiday's Holiday
Uberblogger this week. Last week I was called a 'Fixture.'
From Mark Rauterkus
By the way, new postcards arrived yesterday. The headline: "Elect a Fixture for Freedom."

I passed out some of the postcards last night while at the Civic Arena for the free, open skate. The arena was 'cool' place to be on a muggy evening. I let our family's other candidate skip swim practice so he could go for the first skate of the year in a building that won't be around by the time he graduates high school, sadly.

(insert photos - check back soon)

Skipping a swim practice is a big deal on a Tuesday in the month of September because of there isn't any workouts for the rest of the week. Our new our home team, the JCC Sailfish, holds practices at the Jewish Community Center. That facility is closed for another holiday. Well, it is the last one for a long while.

I did get Erik with a bribe to help me on Thursday night for downtown literature drop activities, after violin lessons. And, Erik, Grant and I will pedal with critical mass on Friday. Meet at Dippy in Oakland. See the public calendar.
Full text of the postcard:

Elect a Fixture for Freedom

Mark @ Rauterkus . com

Libertarian candidate for Pgh Controller and City Council, district 3.

As an elected official, I promise to do more for the families, kids and youth of Pittsburgh than all the others combined.


Vote on November 6, 2007

We need aggressive watchdogs that care. Mark has the capacity to communicate solutions on the internet with a modern, open, network for all.

412 298 3432 = cell

Mark @ Rauterkus . com
Guess I'll need to make up some Uberblogger postcards next.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mark Rauterkus – CANDIDATE for City Council, district 3

2.1 What steps would you take to solve the current fiscal crisis in the city?

Lay The Shovel Down. Stop expensive boneheaded projects with little lasting benefit. Many boondoggles curb freedom and cripple Pgh's future with debt.

I'll create teamwork among citizens and institutions. Let's distill better solutions; sustain discussions; inject debate and diverse perspectives; re-establish values. My priority is to compete like never before.

= 51 words

2.2 Do you support merging some services with the county, and if so, what are they?

Corporate welfare, police brutality, firefighters contracts, downtown interests, and Luke's golf drown everything else. Kids and families are ignored. Youths need coaching, not more shootings. Let's teach how to play. Volunteerism would soar by removing Citiparks, County Parks & Rec, and PPS afterschool from city hall. Build a democratic entity: Pgh Park District. (2004 positions at Play.CLOH.Org) Illinois uses this model so regional assets are cared for by parks and rec interests.

Cut URA. Merge Parking Authority by liquidation to marketplace.

= 82 words SUMARY: 51 + 80 = 131

I meet with the Post-Gazette Editorial Review Board, Wed at 11:30 am

But first, a word from the archives.
This video comes via an interesting route. It was shot while I was on the other side of the world, in New Zealand. It comes after the polls close following the primary election , May 2007. It shows the arrival of a city council person, Jim Motznik, to a victory party of Bruce Kraus. Kraus was excited. Kraus won the D party primary election over the endorsed Dem, Jeff Koch.

For a few weeks, this video was part of the digital archives of Agent Ska, back in May 2007. Then it vanished. Now it returned.

The life history of this content flows much like sealed court records on the Allegheny County Pothonatary site: here, there -- gone -- now elsewhere.
Scaife demands documents from Post-Gazette: "The Scaifes filed for divorce Feb. 8. The court ordered the documents sealed in March, but, according to Prothonotary Michael Lamb, the seal was broken Aug. 28 when an employee in his office may have neglected to make the necessary computer step when scanning in a new filing in the case. The window remained open for several days after that, he said."
And, the P-G reported upon the video clip of the embrace, so, it must be news:

Catty council

When Pittsburgh Councilman Jeff Koch put the last claw in the kitty coffin of colleague Jim Motznik's cat licensing legislation today some in the chamber thought immediately of primary election night, May 15.

That's when Mr. Koch's brief political career came to an apparent end with his defeat at the hands of Bruce Kraus. Blogger Agent Ska caught on video a touching moment, when Mr. Motznik walked into the victor's party wearing a Kraus campaign shirt, and got a warm shout out and a big hug from the future councilman from South Side.

Now, Early Returns isn't saying that Mr. Koch's no vote deciding the fate of Mr. Motznik's signature legislation was payback. It's our understanding that Mr. Motznik did little to help the Kraus campaign, though he later implied that he was glad there would be some turnover on council. And far be it from us to suggest that Mr. Motznik's Sept. 5 characterization of Mr. Koch as one of the "weak links" on council would ever play into the outgoing councilman's decision involving an important civic issue.

