Monday, November 06, 2017

Conservative foil: Sue Kerr of Pgh Lesbian Correspondents

Let's ponder the definition. “Conservative” is holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.

Sue Kerr, a blogger, (I am a blogger too) is playing the role of a conservative and asking people to vote “NO” to the City of Pittsburgh ballot measure that I have championed because:

- She has not found anyone with actual facts, however, she refused to answer my friend request on Facebook and refused to discuss this with me despite my repeated approaches to her. So, her seeking is more like planned avoidance. Come on Sue. Why can't we be friends? One of my central themes as a coach and advocate for better government is “playing well with others.”

- Then she writes, “the narrow exclusion would only benefit a few people.” Really? You really want to put hardships on super-minorities? You think that because only a fraction of the population is (insert letter of your choice) that they don't deserve the rights of others? What about protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity? Hey, that is a “narrow” and those protections only benefit a few people. So, let's let things as they are. So conservative of you.

Pittsburgh passed a law with sexual orientation protection and that benefits few – and I'm proud to have that as part of the fabric of our city's legacy. Helping a few people helps us all be better, be stronger, be more whole. At its roots, the ballot question is about non-discrimination. I don't like discrimination, even for a few, and I'm puzzled why you favor it.

- Vote no, posts Sue, “because some are already coaching and teaching in public universities as adjunct faculty (just Google a few names.)” What? Who? Name names! I know of none. Should we google the entire city payroll? And, what might that uncover? I don't have the names of all the city workers. Sue, why don't you send this posting to Michael Lamb, city controller. Does your partner work for CCAC? I don't know what to think. I lost my decoder ring anyway. And, let's say it is true in that perhaps there are a few workers in the city who are already working another part-time job, against the norm and city charter's stipulations, for CCAC and /or Pittsburgh Public Schools – then what? Do you want to whistleblow? Or, would you just forgive them and not allow others the same opportunities? Then vote YES with me. Or, are you just without any logic and wishing to spread fog and doubt?

- Since, as Sue posted, “enforcement of this ban has certainly not been consistent” then it makes sense to vote YES and be done with this opportunity for meaningless rule-breaking. All should know that I championed this ballot question because last year a newly-hired coach was forced off of the PPS job because of his city employment with the department of public works. Real work actions, to my knowledge, have been fully consistent and ethical. He should not have worked last year – and he didn't. But, he should be able to work as a coach next week if we change the charter. And, I hope he applies, gets hired and takes another coaching job as soon as possible.

- Sue thinks a no vote is wise because of a lack of an informed perspective. Wrong. The matter before the voters in the election is for part-time employment. Part-time employment for public-school coaching and adjunct teaching at CCAC is different. The charter's authors didn't visualize every possible situation under the sun for the future of our city. This is an enhancement. Be progressive.

The quote from Mr. O'Connor of city council speaks against a broader exemption as being problematic, but this ballot question is specific and NOT A PROBLEM.
Ms. Rudiak of city council defends the ballot question too. The change is what it is. It is not an exemptions for all types of government side work. It is a question with focus. Perhaps Sue likes uncertainty and sinister plots within her ballot questions. I don't.

- Sue goes on to slam Natalia Rudiak for leaving office at the end of her term. She didn't seek re-election because she is moving on to other chapters in her life. “Who would champion such a thing?” is a direct question from Sue. Answer: A reasonable person who listens to citizens' concerns and does her job while she is hired to do her job. I'm happy that Natalia has not been a lame duck for an entire year.

Sue attempts to throw stones now at the messenger and not the message, a childish ploy.

Sue then plays the not forthcoming victim yet won't converse with me. Joke is on Sue.

Sue gets it wrong again when she posts that the goal is to create more employment and side income opportunities for City employees. Wrong! That is not the goal. Sue knows what the goal is, as the first line of her blog post reads, “… I think students in Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) deserve good coaches.” That's the goal. We had a good coach knocked off of a part-time coaching job opportunity because of a city-charter provision that worked AGAINST good coaching. Here is the formula from 2016-17 season on the PPS pool deck: 2 coaches, minus one, equals less coaching. That's bad. Help fix it.

