Friday, December 30, 2011

Fwd: 2011 Dirty Dozen Results & Summary Article

8 Links to 2011 DD Articles, Photos, & Videos


The 29th annual Dirty Dozen was held on Saturday, November 26th. With a high temperature of 60 degrees F, mostly cloudy skies, and dry conditions, we had a record turnout of 305 riders! Of these 305 cyclists, 175 (57.4%) were rookies (first timers). A record 47 riders were over 50 years old including ten over 60. A record 16 teenagers. A record women's field of 16. 

Taking 1st & 2nd on the first 2 hills, Steve Cummings (Steevo) and Sam Morrison (started with a fractured wrist he got in a cyclocross race two weeks before) were tied for the lead when Steevo dropped his chain at the bottom of the 3rd hill (Berryhill) forcing him to go to the bottom for a restart. Sam placed 4th giving him a 7 point lead over Steevo. This made Steevo raving at me for going 10 places deep on the points this year. Instead of being down by just 2 points (old 5 place system), defending champ Steevo was down by 7. I explained to him that Sam could have a similar mishap on future hills such as Canton which causes many crashes even among the leaders. On the next 3 hills, Steevo was only able to gain one point on Sam on each hill, but on the toughest hill (#7 - Suffolk), Steevo won and Sam scored no points. This gave Steevo the lead again which he held to the end (winning 5 hills) for his record 8th consecutive DD win. Because of his fractured wrist, Sam stopped on the next hill (#8 - Sycamore) atop of which he quit. 

Finishing in 2nd & 3rd place were 5 time DD riders Eddie Grystar Jr. & Bob Stumpf - the only 2 riders to score points on every hill. The top rookie finisher & 4th place was my Nephew Steven Perezluha from Florida who finished solo Race Across AMerica (RAAM) this summer. Sprinters John Cotter & Mark Nicoll each won 2 hills. 51 year old Jim Doan was the first 40+ rider and finished in 7th place. Of the 29 men to score points, only 5 were rookies, but 8 were over 40 years old. Pro Bikes owner Craig Cozza was the only 40+ rookie to score points. This was the highest calibre DD field I have ever seen. Even with the points going 10 places deep, it was still quite difficult to score. The following riders dropped in places from last year to this year: Gerry Pflug went from 2nd place last year to 8th place this year. Joe Lydic fell from 3rd to 6th. Jonathan Pratt (not the photographer) dropped from 13th to 22nd. Gunnar Shogren went from 15th to 24th. I fell from 6th to 19th. 

Gunnar Shogren headed a new single gear/speed (SS) category this year. None of the bikes were fixed gear. The winner Bill (Stik) Westover finished in 10 place overall. He forfeited points on hill #6 (Pig Hill/Rialto St.) by deciding to climb in the SS heat. Montana Miller (first to finish DD on a fixed gear in 2009) broke Gunnar Shogren's (45x22 {2.045} fixed gear in 2010) highest low gear record by using a 36x17 {2.118} gear this year. Here are the SS results with the gears they used: 

1. Bill "Stik" Westover, 39x22 {1.773}, 10 place overall 
2. Gunnar Shogren, 36x19 {1.895} 
3. Donald Powers, 38x20 {1.900} 
4. Montana Miller, 36x17 {2.118}, a new highest low gear record 
5. Steve Harouff, 42x22 {1.909} 

Without the top 5 places returning from last year, the women's race was wide open this year. 14 out of the 16 women were rookies. I went 5 places deep on the points again. The women tie a piece of pink tape around their handlebars to distinguish themselves from the men. Ironman triathlete Anne-Marie Alderson led through the first 6 hills despite being shut out (no points) on hill #5 (Logan) in Millvale. Near the top of the hill, a guy crashed right in front of her causing her to stop (got a foot out before crashing) so she had to go back down and ride up the hill again. On the toughest hill (#7 - Suffolk), Alderson was shut out again, and Erin Yanacek won the hill and moved into the lead. 

A trumpet player at CMU, Erin lost her lead on the steepest (37% grade) hill - #9 Canton in Beechview which Alderson won and led to the end (winning 9 hills) for her first DD victory. After Erin's manfriend Jean-Christophe Veloso was seen pushing her up Canton, I insisted that she make it up on her own. After many failed attempts, she switched rear wheels with Jeff Lazar (a 25 cog for a 28 cog), and on her 7th try finally made it up - weaving at walking speed all the way across the rough cobblestones, and nearly coming to a stop several times. Bloodied up from crashes on the hill, Erin's heroic effort was truly remarkable and inspiring to watch by the huge, cheering crowd assembled on the hill. After one of these crashes, a photo shows her lying on the ground with her bike, and it looks like she is taking a nap. Erin won 3 hills and finished in 2nd place. 

Karen Brooks (of Dirt Rag Mag & Bicycle Times) finished 3rd. Despite not having her feet attached to her pedals (this gives a huge advantage for climbing up steep hills), Linda Thomas was 4th. Riding her mountain bike, 15 year old Angelina Palermo was 5th, and became the youngest female DD finisher. Only 5 women made it up all of the hills. The DD was quite a family affair for the Palermo's of Butler. Angelina's parents Ron & Cheryl rode, and Ron's brother Dan attempted to break bike race promoter JR Petsko's heaviest DD finisher record of 240 pounds (set in 2009). 245 pound Dan nearly had it until he had to veer off and loop around side streets on the last 2 hills. 

