Monday, March 30, 2009

Patrick Dowd talks about tip of iceberg with garbage cans

Updated with video, inserted below:

Patrick Dowd came to my neighborhood today to talk about the cost of garbage cans, again. He put a price tag on the one at 11th and East Carson Street, $1,010.

The inflated price of garbage cans is but the tip of the iceberg, so he said. Jeepers. Why talk about the tip of the iceberg? I want a candidate that is going to address much more than the pimples of life.

More to come.

I asked a few questions too.
Dowd claims Pittsburgh wasted $20 million: "Councilman Patrick Dowd outlined what he called $20.2 million in 'wasteful spending' by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration today -- almost all of it associated with a water authority debt deal -- and repeated his call for changes in how the city spends money."

To me, the irony of it all is what is NOT able to be seen. Putting a price tag on a garbage can is a ploy and it is a dumb ploy. It doesn't resonate with anything as it isn't really a huge deal in the bigger picture of life.

I don't want to spend money on a business district period -- trash cans or otherwise. Does he want to replace the spending on trash cans spent for a business district and get cheaper cans? Let's not just re-arrange chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

The real waste is government is the wasted capacity.

We don't have programs in the parks because we have too many dogs that have taken over the parks -- and too much red tape to get things done with volunteers.

I told Patrick that the biggest waste in the South Side was the closed, indoor ice rink that sits in a park that is behind a padlocked gate. The park is closed for the most part. The rink has been closed for five years. There is only one indoor ice rink in the city and that is the Civic Arena -- a place that is slated for the wrecking ball. The Pens get a new arena -- but our kids don't have a place to play. So, people move out of the city. Families move out of the city.

And Patrick was in charge of the parks committee for the past two years. Nothing got done with parks on his watch. Nothing due to his watch.

Furthermore the school district is no great model for reduction of wasteful spending. In contracts alone, the taxpayers paid out big bucks for Dr. Lynn Spampinato. She vacated her office at the PPS and went to US Virgin Islands with plenty of additional paydays and a golden parachute.

The school district fired Dr. John Thompson six months before his contract was to expire. I had no problems with the district telling Dr. Thompson his time with the district was finished, at the end of his contract. But, it made no sense in a prudent financial sense to release him of his contract before his work was finished. I hate to see folks getting paid for not working.

Government waste = Lynn Spampinato.

How much did she cost PPS?

Update on April 2:
Strings attached! Photograher asks, shouldn't Bruce Kraus write an ordinance about this?



Anonymous said...

I ask myself - where was Bruce Kraus - someone was on his turf?
One of his operatives must of been there...tell us Mark.

And that park is disgusting. Smells like dog piss and crap. Great place to take your kids.

And no libs, dogs aren't kids.

Barber Bob tell them how it is...

Mark Rauterkus said...

Bruce was not to be seen. Not sure who Bruce wants for mayor. Might want to stay out of it until he can see who is going to win and then jump on his bandwagon. ???

The only ones there were the media -- and me. Two or three with Patrick.

Bram Reichbaum said...

There was a little more to the press conference than garbage cans, Mark. The $19 million in fees to the financial services industry would have paid for a lot of indoor ice rinks.

As to his job chairing the parks and recreation committee ... sure, he gets to hold a gavel ... and gets to deal with the same budget with the same oversight boards controlling it as everybody else. Not sure what you would have asked of him. He did push through the bike / ped initiative.

deegazette said...

I like Dowd. I like everyone. I am a happy person. I was however disappointed in the price tag gag. It may have just as well have been the yellow boot gag since it was the kind of thing Councilman Motznik has been criticized for. We will listen even without props being used.

Anonymous said...

Subject: Dowd exposes waste in the Ravenstahl administration - and puts a price tag on it.
from: James Fogarty


James Fogarty
Dowd For Mayor

Dowd exposes waste in the Ravenstahl administration - and puts a price tag on it.

Calls for an end to wasteful spending as he ties $1,010 price tag on infamous trashcans.

Monday, March 30, 2009 - After visiting with South Side business owners, Democrat Patrick Dowd put a price tag of $20,198,500* on the Ravenstahl administration's waste and mismanagement. “Sadly, millions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted by this administration," said Dowd, "Pittsburgh can do better. We certainly can’t afford another four years of this kind of mismanagement."

Surrounded by residents and business owners from the South Side, Patrick Dowd tied a $1,010 price tag on to one of the high-priced trash cans emblazoned with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's name in gold. Ravenstahl drew criticism from far and wide earlier this year when he spent over a quarter of a million dollars on 250 trash cans bearing his name in large gold letters.

