Tuesday, January 4, 2011

UPDATE to Tuesday(;) Siiix Gooolden Liiinks

0. Alright, okay? Alright, alright, alright, ALRIGHT.


What is the big idea?

Pittsburgh and Cleveland, along with Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Weirton and Steubenville, could all fit within the area that currently makes up the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area. (P-G, Chris Briem)


The metropolitan statistical areas of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Steubenville, Weirton and Youngtown, along with adjacent counties, add up to a population of more than 6 million and a labor force of more than 4 million. (ibid)

Okay. That's just great.

In many ways Cleveburgh already exists. (ibid)

Fine then. Will there be anything else?

If Pittsburgh and Cleveland can greatly expand the cooperation that has only just begun, then maybe we can lose the inward-looking... (ibid)

AH AH AH AH AH losing interest. If you had only just wanted us to take advantage of all those dumb idiot Clevelanders sadly being there, and use them economically and socially to our advantage -- and get folks from "Youngstown" and the such to help us do it -- then fine.

It is our mental map of who we are that will have the most to do with who we become. (ibid)

Ah, so it is Sun Tzu!! Namaste. (MORE: Look at it.)


1. City Council today declared 2011 to be A. Leo Weil Year in the City of Pittsburgh. On the Internet there seems to exist nothing comprehensive about this figure from turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh, for whom an elementary school in the Hill District is now named. In slices he is described variously as an attorney, a "graft-hunter", a prominent member of the Voters' Civic League, and by then-Mayor William Magee as "a human bloodhound."

2. This is not encouraging:

The natural gas boom gripping parts of the United States has a nasty byproduct: wastewater so salty, and so polluted with metals like barium and strontium, that most states require drillers to get rid of the stuff by injecting it down shafts thousands of feet deep.

But not in Pennsylvania... (P-G, David B. Caruso)

3. Particularly intriguing ruminations over at Pittsblog 2.0:

People who live in the city's handful of hipster neighborhoods and in its better-known gentrified neighborhoods have the political will and economic clout to attract more residents and more local businesses; people who live in the region's more successful suburbs are gradually building better walls and moats to ensure that the rich stay rich. The many, many neighborhoods and towns in the middle, places with retirees, public school systems, fire departments, public libraries, and need for public transit, depend on transfers of wealth to balance their metaphoric books. Pittsburgh's tech sector, higher education sector, and medical services sector are fiddling -- sweet notes, to be sure -- while the rest of the region largely burns. (Pittsblog 2.0)

4. Councilman Ricky Burgess this morning introduced to City Council for its consideration a ballot question that would amend the city's Home Rule Charter to disallow any future increase in property tax rates, unless said increase itself is agreed to by voter referendum. In a news release he reasons that this will give voters the chance "to protect themselves from public policy decisions that will force massive property tax increases."

Coincidentally, the Rev was in the news just last night regarding a different property tax-related issue.

5. This bit of satire has been making the rounds:

You just don’t understand the complexity of political realities. Stakeholders, filibuster, center right nation, starter home to be build on latter, median voters, electability, big tent, blah blah blah. (FDL Action, Jon Walker)

In case you didn't notice, I highlighted the vulnerable part of the satire.


  1. The Rev. "How do you like me now"? Burgess doesn't pay his taxes and blames political enemies.. How laughable is that! The snake in the grass thought he could stay under the radar but for political enemies. Driving around in his white Escalade pinching pennies. Big disconnects are no problem for the Rev to explain. And at the eleventh hour, after he's been exposed he comes up with the money to pay in full. Gee, did he get a payday loan?

  2. The Rev is not well-liked in his district and will likely face multiple challengers, many of whom say he is not doing enough for his district.

  3. Multiple challengers is good if you're the party-endorsed incumbent.

  4. Or a Dodge dealer in the 1970s.

  5. Apparently the Rev is not well-liked in anyone ELSE's district, either. Hope he doesn't want to be Mayor.

    Must be liberating, then

  6. Any thoughts on YOUR BOY not paying his taxes Bram?

  7. A few. Let me just savor all the rhetoric here first.

  8. Democratic committee leaders have been looking for a viable candidate to take on RB for months - it's time for all those potential candidates to phone home . . . i.e. make their presence known so we don't have a redo of four years ago when the endorsed candidate filed faulty paperwork and left us with RB.

  9. Paging Ms. Fielder. Ms. Fielder. Ms. Fielder

  10. Ricky Burgess drives a black Escalade, not a white one

  11. Obviously a public official having been overdue to the aggregate tune of over $6,000 in city, school and county taxes isn't ideal. The fact that Burgess was only 1 or 2 years behind on a relatively humble 4-figure tax bill are certainly mitigating factors, and it WOULD make this a "very small story" indeed ... except this is not a totally isolated hiccup, but rather at least the 3rd? in a series of similarly themed glimpses.

