Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Last Chance City Paper

Charlie Deitch reports that 726 young people applied for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's summer jobs program -- which was set up to hire just 114. A wonderful development, but a confounding dilemma.

If the purpose of this program is to keep at-risk youth off the streets, how do we weigh the applicants? Do we hire only the least skilled, most hopeless, and most dangerous-seeming candidates?

Melissa Meinzer examines the dust-up between Councilman Peduto and the Pittsburgh Organizing Group over accusations of vandalism.

Despite the fact that Peduto's charges are technically, well, wild and unsubstantiated, no one has considered the political angle yet. By calling out POG, not only does Peduto get to curb his image as Pittsburgh's resident moonbat, but more importantly, he is coaxing the secretive radicals out into the open, which is both good for them, and for the anti-war movement.

Violet Law reports on the clearly defined, smoothly progressing, being-sarcastic-here process of securing a Community Benefits Agreement from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Bill Robinson, the Allegheny County councilman who represents the Hill, says he's told coalition members that they need to make their case soon. "Each passing day works against the community organization," says Robinson. "The concrete has been poured. They will find themselves stepping on soft concrete which is going to harden very quickly."

Also from Violet Law -- we have been meaning to mention this forever -- a May 24th cover story on the prevalence of "straw purchases" of handguns, i.e., getting someone with a clean criminal background to buy your gun for you. We knew there was a correlation between drug trafficking and gun violence, but we did not know how many guns were purchased by junkies in exchange for their drugs. Prohibition continues to look dumber every day.


  1. How is badmouthing innocent people as criminals good for the anti-war movement?

  2. B. I'm going to have to disagree with your take on the Peduto thing. This is not good for him or the radical anti-war movement. He has done serious and possibly irrepairable damage to his relationship with elements of the left. That will have long lasting repercussions we can't fully assess.

    Addtionally, this is not drawing out people on the radical left into the light. If anything it's causing an increasing reactionarism among radicals towards the political system and process. All of the people you see being quoted from groups like POG are the ones who already were engaging the media over the last couple years. This weakens them in arguing for engagement. In short, its not bringing anyone to the table who wasn't already there.

    While it may help Pedutos image in the certain Pittsburgh communities it's not going to help him politically in the long term. The best shot someone like him has is to curb the overall image of being an east side liberal while maintaining support and credibility among as much of the left as possible. This gains one at the expense of the other.

  3. Perhaps Luke saw all those applications for summer work and felt that ten of those could be hired as directors for different departments. ???

  4. Bob Herbert had an opinion piece in the NYTimes not long ago where he talked to some low income neighborhood kids. Those kids could not get jobs anywhere nearby (northern New Jersey for them), and Herbert's point was that they are not learning the habits of work (showing up every day, etc), but they are getting an education in hustling a little bit of this and that. Maybe half of those Pittsburgh kids who applied (off the top of my head) don't need the summer jobs, but the other half maybe do, and only a third of them will get one. That's depressing.