To be an official DD finisher, you must ride up every hill without stopping or crashing. You must have continuous forward motion UP the hill! You can weave back and forth as long as you are continuing to go UP. As soon as you start to go level or back down the hill, you are disqualified. You can go back down to the bottom of the hill, and try again as many times as you want. In the early days of 20 or fewer riders, I was able to keep track of who made all the hills, but once the DD grew bigger than this, I was unable to police it anymore. Now there exists an honor system where riders keep track of themselves. Of course when it comes to scoring points and setting DD records, I still have to keep track of this. 

With the DD growing so fast, I had to organize an entire staff again this year to help me run it. Thanks to Maura Spillane, Ashley Bock & Nina Wilczek for doing registration in the morning. Thanks to Lee-Ann's brother Kevin Beatty (men's), his wife Amanda (videotaped top men finishers), & Carol Moore (women's & single speed) for officiating (scoring points) atop hills. Thanks to Ron Lutz & son Eric and Dave Shaffer for driving the food vehicle, and organizing the food stops - Millvale's Riverfront Park on the Allegheny River at the bottom of the 5th hill Logan, and at the top of the 9th hill Canton Ave. Thanks again to Steve Mentzer for loaning me his 10 gallon orange coolers and 6 gallon blue cubes he uses for the Rachel Carson Trail Challenge. 

Thanks to Glenn Pawlak & Big Bang Bicycles for sponsoring the DD again this year. Glenn's brother Scott drove the BB support vehicle again with Glenn's son Isaac, and mechanic Evan Robinson making on-the-go repairs. Thanks to Gary Baun (Ian's father) for driving the clothing/spare equipment vehicle. If you lost any clothes, please e-mail him about it at

Thanks to the Eat'n Park and Vice President Brooks Broadhurst who really stepped up to the plate this year. They donated hot chocolate, Smuckers Uncrustables peanut butter & grape jelly sandwiches, and smiley face cookies. Once theBud Harris Cycling Track (oval) parking lot filled up at the start in the morning, Brooks made sure people didn't park illegally by sending them down to overflow parking - a gravel lot North of the oval on Washington Blvd. Thanks also to the little girl who held up a sign for this. Brooks also allowed my DD food crew to empty trash and get water at his restaurant along the route at Crane Ave. & Banksville Rd. in Beechview before Canton Ave. At this location and at Middle Rd. & Rt. 8 in Shaler Twp. (also on the route between hills 3 & 4), Brooks had his employees come out and marshal traffic at these very busy, dangerous intersections. Here is a photo of Brooks, myself & Glenn at the start. The registration table is to our right. 

With such a huge pack/field of riders this year, safety became my #1 concern, so I increased the number of orange vest marshals and made Chris Helbling head marshal. A big thanks to Chris, his son Ian, & the rest of the marshals: Returning from last year were Bob {looks like Al from "Home Improvement" TV show with Tim Allen} Bliss (Aaron's father), Tom Reay (Andrew's father), & Michael Hordijk. Also helping were Gene Nacey & his daughter Nina Wilczek, Ken Kaszak, Mike Horowitz, Mark Rauterkus (Erik's father), and August (a woman from Miami, FL). Ron Mower (Tyler's father) was a motorcycle marshal. Riding marshals were Joe Ross, Matt Kurpiewski, Owen Bittner, & Seth Gernot. If I have left anybody out, please let me know who you are. Thanks to West Virginian Steve Harouff for giving us 4 stop/slow signs and 4 orange flags all of which belong to JR Petsko. 

Neighborhoods have been getting involved. Thanks to Julie Ewing & her Troy Hill crew for sweeping clean closed hill #6 - Pig Hill/Rialto St., and removing the barrier atop the hill. Thanks to Fineview's Melissa Gallagher for welcoming riders (with signs) up hill #7 - Suffolk/Hazelton/Burgess - the single toughest DD hill! Thanks to Oscar Swan and Bob Stumpf for lending me their electronic bullhorns again. 855 people have ridden (started) the DD over the past 28 years. 30 riders graduated to my 3 or more DDs ridden list this year. I was unable to ride the 2008 DD because of back surgery. This ended my record 25 consecutive DDs streak. Currently, Steevo has the longest consecutive DDs ridden streak at 9 years. Only 7 people have ridden more DDs than Steevo. Of these 7, only two (Ray Russell & myself) rode this year. Bryan Routledge has ridden the most DDs (9) without ever scoring any points. 

Congrats to all the riders who conquered every hill. To those who didn't, train harder next year and bring a lower gear. If you have say over 50 DD photos in a Facebook album and would like to share them, please send the link to me at and I will put them in my media links section. Could somebody with an advanced GPS unit please send me a file with the entire (oval to oval) 50 mile DD route on it with a cue sheet at least as nice as this one? I need to replace the old one (Liberty Tunnels used to be on the course) on my website. 

