Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thursday: The Nuisances Strike Back

Post-Gazette, unknown graphic artist

1. Holy cow, what a story!

On one hand you have a private security company and individuals therein accused of grossly overexerting their jurisdiction and authority in a way redolent of what has become an issue at public housing developments, and belligerently to boot.

But on the other hand you have a City police chief accused of being friendly with one company's owner to the point of reassigning a sergeant for interfering with that company's "contract".

This will take a little while to shake out.

2. On the merits of accusations of reckless mayoral disregard for everyday business:

Mr. Dowd said solicitor Daniel Regan told council during an executive session that a complaint about the tree had been lodged with the city in 2007 but that no pruning ever was done. Mr. Dowd said he knows of at least one other case in which complaints about a tree have gone unaddressed for two years.
In all, Mr. Dowd said, the city has received 2,500 complaints about tree problems since 2009. That includes nearly 500 so far this year, half of which remain unresolved, he said. (P-G, Joe Smydo)

To reference things discussed during closed-door "executive sessions" with the city attorney, is to get serious. One hopes Dowd's zinger about "just doesn't come to work" wasn't one of them.

See also the Trib's Bob Bauder for notes on tree density and specimen diversity.

UPDATE: The Blogh timely notes that Tree Pittsburgh is a nonprofit which conducts tree plantings and "ongoing care" of our "urban forest." It has has a board and a staff which organizes volunteer events.

3. Adding to accusations of disinterest are those of pettiness...

At 7:13 a.m., 8:54 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Tuesday, [Peduto staff] Gilman received emails from Mr. Kaczorowski. Mr. Kaczorowski doesn't deny sending the emails.
In the first email, part of a string that had "paper street article" in the subject line, Mr. Kaczorowski said, without elaborating, "Another BS statement ..." He then said, "On another front, sorry to inform you but after second thought Sellers may not be paved this year until the catch basin issue is resolved." (P-G, Joe Smydo II)

The emotional content of e-mails -- sarcasm vs. sincerity -- is often very easy to misinterpret.

4. Post-Gazette editorialists stump for character, charm and "the produce business" in regards to Bunchervania. One hopes they are not by-implication stumping for the present derelict emptiness. Buncher holds most of the cards [i.e. deeds] along the Allegheny Riverfront and can play the long game, waiting out this whole historical epoch entirely.

Read that again because that's very important.

5. According to this Trib account, the dispute over previous Penn State fracking research had to do with its projections of economic benefit from natural gas drilling -- not from measuring environmental dangers. It is noteworthy that the Marcellus Shale Coalition is saying that we can rely on government data. We note this so you don't come across as ignorant in your dealings.

6. Presidential politics!

The breakdown from 2 Political Junkies begins like so...

1. Romney kept his answers detail-free but full of lies.

Over at A Spork in the Drawer, we find a centuries-old primer with implied contemporary relevance on how to swindle Americans.

Chris Potter at the CP Blogh actually questions whether the POTUS's heart was in it.

I'm really not sure who is locally blogging national politics on the conservative end of the spectrum these days. Carbolic Smoke Ball highlighted the fact that things seemed more than a little rough last night for President Obama.

The best analysis in terms of political stage-management might have come across my Twitter feed:


  1. You people are crazy. This post is gold.

  2. Gold that should remain untarnished.

  3. One thorn in Ravenstahl's side, Doug Shields, is gone. If Peduto loses the mayor's race he's out too. Who will be left on council with enough power and gumption to oppose and expose the mayor? Will Rudiak step up? Kraus? And who will win in Shadyside? Gilman, Jeanne Clark ... who else is thinking about running?

    And further behind the scenes ... what's up with Corey? Lots of streets getting paved in his neighborhood and other work being done. (Davis Playground on Hobart Street, for instance.) Who will Corey back for mayor? Peduto's district is right next door and they work closely together, sharing the Forbes Ave. business district-- split down the middle, north side and south side, as is all of Squirrel Hill between the two council districts. But then the mayor's the mayor and has a fair amount of pull and Corey has to think about his future. In the near term at least, there's probably so much good will toward O'Connor among the rank and file that it doesn't matter which way Corey goes, the district will still get what it needs. Or maybe Corey will just continue to play it down the middle and not take sides, which he can probably get away with for some time.

    Does that help Bram?

  4. One other thing ... Mike Lamb's right hand guy, Tucker Sciulli, is rounding up Greenfield for Lamb. Could be an interesting tussle in District 5, where Doug lives don't forget, especially if O'Connor works behind the scenes for Ravenstahl.

