Monday, December 13, 2010


UPDATE, NEXT DAY: Council unanimously waved Rule 8 today in order to begin deliberation on the new proposal tomorrow. This could enable final action on it just a week from today, which is more or less what would have to happen to get it done. The P-G carries the so-called latest.

At least I hope** this is verifiable news:

LAZ Chairman Alan B. Lazowski sent council a second revision Nov. 29, and Councilman Patrick Dowd said he thinks it could be the centerpiece of an agreement. The Post-Gazette agrees. (P-G, Edit Board)

Dowd emceed the celebrity roast of the initial lease offer from LAZ, which in retrospect was deservedly dead on arrival. But now it seems his objections to it were detail-oriented rather than religious in nature. Maybe he was simply negotiating aggressively -- while the rest of us got taken in by the "must be completed by October" deadline, which now seems rather quaint.

Irregardless. One step closer.

NOTED: Just in case it surfaces again, this theory sounds so broken I can't even begin to wrap my brain around anyone's supposed motivation to play their roles in it.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: If we're having a difficult time relinquishing our government-run parking fiefdom and/or justifying it politically to some parties -- shouldn't we be asking for more money on behalf of our city? It seems perverse to be shaving features off of the deal while whittling the payoff further downward ... perhaps instead we should be demanding more?

*-UPDATE: It is:

Let's just not allow the perfect to become the avada kedavra of the good. And I'm sorry if I ruined Deathly Hallows for anyone but the book was released in 2007 and your time has expired!

**-UPDATE B: Or not. Or kinda:

How about I just give up trying to understand.


  1. "Irregardless" is not a word in the English language.

  2. I know - I use it ironically, not that anyone would have any reason to know that. I'm also cognizant that adding a "z" is not the proper way to pluralize anything.

  3. I was never thrilled with the 50-year term. To summarize a complex topic, private/corporate discount rates after around 20-30 years are likely to be too high by public/government standards, so you aren't likely to get a good price from private/corporate entities for revenue-producing rights beyond that point. Accordingly, accepting a little less money upfront for a term length which is closer to the ideal length is probably a good idea as long as you can still meet your other goals (besides maximizing the financial aspects of the deal).

    Otherwise--I'm not thrilled with the revenue-sharing provisions or modifications to the rate schedule, having viewed offloading the City's exposure to revenue risk and the convergence on market rates as positive aspects of the original deal. But I can see while all that is necessary to try to defuse some of the rhetoric that was used to stir up the pitchfork crowd.

    Conversely--I thought all the extra money Council would have to play with was going to be a game-changer in favor of the original deal. I was obviously wrong about that. So I do think it makes sense to trade off the total size of the payoff in favor of structuring the deal in more politically-acceptable ways.

  4. The Burgess plan still seems best to me - get to 50% and put the rest of the 452 right along with it.

    If Council has any more money to play with, Darlene Harris is going to have all of Spring Hill paved in gold.

  5. I'd be nicer to President Harris. It's getting very extremely late in the season and she controls destiny.

  6. Why not just sell the lots outright for more and get out of the biz.

  7. I'd be all for selling off the garages and lots, without any particular mandate that they be used for parking. That is based on the assumption that mandating land be used for parking is a bad policy, and that the value of the assets would be maximized without such a mandate.

    The street spaces is a more complex issue--you basically have to regulate the use of that land, and if you are going to set it aside for paid parking, I would revert to my prior analysis regarding not selling such revenue-rights for more than 20-30 years or so at a time.

  8. BrianTH
    i agree on the meters, the lots can go, the garages can go, put the property back on the tax books, and if garage parking is too expensive, oh well, there's always PAT they could use the biz!!

  9. If they take PAT and they stand in the aisle by the front of the bus even when there are a ton of seats in the back, I'm going to flick a bugger on their back as I squeeze past them.

  10. Pittsburgh Parking bid for the right to lease the parking system; Burgess said he didn't believe the city would need to seek new bids.

    Interesting that you decided that ravenstahls letter to council was no longer newsworthy, Bram.

    Have a nice holiday.

  11. Happy holiday wishes to you as well. Apparently, NOBODY thought that was newsworthy but me ... maybe it wasn't, Council is going to get its dedicated attorney before very long anyway, as well it should. Even the solicitor is on board.

  12. Interesting letter. Hate to say it, but it looks like the mayor was making sense, IRregardless (ha,ha, wink,wink) of his motives. Giving the contract to the chair of the 7th Ward (Peduto) committee without a competitive bidding process don't look so good, from a good government perspective. Maybe she'll get it anyway, but let's at least do it by the book.