Last year, brothers Rich & Greg Hartley started the DD, but only Rich was able to finish. This year, Greg came back and finished. Greg would like to get a 2010 DD jersey (black & yellow) for his brother Rich who inspired him to finish this year. Greg will pay the $75 purchase price for a size XL jersey in good condition. I still have one bran new (unopened) size medium jersey left. If your XL jersey is way too big (maybe you just lost a lot of weight), and you would like to make a trade, I can sell Greg my new one which he will trade you for your old one. If interested, please call Greg at 412-445-5570 or e-mail him at 




412 298 3432 = cell

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ron Paul and a perspective on the race matters

Ron Paul gave CNN some answers yesterday and then the CNN reporter asked the same questions today. And, the question got a reply. And then the CNN reporter re-asked the same dang question over again. Go figure. Then I was reading a thread and came upon this remark reposted from someone called, "theredpill" at
The second flaw in the Ron Paul critique is that his voting record doesn't support what is being implied. After 30 years in public office shouldn't we see a pattern in his voting record that is blatantly racist? Unfortunately for his detractors, we don't. Some votes were not in favor of issues sympathetic to poor blacks. Some votes were not in favor of issues sympathetic to rich whites. In the balance his voting record (which is how he actually MUST be judged) shows an uncanny bravery and consistency. Agree with him or not I can see a constitutional thread through every single vote he's cast. There doesn't appear to be a specific race bias but more a guiding principle of not permitting favors or handicaps based on belonging to a group. His voting records says that people should be free to make their own choices and governments cant legislate who you speak with, love or hate. If I disagree with him at least I know the foundation of my counter argument. The constitution. In an era where lobbyists determine congressional votes by bribery isn't it refreshing and a bit inspiring that no such bias exists with this man? Rather than demonize the man for newsletters why don't you in the media find a consistent strain in his record in public office against blacks, Jews, hispanics or any other ethnic group specifically.

In addition to this I looked for a speech or presentation that contained racist rhetoric. Where is his Sally Kern style "..blacks are lazy" moment? Where is the moment where like Joe Biden, he says that "..."You cannot go to a 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian Accent."? Where is his outrageously racist quote similar to those we can find from Senator Byrd, Governor Wallace or even Hilary Clinton's now famous "Ghandi" quote? I can't even find a public Truman-esque "God does hate the Chinese and Japs" meltdown. With the way he's described I'd at least expect to hear something akin to the famous "...(God) created the white man. I know not who created the blacks" quote from Theodore Bilbo but I haven't found it. If Ron Paul is as racist as some in the media implies, I would think there would be a few Freudian slips from Mr. Paul. Yet there don't seem to be any that I can find.


There were many on the left who protested against accusations that Obama hated America due to his "spiritual mentor's" incendiary words. I think Barack's tolerance and support for Reverend Wright somewhat parallels Ron Paul's current situation. The views we support and our words do come back to haunt us. But should the possibility of his words alone disqualify Ron Paul? If we're going to judge Ron Paul in the history books as a racist, unfit to lead America in its darkest hour then is it fair for us to examine the words of others in the same light?Ghandi is the icon of civil disobedience. He was the face that inspired millions of Indians seeking independence from the British. But if he were judged by his views on race as the press is doing with Dr Paul he would be excluded from the pages of history as a be-speckled, calm loving pacifist.

Ghandi was a outspoken racist when he lived in South Africa. He had a newsletter called Indian Opinion where he regularly presented his anti black rhetoric such as ...

"...Why, of all places in Johannesburg, the Indian location should be chosen for dumping down all kaffirs (niggers) of the town, passes my comprehension. ...About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians I must confess I feel most strongly. I think it is very unfair to the Indian population, and it is an undue tax on even the proverbial patience of my countrymen."

Beyond his anti-black rhetoric Ghandi was also rumored to have a slightly deviant perspective with regards to sex. So let me get this straight. If I'm Ghandi I can basically call people niggers (kaffirs), sleep with young girls and still end up being admired by Martin Luther King, become an icon to every peace activist in the world and even get a spot on the Apple "THINK DIFFERENT" commercial. Sounds good to me. If we judge Ron Paul by his newsletters is it safe to say we should judge Ghandi by his as well? Or does the Ron Paul Rule not apply?

We're taught that Winston Churchill was England's brave leader who kept the allied forces inspired with his words and deeds during WW2. Even though many Americans limited perspective of the British is gleaned from watching royal weddings, there are a good many that have learned that Churchill was a man to be admired. If we apply the Ron Paul rule to him however then he too must be disqualified from history as a racist deserving of scorn and not the leader we've been taught about. Churchill once said.

"...I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place"

Is it safe to say that Winston Churchill and Hitler agreed that there were superior and inferior races? It appears that what they disagreed on is who should lord over them.Abraham Lincoln is portrayed as the central hero in the emancipation of black slaves. A hero worthy of his own monument and face on the five dollar bill. However if we use the Ron Paul Rule we should also be told that he felt blacks were a lesser species and unfit for equality with whites?

Wasn't Abraham Lincoln the one that said

"... Your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living amongst us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated."

