Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mon. 1/25: SEEN: Cuban & the Scientists Drop Fresh Political Beat


Nicki Minaj and her wigs debuted as judges on American Idol to rave reviews *-UPDATE: Some say not so much. Did you know she mentions Pittsburgh in her song Beez in The Trap featuring 2 Chainz? According to it the Steel City is "on deck" together with Ohio and St. Louis. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

The Guardian has the Pittsburgh Penguins as the likely NHL Team of the (coming) Decade; easy to credit so long as they're still undefeated whilst holding back on Crosby and Malkin like they're Inigo Montoya pretending to be left-handed.

The race for Mayor (sort of like the President of a city) is right around the corner, and public opinion polling firm CivicScience released some early findings based on a hypothetical head-to-head match up between Luke Ravenstahl and Bill Peduto. In addition to a very close race, we find such gems as:

People who regularly read entertainment/celebrity blogs like PerezHilton.com or TMZ are much more likely to support Ravenstahl. Meanwhile, people who read local Pittsburgh blogs regularly are 3X more likely to support Peduto. (CivicScience)

As always, correlation does not imply causality. Side effects may include thoughts of suicide.

Chris Potter makes a valid observation, which has a valid counterpoint, only underscoring the need to compare multiple and differently gathered sets of data. Pittsburgh deserves to know what Pittsburghers think about Pittsburgh. Besides, I'm a cat person who loves Mad Mex, so something must be screwy.

Darrell Sapp, P-G
Michael Lamb, lest anyone forget, has also announced a bid for mayor, and has since joined his voice to those calling for an investigation of the School Board's 2008 decision to close Schenley High School -- based on new information that recently came to light only last July. According to an e-mail I received from Schenley organizers, Bill Peduto is also on a sizable list of public officials now "opposed to selling or calling for a review," yet at the same time has taken some pride in what he helped to accomplish in getting a much better offer for the building. All of this now begs a question of whether Ravenstahl has an opinion.

Jim Ferlo gets some support for his proposal to levy a payroll tax on UPMC et al from the Post-Gazette, citing "sweetener". I found it odd that the editorial did not mention the earlier proposal to simply move forward with legal challenges as necessary. Would a new state tax involve "informally" abandoning such an idea?

*-UPDATE: Indeed, Rich Fitzgerald has the right idea on this: Let's call it the "Just do it" plan. P-G, Andrew McGill

Speaking of Sen. Ferlo, I don't believe I've yet linked here to my ponderous history of the billboard wars at the Occupy Pittsburgh Now, available in print wherever anarchists use iPads.

Finally we have the preliminary results of Mayor Ravenstahl's public safety blitz (everything is a blitz) of the South Side Intoxication District (TM) in the wake of an unfortunate series of events
originating in Homestead.

Bill Wade, P-G
On one hand, it's hard to see what the implementation of Councilman Kraus's Responsible Hospitality initiative could have done to prevent or to improve the outcome of that non-nightlife related car chase -- even more officers to shoot at the speeding vehicle on a crowded street and at other vehicles? On the other hand, it's true that having more public safety personnel on hand in that crowded environment might also have meant improved chances of a better prepared rapid response.

On the first hand, we all remember how long and how furiously Kraus had to fight to get his initiative funded and implemented, so we must make note of this coming election's probable impact. But back to that other hand, after the ceasefire in the parking and pension wars finally settled in, Ravenstahl seemed to warm to the idea and is now taking the results of the study seriously. Is it not the very foundation of our democratic system to expect good results stemming from electoral pressure? At the very least, the car chase on Carson St. seems to have served as an effective wake-up call.

My only real question is whether we are going to get the Responsible Hospitality Plan or a series of Ravenstahl Blitzes. The Hospitality Plan called for the reintroduction of a drunk tank, for specially selected and trained loitering enforcement patrols, and for scrupulous enforcement of building occupancy codes. Are we going to see these things? 'Twill be interesting.


  1. Did you see the PG's online poll? Five choices on voting for mayor and none of them Lamb.
    As far as the South Side, a lot of bar workers were complaining about the lack of patrons out this weekend. Assuming this isn't temporary, at what point do they have to start worrying about keeping local businesses in business? As much as people want to pretend otherwise, those bars were the start of the South Side revitalization, and still have an effect on surrounding merchants.

