Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Lease May Die Tomorrow, Period. **
*-CLARIFYING UPDATE: The Lease is obviously in intensive care. Pronouncing it "dead" now is clear meta-gamesmanship, i.e. spin, because its opponents want it to appear dead before Pittsburgh gets a good hard look at its alternatives.
*-UPDATE: Council seems for now to have backed off killing it tomorrow, though it does retain that option. Patrick Dowd explicitly forwarded that intention at the table, and it received significant support. Only Doug Shields' words of caution (similar to what appears below) seemed to take some steam out of that push. Details in Comment #1.
At this hour, City Council is organizing to vote down Mayor Ravenstahl's pension funding scheme tomorrow during a committee meeting, without holding it for special meetings and showdown discussions with the other plans as many had anticipated. [Live streaming]
Now, let's set aside the fact that I've personally been a bit more than open-minded toward the $452 million deal with LAZ and JPMorgan. Presently, Pittsburgh is not yet in possession of the actuarial data which will actually tell us what is our current pension funding level; those numbers are being crunched as we speak. So we know we can have no details as to what a state takeover would involve under various scenarios, nor do we know how much money must be raised if we seek to avoid one. And if any details on the "Council-Controller" plan exist, they have yet to be released to the public.
So burning one tool at this stage -- the highest-yield tool most especially -- would seem distinctly premature. The possibility that Mayor Ravenstahl may literally still be in the air when tomorrow's vote takes place would make such a move especially notable.
TANGENTIAL ANALYSIS: If it goes down like that, I can tell you what lesson the Mayor will take away from this experience. "Never play around with 'transparency' when it comes to real business again, ever!" I know I'll feel embarrassed to ever demand that he be especially forthcoming with his plans.
MORE: P-G, Joe Smydo (who was paying attention before I tuned in.)
**-UPDATE II: Tweeted around 3:45 PM today, after the meeting and P-G news update:
"Working to find" an alternative ... "Hopeful" ... yeah, best to vote down the Lease deal as soon as you can. You guys need the fear of performing without a net!