Saturday, December 15, 2001
Advent is a time of anticipation and as long as we expect, as long as we hope, someone will light a candle against the revailing darkness -- and neigh the winds of hate nor the gales of evil will extinguish it (John A. Taylor)
In the midst of world crisis, there has been joy in the Palmer/Rauterkus household and we thought we would share a little of it with you. We hope you are finding joy in this season and hope to see all of you in the coming year.
Mark provided lots of new and interesting activities and friendships as he ran in the primary as a Republican candidate for the mayor of Pittsburgh. Although he didn't make it beyond the primary as a candidate, he transitioned this energy into being an advocate for many city related issues. Mark continues his involvement with the Unitarian Universalist church of the South Hills and currently is creating the web presence for the congregation. Mark made a new foray into being a swim parent (instead of head coach) this summer as Erik joined his first swim team -- Mark did a great job of cheering everyone on (with secret coaching of Erik during free swim).
Catherine received tenure at the University of Pittsburgh this year which was a great milestone for the whole family. Her work teaching, doing research, and directing the Audiology clinic in the medical school continues to keep her challenged and rewarded. Meetings this year included visist to Denver, San Francisco, Philadeplhia, St. Louis, and Chicago. The whole family made it out to San Diego and we combined Catherine's meeting with lots of fun visiting our friends (erik's godparents) the Bratts (from San Francisco).
Erik is a first grader at Phillips Elementary School where he seems to have a talent for math and is quickly learning to read. He continues his violin music and has performed in several concerts this past year. He also is now part of the children's choir at church and will be a singing manger animal in the upcoming pageant. Erik proved to be a terrific athlete this summer as he brought home ribbons from all of his swim meets (a ver fast six year old frestyler). He is missing both hit top front teeth this Christmas!
Grant just turned four and is enjoying a few days per week at the University Child Development Center (pre-schoo). Otherwise, he and Dad hang out during the week. Grant is well known in the political scene since he did much of Mark's campaigning with mim. Grant started violin this fall and also had a summer of terrific swimming. With a new pair of hockey skates for his birthday, Grant no is joining Mom and brother at the local ice rink (Schenley). Grant's curent passion is reading the bible; a few of his more interesting intrepretations include,
"I think Eve was just bored and wanted more ups and downs in life."
"I don't think anyone would name their son Cain."
"If Noah took tow of every animal on the ark and the first thing he did on dry land was sacrifice a lamb, hos is that we have sheep today?"
We'll cover the New Testament (or as Erik says, "the sequel") next Holiday letter.
Trips for 2002 include a visit to Maine in the spring to see Grandpa, a visit to New England in the summer to see much of the Palmer family and college friends, another great trip to Virginia to enjoy SUUSI, and a visit to California in the fall to see lots of friends. Hope to see you in our travels or here in Pittsburgh.
The flip side of the one page letter had a page from the past on my web site. It showed the results of the WTAE TV poll hosted at PittsburghChannel.com -- and gave my "winner's inishgts."
Friday, November 16, 2001
Thursday, November 15, 2001
Thanks for contacting the League of Women Voters with your concerns regarding the "political landscape for candidates". Since our Board of Directors does not meet again for two months, may I suggest that you put into writing your thoughts and experiences as a candidate in local elections. I'm thinking of a short position or white paper kind of document. I will be pleased to review it along with our Voter Service committee which I chair, and we can go from there with the whole Board.
I'll look forward to receiving something in writing from you. It's good to hear from you again.
V-P, Voter Service
Monday, October 29, 2001
The National Club Swimming Association has announced that the site of the 2002 NCSA Junior National Swimming Championships will be Belmont Olympic Plaza Pool, Long Beach, CA.
The meet, for all United States 18-year-old-and-younger swimmers, will be held March 26-30, 2002.
NCSA Founding Member, Bob Gillett announced, “The contract with the City of Long Beach has been signed and we will continue the process of preparing for this first “true” Junior National Championships for the sport of swimming in the United States. The concept of a United States Junior Championships has long been the desire of many coaches and swimmers throughout the US. This meet will offer a new level of motivation and goal direction for many great developing swimmers in our country. Most of the club programs in this country feel strongly about the benefits of a true Junior National Swimming Championships. It is a big addition for the future of club swimming in the US.
The qualifying time standards, event schedule, housing accommodations and other details will be announced in the near future.www.ncsa-usa.org
Tuesday, October 23, 2001
Thursday, October 04, 2001
CONTACT: Jeff Cronin or Susan Quatrone, 202/736-5770.