Do you in the media ask us to denounce or disregard the words of these men? No and for good reason. They were imperfect men who espoused perfect ideas. As racist as Churchill was I'm happy that he stood shoulder to shoulder with the allies against Hitler. For as racist as Abraham Lincoln was and despite his reluctance to end slavery, he did influence the ending of that institution. Despite his attitudes towards blacks I will always have great respect for Mahatma Ghandi's sacrifice and heroism.

Like these icons of our freedom and peace, Ron Paul's words deserve scrutiny. How one views the world will affect how they govern. Ultimately though, it is his voting record and public statements that are the criteria by which he should be judged. If we vilify Ron Paul we must by definition do the same with Ghandi, Lincoln and dozens of others who are imperfect individuals.

Regardless of the views in those newsletters Ron Paul deserves the same respect afforded to Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack Obama. He's denounced the controversial contents. Let's move on. The words attributed to Ron Paul are no worse than the blatant racism of our accepted icons of virtue. For Ron Paul supporters, civil liberties, ending militarism and fighting against crony capitalism of the Federal Reserve takes precedence over these newsletters for good reason. If we're collectively shackled by debt or perhaps indefinitely detained for speaking our minds in what used to be the freest nation on earth the content of those newsletters won't really matter. In the final analysis, Ron Paul is an imperfect man with a nearly perfect, and very simple message.

Freedom is popular.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fwd: Project Report from Julian Heicklen, 12–11–11

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Julian P Heicklen <>
Date: Sun, Dec 11, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Hi Tyranny Fighters:


We are now Living in Stalin's Soviet Union.
The Congress has just passed a bill by overwhelming margins to permit the President to arrest and detain any person indefinitely without a trial whom he deems to be a threat to the country.

1. Already it is the illegal immigrants and the presumed terrorists.
2. Next it will be the militias and gun owners.
3. Then the opposing press and intellectuals.
4. Then a Democrat President will dispose of the far right.
5. Then a Republican President will dispose of the far left.
6. Then come the atheists, Zoroastrians, and Rastafarians.
7. Then the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Shintos, and Mormons.
8. Then the dissenting Christian clergy.

They will all be used as slave laborers until they die.  If they do not die fast enough, then comes the gas chambers.  Already the U. S. government is reopening the FEMA camps to house all of the new prisoners.

It only took about 15 years for Stalin and Hitler to accomplish this.

The good news is that I may die before they come for me.

Jury Tampering Case
As many of you know, I am being tried for jury tampering.  On Monday, December 12, 2011, at 10:00 am, I was supposed to have a court hearing in front of Judge Kimba Wood at the U. S. District Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York , NY 10007.  Presumably the only issue to be discussed was the Constitutionality of the indictment.  However the hearing has been postponed, until when or why I do not know.

The U. S. Attorney's position is that:
  1. Jury nullification is legal, but that jurors are not to be informed of this.
  2. It is permissible to distribute my literature in a public forum.
  3. The plaza in front of the courthouse is not a public forum.
All of my pertinent submissions to the Court are posted on my web page at: 

To make sense of this you need two other documents which are attached.  They are:

1. Memorandum of Law submitted by Sabrina Shroff

2. Response to her Memorandum by the U. S. Attorney

Chronologically, they precede my letter to Judge Wood and Reply Memorandum of November 29, 2011.

I have prepared a new flyer to distribute at federal courthouses.  It appears at the end of this E-mail for your comments.

Another View

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (c.k.a. Stroock) is an American law firm based in New York City with approximately 350 lawyers in three offices, the other two being in Miami and Los Angeles. Stroock, founded in 1876, maintained an office in Boston from 1996 to 2000 and briefly maintained an office in Budapest as well.

Stroock was named "Law Firm of the Year" by Securitization News in 2005.

Joel Cohen, a lawyer at Strroock & Stroock and Katherine A. Helm have written an article about jury nullification 


much of which attacks me as a person.  Of more concern is their ignorance of the law.  They state that: "It is a doctrine that encourages jurors to decide cases irrespective of the law given to jurors during trial." Actually jury nullification does not encourage jurors to decide cases irrespective of the law unless justice is not being served.  

They also state "Runaway jury verdicts would amount to little more than a random 12-person vote, where each person could vote their conscience, their pocketbook, a flip of their coin, or what have you."  This is a deliberate falsehood.  Jury nullification only requires that the issue of justice be predominant.  They do not seem to be equally concerned that a judge, prosecuting attorney, the President, or a police officer can dismiss for any reason whatsoever.  

They further write: "But, for the U.S. Attorney's Office prosecuting him, on a misdemeanor charge, for violating Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1504 ("Influencing Juror By Writing"), Heicklen was intentionally, and very directly, seeking to impede the legal process by stopping jurors in their tracks."  This statement is incorrect for two reasons: 

1) The statement in the code says: "influencing juror by writing or sending to him."  I do not send stuff to jurors.

2) I do not stop jurors in their tracks.  I do not even know who jurors are.  I only distribute literature to people that approach me. 

