Tuesday, June 30, 2009

7 Teenagers Shot Near Detroit School - NYTimes.com

7 Teenagers Shot Near Detroit School - NYTimes.com: "Gunmen in a green minivan opened fire on a group of teenagers waiting at a bus stop near a Detroit school on Tuesday, wounding at least seven including two who were in critical condition, authorities said.
At least five of the teens, including the two in critical condition, had just gotten out of summer classes at Cody Ninth Grade Academy when they were shot at the nearby bus stop, said Detroit Public Schools Police Chief Roderick Grimes.
Worst nightmare.

WDUQ News: G20 Marketing Efforts Underway

What in the world do they have to market, exactly?
WDUQNews: G20 Marketing Efforts Underway G20 Marketing Efforts Underway

With the leadership of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development the new group “Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership” has gathered a long list of participants and nearly half a million dollars.
The marketing, so conventional wisdom says, is to rebrand Pittsburgh. OMG.

We'd do better to give each member of the 4,000 extra police a free ticket and pass to return to Pittsburgh within the next year and bring their families. They could get admissions to Kennywood, Sandcastle and perhaps a pass for The Great Race or Marathon.

How about if we market to the 3,000 journalists that come and have them all bring their family members. We could set up day-care centers and day-trips for their spouse and kids and grandparents. Bingos, trips to Falling Water, Science Center Sub Rides, Bike rides along the trail on the Yough. We could keep some of the outdoor swim pools open, say at Highland Park and have a swim and zoo day camp. "Hey Zoo Campers!"

I don't think that the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and I shares the same branding vision.

Patrick Dowd voted No on the Amended Act 47 Plan. The Amended Plan fails on a number of accounts.

The Act 47 team calls for further tax and fee increases on City residents and businesses. Despite the history of a contentious and lengthy three-year tax debate to win legislative approval for broader based taxing authority (e.g. the payroll and municipal services tax), the Plan reverts back to the narrow definition of the City’s tax base by calling for tax and fee increases on local businesses only. The Act 47 team rejected Council’s request to remove this so-called “failsafe” option, raising taxes on city residents and businesses, from the Amended Plan.

This Plan provides no mandate to cap legacy liabilities such as pension and debt. In fact, this Plan opens the door to higher cost long-term pension bonds to fill gaps created by recent market declines. This is recommended without mandates to cap rising pension expenses. To further burden our residents and business with added liabilities is senseless. I question the timing of this recommendation particularly in light of the failed debt restructuring done in 2006 for the City and in 2007 and 2008 by the PWSA.

Finally, and most importantly, this Plan fails to resolve the City’s structural imbalance: annual revenues are not sufficient to meet annual expenses. The stated purpose of this Plan is to provide the City with a “blueprint to complete its financial recovery.” The failure to achieve this blueprint is best exemplified by the City’s debt service payments, which, in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, rise once again to $87 million resulting in annual operation deficits of $24 million.

As I have stated in the past, the Amended Act 47 Plan reflects the failures of oversight. Because of a lack of diligence in implementation, one third of the new initiatives are carry-overs from the original 2004 Plan. Moreover, many of the most significant initiatives in the original 2004 Plan were in place by 2005, including the merger of the City and County’s 911 Call Centers and the privatization of fleet maintenance. Most importantly, under the auspices of the Act 47 team, $125 million in additional debt was added to years 2012 through 2017. A 2006 bond restructuring created seven additional years of high debt payments. Without it, the City’s debt payments would have declined steadily to $40 million by 2018. Instead, annual debt payments will be $90 million today until 2018.

Since Pittsburgh entered Act 47 supervision, the City has generated year-end surpluses. This in itself is positive. However, the increasing size of surplus revenue is a serious concern, particularly given that the Act 47 Plan calls for tax increases. Either the City is over-budgeting expenses or does not account for the real cost of services delivered. Regardless, City residents and business appear to be over-taxed for the services they are actually receiving. The residents and businesses of the City deserve an honest budget, one that reflects the services they are, in fact, receiving.

The Plan sets the course for our budgetary and fiscal program for the next five years. Despite Council’s amendments, the Plan continues to lack a strategic and cohesive program to tackle legacy costs, measure and contain operating costs against services tackle legacy costs, measure and contain operating costs against services required and delivered, and do so without raising taxes. Just this week, the Pew Charitable Trusts reported that the City of Pittsburgh is the worst-funded of 10 pension plans it reviewed. To throw surpluses at uncapped pension liabilities, to allow the continuation of debt restructuring to further burden the budget, and to do all this without a vision for economic growth is short-sighted and fails the intent of Pittsburgh’s entrance into Act 47. This is not a Plan to restore financial health and sovereignty to Pittsburgh. It is, rather, another 5 years – with a near-certain 5-year extension beyond that – in which financial distress is prolonged and self governance surrendered. Our current and potentially indefinite status as a distressed City will hobble our efforts at regional dialogue and intergovernmental cooperation with the county and neighboring municipalities.

I did not vote for the amended Act 47 Plan because it perpetuates the very problems that have long caused the City’s financial distress. The Plan returns to the narrow definition of the City’s tax base and calls for tax and fee increases on local residents and businesses. Simultaneously, the Plan asks them to accept service cuts and expenditure reductions. The Act 47 team misunderstands that old saying: it is “do more with less,” not “pay more for less.” The Plan also fails to cap the long-term liabilities or to mandate the rigorous use of performance measures, thereby ensuring that Pittsburgh’s future generations will face exactly these same problems. Most importantly, the Plan likely returns the City to distressed municipality status in 2014. The goal of this Plan is to give Pittsburgh an “exit strategy” for its status as a distressed municipality, but because the structural imbalances continue well beyond 2013, the Plan fails to meet that goal.