CLEAN ELECTIONS COALITION TO SUE MASSACHUSETTS OVER LACK OF FUNDING FOR NEW REFORM LAW
LAWSUIT WILL SEEK IMMEDIATE REVIEW
BY THE MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
PLAINTIFFS ALLEGE VIOLATION OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION
BOSTON, MA - A broad coalition of voters, candidates,
and organizations will file a lawsuit on Thursday
before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court over
the lack of funding for the Massachusetts Clean
The coalition will name, as defendants, the
director of the Massachusetts Office of Campaign
and Political Finance (OCPF) and the Secretary of
the Commonwealth. The lawsuit will allege that,
by not fully implementing the Clean Elections Law,
the defendants are in violation of Article 48 of
the Massachusetts Constitution. The plaintiffs
will seek an immediate hearing before a full
panel of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
"We are unified in our desire to see the Clean
Elections Law fully funded as intended by the
voters and as required by the State Constitution,"
says David Donnelly, director of Mass Voters for
Clean Elections, a plaintiff in the case.
"As venerable institutions and as scrappy upstarts,
as participating statewide candidates and as voters
who simply want our votes to mean something, the
plaintiffs of this case have come together in
unity around one simple idea: We are asking the
state's highest court to vindicate our
The lawsuit cites Article 48, an amendment to the
state constitution, which states that if a law
approved by the voters is not repealed by the
State Legislature, the Commonwealth must appropriate
"such money as may be necessary to carry such law
In November 1998, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly
approved the Clean Elections Law, creating a voluntary
public financing system for candidates running for
statewide and state legislative offices. On
August 1, 2001, candidates for statewide office
seeking to qualify for the public funds began
accepting small qualifying contributions and forgoing
larger donations, as is required under the new law.
While the State Legislature had set aside $10 million
in each of the last two fiscal years, that funding is
still unavailable due to legislative inaction.
In addition, the plaintiffs argue, the amount
currently bottled up in the Clean Elections Fund
does not represent "such money as may be necessary
to carry such law into effect," as is required
by Article 48.
With no money available from the Clean Elections Fund,
statewide candidates seeking to qualify in the new
system face the prospect of withdrawing their
participation and potentially shutting down their
campaigns. State legislative candidates will be
faced with the same level of uncertainty in the
very near future.
The lawsuit seeks a court order mandating that
OCPF immediately implement the Clean Elections
Law and disburse the necessary funds to all
qualified candidates. While OCPF may claim that
it does not have any funds to disburse, the
plaintiffs will argue that such a claim is
not an excuse for a constitutional violation.
"This case is about protecting our democracy
and our state constitution," says Ken White,
executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts,
another plaintiff in the case. "When our most
basic rights are being trampled, we must seek
redress in the courts."
In addition to Mass Voters for Clean Elections,
Common Cause Massachusetts, the other plaintiffs
include: the Massachusetts Republican Party, the
Massachusetts Green Party, five statewide
candidates seeking to qualify for public funds
(Warren Tolman, Democratic candidate for
governor; Evan Slavitt, Republican candidate
for attorney general; Sarah Cannon Holden,
Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor;
Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for governor;
and James O'Keefe, Green Party candidate for
treasurer); two legislative candidates (State
Representative Doug Petersen and Stephen Spain,
a Democratic candidate for state senator);
and individual voters from across the state.
The legal team representing the plaintiffs
includes the Boston-based National Voting Rights
Institute, a prominent legal center specializing
in campaign finance litigation, the Boston law
firm of Foley Hoag & Eliot, former Massachusetts
assistant attorney general Edward Colbert, now
of Looney & Grossman; Richard L. Neumeier of
McDonough, Hacking & Neumeier, and Donald J. Simon,
general counsel to Common Cause in Washington, D.C.
To view the full text of the lawsuit, please log on to
the Common Cause website at http://commoncause.org/states/massachusetts/100401ma.htm.
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Monday, August 13, 2001
Friday, August 10, 2001
Three kids ended up going to the hospital. One broke a bone. One was shot with a B-B gun.
On the opening skate, after hearing about how all the park's users would need to have helmets -- about half of them didn't have on helmets. They were, upon objection, given a 'time out' -- then -- before long, all were back on the boards.
The city is about ten years too late with the opening of a skate park.
I'm suprised that the skate park isn't funded by Dr. Fu -- as he could get a lot of new business from those that play there.
Wednesday, July 18, 2001
Monday, July 02, 2001
Carnegie Library of Homestead swim lesson group. Erik, my son, is in the front on the left. These kids really enjoyed their lessons and made great improvements.
Weed and Seed is nice. But, these kids need to flourish. This was a middle group at swim lessons. I taught older ones and younger too.
