Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday, Apr. 27: Unsticking

If you haven't voted for American sportsfan Barack Obama to speak at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 yet, you should probably go ahead and do that at least 75 times today.

Go to that website and rank CAPA a five (5) as many times as you want -- and view the other schools' video pages and rank them as your conscience might dictate also.


1. Has anyone asked Allegheny County Controller candidates George Matta, Valerie McDonald Roberts and Chelsa Wagner whether they plan on continuing our present controller's mildly controversial program of posting that officeholder's name prominently on every gas pump and grocery checkout scale in the county? It's far from the most important issue facing voters, but to the extent that we do resent the encroachment of political cheesiness, the next few weeks represent our best chance to get the next officeholder to commit to cutting it out.

2. The Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board has authorized a "full investigation" into the tasing and clock-cleaning of Stone Cold Steve Austin at PNC Park. When was the last time that body undertook a "full investigation"? The broad, deep consensus opinion among laypersons out there seems to be, "You jerk around the police, you takes your chances." The results of this full investigation are likely to represent that teachable moment for the public.

3. According to the master at Null Space, the City of Pittsburgh's pension fund performed in the bottom 96th percentile of investment funds in the 4th quarter of last year, due to losing a "massive bet" based on market timing. A fair moment to recall that under the dreaded "state takeover" scenario, the fund is guaranteed a return of 6-and-something percent. The investment managers screw up? We get our return. The market tanks? We get our return. There is a distinct possibility that if takeover happens it's not time to set ourselves on fire, only to figure out how to meet the higher MMO's.

4. Speaking of which, does anybody know why and how the new owners of the U.S. Steel Tower might get around paying the$10 million real estate transfer tax? That building has been the subject of creative legalish argument before, but there's really no clue how or who will be that creative now.

5. In the heat of a potentially pivotal election season, a P-G editorial on the major grandaddy issue of the day takes to task "city officials" for having found themselves in a stalemate which positions the city in vague "jeopardy". Sounds like a hung jury situation. Mr. Foreman, you and your colleagues are ordered back into the conference room to once again review the evidence, listen real hard to each one another, and reach a unanimous verdict. (Or seeing as how they've already endorsed Dowd, Kraus, and Council President Harris, maybe they've made up their minds but find themselves a part of the grand quagmire? It happens.)


  1. as to number 4, my somewhat confused understanding is that the sale was of the leases and rents, but not necessarily the physical building....sorta like a new mgt group took over the building, but doesn't own it....??

  2. Yes, this made that a bit more clear. Though I lack the vision to understand how that can't complicate things in terms of liability etc.

  3. CAPA didn't get picked for a visit by the President. But, FWIW, I'm going to The White House in the next few days and I'll start to work on next year's visit to Pgh Obama, for its first graduation class.