Monday, May 18, 2009

Only Now. At The End. Do You Understand.

I had an opportunity to chat briefly with Don Walko, current State Representative and party-endorsed candidate for judge on the Court of Common Pleas.

I asked him if he was going to fix up the Water Authority for us -- $46 million in lost infrastructure sounded awful alarming.

"First of all," Walko started, and then he just unloaded on Patrick Dowd.

"I've never heard of a board member holding a press conference after a board meeting," he objected menacingly. I didn't notice his neck, but I imagine it might have been reddening.

And later: "That was private information he released! You can't do that!"

After being steered back to the subject of water infrastructure, Walko said the fund transfer was essentially misinterpreted. The funds were really taken out of infrastructure projects and into bond repayments in order to "free up" space on the infrastructure balance sheet, in anticipation of refilling it with federal stimulus dollars.

I didn't get a chance to ask him whether that would jeopardize Pittsburgh's chances of using stimulus money on different -- perhaps more innovative -- initiatives that otherwise would go unrealized.

And whether the shift that took place is not in a sense using federal money to again bail out undeserving investment banks.


Are you a member of the "No Dannies Club"? Would you like to be?

As you can see, the literature to the left was paid for by the Sensible Constituents of District 6.

A self-assigned appellation, to be sure. Any passing resemblance it may bear to other noteworthy political ravings of the day is purely coincidental.

The flier states that "Lavelle is currently under investigation by the State's Attorney General". I believe the Sensible Constituents are getting Tom Corbett confused with Matt H. An easy mistake for anyone to make, let's let it slide.


I stumbled across it, but missed the big picture. The Chadical Middle noticed it first. Infinonymous writes about it also. Here it is again:

The largest last-minute contribution to Ravenstahl is $15,000 from three executives of The Forza Group, a real estate company that arranged to meet with city planning officials to discuss building at least one hotel in Pittsburgh.

Planning Director Noor Ismail declined to discuss details of the project because the company hasn't applied for approval.

Ravenstahl said he wasn't familiar with the firm. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)

As our friends have suggested, read those sentences a few times and let them ferment.

After the last financial filing deadline, and just prior to the election, three executives (one two three) from the same real estate company each make a whopping contribution to the Mayor -- and have met with planning officials for the purposes of figuring how to get a hotel built -- but that information is classified for some reason -- and the Mayor states flatly he is not at all familiar with the firm.

Methinks he doth deny too much.

Mr. Ravenstahl's campaign commercials are good, but not that good. No one just sits at home and thinks to themselves, "Look at how he flips through those blueprints and points at them! I'm giving him $5,000 immediately, and asking my two business partners to do the same."

But I'm sure there's no quid-pro-quo. Right.

My only questions -- which city neighborhoods, and which less cooperative developers, are going to be denied their due process and what will be the impact? Which labor laws will be skirted and which parts of the building code and zoning code are going to be twisted or broken?

Serious advice for Jeremy Boren: skip the Mayor next time. Ask Zober. He's the one that's running the whole operation, after all -- it's not even secret anymore. I wouldn't doubt that Luke is kept somewhat in the dark about the details, those being, city government.


Remember at the end of this post when we talked about "machine operators", financiers, and "money guys"? Don't miss the forest for the trees. There's a lot at stake tomorrow, and it's largely one big thing.

Ceoffe. Coghill. Payne. Kail-Smith. Ravenstahl. They appear at first glance like disparate candidates in disparate neighborhoods, but they have all been hand-selected for their pliability and persuadability, and are all being pushed hard and supported financially and politically by the same people.

Onorato. Burn. Zober. Verbanac. For starters.

And it's largely about the big gubernatorial attack run in 2010.

It'd be their own affair, but they happen to run our city's government like a family business -- to put it kindly and allusively. A job factory. A contract factory. A fishing hole. A sheep to be sheared.