Sunday, June 24, 2001
Volk's article on Carmine said, "Not only did the party pick Carmine largely because they had no one else, ... "
Wrong! I ran for the nomination and lost. Options were present. The "no one else" statement needs a retraction. Our contested primary made history. Volk's wrongness and ploy at revisionist history can't be tolerated.
Moreover, City GOP committees didn't pick anyone. Voters in the GOP Primary did. PARTY bosses spoke and opted to be neurtral, unlike the Dems. The party put the decision without strings nor pressure to VOTERS.
Pgh's Republicans acted more democratic and with greater inclusion than Democrats. Citizen activists and champions of principles are turning to the GOP side, especially in the city.
Tom Murphy and Bob O'Connor had four closed-door debates. Cronies in the Dem party always try to toss challengers off the ballot.
In the future, only cronies with $1-million PACs but without ideas and hope for self-government are going to be Dem candidates. The Dems killed themselves in 2001 by slamming the door to opposition, so un-american. That was the biggest news. Volk's political story missed what was most important, and in lesser matters, he scored the same.
Wednesday, May 30, 2001
I jotted down a few things I heard as best I could (in between phone calls, emails, etc. engineering equations) while listening at work today. Nothing here is verbatim, but I think I got the drift of the conversation for the most part. If you want the full interview or to confirm anything I might have possibly misrepresented then go to Quinn's show archives for today at:
** Offering tax incentives to bring businesses into an area often brings in bad businesses that wouldn't come in otherwise. This policy brings in outsiders at the expense of insiders.
** Tom Murphy is an arrogant man. He's subject to his vision overriding his common sense. All too often he gives away the farm to outside businesses in the form of tax breaks.
** It's bad to buy votes with public funds. Stadiums and a north shore "Disneyland" are examples of this. Democrats have sold out the black community time after time, but they still somehow manage to get their votes.
** The colleges and universities in Pittsburgh are a great local strength. (What would you expect a
local college professor to say?) He sees an opportunity for government to help to keep these
young people here. Quinn cautioned about adopting a "central planning" mindset and suggested just eliminating things like entertainment taxes, but Dr. Carmine didn't seem convinced that a more active government would be bad.
** Quinn said that he'd like to invite Dr. Carmine back for additional interviews to let voters know that there is another candidate out there.
Wednesday, May 23, 2001
Monday, May 21, 2001
20-minute hands-on demostrations:
- Noise reduction technology
- Directional microphone technology for hearing and noise
- Disposable hearing aids
- Assistive listening devices
- Video otoscope - come see your own ear canal and ear drum
Monday, May 21, 2001, 1-4 pm
203 Lothrop Street
4:30-4:45 Catherine V. Palmer, Ph.D., Director, audiology and Hearing Aids, UPMC Health System, Welcome
4:45 to 5:30 Mead C. Killion, Ph.D., President, Etymotic Research, Missing Dots: Audibility or Missing Inner Hair Cells -- It's All the Same to the Brain
5:30 to 5:45 Eugene N. Myers, MD, Professor and Chairman, Dept of Otolaryngology, Remarks
5:45 to 6:45 Dinner
6:45 to 7:15 pm Gail Dudmundsen, MA, Gundhear Inc. LOBAT-Standard or Option on All Hearing Aids
7:15 to 7:45 pm Robert Sweetow, PhD., Univ. of California, San Francisco, The Efficacy of Disposable, Entry Leval and Instant Fit Hearing Aids
7:45 to 9 pm, Dessert and reception in the newly renovated audiology and hearing aid department, Eye & Ear Institute, 4th floor
Wednesday, May 16, 2001
InPgh: Tribune-Review Causes Republican To Convert to Liberal Views: Antichrist consults publicist about future
Too late for the primary but far ahead of the general election, presumptive Republican nominee Jim Carmine has had a change of heart about the Citzens Police Review Board and the federal consent decree under which Pittsburgh police operate. He's now in favor of them. And it's all thanks to that bastion of leberalism, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which has not covered Carmine the way ti pushed James Roddey for county executive over Cyril Wecht. A Trib reporter (whom Carmine wishes to keep anonymous, lest the poor man lose his job) asked Carmine some challenging questions that proved a conversion experience shortly before the primary. "yes, indeed, we deserve the consent decree," Carmine now says. "we did some awful stuff in Pittsburgh. We did it, we got it, we earned it." The CPRB is a much more complicated animal -- limping and toothless actually -- but Carmine believes it could work with the right support from the mayor's office. He cites the Garrity warning, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which lets police testify without being prosecuted by such review bodies as the CPRB. "I would indeed be willing to coerce police testimony" using Garrity, Carmine says. "What is happening now is despicable. The police sit there with their hands folded" before the CPRB while the board hands out sentences unenforceable by Chief Robert McNeilly, Jr. under current police contracts. "Which means the mayor's office will be sued." Carmine concludes. "But it makes it very, very clear that the mayor is behind the CPRB." Imagine that.