- Sue asks a question for another day and another referendum, “Why not allow employees to do holiday temp work with the postal service?” That's not the issue. Your thinking that voters should pick “NO” because this ballot question is not going to help the postal service is crazy talk. I'm happy Sue thinks coaching is important. No amount of her lengthy googling should get in the way of a YES vote on this simple measure.

- Sue asks: Is it reasonable to amend our City constitution to address select employment vacancies in PPS? Isn’t that the responsibility of PPS? NO! The sticking point is the city, not PPS. The problem is with the city's charter, not PPS. When fixing a problem, go to the source of the problem. Victims are not to blame.

We’re talking 3,100 people who would be ineligible out of the whole population of the City. Is that a reason to change the constitution? YES. Vote yes. Problem fixed. Changes made. No blood required. This is not a drastic measure. I hate to write such a drastic blog post too.

The 3,100 people who work for the city account for the second largest block of employed people in the city. If five great coaches come from the ranks of the city's work force, they could impact hundreds of kids a year. Whole schools and neighborhoods could change. Teen violence might reversed itself. I know that I help to teach about 200 kids how to swim and swim better every year. In the course of my career, more than 10,000 kids have called me “coach.” The impact of a few coaches can be tremendous. I think that some of the folks who work in the city should have the same opportunities to contribute to the community in meaningful ways as I have had the good fortune to do as well.

I've been known to recruit coaching help for employment needs anywhere and everywhere. Even at UPMC and at AGH. Last year, an kid of an AGH employee was employed with our Summer Dreamers Swim & Water Polo Camp. Furthermore, it is HARD to find qualified candidates to coach in part-time positions. There is a world-wide shortage of lifeguards. Coaching shortages are, well, just google it yourself, Sue.
Sue says that this proposed change will disproportionately benefit men. Sue, ever hear of Title IX? There are not fewer opportunities for women coaches. And, women and men make the same money in coaching with PPS as it is a union-negotiated amount. Double-wrong.

OMG Sue, here is my answer for your absurd question that follows. Yes. Anyone can sue anyone at any time. Sue's Q: “Does this set up the possibility for excluded employees to sue the City because they are not able to pursue a sorting gig with the USPS over the holidays?” No one answered that question – except me.

Only a conservative crank would use the lack of a robust research process on the charter provision’s history – paralysis by analysis – as an excuse for a no vote.

Coaching is a privilege. I am privileged. I coach boys and girls. Title IX insures that the boys and girls get equal treatment.

I do not want to see our police union in Harrisburg at the PA Supreme Court in litigation seeking rights to move their homes and their kids into school districts that are out of the city. Rather, I'd be more willing to permit employees of the city, such as those on the police force, to be permitted to coach their sons and daughters and their classmates in the city's schools programs of sports, music, chess, drama, debate – with part-time jobs. For some, being engaged in the lives of their children is important. And, it is important enough that if my city prohibited that from happening, moving out of the city makes great sense. Let's keep those people here.

And you'd rather have a volunteer coach from the ranks of city employees – for further hardships on families. A volunteer coach isn't accountable. A volunteer coach has no standing with the district and can be flicked aside by the PFT in a heart-beat. Clueless odds are high. I do not want evenly applied coaching employment. I want talented, inspiring coaches. You seem to want to keep employees of the city within financial distress.

Your commending of the city employees who put forth this suggestion is misplaced too. A city resident and a PPS coach, acting on my own, seeing the reality of situations, put forth the ballot measure. The city and the district have been reserved. Let's all applaud people who act with integrity and let's all fix flaws, together. Both big and small flaws count. Don't get in the way of progress because it has always been done in another flawed way. This is fair. This is complete for what it is. If you want utopia, put it on the ballot yourself.

A good reason for you to block this YES vote is because a women helped get it in front of the voters and she is quitting. We are losing women in elected roles so we should not pass measures that they help to advance. Come on.

You, Sue, can write the post-office ballot measure for 2018. Go for it.

By the way, off of society's needs can't be put into one YES or NO ballot measure. By voting YES, the citizens of Pittsburgh get to side-step and fix a WORST-PRACTICE clause in the city's charter. It isn't about “best-practices” – but rather about making improvements.

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