Patrick Dowd

Sunday, June 28, 2009

G-20 summit: City could need 4,000 police officers

New idea from me concerning this need.
G-20 summit: City could need 4,000 police officers: "Pittsburgh officials also must find a place for out-of-town officers to sleep. Chief Harper said a building with a cafeteria, such as a former school, would be ideal.
Rent the empty South Side Vo Tech High School to the police for the next year. That could be turned into a cafeteria. They could park the new segways upstairs. The sports stadium could be turned into holding area.

Arnet quits city school board

Theme, not yet complete.
Arnet quits city school board: "In December, Ms. Arnet voted with other board members for an audit of the district's compliance with Title IX, the federal law designed to increase athletic opportunities for girls. The audit is not complete.
We await the report.

G20 Protests: PC Rob Ward Given Written Warning Over Facebook Status On Bashing Hippies | UK News | Sky News

G20 Protests: PC Rob Ward Given Written Warning Over Facebook Status On Bashing Hippies UK News Sky News: "A police officer has been given a written warning after he posted on his Facebook page that he was going to 'bash' demonstrators at the G20 protests.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oakland could host part of G-20 | TPN Evolve

Say what?
Oakland could host part of G-20 TPN Evolve: "If the White House allows it, local officials would like to hold part of the Group of 20 summit on Pitt’s campus.If the White House allows it, local officials would like to hold part of the Group of 20 summit on Pitt’s campus.
They might need to use the heli ports. That's about it.

Bill Flanagan must be nuts.

Officials can be tourists and buy a Pitt t-shirt and see the "International Rooms." But, beyond that, hit the dino road and stay downtown for the official events.

One of the best ways to highlight Oakland while the G-20 is here, is to keep all the events at the Convention Center and stay the hell away -- with official pissing events. Don't they understand that Oakland, by and large, is still reeling with the hurt from the "no couch on porche laws."

How much can one neighborhood endure?

University officials declined to comment, so I'll do it for them. "F-Off jag offs."

Meanwhile, in other news, Gov Rendell swipes all the federal stimulus money from Pitt and he might as well kisses $20-M away on gambling table games too.

There is a PRAMANIT Brothers in The Strip, for goodness sake. Walk there after the meetings. Hit the Heinz History Center. Take a water taxi to Station Square and the Science Center. Visit the blasted block house. How about if we have an open skate at the Civic Arena and a game of two day crickett at PNC PARK.

Memo to economic diplomat meeting planners, if you want to move out of Strip District, North Shore, South Side's Station Square or Lower Hill / Civic Arena, then you need a hall pass or better be bleeding with body fluids spilling. Otherwise, wait until the Great Race and do the 5K or 10K.

Friday, June 26, 2009

NCAA:Career Center with cool job at CMU

NCAA:Career Center: "Asst. Ath. Director, Univ. Programs & Intramurals"

Obama as Sports Czar, give me a break

Obama as Sports Czar? Mostly Good -- NCAA Basketball FanHouse: "We chatted in the back room of an ESPN studio in southern California this spring, when Robinson said of his sister's husband, 'What people slept on with Barack is how really smart he is. When he's reading through the paper, he's not just reading the business section or the political section. He's reading the sports section, and he retains everything, because he's such a big fan.'

Tribute to the Moon Walk

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Proposal: Seeking Water Polo Players in Pittsburgh in August

This is a proposal yet.

2009 JCC Monroeville Schedule for JCC Water Polo Sessions:

Monday, August 10 - swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #1 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Tue, Aug 11, swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #2 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Wed, Aug 12, swim closes at 8 pm - Water polo session #3 from 7:30 to 8:30 pm
Thur, Aug 13, swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #4 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Friday - Aug 14 - closed

Monday, August 17 - swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #5 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Tue, Aug 18, swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #6 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Wed, Aug 19, swim closes at 8 pm - Water polo session #7 from 7:30 to 8:30 pm
Thur, Aug 20, swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #8 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Friday - Aug 21 - closes at 6 pm - Water polo session #9 from 6:00 to 8 pm

Monday, August 24 - swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #10 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Tue, Aug 25, swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #11 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Wed, Aug 26, swim closes at 8 pm - Water polo session #12 from 7:30 to 8:30 pm
Thur, Aug 27, swim closes at 7 pm - Water polo session #13 from 6:30 to 8 pm
Friday - Aug 28 - closes at 6 pm - Water polo session #14 from 6:00 to 8 pm

Interested? Give me a call. 412 298 3432.

Won't be free.

There can't be school on the days of the G-20 event in Pittsburgh, can there?

What is the deal with school days on and around the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh. I'm wondering. Is anyone going to give any insights?

Will it be off for the entire week of the G-20?

Will it be off for only the two days, Thursday and Friday?

Last year as China hosted the Beijing Olympics and the Paralympics -- all school was off for more than a month. The schools didn't meet. However, the universities were open for dorm space for the students so that they could be doing informal studies and working as 'volunteers.'

A day or two after the Olympics ended, the Para Games and Athletes were in town too. So, it was a double header for them as well.

Pittsburgh Public School officials should make the decisions NOW and get the word out so schedules can be understood.

Secret Service will lead security for G-20 summit

So here is the third set of OVERLORDS that the city was looking for.
Secret Service will lead security for G-20 summit: "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has named Pittsburgh's G-20 summit in September a 'National Special Security Event,' meaning the Secret Service will take the lead role in security planning for the gathering of world leaders.
So, we'll have the gambling vice in August. The SS in September.

