Monday, December 3, 2007

More on Schenley by way of the MacYaYa

John McIntire -- who is introduced consistently by Michael Bartley and Chris Moore as "a political blogger" (ONE OF US!! ONE OF US!!) -- wrote words in response to our picking through his Schenley comments.

After plugging his stand-up "comedy", his appearances on OffQ*, and his wonderful City Paper column, the MacYapper writes:

Meantime, you can catch the Pittsburgh Comet at the Shadow Lounge getting soused in the corner and muttering "I'm the Pittsburgh Comet, goddamnit! Doesn't anyone care?"

Yes! You also should remember us clearly from one of your gigs at Club Cafe. I was the one laughing.


The cutting-edge, fearless, devil-may-care blogger (who doesn't have a blogroll and doesn't even accept moderated comments) writes:

We have too many buildings and too few kids. Some buildings are easier to save than others because they're not riddled with asbestos. Yes, if it costs $64 mil to get rid of asbestos, I'd call that an asbestos-laden rat trap. What the hell else would you call it?

Roosevelt has professional consultants with good reps. coming up with these figures.
The opposition has sentimentality and no credible evidence to shoot down the credibility of what the district is saying.

Hopefully John has since read the Smydo article of today, and will continue to read them. His preconceived notions about the credibility of $64 million may be no worse than our own, but at least some people are doing homework instead of putting blind faith in the administration.

If a teacher is a great teacher, can't he be a great teacher in another building? If a student is a great student, can't they learn in another building? Are you telling me that without a certain specific population of kids who pass each other in the same hallways in the same building, the teachers can't teach and the kids can't learn?

It may be time to retire the "it's just a building" argument. Check out this attempted Letter to the Editor by Larry John Meyers on the Save Schenley website. Note the remarks of David Lewis.

We don't know how John feels about fruity-go-pansy notions of the power of architecture, but many others are believers. Pittsburghers in particular may feel the impact of civic design in their marrow.

It's almost as though our civic forefathers were from some advanced civilization -- and since we no longer retain the knowledge of our ancestors, we tear apart their achievements and call it "progress."


The man the Spartan kids are calling John Make-Yinz-Tired continues, on the subject of our "research" on 6-12 education:

My goodness me, how can I possibly maintain my position in the face of such superior logic? Comet axed his friends and they said it was "retarded?" Case closed! And people call me juvenile.

Okay fine. The Comet has its reservations about both 6-12 and the proliferation of themed schools, but it's honestly not our issue. We were just frustrated that these (fairly prevalent) concerns were not getting a decent hearing in the public square (they're still not). So we unloaded.

We certainly see how the intelligent application of some 6-12 schools and some theme schools might be a great thing for improving outcomes district-wide. Superintendent Roosevelt & Co. may well have taken all our reservations into careful account already.

There is just no call to sell Schenley High School dahna river for the sake of this Great Leap Forward.

Our fundamental position has not changed, and we refer you to it. Schenley High School is worth saving even at significant cost.

Except, Comet boy, it's broke. $64 million dollars to fix it means it's broke! Why can't the same exceptional Schenley staff be exceptional in another building? No one can seem to answer that question.

Ahem. You mean, aside from the fact its community will split up into three or four directions? Then your mistake is that schools don't go "broke". School districts go broke. School districts decide where to spend money. The School District has been snubbing Schenley for decades, and gee we wonder why???

You know, there is even federal law that requires public schools at-risk for asbestos to have been thoroughly checking facilities and updating remediation plans every two years, but we can't mention that because "OH NOES! MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION!"

Rock on, MacComet People.

McIntire has actually been gaining strength each week in his appearances on WQED's OffQ discussion panel; his performance last week was near-perfect. Not only is he keeping Heidelbaugh in check, but Ricky Williams preferring to run on grass? ROTFL! We wouldn't want to pay him a sincere compliment, though, so hopefully the old coot misplaced his reading glasses again.


  1. Just out of curiosity, who determines when issues are "getting a decent hearing in the public square"? Does this mean community surveys? If so, to whom are they directed? Public meetings? How many? Where? Do we hear just from PPS parents with kids in the system? City taxpayers? Who?

    I keep hearing that there was no public vetting of this issue or that issue, but in many cases there was. It just wasn't to the extent or with the result that a specific constituency wanted. I'm not referring to just the Schenley debate, but the same thing came up with the casino and arena community benefits agreements.

  2. > Just out of curiosity, who determines when issues are "getting a decent hearing in the public square"?

    That's a fair question. In this case, I mean me. Based on tv and print coverage and such, not as much based on the official public comment processes, which I admitted a while ago were technically up to snuff.

    > I'm not referring to just the Schenley debate, but the same thing came up with the casino and arena community benefits agreements.

    You said it!!! Who controls the process and how they control it is everything. Not only the law, but minimum acceptable public relations demands that these public processes be "open." At the same time, whoever schedules the steps of the process, re-schedules them at the last minute, and releases information in whatever format and at whatever time and at whatever level of volume is HUGE!!!

    That these kinds of decisions are usually made behind closed doors and by those with ulterior motives and/or a strong preference for a certain outcome is ... well, it's a central problem of democracy, and it's why organized, well-heeled interests almost always beat scrappy volunteer people's movements.