  5. Is there a list of who is who's right hand for those of us who aren't about to remember all of this stuff?

    Also, I have no idea how you round up Greenfield, but if you mean "currently doing nearly enough work to maintain stuff so that it won't actually fall apart before May 2013," I think Greenfield should hold out for more.

  6. Tucker won a special election and briefly served on council representing the Fifth District when Bob became mayor. Tucker has worked in Mike Lamb's office for years and accompanies him to campaign events. Tucker is gather voter support in Greenfield for Lamb. Tucker is a good guy, by the way. Just saying that there could be more-serious-than-usual conflicting loyalties and interests in Corey's Fifth District this coming mayoral primary. Don't forget, the Alleg. Co. Dem. Ctte. endorsement will likely be in late March, so not really that much time remaining to marshal the troops/committeemembers.

  7. Tom Knox for Governor wrote in that introductory tweet that Lamb is his "boss". In which capacity I wonder? Political consultant?

    Rudiak also is up for reelect in May. She is likely to be targeted for removal, although she like Ravenstahl may benefit from a field of squabbling challengers.

    There is an absolutely lethal scenario for "progressives" that is not at all unrealistic. Ravenstahl wins, Rudiak is unhorsed, and Peduto is replaced in his Council seat by a more rightward leaning figure (some in the past have suggested Kirk Burkley, though that could have been bad intel). At any rate, that scenario would pretty much obliterate that movement (unless Dowd and/or Lamb sail past in a rescue sloop at just the right time).

  8. I'd happily throw the progressives under the bus for someone who can fund the bus, pave some streets, and start to get a handle on the pension thing.

  9. How does one get a handle on the pension thing, MH?

    I'm beginning to think there are only three strategies:

    1) Fire sale parking AND water assets

    2) The full Wisconsin (Governor Scott Walker) "Lol, public sector unions, no."

    3) The present strategy: fund the pensions as little as possible, and run out the clock until we're not as alone in pleading, "Help us, state!" The state will then either help us by bailing us all out, or more likely A) go the full Scott Walker itself or B) make us do the fire sale -- either of which enables local pols to tell their voters that the Evil State made us do it, nothing we could do.

    If I were you I'd focus on the pony initiative.

  10. Free cigarettes at AFSCME meetings?

  11. Lamb's vote strength in Greenfield and Hazelwood is mainly from his deep family roots there and his ties to Mike Coyne. He crushed Shields there and will likely beat Peduto and Luke there as well.

  12. Mike Lamb--moron

    Tucker---does that guy ever work? Stand outside the city county bldg and you will see him out there all day.

    O'Connor- he will do whats best for his future, what an empty suit.

    Rudiak- wont lose

    Kaz-political hack who uses DPW as a political department.

  13. How long do you have to stand outside the city-county building to see who spends all their time standing outside the city-county building?

  14. Did not know about the Lamb connections in Greenfield and Hazelwood. Again though, makes me wonder which way O'Connor will go and who has the deeper roots in those neighborhoods.

  15. Well look who's coming to Greenfield this Saturday (extra points for identifying the last time he showed his face in the neighborhood--driving through to avoid Hazelwood in a snowstorm doesn't count):

    Reminder: The Greenfield Neighborhood Portal sign and plantings will soon be finished. To celebrate the unveiling, we are having a Community Block Party on Alger Street THIS Sunday, October 14th, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with food, games and fun for all. We hope you will be able to join us to help us unveil the new Greenfield gateway. For more info, head to http:// or call Pat Hassett at 412.670.9231, or check out the Facebook event page.

    This just in: Mayor Ravenstahl will be there!

    Hope to see you there!

    As always, please feel free to email us at with questions/comments/updates!

  16. The portal sign will be finished just months before the bridge is blown and the portal doesn't go anywhere.

    The work done there looks nice, but it is still a rough area to cross on foot. Nobody taking the right off the bridge even looks for pedestrians. Also, if you're fixing up Greenfield, maybe suggest that they put the crosswalks back at the corner of Greenfield and McCaslin.

  17. Thank you mysterious Greenfield guy.

  18. @MH and the commenter to whom MH is referring

    I really do hope that the "mysterious Greenfield guy" (or gal?) will adopt that full title for commenting at the Comet, no acronyms, please, cause the whole thing just sounds so cool with every one of its syllables.

  19. Oh yeah, Anon 11:55? Rudiak's not in trouble? Her election's not for six months and they're already putting up attack billboards in her neighborhoods!