Michael Lamb, in endorsing one of our progressive candidates, said, "Cleaning up Pittsburgh means more than planting flowers."

That is what we're getting today, by and large. Greening up lots. Distributing too-thin slices from a too-small pie to a few baseball teams and community councils. Taking credit for the sun rising in the morning and warming our skin. Taking credit for "riding out the recession", though Pittsburgh never blew a bubble so there was nothing to burst.

I'd actually like to blow a bubble next time. I'd like Pittsburgh to be on the leading edge. I'd like to make forward-thinking decisions based on good design principles and city planning principles, intelligent financial advice and aggressive social compassion. That's all very hard to do while we're sawing off chunks of Pittsburgh's flesh, wrapping it up like a butcher, and handing it out to friends, relatives, and contributors.

While we're shearing the sheep.


And Now. You know we are fortunate to have so many good men and women infusing Pittsburgh's politics with hope. A lot of them may win tomorrow -- and if enough of them do, things will get very uncomfortable for the machine operators.

But let's give credit where credit is due. There is only one candidate at this point in our history that is showing signs of true grit. We hope he surprises everyone tomorrow.


  1. Coghill is still lying about his involvement in the BMA.

  2. "I've never heard of a board member holding a press conference after a board meeting," he objected menacingly. I didn't notice his neck, but I imagine it might have been reddening.---

    Yea sure Mr. Walko. You wouldn't want the ratepaying public to find out what you guys are doing behind closed doors now would you?

  3. Any chance one of these judges ever served on an water and SEWER authority board?

  4. Does anyone care about the lame BMA?

  5. The over/under on Dowd is 39 percent. Sorry folks, even though Luke's leadership and judgement have been questionable, elections are about voting for someone and not voting against someone. Dowd's haphazard campaign simply has not done enough to convince voters to vote for him. I'm taking the under.

  6. Apparently, the guy who pretended to be an active member cared enough to lie about it.

    But not enough to avoid an easily discovered lie.

  7. Well if the "lame" BMA is such a big deal then why is it on Coghill's resume?

    Here is a fact = Coghill lied about it. And it was such a simple thing. What else will he lie about?

    Is this why his campaign is in such trouble?

  8. I can't believe that Coghill had the balls to print up that mailer with that falsehood on it. What a loser.

  9. Does anyone care about the lame BMA? = Matt H again too scared to login.

  10. How do you know it's him?


  12. I am eager to see how our voting machines perform tomorrow. I mean the actual touch-screen ones.

    Maybe you could refresh our voter fraud / machine(wardrobe) malfunction protocol? Unlike a national presidential election with all that national media attention, this one tomorrow is the one to tinker with. Who's looking? F-ing golden.

    Oh! I got Sen. Ferlo's letter today asking me to vote for Ceoffe.

  13. "Who's looking?" asks Inside Agitator.

    There is a nonpartisan Election Protection effort underway. It may not be as robust as in on-year general elections, but hopefully it will be strategic.

    And I'll have my annoying camera.

  14. If you have trouble/witness shenanigans at the polls, call these numbers:

    1. Allegheny County Elections: 412.350.4701
    2. Sheriff’s Department: 412.350.4701
    3. 1-866-OUR-VOTE

  15. Coghill is a "yesman". We don't need anymore "bought" votes on council. Let someone on who's hands are not "dirty". Coghill is not our man. It's time for honest government. Young blood is needed. New and creative ideas are wanted.. Not "surveys".

  16. I agree. Coghill is definitely a yes man. That's why the Mayor is so interested in getting him on council - beacuse he's a stooge that will do whatever he says.

    In addition, he's already been exposed as a liar. Who wants to follow up and check on him for the next 4 years?

  17. Great picture of Coghill in action!!



  19. Great mailer piece! Better than that fake ass Reilly piece trying to tie himself in with the Mayor.

  20. How does Reilly's piece match up with Coghill's blatant lies about his involvement in the BMA?

    You never could answer that one could you big boy?