Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wednesday: Time to Make the Donuts

(P-G, Rich Lord)

On the to-do list: upgrading the performance of both the people and the accounting system that monitor the city's money and contracts, getting involved in school district operations and digging into stubborn costs like workers' compensation spending.

Not on the list: Running for mayor in 2009, despite speculation among political wags.

Wags, yo.

Police continue to investigate at least nine stolen city checks. The probe has been slowed by the difficulty of getting banks to turn over records. No arrest has been made.

"We're going to do everything we can to see that they're prosecuted," Mr. Lamb said of the suspect. "There's obviously an issue with controls. We want to make sure that controls are in place to ensure that doesn't happen again."

This squares up nicely. The Comet received a name some time ago in connection with the theft investigation, and a tip to call Michael Lamb's office for confirmation.

His staff replied that they had no comment, and were still waiting for all the information to come out.

Mr. Lamb wants the office to meet the requirement in the city charter that it audit every city agency, department and trust fund at least once every four years -- a mandate it hasn't met in the past. That means a potentially sensitive audit of council.

"They're a department, and I don't think they've ever been audited," he said. "It's a very small department on a budgetary basis, but they have had their issues."

Off to a bonny start.

(Trib, Justin Vellucci)

His tenure as chief executive of Allegheny County -- which starts a second four-year term today -- has encountered obstacles, from a cash-strapped Port Authority, budget deficits and property assessment headaches to a controversial drink tax, a sometimes-lackluster economy, and US Airways' gradual migration out of Pittsburgh International Airport.

The geese merit no mention in the article.

"His great success has been in creating and maintaining political control," said Robert P. Strauss, an economics and public policy professor at Carnegie Mellon University.


"Holding the line is no small thing," Mistick said.

A thrilling edition of Roddey vs. Mistick breaks out, if you pay attention. Seems Jim Roddey is linking Dan-O's failure to settle property taxes with the need to levy these new irritating taxes, but he's an evil commie mutant Republican traitor.

Onorato is expected to lay out an agenda today.


(P-G, Rich Lord)

N.W. Getz and Associates, of Charlotte, N.C., will be the city's sherpa through the high-tech world of surveillance cameras, the computer networks that guide them and the rules that prevent their abuse. By early June, the firm and the city expect to have chosen a company to build a system backbone and put in enough cameras to watch the port facilities and nearby areas.

Ports? This is a John Kerry operation?

Then comes a phased deployment that starts with port facilities and the integration of existing public and private camera systems. It then expands into neighborhood business districts and the creation of mobile surveillance systems for temporary deployment to crime hot spots, city Public Safety Director Michael Huss said yesterday.

"We know that it's not the end-all, but it's another tool our police can use to make our city safer," he said.

Fair enough.

In a later phase, the city would spread cameras over six-square-block sectors in high-crime areas, and create a movable system that could follow crime shifts from neighborhood to neighborhood, Mr. Huss said. Funding for that phase hasn't been identified.

Oy, and double oy.

"These cameras are going to be in public areas, and in public areas there's not a high expectation of privacy," he said. Avoiding misuse is "going to be something that we're always going to have to monitor."

Who's our consultant for Avoiding Misuse??

(P-G, Edit Board)

Our favorite wished-for headline: New open records law is the best in the nation

Our least: Barden decides to cut height of casino garage


Casino gambling is coming to town -- with all that debt and bankruptcy and alcoholism and divorce -- and you're worried about your pretty, pretty view from Mount Washington? What would you prefer, more surface parking?

(ILL, Pierre Pittsburgh)

If I am allowed to compare Pittsburgh to a woman, I would say it has been like finding a young woman in a corner of library of books. Though she is not of the make of a super model, I sense something special.

This is far and away the best stuff of its kind we've read this year.

(We did just come across a Trib PM dated Monday, Dec 31. We appreciated both the Cyril Wecht gag, and the need to start slow.)

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