They go on to state: "The truth is: That's not the law. Our justice system is based on jurors following the law as instructed by judges. As the 2nd Circuit made exquisitely clear in U.S. v. Thomas, 116 F.3d 606, 614 (2d Cir. 1997):"  Actually the Constitutions of both New York and New Jersey require the jury to judge the law as well as the fact.  Several U. S. Supreme Court decisions and opinions have upheld this view.

This article is interesting for several reasons.  Much of it attacks me as a person, which is irrelevant.  The authors are completely ignorant of the Constitutional requirements for the Jury.  They incompletely quote a statement in a statute to alter its meaning.  They are willing to permit me to discuss my ideas where no jurors are present, in what are often called free speech zones.  That is a euphemism which means where no-one interested in the information will be present.

The article was written by a lawyer in the "Law Firm of the Year," a law firm with 350 lawyers and branches in several U. S. cities, presumably with the sanction of that firm.  Is this the best that the legal profession can provide?

The Free Dictionary defines judiciary as "A system of courts of law for the administration of justice."  Most lawyers and all judges consider the purpose of a judicial system is to uphold the law, when its real purpose is to deliver justice.  Law is only the means to that end, not the end in itself.  

Michael Allison

Michael Allison was charged with five counts of eavesdropping in Illinois because he took pictures of police making arrests.  Each charge carries a 15-year sentence, so Allison could have spent 75 years in prison.  Subsequently the charges have been dropped.  In 12 states it is a crime to photograph police making arrests.


The time is now.  Tomorrow will be too late.  Yours in desperation—Julian




NY Constitution Article I § 8
U. S. Constitution Amendment X

Leland v. Oregon 343 U.S. 790 (1952) 
Winship 397 U. S. 358 (1970) 
Sullivan v. Louisiana 508 U. S. 275, 278 (1983)









Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fw: Email Congress Today to Put Limits on Federal Bureaucrats

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: Dave Nalle <>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2011 11:54:16 -0800
To: <>
Subject: Email Congress Today to Put Limits on Federal Bureaucrats

The REINS Act (HR10/S299) is up for debate in the House today and in the Senate next week. Sponsored by Representative Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Senator Rand Paul (RLC-KY), this act will require federal agencies to submit any regulation which would have an annual impact of $100 million or more for a vote of approval by Congress.

The REINS Act would have a big impact in limiting the power of Federal bureaucracies like the EPA and Department of Energy by stopping them from using rules and regulations which have not been passed by Congress to interfere with commerce and impose huge costs and economic burdens on states and businesses.

While we believe that the threshold of harm set in the act is probably too high, this is a good start towards limiting the power of the Federal bureaucracy and stimulating job growth and the economy at no cost and a likely substantial benefit to taxpayers.

Please take a moment today to email your Representative and Senators today and urge them to vote in support of the REINS Act. You can email them with the convenient form

Keep fighting for liberty!


Dave Nalle

Chairman, Republican Liberty Caucus

P.S.: You can also watch today's debate of this act on C-SPAN starting at 1:30pm or online at C-SPAN.

P.P.S: If you're as concerned as I am about the direction our country is going and want to change our government by electing Republicans who value liberty and won't sell out our rights in the name of security, please take this opportunity to donate to the RLC or at least renew your membership.

If you do not want to receive any more newsletters, this link

To update your preferences and to unsubscribe visit this link
Forward a Message to Someone this link

Fw: Policy Brief: Millage Hike Will Tax Property Owners and Patience

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: "allegheny institute for public policy" <>
Date: Wed, 07 Dec 2011 17:20:15 +0000
To: <>
ReplyTo: "allegheny institute for public policy" <>
Subject: Policy Brief: Millage Hike Will Tax Property Owners and Patience

