Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday: Know When to Run

HARRISBURG -- If the grand jury is correct, the 12 people indicted in a sprawling political corruption case aren't just the center of a court battle.

They're the opening shots of a cultural conflict. (Trib, Brad Bumstead)

I can feel it, comin' in the air tonight....


The Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board, resuscitated two years ago this week after a decade of dormancy, is now investigating its first case and finalizing its first recommended changes to the city's code.

Board Chairwoman Sister Patrice Hughes said Friday that pace reflects the five-member panel's philosophy: Get it done right, even if that takes a while. (P-G, Rich Lord)

There are no details available at all. Fair warning: a very slow pace plus a lack of information breeds suspicion.

"I think there's confidence in the group, and we're going to do the best job possible for the city," she said.

We would all be pretty poor citizens if statements like that were entirely reassuring.


Dowd astutely retained and paid for his own lawyer in the challenge. Three others have insisted that their lawyer be paid by the city. And Burgess has wisely recused himself. (Trib, Joseph Sabino Mistick)

You've got to hand it to Councilman Dowd. Things turned out largely the way he wanted it -- and though he's showing some battle scars, these will only benefit him.

If city council is going to accomplish anything worthwhile this year, it will almost certainly have to do so in a way that passes muster with Patrick Dowd. That's a fact of life.

Meanwhile, this challenge was so successful that investigators have expanded their focus into certain regulatory matters in Lawrenceville.

Say what now?


Leading community development organizations in five city neighborhoods have joined forces as the East End Partnership.

The Lawrenceville Corp., Bloomfield-Garfield Corp., Bloomfield Business Association, Friendship Development Associates and East Liberty Development Inc. "decided we are going to venture out as a regional group," said Rick Swartz, executive director of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corp., whose focus, despite its name, is on Garfield. (P-G, Diana Nelson Jones)

This is awesome. Now, when the East End Partnership becomes a brilliant success, and inevitably grows somewhat plutocratic and insulated from the travails of common people, Pittsburgh United can sail in to organize Penn Avenue United. Then we'll have a fully functioning, multicellular development organism!


That's good reason to hold our own at the table. If one developer doesn't like our terms, another will show up soon enough.

Over and over again, though, Pittsburgh politicos fail to appreciate what a great hand they've been dealt. I know table games haven't yet hit the banks of the Three Rivers, but really, if they want this to be a world-class city, they're going to have to learn to play world-class poker. (P-G, Ruth Ann Daily)

They are playing more than world-class poker. They and certain developers are giving each other signals under the table, while we the people are getting sandbagged.

It's hard to say at any given time which players are in cahoots and how and why, but we all know Pittsburgh has weaknesses when it comes to anything sports-related. Something to figure out, if we're going to be playing cards with these boys over the long haul.


  1. RE: problems with casino financing --- and no one's talking about our city's 'surplus' budgets from the projected casino revenues (i.e. those that are going to begin arriving even later now)?

  2. JB @ the Trib just talked about them. Might have to dip in. Seems doable, frankly, looking at a $76M fund balance and single-digit expected annual casino revenues.