Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday: I'll produce information. Computer unnecessary.*

Council members said they doubted building inspectors would be scouring the city for porch couches, but thought enforcement would be driven by neighbors' complaints. (P-G, Rich Lord)

It's surprising to me that this thing passed unanimously. Not one voice on Council to stand up to those nebby alarmists in favor of the right to be left alone? One of these days, Kraus, one of these days...


Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl started the process of shifting city building inspectors from their Downtown office to neighborhood police stations yesterday. (P-G, Team Effort)

There are alleged synergies to be taken advantage of with this maneuver. One thing to watch out for: eventually we will be shown a bump in "citations". Remember it's easy to issue citations -- there, I just cited you for being ugly!

The challenging bit is following through to the point where a target responds to a citation, is brought before a judge, and the cause of any violations is abated.

Speaking of building inspection...

Pittsburgh officials have agreed to delay a looming deadline for landlords to register their rental properties with city building inspectors. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)

This is like the 2nd or 3rd time this initiative didn't get done. I guess the takeaway lesson is to run everything past the Law Department, even if it seems "obvious" to the bill sponsor that something should be legal.

On the plus side, Council is getting its own dedicated attorney soon. If that's moving forward.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 1:30 P.M.

Discussion regarding Bill No. 2009-1039; Ordinance supplementing the Pittsburgh Code, Title One, Administrative, by adding a new section, Article XIII, entitled, Campaign Finance Regulations.

I assume the starting point at this Post-Agenda will be the Mayor and the County Executive's proposal to limit contributions to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations -- which, to the best of my knowledge, would give the City of Pittsburgh the distinction of having the highest campaign finance limits of any government in the United States that does limit campaign contributions.

Looking forward to the discussion; glad we are at least moving in the right direction.

Now, on the ETHICS REFORM front...


At least not according to the City website. On December 12, 2008, Bill #2008-0972 was held for a Public Hearing and a Post-Agenda. And you know that when we start citing full Legislative ID numbers, we are getting serious.

That is the Council's bad and its bad alone, but in fairness, the mayor's administration is several months tardy in filling a vacancy on the City's Ethics Hearing Board. So basically if one happens to be an outsider looking in on city government, this would be an excellent issue with which to gain some traction.

The proposal will come up on council's Wednesday agenda, but no vote is likely until after a special meeting and a public hearing, which could take place next month, Mr. Shields said. (P-G, 12/15/2008)

There have been a great many post-agenda and hearings scheduled and already conducted since that time. What are we saying about government ethics by shelving anything remotely having to do with it repeatedly?


I've really got to recommend the movie Watchmen to you, although if you are squeamish about violence (or very squeamish about sex) it's only appropriate to give you fair warning. I further recommend to you The Changeling, which is now out on video, although if you are looking forward to seeing Angelina Jolie for the usual reasons I also ought give you fair warning that you'll be disappointed. UPDATE: Well, as disappointed as you can be.

These two movies comprise what I think are an interesting double-feature for Comet readers.


There are some rabble-rousing events I'd really like to promote, but in order to conserve the nation's bandwidth I'm going to refer you here and here instead. Take pics!!!!

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