Thank goodness it is a draft day! That's the only good news.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Our dear friend, Meg, from South Carolina, visits Pittsburgh for concert, July 8, in Mt. Lebo

National Public Radio commentator and acoustic singer-songwriter Meg Barnhouse (www.megbarnhouse.com), with Kiya Heartwood of Wishing Chair, will present songs, stories, and illumination at 7 pm on Wednesday, July 8, at 1240 Washington Road, the Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills, Mt. Lebanon (15228). $10. One Pittsburgh-area gig only, seating limited; e-mail amy4bruce8@verizon.net for reservations.

NZ born, but Italian bred - rugby - sport | Stuff.co.nz

Blowouts. NZ born, but Italian bred - rugby - sport | Stuff.co.nz 'One hundred and thirty [points] to about 20,' he quipped as he recalled, painfully, Italy's 59-10 defeat in Rome in 2004 and a 76-14 pounding in pool play at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in Marseilles.

Flagship Niagara Launches Erie’s First “Independence Day Parade of Boats” | ErieBlogs

Perhaps they are going to practice for G-20.
Flagship Niagara Launches Erie’s First “Independence Day Parade of Boats” | ErieBlogs: "“The Boom Over the Bay” fireworks show is from 9:45pm until 10:00pm and will for the first time ever, include a cannon-fire demonstration by the Flagship Niagara! Niagara will be located about a quarter mile north of the Bayfront Convention Center, and will fire guns toward Liberty Park and Dobbin’s Landing."
Pittsburgh had better prep its submarine.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Convicted judge to keep his pension

Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh have serious pension problems.
Convicted judge to keep his pensionConvicted judge to keep his pension
The first thing to do when you need a real fix to a problem is to, "Lay The Shovel Down." Stop digging in the same hole.

These problems need to be fixed. The judge and all the others that screwed up should be without any pension. PERIOD.

Fix it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I am so mad at my city right now, I'll only post this. Do listen. Blast from the past.

In 2001 I ran for Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, in a contested GOP Primary. KDKA TV did a profile on me and my loyal opponent, Professor James Carmine. Here is the audio in an mp3 file for history's sake.


The key to understanding my mood is the swimming part. This is the start of summer. The city's ways have not changed. But, the murders have. The outward migration continues.

I seek some cooperation and permission to coach city kids.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ravenstahl seeks more money from nonprofits, commuters

Ravenstahl seeks more money from nonprofits, commuters: "Ravenstahl seeks more money from nonprofits, commuters"

Don't go after more money from the nonprofits. That approach is wrong, in my not so humble opinion.

Rather, the next step is to stop the bleeding. The city is being overtaken by the nonprofit sector. On an inch by inch basis, the footprint of nonprofit land is growing. And, that growth is going to kill the city. That growth, outward growth, needs to stop. Rather, all nonprofit growth should be upward. Or, nonprofit growth can occur in rented spaces from for-profit buildings.

The nonprofits are such because of the good work they do -- be it religious, educational or health, mostly. Fine. The rub comes as the nonprofit don't need to pay taxes. And, the best tax to keep is the land tax. That's really all that city should focus upon as the land of Pittsburgh is all that sets it apart from other places.

Jobs can move and jobs are moving. More work is being done, for instance, at UPMC in locations outside of the city -- even in Ireland and other countries.

But the land can't move. Focus on the land.

The nonprofit land expansion should be studied, inch-by-inch, block by block, year by year, entity by entity with purpose and investment money being fully documented and understood. Google maps, layers, GIS data and all should be published in open formats for all to see and manipulate.

It would be realistic to take the gross land held by the nonprofit sector and insist that it be reduced over time. There are wasted nonprofit spaces that would then be more valued. Net changes are fine as well. If one site of 3,000 square yards is sold and made into taxable property again, then another site can be purchased and put into the hands of nonprofit ownership. But, net increases have to end.

Focus on the dirt. Focus on the land. Insist upon a reduction in the overall size of the nonprofit footprint.

Pittsburgh's Nonprofit Executives should study this and make a counter-offer to the mayor and county executive.

200 give ideas for G-20 at Downtown brainstorm session

200 give ideas for G-20 at Downtown brainstorm session

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Citiparks letter to Mark

Assistant Director of Citiparks, Mike Radley, wrote to say "no thanks."

Citiparks Swim Meet should have swimmers who live in the city.

How would The Great Race go if only those in the race were the ones that ran at the Citiparks Rec Centers, and not elsewhere?

Mother fought off cougar to save toddler from attack

Mother fought off cougar to save toddler from attack: "'She [Maya] was on her back and he had his paws in her head, and I just knew I had to react quick, so I just jumped in there and wedged myself between the cougar and her on the ground, and I just got up and threw it off my back and grabbed her and booked it,' she said.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I have no problem with selling the Parking Garages now owned by the Parking Authority

Part of my thinking taken from a thread on another blog, where I posted:

The parking garages should be sold. Heck, the pension funds or the unions could entertain a bid to buy them and have a stream of money for the future.

Sell the garages if a good price is obtained. Don't sell them if the price isn't above and beyond the debt that is retired.

Sold, the garages represent parking -- plus other opportunities for other buildings in the future. The next owners might one year put up other buildings there -- with internal garages, housing, zip lines, whatever. The market can begin to come alive again if the city gets out of the parking business.

The city is the 900-pound gorilla in parking now. When PNC Firstside was built - or URA on 2nd Ave expansion, they all used PARKING as a leverage that the city residents paid dearly for. Same too for Lazarus. They won't build here unless parking is used as sweetener. Screw that. Then we (citizens / taxpayers) get double trouble.

