Thursday, December 10, 2009

Judge James Makes Self Unpopular, and also, Prevailing Wage Legislation


FIRST. That law limiting the number of liquor licenses on Carson Street? Gone!

Judge James found that the ordinance was illegal because the city can't create special rules for bars. The city law was "an infringement on the power of the [state] Liquor Control Board and is invalid" becasue state law reserves most power to regulate alcohol for that agency. (P-G, Rich Lord)

Bruce Kraus must be fit to be tied. All his best laid plans gang aft agley.
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NOW. That strip club that was supposed to open in the West End? Happening!

A year ago, the City Planning Commission gave the club a negative recommendation. The commission was supposed to send the information to city council so it could hold a public hearing on the matter, but council said it never received any notice.

Club owners appealed to Judge Joe James, who ordered city council to hold a hearing, but according to a letter obtained by Target 11 from the assistant city solicitor, the recommendation was never forwarded to city council.

Finally, after all the delays, James held his own hearing. (WPXI, Rick Earle)

I think we can sum much of this up with, "No politician in any branch, wing, or clique wanted a vote to be held in which the final unanimous decision would be either very illegal or very unpopular."

It's a shame we needed to violate somebody's right to due process to get here. But moving forward, there are a lot of curious questions about the time line and about how and when the news broke that will probably be asked.
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AND FINALLY, Council debated prevailing wage legislation for a while today, with special guest stars from both labor and industry. Do read the Rich Lord update for yourself, it's a gooder.

I'll add a couple of tweets:


That's the real "insufferable" thing. Especially if it's strategic, as in: opposing some legislation but not wishing to be put on the spot to say so and why. I'll take a "squabbling" member present over a dignified member absent any day of the week.


#Sigh#, gonna have to watch this one before the final vote. I wonder will that come this year or next? Kind of makes a difference.


I got no beefs with Dowd, but is he implying that he lacks such a personality? City Council is all pots and no kettles sometimes.


Well that sounds like something which probably happened.

At any rate, the reason I include prevailing wage legislation in this post is that even if we pass it, Judge James will probably overturn it because it makes life too pleasant for the yinzers.

35 comments:

  1. This new "Tweets" feature of yours is pretty cool, and helpful to those of us who aren't Twitter savvy.

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  2. Is this a prevailing wage for the stippers? But Motznik calls the universities whores. Interesting week... and weeks to come. People are getting cranky.

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  3. Great Job to Matt H and Theresa Smith for stopping this club!!

    Great work you guys!! You must be proud!!

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  4. It is rare that I agree with Motznik...

    Maybe it is the Hunkie in me...

    UPMC, looks like USMC!

    Mercy UMPC...class act.

    My Dad Thanks...as do his family.

    monk

    PS:Mercy ICU and Angels...

    Can universities say same?

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  5. I have nothing to do with stopping the strip club. We don't want it but if they rule that is can LEGALLY be there then he has a right to open it.

    I don't think I or Theresa Smith trump any court ruling.

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  6. You had nothing to do with stopping it? I call foul! Here is a great clip of you grandstanding at a public meeting....

    http://kdka.com/local/West.End.Strip.2.850064.html

    murder! rape! prostitution! Do you even know what that is? Since I think you do I would suspect that you would have been more on the ball in regards to this matter.

    "Councilwoman Theresa Smith represents the West End. She wasn't on council when the legal battle began, but she said it's far from over."

    What true leadership. All this lady ever does is stuff her face. All show and no go. Another machine lackey just collecting a paycheck. This was no backroom deal. THIS WAS A HEARING. I'm sure all interested parties could attend.

    Moral to the story: Don't try to be an internet tough guy and if you get elected to council.. pay attention when somebody plans to open a strip club in your district.

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  7. Judge James is a well respected jurist and his decisions are based on the law.

    If that makes him "unpopular", so be it.

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  8. Could the strip club thing be just another example of "ignore it and it will go away?" I am most concerned about stuff never having been received. Accountability?

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  9. Oh goodness. Strip clubs have really suffered in the cool department since the Sopranos went off the air.

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  10. I don't see what's so bad about a strip club???

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  11. I thought one of the main issues with the strip club in that area was parking and coming off of W.Carson into the establishment. That section will be a little treacherous for motorists but not insurmountable.

    Not really sure why a strip club in that commercial section is an issue, other than the traffic scenario, but I don't live over that way. You knew one had to pop up close to the Casino, it was inevitable.

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  12. A rehab place sits right next to this property. It is not appropriate at all.

    Clearly the problem is within the Planning Commission here. No one knew about this hearing with James.

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  13. "Clearly the problem is within the Planning Commission here."

    No, I think the problem here is a lack of follow through with Theresa Smith. Clearly she has no idea what is going on in her district. What a piece of crap we got stuck with.