  2. The mayoral candidates will be participating in a forum this Sunday, Jan. 27, from 1-3 at Wightman School in Squirrel Hill. The 8th Dist. council candidates will also be forumming.

    Please post suggestions for questions for the candidates (if it's OK with you Bram).

  3. Of course it's okay. I'll post about it before the end of the week. Are ALL of the mayoral candidates confirmed attending?

  4. Since we have been discussing the influence of macro conditions:

    "When looking at the economy, as expected, those with the most optimistic view support the incumbent. Peduto has 15% greater support among people who expect a worsening job market in the next 6 months and 2X higher support among people who view the current local economy as 'Poor.' Those who view the economy as strong support Ravenstahl by more then 2 to 1, while those view it as average are 20% more likely to support the current Mayor."

    I'd guess there is some causation both ways, but the bottomline is that Peduto (or any other challenger) is likely going to have to shift more of those "economy is average" folks out of the Mayor's camp. That may be difficult, including because the communication channels to many of those voters may not be ones the challenger is best positioned to use, but we shall see.

  5. Responding to BrianTH - "Peduto (or any other challenger) is likely going to have to shift more of those "economy is average" folks out of the Mayor's camp."

    There is wisdom in that.

    "That may be difficult..."

    Nah. Not at all difficult. Just... the election turns on different things. The conversation between gentlemen.

    Responding to Anon 9:26 - A suggested ? for your forum: "How, in a general sense, would you say the police department being run lately? With reference to Ka'Sandra Wade, the South Side car chase and other things."

  6. As reflected in the survey data, the tie typically goes to the incumbent: if your voter think things are going average or better, odds are they will vote for the incumbent.

    I understand the argument on certain blogs and such is that this particular incumbent doesn't deserve credit for these particular average-or-better circumstances. Which may well be true, but the problem is that view is at least somewhat counterintuitive (hence the default result), and requires at least some explanation.

    That's not necessarily a problem if your target voter is reading the right blog, because blogs can take the time to explain counterintuitive views. But the other thing the survey indicates is that the voters your challenger would need to reach in this case are probably not reading the relevant blogs.

    So even if all "the right sort of people" agree amongst themselves that this time should be different (is that what you mean by "the conversation between gentlemen"?), the voters themselves may decide this time is not different.

    And that, I think, is what the survey is suggesting so far: nothing much is different from what you would expect. We'll see if the "gentlemen" can change that, but I do think that task is made hard by the circumstances and the established lines of communication.

  7. BrianTH - So you're saying, "He'd need something else." We are in accord.

    I can assure you, when I referred to a "conversation amongst gentlemen," I was thinking of pirates.

  8. Guy costa to manage DoPeduto campaign. Costa a protege of disgraced County Wrks Mgr. joe Moses, says
    " Bill ain't no dope!"

  9. Anon 3:01 - What's this about General Joe? 1996 called, it's telling you to knock it off. ;)

  10. Thanks Bram, 2:37. We'll be covering the police. Didn't Rev. Burgess just float something this week about training and oversight?

  11. Anon 4:13 - If it's the same domestic violence and unknown trouble piece I've heard about, I believe Rev motioned to put like a five week hold on it.

  12. I hope that the slow-down will allow substantive input by communities that are affected by police policy, training, and community relations efforts, as well as by domestic violence experts and victim advocates. It would probably be constructive to invite organizations and professionals who have earned trust of affected communities over time.

  13. Tinkers to Evers to Chance;
    Costa to Moses to Foerster

  14. some voices say put Sirabella in between
    Moses and Foerster which breeds the next phase
    Costa to Sirabella to Murphy

  15. Whenever Lukey destroys these guys in the election will the lefty bloggers eat crow like Fox News after the Prez election? Seriously, most of the stuff you guys say carries no weight. As if the black community is just going to get up and vote for bill because he hires a black lady. Seriously, are people in the billy camp that ignorant?

  16. Anon 7:49 - A very well respected black lady who calls Pittsburgh home, is how I understand it. Seriously, if we don't carry any weight anywhere or among anyone... and I thought Ravenstahl was a lefty Democrat? Or do I have the wrong impression?