Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On Peduto, Wagner shares Preposterous New Perspective


Former Harrisburg financial watchdog Jack Wagner points out Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto's most obvious failing: that Peduto hasn't. hit. hard.
enough on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Really?

His chief rival in the race, Councilman Bill Peduto, is part of a legislative body that has not provided “a check and balance” on Ravenstahl, Wagner said. (Tribune-Review)

Hold on. A moment ago, Wagner had us believing City Council to be far too acrimonious, and Peduto not a collaborative enough figure. Did that first message backfire?

Peduto “is so much a part of the problem it's impossible to separate him from it,” Wagner said. He said Peduto remained mum on issues such as Ravenstahl's failure to appoint a leader for the Bureau of Building Inspection. (ibid)

Say what?

As mayor, I will use every tool available to combat blight in our community. I will begin by appointing a qualified Chief to the Bureau of Building Inspection, a position that has not been permanently filled for five years. Working with a qualified new Chief of BBI, my administration will implement the recommendations made by independent audits conducted in 2008 and 2012 to make code enforcement a more user-friendly process. (Bill Peduto #59)

If you voted in Pittsburgh Policy Idol, you might have remembered that.

So this is more of the usual misleading white noise from Wagner for Mayor.

Wagner is making a loud and hammy demand to fill a vacancy. Filling vacancies is a demand this Administration, which flocked to Wagner over Peduto (or even Michael Lamb!), is prepared to handle. Aside from that, Wagner insists all problems in local government stem from the "absenteeism" of one man, the Mayor himself -- whose penchant for the occasional fishing excursion is riotously notorious, we grant. But the Comet begs to differ. The corrosive problem is a City government which since the days of Mayor Davey Lawrence is habituated to extend comfort and aid to some of those within, surrounding and dear to it -- hence, to the very powerful. It resists change. It insulates itself from the demands of taxpayers-at-large and from non-connected constituencies. It wins by cutting horrendously expensive or seemingly minor backroom deals, by not posing uncomfortable questions and by cleverly eluding its accountability to street-level working men and women.

Peduto is talking about broadcasting weekly meetings with all the Department heads. That's accountability.

37 comments:

  1. Those red light cameras should be pointed at the public officials, 24/7.

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  2. If Jack thinks council has been derelict in getting a BBI chief, perhaps he should take it up with the council president, the public safety chair, or the mayors closest ally on council.

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  3. Somehow Wagner manages to conduct another interview without saying one single specific thing that he will do as Mayor. Now that's leadership.

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  4. Great idea to broadcast.

    1) If Peduto gets elected, this should be the first thing he incorporates.

    2) If Wagner gets elected,he should adopt this great idea.

    Regardless of who thought of it, it will serve the citizens well.

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  5. Nothing to do with this post, random thought concerning the mayor's race, policing and the recent big payout to Harper.

    If the police want to end the residency requirement (which most candidates don't seem to object to), then they should give up the front loading of vacation days every year.

    Every year, on January 1st, the police are awarded the number of vacation days they would have earned in that year (2, 3, 4, or 5 weeks) in bulk.

    That means, an officer can work one day in the year, retire the next day and walk off with a big vacation check.

    Police should be forced to earn their vacation time over the course of the year like all other city employees. That way, the big check will not come automatically at the start of every year.

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  6. Ok so the Pittsburgh version of the bilderbergers or perhaps the habitu├ęs of the Bohemian Grove are now the " power" in the city. You should probably quit watching the "ARROW" on the CW

    . You say " The corrosive problem is a City government which since the days of Mayor Davey Lawrence is habituated to extend comfort and aid to some of those within, surrounding and dear to it -- hence, to the very powerful." Now are you speaking of the Mellons, Hillmans, and such that helped make the first Renaissance possible? Or are you speaking of the Zappallas who have their hands into everything including the DA's office. Or maybe the Piatts who have done so much in revitalizing downtown Pittsburgh? Or the Bunchers or Gumbergs or anyone with enough money to buy a large swath of property.