    "No one knew about this hearing with James"

    No one? Nobody? No one person?

    So the Owner had no idea?
    Judge James had no idea?
    His staff had no idea?

    No, I think people knew. In addition, I think others did not keep track of this important issue such as yourself and Theresa Smith.

    And both of you have let your neighborhood down.

    And you both look like tools.

    And I think it's really funny and I can't wait for that club to open.

    Tool.

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  14. On the one hand, it's tough to buy that most of City Hall was ignorant that this was proceeding -- the judge had once already ordered Council to hold a hearing and it was read into the record, if not acted upon. And it's impossible to believe that anyone could not have discovered this was proceeding if they were so inclined. This was only a surprise to the general public.

    On the other hand, if Matt Hogue, Theresa Smith and Mayor Ravenstahl had each woken up every morning for the past year with the singular purpose of tracking, opposing and foiling this strip club at every moment, could they possibly have been successful? It doesn't seem so. According to our zoning code, strip clubs are permitted as a conditional use, meaning objectors must prove a specific harm as a result. It's conceivable the objectors could have done some research and produced academic or case studies narrowly tailored to illustrate those harms -- if such facts actually exist. If it does not, they might have commissioned some studies in the manner of "Here's exactly what we want you to prove, now go do it as legitimately as you can manage to make it look". In the future that's possibly what needs to happen, but meanwhile it could be that whatever harm some of us colloquially believe arises from adult entertainment does not actually exist. You could make the argument that Council did exactly the best thing possible, strategically: ignore the issue utterly, refuse to act, deny this man his due process, and hope that either he has never heard of "the legal system" or that a meteor hits the site in the meanwhile.

    In other words: Here ye, here ye! If you want to open a strip club in Pittsburgh, you can. As far as I know we now have clubs Downtown, in the Strip, on Baum Boulevard and soon on western Carson St. Opportunities to capture market share exist further out in the East End, to the South, and to the North. I expect it's only a matter of time until these are snapped up by savvy entrepreneurs.

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  15. Bram,
    You are correct in theory about market share, there used to be more clubs specifically on the North side and South, North Side, right on the main business strip, South right on the heavily traveled Rt 51.

    They always appeared seedy, and the buildings pretty run down. Don't know if they proved to be that lucrative, or they would still be there?

    W. Carson street directly across the bridge from
    the Casino and North Shore? That Location, will probably have a good share of the market, until of course, another pops up, closer to the Casino and North Shore.

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  16. City council wants to make law to force others to pay prevailing wage yet it does not do so itself. When city council is the employer, it pays less than a living wage.

    So, Kraus thinks working for him is a 'labor of love.'

    Really?

    Well, they want to be a gatekeeper for others who may want to work for love too.

    How about if council doesn't over-reach any more. Don't give the public money away and don't tell others what they should be paid.

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  17. "On the other hand, if Matt Hogue, Theresa Smith and Mayor Ravenstahl had each woken up every morning for the past year with the singular purpose of tracking, opposing and foiling this strip club at every moment, could they possibly have been successful?"

    Perhaps. But we will never know because they were asleep at the wheel.

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  18. It is NOT my responsibility to follow this day to day. To put any blame on myself is laughable at best. I work 3 jobs and go to college full-time as well as serve on various boards. How am I supposed to follow this?

    When was I to be notified of a hearing?

    "
    No one? Nobody? No one person?

    So the Owner had no idea?
    Judge James had no idea?
    His staff had no idea?"

    Ok so partied involved who appealed actually knew. I would hope that they did and would know since they filed the appeal! I am not on the lawsuit so why would I have been notified? Do you think that the attorney and the scummy owner Risha were going to come to the neighborhood and let everyone know of this hearing?!?

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  19. "It is NOT my responsibility to follow this day to day."

    Ok, Let's run with that. Who's responsibility is it then? Theresa Smith's?

    "How am I supposed to follow this?"
    How did the PG follow it? They are smart?

    I also noticed that you had plenty of time for some silly arguements on your blog recently just because Jim called you out as the tool you are. You had time for that but to not help out your community?

    "Ok so partied involved who appealed actually knew."

    Glad to see you admit that you were wrong and that that people did know. Of course, those that were not paying attention, did not care about their community or are completely ineffective leaders did not know.

    Just how long have these case records been publicly available?

    Perhaps Coghill could assist you with getting a clue?

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  20. Don't be fooled. Council knew about this. They specifically chose not to act. Theresa Smith she look around the table and raise hell. They chose not to act so that it would be denied and Risha would win. Why you might ask? Because there is a federal lawsuit pending against the City saying its zoning laws regarding strip clubs are unconstitutional. Now council gets to say, "no they aren't, look at the ones we have and the new one Risha owns." Now other neighborhoods don't have to worry about the law being overturned and them ending up in their districts. Dig deeper and, as always, you will see a different picture.

