Monday, November 17, 2008

Polamalu Clearly Inhabited by Beowulf Again, and Other News

The situation has become further complicated by financial issues, including County Executive Dan Onorato's refusal to release $27.7 million being collected this year from the county's drink and car-rental taxes until the authority increases operating efficiency and reins in long-term labor costs. (P-G, Joe Grata)

We were watching the panel on OffQ discuss this, and everybody was like no, no, no, the Port Authority workers can't strike, not now, and besides which their demands are unreasonable. And perhaps they are.

Yet thus far, workers appear perfectly willing to work without a contract -- they simply don't want to be on-record "giving away" anything by sanctifying the imposed labor terms. That being the case, this withholding of county and state subsidies in order to "bump forward" a fiscal crisis and perhaps trigger a lockout seems too cute by half and as likely to backfire as not.


Meanwhile also on OffQ, they discussed the new grocery store coming into the Hill District. Nobody had much to say about Kuhn's having beat out Save-A-Lot for the contract (we are pleased and a little shocked!), but what was notable was that after blasting Wall Street bailouts and possible Detroit bailouts, uber-conservative local attorney Heather Heidelbaugh stated that unlike, say, stadiums and amphitheaters, this is what government should be doing -- providing a few million here and there to make sure neighborhoods have things like grocery stores. It was absolutely grand.


Meanwhile on OnQ, Chris Moore interviewed School District superintendent Mark Roosevelt for a full half-hour. There was way too much discussed to represent here, but we jotted some notes:

1) We keep hearing that the Schenley students are doing fine in their temporary home at Reizenstein. If we are not mistaken, only some of the Spartans made it into Reizenstein, no? Didn't others get distributed elsewhere already -- I think some of them to "University Prep" schools? Has anyone yet checked out how those kids are faring?

2) The "Managed Institution Curriculum" and the "Positive Intervention Behavior System" sound like good topics for further discussion -- and as always, any coverage on Pittsburgh's new CEP-managed school for disruptive youth (which may account for the "drop" in undisciplined behavior) is always welcome.

3) During a discussion about how what goes on elsewhere in a child's environment is important to their performance, Roosevelt offered as an example, "there's a lot of tough stuff going on in the North Side right now." Question -- really? Has there been a backslide we haven't particularly noticed? That's a good topic in itself.


Friday is Light Up Night, the start of the holiday season, and the museum will have extended hours that evening. From 5 to 9 p.m. visitors can mingle with craftspeople, artists, musicians and re-enactors dressed in period clothing.

The following morning, the museum will be the site of a final "Hinge of History" seminar. The focus of the daylong event will be Gen. John Forbes. He led the British and Colonial army that forced the French to abandon and burn Fort Duquesne in November 1758.

Tuesday, Nov. 25, is the 250th anniversary of the date when Forbes arrived at the smoking ruins of the French outpost. Fort Pitt Museum, which ordinarily is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day for a celebration that includes cake for all visitors. (P-G, Len Barcousky)

You've probably missed all the Pittsburgh 250 hooplah so far, but it's okay because the good stuff is just getting started.


  1. If you want to understand where Dan O is going with his confrontation with the Port Authority you should read "A Prayer for the City" This book is about Ed Rendell and his time in philly. One key take away that is attributable to his country wide appeal is that he fought extensively with the Unions. Bash a Union, get recognition as a guy who makes tough for higher office. Obviously this only works for popular democrats.

    It is eerie how many moves Dan O has been making lately that have similar story lines from Ed Rendells time in Philadelphia.

    Even if you think I am crazy you should read the book.

  2. Regarding Kuhn's

    Nothing could be better for the URA right now, they want to pick Kuhn's because it is transformative - they know they should pick sav-a-lot because it will actually get built in a reasonable time frame - so choose Kuhn's and give them 2 months to raise the frozen capital markets...then when they can't come up with the money go back to sav-a-lot.

    A win-win, you get the political boost from choosing the popular alternative, then you can blame the economy when you have to go back and support the prudent choice.

  3. Interesting. I will be watching for that.

  4. There's a book about Ed Rendell? Whoa.

    A Prayer for the City

    See you in the spring...

  5. I wasn't clear, were you saying the reason the drivers/mechanics won't strike is because the money (that is being with-held by Onorato) will run out in mid December and the buses will be parked anyway. If so, I agree whole heartedly. If this is a move Rendell would have made, I would have never voted for Rendell. I'm not sure who is ticking me off more, the drivers union or Onorato. Probably both equally.