Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday: In With The New

"Let's say you want to oppress a people," Mark DeSantis hypothesized to me once. Sounded like a fun game.

"The first thing you'd want to do is lower everyone's expectations of what is possible."

"I think we've made some significant advances," said Operations Director Art Victor. "The city's cleaner. I think we've gotten more efficient."
(P-G, Rich Lord)

Well. Cleanliness is next to godliness, right?

It would be genuinely interesting to see data on whether or not Pittsburgh city government has gotten more efficient. Too bad there's not some kind of overarching director of all city operations whose job it is to be in command of those very facts, instead of relying on intuition. Oh wait.

"All in all, I'm relatively happy," said Public Safety Director Michael Huss. "The number of homicides concerns me, obviously."

The deadliest year in 15 years, and our Public Safety Director is relatively happy? I hope for Pittsburgh's sake that means he usually suffers from clinical depression.

I know Mike Huss is a professional guy and that everyone respects him, but this is no occasion for somebody in his position to be blowing rose-scented smoke.


The very best case for Pittsburgh 250, I think, is that it was a giant sleight-of-hand: While the region was off enjoying fireworks shows, movers-and-shakers were working behind the scenes, where few of us could see what's really going on, to shore up the economy. No one really wants to see the sausage being made, so we got to watch the cotton candy machine instead. So where's the beef? And why the secrecy?

I know the answer to the second question. Pittsburgh's leaders don't like the sunshine. (And you thought that our cloudy days were a product of nature!) I think that I know the answer to the first one. Pittsburgh is still on a sugar high, with little protein in sight. (Pittsblog 2.0)


Pittsburgh's former development chief has refused to cooperate with an audit that could shed light on how a politically connected firm won a $425,000 city contract. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)


But Lamb said Ford refused to help because his "separation agreement" with the URA prohibits him from making "disparaging or negative comments" about the city or the authority.

Providing facts to a city office does not constitute making "disparaging or negative comments". I can appreciate how certain facts might seem inherently disparaging or negative, but as long as one doesn't spruce up one's account with, "all of which constituted a culture of corruption," I don't see what the problem is.

Lamb this week told [Ford's attorney Lawrence] Fisher that city and URA officials cleared Ford to cooperate with Lamb's audits, but Fisher said he hasn't seen that agreement. He plans to talk to Lamb again Jan. 12.

Lamb wants to give Ford one more chance to talk. "I don't want to create an adversarial situation," he said.

They're stalling so the band can get back together one more time and get their stories straight.

After eight months of paid vacation plus another six months in gratuitous bonus severance, Pittsburgh doesn't owe anybody further courtesies. Out with it already.

UPDATE: Ruminating on the timing of that and this.


  1. Oh look who grew a set.

  2. Everyone respects him? Hardly.

  3. Not to go all Nate Silvery, but I would hold off on any panic about the murder rate.

    Here's recent history, with a few of the huge year-to-year swings in parentheses:

    2008: 73 (UP 28%)
    2007: 57
    2006: 56 (DOWN 11%)
    2005: 63 (UP 36%)
    2004: 46 (DOWN 31%)
    2003: 67 (UP 42%)
    2002: 47 (DOWN 15%)
    2001: 55

    Yeah, 73's a little high, and we're due for a "DOWN." But the consistent fluctuation -- even in this small sample -- tells us something. Sometimes you hit 16 home runs, and sometimes you hit 24. You're still the same player over your career.

    Also, the Bureau's explanation -- and it sounds somewhat reasonable to me -- is that they busted a huge number of drug operations, forcing the proprietors of said operations to move around the city, rekindling old rivalries as they went.

  4. Even though our murder rate is high I believe that our police fore is doing everything it can given the number of officers we have.

  5. I still think happiness and satisfaction are inappropriate reactions when considering a record-breaking year, no matter that swings are known to occur. When a ballplayer known to hit 40 home only hits 20, he shouldn't talk about his great season.

    Also, if busting drug purveyors causes increases in violence (and no decrease in drug use) maybe we should all stop focusing on that.

  6. ...i agree with anon. since when did Matt grow a set? one of these days the picture will be clear...and, yes...Hogue will look like a bigger fool, or tool, than he is. first he likes Ford, then he supports him, then he hides from him, and now he is the tough guy. by the way, does he have a job yet?

  7. When did I ever hide from Pat Ford?

    My employment status is none of your business by the way.