Once the city won't build garages for development deals (hey, remember the sign that was not a sign at bus station) then private owners might build their own garages again.

The bribe chip is taken off the table -- for a while.

Not next year wish: Oliver Bath House is closed for summer.

From ormsby-serpents

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Richard Quick Passes Away

Richard Quick Passes Away Auburn men's and women's head swimming and diving coach Richard Quick, who was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous
brain tumor in December 2008, passed away Wednesday at the age of 66. One of
the most recognizable names in the swimming and diving community, Quick was
a six-time United States Olympic coach who directed 13 teams to NCAA
titles, the most ever by a swimming coach.
Great guy. Great coach.
Here is my trivial story of Richard Quick. Back in 1981 he was driving a van full of swimmers from Auburn to the NCAA Champioships in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. I was on the side of the road hitch-hiking to the meet. He stopped and gave me a lift for the last 20 or 30 miles. Thanks for the lift Coach Quick.

He was so much more to so many others -- including me.

From A Conservative Sarah Palin Fan: Do NOT Fire Letterman

I can remember watching David Letterman for the first time in 1982. As a young pup, I somehow stayed up past the 12:30 start (I don't remember how my late-night viewing started). I was 14 and a rather formatted kid, but I know I was there from the beginning) and instantly became hooked.

He joked about Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George Bush. I'm not one who thinks he lambasted Bush any more than any of the other presidents. Bush 43 provided a lot of fodder to writers. He gave fodder that made me cringe. Often.

Letterman, Johnny Carson and every other comic gave Reagan plenty of guff for being old. But they didn't just go after the "easy fruit" of comedy. They went after his age too.

Comics generally aren't the great thinkers of the day (George Carlin was an exception) and Letterman never claimed to be.

What he has always been is funny.

Comedians and celebrities in general went "ga ga" over now-President Barack Obama during the election cycle. Letterman was no exception. The purveyors of "style" did their best to influence the American public to adore Barack Obama. They also did their best to destroy Sarah Palin. John McCain was never a Conservative pick. I'm still trying to figure out he was handed the Republican ball.

Fast forward to last week. Sarah Palin and her 14-year-old daughter came to New York. One of Sarah Palin's other children, an 18-year-old unwed mother, was in Alaska caring for her newborn. Nothing has been said about the 18-year-old doing the right thing and staying home, btw.

Someone on Letterman's staff wrote a joke implying that Palin's unwed 18-year-old daughter was "knocked up" by New York Yankee swingin'-single Alex Rodriguez while in town. The joke should never have made it past the screening process, because the 18-year-old daughter wasn't even in town.

Nevertheless, I might even have laughed at the joke. Me, a conservative-learning comedy writer, one-time stand-up comic and professed Sarah Palin fan. Oh yeah, I also have a 14-year-old son.

Did the Palins over-react? Maybe when Sarah Palin said that her daughter should be worried about a 62-year-old Letterman, sure. But then again, my child is a son. My sensibilities are different.

Was she trying to make a point? Absolutely.

Should Letterman be fired? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Don Imus shouldn't have been fired for his harmless, funny remarks about a basketball team that 98% of the country had never heard of at the time.

I understand what the Palin-backers are saying. Letterman and practically every other celebrity voice in the world is still groveling over Barack Obama. Style is the name of that game.

They won't be making fun of Barack, Michelle or those darling daughters anytime soon. Children should NEVER be a part of the landscape. Yet, Amy Carter is gay, Chelsea Clinton is ugly, the Bush twins are partiers and now the Palin kids are under attack. Obama's kids should be off-limits for years to come.

Letterman should not be fired. Todd and Sarah Palin have reportedly accepted Dave's apology. Good. Time to move on.

There's a picture on Drudge of Michelle, being hailed as a fashion plate, running with the family dog. Laura Bush was 1,000-times more fashionable. But she's older...and you know the rest.

Libertarian Party denounces broad-based tax increase

Cut spending, don’t raise taxes

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3915 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release: June 16, 2009

Contact: Doug Leard (Media Relations) at Media-Relations@lppa.org or
Michael Robertson (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS / chair@lppa.org

Harrisburg, PA –

House Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans recently indicated that he's convinced a broad-based tax increase will be necessary to help erase the state's $3.2 billion deficit.

However, Pennsylvania already has the 11th highest burden of state and local taxes in America. Plus, Pennsylvanians don’t want more taxes. According to a recent survey co-sponsored by the state’s leading small business association, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), over 60% of residents indicated that taxes are too high.

As Winston Churchill said, “for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

According to LPPa Chair, Michael Robertson, “The problem is not insufficient taxation. The problem is out of control spending.”

Recent history supports Robertson’s statement. State spending during Governor Rendell’s time in office has increased over 36%, more than double the rate of inflation. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Pennsylvania state and local governments will spend approximately $10,000 for every man, woman and child.

Pennsylvanians agree with Robertson. In the NFIB survey, 60% of residents believe that state spending is too high.

Per Robertson, “Harrisburg should address their budget deficit the same way responsible Pennsylvania families address tough economic times. They tighten their belts and reduce their spending. They question each expenditure. They are fiscally responsible, which is a hallmark of the Libertarian Party.”

Media Relations Chair, Douglas Leard, remarked “Unfortunately, this isn't an election year when Libertarian and independent candidates can show a sharp contrast to tax and spend incumbents. Until next year, we urge taxpayers who want fiscally responsible government to become activists and pressure Harrisburg to reject their failed tax and spend policies.”

