Friday, November 30, 2007
Video snip of song!
Penn Hills Class of 1977 30th Reunion Follow-up from Gina:
The Penn Hills Class of 1977 30th reunion was a resounding success! We had close to 400 people attending. The night was full of fun, reminiscing and dancing.
If you were of the classmates that attended, thanks so much for your support! It was a night to remember!
If you couldn't make it, we're sorry you missed out on such a great time, but you can still be part of the evening as we are offering a DVD of the reunion, a program and the 30th reunion favor (while supplies last)-- see below for details.
Also, I want to take the opportunity again to thank the committee - Joe Evanish, Deb Testa Fantone, Steve Eversole, Michael Migliore and Mark Rauterkus.
Gina Costa Calabro
Couldn't make the reunion?
We have extra copies of the program and favors as well as DVD of the evening.
The package is $12 for the DVD, a favor and the program. We have a limited supply of programs and favors so get your orders in ASAP!
Just the DVD is $10.
If you would like to order, please send a check payable to:
Penn Hills Class of 77 Reunion,
7 Joshua Valley Road, East Lyme, CT 06333
Be sure to include your full name, address, phone number and email address.
Yearbook DVD = Get Your Copy for Only $10!
Joe Evanish scanned in the entire yearbook and set it to the music of the Seventies. It was definitely a labor of love as this was a big undertaking in scanning and cropping the pictures in the year book. For those who attended the reunion it was played on a big screen during dinner and it was a huge hit!
If you would like to order, please send a check ($10) payable to Penn Hills Class of 77 Reunion, 7 Joshua Valley Road, East Lyme, CT 06333
Be sure to include your full name, address, phone number and email address.
RedState is calling for CNN to fire Sam Feist, CNN's political director; and David Bohrman, CNN's Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of the debate.
The debate, which CNN billed as "a Republican debate, and the goal was to let Republican voters see their candidates," CNN either knowingly or incompetently allowed hardcore left wing activists to plant questions and Anderson Cooper willingly gave one of those activists a soapbox so he could harass the Republican candidates about military policy.
Simple googling would have revealed these left wing activists.
Had CNN done its homework, this would not have happened. They either willfully let it happen, or incompetently bungled it. Either way, heads should roll.
Likewise, we hope one or more of the GOP Presidential candidates will call for a do-over debate on substantive policy issues.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Ron Paul 2008 › States › West Virginia: "For West Virginians planning to serve as a delegate for Ron Paul in the State Convention, or for anyone wishing to vote for Ron Paul delegates in the online balloting in January, the application deadline is quickly approaching - you must be registered as a Republican and submit all needed applications by November 30, 2007."
Rockzillaworld Eliza Gilyson, "Highway 9" So the little man gathered all his chicken-hawks in
and the neo-cons and his daddy's kin
With their own clear channel and a helluva spin
and a white man hidden in a black man's skin.
I am a student at the University of Pittsburgh that happens to be working on a case study involving Luke and the Ethics Hearing Board. The course is Board Governance and we are studying different aspects of board governance (especially those that are not for profit). You seem very opinionated and I am requesting your thoughts on the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board to use in my analysis. I thought instead of using the different newspaper articles and simply highlighting what everyone already knows, I would turn to bloggers to get the “real deal” and see what actual Pittsburghers think about the Ethics Board, Luke, and their actions especially during the investigation period. Please forward this message to your fellow bloggers if you think they would be willing to share some insight as well.
1) Was the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board board structure and composition helpful or hurtful to the organization? Did board members have conflicts of interest?
2) Was the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board board a “good board?”
3) In your estimation, did the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board reach a fair decision on clearing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on any wrong-doing? Were there any clear signs of negligence or incompetence on the part of the board or any of its members?
4) Did the board operate independently or did it do the bidding of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (recall that two members of the board are nominated by the major)?
5) In your research, did you see any board activities that seemed questionable?
6) What did the board do right? What did the board do wrong?
7) Should the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board change their policies and/or procedures as a result of this set of hearings against Mayor Luke Ravenstahl?
8) What do you think motivated board members to join the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board? What agenda if any do you think each has as a board member?
Thank you, (Student's name and contact NUKED until I hear from him again.)
#1) I've come to understand that the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board is nothing but a big joke. It is not helpful. It is not going to improve upon the ethical behaviors of those in local government. It is a sink. It is much like a fiddle for the mayor and others to play at their will. It moves too slow. I've seen glaciers move more quickly.
Those that are presently on the Pgh Ethics Hearing Board seem ill-prepared for the duty of being on the board. They have put in a request for a budget of $40,000 per year to the President of Pittsburgh's City Council. A big portion of that payment is for 'training.' These folks are not trained. They are in the dark and they know it. They are in over their heads. They are frozen with in-action. And, they won't move until others come to their aid and hold their hands.
I think those on the board who are not ready to be ethical and act as they are called to behave should resign. This is not a place for on the job training.
The organization of the board is fine. However, the people they have picked are fine with being in their role as puppets.
The board's leader, Sister Patrice, was in a conflict of interest by putting out a mention about the golf to Luke. She can't be judge and prosecutor in the same instance.
The board is also building a task force to look at the matter of gifts from the nonprofits. They are all from the nonprofit world. And, they seek more input from the nonprofits. This is okay -- but it comes at the exclusion of taxpayers, citizens, voters, residents. Everyone there has a nonprofit job. The want to increase the direction given to the nonprofit weenies. So, there are certain conflicts of interest because citizens are being excluded.
Rather than reform, however, it is often better to just replace first.
2) The City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board board IS (present tense) a joke. The board stinks. That is NOT a "good board." I'm not sure why you ask about "WAS" (past tense). The board operates. It is not changing, sadly.
3) In my estimation, the City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board has not yet reached a clear decision on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's golfing in the summer of 2007. The code is still up for discussion and changes. Letters have been sent. Various filters and opinions are still brewing. A task force has been called, but not gathered. This matter won't be completed until 2008. Perhaps it will be over by the middle of the next golf season.
If the same offer was put forth again today, I expect that the same outcomes would unfold from the administration. It is not resolved. The lessons are not firm in everyone's understanding. Moving forward, there is much doubt that lingers.
The board members put Luke on trial and that was a very clever way of getting him off the hook. What they found could not stick. The complaint needed to come from a citizen. The Ethics Hearing Board just acts as JUDGE.
4) Without doubt, the Pgh Ethics Hearing Board operates without any hint of independence. It is a branch of the Law Department, in turn, a branch of the Administration, and, of course, the mayor!
5) In my opinion and research, I have found that all of the board activities are to be questioned. First, the entire process is undermined with the confidentiality requirement. Citizens should not be subject to fewer rights of speech because they file a complaint with the Ethics Hearing Board. The Ethics Hearing Board is unconstitutional.
The Ethics Hearing Board should look to all city officials, employees, contractors and candidates. The Ethics Hearing Board seems to think that candidates can't be unethical and that if they are -- that is not within their scope of concern. Go figure.
6) The Ethics Hearing Board has been worthless to the citizens and the struggle to live in a more ethical region.
7) The City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board should change its policies. Radical changes are needed. They should happen quickly. First, those that can't tell what is right and wrong should resign. Those that can't open their own mail without it being screened by the law department should quit. Those that are clueless to the first amendment rights such as freedom of speech, should never be in any public capacity. The board should call for massive changes to the code and operations by saying it will stike down the provisions of confidential behavior from anyone who makes a complaint. And, all liabilities should be revoked as well. The board isn't in any position to dish out punishments. It should never be in that role.
8) Board members are motivated to help with the city for countless reasons. Pride, civic duty, and an awareness of the city's ills are just a few reasons. The agenda of the board members are for them to reveal -- not me. I can't begin to read their minds.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Pittsburgh's Hot Metal Pedestrian Bridge Now Open - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl led governmental, non-profit, and bike and trail leaders on the first walk across the freshly restored bridge. 'The rehabilitation of this century-old bridge symbolically captures Pittsburgh's economic revival,' Ravenstahl said. The Urban Redevelopment Authority began work on the Hot Metal Pedestrian Bridge in 2003 after the completion of a vehicular bridge.Funny how Pittsburgh's leadership takes such a front and center stance on something that is so old.
This isn't a new bridge. Rather, it is a facelift on an old bridge.
Pedestrian bridges are great. Don't get me wrong. But, if we really wanted (and I do) pedestrian bridges, we'd do it with a grand style.
Public Comment to the Pgh Public School Board and Administration about the folly they're causing with out schools and children
These are the statements from my son. They were delivered last night to the school board along with 100 other statements from citizens.
Erik RauterkusIf others wish to share their statements, please email them to me: Mark -@- Rauterkus -dot- com. I'll do my best to make them appear on this blog.
