Friday, January 29, 2010

Government by Press Release Does Pittsburgh a Substantive Disservice

This sounds like a wise move:

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's administration does not intend to create a Stimulus Oversight Committee called for in City Council legislation, a spokeswoman said Thursday. (P-G, Team Effort)

Oh, sure! Why do that which is called for in legislation which you signed. Especially considering you have been doing such a good job collecting stimulus funds without any input from the rest of the government, or the public at large, or grown-ups of any kind.

[Doven] added that the mayor's Move PGH panel, announced this week, would help put the city in position to win more transportation funding. (ibid)

I have nothing but confidence in this brand new Move PGH panel, which just happened to be announced the day we were all surprised by bad news from the federal government. And Move PGH sounds nothing like Propel Pittsburgh, which as we know was another extremely productive endeavor that did not exist only on paper.

In fact, let me make a suggestion. If we combined the efforts of Move PGH with those of the New Pittsburgh Coalition, we might really unleash enough kinetic energy to toast a marshmallow. And then, if we combined both of those with the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime? We might well launch a paper airplane halfway across the room.

The stimulus oversight panel signed into law last year required each member of Council to submit some names to the Mayor, who would then select from among those, along with several names he himself chooses, to form a public committee to examine stimulus needs and opportunities. It wasn't even set up to be terribly powerful.

Why is this concept so odious to our Mayor? What is he keeping secret? Is it possible that -- more than inattention, more than incompetence -- maybe he just doesn't want to receive any federal stimulus money, because that comes with strings attached and strenuous federal oversight? Remember the threat which President Obama made that anyone caught misusing it would be made "famous"? Maybe spending money in a way that would withstand scrutiny is just too much work.

And don't tell me in this context that stimulus is a waste and we should save our money (ahem -- Marty Griffin). If we don't get our share of the money, it all just goes straight to Philadelphia or Cleveland. It's not like anyone would be getting a tax refund.

Yesterday's letter from Peduto to Ravenstahl reminding him of the existence of the stimulus oversight panel is here. It's not even remotely smart-ass this time. A similar attempt made in October to nudge the Mayor into activity is here. Not clear that there was ever any response.


  1. God, what a great post.

    You're writing like a free man here, Bram. And going out at the top of your craft.

  2. The stimulus oversight pannel is also known as City Council. The Move Pittsburgh committee is also know as PAT, an Authority Board. The other aspects of all those other boards, agencies and jag-off weenie policy want-a-bes should be done by those we elect. To make government bigger isn't the goal for me. That is what others try to do in almost every move they make.

    We elect people to do a job. The ones who are elected should do the jobs and not hide behind other blue ribbon experts and muck up the accountability.

    I'm for the elimination of these boards and all the authorities, including the OVERLORDS.

    Those who are elected should buck up to the responsibility to govern themselves. Else they should quit.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. As has been previously written, complete song lyrics will be DELTETED, even if they're from Jethro Tull.

  5. The Muppet Show Last Dance Video?

    Try this: Copy And Paste



  6. Mark,

    I sympathize with your argument. But while cities have been vying for federal dollars for years, the size and scope of the stimulus package is without recent precedent. If a little outside expertise is required, I won't complain, especially if it means getting a larger share of stimulus money.

  7. As you know, Bram, I have been an outspoken proponent of going the "famous" route.

    The motion picture story biz is doing much better than real estate development. "200 Ross Street", anyone?

    (notorte as my word verification? no torte reform for healthcare?
    so, how fucking random are these "words" anyway?)

  8. The region struck out on the rail road funding. So much for a little extra share.

    This is funny: IF expertise is required. Of course any expertise on Grant Street would be welcomed. The Three Wise Men who where hanging out on Grant Street have left the shaddow of the USX Tower by now.

    I just hate all the boards and commissions they build. Now comes another so as to bid on additional ways to grow government even more.