Added Robertson, “There is another clear and distinct way to voice your displeasure with the current system – change your voter registration to Libertarian – and thereby let the Republicans and Democrats in Harrisburg know that your are sick of being over-taxed for their big spending approach to running state government. “

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in Pennsylvania and the United States. More than 200,000 people across the country are registered Libertarians, and Libertarians serve in hundreds of elected offices. Please visit http://www.LP.org or http://www.LPPA.org for more information.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Council online -- yea or nay?

Council online -- yea or nay? ... times a year, including its many special meetings and public hearings, and some of its more contentious sessions go on for hours. Wednesday's committee meeting, for instance, saw members lash a proposed fiscal recovery plan, and the vacationing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, for nearly three hours before opting to postpone a tentative vote.
Hardest working legislative body in the world, if you listen to Doug Shields.

I've been wishing for this for years -- but different, and cheaper.

The city council meetings could be put on TalkShoe.com and then we'd have a wonderful solution for 99% of the time. TalkShoe is audio and available via PC or phone. I'd like to call into a meeting and listen as to where it is. Imagine that.

And the audio of TalkShoe is archived.

Dwelling House Savings and Loan told to raise capital or face sale, closure

He needed a job. So, he ran for Pittsburgh City Council.
Dwelling House Savings and Loan told to raise capital or face sale, closure Robert R. Lavelle, the 93-year-old former CEO of Dwelling House who now serves on its board of directors, said his son -- Robert M. Lavelle -- was terminated earlier this year from his position as the bank president along with Gonzell Phillips, the former controller.
Getting fired is one thing. To recover stolen funds is another.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Parades in Pittsburgh

City of Champions Parade Idea blens with G-20
Hi folks,

I am thrusting an idea on you because you are THE movers and shakers who just happen to be in my address book (for better or for worse) - and who can make this parade idea happen...or not of course... Anyway, how about a "City of Champions Sports Parade" - ending up at Mellon Arena during the September G20 conference led by the Steelers and Pens and including all the college and scholastic winning teams (PIAA, WPIAL and right down to section winners from fall 2008-Summer 2009)?!

And if one wanted to make this the largest sports parade EVER - have 5 feeder parade routes (coming from the south hills, north hills, west hills, east hills) of amateur champion teams from Jr HS on down to little leaguers. This way my daughter's undefeated 7th grade girls Jefferson Middle School basketball team can finally get some well deserved and overdue recognition!!!

All could converge in Oakland with the big guys teams and head merrily down the Blvd into town.

That ought to fill the arena or Heinz field for that matter. Obama, Rooney and Luke and Dan could lead it and all the kings and queens and finance ministers could eat their hearts out!

and Mark (Cuban) ... if you pay for it...we'll give you the Pirates.

Buy now!

Larry Evans
I just posted on TWITTER the idea that in a cost saving measure, the Pens Victory Parade was conbined with Gay Pride Parade. I sorta like Larry's idea more.

But this isn't a 'parade' -- it is more of a 'march.' Well, it is a parade too.

Not only would the people of finance eat their hearts out, so too would the people of the world.

This could be done the weekend of the G-20. Or, it could be done one of the days or even the day after.

Perhaps it should be done with the Great Race?

Ideas welcome in the comments.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Word on the street: Everyone is entitled to a vacation, by union rules

I had a long-distance conversation in Oakland with a buddy. We were talking over three or four lanes of traffic. I asked him where the mayor goes when he goes to the beach? Jersey? Outter Banks? The Dunes of Lake Michigan?

He replied, "He is entitled to a vacation. Everyone should get a vacation -- by union laws, blah, blah, blah. And, council needs to get to work.

Grant and I take a walk on Brighton Beach in Christchurch, NZ.
There is a long pier there where on could take a short walk.
From Mark Rauterkus

I posted at Bram's blog:

Folks, there is no way in hell that city council is going to come up with its own five year recovery plan. They members there took about 4 hours to decide if the mayor should be called to a meeting.

Bill Peduto wrote out a plan of sorts. But, council has not even talked about it.

And, council generally talks a lot before it thinks about it.

On Wed's meeting, it took council another hour or so just to delay a bill for 3 weeks. That was the one about the curfew center that the mayor had told people that it would be open by June 1.

Council has more drag than play. It is all about drag.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but then you start the speech by Rev. Ricky Burgess about getting to work and another two days is lost.


Council's ongoing failure to act is why OVERLORDS are in Pittsburgh. They've done nothing to merit the removal of the OVERLORDS to date.

Council finding a fix is not even a long shot.

Another favorite beach of ours is in Maine.
From beach Maine

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Must Read:


Photo was on the front page in the newspaper and it is so small on the web.

South Side artist creates unusual tribute to industrial heritage of city

Lorraine Vullo (right) and guest artist Michael Picarsic
Keith Hodan/Tribune-Review

By Bonnie Pfister TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, June 11, 2009

Near the site of a notorious July 1892 clash between hired guns and locked-out steel workers, a local artist has created a space for meditation and spiritual reflection.

Lorraine Vullo of the South Side is putting the final touches on an 11-ring medieval labyrinth of bricks set into the ground on the site of Andrew Carnegie's storied Homestead steel mill. The Belgian-block and concrete stones are etched with the names of foundries and furnaces that once operated along Pittsburgh's three rivers.

Vullo hopes visitors will reflect upon the joys and struggles of workers who came from around the world to fuel the industrial boom.

"This location is a huge part of history," Vullo, 50, said Wednesday. "I wanted to honor the men and women who worked here, and who lost their lives here. This is a sacred area to a lot of people."

