Thursday, December 20, 2007

Friday Negativity

Mr. Ravenstahl in his speech pledged to "leave it all on the field. You will get all I have to give. I will listen to, and genuinely care for, the people of Pittsburgh. I will be accessible, thoughtful and open-minded. I will not be the mayor, I will be your mayor." (P-G, Rich Lord)

Then he had better attend every neighborhood meeting, show respect to everybody who attends, and be open-minded toward their initiatives -- even though they come from outside the government infrastructure.

His administration had better be prepared to work with City Council, during meetings of Council, instead of hiding from the meetings and sniping through the media.

We'll start with that.


If the state someday were to allow the city to tax nonprofits on all of their real estate, should UPMC's contributions be eligible for some sort of credit? Yes, but the legal details must be worked out and the credit should be only for the tax years in which the contribution is paid. In other words, if UPMC's real estate is taxed under the law beginning in, say, 2010, then only the Pittsburgh Promise dollars it donates that year should be eligible for credit -- and so on in successive years. (P-G, Edit Board)

Absolutely. Otherwise, it's all a device to make sure we avoid necessary efforts to amend State Act 55. We don't need to be held hostage by a full $100 million in old tax credits, thank you.

It would be easy to argue that a nonprofit with a $618 million surplus in its last fiscal year, rising health care charges and growing dominance of the region's hospital market could easily afford to do both. But since UPMC's contribution to the Promise -- $10 million next year and up to $90 million through a 10-year challenge grant -- will exceed the $8.3 million it could be forced to pay, conceivably, in yearly taxes on its $773 million in real estate, the institution should be applauded, not scorned.

At most, UPMC's contribution, coming as it does with a new lexicon of tortured English, an array of last-minute hitches, and a pathetic degree of institutional neediness, should be accepted -- neither applauded nor scorned. We taxpayers should then applaud ourselves for taking a small hit now, and insuring the scholarship well into the future.

If you want to be treated like a benefactor, start acting like a benefactor. If you want to be treated like an unscrupulous business colleague, keep up the good work.


What's all the ruckus over closing Schenley High School? The place is filled with asbestos and the school district doesn't have a dime, let alone $65 million, to fix up this nostalgia palace. Only in Pittsburgh would parents rally for the right to poison their kids, and impoverish the rest of the school system. (P-G, Tony Norman)

What, are you asking for it? Fine -- only give us a breather, will you? Maybe put us on a deadline? That way, we're bound to come up with something.


  1. you left out the last sentence from the post gazette..

    "Unless Mayor Loot gets his pals at UPMC to "promise" to pony up for a new Schenley too, those whiny East Enders should quit strumming their oldies."

    whiny east enders complaining about schenley closing? last time i checked, it was lots of hill district parents too, and the hill is hardly the east end.

  2. Plus, anyone who's ever set foot in Schenley (especially during a school day) would choke on his own laughter before calling it a "nostalgia palace"!

  3. From what I understand, they can "lop off" about $20 mil from that price tag just by forgoing restoration on an ancient pipe organ -- there are only a handful of organ specialists in the country qualified for the job -- and forgoing the air conditioner.

    Allderdice never had air conditioning that I can remember.

    And if that was just the easy stuff -- and remembering that asbestos is NOT, contrary to the beliefs of some, nuclear waste -- ah, another time.

  4. Regardless of where you stand on Schenley, regardless of how strong the administration's case is, no one should be genuinely surprised that people are upset at a school closing. Certainly no one who has lived in Pittsburgh for the past 10to 20 years. People feel strong, emotional connections to schools, particularly successful neighborhood schools. (Please don't misinterpret my comments. I'm not saying the only reasons to oppose closing Schenley are emotional.) Sometimes schools need to be closed, sentiment be damned. But no one should ever be surprised that people don't want to let them go without a fight.