    So is it the machine or is it the rich folks you have a disdain for Bram. To give the machine as much credit as you do, and as your readers do, shows their dearth of knowledge of the history of politics in Pgh. Since David Lawrence, we've had Joseph Barr, Lawrence's successors. The next Mayor was Pete Flaherty who was NOT the endorsed candidate. the Next Mayor was Richard Caliguiri who ran against the endorsed candidate as an independent and won. The next mayor was Sophie Masloff who ran against the endorsed candidate and won.( just an aside, you maligned Sophie in the PPG comments on her support of Jack Wagner. a quintessentail leftist tactic. attack everyone who doesnt acquiese to your position)The next mayor was Tom Murphy who ran against the endorsed candidate, jack Wagner, and also beat the machine. Bobby Oconnor ran twice against Murphy getting beat each time as Murphy touted his independence! Bobby wins, dies, Bill dogs, we get Luke. And here we are. So where is that monolithic machine that you continue to attack as holding back the best city in America.

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  7. Not MH - Democratic committee --> City managers and leaders who organize through it as well as uniformed public safety union leaders + Downtown frequent-flier attorneys, financiers, and real estate interests = the machine. It seems to be vulnerable to palace coups but not yet to external threat. How did I "malign" Sophie? Is it your contention her stewardship as Mayor while Jack was on Council did positive things for our City's pension and debt burden? Or that Sophie is by definition above criticism? Mayor Ravenstahl always referred to those years as the bad old years of credit card mentality and not making hard choices... and the crowd loved it. Of course he had Sophie's support at the same time.

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  8. @ Bram ask the lowly committee man or the ward chairpersons for a job a favor anything, they get nothing nada! There is no rich vein of patronage jobs available. Their is no plenty too spread around. And as for Sophie, give her a break. She broke a lot of barriers here in Pittsburgh politics. Labor leader, council President, and long shot Mayor. Tell your tale of woe about Sophie to Joe Mistick. besides she was a woman in a mans world!! Palace coups, you're such a character!

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  9. Ask the 29th Ward Chair about patronage jobs! She was a third grade teacher for 30 years and did not have one day's experience as a secretary and yet she gets a job as confidential secretary to the Director of City Planning. She's now telling everyone who will listen to vote for Jack Wagner because she's cut a deal with Wagner so that she can stay on with the City.

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  10. And if you'd prefer NotMH, you don't have to buy into the theory of "machine politics" (which I was only doing to be nice, put what's going on now in the context of what's been done before) in order to buy simply that the schnooks now in City Hall are up to their chins in favoritism, and in their haste to get away from Bill Peduto they stampeded past Michael Lamb and Darlene Harris in order to get to Jack.

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  11. @ 130 I read that article.it seems to me that it was a non union position directly hired by the dept head. So what. She had a master degree it leads me to believe she is highly organized goal,oriented person. Please let's not besmirch the character of the Pittsburgh teachers union personnel. If they're good enough for our kids, then they're good enough to be an administrative assistant!

    @ Bram Peduto wins, he gives all the jobs out.

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  12. Mysterious Greenfield GuyApril 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Jack Wagner ran for governor in 2010. Here's an analysis of his performance at a Democratic primary gubernatorial forum in Squirrel Hill that January. Pretty spot on. Not much has changed:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/observations-on-sunday-gubernatorial-debate-the-14th-ward

    "[W]e move onward to our Auditor General and former City Council President Jack Wagner, formerly a representative of Pittsburgh's District 4. Wagner's speeches all come out over-long and evasive. He comes across as a Progressive Republican even though he is a Democrat. He supports medical marijuana with the statement "16 states have passed it". He "believes marriage is between a man and a woman" but supports the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. This is a remarkably evasive No, as the HRA is only an anti-discrimination act. He tolerates abortion, advocates adoption more, but is noticeably evasive when the moderator asks him if he'll veto bills further restricting reproductive rights. He's willing to speak into "boos" as was the case when his plan to complete the connector between the airport and Mon-Fayette Expressway came up. All in all, he's typical of the PA-R in PA-D clothing, which is many things but in no way atypical for this region."