The 68-foot diameter labyrinth is built on land owned by the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area at 880 E. Waterfront Drive, at the eastern edge of The Waterfront shopping area. Rivers of Steel, which operates a small museum nearby, is hosting a dedication ceremony and reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Afterward, the labyrinth will be open without charge around the clock.

At the site of the former mill's pumphouse, workers protesting wage cuts 107 years ago battled armed Pinkerton detectives hired by Carnegie Steel Co. executive Henry Clay Frick. Three workers and seven Pinkertons died in the confrontation, which was quelled when Pennsylvania militia, at Frick's request, marched in and imposed martial law.

When Vullo first described the labyrinth to Rivers of Steel president and CEO Augie Carlino, "my reaction was, 'A what?' " recalled Carlino. "But having worked with Lorraine before, I knew the quality of her work and the emotion and thought that she brings to her work."

Raised in Buffalo, Vullo moved to Pittsburgh in the late 1970s. She founded the Blatent Image Gallery, a cooperatively-run gallery of fine art photography that later grew into the South Side's Silver Eye Center for Photography. With fellow artist Michael Picarsic III, she mounted the 2005 show "Recrudescence" at Rivers of Steel, featuring photos and sculptural installations made from the remnants of the former J&L Steel mill in what is now SouthSide Works.

"It's gone beyond what I expected it to be," Carlino said about the Homestead Labyrinth. "It's breathtaking. It has this regenerative, spiritual element. ... It's almost like an offering back to nature. It's something you'd never expect to see in an industrial area."

The work is supported by combined donations of about $90,000 from The Heinz Endowments' Small Arts Initiative, The Pittsburgh Foundation's A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Weisshouse, Pixel River Photo + Art, and private donors, Vullo said.

The land may eventually be developed for other use, but Vullo said the labyrinth should remain in place for at least a few years.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ohio Wesleyan Duo to Tackle Channel

Ohio Wesleyan Duo to Tackle Channel: "Two Ohio Wesleyan University students—one from Pakistan and one from the United States—will swim the English Channel this summer to demonstrate the power of friendship in making the world a better place.

Part-time officers to help Braddock enforce curfew

Part-time officers to help Braddock enforce curfew Braddock Police Chief Frank DeBartolo said at last night's meeting that the department's five new part-time hires will allow police to better enforce curfew hours among youth and to increase their visibility in the community.
Chief DeBartolo said the department has hired five new officers in the past 45 days and the newest hire hit the streets last night. This puts his roster at 15 officers, allowing him to double the number of officers he has on some shifts to three to four officers per shift.
Braddock has lost eight part-time officers in the past year, some of whom were terminated and others who left the department after receiving other job offers.
What happens after the youth are arrested in Braddock? Are they sent to Gitmo? Do they spend time in the County Jail? Is there a drunk tank in Braddock?

48 Hour Film Project in Pittsburgh in early August

Get ready for one of the most exciting filmmaking experiences!

The 48 Hour Film Project is coming to Pittsburgh on Aug 7-9, 2009.

Get your team ready to make a short film – write, shoot, edit and score - in one weekend… just 48 hours.

See your work up on the big screen right away. Your completed film will be screened at the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre that next week.

Registration starts on Monday, June 15, 2009. Sign up for the Pittsburgh 48HFP newsletter so that you are the first to know that registration opened. Go to: http://www.48hourfilm.com/newsletter/

And get ready for a wild ride of filmmaking!
Are there any bloggers or Running Mates that would like to do this together? If so, post in the comments or else get your own squad and we might see you there.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

New Running Mates are welcome for summer

If you are intersted in helping with issue discussions about Pittsburgh, then we're open to putting you here as a Running Mate. Summer schedules shift for many of us. Perhaps you have more time and some energy? Perhaps you have a few issues that you'd love to get out there on a blog and put up for review and discussion. Perhaps you want to sharpen your internet skills?

Whatever the reason. If it fits here -- you'll be give access to post on this page as a running mate.

My time is going to be shorter this summer, with any luck. So, more help is welcomed.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

New Committee Aims To Improve Safety For Pittsburgh Officers - Allegheny County News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh

Homework is due in 14 days.
New Committee Aims To Improve Safety For Pittsburgh Officers - Allegheny County News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh: "New Committee Aims To Improve Safety For Pittsburgh Officers"

4 Duquesne U. students have swine flu in Italy

4 Duquesne U. students have swine flu in Italy: "Four Duquesne University students visiting Italy with an opera group have been quarantined for the past several days with swine flu, but the quarantine was lifted today.
Welcome home.

Two new Facebook Friends from my coaching days at Plum

Hey Mark! I am not swimming any longer other than for recreational purposes only. However my wife and I have big plans for Little Emil. He is almost 11 months old now. We had him in the pool last summer and he loved it. Today will be his first experience this summer. Should be a good time!

I am not sure if you remember, but you coached a summer practice at the wave pool (brutal btw). There was a girl there named Erin Shearer. Well fast forward 15 years, we got married. We are celebrating our 5th anniversary in June. Time flies, huh?

Have a great day. I look forward to learning more about what is going on in your life.

I'm glad you got something out of that summer practice at the Wave Pool. :)

Thanks for the story.

Matt H. is now a FB friend too.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

NCAA:Career Center plsts job: Assistant Swim Coach at GW

NCAA:Career Center: "Assistant Men's & Women's Swim Coach. The George Washington University. Men's and women's program needs an assistant swimming coach to assist the head swim coach. Ten month, part-time position with benefits beginning August 1 - May 31."