But on council, it's often personal relationships and diplomacy that win the day as much as the merits of the issue, so who knows?

And if one of Mr. Koch's two pet cats is seen prowling around Mr. Motznik's backyard fish pond any time soon, we may alter our judgment.
First published on July 24, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Let's follow the bouncing ball.

Today, I'm going to meet with the P-G editorial board in solo interview. The last time they huddled and sent out this article with an endorsement for independence.

Kraus in District 3: Democrats should seek independence on councilMay 03, 2007 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Just when Pittsburghers in City Council District 3 were getting to know their new councilman of 13 months, voters will go to the polls May 15 to decide if he deserves a full four-year term.

Although the face-off between incumbent Jeffrey Koch of Arlington and challenger Bruce Kraus of South Side Flats is technically the Democratic primary, the eventual nominee will be heavily favored to win in November since no Republican is on the ballot. That nominee should be Bruce Kraus.

We say this although we've seen growth by Mr. Koch, 45, since he joined council in March 2006, after winning a special election that included Mr. Kraus and six other candidates. This time it's a one-on-one affair for Democrats in Allentown, Arlington, Arlington Heights, Beltzhoover, Carrick, Knoxville, Mt. Washington, South Oakland, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes and St. Clair Village.

Mr. Koch, a former employee of the city public works department and a party committeeman, arrived on Pittsburgh council by the traditional route. He has familiar allies, with endorsements from the county Democratic Committee, Allegheny County Labor Council and various units of the United Auto Workers, Teamsters, Fire Fighters and Fraternal Order of Police -- all of which gives us pause.

Pittsburgh is a city that requires courageous decisions on spending. Public-employee contracts, pension debt and streamlining the workforce are live-or-die issues for a government in fiscal distress. What happens when the needs of a councilman's powerful backers collide with the interests of taxpayers?

Councilman Koch clearly has a desire to work for the district. He is pushing legislation to limit the number of liquor licenses in dense business zones like Carson Street, lobbying the Port Authority to complete the East Warrington Avenue resurfacing project and working to obtain federal Weed and Seed funds for anti-crime programs.

But Mr. Kraus, 53, is the more independent choice.

The challenger is a forceful and articulate advocate for the district. As the operator of an interior design firm, he knows the city both as a resident and as a business owner. He has grown impatient with city government's approach to bar patrons whose drunken revelry trashes the neighborhood around Carson Street and he finds the councilman's liquor-license legislation poorly crafted and timed for election-season benefit.

Even without being on council, Mr. Kraus has rolled up his sleeves on behalf of the community -- as chair of the Pittsburgh Anti-Graffiti Task Force, an original member of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission, a board member of the South Side Community, president of the South Side Chamber of Commerce and a player in the United Way Neighborhood Leadership Program to promote healthy living habits.

The candidates agree on many issues, but we give the edge -- and our endorsement -- to Bruce Kraus because of his citizen involvement and his independent voice.
First published on May 2, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Happy Birthday wishes to Jim went out from Agent Ska,

I had hoped that she'd put this clip onto a different site that is better at 'mash-ups' -- But, I'm glad to see the recycled electrons on the wire again.

Mark Rauterkus – CANDIDATE for Controller, City of Pittsburgh

Mark Rauterkus, 48, Libertarian, seeking office of controller, city wide.
108 S. 12th Street, South Side
412 298 3432
Journalism, Ohio U., '82, with honors
Grad school at Baylor, P.E.

swim coach

Authoring book on public policy: Planks
Blog ranked 3rd most influential in PA politics (9-07)
Elected board of Allegheny Libertarians (vice chair) and ex-GOP city committee
Ran grassroots campaigns on issues and mayor, PA senate, council.
Consistent task force participant

Q: 2.1 What are the important problems of Pittsburgh that the city controller can address?

Schools. Citizen Engagement. Loss of liberty.


Schools must have discipline and parent/community involvement. Build upon successful programs. Fix high schools already.

Words = 32

Q: 2.2 What specific procedures should the controller's office use to address the fiscal crissis of the city?

I'll create and organize a CITIZENS' CONGRESS with hundreds of volunteer activists working as deputy auditors. Engaged residents must establish a tight grip on city government and schools The city is at the brink and out of control. Our values, priorities, benchmarks, and open dialog need an overhaul. We need to think again and create community with new leaders and real citizen empowerment.

I'll launch a Youth Technology Summit. I'll leverage open source software methods everywhere.

