Peduto to tack Reformation Theses to Council Chambers Doors
PITTSBURGH – Today, City Council is expected to approve a package of reform bills that will forever change the way campaigns are financed and contracts are awarded in the City of Pittsburgh. Councilman William Peduto's package of five reform bills will set into motion a New Reform Movement in Pittsburgh. Although City Council will have taken the largest step to ending pay-to-play politics since the adoption of the Home Rule Charter, Peduto plans to take it even further.
At a 1:30 today, Councilman Peduto will hold a special press conference at the doors of Council Chambers to announce the 10 point plan to reform local government - the presentation of the 10 theses will proclaim today as the pivotal day in Pittsburgh's First Reformation of local government. (Bill Peduto)
Mark Rauterkus provides some "technical content" to the various measures being passed by City Council today HERE.
Since the idea that City Council and the Mayor might unanimously be approving meaningful political reform goes over about as well in my brain as, say, a giant glowing blue man who can teleport and alter the chemical composition of objects, here are some questions I would ask:
1. Campaign Finance Reform: It has been further amended such that if a "millionaire" declares his or her intention to spend X amount in a political contest, the caps for the other contenders get lifted entirely. What is to prevent an incumbent from prevailing upon a wealthy ally to declare their candidacy and their intention to spend big bucks one moment, thereby dissolve the caps in the race, and then withdraw by the filing deadline?
2. Lobbyist Disclosure: What are the penalties for failing to register as a lobbyist, or failing to disclose certain lobbing activities? What are the penalties to lawmakers for knowingly allowing themselves to be lobbied repeatedly under-the-table?
3. Ethics reform: Does it still suck? Are any gifts at all off-limits, or are lawmakers simply "encouraged" to seek advice from the Ethics Board at certain points and then "declare" what they've done? Are tickets still an especially protected class of gift because Pittsburgh is different? Where are these "bright red lines" we keep hearing about, anyway? And perhaps most importantly, Pittsburgh already had ethics laws -- more stringent ethics laws -- and they were stringently ignored for many years. What will make this round different?
4. Overall: Did Happy learn how to putt?
At the press conference, Peduto will also re-launch the Political Action Committee “Reform Pittsburgh Now” giving the citizens of Pittsburgh the tools to learn about, advocate for, and keep track of the votes by elected officials to bring about these needed changes. (ibid)
I can't wait!
UPDATE: New site is up, see theses. See also P-G, Rich Lord and Trib, Team Effort.