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  21. I'll call her tomorrow and ask her about this and post her response here regarding what she did or didn't know.

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  22. "How did the PG follow it? They are smart?"

    They didn't know about it either. WPXI had the scoop on the story before they did.

    "Perhaps Coghill could assist you with getting a clue?"

    What does Coghill have to do with any of this?

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  23. "I also noticed that you had plenty of time for some silly arguements on your blog recently just because Jim called you out as the tool you are. You had time for that but to not help out your community?"

    Because I knew that Motznik was a tool, that's a fact that everyone knows. I did not know about this hearing or else I would have tried to participate.

    Want to try to stick up for Motznik? Go ahead and try. His record is awful and Council is better off without him.

    Let's see you talk about the issues or the actually topic without bringing up Coghill or name calling. Clearly you have an agenda here and you probably work in Motznik's office.

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  24. The problem with the strip club is, primarily, that it sits next to a recovery center. A business should not be allowed to operate if, in doing so, it interferes with the surrounding businesses. The club does incredible work with its clients and Mr. Risha does not give a rats ass about anyone but himself. Secondly, Mr. Risha, at the one and only meeting he had with the West End residents could not even tell them if it was to be a bottle club, a bar with dancers or a massage parlor. It seems to me he just wants to open something raunchy. There is not adequate parking and the road is dangerous to turn onto from a parking lot. Finally, he will define the business that will follow. Who would want to open a decent establishment next to his place?

    Someone dropped the ball and I do not think it was an oversight. This was a deliberate move. Now the question is who at the city level wants this thug to open his establishment? and what is in it for them?

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  25. "Want to try to stick up for Motznik? Go ahead and try. His record is awful and Council is better off without him."

    I was not sticking up for him... But what about your record?

    Some highlights....
    Luke Lover
    Coghill Campaign Manager.. (Great job BTW)
    Whacked out blogger
    HACP Whistleblower (another stellar job)
    And then after you got kicked to the curb you flipped and became some sort of community activist

    "Let's see you talk about the issues or the actually topic without bringing up Coghill or name calling. Clearly you have an agenda here and you probably work in Motznik's office."

    Is this the same guy that compared Melissa Hart to a horse? Wow. That's a rich statement.

    How does it feel to be used and tossed out like an old dish towel?

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  26. Boy Matt got his ass smacked on this one. What a wus.

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  27. Haters in the house.

    I have always been a community activist. Do you think I just started getting involved?!?

    HACP: Read the audit by Mike Lamb's office. There are problems there. Clearly.

    Coghill: Love how your still hung up on that, I love how losers like you make comments about me being his campaign manager but when I ask you what you would have done differently to have won the race I never get a response.

    Luke: Former supporter. Won't you give me some credit for seeing the light?

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  28. I have always been a community activist. Do you think I just started getting involved?!?

    Yep.

    HACP: Read the audit by Mike Lamb's office. There are problems there. Clearly.

    Ok, That's it? An Audit! ohhhhh nooooo! Read the audit? You lost that one.

    Coghill: Love how your still hung up on that, I love how losers like you make comments about me being his campaign manager but when I ask you what you would have done differently to have won the race I never get a response.

    Um, Losers? Your candidate lost. Great skillz there. I loved the video. Rank amateur.

    Luke: Former supporter. Won't you give me some credit for seeing the light?

    Not with the way you acted in the past. Your "buds" that used you up and threw you away. It's comical. You have 0 cred except for the stuff you make up. You should hear the jokes about your soul glo spike job and your bleached lady my buddy makes about you. Too funny.

    Tool!

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  29. "I have always been a community activist. Do you think I just started getting involved?!?

    Yep."

    Then you clearly don't know what your talking about. I have been a Board of Director at WEECC for almost 10 years now. Look at some of my past letters to the editor in the PG. You will see how far back my community activism goes.

    Anyway, I don't even know why I am arguing this stuff with a NAMELESS person. Why don't you have some guts and get out from behind the anonymous tag you HIDE behind?

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  30. fuck all that noise, you nameless people suck big eggs

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  31. Anyway, I don't even know why I am arguing this stuff with a NAMELESS person. Why don't you have some guts and get out from behind the anonymous tag you HIDE behind?

    Ya, it kills you not be able to find out I got a D in 5th grade math and write a 3 page blog post about it.

    Let me remind everyone that you yourself were anon until you outted yourself.

    Now I am anon, witch you were but not dumb witch you still are and will always be.

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  32. Matt H ass clown.

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  33. There was nothing to watch, the Zoning board told those of us that actually spoke at the hearing that it was over and the case would not go before Council. Shields scheudles the meetings and he and law dept. both blame each other. I heard there is an appeal that was filed, do you know on what basis?

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  34. Dowd is the only REAL independent and true reformer on council! The rest of you that think there are more are drinking the kool-aid!

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