Statement to the Pgh Public Schools Board of Education
Hello, I am Erik Rauterkus. I live in the South Side. I am a 7th grader a Frick ISA, 6-8, a middle school in the heart of Oakland.
At Frick I am a Spanish major.
Last year Frick started the school year with two full-time teachers for Spanish. My teacher was Ms. Layal. Every thing was going fine until the other Spanish teacher left in the middle of the school year. One fix was a combined class, making our class huge. Later in the year Ms. Layal left too. We were left with about 2 weeks of substitute Spanish teachers that could hardly speak the language let alone control the class.
Then a teacher named Ms. Carter came along and she was with us for about 7 or 8 weeks. After that we had Ms. Llayl again for about 5 more weeks. After that we had Ms. Brunet. We had a handful of Spanish teachers.
This year again we have had many other Spanish teacher problems. The students have no clue what teacher could show up in the door the next day. We have had many very unreliable Spanish lessons throughout the past 2 years at a school. Frick has a specialized language program.
Teacher turn-over has been a real concern. Now the French kids have teacher issues.
Teachers have no clue if they will have a job next year. If great teachers are offered a job in a suburban school, they know they will have that job, that building, that program year in and year out.
The students, families and TEACHERS get yanked around throughout the district time and time again.
Who is going to teach at Frick next year?
Who is going to want to teach at I.B. World?
Who is wanting to teach at the Science and Technology school.
Will Rodgers teachers be merged into downtown spaces at CAPA?
Teachers do not know where they will be. Many will decide to go to suburban settings – and so will the students who want a stable school environment.
Please vote NO as to moving Schenley and Frick.
Thank you for your time.
By the way, KDKA Radio is clearly against the citizens on this matter. Its coverage is crooked. The one blurb on the radio news today was a humorless joke. News pointers:
Group Wants Schenley High School To Stay Open
Supporters plead Schenley High's case
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - An overflow but mannerly crowd of more than 200 people asked the city school board Tuesday night to save Schenley High School in ...
Last night's meeting has a couple of sideline fireworks. There were people held at the door upon my mid-meeting departure who where not able to witness the meeting. There were 45 open seats in the main room. Yet, the citizens were being held at the front door by security. Go figure. In another instance, my voice recorder caused a meeting stir.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Announcer sacked over spoof messages - Yahoo! News* 'We would like to remind our American tourist friends that you are almost certainly talking too loudly.'
Play Date / Time Channel Project ID 75, Program ID 1924Tune in and watch as to who gets the blame for the turf at Heinz Field.
11/29/07 Thu 9:00 am PCTV
12/1/07 Sat 3:00 pm PCTV
12/4/07 Tue 7:00 pm PCTV
12/7/07 Fri 4:00 pm PCTV
12/8/07 Sat 8:00 pm PCTV
Monday night at 11 p.m., CNN Political Director Sam Feist e-mailed the Alan Keyes campaign to inform the campaign — for the first time — that Ambassador Keyes would not be included in the CNN/YouTube/Republican Party of Florida Debate, scheduled for Wednesday evening.
Prior to this notice, the campaign had received no word from the debate's sponsors about their intentions, one way or the other, to include Dr. Keyes, despite several inquires. The most the campaign was able to learn was that the decision was "ultimately up to CNN."
In the meantime, the campaign contacted numerous Florida party, state, and national leaders, encouraging them to ask CNN to include Ambassador Keyes in Wednesday's debate, so that all nine of the presidential candidates selected by the state for its primary ballot might be scrutinized by voters — instead of just eight.
To no avail.
For reasons evident below, CNN's decision to exclude Dr. Keyes is obviously arbitrary, unfair, and presumptuous — overriding, in essence, the prerogative of the State of Florida to decide which presidential contenders voters have a right to learn about.
The effect of this decision by CNN is far-reaching. Any candidate who does not appear in this nationally-televised debate — the last one scheduled before the primaries — will have little chance of compensating for the damage done to his campaign in the public mind. Note that Ambassador Keyes has already been excluded from two previous national debates on dubious grounds, and as a result, most people are not even aware he is running for president.
Excluding Dr. Keyes from Wednesday's debate will arguably do irreparable damage to his campaign — a result that can hardly have escaped CNN. CNN is playing "gate-keeper," and that is not a legitimate role of the media, no matter how much influence they seek to exert in the political arena.
Read the following exchange, and if you believe an indefensible injustice is about to occur, contact the following executives at CNN and encourage them to reverse their decision to exclude Alan Keyes.
Jonathan Klein, President
Rick Davis, Executive Vice President of News Standards and Practices
Mitch Gelman, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer
Sam Feist, Political Director
Laurel Chamberlain, Media Relations Manager
Lou Dobbs, Anchor and Managing Editor
David Doss, Executive Producer
Wendy Whitworth, Senior Executive Producer of "Larry King Live"
To clarify — for legal purposes — the criteria established by CNN and YouTube for excluding Alan Keyes from Wednesday's debate, please provide the following information, so the Keyes campaign and its attorneys might assess its validity:
- Exactly which published FEC guidelines do you have reference to in support of CNN and YouTube's "objective criteria" for excluding Ambassador Keyes? Please cite the publication and page where specific guidelines for televised debates are clearly made public knowledge by the FEC.
- What is the "minimum national polling requirement" established by CNN and YouTube that Ambassador Keyes fails to meet, and what evidence do you have that Ambassador Keyes fails to meet this requirement? Please supply polls that reliably assess Dr. Keyes' actual support among registered Republican voters. To be reliable, these polls must include Dr. Keyes' name and give respondents the choice of expressing their support for him, alongside other candidates listed.
- What evidence do you have of the actual amount of "individual contributions" raised to date by the Keyes campaign, upon which CNN and YouTube based their decision to exclude Dr. Keyes? Please describe the factual basis for identifying this amount, since we have never publicly released this confidential information, and explain how CNN and YouTube acquired it.
- Based on entirely objective, proven criteria — not subjective, speculative, or theoretical considerations — what is the definition used by CNN and YouTube to define a "viable national campaign." Note that this definition must apply equally to a grassroots campaign of the sort Dr. Keyes has undertaken in the past, as opposed to a media-based, high-cost campaign typically undertaken by candidates whose goal is to shape public opinion. In other words, to be valid, the criteria can neither favor, nor exclude, either traditional approach.
- Besides the criteria cited in your e-mail, what other possible basis might CNN and YouTube have for demonstrably damaging the campaign of a presidential candidate certified by the State of Florida as equal in credibility to the other candidates the state has chosen for its primary ballot? In other words, what possible reason does CNN or YouTube have to prevent Florida voters from making an informed choice among all the Republican candidates hand-selected by the State of Florida for its presidential primary?
- How do CNN and YouTube intend to dispel the obvious appearance that their exclusion of Ambassador Keyes from the debate does in fact amount to an attempt to damage the Keyes campaign? In other words, explain why the behavior of CNN and YouTube is not intentionally self-fulfilling — since it presumes in advance that the Keyes campaign lacks viability, and then proceeds to ensure such lack of viability by excluding Dr. Keyes from the nation's consciousness — even though he is the most eloquent and persuasive Republican candidate in the race, a candidate who in 2000 was widely credited with winning the Republican presidential debates and came in third in the primaries, and whose candidacy, therefore, cannot objectively be considered less than viable.
- Since the lawful role of the media in the electoral process is limited to reporting, influencing, and monitoring that process, by what legitimate means did CNN and YouTube obtain the undemocratic authority to screen from the electoral process a candidate officially chosen by the State of Florida for its presidential primary? In other words, explain to America's voters how CNN and YouTube (and other media or internet giants) have acquired the role of ultimate arbiters in the electoral process. Explain, additionally, how such media control of that process is healthy for America's representative political system.
- Why did CNN wait until there was barely a day left prior to the debate before responding to my inquiry about CNN's intentions regarding the participation of Alan Keyes — and why was CNN and YouTube's basis for excluding him not made known to the Keyes campaign until this late date, eliminating any possibility of including him — if it was in fact the intention of CNN and YouTube to be "objective" and fair toward Ambassador Keyes? Surely, you realize that by utterly ignoring Dr. Keyes until now — and then singling him out for exclusion from the debate despite the fact that the latest Mason-Dixon Florida poll lists him ahead of Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, and Tom Tancredo — CNN and YouTube have destroyed any claim they might make of objective fairness in this process.