Policy Brief (Volume 11, Number 63)
ai logo 4

Millage Hike Will Tax Property Owners and Patience 


Govt, County(December 7, 2011)--On December 6th, Allegheny County Council voted to increase property taxes by 1 mill, or 21 percent, resulting in a new millage for property owners of 5.69 mills. Sadly, but predictably,   this action is consistent with the disconcerting pattern of recent years wherein the Council passes illegal legislation that gets overturned in court.  
Under normal circumstances when there is no reassessment pending, a property tax increase by County Council is subject only to the Home Rule Charter language of Article VII, Section 4c which requires “an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the seated members [of Council]”.  Last night’s vote was eleven to four along partisan lines and evidently there will not be a veto from the County Executive.  
But in the current situation Act 71 of 2005 takes away the power of the County to boost property taxes by 21 percent without approval of the court. Signed into law by Governor Rendell in November of 2005, it requires that in a reassessment year Allegheny County and its municipalities (school districts are subject to the subsequent Act 1 requirements) change millage rates by an amount that will hold property tax revenue at the previous year’s level. After establishing the revenue neutral millage, the taxing body is permitted, “by a separate and specific vote” to increase its millage rate to a level which it brings in up to 5 percent above what it collected the previous year. 
Whereas prior to 2005 the County and its taxing bodies were able to take 105 percent of the previous year’s revenue in a reassessment year, Act 71 mandates that 105 percent comes in a two-step process.  If the County or other taxing bodies want a higher than five percent rise, they must petition the court of common pleas.  The Act says the court can approve an increase based “upon good cause shown” by the petitioning taxing body. 
Remarks made by the primary sponsor of the law from the floor of the House on September 27th, 2005, distill the statute’s intent:
“We make our locally elected officials accountable. No longer can they do the backdoor tax increases with the assessments.  They are going to be held accountable by making separate votes for tax increases if they see those are fit…and if they want to make their case to court, that certainly is a public way that they are going to have to justify raising taxes beyond that 5 percent”
In the seventh year after adoption, Act 71 appears to be headed for its first court test. 
Using 2011 assessment numbers and the current 4.69 mill tax rate, the County projects $294 million in property taxes—$274 million after homestead exemptions and refunds.  With the reassessment proceeding towards implementation in 2012, the County will have to adjust its millage to keep tax collections level with 2011. It would then be permitted to take a separate vote to increase taxes to take in 5 percent above that revenue neutral amount, an amount of roughly $14.0 million.  If the County chooses to go after more revenue, it would take the approval of a judge.  As to what case the County would make to argue it would have a “good cause” to implement an additional tax increase is anyone’s guess, but it is a safe assumption that the reason it would point to would be state and Federal cuts in funding.  They might win that case, but it would no doubt drag on as parties filed briefs and debated the case.  The 21 percent increase, if allowed to go into effect, would boost revenues by about $60 million.
What is Council thinking?  It seems clear that the majority who voted for the tax hike are heavily influenced by the thinking from the incoming County Executive, who formerly served on Council and spent time as Council president.  
Do they believe the reassessment is not happening? For most people that would be extremely hard to do since new assessment notices are scheduled to be mailed to property owners in the Pittsburgh Public School District (the City of Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver) in two weeks’ time—something Council has no power to stop.  And that creates a real problem for Council because there is no conceivable legal way the City will have new assessments for 2012 but the rest of the County will not.
The new assessments going out on December 19th will require the City to go through steps mandated by Act 71 to hold revenue neutral from 2011 and then to vote for a tax hike of up to 5 percent in a separate vote if they choose to raise taxes. That has to be done very soon in order for tax bills to go out in January. It seems the County Council and the Executive-elect are planning to set aside the new City and Pittsburgh School tax bills in the new year by retroactively rescinding the new assessment numbers for Pittsburgh and Mt. Oliver. Taxpayers and City Council would be overwhelmed by uncertainty and confusion. The City and Schools would have to take out tax anticipation loans, which is the primary reason Judge Wettick ordered the City assessments to be completed first. A rescission of the new City assessments by the County would obviously run dramatically afoul of the Judge’s orders.
Are they taking the arrogant stance that Act 71 does not apply and that the County can ignore it?  The Executive-elect has argued that the County can raise taxes now for 2012 and if there is a reassessment, the revenue neutral calculation would be based on 2011 revenue raised by 21 percent. But that is a ludicrous argument. To be revenue neutral compared to the 2011 collection can only mean revenue neutral relative to the actual amount of 2011 revenue, not the 2011 level artificially raised after the fact by applying a retroactive tax hike. Thus, the incoming Executive’s argument is likely to be unpersuasive when a judge hears it. The authors of Act 71 cannot possibly have envisioned the language of the bill being so tortured and misused.
Does Council believe the Supreme Court will overturn its decision on the base year? The Supreme Court deliberated long and hard over its ruling and heard all the arguments that could have been raised by County attorneys. Their decision will almost certainly not be revisited. A revision of a Court decision in such a short period is extraordinarily rare—if it has in fact ever happened.
Moreover, the incoming Executive’s reading of the Supreme Court ruling is in error when he argues the Court should have tossed out base year assessments for all counties. The Court ruled only that the base year as applied in Allegheny County violated the uniformity clause and that it could not set aside another county’s base year system unless or until there was a convincing legal challenge in such a county showing the uniformity clause was being violated.
Incredibly, the incoming Executive is now arguing that the courts should not have the power to force the County to do something its elected officials and the majority of voters do not want and therefore, the County is within its rights to ignore the courts. One wonders if he believes the rights of the minority as contained in and protected by the Constitution of Pennsylvania can be trampled on any time the majority decides they are not interested in minority rights or the court rulings that uphold those rights. The correct position for an elected official is to honor one’s oath to obey, defend and protect the Constitution and obey the laws of the state and court decisions based on those laws.  It is honorable to work on changing the Constitution and the laws following prescribed processes if that is the will of the majority but until that happens the Constitution as written is the controlling legal document. Abandoning that principle is to abandon the rule of law, on which our entire societal and economic structures depend.
Does Council think the General Assembly will intervene? The Legislature adopted the concept of the base year assessment and it will have to change that law. Up to this point there has been virtually no appetite in the Legislature to reform the state’s assessment and property taxation laws to bring the Commonwealth into the 20th century. It would seem unlikely they are about to undo the base year statute any time soon.  No doubt they should for a number of reasons, but it is a political firestorm waiting to happen and few wished to get burned.  So, for now it is more comfortable to let the courts do the work.
And if the Executive-elect expects the Legislature to write a bill setting aside the Supreme Court ruling he will be disappointed. There is little or no prospect that the Legislature will write such a bill. Such an act would create a constitutional crisis in the state by destroying the balance and separation of power of the three branches of government.
As matters now stand, the Council’s tax hike is almost certainly headed to court. Indeed, it would be useful for the Judge to issue an injunction against the County’s tax increase pending the completion of the reassessment on the grounds that it will create enormous confusion and delays in a process that has already dragged on for years and has perpetuated the inequities in the assessment errors that have been in place for a decade. One can only imagine the turmoil if the Executive-elect follows through on his pledge to refuse to certify and mail out the new assessments even though new assessments are available and the County is under a Supreme Court order to do so. Will the judge hold the Executive in contempt and have him arrested?
One thing is sure, Allegheny County is about to witness property tax chaos if the Council raises the millage rate by 21 percent and refuses to carry out the Supreme Court’s order to reassess.

