Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday: The Palm of Your Hand

1,000 Cometbucks awarded to the first people who submit carefully staged sightings of Sasquatch to Animal Control.

With iBurgh, city officials can map where incidents occur and schedule repairs or responses more effectively, said Priya Narasimhan, president of YinzCam. (Trib, Adam Brandolph; see also P-G, Timothy McNulty & ADB)

"My god, Victor! Shadyside is falling apart!"


More on technology. (P-G, Elwin Green)

Hey you newspaper leotards READ THIS!!! (NullSpace)

A group controlled by politicians is going to interview employees of the School District in order to really get to the bottom of this. (P-G, Joe Smydo)

Do you feel the political consensus building? Well, do you? (P-G, Eleanor Chute and Tracy Mauriello)

But won't the fences and construction look ugly during the G-20? (P-G, Mark Belko)

Mayor Ravenstahl is asking City Council to return early from recess to vote on a raft of security legislation for that there G-20 show.

"Even if we got into session tomorrow, it would mean almost no public comment," Dowd said. "It's unfortunate for the city. It's undemocratic as well. This is clearly designed to squelch public comment and public dialogue." (Trib, Adam Brandolph)

Can't these two hug it out already? Also:

Other ordinances will include a restriction on masks and the creation of a "safety zone," said Yarone Zober, Ravenstahl's chief of staff. Zober could not expound on what "safety zone" meant. (ibid)

"Restriction on masks"? OH MY GOODNESS! IT'S THE KEENE ACT!

"Safety zone"? Green zone? No-speech zone? Safety dance? Guess we'll have to see.

Meanwhile........ (PGHLesCor)


  1. "A group controlled by politicians is going to interview employees of the School District in order to really get to the bottom of this."

    More unsubstantiated bulls*%# from you, Bram. For one, not a single member of their board is a politician. You obviously know nothing about A+ Schools. The group is about advocacy, not confrontation. This was a totally unnecessary way to characterize what is in my view an attempt to engage the public in public education reform. You're smarter than that and you know it.

  2. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but I'm wondering why, out of all the students at Pitt, A+ found one for its board whose last name is Costa.

  3. How does one get appointed to the board of A+ Schools and who provides the funding for it?

    Actually however, I wouldn't be surprised if I was mistaken there. I remember first hearing about A+ Schools during the very early Save Schenley days (and not from the Save Schenley people that you'd expect #sideglance#). Although I could have sworn I checked out the board page at that time (now almost 3 years ago) and discovered several political heavies on it. Well, relative heavies.

    I'm not sure how you interpreted my characterization, but was that an example of not being confrontational?

  4. Alright, according to the website, Mayor Tom Murphy recruited 38 citizens to serve on a Commission on Public Education. It then conducted a series of neighborhood meetings to gather input, culminating in an "agenda for action" (linked to but not online) which called for the creation of A+ Schools. The document was unanimously approved by Murphy's commission.

    (I've highlighted the problematic bits in boldface.)

    I can't find any data on how the actual A+ Schools board was originally, or is currently, selected, but...

    In addition to what MH writes above, the board is heavily composed of CEO's and ED's of several foundations. Also there are a couple of directors of institutions within University of Pittsburgh, and a few citizen all-stars like Rev. Dr. Johnny Monroe and private individuals like young Mr. Costa.

    These may not be politicians per se but they're not exactly a cast of characters that can credibly operate very independently from politics. If it were otherwise we'd see more people who work for non-profits blogging openly, and PittGirl wouldn't be so worried about concealing her identity.

    Now, to my experience, "community groups" select their leaders by a vote amongst the membership -- people who either have attended a requisite number of meetings and/or have paid membership dues. Looking at the list of A+ Schools board members, which include several people I'm given to admire, it doesn't look like they were selected on any basis like that.

    I suspect the truth is somewhere in between what I wrote intemperately in my post and how you responded above, Anon 4:00. I don't discount that A+ Schools provides a measure of oversight and has some laudable aims. However, this business of calling it a "community group" somehow began toward the final chapter of the Schenley odyssey, as Roosevelt's PR machine really started to cook.

    Whatever A+ Schools is -- and Lord bless them for drawing attention to equity in our public schools, I hope they are fearless about it -- it's not a "community group" and doesn't deserve that kind of street cred. It's not it's not it's not.

  5. The politicians better get on board with the administration for G-20. Lots of people are scared. Those that work downtown or live in adjacent neighborhoods fear what is coming from the lawlessness that the protesters bring. If ANYTHING happens to our property or our City we will hold those members of council accountable (and Jim Ferlo) who didn't help with security and who encouraged people to break the law.

  6. Actually, I was asking a straight question. Costa isn't exactly a rare name.

  7. As far as the A+ Board goes, you could easily call Judge King a politician and could as easily call him a community activist. Michael Lamb was once a boardmember too. If this endeavor involved talking to students and recent grads about PPS operations and offerings, I would put a lot more value on it. We just all need to sit back and wait to see what is discovered by A+, it could be very helpful.

  8. Anon 8:36:

    Getting on board when there is no public space for gathering such as Point State Park or Market Square? Can you imagine them closing Grant Park or Boston Commons? NO WAY!!! We are such sheep here in Pittsburgh!

    How is that helping keep things calm but open to those of us that would like to express ourselves and not feel like criminal/cattle! This will backfire precisely BECAUSE they are assuming all protestors are anarchists and there is no valid reason for liberal democratic citizens like Jim Ferlo and many of us with similar concerns to be out there.

    Since my professional business has to close, we thought it would be great to do a box lunch at the Point and have an afternoon of discussion and learning about how the G20 affects our business and lives.

    When I hear an inexperienced politician like baby Luke assume that we are threats, I can feel the hair stand up on my neck.

  9. If dirty hippies, local political hacks, and grossly incompetent world economic leaders can't get along, what hope is there for the rest of us?

  10. Penn Brewing was the only thing that could keep the peace, now look what you did. :(

    I think the city should pull the wild card and require phat man dee to play host to an outdoor block party on liberty ave. all twenty g's and politicos can bring a covered dish, hippies can bring the biodegradable flatware and utensils.

  11. In regards to my comment of 6:16, there is breaking news:


    Turns out the artist formerly known as PittGirl works for NEED, which is run by Sylvester Pace, a board member of A+ Schools. Who I've never met, nor heard of, but I'm positive is one of the best and most effective board members of A+ Schools. They really couldn't manage without him, I'd have a lot less problems with the organization if they'd just listen to him more often.

  12. I'd have a lot less problems with A+ schools if they'd give wedgies to school board members.

    n'at: let the hippies bring the brownies. Those are nearly always worthwhile.

  13. Quite simply, A+ Schools is the foundation community's attempt to circumvent the school board and to provide cover and rubber stamps for Roosevelt. I've attended a number of their meetings, including a select, small group gathering in its early days. That meeting was chaired by Susan Brownlee, who seems to have a thing about "accountability", althought not in the political, accountable-to-voters, sense. Remember when a few of the foundation withheld their funding for a while from the public schools? A+ was part of the fallout. I would take all of its pronouncements and "findings" with a very large grain of salt.