Friday, July 18, 2008


It's good to see the city putting their priorities straight. Murders are more important of a "quality of life" issue than public urination on a Friday night after the bars close. Congratulations to Mayor Ravenstahl and his cronies for making the bold decision to move the police station away from where the new expensive condos are to a neighborhood that could really use some policing.

Of course, I'm a bit biased because I live up close and personal with Allentown and am quite excited to see something going on up there to help both the problems in these hilltop communities and my safety walking my neighborhood streets.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where Are the Bonuses When You Need Them?

If only we had a way of improving neighborhoods, making Pittsburgh a safer place to live, and earning money for the city all at the same time. Whoever came up with the idea of sweeps for building code enforcement deserves a bonus (unless they did it while campaigning for their boss, then please fire them and unless it's Mayor Ravenstahl himself because then it would inevitably turn into "bonus-gate").

Please, take this magnificent idea to overlooked Allentown (that sketchy place with the good Italian restaurant) and bring some bulldozers in tow. But, while you're at it, visit the South Side. In fact, why not visit every neighborhood including the precious Squirrel Hill and Friendship? Let's make money for the city in an equal opportunity fashion and not give "bad area" owners a chance to feel singled out.

Of course, this begs the question as to why every day police officers aren't trained to keep an eye out for exterior building code violations and enforce them throughout the year as they do their patrols...


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dear County Council

Dear County Council,

PLEASE do not put a referendum on the ballot which says that you will be forced to raise property taxes if you lower the drink tax. That's a blatant lie. You are collecting plenty of money with the drink tax to cover the $30 Million required for Port Authority. Please please please, just give us, the people, the opportunity to lower the drink tax.

And can someone please pay the Port Authority all this money that's been collected on their behalf??



Monday, July 14, 2008

Where is Mr Onorato spending our money now??

Regarding building a wicked expensive new sports facility in Allegheny County:

"Few city or county governments around the country operate such expansive sports facilities because they are expensive to build and even harder to maintain, Mr. Heasley said."

Of course, in a county as tight for money as we are, where we needed to implement the drink tax and the car rental tax, where our citizens can't afford to pay a dime more in property tax, where is this money coming from in Allegheny?? Onorato, where is this money coming from? Why are you promising millions of dollars in a public-relations move while the rest of us are being nickle and dimed over a beer at the bar? Why are you wasting our money on a sports field for "non-traditional" games?

This new complex may be "just what we need for soccer in the region," but it is not what we need for success and jobs and moving forward out of our interminable slump. Can we actually focus on our problems and their potential solutions instead of fluff like soccer complexes?


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Weekend Warriors

While some of us will be grilling and drinking beer this weekend or attending various arts festivals, Mr Bluhm and Mr Barden will be in air-conditioned board rooms verbally wrestling over control of the Pittsburgh casino. Perhaps Barden still has hopes that he can name the casino which Bluhm will crush forthwith. Crushing the dreams of Barden while saving the casino makes Mr Bluhm my hero of the month. Now if only someone could come along to crush the megalomaniacal dreams of Mr Onorato.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thank you, Pennsylvania

Every once in a while, I regret moving to the "midwest". But articles like this remind why I am happy to live in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is one of many states that rejects millions of dollars of federal funding that would force them to "educate" teenagers as follows:
"Under the grant's restrictions, teachers cannot mention birth control or condoms, except to point out that they fail. They must teach that anything but abstinence has psychological, social, and physical harm, and that heterosexual marriage is the standard, to the exclusion of households with single parents and homosexual couples."

It takes guts to stand up to the Federal government even when 21 other states are following suit. I'd like to think that if I hadn't learned sex-ed in school, I would have found other sources of valid information, but I probably wouldn't have. I know most of my peers wouldn't have. Most of them were having sex before leaving high school and most of them managed to not get pregnant or get diseases. I give thanks to states like Pennsylvania that think part of the reason me and my peers have succeeded so well is because of sex-ed programs and education in general. The importance of education in this world can never be over-stated.


Monday, July 7, 2008

We're drowning

Thanks to the Post-Gazette for an in-depth article on the state of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority's finances. The authority has been indulging in high-stakes swap contracts that I don't fully understand but seem born out of the recent sub-prime mortgage extravaganza and now crisis.

"Rating agency Standard & Poor's found that the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority's swaps presented low to moderate risk, with catastrophic results likely only if the credit ratings of JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch plunge. "

In the recent and on-going crisis, I don't find the likelihood of any major bank plunging to be especially unlikely. And what about the slightly less than catastrophic results?

Time to set out the rain barrel. Luckily, it's Pittsburgh so we get lots of rain. For now, I'll just be thankful that the already exorbitant water and sewer rates in the city haven't climbed further and go do some laundry.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How I love the look of rusting steel on the riverfront

We've made our bed now we have to lie in it.
That's unfortunately the situation with Barden. If we don't continue lying in bed with this greedy leech, we'll have an eyesore and no new casino on the books. However, the Riverlife Task Force is pissed that Barden is delaying building of riverfront amenities he's been touting.

To the Riverlife Task Force, we all agree with you. We want a casino that has a unique riverfront access, that encourages outdoor use, and that will not maim our riverfront view. However, more importantly at this juncture of work-stoppage and finance-grasping, we want a casino instead of a hulking steel frame in limbo.

The promises to the gaming board are in writing. Clearly, Barden can't currently afford to make more promises right now. Please, badger him when he's actually making money in Pittsburgh instead of considering cutting his losses and running.