- Finally, what is the position of other Republican presidential candidates toward the candidacy of Dr. Keyes, and have any of these candidates, at any time, expressed to the debate's sponsors a desire to exclude Dr. Keyes from the debate? Bear in mind that this question is fair game in court, as are all the other above questions, and may require the sponsors to testify under oath the truth of their intentions, the basis for those intentions, and their attitudes toward the Keyes campaign and Dr. Keyes himself.At this late point, there's still time to get Ambassador Keyes in the debate. We request that an invitation be extended to him immediately.
CEO, Alan Keyes for President
From: Feist, Sam
To: Stephen Stone
Cc: Davis, Rick ; Chairman Jim Greer ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2007 11:02 PM
Subject: RE: Inclusion of Alan Keyes in CNN/YouTube/Florida GOP debate
Dear Mr. Stone,
Thank you for your note regarding Ambassador Keyes' participation in the CNN/You Tube debate on November 28th.
CNN and You Tube have established objective criteria for inclusion in the debate, in accordance with Federal Election Commission guidelines. The objective criteria established for this debate included requirements that a candidate meet a bare minimum threshold in national polling and also that a candidate meet a minimum fundraising requirement.
Ambassador Keyes has not met the minimum national polling requirement. And he has not met our requirement that he raise a minimum of $1million in individual contributions. We believe that this fundraising criteria is an indication of a candidate's ability to run a viable national campaign. These are the identical criteria that CNN used in its recent Democratic presidential debate.
If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me directly.
CNN Political Director
From: Stephen Stone
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 8:19 AM
To: Feist, Sam
Cc: Davis, Rick; Chairman Jim Greer; Delmar W. Johnson, III; Kirk Pepper; email@example.com
Subject: Inclusion of Alan Keyes in CNN/YouTube/Florida GOP debate
I'm writing to learn if CNN plans to invite Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes to participate in the CNN/YouTube/Republican Party of Florida Debate, scheduled for Nov. 28 in St. Petersburg.
As you realize, Ambassador Keyes is one of nine candidates chosen by the Florida GOP — as well as the Florida Presidential Candidate Selection Committee — to be in the state's presidential primary.
The complete list of Republican candidates chosen for the primary by party and state officials is as follows:
Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Governor Mike Huckabee
Congressman Duncan Hunter
Ambassador Alan Keyes
Senator John McCain
Congressman Ron Paul
Governor Mitt Romney
Congressman Tom Tancredo
Senator Fred ThompsonTo date, all of the above candidates except Alan Keyes have been invited to participate in the debate.
You might also be interested to know that Ambassador Keyes has already been accepted on ten state's presidential ballots; placed ahead of Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, and Tom Tancredo in the latest Mason-Dixon Florida poll; and was just invited to participate in the Des Moines Register's Republican PBS Debate, scheduled for Dec. 12.
Since Dr. Keyes hasn't yet received an invitation to join the eight other recognized candidates in the upcoming Florida debate, I would like to know the basis for his apparent exclusion.
Please let me know ASAP the position of CNN in this matter.
Note that if Dr. Keyes is excluded on grounds that are self-evidently arbitrary, discriminatory, or unfair, the campaign will of course review its legal options. Dr. Keyes' civil rights, and the integrity of the electoral process, require CNN to show clear impartiality in the selection of the debate's participants.
The just and reasonable thing to do would be to include Dr. Keyes alongside the other candidates chosen by the State of Florida to appear on its Presidential Preference Primary ballot. Certainly, Florida voters have an interest in seeing and hearing all the GOP presidential candidates.
CEO, Alan Keyes for President
Saturday, November 24, 2007
In the process, the internet connection is down.
But, thanks to Andy's party at CyberConnection -- I'm checking email and blogging. This is a cool place. I'm okay at StarWars Battlefront II -- but NOT with these kids. Ouch.
Don't expect to see much of me on the blogs for a few days.
Tuesday night we'll be going to the rally and public school board meeting.
Last night's Penn Hills High School 30th reunion was fantastic too. More blogging about that will come later.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Students praise Schenley's offerings - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "they savor the student body's unique mix of diverse cultures that somehow blend and, for the most part, get along.
Schenley's 91-year run could soon end. The city school board will vote Feb. 27 whether to accept Superintendent Mark Roosevelt's recommendation to close the Oakland building because of asbestos problems and an aging infrastructure that would cost $64.4 million to fix.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Roddey to run for top GOP job - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review His announcement occurs at a time when the local GOP has been on a downslide, failing to recruit challengers in key elections, losing at the polls, sinking into debt and sailing without a captain.The mind leads and the body follows.
For many years, Jim Roddey was the one that said that the city could NEVER elect a Republican. He made sure it didn't happen with his statements. If he couldn't do it -- then it couldn't be done, so he thinks.
I'm with Bob Hillen on this.
I think that the Republicans in the city won't be in a good position with Jim Roddey as the county's party chair.
If you want to be part of an opposition movement in the city -- join us, the Libertarian Party of Allegheny County! We are also looking to establish some teamwork in the city with other political parties. I'm sure that day is speeding ahead now that Bob Glancey has departed the scene.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Cheaper prices for blank media, i.e., blank DVDs and blank CD-ROMs.
Open source software.
Open source ways, thinking and styles of being.
Public domain goodies and creators who have a clue about it as well as Creative Commons designations.
Liberty, freedom, democracy, constitutions, the founding fathers and our legacy of rich common ground.
People who are respectful.
Those who sign a petition without thinking twice.
Blip.tv and other v-cast (video casting) sites such as YouTube.
The widespread reach of the English language.
The arrival of open water swimming as Olympic medal races (5K and 10K swims).
Public comment periods at governmental meetings.
Historic buildings that are still standing and others that are still in reside in our memory.
Pittsburgh Podcamp and BootCamp and the dozens of organizers that gave of themselves to make those events flourish.
Citizen courage for past, recent and future "running mates." Many of whom I've yet to meet.
Pedestrian lifestyle. Walking to work. Walking to school.
Ian and Mark at FreeTalkLive.com, my favorite podcast.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
A New Recipe to Reunite Our Country | Unity08 What would Thanksgiving be like if we cooked the same turkey over and over, year after year, and served it bland, tasteless, and downright inedible?See more at the site. Clever cooking!
Well, it would be kind of like Politics-As-Usual, which has been feeding us that turkey for many years now.
It's time to cook up a new way to lead the country, as you well know, and Unity08 has the recipe. Please review the cooking instructions below.
For your own health, our meal is pork-barrel and mud-slinging free.
- 1 package of Our Country (divided)
- 1/2 teaspoon of American Values (hard work, ingenuity, inspiration)
- 1/2 teaspoon of New Technology
- 5 cups of Crucial Issues
- 1 box of Questions to Ask the Candidates
- 1 handful of Candidates (formed into teams)
- 1 Online Convention pressure cooker (the largest you can find)
- Boil Politics-As-Usual, pour it out, and start anew.
- Combine American Values with New Technology (stir vigorously).
- Sift and rank Crucial Issues.
- Mull over Questions to Ask the Candidates.
- Place Crucial Issues, Questions, and Candidate Teams into Online Convention pressure cooker.
- Reduce to Unity Ticket.
- Serve hot and complement with election of the next President of the United States.
How true. That is something to think about -- long and hard.
The folks who send their children to Schenley or to any of the Pittsburgh Public Schools are the ones who pay for them too. We are taxpayers. We are not interested in breaking the bank to pay for public education. By all means, we know better than any that the taxes in the city are too high.
Furthermore another big message that was delivered to many cheering peers came from a parent who said that we worry greatly about the other schools in the district. What about Oliver? What about Peabody? What about Carrick? We don't want the school district to focus all its attention and energy on new programs for the I.B. program and continue to neglect the rest of the district. Building a 'flagship program' isn't what we want if and as it comes at the expense of the other kids -- our neighbors -- and our other children.
But, the cost-over-runs are something to watch and contemplate. But, cost-over-runs are not nearly as bad as what we've already got in the district in various situations.
What is way worse than cost over-runs is making an investment in a building, paying for the cost-over runs, and then not utilize it to a fraction of its capacity.
Westinghouse High School is a beautiful building. Major investments were pumped into Westinghouse recently. Modern lab spaces, wonderful classrooms and an excellent building for learning has been built. It costs tens of millions of dollars to fix up Westinghouse. Who knows the real price tag?
And, who knows what the budgeted amount was contrasted with the actual amounts?
But today, Westinghouse High School, a 'drop out factory', is way under capacity.
Some in high places have been saying that the administration and district power brokers have starved Westinghouse of the necessary programs, teachers, and overall "software" that is deployed at Westinghouse High School. The hardware of Westinghouse is great. The software is in need of an overhaul.
So, what is going to happen there?
Why would they want to re-do Frick Middle School and turn that into a "Science and Technology School with students from grades 6 to 12" -- breaking a middle school that is working -- and still NOT fully deploying the prior investments that were poured into Westinghouse.
