Monday, December 28, 2009

Doomed: 1,466 of an Interminable Series

My dad also has a 311 story, one that he has been agitating for me to relay to you all for some time. He called to confirm what he thought he had heard on the news: that the casino parking garage was charging $80.

"Please stay with us, your call is very important to us", a computerized voice told him. "You are the sixth caller in line."

So he waited five minutes, ten minutes, close to twenty minutes.

"Please stay with us, your call is very important to us," the voice returned. "You are the seventh caller in line."

He hung up. Never called back. Hasn't visited the casino either.

Me? I once called to figure out whether my street was due for a recycling pickup the present week or the next. My call was answered in under one minute. I was expecting to get transferred to Public Works, which would keep me on hold for an hour and eventually send a team out to my house to give me noogies and a wedgie. But the guy at 311 told me instantly, "Yup, looks like you're due for recycling tomorrow!" I guess it was an easy question. I wonder if it wound up in the "resolved" or "completed" file.


If you ask me, the policy question ought to be whether we retain our parking garages and hike parking rates ourselves, or lease the garages and let private companies hike them for us. Driving is anti-environmental, regressive, and done largely by suburbanites you know.

"That we would plug a hole in the pension fund by making the city even less attractive to developers, shoppers, business, etc., is simply incredible to me," wrote David Paul Gleason, senior pastor at Downtown's First Lutheran Church and chair of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's Transportation Committee, in an e-mail. (P-G, Rich Lord)

There are no legitimate ways to fill the pension fund. All means of generating revenue are incredible, awful, immoral and fattening.


If this was The Old Days, you all would already be commenting on this article by now (P-G, Diana Nelson Jones).


It occurred to me a little while ago what is the real purpose of Allegheny County's brand of home rule government. Not only does it vest a ton of power in one person, but instead of calling that person "The County Commissioner" or something equally commonplace, we call it "The Chief Executive". You know, as in Chief Executive Officer, as in Executive Power -- something that sounds real good when running for statewide office. It's a governor-building device, and we're about to see if it works. (P-G, Karamagi Rujumba)


Don't get me wrong -- we should be celebrating. There was a lot accomplished this year. I do wonder whether we will be needing to revisit either campaign finance or ethics reform just to tighten the bolts, and make the limits, you know, limiting. And I wonder whether "friends" will be needing to register as such on, and whether every hour spent providing friendly "advice" to a politician or simply hanging out at a sporting event will be logged as "lobbying". But we made our statements and put something on record and that will be very helpful for years to come. (P-G, Edit Board)


And of course! Thanks to the G20, Pittsburgh is on the tip of the tongue of influence makers halfway around the world. No publicity is bad publicity! (NYT's The Lede, Robert Mackey)


  1. "Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski asked supervisors of the six streets divisions to explain what went right and wrong in the snow-clearing effort."

    There was a snow-clearing effort in the City?

  2. Doesn't anyone have any comments about the current weather event in progress? I guess tomorrow morning will be the test. Living in an often neglected area makes me nuts.

  3. In case you did not know, Rob Kaczorowski has been responsible for snow removal for years and has been doing a great job. How much of this is political and I would not consider Sq. Hill an underserved community and that is where most of the complaints came from!
    Sounds more political, who lives in that area and whose family is very politically connected there? Just think about it! Thinking instead of trying to just look for negative issues might serve you better! Volunteering in your community instead of bitching might serve everyone a lot better!

  4. Get off the blogs and keep the Boy Mayor in line Yaronne Zober!!!

  5. who's to say that our new coalition between eds, meds and city government will not yield a better salt box?

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  7. There are no legitimate ways to fill the pension fund.

    News Flash Boys and Girls!!
    There is a way. Just tell the public sector employees they will NOT get their bloated pensions. And, then immediately file any legal and legitimate action to back that fact. Welcome to the 21st Century, you public sector employees.. seems as though they want the benefits of public sector employment, including Civil service and/or Union protection, with compensation benefits relative to a more risky environment, a/k/a working in the private sector.

    Oh, forgot.. the City politicians would rather take the easy way out.. after they and their predecessors (all D's, btw, for the last 70+ years) "gave away the store".

    BTW, it is my understanding Pittsburgh's pension problem is peanuts compared to what's going to hit in 2-3 years with teachers and State employees pensions due to Fast Eddie's capitulations and vote buying.

    So, you Pittsburgh residents will get creamed twice (or worse) as bad. And, yet, you still keep electing the same culprits.

    Heeheeheehee, I plan to be gone by then!

  8. I called 311 and reported a campaign related issue with a roofer and his sidekick. They transferred me to the tow pound. 311 is worthless.

  9. It seems like just last winter I commented on this very same blog that I had a hunch my councilman went macho and told his former colleagues NOT to salt or plow his neighborhood. Daring to be different maybe? Well when he is not longer my coucilman after possibly the next snowfall, what will the answer be? And while we are at it, why can't public works do something about the temperature too? And the wind?

  10. keep drinking the koolaid and negative comments it helps the city so much! get a life or better yet, be the difference you want to see!

  11. The best thing the City could do is file bankruptcy. No politician would survive, but the City would thrive. Therein lies the problem.

  12. @ Yarone (d/b/a Anon 4:54): I live in the South Side and they do an absolutely terrible job of clearing snow there.

    @ Conservative Mountaineer: To quote Cousin Eddy, "Bingo."

  13. @Yaronne (anon 4;54) I live in Brookline and the streets are just as bad as Southsides!! So quit reading/commenting on local blogs and help Steelerstahl fix this dump we call a city and help turn it into a utopia of growing city of population and jobs.

    Thank You Mr. Chief of Staff to the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh

  14. "If you ask me, the policy question ought to be whether we retain our parking garages and hike parking rates ourselves, or lease the garages and let private companies hike them for us. Driving is anti-environmental, regressive, and done largely by suburbanites you know."

    Couldn't agree more, try telling that to any of the suburbanites I know though. They weave intricate tails of how they'll have to leave Pittsburgh if you raise the rates. Something about needing good schools in spite of a job in the city. There needs to be a balance, can't drive away tax paying (and employment offering) businesses but have to ensure the proper incentives for green, socio-economically indiscriminate mass transportation.