  8. Fair enough: A few more public prnouncements that "We're On It" and "We Need To Do Better" might be warranted, because that's what we want to hear. I'm just saying that from a statistical perspective, there's little reason (yet) to believe it's significant.

    Also, 2008 was not a record in Pgh -- it was a full 10 murders shy of the record, set back in '93.

  9. I have to chime in on the dialogue between Matt and Anonymous. I don't know Matt or Ford, but I find it interesting that Matt makes everyone else's business, his business, but writes that it is off limits to inquire about his business. Bloggers are such a cute species. It makes me wonder how they would hold up under the light of any scrutiny. I picture Matt as quite a different specimen than Ford. I picture Matt as a rather slender, soft fellow.

  10. I make politics and government stuff my business because it is my business. The actions or lack of actions by elected officials is everyone's business.

    Some anon commenter doesn't need to know where I work.

  11. Has the population changed in Pittsburgh from 1993 to 2008?
    Does that not adjust the percentage rate of murders per population? Just a thought about 1993, with 10 more murders than 2008. I believe that narrows the gap.

  12. Why was the Pgh Courier saying there were 116 murders about Nov 09? Was that county vs. city?

    The population change has been, let's figure....

    Minus 73
    - 57
    - 56
    - 63
    - 46
    - 67
    - 47
    - 55
    total = 464 less by death of murder since 2001.

    That's about equal to EVERY student in Peabody High School in an 8 year period.

  13. I got a good chuckle out of Matt's comments also. He has to have moderated comments on his blog beacuse he can't keep up with removing all of items that are "off limits" or "none of your business".

    Does Matt have a job yet? I bet he does. And since it's such a big secret inquiring minds will now want to know... After all if you go dragging up dirt all day, you need to get dirty once in awhile.

    Matt might argue that he is a private citizen but injecting yourself into political situations always bring scrutiny. Besides, I think that Matt is a Committeeman? Does that make it the business of Democrats?

    If you need an image of Matt this small one is available:
    But be careful - he might "haunt your dreams" - LOL. Especially now that he grew a set and is taking on Dan O. It's likely he will get crushed like an old can once word of this filters up.

  14. Stop picking on Matt. He did a absotastic job on the HACP stuff.

    Well it was a good job if you consider no results and wasting everyone's time a good job.

    So what happened with that over a year later? LOL! Great job Mr. Balls!

  15. That's a good point, the great HACP take down of 2008 never happened.

    I hope Matt is still working on that.

  16. Forget Matt. Marty Griffin went out on a limb over this stuff. Isn't it about time he revisited the issue for us? Last I heard the mayor was so concerned he dispatched a special internal investigator, who in turn discovered gross misspending and corruption and handed the details over to the DA.

    What a joke. Where's a
    good flood when you need one?

  17. I don't think that Marty went out on a limb. After all, he is not really a reporter, he's an entertainer.

    Imaging a clown that teaches fire safety. You might never get the real message, but you will sure be entertained.

    And to all of us that believed Matt he has never once posed even one of these HACP documents so that we can take a look at them. I think he's full of shit and this was all doctored up to make the HACP look bad. After all he is a disgruntled employee trying to cause trouble after he became enraged for whatever reason.

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  19. "If you need an image of Matt this small one is available"

    Or you could just go to my blog if you want to see me so bad.

    Some of you on here are so funny. Keep posting your little anonymous comments. Ha Ha People can always hide behind a computer.

    Keep reading my blog though and caring so much about me. Obsession.

  20. OK I have had enough of this.

    Matt H comes here and makes a comment and the whole damn comment section gets turned around in his direction with stuff that isn't even on topic.

    Some of you people are pathetic. I am looking at the comments here and the comments at the Huddler about Matt H. You people just watch every little move he makes and criticize it. Seems like the same people who watch every move the mayor makes watches Matt. It seems that since Matt is close with the Mayor and that crew you just lump them all together.

    It's really sad how obsessed some people in the blogging community have become with Matt H. It really is pathetic.

    You have The Huddler knowing about signs on Matt's garage...people making comments about this and that. It's really sad. And to think that it is coming from adults. How sad is that?

    You all need to grow up and get over yourselves and more importantly get over Matt H. Get over the fact that he is a young adult and has been in the "game" for quite a few years. Get over the fact that he is liked in the communities around where he lives. Get over the fact that he has friends in high places and you don't. Get over the fact that he is connected. Get over the fact that he is a mover and shaker and get over the fact that he is well liked in the Pittsburgh media.

