Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesday: Clobberin' Time

Is anybody thinking about running against Dan Deasy for state rep?

[Take-home car legislation] passed 5-3, with Councilman Dan Deasy abstaining. He's not likely to vote to override the veto. "I think the goal of the legislation is to reduce the take-home vehicles, and I think the mayor accomplished that," he said. (P-G, Rich Lord)

Excellent that he is interested in accomplishing the mission, and fine that he trusts the Mayor.

However, this issue of has a degree of nuance.

They're unofficial take-home cars, or take-almost-home cars, not included on the lists of vehicles City Council and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have wrestled over for weeks. Their existence may complicate a move toward firm rules on the use of city cars, an issue that is the subject of a veto override vote set for today's council meeting.

That is just one legitimate reason for Council to institute some indelible thresholds for this costly civic asset.

Although Mr. Deasy has confidence in the current mayor, Pittsburgh will one day have a different one, and still others. Our next mayors may not be so mindful of the city's financial situation, and may even view the capacity to dole out expensive automobile privileges as a way to reward supporters and enforce political obedience. That is why we need to establish citywide, personality-neutral standards.

Will Dan Deasy be the kind of state rep that is okay sitting on mountains of government perks and privileges? Or will he be a credible, no-nonsense watchdog over taxpayer resources, who can actually take a stand against a bloated Harrisburg?

Or is he only cut out to be someone else's yes-man?


"If we just had a pension problem, we could solve it," said Mr. Lamb. "If we just had a debt problem, we could solve it. If we just had an infrastructure problem, we could solve it. But we have all of those." (P-G, Rich Lord)

Our Controller is leaning toward sticking with Act 47.

"You could legitimately make a ruling that we're out of Act 47," said council President Doug Shields.

Doug Shields is just looking forward to the big show.

"I absolutely believe they should lift it," said Dan O'Hara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police. Depressed pay and benefits are turning the city's Police Bureau into "a farm team for other departments."

Public sector unions never warmed to Act 47.

If the city is to stay under oversight, debt and pensions should be the focus, Mr. Ravenstahl said.

"That's a role Act 47 should play, and to this point they've been silent on that," he said, calling a lack of attention to debt and pension "the biggest missing piece" of the coordinators' work.

Our Mayor could be right about that.

"It's inevitable that we're going to need some sort of revenue stream adjustment," said Mr. Ravenstahl. "I would argue that we've done what's been asked of us."

Can we just figure out what tax needs to be raised, and raise it? Will anyone be brave enough to howl for a commuter tax?


Councilman Jim Motznik said fundraising doesn't stop him from listening to constituents.

"The amount of time I spend with my people and residents who aren't in my district ... doesn't depend on whether they gave me money," he said. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)

Well, Jim Motznik is a special breed.

Finding the five votes on the nine-member City Council could be difficult.

Peduto doesn't have the votes yet, said Council President Doug Shields.

"As the old saying goes, 'When you've got the votes, vote; when you don't, talk.' Right now, we're talking."



  1. I don't believe I have heard Mr. Ravenstahl mention the lack of attention by Act 47 to the debt and pensions before. It is extraordinary.

  2. Maybe not. I have read comments from administration defenders saying The state should give us more money! Maybe that is the same thing.

  3. We like to talk about certain things. Meanwhile, other things reside within a community blind spot, sadly.

    And often, the more the talk -- the less the listening.

    And then there is the killer. One word, or one statement from some people brings about a complete shut down of thought, listening, reflection.

    So, Pittsburgh's elite love to talk among themselves while naysayers are not welcomed.

  4. "Is anybody thinking about running against Dan Deasy for state rep?"

    There are two people running against him. Deasy is the favorite to win.