Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Planning commissioner ducks meeting for Pitt game - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Planning commissioner ducks meeting for Pitt game - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Planning commissioner ducks meeting for Pitt game
If I'm appointed to the Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board, I won't cut out of any meeting to go to a Pitt basketball game. I might skip out of the country to attend the Olympics. So, I pledge to only skip meetings for multi-sport, international contests. I swear.

Mayor Ravenstahl should ask for his resignation.

We have too many pressing issues in Pittsburgh to let the slackers rule.

I did leave a note and follow-up with an email to Mayor Ravenstahl about my willingness to serve on the Ethics Hearing Board, should I be invited. That appointment could do a lot for 'diversity' -- as I'm not a member of the clergy nor a lawyer nor of the D party.

Then the news has this quote from a guy who does NOT give a quote, but gives this gem:

"I don't think it's appropriate to come to my office without an appointment," said Reidbord.

It is still a free country, pal. To show up to an office to ask a question and get a quote is not a crime.

The problem is that the developers morph into politicians as politicians encroach the tasks associated with that of developers. I'd like to get it straight. I'd love for developers to develop and stay the heck out of the way of matters of governance. And, I'd love for those in government to not play the role of 'developer.'

The last line of the article asks: "The public's voice should be heard every step of the way," he said. "Who do the commission members serve, the public or special interests?"

The commission members serve the needs of the special interests. Well, some of them do. Some may not.

Give this guy the boot!

If we had what I have asked for for years -- retention votes for board members -- we'd be able to vote this guy out. They get appointed. They are not accountable. It would be simple to have the politicians appoint these board members and then have their respective names put on the ballot at various periods for votes -- either YES (to retain) or NO (to dismiss). There would be no need to campaign. There would be accountability.


Anonymous said...

Planning commissioner ducks meeting for Pitt game
By Jeremy Boren
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Pittsburgh Planning commission member left Monday's seven-hour meeting to attend a University of Pittsburgh men's basketball game and missed emotional public testimony from Hill District residents.

Todd E. Reidbord, 49, refused to comment when approached at the offices of his company Walnut Capital Partners in Shadyside, where he is listed as president and principal on the company's Web site.

"It's my personal policy not to comment to the press," Reidbord said, refusing to answer if he attended the Pitt game against Georgetown University. He referred all questions to Planning Commission Chairwoman Wrenna Watson, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

"I don't think it's appropriate to come to my office without an appointment," said Reidbord.

Reidboard was appointed to the public board in February 2006 by then-Mayor Bob O'Connor. Planning Commission members are not paid expect for $5 for each meeting to cover transportation costs.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl attended yesterday's Pitt basketball game in the company of Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin.

"I saw him at the Pitt game, yeah," Ravenstahl said today. "He was there, and he mentioned that, you know, he was planning on going back to vote and my understanding was that he did."

Asked if Reidbord should have stayed for the public comment before casting his vote in favor of the master plan for the Penguins hockey arena, Ravenstahl said, "He's a planning commission member and you probably have to ask him that."

The arena master plan was approved in a 5-3 vote. Reidbord voted with the majority. Dozens of Hill District residents turned out to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. Many asked the commission to delay the vote until a community benefits agreement that would boost development and commerce in the Hill District is established.

Tom Hoffman, executive director of Pittsburgh UNITED, attended the hearing and was troubled by news of Reidbord's absence.

"When people clearly were there to talk about things that were important to their neighborhood, I feel it's really incumbent upon commission members to be there," Hoffman said. "People spent a lot of time there. They were clearly motivated to talk about what was important to their neighborhood."

Pittsburgh UNITED, which describes itself as an "alliance of local community, faith and labor organizations" has financially supported the efforts of the One Hill Coalition, a group of Hill District residents, business owners and others who want the city and Allegheny County to sign a legally binding community benefits agreement before construction begins on the $290 million arena.

Among One Hill's requests are a grocery store, job training, social services and guaranteed jobs at the arena for Hill District residents.

"I think it's unfortunate and disappointing," said Momar Milliones, 34, of the Hill District. Milliones spoke to the commission and urged its members to delay voting on the arena master plan.

"The public's voice should be heard every step of the way," he said. "Who do the commission members serve, the public or special interests?"

Jeremy Boren can be reached at jboren@tribweb.com or 412-765-2312.

Mark Rauterkus said...

No doubt, it was a great game.