Is it too, too, too weird to apply for this swim coaching job just because Erik wants to go to and swim at G.W.? I think G.W. is the most expensive school in the nation, FWIW.

Meanwhile, I told my FB friends that I'm pissed that Western Illinois Univ cut both the mens and womens swim teams. I coached in Illinois. And, as a matter of fact, my wife and kids are in Illinois now -- but in Chicago. That news stinks.

I think I'd rather coach, in a virtual fantasy world, at GW rather than in WV Salem. But, being head coach is a plus. Dive would be about the same - be it 3 or 2 hours from Pittsburgh.

Back to the real world. If you need a job, you might consider this one with Duquesne Univ.

NCAA:Career Center: "Assistant Director,Athletic Development"

City-county merger spins its wheels

As to the merger:
City-county merger spins its wheels "I would draft [legislation] tomorrow, but the reason that we haven't is because we're trying to work with the Legislature and within their procedures," Mr. Onorato told some 200 attendees at the forum, sponsored by The Pittsburgh Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics and held at the Heinz History Center.
That is an excuse. Might as well say that the dog ate my homework.

It is also exactly how NOT to lead as there is a leadership void.

Frankly, I'm happy to see Dan fumble as such. I don't support a merger. But he does. Onorato also has ambitions for being Governor. That post might require more effort in working with the legislature, something he is proving he can't do on an area that he has strong opinions about.
Mr. Onorato said an effort to develop a compact would be a distraction.
This is like saying that taking the first trips on a long journey is a distraction to getting at the final destination. So, packing the car for a beach vacation is only a distraction for putting your feet in the surf.

I said for nearly a decade that the next thing to merge should be Parks. It is in the parks where we teach and learn with our kids the value of playing well with one another. The parks discussion is a bold discussion that is going to engage thousands. Folks in the burbs care about their parks. Folks in the city care about their parks. There are no viable parks in the city that are county owned. The RAD Parks talk is going to generate heat. We'll need all of that energy at the outset of this long-and-winding road process and journey.

Do you just go the next 10 years trying to [merge] parks and recreation, trying to chip away at [information technology]?" he asked, hypothetically, after the forum. "If you really want to merge all of these departments, merge the governments. ... But if [legislators] are not going to move, obviously you could do the slow change.

Here is a loaded statement:
Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, said his gut told him that a referendum, if held soon, would fail, because of public perceptions of city government.
First of all, the public perception of city government, and county, and state government is in the toilet. Frankle helped put it there and his efforts keep it there too.

Furthermore Frankel tells us that he thinks and listens to his gut. He'd rather listen to his gut than listen to the voice of the voters. He is a know-it-all -- where his gut is the priority. The public's voice and the votes of the citizens mean nothing to Dan Frankle. He is royalty and has no cause for a referendum.

Of course the city put poison in the well of our shared democracy. Dan's act with Tom Murphy make him a prime culprit. Dan Frankle has been poisoned and he did much of the poisoning. And, his thinking with the gut to the exclusion of the people is more of the same.

Doug Shields wants full consolidation or nothing, meaning he wants Forrest Hills, Edgewood, Bethel Park, Avalon, and the others to be put into the same pot with Pittsburgh. He wants them all to be merged with Allegheny County. Doug, when pigs fly, you might get your wish. Doug is making another type of excuse.

On two accounts, I agree with Luke Ravenstahl. The position of Doug Shields is a poison pill of sorts. And, let's not fear the referendum by putting the question to a vote of the citizens.

Government consolidations represent the most complex conversation you are ever going to have with the electorate," said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of Louisville Metro Inc.
No way. There is a bit of complexity in the conversation. But, there are dozens of more difficult conversations. Let's talk about war, tourtue, socialized GM, privacy, personal liberties, eminent domain, treaties, UN, the Federal Reserve.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Looks as if we'll be playing some water polo this summer. I had a few good meetings today. More news soon.

Opening reception for the Homestead Labyrinth by artist, Lorraine Vullo

Lorraine Vullo is a friend, neighbor, running mate, parent of a musical boy and wonderful creator.
Friday June 12, 2009, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Near the Pump House, Waterfront Drive E, Munhall, PA 15210
RSVP "yes" by Tuesday June 9: 412-464-4020 (Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area)

Please, RSVP 'yes' only to 412-464-4020 (Rivers of Steel)~ Thanks!

For directions, plug in 'Pump House, Waterfront Drive E, Munhall PA 15210' into the oracle of your choice (the Pump House is across the parking lot and a few hundred yards east from Lowes Home Improvement in the Waterfront-- not Loew's Cinema!)

Or, in general:

1. get on I-376 E, going either towards or from Monroeville
2. Take exit 5 toward Homestead - 0.2 mi
3. Merge onto Beechwood Blvd - 0.5 mi
4. Continue on Browns Hill Rd - 0.7 mi
5. Continue on Homestead Grays Bridge - 0.6 mi
6. Turn left at E 8th Ave/PA-837 - 1.3 mi
7. Turn left at Waterfront Dr E
Destination will be on the right - 0.7 mi

Arrive at: Homestead Pump House

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Time to eat and get ready for a hockey game

There is this fast food joint that I'd love to skip to for a snack tonight.
The Penguins should eat some SQUID.

What's this with burritos?

Click photo for larger size.

Youth Sports Parents

Sports Parents
: "The life and times of a 2-year-old billiards

Interesting read above.
But, on a similar thread -- Pittsburgh Phillips, K-5, Elem School, is once again in domination mode at the Allegheny County Mabels Championship. We got two kids going to New Jersey. One in 4th grade and the other in 5th. Phillips dominates that tournament. We're a marbles magnet, fur shore!