"This over-priced trash can is just one instance of the Mayor's wasteful spending," said Dowd, "and I'm afraid it's just the tip of the iceberg.”

Speaking to business owners and South Side residents, Dowd released documentation exposing the details of over $20 million in taxpayer dollars wasted by the Ravenstahl administration:

Type of spending



Ventilation system


March 14, 2009

Parking lot leases


September 8, 2008

Trash cans


February 17, 2009

Wasteful contracts


Dennis Regan


December 2, 2006

Catherine McNeilly


October 22, 2007

Pat Ford


September 12, 2008

Avoidable settlements


PWSA bond deal


June 2008

Wall Street fees


Total Price Tag of Ravenstahl waste:


*Citations attached.

“That’s a shocking amount of wasteful spending by the Ravenstahl administration in just two and half years,” said Dowd. “We can’t afford another day of this – never mind four years.” Dowd also noted that the figures are conservative estimates.

“On the School Board I put a stop to wasteful spending so we could direct resources into classrooms and give our children the tools they need to learn.” said Dowd, a long time teacher who served on the Pittsburgh School Board from 2003 to 2007.

“As mayor, I’ll continue to fight waste and mismanagement so the hard working tax payers of Pittsburgh can see their taxes at work in better roads, schools and policing.” The Dowd campaign plans to release details of its plan to bring accountability back to City Hall later this week.

Dowd also presented a number of alternative uses for the $20,198,500 siphoned away from taxpayers by the Administration’s reckless spending habits. He called for the creation of a dedicated fund to support start-up companies and create jobs, make major technological investments to put Pittsburgh on the cutting edge of the economy. That’s “only the beginning” of what a Dowd Administration will do after ending Ravenstahl’s wasteful spending habits.


[1] Pittsburgh will pay around $17,000 per vehicle for the Nederman ventilation system to be installed by Clean Air Systems, Inc. of Ohio. The Upper Yoder Volunteer fire department plans to spend $8,000 per vehicle for the same system. Based on the figures above, a bidding process could potentially have saved the city 53% of the cost or approximately $518,000. “Firetruck ventilation process sparks city debate,” Pittsburgh, Post-Gazette, March 14, 2009, Rich Lord. Online citation:

[2] “[T]he URA is forgoing $91,188 in rent over the terms of the three-year leases, compared to what it could have gotten by sticking with the highest bids.” Source: “URA ignored its own rules in parking lot contracts”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 08, 2008, Rich Lord. Online citation:

[3] “$1,010 trash cans littered with mayor's moniker,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 17, 2009, Jeremy Boren. Online citation:

[4] Cost of administrative leave paid to Don Regan in connection with investigation into improprieties as Mayor Ravenstahl’s Operations Director. “City clears Regan, who quits.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 2, 2006, Rich Lord. Online Citation:

[5] Cost of settlement with Commander McNeilly in connection with her blowing the whistle on improper interference in police operations by the Mayor’s staff. “Pittsburgh police commander's lawsuit costs city more,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 22, 2007, Jeremy Boren. Online citation:

[6] Cost of payment to maintain Mr. Ford’s silence with a “confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement.” “URA will pay Ford through June,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 12, 2008, Rich Lord. Online citation:

[7] “Municipal Market Regulator Regrets Enabling Losses,”, March 25, 2009, Darrell Preston. Online citation:

On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 5:31 PM, Press Contact wrote:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Contact: James Fogarty, Campaign Manager, Dowd for Mayor

412 915 6215


Democratic Mayoral Candidate and City Council Member Patrick Dowd Puts a Price Tag on Ravenstahl Administration's Wasteful Government Spending

Following up on last week's "Wake Up Call" to voters, Democratic Mayoral candidate Patrick Dowd will put a preliminary price tag on the administration's waste and mismanagement. “This is only the tip of the iceberg," Dowd said. "The taxpayers aren't getting a return on their investment in this city. The current administration's wasteful spending serves politicians and their cronies and not Pittsburghers."



WHEN: MONDAY MARCH 30, 11:15 a.m.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I love a press release with footnotes.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Bram, yes, the $19 M would have gone far in terms of ice rink re-opening.

But, private developers where there, knocking on my door and the door of the city for years, asking to re-open / re-use the rink without any taxpayer money. Zippo. And, zippo satisfaction.

I don't know if he did really hold the gavel as I don't think that they ever had a meeting regarding the Citiparks / Youth & Urban Rec committee.

If there was one, it is news to me.