Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday: Around the Horn

Trib columnist Dmitiri Vassilaros today is wrong.

When new ownership purchased the Delta Queen, it inherited the collective bargaining agreement that the previous owner had negotiated in good faith.

Instead of blaming Coast-Guard regulations or the Democrats who choose to enforce them, why not blame the new owners for failing to meet their obligations?

There's nothing wrong with venerating a grand old sea-going vessel -- but how about some veneration for its crew?


Less easy to dismiss is a Montari and Haulk piece from the Allegheny Institute, taking a look at the city pensions.

Any state scheme to bail out Pittsburgh would have to simultaneously deal with Philadelphia and its $3 billion unfunded gap. It is unlikely the state Legislature and the governor are prepared to scrounge up such a large sum. Moreover, it is highly improbable a state bailout would correct the lack of discipline in the cities that produced the problems in the first place.

Much cold water is thrown on the "the state will save us!" position. Here are their prescriptions:

1. Have the state mandate that new hires be placed in "defined-contribution" plans.
2. Eliminate some city workers
3. Begin standing up to public sector union pressures

The Comet does not yet have solid opinions on the first two, but that third and final one sounds inarguable, and seriously overdue.


The P-G's Rich Lord explodes the Weed & Seed program under the Ravenstahl administration.

"You don't even want to know what people in the neighborhoods say" about the program's status, said Mr. Chatman, now working on Erie's Weed and Seed effort but living part time in Pittsburgh. Community leaders tell him communication has suffered. "It's kind of hard to talk when there's a revolving door."

Some clauses that must sting:

"Under [former Mayor Tom] Murphy, it did work ...

They "were actually national experts" in Weed and Seed administration ...

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