Chicago and long term deals and parking

Chicago Reader Blogs: Clout City: "Gripping the podium like it was David Hoffman’s neck, Daley informed the City Hall press corps that his administration would never, ever enter into a 75-year lease deal that wasn’t great for the city."

Communication Magic with sports helps Mute Boy Find His Voice

Orlando Magic Helps Mute Boy Find His Voice - ABC News: "While most Orlando Magic fans come to the games to see the action, all Izzy Rodriguez wants to do is listen to his son speak. It's a sound he thought he might never hear.
Diagnosed with an anxiety disorder called selective mutism, Ryan Rodriguez had never spoken more than a word or two while his preschool classmates chatted up a storm. But that changed one night when Ryan caught a Magic game on television and started pointing.
'He sat there and kept going, 'Me, me, play, play,' Rodriguez told 'Good Morning America. 'So I turn around and I do crazy things.'"

Retuned from base camp after 3 days in West Virginia


We are about to depart basecamp. I'll be hard to reach for the next three days as we go deep into the wilds of West Virginia. I'll tweet as service and my cell phone battery allows.

This is a camping trip with my son and his 5th grade classmates.

Photos, on our return, have been uploaded.

Pittsburgh Phillips K-5 5th Grade Camping Trip - A for Athlete: "Pittsburgh Phillips K-5 5th Grade Camping Trip"

Your homework, should you choose to play along, is to log onto the new wiki, G-20, and start slugging in some content. The world's elite arrives in Pittsburgh in a few months. We've got to be ready for what that may or may not deliver. So, go here: http://g20.wikia.com/.

Original published on June 1, 2009.

Big thoughts for a hockey night in Pittsburgh

Hockey and freedom don't go hand in hand often. But, the do on ti blog, just because I can write, "Go Pens" and in the next champion liberty and the ways of freedom.

"Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the constitution by claiming it’s not an individual right or that it’s too much of a safety hazard don’t see the danger of the big picture. They’re courting disaster by encouraging others to use this same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don’t like."

-- Alan Dershowitz (1938- ) Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School Source: The Conceptual Foundations of Anglo-American Jurisprudence in Religion and Reason, 82 Mich L. Rev., 204 (Dan Gifford), 1995

"I cannot assent to the view, if it be meant that the legislature may impair or abridge the rights of a free press and of free speech whenever it thinks that the public welfare requires that it be done. The public welfare cannot override constitutional privilege."

-- John Marshall Harlan (1899-1971) U. S. Supreme Court Justice
Source: Patterson v. Chicago

"Here the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to be to restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work."

-- John Milton (1608-1674) Poet

Prediction: Marky Billson and mates will win the Steelers Trivia Contest!

Marky Billson, running mate of sorts, writes:
If you haven't heard I am going to be participating in KDKA's Steelers Trivia contest this Saturday at 1 p.m. My team, comprising of Jim Botti of the Hellgaters and WDVE and Shawn Mullooly, formerly of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, is called "Stairway to Seven" and the taping is at the One Gateway Center studios in Downtown Pittsburgh.

I would like to invite all of you to see the taping! Perhaps afterwards I can meet with you (haven't seen you all for so long) and we could then watch the Pens in the evening or go out and get caught up in the afternoon!

For those of you who don't know, I had been covering the New York Mets for New York Metro, an international tabloid, this spring http://www.metro.us/us/article/2009/05/04/01/4612-82/index.xml

and http://www.metro.us/us/article/2009/03/13/03/3628-82/ . It was great to be in Florida and writing for a New York audience.

The good news is I've been talking to some people about some Pittsburgh gigs, so hopefully I will be able to move back to the Greatest City in the World next month! I know I'll enjoy seeing you who can attend this weekend!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Groups eager for role in helping Pittsburgh host G-20 summit

If you are not sure, what the hell is going on, then the best things to do is go to a wiki and make it up.
If you want to escort Michelle Obama around, simply make a page on the G-20 wiki, http://g20.wikia.com, called, Michelle Obama Escorts, and go nuts. Tip: I just made the page for you.
Groups eager for role in helping Pittsburgh host G-20 summit: "Groups eager for role in helping Pittsburgh host G-20 summit
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
By Mackenzie Carpenter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As the city readies itself for the G-20 summit Sept. 24 and 25, those lusting for a piece of the action during Pittsburgh's two days in the international spotlight would be well-advised to remember this line from the Robert Altman movie about Hollywood, titled, tellingly, 'The Player':
Have fun. Make it up as it comes to your imagination. And, tell us what little you know -- or don't know.

Lawmaker calls for state campaign contribution limits

Good start.
Lawmaker calls for state campaign contribution limits: "a business that got a state contract of $50,000 or more would have to submit an itemized list of all political contributions made by its officers, directors, associates, partners and limited partners. The report would have to list the size of the contract the business got and the service it provided.
How many others are on as co-sponsors?

The business that gets a state contract also needs to submit employees on that itemized list.

Pittsburgh Independent Examiner, new blog and voice

Mike is a 'running mate' of sorts. I often link to his stuff. But, not always.

Pittsburgh Independent Examiner Mike FerencePittsburgh Independent Examiner"


Here’s the link to my first article with the examiner, an Internet-based newspaper. I’ll be covering politics/religion in the Pittsburgh region. In the future I’ll be reporting on individuals who have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused, much like in the recently released study on Irish Catholic institutions in Ireland.

Home from camping with 32 5th graders

Hello Mother, Hello Father, so goes the humor-filled song about summer camp. Well, we're home from West Virginia. A great time at the EKC with Phillips teachers and kids.