Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Victory Lap of Biblical Proportions*

One of the more amusing press releases we've received in a while:

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.


  1. Why would the millionaire need to pull out by the filing deadline? He or she could stay in all the time without pulling, giving cover the entire race.

  2. Goodie, goodie. Is the Reform Pittsburgh Now effort going to have iJustine riding a PAT Bus again with Steve Bland? Can she get him to fix the web form at the new PAT reform web site so we can stay up to date?

  3. Sadly, iJustine is in Los Angeles. No rides with Stevie Bland.

  4. Can she get him to fix the web form at the new PAT reform web site so we can stay up to date?No, but I hear that they're going to post a Tweet every time a 61 blows by someone on Forbes.

  5. More reform that still doesn't end anything.

  6. Matt, as I recall you leveled charges of waste and perhaps fraud or theft of the public’s money at the Housing Authority. Now you seem to want to lead the fight against progressive reform of government. What, pray tell, is the difference? You have contempt for bureaucrats and appointed officials, but you think elected politicians can do no wrong? Or is it just your judgment that is infallible? The bureaucrats you don’t like need to be exposed as criminal, while the politicians you like have done no wrong, because they have their picture taken with you.

    This is one of the reasons why blogging is considered a joke.

  7. Matt - I can see why people like to call you a dirt bag.

    Is what you are saying is that even with these reforms, in your experience you feel that nothing will change?

  8. Gee, I wonder why Matt will not answer.

  9. Campaign finance reform has been proven not to work in the past and I don't see how anyone can put out an end all reform package...it just doesn't exist.

  10. Campaign finance reform will put machine party hacks like the Hoagie out of business.

  11. Matt, you let the Ravenstahl campaign or their allies use your blog for a hatchet job on Daniel Lavelle (and thus defend the questionable but staunch ally of Ravenstahl Tonya Payne). Then you repeatedly attack campaign finance reform, albeit without an specific examples of how campaign finance reform is inadequate. You say “Campaign finance reform has been proven not to work in the past”. How? Give us some examples.

    You know, it won’t be long before bloggers start asking how much Ravenstahl is paying you. You are supposed to report those fees for service to the IRS. Is it ten bucks every time you comment that CFR doesn’t work?

  12. Perhaps Matt know it will not work beacuse his checks for blogging services never show up on Luke's campaign finance reports.