Make WESTINGHOUSE the home for the new Science and Technology 6-12 school! Make Westinghouse a city-wide magnet school.
Cost over-runs are but pimples when they seemingly squander the past upgrades and investments.
Even at Schenley High School -- they upgraded all the windows to the entire building just five years ago. The taxpayers made a major investment into Schenley recently. Now they want to close it.
District presses to close Schenley - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'I'm very concerned about the deteriorating condition in the building -- particularly the asbestos,' Patil said. 'The amount of monitoring and dollars it takes to keep it safe is almost unbearable.'"Unbearable = Being left in the dark + Having no voice + Alternatives that won't work + Alternatives that are MORE expensive + resegragation of the community - (minus) - all colaboration.
I've come to understand that asbestos is NEVER used as a binding agent. If Mr. Roosevelt had attended one or two of the meetings that I've been too, he'd have heard of that fact. And, in turn, he'd begin to change his tune.
There is a dance that is going on and the administration is way out of step.
Last night, the $64-million price tag was used again. Now the price for the fix up is in the $40-ish M zone. They need to 'rehash' and 're-tell.'
It takes two to tango. Get in step PPS Administration. It is a crying shame, bitter shame, when the citizens are able to out-flank them. But, with folly, it is easy to do.
School Board Superintendent Says Schenley Health Hazard To Students - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh
School Board Superintendent Says Schenley Health Hazard To Students - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh School Board Superintendent Says Schenley Health Hazard To StudentsI talked to a person in BBI today about this mess. BBI is Breau of Building Inspection. I think a building inspector or three should be called on the scene. We pay a number of these folks to make sure that the buildings are safe.
Furthermore, I think that the mayor could instruct BBI to check out all the buildings from the same era. What confirmations and studies have been done to prove to us that the other schools in that class are not just like what we face today (lies) are 'isolated.'
What about Oliver, Langley, Milliones, -- for starters.
I've asked Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to assign some of our building experts -- on our payroll -- to enter into the situation, urgently.
Some of the plaster has fallen. Granted. We agree.
The article reports this quote: ... "there's the potential release of asbestos," Roosevelt said. Bull. There is asbestos in the floor tiles and it is impossible to make that material jump out from that embeded state to prove a health hazard.
Roosevelt does not trust the health of the building beyond this school year. I don't trust the stewardship of the administration and the school board. They are pulling a quick one. Rushing. Haste makes waste. The plans need buy-in, input, and must evolve.
The present 8th graders at Frick all HATE the plan, we learned tonight. They were not asked.
Consult with the citizens first.
kdka.com - Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt Explains Why Schenley Should Close Another member of the 'Save Schenley' parents, Jet Lafean, says he believes that Roosevelt is getting bad information and that the parents committee will prove that it is more than feasible to keep Schenley open for far less money.
Update from others follows:
Note from amy moore: I know that a good number of people are on both lists but I don't want to take anyone off the IS/IB list which I plan to keep using after this High School (and Frick) Reform mess is over.
Welcome to all the new names I added to my list tonight. This is just an attempt to gather basic information of concern to PPS parents about Schenley and high school reform. If you don't want to be on this list, please let me know and I'll get you removed asap. I plan to only email once a day or every other day. This is only day two -- I'll put day one's missive at the very end of the email for anyone who missed it and can't live without it!
Only one and a half days left to sign up to speak at the special hearing on the 27th! The people answering the phone are friendly, so don't be shy. I signed up today just before 5 pm and am #60. How high can we go? If you don't want to speak, but do want to be heard, you may also submit written testimony to the board until 5 pm on the 27th (firstname.lastname@example.org or fax comments to (412)622-3624).
Letters to the editor can't hurt either.
Derrick Lopez talks in the Post-Gazette today about what High School reform will look like:
Mark Roosevelt has a press conference about the Schenley building this morning, looks like we got some of the documentation we've wanted? Links at the PPS website: http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/pps/cwp/view.asp?A=3&Q=281011
We look forward to some word on what we've got there from some of our engineer/architect/contractor/generally smart people in Save Schenley.
Looking for a way to take some action? There are petitions available, targeting voters. Basically all this petition says is that we'd like this process to slow down so it can involve the public in a meaningful way before any more money is spent implementing it.
Please consider taking a list of names and spending an hour or two of the long weekend talking about saving Schenley and school reform. It was actually kind of fun and I'm someone who hates knocking on doors and chatting up strangers. If I can do it, you can do it! Contact email@example.com for more info.
Continued discussion of Save Schenley as the sole name vs. Save Schenley as one (strong and founding) part of a forming alliance that is not only concerned with saving Schenley, but concerned about the way HS reform is being presented *and* how every decision made now may affect not only Schenley's future, but the schools as a whole.
Maybe it would be an umbrella group about informed school reform that included and supported both efforts to save Schenley, but also addressed concerns about school reform, spending, etc. across the district.
Discuss among yourselves. ;-)
Report submitted by Kathy Fine:
The meeting on Saturday (Nov 17th) was a meeting with attendees from across the spectrum of the Save Schenley organization, including the members from 2 of the committees that grew from the 1st "save Schenley" meeting at the CL, Shawn Carter from the "Save Schenley" organizing group, Carey Harris and Celeste Taylor from A+ schools, and parents from Point Breeze, Homewood, Highland Park and other neighborhoods, all with the common goal of distilling the information about the proposed PPS High School Reform and starting a constructive, open dialogue.
Alternative Reform Committee (Committee of Save Schenley)
Summary of 11/17/08 meeting
In attendance: Sue Mietzner, Nick Lardas, Nic Solic, Jet Lafean, Celeste Taylor, Muzz Meyers, Michelle Meyers, Terri Bishop, Jen Lakin, Shawn Carter, Carey Harris, Brenda Smith, Jill Weiss, Mel Hubbard El, Michael Pogue-Guile
Remediation committee is in the process of obtaining reports on Schenley repairs from 2 yrs. ago, report from consultants from this summer and EPA documents. After receiving this info the committee will review documents and request walk through of facility.
We agreed we need more representation from Hill Community/parents.
Preliminarily identified these questions for submission to district, some of them have been addressed but we would like comprehensive plans or details:
a. What is the rational for massive movement of students? Why can’t problems be addressed with students staying where they are (increasing professionals and paraprofessionals in the classrooms, putting reforms in place there)?
b. What is the plan for the rest of the district?
c. What is the research/rationale for 6-12 configuration?
d. What is being done at the pre K-8 levels to address needs of at risk students? How effectively are those needs being addressed?
e. How will the transportation issues of moving students from the Hill to Reizenstein as well as future high school choice be resolved?
f. What will be the mechanism for the High School Choice component of the reforms? Will parents be involved and when?
More to come after committee reviews reform plan.
Ready to learn more about High School reform? Today's link: District Improvement Plan (Final 11/16/07)
For instance, on page 56, the first two points are pretty well defined. However, points 3 through 5 aren't described at all, even though they discuss redesigning the magnet enrollment procedure, the concept of district-wide choice and the planning and designing of improvement strategies for the 8 high schools they don't mention in points 1 and 2.
I confess to not having gotten through all 200 pages yet. If you find anything interesting, let me know and I'll point people toward it.
I'll try to have a different Schenley or reform-related link each day. If you're poking around the PPS site and find anything interesting, please send me the link.
Mark Rauterkus' blog has some Schenley morsels (he's a PPS parent). If you know of any other Pittsburgh blogs/bloggers covering the Schenley issue, let me know!
A meeting will be coordinated for after the 27th -- to look at what we think still needs to be done, get organized in smaller working groups, etc. But first, we must all have a Thanksgiving holiday!
That's all for tonight, since the clock says it's already tomorrow --
This is my first attempt at throwing out some gathered-together information, please send more stuff my way:
--Reminder: Special Hearing about Schenley is Tuesday, November 27th at 6 pm at the Board of Education building. There is confusion (caused by the PPS website) about the sign-up deadline for speaking. To be on the safe side, sign up by noon on this Wednesday, the 20th. Even if you don't want to speak, please support us with your presence and in writing: Persons wishing to submit written testimony in lieu of appearing at the special hearing may send it via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by faxing comments to (412)622-3624 no later than 5 p.m. on November 27, 2007. (from the PPS website)
--Assuming students can organize and rally again (at 5 pm?), can we organize food/snacks and water to have there? As much as I hate plastic bottles of water, if we brought big blue recycling bags, I guess I could stand it. Or water coolers? Any volunteers to head that up?
--There were at least two smaller group meetings this weekend, I'll send out reports of those meetings as I get them from participants.