Jake Haulk, Ph.D., President
Eric Montarti, Senior Policy Analyst

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Fw: Summit Against Racism-Save the Date

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: "Maddock Family" <>
Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 04:58:59 -0500
To: Tim Stevens<>
Subject: Summit Against Racism-Save the Date

      The Black and White Reunion's

14th Annual Summit Against Racism - Saturday, January 21, 2012
8:30am-3pm, East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206


Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


The Summit will offer inspiring speakers spanning different generations, skill building techniques for our justice movements, strengthening the programs of the Black and White Reunion such as the Jonny Gammage Scholarship, plus supporting other anti-racism work in our region.

Registration:  Adults:  $25.00, including breakfast and lunch; $10.00 for under 18 and limited income.


1.             Current Workshops being discussed:

The meaning of the "Occupy Movement"? The focus will be the Occupy Movement's relationship to racism. 

b.             "The Image of Women"

c.             "Implementing the Coalition Against Violence Strategies for Change"  -   

d.             "Four New Policies for Police Reform have been passed in Pittsburgh – How do we Assure Success?"  "What does justice for Jonny Gammage and Jordan Miles look like?"

e.             City League/WPIAL – A Case for Integrating Athletics in Western Pennsylvania.

f.                    Showing the Nate Smith "What Does Trouble Mean" movie again for those who have not seen it in a separate room.  Continuing the struggle for more minority labor participation on government funded construction sites in Western Pennsylvania.  The discussion of reactions to the film and the relevance of it today could follow the showing of the film.

Other possible Workshops:  "The Prison Industrial Complex" & "Land Tenure & Race"

Next meeting:  Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 6 pm, East Liberty Presbyterian Church

The Black and White Reunion is looking for volunteers to help out with this event.  Please contact blackandwhite_reunion(at) orTim Stevens, 412-758-7898, Bob Maddock, 412-322-9275

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday (and beyond) Buying Guide

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: "" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 17:49:02 -0500
To: <>
ReplyTo: "" <>
Subject: [DBD] Cyber Monday (and beyond) Buying Guide

Thinking of doing some holiday shopping? We hope that when purchasing for loved ones and friends, you'll consider avoiding companies and products designed to restrict freedom, and instead support companies and organizations that defend (or at least respect) freedom.

Before you click the links in any of the "Cyber Monday" mails you've been inundated with today, please see our 2011 Holiday Buying guide for the best and worst gifts this season.

We will be updating our guide throughout the holiday season, so come back every now and then to see new tips and suggestions.

You can help us update our holiday buying guide by emailing suggestions to

Happy Holidays,
Josh, Matt, John, and Richard

P.S. You can still see last year's guide for additional helpful information at

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Fw: Stop Indefinite Military Detention of US Citizens

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: Dave Nalle <>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 13:04:41 -0800
To: <>
Subject: RLC Action Alert: Stop Indefinite Military Detention of US Citizens

Act Now to Stop Another Attack on Your Rights

Don't Give the Military the Power to Detain US Citizens Indefnitely


 Stop Indefinite Military Detention of US CitizensThey're at it again. The Senate is about to pass a bill which will take away more of our most fundamental, constitutionally guaranteed rights in the name of the ever expanding security state. We think it's time to tell them "NO" and take action to protect those rights.

If the new Defense Authorization bill passes it will actually authorize the military will to arrest US Citizens within the United States and hold them indefinitely without charge or trial in military prisons or try them before military courts without the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Within a couple of days the U.S. Senate will vote on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) which was written and passed through committee in secret. It includes two sections which would change laws on military detention to authorize the military to imprison almost anyone without due process of law or any respect for their civil liberties, including Americans in foreign countries and those living in the United States. Those detained by the military under this law could be held indefinitely without charge or trial and they could end up in military courts instead of civilian courts.

The NDAA is almost certain to pass with strong bipartisan support. We don't have the votes to stop it, though some RLC endorsees like Sen. Rand Paul oppose many sections of the bill. It is likely that it will hit the Senate floor in the next few days with the backing of powerful Republicans like John McCain, who authored this unconstitutional expansion of military authority, who will be pushing to pass it without revision.

