Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday: You're On Notice!

Also attending the rally ... city council district 4 candidate-to-be Natalia Rudiak... (Slag Heap)

First time I've seen that reported. So you know, there you go.

We asked Rudiak some time ago: would she prefer to run for a vacant seat, or directly against incumbent council member Jim Motznik, given the political uncertainty in the district this spring?

She basically said, "Pffft".

And now...

Some contributions come shortly before or after the firms get no-bid contracts, meeting minutes and campaign finance reports filed at the Allegheny County Elections Division show. (P-G, Rich Lord)

Chester's PAC and its president, Robert O. Agbede, combined to rank among the top dozen donors to city campaigns, including $16,750 given to the war chest of Mr. Ravenstahl, who appoints the water authority board and three members of the Alcosan board. In May, Chester's PAC gave $4,000 to the coffers of Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, who appoints the rest of the Alcosan board.

Chester's contract with the water authority expired midyear, but has been continued on a month-to-month basis while the authority decides whether to renew it or invite other firms to make proposals. Meanwhile, Chester's PAC last year gave $2,000 to the campaign of Mr. Walko, who chairs the water authority board, and $1,000 to the campaign of then-Councilman Deasy, a water board member.

Mr. Walko said such contributions have no impact on decisions.

"We all have the concept of good government first," he said. "I have not been in the situation of looking the other way on some problem."

Chester's contract "needs to be eventually bid out," said new water board member Councilman Patrick Dowd. "Sooner, rather than later."


The owners of Sal Williams Realty have been the second biggest benefactor of URA board member Ms. Payne's campaign, giving her $2,661 in in-kind contributions, including signs, and $2,000 in campaign checks in 2005.



In his first act of heresy, he blasphemed the Terrible Tree. He was talking fast and I was taking notes, or I might have crossed myself.

He ridiculed the idea of our civic leaders hosting a noontime pep rally Friday in the courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse, festooning a 20-foot evergreen with black-and-gold schlock. If that weren't enough to knock the fries right out of your salad, he said we're a bigger town than that. (P-G, Brian O'Neill)

This was a cute article. I was reminded of it during the Steelers game, as television cameras fixated on the guys wearing dark wrestling masks, and horns, and face paint. Where were the girls in pink Big Ben jerseys, at least?

How did we come to be perceived best as a wholly impersonal orcen horde? Do you suppose we also come off like this after the game at the bar, and during the work week? I mean, there's hardscrabble, and then there's neurotic.

And that is where Onorato finds himself after the most recent chapter in this struggle. The biggest question is whether the drink tax opponents have made their cause irrelevant by overplaying their hand. (Trib, Joseph Sabino Mistick)

This was a sumptuous column in terms of the depth of wisdom brought to bear, but I believe it was misapplied based on one premise.

Mistick keeps referring to a cohort called "drink tax opponents". I don't doubt there are such beasts wandering around, but I think the group we are considering would be more fulsomely described as, "people who are sick of Dan Onorato's BS". Legal scholars can debate things, but for now these folks have an excuse to say, "See, we were right, and we proved it." That's called seizing, or at least establishing, moral high ground.

There will be opportunities for Onorato's opponents to reinforce this meme that have nothing to do with the drink tax. Remember, Sun Tzu also said, "Getting people to fight by letting the force of momentum work is like rolling logs and rocks."


Now, some thoughts on the Sciortino dossier:

1. In regards to the draft financial agreement, let's take what Henry said at face value: the Act 47 coordinators did draft it, and the ICA did reject it. It's still very interesting that the Act 47 coordinators wrote it up like that. It's not as though the two oversight bodies haven't been working together for six years, and it's not as though Sciortino hasn't lasted the duration. What the memo describes is very likely Act 47's informed impression of how the ICA operates, impolitic though it may be. Based upon experience with some of our other Authorities (#cough# Stadium, #cough# Parking), executive directors are capable of wielding imperious power through board governance if a board is compliant, asymmetrically divided, under tight political control, or disinterested.

2. Our own favorite pull-quotes from the interview:

"That thing went through SEC investigations, the FBI was involved. They looked through everyone and every thing."

Sorry, I can't help but be reminded of Pat Ford's vault of doom, the "copious notes" he has supposedly taken on every conversation he's ever had. Or rather, I can't help but be reminded of his allusions to it.

"How it gets done is less important than getting it done."

Zoning code, ibid.

"Continue at 5% additional until the pension fund is positive."

Could I have heard that correctly? Is this feasible? Can we continue to afford paying 5% over the minimum as payments balloon? Will this result in a "positive" balance?

That's some nice tent you arranged, Sue.



  1. "... city council district 2 candidate-to-be Natalia Rudiak..."

    That's district 4. The CP corrected it.

  2. I never heard of Rudiak. Now I know (from a PG story)...

    Sometimes, the gap year comes after graduating from college and before choosing a career, as in the case of Natalia Rudiak, 27. A graduate of Carrick High School, Ms. Rudiak hit the ground running as a freshman at George Washington University, but after graduating in 2001, "I couldn't decide what I wanted to do."

    After a nine-month public policy fellowship with the Coro Center for Civic Leadership in its Pittsburgh office, she went to New York City for a year to work for an international women's health organization.

    Then, she went to live in Senegal for eight months.

    "It was always something I wanted to do," Ms. Rudiak said. "When I was in college, I was around a lot of people who had lived in other countries, and I wanted to try it but wasn't sure what the focus should be."

    After doing some research, she discovered a program that placed Americans as English teachers overseas and, after raising $2,500 from family and friends, soon found herself in West Africa as a teacher's assistant in a Senegalese American bilingual school.

    "I wanted to work in international development, but while I was there, shortly after 9/11, I had an epiphany. I realized that if I wanted to make changes in the world, I'd have to contribute to making changes at home first," said Ms. Rudiak, who went on to get her graduate degree from the Heinz School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University and is currently working at Deloitte Consulting LLP.

    She also noted that while studying abroad her junior year at the London School of Economics, "almost everyone had done a gap year or something like that. Even my roommate, who came from a blue-collar background, managed to scrape some money together and travel around India before going back to school."

  3. Rudiak hasn't officially announced with a formal event, but she's definitely running. And Charles McLaughlin, whose DJ post Motznik has expressed interest in, is apparently retiring. So at least part of that mystery has been cleared up.

    -- Chris Potter

  4. Tony Coghill would be the guy in that race.

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