--On the Save Schenley website there is now a section where you can post your planned or already given testimony, letters you've sent to the editor, etc. Check it out for ideas or inspiration!
--My email seems to have been mangled and I'm only getting secondhand reports from some email lists. What I can figure out from my end is that there was a question/concern about the Save Schenley name and consideration of either changing or adding a name to describe what we've grown into more fully. I think, don't quote me on that!
There is concern that while other district parents are sympathetic to the Schenley cause, they're not planning on being active (and that the mysterious $64M figure is pretty scary to taxpayers). I think it's a great discussion point -- how do we get the word out about how there are many big district changes slipping by the public, in part hidden by the Schenley discussion and still keep the focus on saving Schenley?
It doesn't seem that the two can be completely disentangled, if only because they are completely enmeshed in the District Improvement Plan voted on last Wednesday. If I've seen anything over the last week, it's that you can't separate politics from this, even though it sure would make it easier! Here's hoping that we get so many people involved that we need lots of group names?!
--If you're not on Facebook, consider signing up (much to your child's horror). There are several Schenley groups out there and it's another place where some information may show up that doesn't show up elsewhere.
Wow, for not having much to put in here, I went on and on. Please send me submissions (links to articles, meeting summaries, ideas), so that *I* won't do that anymore!
As always, please contact me to be taken off the list if you don't want these emails. Please send me emails of people who might like to be included on this list or have them email me at email@example.com
Monday, November 19, 2007
So, let's turn back the clock.
Another on the committe pulled these images from an old catalog from that period.
FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY:
Want to send a message to the men and women who will select the next LP presidential candidate?
Now you can!
This past Friday, we launched an exciting new program, Liberty Decides '08. The program is a bold one, as it establishes a competitive process for our pre-nomination presidential candidates.
The rules of the program are pretty clear. To participate and be considered a Liberty Decides '08 "qualified" candidate, individuals must meet three criteria:
They must be constitutionally qualified and be willing to accept the LP nomination per our national bylaws. They must have filed with the Federal Election Commission. They must have raised at least $5,000 for the LNC or for one of our state affiliates for ballot access purposes.
Once qualified, candidates will be promoted through the Internet, mail and within our publication, LP News. Qualified candidates will be ranked in the order of the funds they have raised for the program.
Additionally, 40% of funds raised through the program will be set aside for 2008. Once our delegates decide the presidential candidate in our national convention next year, the funds will be used for promotion and media in coordination with our presidential nominee.
If all goes well with this program, we'll have a small chest of funds set aside to be used as soon as our presidential candidate is chosen. I'm excited about this, as we'll be able to kick-start the campaign on our own, since we know the mainstream media won't do it for us.
Liberty Decides '08 is a win-win for our delegates, the LP as a whole and our candidates.
• Delegates will benefit from this "interview process" and will be able to make a deeply informed decision. A significant reason why we run a presidential candidate is to grow the party. This is done by fundraising and attracting new members to the LP. Liberty Decides '08 tests the skills of our candidates BEFORE our national convention.
• The Libertarian Party will benefit as state parties and the national party will receive fundraising and recruitment assistance from the field of candidates. While 40% of the funds raised for the LNC will be set aside, the remaining 60% will go toward "core functions" such as ballot access, media and new member recruitment.
• Our presidential candidates will benefit because they are now in a transparent, competitive process that Libertarians can get excited about. Candidates qualified for the program will receive more promotion and, if they win the nomination, their campaign should get more help than ever before from the national party.
Please take the time today to visit the Liberty Decides '08 page on LP.org. You can find it by navigating to www.lp.org/libertydecides. Once there, show your support for a pre-nomination presidential candidate by making a donation to the LP. You can donate by clicking on the candidate's photo on the page or on their custom donation link.
Now, due to the quantity of respectful e-mails, letters and phone calls that I receive from our own members, even if I tried, I could not ignore the fact that many Libertarians are excited about the candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul for the Republican nomination. In no way, shape or form, can I ignore the positive impact Dr. Paul's campaign is making on America. I'm not asking you to do that either.
If you are a supporter of the Paul campaign and you want to send a message to the delegates of the 2008 Libertarian National Convention, you have the option to do so with this new program. If you are hopeful that Ron Paul (or another candidate) will seek the LP nomination, even as a "Plan B," you can make a donation to show your support for a future/unannounced candidate (please include your preferred candidate's name in the comment box when donating). Also, if you feel that the LP should not run a presidential candidate in 2008, you can put your support behind NOTA (none of the above).
Either way, your funds will be used to support a party that has served as a champion of Liberty for over 35 years.
Please be sure to check the Liberty Decides '08 page frequently, as results will change regularly. Any contributions that you can make to the program will be deeply appreciated.
Also, I'll send you a note later this week to announce a Web chat with one of the three candidates currently qualified for Liberty Decides '08.
Shane Cory, Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee
Rendell allies look west for 2010 heir | Philadelphia Inquirer | 11/18/2007 Some of Gov. Rendell's top Philadelphia-area fund-raisers are backing a Western Pennsylvanian for governor in 2010, hoping to avoid a protracted battle for the Democratic nomination.Isn't it great how Allegheny County is now is such wonderful condition. It we all knew it would have been this easy to fix, we could have put up Onorato for the Gov's mansion a long time ago. Well, but I guess he wouldn't have been able to take credit for fixing up things as the County Controller or as a city council member.
While the governor has remained neutral, allies as close as David L. Cohen, once Rendell's mayoral chief of staff, will host a reception today for Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato.
Perhaps we should get Mark Roosevelt to run for the US Senate to fill in after Snarlin Arlen retires -- then we'll have all the schools in tip-top shape too.
Pittsburgh Superintendent Gives Reasons For Closing Schenley - Education News Story - WPXI Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Superintendent Gives Reasons For Closing Schenley - Education News Story - WPXI PittsburghShortly before noon Monday, Superintendent Mark Roosevelt revealed insight into the current facility conditions of Schenley High School that prompted the district's recommendation to close the facility and relocate its students for the 2008-2009 school year.The Rev. Ricky Burgess, D, new to council come January 2008, reads this blog. But, Mark Roosevelt doesn't, I guess.
Roosevelt said the ventilation system in the school has not operated properly in over a decade. He also said there's plaster cracking and falling, exposing asbestos.
To fix the problems, it would cost the district $64 million. Roosevelt said nothing has been done to the building in 80 years.
Schenley has a new gym and swim pool. It isn't 80 or 90 years old.
Schenley's windows are just five years old.
Nothing has been done to the building = LIE.
Hell, they just did hundreds of patches. Nothing = LIE.
Meanwhile, there isn't a varsity swim pool at Frick nor the other middle school that will be a high school.
How much has been done at Frick? There is plaster there that is falling down too.
How much has been done to Milliones Middle School? That is what it is.
What has happened at Schenley in the past 80+ years -- the education of our kids.
Now the price is $42-million. We already saved $20-million on the price tag in the past weeks.
Schenley should not be retired. Rather, lie making politicans should retire. At least he should retire the lies, such as the Pittsburgh Promise.
Journalist in Pittsburgh -- how about some follow up questions!
ChrisBrogan's AttentionUpgrade: A Conversation with the commnity about Digital Relationships: "What is this Blog About? Attention Upgrade is a daily (we hope) videoblog about what has Chris Brogan's attention and how it might upgrade your day."
2 Political JunkiesToday is Randy Pausch Day in the City of PittsburghPerhaps the professor can be the guarding angle for Pittsburgh's Youth Technology Summit.
The CMU chair said that the professor is now "off the scene." I know that. We need help from above.
ccMixter Welcome to ccMixter This is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons, where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Boston police plan to search youths' homes for guns - The Boston Globe Boston police are launching a program that will call upon parents in high-crime neighborhoods to allow detectives into their homes, without a warrant, to search for guns in their children's bedrooms.
Mark Brentley will be appearing on the Chris Moore Show on KDKA Radio (1020 AM) tonight between 6-7 pm TONIGHT (Sunday)! He said that he wants people to call in with their questions and concerns about the Schenley Issue. I believe the number to call during the live show is: 412.333.KDKAI'm at the Oliver Bath House for an elem school swim practice from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. So, I'm mostly not able to attend.
PLEASE CALL WITH ANY QUESTIONS , CONCERNS, OR COMMENTS!!!!!!
Please forward this message on to the Schenley Supporters.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The Schenley rushLetter #2 comes from Jen. Jen called into Marty's show Friday (blogged about below.) Her letter ran in the paper today. She is on the front lines in this quest for more info and accountability.