    Why do I think this all comes back to 2 things? Resentment and jealousy.

    Why do I also think that if Matt wasn't such an early supporter of Mayor Ravenstahl none of these nasty things would be said? Matt H has never been in trouble, has been dedicated to the community, has done positive things and has been around for a lot of years. What exactly has this guy done wrong?

    It just boggles my mind why the guy even still blogs. At this point most people would have just given it up after all the nasty criticism and critique from a small handful of obsessed jealous people. I give him credit for sticking around and handling it because I couldn't.

    Keep doing what your doing Matt. You know that you are liked and that you can't appease everyone. Don't let a handful of people get you down. Ever.

  21. some people will just always try to put people down and be against them...people like hoagie & theresa smith are great people who dont deserve criticism.

  22. Matt's mom,

    Is it not important to remember the very recent past? 2 years ago this guy was twisting thing around left and right. Now he gets a break? Nah, I'll pass. I think he's a dirt bag.

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  24. Comments about significant others will be DELTETED. The mentality of some of you people. I'm so glad the Burgh Report isn't around to absorb these wonderful comments anymore.

  25. I don't always agree with the perspective that some bloggers have, but I do appreciate the ability to read their opinions. I would like the subject matter to remain the focus. Many times Pittsburgh newspapers will not print information that is true or valid, and residents are kept in the dark. I am not a fan of the extreme and far too personal attacks either, and am bothered that if this (blog world) is the forum in which attacks will be initiated without valid information that truly conveys the character of the individual,or is pertinent to the topic at issue, many readers will quit reading and ultimately bloggers will quit blogging. (OH NO!!)

  26. I knew you two were lovers.

  27. Seems like the nitwits who were posting at Burgh Report have found a new home at the Comet & Hoagie.

    This is why I moderate comments before they appear.

    For whatever reason some people get their kicks in the comment sections.

  28. Theresa smith rocks!

  29. No, you moderate comments so that items that you perceive as not fitting your agenda do not appear on your blog.

    Or you are just a pussy.

  30. This blog is so much better then the Pittsburgh Weenie.

  31. Ok. flag on the play. The Huddler is offended at some of the language here. It is funny. If some of the blogs simply allowed unrestricted comments- we would not have this nonsense.

    Open the comments section!!!!
    Bram; my personal opinion - Do not lower yourself and address these goofs! The comet has quickly risen to become the new burgh report. (kind of reminds me of the sopranos- one day you are selling toner out of the trunk of your crown vic - the next thing you know you are the consigliere !!)

  32. Did anyone figure out where he works?

  33. "No, you moderate comments so that items that you perceive as not fitting your agenda do not appear on your blog."

    That's your opinion. I won't approve certain comments.

    "Did anyone figure out where he works?"

    Do you want to come and see me? I mean I see people making posts about signs that are on my garage so it wouldn't surprise me if someone wanted to come to where I work.

    How is any of this on topic to the blog post anyway? This comment section has gotten out of control.

    I don't even know why I address these people anymore. I'm just going to act like they don't exist.

  34. Some of you anonymous posters are pussies to the max. Wantin to know where someone works? whats up with that? do you get a boner at the thought of the hoagie?

  35. "If some of the blogs simply allowed unrestricted comments- we would not have this nonsense."

    I couldn't disagree more. How do you come to that one?

  36. Do you want to come and see me? I mean I see people making posts about signs that are on my garage so it wouldn't surprise me if someone wanted to come to where I work.

    I simply was wondering where you worked beacuse it is such a big secret. Since you don't want anyone to know I now find the need to ask. It's similar to how Pittgirl did not want anyone to know her true identity but you kept digging, correct?

    If this comment section is out of control then why don't you go back to your blog where your "rules" let you set a comfort level that you find acceptable.

  37. Some of you anonymous posters are pussies to the max.

    Spoken like a true anonymous poster...

    Wantin to know where someone works?
    Well why not?

    whats up with that? do you get a boner at the thought of the hoagie?
    No, But I think others do. Do you? Are you asking for advice on how to handle your massive 4" erections when you think of Matt?

  38. looks like the gutter trash from burghreport have come to nest here Bram.

    clean this trash up before this blog chases me away

    i dont post much but the wild goose chase against ph is just insane.

  39. I don't have a problem with people calling out other bloggers that post inaccurate or misleading info. If you don't like the discussion mr removal why don't you take a hike?