Tuesday, May 08, 2001
Tuesday, May 08, 2001
By James O'Toole, Politics Editor, Post-Gazette
The men who would be mayor traded views on schools, public safety and transportation issues last night in the final debate before next Tuesday's primary election.
For five of the candidates, it was the only chance to share a televised stage with Mayor Tom Murphy and City Council President Bob O'Connor, the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination that has for decades been tantamount to election in Pittsburgh.
"Thank God for public television. We finally have all the candidates together," Democrat Leroy L. Hodge remarked as the 90-minute session opened.
The incumbent was, as expected, the most frequent target of criticism, but the tone of the evening was more earnest than contentious.
O'Connor challenged Murphy's management of the police department, faulting the fact that the city entered into a federal consent decree governing police conduct. The councilman also criticized the fact that last year's police recruiting class had no minorities and only three females.
Murphy strongly defended his management and the department's performance while again criticizing O'Connor for his promise to fire Police Chief Robert McNeilly Jr.
"We've made big changes; we're batting 100 percent on the consent decree," Murphy said. "We've changed the culture."
James Carmine, a Republican candidate, saw a lack of leadership on Murphy's part over police officers refusing to testify before the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board.
Mark Rauterkus, the other GOP hopeful, said he would increase awareness on police issues by televising deliberations of the police review board.
Hodge said he would stress improved education and training for officers and do more to recruit city residents for the force.
In response to a question on the problems of trash and dumping in the city, Murphy said he was considering establishing a special environmental court to increase visibility and prosecution of environmental crimes.
O'Connor said the answer was not a new court but a larger budget for the city's Public Works Department.
"We don't have to reinvent the wheel all over again," O'Connor said.
Earl V. Jones Sr., another Democrat, said that the answer to the problem was personal example."I spent two years of my life cleaning up my neighborhood," said the Hazelwood retiree. "You have to show the people even if you have to do it yourself."
On transportation, O'Connor said that the completion of the city portion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway offered promise in easing congestion in city neighborhoods such as Squirrel Hill.
But Murphy sounded a distinctly skeptical note on the mammoth construction project, which is strongly supported by some of the same labor unions that support him in the coming primary.
"I have not embraced the Mon Valley Expressway yet," he said.
In elaborating after the debate, Murphy said, "The fact of the matter is if you're going to spend millions of dollars on highways, you're never going to have enough money to build a mass transit system like you see in other cites."
On another issue, Murphy said the city had "learned some hard lessons on Plan B," where what he termed "pass-though shenanigans" have allowed the circumvention of promises that a specified portion of the stadium construction work would go to minority and female-owned firms.
Democrat Joshua Pollock called the Murphy administration's record on minority contracting "one of the most disgusting things this city has done."
Tuesday, May 01, 2001
Roles: I'm a citizen. The professor has said that he started his political career.... Carmine ran for office in the past. I've never run for office. And, IMSHO, running for office does not make a career.
Cash: Professor Carmine thinks that big fundraising is ready to occur and serious contributions are expected after he wins the primary. Or, perhaps, after the primary season has ended. I don't. I'm ready to make a lot of waves with very little money. We don't expect to get more than $50 from any one contibutor. We need to bootstrap. We need to run the city on less money. We need to run our campaign on less as well. To spend 1/10th or 1/20th of what the Democrat spends will be a badge of accomplishment.
Role of the City Government: I think that we need to contract the role of city's long-arm and get out of the gross development deals. Carmine has said that government needs to do what the people want.
I think that the prime role of mayor's office is to follow the laws and administer jutice. I advocate a strong embrace for the constitution.
Taxes: Raise, Same, Lower? My answer is short: We'll lower taxes.
Let's start with the deed-transfer tax. There are some wreckless taxes that are holding us back. We need to take away those chains so we can reward and not punish the actions that we desire. To sell and buy your home needs to be rewarded and made easier, not more expensive. The deed-transfer tax hits hardest as it comes as an upfront fee taking money away from the down-payment.
Professor Carmine's long answer as to what he'd do with taxes made a fuzzy approach. He said, "We'll see when we get there," or after he figures out more of the details.
Notes were from from a 30-minute radio debate on the Jerry Bowyer show in the spring of 2001.