Words = 76
Total allowed, 125. Total above = 32 + 76 = 108

Hey Teacher, leave that W2 alone.

PRESS RELEASE, Yardley PA , Sept 25.

With information obtained under Pennsylvania's Right To Know law, StopTeacherStrikes, Inc. today posted the individual names and compensation details for all teachers in the Cumberland Valley school district in Cumberland County, on its web site

StopTeacherStrikes President, Simon Campbell, commented:

"The Cumberland Valley teachers union issued an implied threat with their recent informational picket. The threat is that the union will launch a full strike if taxpayers do not meet their demands. This type of coercive behavior that hurts children is illegal in thirty-seven (37) other states. The posting of the teachers' salaries is designed to remind public employees that they are public servants who are accountable to taxpayers. It provides for public transparency, accountability and oversight. Despite the outrage from the union, we will continue to post teachers names and salaries in strike-threatened districts"

For more information about StopTeacherStrikes, Inc. or this press release, please contact:

Simon Campbell
President, StopTeacherStrikes, Inc.
668 Stony Hill Rd #298
Yardley, PA 19067
Tel 215-586-3573

Bob Dylan and Mark Rauterkus -- a greatest hit and folk combination for Pittsburgh

Click it. It is short.

DeSantis lands an endorsement from a "diverse" outlet

I've just come to discover that Mark DeSantis, R, candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh, has earned a new endorsement from the GSPC, Gertrude stein Political Club. The informal email I just got included these insights:
you may be interested to know that the gertrude stein club of greater pittsburgh has endorsed MARK DeSantis for mayor. some of his responses that we liked were positive for domestic partnership benefits, and firmly pro choice. please continue to engage with us, even though you have not received our endorsements. at least you are current, updated and obviously care about government.
I'm sure a more formal press release is being crafted somewhere. I hope and expect that my sources are on the mark. (Pun intended).

Yes, I do care about government. I'm with little chance of getting that organization's endorsement because I'm not gay. And, I've not really gone after any specific endorsement. The unions won't even meet with me. Oh well.

The email from her to me began:

wow, i agree with you on a+schools, cameras, and maybe even agree on the ethics position.

I love that some in the marketplace of ideas are open minded. And, I'm not going to ignore people in the community. I'm just swimming upstream and need a few more hours in the day.

Volunteers needed: Transcription of 1 hour tv interview + more

A transcription helper or three is needed to type the contents of interviews from a TV show delivered in DVD format. Typist should be able to view the interview off of the DVD on a home TV/DVD player. Or, play the DVD off of a computer.

I'd love to get a text document and associated timeline of the interview returned to me as soon as possible.

The first show is about one hour in length. The second show is a bit shorter.

As payment, you'll be able to keep the DVD(s).

Blocking the Real ID in PA. A call to action and update

The Real ID is a seed of an idea on the federal level that has been knocked around for some time. It is getting beat up in a few other states where privacy and liberty matters. The battle in PA is now in full swing. The Federal Real ID program is bad news and should not be accepted.
PA Daily Report September 25, 2007

Yesterday was a GOOD day! The rally went well, and the majority of those present for the speeches came into the building to learn the ropes of practical political action. As a group, we met with a number of the "power broker"staffers (McCall's office, DeWeese's office, and others).

One of the rally attendees, a constituent of Rep. John Payne, helped us make an interesting discovery. Rep. Payne has consistently introduced legislation to UNTIE the Social inSecurity Number from all PA licenses (hunting, professional, etc.). I plan to make a proposal to him that he incorporate a simple statement as an amendment to Rep. Rohrer's bill to accomplish that goal! In this way, two VERY important items can fall under the scope of "identification" situations covered.

There is yet another meeting at 11 am today. Rep. Rohrer's staffer arranged a pow-wow between me and Curt Meyers. Curt is the Deputy Secretary of Safety Administration in the Transportation Department (tied to PENNDOT). In South Carolina, the DOT's administrator was a critical cog in the wheel, bringing the Executive Department to bear on the legislature in subcommittee hearings on Real ID. If we can get the Governor's staff to come down against implementing Real ID, it will go a LONG way to helping get 1351 unglued from the committee. We hope to have at least one PA Senate Staffer in that meeting, with another strategy to be having the Senate introduce a companion bill there.

The next day we have arranged a meeting with the Speaker of the House, to try to get 1351 on the agenda.

To help us, PLEASE make a phone call or two! Priority #1 MUST be to get to House leadership. Chairman Thomas (717-772-9854) (Intergovernmental Affairs Committee) needs to hear from YOU! Call in, and request that HB 1351 be put on the committee agenda ASAP. Request (if you can make it) to be contacted to testify at this hearing.

Call Rep. DeWeese (Majority Leader) asking for 1351 to be put on the committee calendar (717-783-3797). The same message should come in to Majority Whip Keith McCall (717-783-1375).

We are also going to be trying to get more people on-board as CO-Sponsors. These include Karen Beyer (Veteran's Caucus chair)(717-783-1673); Keith Gillespie (on the subcommittee involved)(717-705-7167); and Scott Hutchinson (717-783-8188). We met with these people today, and they seem somewhat amenable. A few choice calls would help. If you are a VETERAN, call Rep. Beyer to have her make this bill an issue for veterans! (Vets should also become a part of the NVCCA at -- forward that info to any veterans you know!)

(Since Jim and I started working, a number of new sponsors have come onto the bill. We want to increase the number by the end of this week by an additional 10+)

There is much more that happened on the first day of the reunited legislature, and only so much time for me to write it all up and still be able to keep going.

YOU are a critical part of our operations. Your calls greatly increase our value when we are actually in the capitol, meeting with these people. Call YOUR rep. and have them CO-SPONSOR HB 1351! More sponsors mean more pressure on leadership to "run the bill." Every voice on this bill becomes a louder and louder SCREAM from the public that it should be a TOP PRIORITY of the legislative agenda. While they pass item after item dedicating a road to some dead person, the living are going to be living with REAL ID, unless we slam the door on it NOW!

We are throwing everything we have into this effort. There are hundreds of people receiving these e-mail alerts. Hundreds of calls from YOU make our work all the more likely to succeed. PLEASE MAKE SOME CALLS, and encourage your church groups, business associates, and neighbors to do likewise. Post these messages onto political blogs, meet-up groups, etc. and continue bringing others into the battle. Sportsmen's groups, jewish/religious, and others will support our efforts when they KNOW ABOUT THEM! We can't be everywhere. But we are in Harrisburg. Your support is critical.
The above email was from Aaron of NVCCA from Restore The Republic 4 E. Ogden Ave #126 Westmont, IL 60559.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Metroblogging Pittsburgh: Propelling Pittsburgh

Here we go again.
Metroblogging Pittsburgh: Propelling Pittsburgh The official bylaws of the Commission say that we're not supposed to reveal Commission business to the media without the Chair's permission (that'd be the Mayor), so I'm going to confine myself to vague generalities.
Okay, if the Mayor came into the meeting with no preconceived notions about what should be done and what should NOT be done, then how do you explain the first part of the post -- not revealing business of the Commission.

Of course there were preconceived notions.

Of course the notions were about teaching the people in the group that they had better march along and follow orders.

On the flip side, thanks for taking off the muzzle and posting to the blog. You've done well.

When you meet again -- get that code of silence taken off the charter of the commission. Or, some other person will have to run the the Ethics Hearing Board and spank those that talk. Or, spank the members of the group for being so mindless as to agreeing to the silence.

For the record, Ravenstahl is NEVER serious about soliciting ideas from me. There has NEVER been a hint of follow through from him.

Here is a major question. Is it ever okay to have government silence others, be they whistle blowers, commission members, or employees.

If so, when.



You all are doing the work of the public. You should have everything in the public domain.

If you want to have secret elements at meetings and approval to speak, then operate in the private sector. Join forces and start a business. Then it won't be anyone's business but yours. This effort, with the Mayor there, within the walls of our house, must be open, honest, and free.

Be free.

Our kids need one thing above all else -- Liberty. A propel commission that aims to better our shared public spaces and public process must have full rights for all.

If that doesn't get them to hate you, then you can call for a vote. Call for a non-binding straw poll on each committee.

Move the agenda with democracy.

If you can do those things -- I'll smile as there might be some hope that my children will be able to grow up in Pittsburgh and have a city worth living in.



Got web ink in the P-G Early Returns about ethics. Interesting headline: Can't Muzzle Mark

Today's Post Gazette has this news about ethics under the headline: Can't Muzzle Mark
Post-Gazette NOW - Local News - Early Returns of Sept. 24, 2007

Can't muzzle Mark

Pittsburgh controller candidate Mark Rauterkus has filed an ethics complaint -- against the city Ethics Hearing Board.

The Libertarian Party standard bearer's complaint targets the board's policy, which is written into the city's ethics code, of barring those who filed complaints with it from speaking about those complaints. It apparently exists to keep confidential information, or unfounded accusations, out of the media. The policy first manifested itself when the very first city ethics complaint of the modern era was filed and continues to be in place.

Mr. Rauterkus' complaint demands that the board "strike down the concept of imposing secrecy onto citizens who file complaints." Why? "Sins to the soul of the city should be heard with the Ethics Hearing Board so citizens are able to gain with an increase of empowerment, not a decrease of rights."

He also rails against provisions in the ethics code that could make the complainant liable if they make wrongful use of the ethics process.

Besides filing against the board, Mr. Rauterkus filed complaints against two other candidates for city office, neither of whom is yet a city employee. Of course, by disclosing his filings to Early Returns, he may have rendered them moot by running afoul of the confidentiality rule -- but maybe that was the point.
Let's go back in time with a short two article refresher course on the early returns of the Ethics Hearing Board. These other matters linked and quoted below from the recent past were not generated by me. I didn't play any role with what follows. These two set-up articles below, plus what I'm putting into play now rounds out the bulk of the body of knowledge except for the whole Luke Ravenstahl golf outing. Almost everyone has heard about Luke's golfing.

From the P-G on May 11, 2007: Whistleblower fired from campaign job Whistleblower fired from campaign job. See the link for the story.

From the P-G on May 14, 2007: Ethics effort still not in good form
There IS an election tomorrow It seems the city Ethics Hearing Board still isn't quite ready to take complaints. The five-member board finally mustered a quorum Friday, more than a year after the late Mayor Bob O'Connor pledged to revive it from a decade of dormancy.

That meeting led some less-jaundiced observers of city politics to hope that it would start scouring a political landscape that has, this spring, been littered with accusations and questionable campaign practices. Our write-up of the historic meeting is here.

But today Jason Phillips, the erstwhile campaign staffer for Superior Court Judge Debra Todd who was fired after blowing the whistle on Councilman Jeff Koch's aide, tried to lodge a complaint and met with mixed results. Assistant City Solicitor Kate De Simone, obviously caught a little off guard by the effort, was nice as can be, offering to make up an ethics complaint form, pronto, and e-mail it to Mr. Phillips. But her offer came with three warnings:

"One thing I would point out about filing a complaint with the Ethics Hearing Board is that it's a very lengthy process," she said, estimating it at "up to a year" if the allegation is complex.

She repeated that all complaints are filed "under penalty of perjury." Translation: if the complainant is found to have lied on their complaint, they can find themselves on the wrong end of a prosecution.

Under the ethics code, she said as a reporter sat a few feet away, the complainant is not allowed to make their filing of a complaint public. Mr. Phillips' concerns have already made newspapers and the TV news, but Ms. De Simone said that didn't necessarily bar him from pursuing a complaint -- as long as he doesn't specifically tell anybody that he has filed it.

After leaving the solicitor's office, Mr. Phillips wouldn't say whether he will file a complaint, but said he wasn't deterred by what Ms. De Simone said. "The length of the procedure seems untimely," he said. "I have no concern with perjury, because I don't plan to perjure myself."

But, he noted, "It definitely seemed the city is unprepared for something it has been working toward for a year."
The next Ethics Hearing Board meeting is in October and it is on my public Google calendar.

Other footnotes on the Ethics Hearing Board are welcomed.

What became of the promise from Luke to file a complaint back in May? Is it still in the hopper? Did Luke ever get it to the Ethics Hearing Board? Is it a 'done deal?'

New version, 2.3, of Open Office . org is out 2.3 has been released. 2.3 is a *must* download. It not only includes a security fix, but also has some very cool new features. And, it works nicely with our growing number of extensions, hosted on our splendid
new extensions site.

* To download:

* Extensions:

* New features:

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Bob Mayo, enjoy your holiday. Keep the shinny side up.

Where in the world is Bob Mayo? He has to be driving a bus somewhere. Right?

Bob just emailed me to say he is on holiday this week. So, he isn't 'lost.' Don't worry. But, a blogger who works in the MSM (mainstream media) and has a wonderful blog called the busman's holiday must have interesting vacation and travel insights. Right?

Get it. The blogger of the busman's holiday is on holiday. Meanwhile, I'm trying to strike up a conversation about ethics and he has been the "go to man."

We miss you already.

I remember I called Jon Delano of KDKA TV when he was at the beach on a vacation in August of 2006. I needed him after I got served papers that tried to knock me off the ballot for PA Senate race. Those very political papers included the fax number of my State Senator on them. Perhaps that's why there are ethical issues in Harrisburg hitting now concerning overtime and work of legislative staffers. Oh well. I could relax then knowing at least he was having a day at the beach.

Open thread.

The Club for Growth 2008 - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

In the 2008 general election, only Ron Paul has a chance to defeat Hillary Clinton. And, I'm not the only one to think this way. All the big money, the Las Vegas book makers, say the same.
The Club for Growth 2008 - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review'Look,' laughed Toomey, 'Hillary Clinton will energize Republicans like nobody's business. ... Just wait until they hear Hillary Clinton give her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention next summer.'

Salena Zito is a Trib editorial page columnist. Call her at 412-320-7879. E-mail her at

Science and Technology School should ONLY include open source software

The Open Minds Conference is the first national K-12 gathering for teachers, technicians and educational leaders to share and explore the benefits of open source in education. Virtual Learning Environments that provide 24X7 access to teaching and learning resources, cutting-edge and easy-to-use desktop applications, coupled with powerful management tools and low-cost computer strategies make the classroom of tomorrow available today!
If I was controller, or if I was on city council, Pittsburgh would be hosting events and conferences like this throughout the year.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Welcome to the THIRD most influential political blog in Pennsylvania

I had been ranked as high as seventh. In the last period, the ranking here was eveventh. Falling out of the top 10 isn't so fun. But now -- the blog has hit its highest ever with influence.

Mike Tomlin is going to be seeking "running mate status."

That McBeam mascot is now considering a name change, as I have suggested in the past, to "McPipe." Then he'll rush to help fix water main breaks around the region. He's made an inquiry to find out when the plumbers union is starting its next round with apprentice training.

Bram of PghComment is even leaving me Comets in my front yard and posting his full agreement that getting the "L" candidate (Tony Oliva) and "S" candidate onto the ballot for Mayor, and onto the debate stage, is going to help advance the cause for making this a better region.

What's next -- a snowball effect in October?

Perhaps I'll get a cameo role in the Food Bank benefit on Thursday at the gig called "Blogged to Death?" In not, jelly rolls will do.

Stay tuned....

Ballot Access News

I'm on the ballot, twice. But, it isn't easy to get there, sadly. One of our most pressing needs in our political landscape is ballot access for citizen candidates. It is hard to get onto the ballot. Then after people get on the ballot, there is an endless looking over of the shoulder to make sure that jobs and contracts are not being challenged by those with power being challenged.
Pennsylvanians, others will rally outside U.S. Supreme Court on decision day Ballot Access News

On September 24 (Monday), the U.S. Supreme Court will hold an internal, private conference, to decide which cases to accept. On the agenda is consideration of the Pennsylvania ballot access case, Rogers v Cortes, 06-1721. The Court probably won?t announce what it has decided until a week later, October 1, the first day of the new term.

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition will hold a rally on the Maryland Avenue side of the U.S. Supreme Court on September 24. The hope is that members of the Court will notice the rally. Speaking will be Bill Redpath, national chair of the Libertarian Party; Brent McMillan, national political director of the Green Party; any many Pennsylvania activists. A documentary film-maker is planning to film the rally.

Interesting about FACISM
Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

More Mark and Less Party -- More Marks & More Opposition

JSM ponders:
As Republican Mark DeSantis presses on in his race against incumbent Democrat mayor Luke Ravenstahl, he must be more DeSantis and less Republican. Since just the thought of voting for a Republican for mayor is anathema to many local Democrats, DeSantis would have been better positioned as an independent.

In some areas, party affiliation means little more than embracing a party of convenience. Often, success comes as a result of merely running as a Republican and not being a Republican. It is a critical distinction when Democrat support is essential to victory.
I've asked DeSantis to come clean on his R-ness. What kind of "R" is he, we all want to know.

I agree in large part. Some will NEVER vote for a "R" in these parts in these times. And, for good reason.

Did you notice in the two part article on the front of today's Tribune Review (great articles by David Brown) that a box that pointed out the other two on the ballot -- Tony Oliva, Liberatrian and the Socialist meatpacker -- was placed within the text of the article on Luke. That placement is so much as to say that they'll both be taking a bit out of Luke's territory.

I was very, very impressed with the Trib and the photo selections of both Luke and Mark. The photos were very well balanced. Both even had a US flag showing the background.

Way to go Dave Brown and Trib! Way to go.

I do think that Luke's vote total will be less because of the other two challengers, the L and the S. Some will want to vote and will NEVER vote for DeSantis. They can land in the L or S column. That takes away votes from Luke. Luke has not earned everyone's vote, that is for sure.