  13. Anon 9:42,

    Your info is incorrect. She's not the Chair of the 7th Ward and there was a thorough, competitive vetting process of all of the candidates for the position. The city law department was extensively involved in the review process.

    You only have the standard disinformation that is diseminated anytime the powers that be are opposed to a move towards good government.

  14. Anonymous 11:20 am said...
    "Irregardless" is not a word in the English language.

    How trivail,
    in my wrold!


  15. In re Anons 9:24 and 2:49 -- alright, here we go:

    My understanding (imperfect though it may be) is that a position for employment by the City was advertised, and interviews were conducted. Once Council's majority selected an individual, it switched gears and attempted to contract the work out via the law firm at which that individual works presently. This being a substantively different beast of employment burden it required a different process, notably including an RFP, thanks to an ordinance sponsored in 2009 by Councilman Peduto. The fact that the head of the law firm has some notable ties to the local Democratic party (I think, former City Chair?) is not strictly relevant, but in today's environment it doesn't help make an imperfect process appear any more perfect.

    There may be more I haven't considered, and to the extent any rumblings continue I'll continue updating my understanding, but that's the gist.

  16. To all the well meaning Elected Officials who are diligent in the cause of locality: Financial Fiduciaries...


    The battle is begun, 50% funding is merely antae...

    Time for New Gov. to release our mouths from bit...

    Second Class City, bites at bit…

    Give us freedom to tax, fund…unfunded liabilities

    Piss-burgh, no more!


    PS: B-r-a-m: Get a Grip or is that Gripe?

  17. I would be remiss (given previous comment)if I did not mention that it is time to morph current defined benefit plan into a defined contribution plan..

    Of course, a decision to go this path would be based on Union confidence in Wall Street Criminals like Bernie Madoff...

    We can not blame any Union Member, nor any contributor to Social Security...for distrust of pension privatization of defined benefit plan.

    Wall Street, hasn't security, against local and foreign terrorists...

    Recent Wikileaks....can cripple, not only Stock Market but faith in Government's ability to keep promises...

    Print more money...

    Duct tape, opposition!


  18. Print more money...

    I tried, but the ones I print won't even fool the McD's people. When you scan a twenty, the image comes out all funny.

  19. Been there done that MH...

    Banks don't take them ($20'S), Nataila, will....


  20. You can put them in the night deposit, but then you kind of have to give them your name and it opens a whole can of worms.

  21. MH,

    I don't know but my check for $1000.00...

    To: Susan Kerr MSW...
    Director of Residential Programs
    Community Human Services Corp
    374 Lawn Street
    Piss-Burgh Pa, 15213

    Was, cashed!


  22. That's great. I have a kid to keep out of PPS, so I'm a bit stretched this year.

  23. PPS is Pittsburgh Public Schools. I'm a guy.

  24. IMHO - Anon 11:54 yesterday is absolutely right. The idiots on council will structure this deal in a nuanced way so that they can claim victory all the while making it a worse deal. Less money going into the pension now, especially $100 million less is a far worse deal. $100 million present value is a drastic change in asset value.

    Further, the garages are perhaps more important to be kept public and keep rates down. Most merchants in neighborhood districts want higher rates to keep steady flow of customers. Besides, you can usually find a spot on a side street or suck it up on the one weekend day you drive to Shadyside to pay $4.00 to park. On the other hand, if you park downtown every day and rates go up by thousands for the year you will pressure your company to move to the burbs. Not good for the City people. Watch council screw this entire thing up royally.

  25. [To the tune of “What a Feeling.]

    First, when there’s nothing but a slow moving steam
    Of your cars parking caref’lly where assigned.
    All alone I have cried, my aisles full of pride.
    I’m a garage made of steel, made of stone

    Well I hear the news, close my gate, feel the debt
    Wrap around, take a hold of my heart.

    [Chorus (State Legislature)]
    What a debt, they be leavin'.
    You can't have it all, grab the budget knife.
    Take your pension, and make it happen.
    Unions come alive, find tax funds for your late life.

    Now I hear the deal, close my eyes, I am revenue.
    All the cash it takes hold of my heart.

    What a feeling

    What a feeling (I am money now),
    Luke's believin' (I am revenue)
    Unions come alive, I have funds for your late life.
    What a feeling (LAZ can really fund it all)
    What a feeling (Pensions come alive when I call)
    We can fund it all (LAZ can really fund it all)
    Fund it all (Pensions come alive when I call)
    (call, call, call, call, what a feeling) We can fund it all
    (Luke's believin') Luke's believin'
    (Take your pension, make it happen) make it happen
    (What a feeling) what a feeling...

  26. someone has too much time on their hands...