I agree with your Sunday editorial that there are too many unanswered questions about Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt's rush to close Schenley High School ("School Test: The City's New Round of Reform Comes With Risk," Nov. 11). The most troubling questions are:
Why tear apart the school district's most positive model of integrated, urban education? Why split the Schenley student body into three separate schools? The proposed Hill District school, in particular, will reinforce the de facto segregation that the Schenley community has worked hard to prevent.
Why have the architectural and construction reports never been made public? Even the PG has been quick to assume that the reports accurately justify the Schenley building's demise, but these documents are not available for public scrutiny.
The district wants to combine students from sixth through 12th grades in one building with no plans to ensure their safety. Why are parents expected to accept the district's plan for these 6-12 schools when there are no finalized plans for us to evaluate?
How will high school students be transported to the Reizenstein and Hill District schools? Right now, there are many Port Authority buses that transport our students to Oakland. There are relatively few routes, however, to the two proposed locations. Why has this situation not been addressed and resolved?
We are expected to accept the district's plans without question or debate. Yet this rush to action looks like another Pittsburgh Promise -- an academic theory that does not involve the community or hold up to careful scrutiny. I urge the school board to delay splitting Schenley into three schools. And I demand that the district present us with real answers, not more empty promises.
JOAN STEVENSON Point Breeze
Show us the proofComments from Amy via email.
I would like to clarify some of my remarks to the press over the last few days. I understand remarks need to be pared down for brevity's sake, but in the process my position has been distorted ("A Compromise for Schenley Students?" Nov. 15).
I am concerned that the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the board are pushing through radical reforms including the creation of 6-12 schools, elimination of neighborhood high schools, allowing uncertified and nonunion people to teach (at Milliones), eliminating Schenley and more -- all without fully informing the public and receiving input on the plan.
Superintendent Mark Roosevelt claims he received information eight weeks ago convincing him the situation at Schenley reached emergency status. Why wasn't that information made public? He claims that research shows 6-12 schools improve achievement. Where can the public see that research? He claims painful reform is necessary. I want him to prove to the district's children and parents that the trauma of having your school disbanded and reformed is necessary and preferable change through an open process that encourages community input and buy-in. My 15-year-old could have gotten those documents posted on Facebook in about 10 minutes. Why can't the school board and the district officials share?
I am not anti-reform. I simply want the board and the district to let the public make informed decisions and not waste more taxpayer money on ineffective reforms.
JENNIFER ENGLAND, Greenfield
Many thanks to Joan and Jennifer for keeping the issues in everyone's mind. Saturday's Post-Gazette printed both letters to the editor. Joan's very clearly listed the main issues:Another meeting was held today. I could not attend.
1. Why tear apart the school district's most positive model of integrated, urban education? The proposed Hill District school will reinforce the de facto segregation that the Schenley community has worked hard to prevent.
2. Why have the architectural and construction reports never been made public? Even the PG has been quick to assume that the reports accurately justify the Schenley building demise, but these documents are not available for public scrutiny.
3, Why are parents expected to accept the district's plan for 6-12 schools when there are no finalized plans for us to evaluate? (Amy's note: and we can find no documentation that combining these age groups is beneficial; we are still searching. If there are any education people out there who have any research sources on this subject, please let me know)
4. How will the high school students be transported to the new Reizenstein and Hill schools?
Jennifer strongly reinforces the point that we NEED accurate information. And she is so right about Facebook; in this electronic age, there is no excuse for not getting information out to the people concerned in a timely manner.
We did go to a nice concert today at CAPA. The boys were playing violin with Extreme Strings and Chello Fourte. What a gas.
At the end of the concert, I was not happy to hear all the gushing of thanks for the staff and administration. Sure, the parents got thanked too -- but they don't seem to understand a few important facts. That school is our building. We own it. We operate it. We pay for it. It isn't that of the janitors, the principal nor the superintendent. Certain people get paid -- because we pay them. They are not 'letting us use the building' as the building isn't theirs in the first place. Oh well. I'll rock the boat with another letter another time about that.
Pittsburgh Man Takes 1st At World Series Of Poker Event - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh Williams said once he takes care of the taxes, his goals for the winnings are to take the money and put it down on a new condo.Come Live Over Here! Hope the condo is in the city!
Bloomfield-Garfield group still banks on partnership - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review He was introduced to Rick Swartz of Bloomfield-Garfield Corp., which eventually would act as an accountant for Garfield Youth Sports, now funded mostly by state and local grants.Rick Swartz could have run for mayor in 2007 and Mark DeSantis could have run for County Executive.
Jones recalled Swartz saying: 'Don't worry about the money. Let's worry about structuring the program, getting some good people. The money will come.'
Friday, November 16, 2007
It's Light Up Night. So,.... I'm spreading some cheer. Seems I was a bit busy when this aired a couple of weeks ago.
Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh — Less Government, More Jobs and Freedom for Pennsylvanians Pittsburgh residents are all too familiar with “eminent domain”, the constitutionally sanctioned practice where governments take private land for legitimate public uses.Watch the Reason TV show from Drew Carey.
We all know now that the Pittsburgh Promise is a big-fat-hairy lie. Same with Schenley's condition and its value to the region as a high school.
Those reports that flipped the entire high school reform agenda into a crisis condition has NOT been made available to the public for eight weeks.
New news -- a big firm with great experiences and local interests sent a letter to the Superintendent of Pgh Public Schools, Mark Roosevelt, asking for an opportunity to do an evaluation of Schenley in a pro-bono capacity.
What's up with that?
Saving Schenley - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review A suggestion to all those supporters of keeping Schenley High School from being razed: Contact PNC Financial Services Group and tell CEO Jim Rohr to return the $48 million in public subsidies PNC got for its Downtown skyscraper to help offset the renovation of the school.What is his number?
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Doug Shields said the need for a public hearing about a fence represents a "failure in the system." Bingo!
We could play pin the tail on the failure.
"A business owner needs to know what the heck the landscape is," Shields said.
Here is a hint at the landscape, Mr. Shields. In the world of Bruce Kraus, expect to see the attitude: "To the victor go the spoils."
Furthermore, Kraus will kick up some dust and that dust won't settle -- unless some others come into the scene to clean it up and charge the taxpayers along the way. Kraus will send dozens of do-nothing deals to the legal department, or to consultants, or to advisors, or to task forces, or to some other new growth of municipal government, if not the county and state. We'll see over-reaching without any grip. The process from the new council-member in D3 will be filled with chatter from him, "Mine, mine, mine... When it breaks, the urgently not mine provision kicks in."
Kraus said he expected the city's legal department would review the matter to create a more precise definition of permanence.
South Side restaurant fights for sidewalk dining - Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewKraus disagrees. He says structures like the Folino's fence bring the bar scene outside into the public space.
Kraus said he wants to change the perception that East Carson Street is just a place where people go to drink.
FOX Sports on MSN - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - Blair helping hometown Panthers win PITTSBURGH - Pitt's enormous 6-7, 275-pound freshman center DeJuan Blair grew up in the Hill District, living in a townhouse right behind the VA Hospital just 200 yards from the Peterson Events Center. He began making himself a local legend just a mile up the road at fabled Schenley High School, where he became the best player the city has produced since Sam Clancy — a 6-7, big-boned clone who went on to become an NFL defensive end — from Fifth Ave. in 1977, leading his prep team to a three-year record of 56-0 in city league play and the PIAA 4A State championship his senior year.
I'm sure that Marty won't have me on the show. I've been emailing him about this topic for a few days and he is not able to reply.
On the teaser, they said that it is just about money. The Pgh Public School District just does NOT have the money. Schenley is too expensive. Well, this is NOT true. Every system in Schenley needs a new system Marty said. Well, the outside is in great shape. The windows are only five years old. The plaster is falling off in a few places. That's all.
The building does NOT need air conditioning. It never had it. Many schools don't have air. So what.
The swim pool and athletic complex at Schenley is just 10 or 15 years old. It is NEW -- with the rest of the building.
Schenley was built 91 years ago. When it opened, it was the best public school building in America. Today it is a classic building that can be fixed.
Plus, it costs $31-million to fix up the other schools. It costs MORE to do the silly plan of Mark Roosevelt.
Last night's vote was to hire consultants. CONSULT WITH US FIRST. Consult with the students, the parents, the citizens, the taxpayers, the customers, the neighborhood groups, the city's educators, the alumni.
Marty says no one is screaming about urban education and test scores. Well, Marty would be WRONG. I'm screaming about it. And, I'm on hold. I've been screaming about it.
The implication is that it will take $65M to $85M to fix Schenley. Bull.
Yes, People have mentioned the test scores. Schenley SPARTANS have are one of the best test scores of all PPS Schools. Even the Spartins are tops.
Roosevelt said: No maintance. Everything is original.
Swim pool isn't original.
Windows are not original. Five years old.
Under $45 M says Roosevelt.
Add $6M to annual budget. Have to pay it back.
We have declining enrolement.
Great bones. Great tradition. Honor the sadness of it. Ha.
Eight weeks ago sat with the consultant, Roosevelt said. He didn't release the consultant study. He didn't get a second opinion.
The only ventilation needed is an open window.
Schenley isn't Peabody, Marty! We are fired up about test scores.
We are doing it because the building is collapsing. That isn't the intention. That is the crisis.
The protest is here -- Marty. You don't see it. Treat it as a crisis. It is 'hard work.'
Homework is a part of LIFE, so said Mr. Roosevelt. Well, Mr. Roosevelt has NOT done his homework. He is selling this as a done deal without the homework being delivered to the community.
Marty is talking on and on about Peabody. Well, let's talk about Peabody. Mr. Roosevelt isn't under fire for Peabody. He is under fire for Schenley and the Rightsizing plan, the K-8 that just began and are proven to be broken -- and are being changed again -- and Schenley, Frick, I.B., Reisenstein rehab, Board of Ed building not going for sale, lack of Vo Tech School, moving 6, 7, and 8 into 9-12 settings, moving 6th graders to downtown, putting school buses downtown, etc.
Marty, it would be great to talk about the "Drop Out Factories." That is being missed by Mark Roosevelt now. We are clueless as to what he plans on doing about any of those schools.
With this plan, there could be a way to make the new, proposed Science and Technology school to move within WESTINGHOUSE. But, he isn't doing that. He is blowing an opportunity to make great things come of the poorest performing schools where there were recent rehabs.
I was clicked off the air.
The building has NEW WINDOWS. The building has recently new athletic facilities. They just said that the building was all in its original state! LIES.
I said on the air that the students have to do their homework -- and that the Administration needs to do its homework.
Click.... Marty knocked me off the air and said, "He's gone."
Then he took another call. Mr. Roosevelt had nothing to say about his recent on-air lie.
There NEVER was a 'ventalation system.' It was steam heat and windows. The ceilings are big. The halls are big. Stairwells are everywhere. You don't want to put in a ventalation system.
This "homework" needs to be done and revealed in the conversation.
Call in: 412 333 5352 (KDKA)
Face Facts says Marty Griffin. The consultants have been hired to spend more money. Not to coach the board members. The voters have spoken and the two lame duck board members are changing the history of the district.
Lie again Marty. He says disgusting. Look in the mirror. The aim of the consultants isn't what the radio host talks about on the air.
Marty says, "God bless the kids at Peabody." That 11% of anything is a failure. Seriously. Expand that to an entire high school. Our future rests in these numbers. Marty does put a lot of 'weight' on the school issue. But, he misses the point. Schools matter. Schools matter more than Grant Street.
Caller: Ed, 58 SHS grad. Taxed to the max. Says close SHS. $64M is 64-M reasons to close it. If you want to fix public education, go to vouchers. Send more to private/catholic schools. He was a tutor at Milliones in the past. A few kids can hurt the rest.
Marty would like to start the conversation, so he says. But, he sustains the lie. He doesn't dig into the specifics. I'm not sure who is worse, the media and Marty Griffin or the administration and Mark Roosevelt. The watchdog is barking at the wrong things. The man with the purse strings is spending more money in the wrong directions.
Next caller: Matt, Thank goodness for the option of going to private schools. Spent retirement money of grandma to cover Catholic Schools. Some of this starts at home.
Peabody Principal is on the line.... Stand by....
Sixty plus percent of the students are African American.
John, Principal at Peabody, joins the show. I can tell you one thing. The teachers and community are all united. We are facing the issue head on. We aim to increase the test scores. There are some things that the superintendents put in place to help me. Change is a process, not an event. The support has come from the community.
MG: I don't belive it.
Parents have issues. The community has a wealth of support services. Trying to meet the social needs prior to giving a quality education.
There are external issues. And then there is what we do with them when we have them.
Marty gripes on parents.
Principal is a parent too. We try to help the parents understand and support. Have a homework time. Parents are not the only issue.
We have a mulit-pronged approach, especially in the math.
When they come to us they have a double block of math for 9th grade students. They have a double block to work on English. The test is about meeting certain standards. They are not at the level that the state wants them at that time.
That # is disastrous.
Why are we seeing all the yelling and screaming about the physical building?
Principal: I'm open with PSCC meetings. We move the meetings. We have events. We interact. See the building. We see that these are good kids and we are there to help. The outrage is there. I'm feeling it. I'm pushing the teachers. We have Pitt folks to work with the teachers. Tailor needs. Individualize. We are looking at the scores. We are working on the teaching.
You know the vibe in Pgh. I'm sending my kid to private school. How to overcome that?
Events that invite the public. Symphony. Interact in the building. Education is an issue that goes beyond the school walls. (Schenley is beyond the school walls joy.)
Wants a magic wand. Suspensions have decreased. We are making changes when the 9th grade reaches the 11th grade.
Marty will use Peabody as our petri dish.
Hang with me.... Labor agreement that is going to blow your mind. Marty's mind is blow, fur shore.
Jennifer E is on the show.
Parents are not against reform. Parents want to know about the reform that is being placed on them. The district average is 44%.
There is no proof from Mark Roosevelt.
He got that info 8 weeks ago. He didn't put that info out on a desk for others to see it. No public venting.
Show me something that 6 to 12 is going to work.
Thanks for caring, comes from Marty.
I'm glad I pinged Jen and got her to call into the show. And, I'm glad she hung on the phone to talk to Marty. Now Marty wants her info for later discussions. Jen was quoted in the P-G today. BTW, Jen and I co-taught at BootCamp about net and politics.
Expert, Female guest, a "Doctor": Attendance is up from Westinghouse. Marty's data is wrong. Schools start at 8 am, not 7:30. We can't ignore student achievement. Society is ignoring the crisis. It is a team effort.
Well, a team effort -- needs to have an open playbook.
She said she could fill two pages of notes. Let's not just blame.
Are the parents blowing it off? -- Absolutely not.
We need to create a culture where we need to educate the parent and the student. Mom and Dad have to buy in or nobody succeed. But we have to educate the parents and the kids. It is say, says Marty. But it isn't sad said the expert.
Rumblings that they can close Westinghouse. ?? I'm an educator. I'll fight for the students as their safety is a concern.
Promise me one thing... Encourage more school visits. Everyone is open to visit Westinghouse to see learning is occurring.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
So, this letter tells that the City Ethics Hearing Board will do nothing about a candidate for office in a race for a position in the city.
Dear Mr. Rauterkus:
I am writing to you in response to the Complaint which you have filed with the City of Pittsburgh's Ethics Hearing Board against Bruce Kraus. As you know, the Pittsburgh Ethics Code vests the City Solicitor with the initial duty of conducting a preliminary inquiry into the validity of the Complaint. If that preliminary inquiry fails to establish reason to believe that the City provisions have been violated, the Solicitor is to terminate the inquiry and so notify the complainant, the subject of the complaint and the Board.
Accordingly, please accept this letter as official notice that your Complaint against Mr. Kraus is being dismissed for the following reasons:
Lack of jurisdiciton. The Ethics Hearing Board has jurisdiction to hear Complaints alleging violations of the City Ethics provisions. The City Ethics Code is applicable to City officials and City employees. Because Mr. Kraus is not a City employee, the Board lacks jurisdiction to hear a complaint against him.
Prematurity: Your Complaint alleges wrongdoing which has not yet occurred, and many never occur. Therefore it must be dismissed on the grounds of prematurity.
On behalf of the Board, I think you for your interest in the City's Ethics Code.
Sincerely, George R. Specter, City Solicitor
And, the letter tells us that the City's Ethics Hearing Board is not going to be proactive.
Dear Mr. Rauterkus:
I am writing to you in response to the Complaint which you have filed with the City of Pittsburgh's Ethics Hearing Board against Michael Lamb. As you know, the Pittsburgh Ethics Code vests the City Solicitor with the initial duty of conducting a preliminary inquiry into the validity of the Complaint. If that preliminary inquiry fails to establish reason to believe that the City provisions have been violated, the Solicitor is to terminate the inquiry and so notify the complainant, the subject of the complaint and the Board.
Accordingly, please accept this letter as official notice that your Complaint against Mr. Lamb is being dismissed for the following reasons:
Lack of jurisdiciton. The Ethics Hearing Board has jurisdiction to hear Complaints alleging violations of the City Ethics provisions. The City Ethics Code is applicable to City officials and City employees. Because Mr. Lamb is not a City employee, the Board lacks jurisdiction to hear a complaint against him.
Prematurity: Your Complaint alleges wrongdoing which has not yet occurred, and many never occur. Therefore it must be dismissed on the grounds of prematurity.
On behalf of the Board, I think you for your interest in the City's Ethics Code.
Sincerely, George R. Specter, City Solicitor
Then the third letter.
Dear Mr. Rauterkus:
I am writing to you in response to the Complaint which you have filed with the City of Pittsburgh's Ethics Hearing Board against the Ethics Hearing Board. As you know, the Pittsburgh Ethics Code vests the City Solicitor with the initial duty of conducting a preliminary inquiry into the validity of the Complaint. If that preliminary inquiry fails to establish reason to believe that the City provisions have been violated, the Solicitor is to terminate the inquiry and so notify the complainant, the subject of the complaint and the Board.
Accordingly, please accept this letter as official notice that your Complaint against the Ethics Hearing Boards is being dismissed for the following reasons:
Your Complaint alleges that the City's Ethics Code is itself unethical insofar as it requires that Complaints be kept confidential. The Code rpovision to which you refer was enacted by City Council in 1990. Though the Board can request changes to the City Ethics Code, the Board has no authority to change the Code without Council approval.
A Complaint to the Board is an inappropriate forum for your challenge. Unless and until it is changed by Council, the Board intends to abide by the law as it is written.
On behalf of the Board, I think you for your interest in the City's Ethics Code.
OMG: 90 years of educational advancement got plastered tonight by six, white idiots rushing to rash decisions
Six white folks gave the 'green light' to spend $30-million for two inferior projects. Meanwhile, the crown jewel high school, Schenley (sorry Dice and CAPA), gets the boot.
The vote was six to three. Six white folks voted with the Superintendent, Mark Roosevelt. Three black board members voted no.
The meeting was fully of flaming goofiness. It is hard to describe how silly the statements were and how many lies were said.
Lame duck members of the board voted to change the course -- and they have no business putting these radical changes into place now.
For instance, Dan R, the guy who wouldn't shake my hand at the Columbus Day Parade, said that this was a hard decision. However, he needed to vote with his head, not his heart. So, he voted to shut down Schenley because of the costs. But Dan, you were voting with your wallet -- not your head. I wish you voted with your head as you'd have voted to keep the smart school in place. Dan R voted for tax reasons -- and he is moving out of the city.
To vote and say your priority is to be "fiscally prudent" -- fine. But, don't go ahead and give approval for spending of an additional $30-million. To be fiscally purdent is great. But, the vote with the majority isn't prudent at all. It is expensive. It is rushed. It is without documentation. It is without accountability. It is built upon hype that has not been proven. It is a lie.
Another board member talked about 'lies.' Ms. Theresa C hinted at the closing of South Vo Tech. That is an area that I've been talking about to anyone who listens. The lie that she wanted to expose is that South Vo Tech was closed so that the Pgh Public School district could get ahold the the property and sell it. She said that they can't sell South Vo Tech. South isn't selling. So, those that had said that it was closed to be turned for its real estate value are liars.
Well, that has never been my claim.
Furthermore, there are many who say that Schenley is being closed now so that it can be sold for profit.
But this reasoning makes no sense as it ties to the vote.
South Vo Tech is a big empty building in a booming (sorta) neighborhood. The building is owned by the Pgh Public Schools. It is a sink and can't be sold. It is like many of the other 20-or-so buildings throughout the city in various neighborhoods in various states of decay and with various levels of potential.
South Vo Tech has little or no value to the district as the marketplace is so depressed. The rehab of the historic structure is going to be costly for the next owners. Parking is scares, etc., etc.
However, South Vo Tech had GREAT VALUE as a school. The School District sent hundreds of kids out of the building to flunk out.
South Vo Tech isn't valuable as a real estate transaction and taxable income location. The value of South resides in the hundreds of kids that should graduate from that school each and every year with solid trade skills and a high school degree.
Jumping to tonight's decision to close Schenley -- the same holds true. Perhaps the historic, mega building in Oakland with brand new windows will not be sold -- just as South Vo Tech and the other dozen of prime buildings can't be sold. Cash for the property might not be driving the decision. So, don't abandon the building.
They voted to walk away from a classic educational institution that is in the heart of the educational center of the region -- with little hope of selling the building. More money goes out the window. More missed motivations. More lunacy.
The "lie" isn't in the value of the building as a re-sale property for the district. And, the "truth" isn't in the value of Schenley as it becomes vacated. The value in the building that we all know as Schenley High School is in its use as a school.
Thousands of families live in Pittsburgh because of Schenley High School. Closing of Schenley has become a 'lay-up' tonight. Hence, 30,000 people are now headed for the borders!
People will vote with their feet. The middle class of Pittsburgh is now much poorer.
This decision was called by one objecting board member as "borderline child abuse." I agree.
I will do all I can from this day forward to make sure that Patrick Dowd never wins another election in this city. Same too for Bill Isler, Theresa Colaizzi, Jean Fink, and Skip McCrea.
They worked since July 2006 on High School Reform. Theresa Colaizzi was sure to ask Mark Roosevelt when that effort began and when the group formed. They talked about the models and did the research. However, everything got chucked aside just weeks ago. That group didn't plan on closing Schenley this year. They had called for the opening of a new school, grades 6 to 12, for science and technology.
The new Science and Technology magnet school, for middle and high grades, should be opening next year -- and it should be put into WESTINGHOUSE High School. Recently, the Pgh Public Schools rebuild and invested tens of millions in Westinghouse. However, the student population and the programs offered there are light.
Rather than putting money into another program -- put the new programs into the places where the building is already available. There is a bunch of capacity at Westinghouse.
Furthermore, CAPA Rodgers, a city-wide magnet, presently resides in Homewood. That is near the under-utilized Westinghose HS. CAPA Rodgers works as a school. People send their kids to CAPA Rodgers, even in a tough neighborhood. Same too can be delivered and developed at Westinghouse with a Science and Technology program.
They want to take apart Frick Middle School and turn that into a 6-12 school. It is a middle school -- not a high school. Frick works.
They are wasting money.
They are wasting educational opportunities.
They are wasting past investments.
They are making haste and more waste.
They are yanking families around -- and the families will depart the city.
They are moving the specialized educational programs out of Homewood with the move away from CAPA Rodgers into downtown.
Meanwhile, the district is buying more building space in the downtown location on 9th Ave. within CAPA (Creative And Performing Arts High School). That's spending more money and putting 6th graders and/or school buses on downtown streets. Blueprints and plans were in place to move the middle school to The Hill. Now that plan is off. Those changes are costly too.
Let's see what the PG, Trib and the TV news reports look like.
This doesn't seem right. Moving the school next year as a whole unit into another building is what they seem to want to do now. That move would keep Schenley as a community for a few years as those in the school graduate with their classmates. Schenley, as we know it, is still dead.
It would be better, in my opinion, to close Schenley over the years and keep the kids in Schenley throughout the next years.
Plan calls for keeping Schenley open until current students graduate
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
By Joe Smydo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt tonight announced a change of plans for the district's high schools, saying he wants to keep Pittsburgh Schenley High School open until all of its current students have graduated.
He made the announcement at a school board meeting 24 hours after about 250 people, including dozens of students, rallied outside school district offices to demand the school remain open.
Mr. Roosevelt said he wants to move the school, intact, to the former Reizenstein Middle School building in Shadyside in the fall. He would close Schenley once all current Schenley students have graduated. Schenley won't accept any fresmen next school year; those students would be assigned to other schools.
Mr. Roosevelt said the Schenley building in Oakland must be closed because of maintenance problems. Last month, he proposed reassigning students to three other buildings as part of a broader plan for improving district high schools.
KDKA TV news:
kdka.com - School Board Votes To Approve Consultants For Schenley High School Closure Pittsburgh Public School board members voted to move forward with the initial step of the proposed closing of Schenley High School.
In a 6-3 vote, the board approved a measure that will hire engineers and architects for preliminary consulting work.
Board Votes To Hire Consultants For Schenley HS
KDKA - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
Angry debate follows Pittsburgh school vote
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
Opponents of the nearly $4 million in spending viewed the decision as the first step in closing Schenley High School in Oakland, because $450000 was ...
Chester's Robinson signs with PittsburghCaught in the Pittsburgh middle (school)?
Philadelphia Daily News - Philadelphia,PA,USA
He played a key role in helping Chester reach the PIAA Class AAAA state championship last spring, where it lost to Schenley, 78-71, despite 15 points from ...
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA
Superintendent Mark Roosevelt recently proposed closing Schenley High School, a traditional grade 9-12 school in Oakland, and shifting its students to ...