Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday: Drama

The Gang of 250 are glued to their computers.

The temperature spiked again later in the meeting when Urban Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Pat Ford came to the table. Mr. Dowd on Tuesday called the agency's failure to pass an annual budget until mid-March "unethical."

"Reasonable people can disagree," Mr. Ford said. "But how can I be productive in working with you, councilman ... when, councilman, you use words like reckless, irresponsible, inflammatory, unethical, immoral and illegal?" (P-G, Rich Lord)

Harold Hayes has some video on KDKA. It does seem to get a little over-the-top in there. Jon Greiner has more at WTAE. Our feeling is that Council still has to grow into television, even as it is confronting odorousness.

WPXI does not think this is significant news. That is where most of Pittsburgh is, in all likelihood.

"We had 52 vehicles. We increased it to 61 when we were supposed to reduce it to 29," said Peduto, who joined Councilman Bruce Kraus, Burgess and Dowd in supporting the legislation. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)

That is a fact.


"I don't believe there's ever been [a vehicle] acquisition list this large," said city Finance Director Scott Kunka. "The mayor has been beating the bushes to try to find funds." (P-G, Lord and McKinnon)

Thunder: Stolen.


Speaking of legislators being given a hard time:

The code, introduced at the [school] board's agenda review meeting yesterday and scheduled for a vote at Wednesday's legislative meeting, would require board members to "respect the confidentiality of privileged information" and refrain from making "misleading, confusing or deceptive statements."

It would require members to discuss constituent complaints with Mr. Roosevelt before taking them public; refrain from making disparaging remarks about one another; and avoid "unauthorized activities on the board's behalf."

It also would require members to "accept the will of the majority" once a decision has been made, even if they disagree. That language could dampen board member Mark Brentley Sr.'s continuing criticism of a 2006 round of school closings. (P-G, Joe Smydo)

What is it with executive power?


  1. Mark Brentley often has good points to make and he could be heard more if he could just let go of the old stuff. Another thing a lot of people on council and the school board should make better use of their words. Use fewer. Stop repeating the questions. I have seen body language that screamed "I can't stand to sit here and listen for another second" and it is shameful.

  2. The Mayor has no direct way to submit legislation. Legislation must be referred to Council by the Mayor. A Councilperson who receives the Mayor’s suggested legislation may submit it as is, alter it and then submit it, or pocket veto it (not submitting it at all). The legislation once submitted stands on its own regardless of the author. The Solicitor’s job in the legislative process is to determine the legality of the proposed legislation. It does not matter who suggests or authors the legislation, the Solicitor must evaluate the legislation on its own. Yesterday, on the ordinance reducing the number of take home cars, Specter argued that the author of the legislation determines its legality; that the Mayor, as author, would legalize the legislation and a Councilperson, as author, would de-legalize it. That, of course, is a political decision not a legal opinion because Specter is not evaluating the legislation on its own. The truth is that the administration couldn’t defend the need of 59 take home cars, nor challenge the legislation’s appropriateness since it mirrored Act 47’s language exactly. So they made up a false legal argument. I bet in the next few months every time the Administration dislikes Council’s legislation, Specter will be trodden out to say it’s illegal; although all of us will realize the Specter is giving a political instead of a legal decision because Specter is no longer the City’s lawyer but is now the Mayor’s Lobbyist to Council.

  3. Anonymous #1: I have heard the same thing, but people in these situations often frustrate others by clinging to "old stuff." One person's old stuff is another person's plain acknowledgement of history, which can be crucial to dealing with a situation. Of course, there is much to be said for effective advocacy.

    Anonymous #2: Yes, it is all bad. The problem again is that there are no consequences for non-compliance, and in fact there can be none, aside from exposure.