Thursday, November 01, 2007

League of Women Voters Guide is out via the Pgh Courier

The 12 page, color, tabloid voters guide from the League of Women Voters is out. I picked one up at the office of the NPC on 315 East Carson Street yesterday. It is full of interesting information.

I'm in it twice as I'm on the ballot for both controller and city council district 3.

Here are some interesting notes:

Dan Onorato, a guy who says on the radio he has been here for 3 and a half years, notes that he was on City Council for 8 years, was controller for Allegheny County for four years and is now finishing his first 4 year term as ACE. It will be a happy day when he moves back to the private sector, in my opinion.

Asked, "Do you support the merger of city and county?" Onorato wrote:
"I support merging the City and County into one governmental body. He think that the merger of fingerprinting is demonsrated proof that they can increase operational efficiency.
Dan wants board members of PAT (Port Authority Transit) to serve at the pleasure of the County Executive, rather than fixed terms. Dan is always hungry for power. He thinks that would greatly increase the County Executive's oversight and lead to greater accountability.

No Dan.

A great increase in accountability with PAT Board Members would be retention votes for all authority Board Members. Have them be responsible and accountable to the voters, not to the County Executive.

For Allegheny County Council At Large, Dave Tessitor, reform party, didn't put in a photo. But he is the only one of the three to have a web site.

David's statement about mergers:
Absolutely NOT! A merger would conplettely eliminate city governmetn's urban focus and remove hard won gains of minority communities. African-American, especially, would have their voting share diluted. The Allegheny Confernece, a group created by the ultr-rich, is the chief proponent and admits metropolitanism won't save money, it's about consolidating power (in their hands). Bigger isn't better, it's ruined transit. my main issues: more and better transit (start by dividing PAT into smaller, more efficient managment structures proven effective elsewhere); revitalizing our older communities (first stopping subsidies for suburban real estate speculation); and rapid rail to the airport to bring more jobs into traditional urban communities. merger would complicate or prevent this while forcing suburban residents to assume city debts that they didn't create.

The the mayor's section, Tony Oliva didn't have a photo. Tony's final statement: As other cities move forward, with new ideas, Pittsburgh stays stubbornly entrenched floundering in bankruptcy.

In the Controller's section, Michael Lamb lists as a qualification as being the assistant regional director of PHEA! That was a while ago. I guess if he had a golden parachute it has been long gone.

Micheal wrote:
One of the serious problems facing the City of Pittsburgh is its status as financially distressed. The City Controller sits on the city's pension board and one of the ways we can move toward correcting this problem is addressing the problems of the city's under funded pensions. Another problem facing Pittsburgh are its schools. The City Controller has audit power over the Pittsburgh Public Schools. As Controller, I will make sure that the tax dollars of Pittsburghers are funding quality programs for our students and thatwe promite a climate of excellence in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Hey, the city is financially distressed. No joke, Sherlock.

My answer to the problems of Pittsburgh.
Schools. Citizen engagement. Loss of liberty. Schools must have discipline and parent/community involvement. Build upon successful programs. Fix high schools.
Question two asks: What specific procedures should the controller's office use to address the fiscal crisis of the city?

Lamb wrote:
In the past, the City Controller's office has neglected to conduct annual audits of city departments. As Controller I will implement an audit schedule for all city departments.
Lamb said the same thing at the debate. He thought that Tom Flaherty, former controller, didn't do his job. Tom Flaherty wasn't "in the pocket" of Tom Murphy. However, they all covered for each other, as I'm certain Lamb will do too. They are all of the same party. Only now do we hear that Lamb is outraged at the poor behaviors of the controller's office -- as he is running for that office.

But the contrast between Lamb and myself are much greater. Lamb thinks that the power of the controller is with the audits. When there is a lack of creativity and willingness to rock the boat, that's the best a Dem can deliver.

My answer:
I'll create and organize a Citizens' Congress with hundreds of volunteer activists working as deputy auditors. Engaged resident must establish a tight grip on city government and schools. The city is at the brink and out of controll. 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.
In city council, district 3, my opponent, Bruce A. Kraus, did not submit a photo nor a website.

Question 1 was: What steps would you take to solve the current financial crisis in the city?

Kraus wrote:
Inviting non-profits through incentives to contribute payment in lieu of taxes, encouraging responsible stewardship of monies we already collect and reducing expenditures through responsible usage of our natural resources.
Humm... I guess he'll turn out the lights more often. That will be good. Plus, he'll give incentives to non-profits to invite more payments. I could take some stabs as to what this could mean. I guess the city could buy some additional Pitt library books i the Pitt undergrads would payoff more of their parking tickets. Perhaps we could show up to faculty meetings with ice cream and sheet cakes if Pitt doubled its giving to the Pgh Service Fund.

I'm open to other suggestions on your read of your decoder ring on this Q and Kraus A.

My answer:
Lay The Shovel Down. Stop expensive bone-headed 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, reestablish value. My priority is to compete like never before.
Question 2: Do you support merging some services with the county, and if so, what are they?

Kraus wrote:
Yes. I support merging of some services where fiscally responsible and shown to improve delivery.
My response:
Corporate welfare, police brutality, firefighters contracts, downtown interests, and Luke's golf drown every thing else. kids and families are ignored. youths need coaching, not more shootings. Let's teach how to play. Volunteerism would soar by removing Citiparks, Countyparks & Rec, and PPS aftershcool 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.
There is plenty to ponder among the other replies in the voters guide. Sadly,
this guide isn't a part of either the P-G nor Trib. It should have a wider readership.

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