You may think that this sort of insane legislation which totally undermines our Constitutionally protected rights can't be real. You may find it hard to believe that most Republicans are supporting it. You may not think this could happen in your America. Yet this outrage is entirely real. I urge you to read the contents of S.1867 (PDF), particularly sections 1031 and 1032, and see for yourself.

While the RLC also objects to other aspects of this bill, we probably can't stop the entire bill from passing, but there is at least a way to oppose these particularly horrendous provisions and get them removed from the bill. Senator Mark Udall has offered an amendment (#1107) which would strike sections 1031 and 1032 and protect our rights.

Please urge your Senators to protect our rights and the Constitution and oppose sections 1031 and 1032 of the Defense Authorization bill by voting for the Udall Amendment.

You can do this by using the email form on our website.

If you're as concerned as I am about the direction our country is going and want to change our government by electing Republicans who value liberty and won't sell out our rights in the name of security, please take this opportunity to donate to the RLC or at least renew your membership.

Thank you for standing up for liberty.


Dave Nalle

Chairman, Republican Liberty Caucus

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Fw: What Cuts?

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

From: "Ron Paul " <>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2011 07:37:15 -0800
To: Liberty Activist<>
Subject: What Cuts?

Dear Liberty Activist,

If you missed Tuesday night’s debate on CNN, there’s something you need to know.

All seven of my opponents stood up on stage and applauded Big Government - asked for more of it, in fact.

So your choice is clear.

With just over five weeks left until voters begin going to the polls, if you want a President who will FIGHT for less government and lower spending, then I must ask for your support right away.

You see, Newt Gingrich – who previously warned of the dangers of the Patriot Act - now wants it expanded.

He wants amnesty, too – to keep American citizens footing the bill for government services for illegal immigrants.

The others were falling all over themselves to launch more undeclared TRILLION-dollar wars on Iran, or perhaps Pakistan, or maybe even Syria

Of course, they all want more military spending, even though we’re already spending almost one TRILLION dollars per year – an amount nearly equal to what the entire rest of the world spends!

But that certainly hasn’t stopped the chicken-little stories from my opponents about supposed “defense cuts”!

Even Mitt Romney tried to pull the wool over our eyes.

I set him straight.  NOTHING is being cut in Washington.  PERIOD.

Believe me, I’ve tried!

All Congress is arguing about is how much to increase spending.

But when hundreds of billions of dollars just aren’t “enough” for my opponents’ favorite agencies, their answer is to howl in pain.

Liberty Activist, isn’t this the game the liberals play?

I guess we’ve learned to expect as much over the years from them.

But isn’t it downright disgusting when Republican candidates for President stoop to that level?

After all, we’re over $15 TRILLION in debt.

When are my opponents going to get serious?

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s lacking in these debates so far – seriousness.

And that’s why the establishment of BOTH parties is so scared of me.

You see, they know I am serious about balancing the budget in three years.

They know I will cut ONE TRILLION in spending my first year.

And they know NONE of their sacred cows are safe. 

If we don’t need it or can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter what department of government we’re talking about

Sure, the establishment will scream and holler that we need MORE money to keep our country safe.

But the simple fact is, if we had a constitutional foreign policy – and if we stopped nation-building and policing the world - our nation would be much safer and spend much LESS money at the same time.

Our troops understand that fact.

That’s why I’ve received more money from members of the military than all of my Republican opponents COMBINED.

But sadly, my establishment opponents just don’t seem to get it.

They want more spending, more government, and more debt.

You and I both know we can’t afford politics as usual any longer.

You and I both know maintaining the big spending, Big Government status quo will only lead to our nation’s ruin.

But I’m the ONE candidate who is serious about fixing our problems.

I’m the ONE candidate who will change our foreign policy to strengthen our national defense while ending these wars.

I’m the ONE candidate who will fight to end welfare to illegal immigrants AND secure our border.

And I’m the ONE candidate who will take power BACK from government, not scream to give more to it.

But I must be able to count on your generous financial support if I’m going to win the Republican nomination.

My campaign is in crunch time right now.

As I mentioned, it’s just over five weeks until voters start going to the caucuses and polls to begin selecting the next Republican nominee for President.

In these final weeks, my campaign is launching an all-out voter contact blitz with TV ads, direct mail, and boots on the ground in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

With polls showing me statistically tied for first in Iowa and clearly in second in New Hampshire, you and I must make our big push right now.

So please make your most generous contribution TODAY to my campaign.

Whatever you can give, I’ll put to IMMEDIATE use getting my message of liberty to the voters.

We’re so close.  I believe the time is right, and you and I have the message to win.

So please make your most generous contribution TODAY!

Together, we can Restore America Now!

For Liberty,

Ron Paul

P.S. Every one of my opponents during Tuesday night’s debate was demanding more government.

Some are even falsely claiming military spending is being cut!

But the only thing being debated in Washington, D.C. right now is how fast spending will increase!

I’m the only candidate in this race who is serious about cutting spending.  And if we don’t need it or can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter what department it’s in.

But with just over five weeks left until voters begin going to the polls, I must be able to count on your financial support if I’m going to win the Republican nomination for President.

So please contribute whatever you are able TODAY!

Paid for by Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee