Monday, June 30, 2008

Promise, spend, don't deliver. Make excuse. Pledge more spending. (nuts)

kBruce Kraus offers up another great spending quote:
Computerized city road paving plan going slowly 'I'm not certain that we're putting enough money into doing this,' said Councilman Bruce Kraus. He said some comparable cities have invested $300,000 in systems designed to ensure that paving decisions are made objectively. 'I want everything to be above board, and determined by need, rather than anything else.'
This should be open source software. That's what I'd do.

The city should not be spending any money on closed software solutions. None.

Furthermore, they toss around the 'transparent' word frequently. Prove to the citizens that the spending on the system is not up to snuff. Where is the system? What 200 miles of roads are in there? Where's there in the first place.

Welcome to 2008.

By the way, if Bruce wants to spend some money -- how about if he just hires himself to be a traffic cop on the city side of the Birmingham Bridge, the broken, one-lane bridge. Then he can insure that the traffic on East Carson Street flows.


Anonymous said...

John K: I don't get it. This is Pittsburgh. Why do you elect a guy to City council if he can't get your street plowed in winter and paved in summer. Ahead of the other slugs who lost the election. Sheesh, doesn't take a high school grad to figure this one out.

Anonymous said...

Street paving priorities under fire
By Jeremy Boren
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

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The mere perception that Pittsburgh's street pavers play political favorites is unacceptable, a city councilman investigating the practice said Monday.

"We're sending the message loud and clear that there is a chance of impropriety," said Councilman Bruce Kraus. "With (paving) being done by city employees, some city employees have political connections, in terms of being either a ward chair or committee person."

Public Works Department management is stocked with members of the city's approximately 850-member Democratic Committee, including Deputy Director Mike Gable, a 10th Ward committeeman; assistant director Kevin Quigley, a 27th Ward committeeman; and deputy Director Rob Kaczorowski, a 28th Ward chairman whom Mayor Luke Ravenstahl promoted in February.

There are others.

story continues below

John Klinger, a 24th Ward chairman in the North Side and a Public Works streets maintenance supervisor, defended the city's rating-based priority system for paving during a public meeting with Kraus and other council members.

"I separate what I do from my personal life," said Klinger of Spring Garden.

Still, Klinger said he routinely gets special requests to pave streets from residents, council members and others and must explain there's a 1-to-100 rating system to prioritize when streets are paved.

Klinger refused to say political paving doesn't happen at all -- just not at "his level."

"I think what (Kraus) is concerned about it is, are we divvying out the streets in a way that's political? I'm very confident that he'll find that not to be the fact," Klinger said.

Kraus said comparing City Council's nine districts, he sees inequalities in the number of miles of streets that have been paved.

Kraus' Council District 3 will have roughly 4 miles paved. Councilman Patrick Dowd's district, which runs from the Strip District into parts of the East End, has the highest amount at about 7.5 miles.

Councilman Ricky Burgess' district from East Liberty to Lincoln-Lemington has the least -- fewer than 4 miles -- according to a report from Public Works Director Guy Costa.

Costa's figures don't show how many miles of city-owned streets are in each district.

Pittsburgh has about $10.5 million earmarked to pave 52 miles of streets this year, but that number could drop by as much as 10 miles if asphalt prices continue to climb with rising gas prices, Costa said.

He said he would like to pave at least 80 miles a year because that would allow the city's roughly 800 miles of asphalt to be repaved once every 10 years.

"The dollars just aren't there," Costa said, noting the city's tenuous finances.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl plans to pay Iowa-based CarteGraph $30,000 to install a computer system by next year that would prioritize paving and extract politics from the process.

Jeremy Boren can be reached at or 412-765-2312.