    Taken together, they lend the impression of Reverend not enjoying quite the persona of some storybook perfect preacher (which he never once claimed to be) but rather of a bit of a tramp -- that is in the Charlie Chaplin / Marx Brothers vein of course. If that even gets across, whether he's seen as more of a lovable tramp or a scurrilous tramp is the kind of thing voters will get to decide this coming May. I'm Jon Delano, KDKA.

  12. How about in June when him & his wife owed like $6,000 on the Doughboy Square properties?

    Burgess only pays his taxes when called to the carpet on them. If it wasn't for the media he wouldn't have paid them.

    It took Marty freaking Griffin to get him to pay his taxes.

    How is that for thumbing your nose at your residents and the city as a whole?

  13. It should also be noted that Burgess receives 3 different incomes.

    Preacher, teacher at CCAC and as City Councilman.

    3 jobs and he still can't pay his property taxes?

  14. Anon 9:41 - that's because I promised him I would make his taxes go away if he became my new Motznik on council.

    But like everything else, I screwed that up too

  15. Pittsburgh's tech sector, higher education sector, and medical services sector are fiddling -- sweet notes, to be sure -- while the rest of the region largely burns.

    The rest of the region largely burns?

    Who wrote this elitist garbage? I hope it is not somebody who spends their days *working* for a publicly subsidized institution.

  16. Bram
    "Only" 1 or 2 years behind for a "humble" amount sounds like your usual attempt at rehabbing the Rev. How did he get that URA deal with this oustanding issue? Couldn't the poor people in his district have used that money for crackhouse rehabs that he so dearly whines for.
    Rev. Deadbeat!

  17. I wish that Anon@12:06 had commented on my blog, because then I'd have more confidence that he/she read everything that I wrote. The metaphor lost something in being plucked from the full post. Apparently, it was taken by some to mean that I think that the non-tech, non-eds/meds parts of Pittsburgh aren't "working" in the sense that they aren't putting in time, effort, skill, history, interest, passion, etc. I don't think that, and I didn't write that. Perhaps I should have avoided the metaphor altogether. The perils of blogging.

    In the full post, I was trying to make clear an entirely different claim: that the relatively successful, relatively wealthy parts of Pittsburgh's economy (emphasis here on "relatively") have not done enough (or done much, some would surely say) to share their success with the rest of the region. Thus the analogy to the legend of the Emperor Nero, fiddling while his domain was destroyed. Pittsburgh as a whole is struggling economically -- anyone should be able to see that. Yet I hear and read over and over again about Pittsburgh's "renaissance" and "revitalization."

  18. Mike: Sorry, that's the danger of pull=quoting -- but then again I think Anon 12:06 just had some things he/she/it wanted to get out of its system regarding elite principles such as equity.

    I think Mike is writing an argument in favor of either much higher PILOTs from universities and/or medical centers or much larger "commuter taxes" in host municipalities, or indeed both.

  19. Pull-quotes are part of the game and the risk that I run. It's just a little easier to talk about a post when comments and post go together.

    You're right about PILOT programs; I've posted at Pittsblog about those (wow - it was three years ago!). I don't like the mechanics of commuter taxes (terribly wasteful things, with lousy incentives), but I'm sympathetic to the principle (broader regional financial contribution to services now supported only by City of Pittsburgh residents).

  20. Remind me again - why is Highmark an institution of purely public charity?

  21. Sorry Mike, I only read the section that Bram posted here and completely missed the analogy. I actually agree with your point.

    And yes Bram, the lack of equity is quite irritating.

  22. Glad you chimed back in, 12:06.

    And hey, not to bring it back to Ricky and his misdeeds, but now check out John Fetterman. He is saying he was not notified.

    It's tough to parcel out feelings on Burgess, Fetterman and Harris when they get caught up in various gray flag situations, or consider Koche in '07. I don't think any of them rise to the scale of unforgivable personal faults, although what happened to the Redd Up crew played in to what were specific political issues of patronage at the time.

  23. By virtue of The Gilded Age, there IS a lot of wealth in Pittsburgh...far more than the current city would seem to warrant to the superficial observer. In the heady industrial powerhouse days lots of folks made lots of money here, and a lot of it still is here. THAT group has traditionally been very supportive of the community in all sorts of measurable ways.

    The rapacious new(er) "non-profit" sector is a different story. PILOTS are bandaids. The patient is on the table, bleeding out. Get the surgeons in pronto.