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  13. 12:32, Bram all of the groups that you mentioned with regard to a special interest of the powers that be, don't forget the Authorities!
    I want Jack to address how he will staff the City! This is pivital to the same old same old. We deserve to hear some details.

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  14. Greenfield person,

    Jack gets more love than Dan in the same link. You should quote what examiner.com says about Onorato.

    "If you sit in his presence for more than a minute, you ask yourself how this idiot could've ever gotten as far as he did in politics. He exudes an unrespectable and unsavory air that reflects poorly on the county.

    So don't vote for him. Please."

    Dan must have lost in the city big time.

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  15. Anon 5:55 - I agree that the author of that article underestimated the power of unsavory confidence schemes. But Wagner never made any headway at all against Onorato; it could be clumsy evasion is less effective than straightforward defensiveness.

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  16. To anonymous with the random thought. Police vacation time is accrued by the hours you worked the previous year. So the vacation time you earned in 2012 is actually available for use in 2013. Their first year of work they are not eligible for vacation, so their vacation days are not front loaded.

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  17. Mysterious Greenfield guy,

    We know you don't live in Greenfield so stop it. If you're going to be anonymous, at least use your own neighborhood. And agree with Anonymous 5:55pm, if you are going to quote an article you should give context. Not to mention that the source is a guy from Jersey. Enough said.

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  18. Not MH @1:53, the secretary was not a pps teacher and likely not a member of the teachers union. i thought it might be important to mention this because so much information passes through blogs and accuracy is critical. That is all.

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  19. @Anon who challenges the endemic identity of mysterious Greenfieldness, please do share your geographic-ethnographic analysis of the linguistic patterns, cultural markers, and other Sherlockian clues which grounded your deductive leap into such confident unmasking.

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  20. Cant believe that Mary Angela Ogg got that job with City Planning. What a joke.

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  21. Not MH @1:53, she also doesn't have a master's degree. BTW i have a master's degree and I am far from being a very organized person, so don't assume.

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  22. Bram, for this post and every comment you've made here, thank you.

    I had not previously thought of the Allegheny Conference as similar to the Illuminati, but that is an interesting prospect.

    Oh. I mentioned the unmentionable.

    Going back to machines, my committee man is still telling me that the reason folks run for committee is "to get people signs when they need them." He is related to numerous City and County employees, from the top down. He says they only endorse Irish and Italians.

    That is at the very basic precinct level of politics, and I'd like to clean out the whole thing.

    Electing Jack Wagner is not the way to do that. He seems just to want to run the city, not to achieve anything positive. He needs a job, so he says "I can do that." And folks who want a piece of the action are eager to get behind him.

    I was very disappointed in Michael Lamb endorsing Wagner rather than Peduto, as Lamb and Peduto shared a lot of potential voters who now feel disillusioned.

    There is no question in my mind that Bill Peduto used every effort he could to circumvent the inaction and adverse action of Ravenstahl. One of the things he doesn't get enough credit for is the constant watching to be certain more secret or shady deals were not going down.

    Having to read each piece of legislation coming from the Mayor's office to the Council not only as is usual procedure but also to scrutinize for devious action shrouded within can be annoyingly time consuming, but many times was fruitful and saved a lot of City integrity. Credit to Bill Peduto.

    2011 was the Year of A. Leo Weil in the City, but maybe we can continue the attitude through this year - stretching our opportunity to do what Mr. Weil did in 1911, clean our house, elmininating the City's corruption. He got 120 persons convicted, and fomented a change in the composition of City Council from representation by Ward to nine members at large.

    What Bram says is dead-on. Let's take care of it, now. If we let it continue, we are the fools.

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  23. Thank you, flybylight. I was terribly, personally disappointed to hear the Lamb news myself. Sure, he failed to muster the initiative to dig into the Police Bureau when he really should have... but I didn't take him as a soldier for the status-quo, and a mayor you could work with because after all, he only wants to be mayor, he doesn't have any specific agendas or aspirations. But I guess Ferlo / the Admin / FOP / FF didn't take him for one of theirs', either. I guess when you have one of these positions like Controller or Auditor, you can talk the talk without without having to march out on any limbs or even really define yourself.

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  24. I'm Irish and Italian. I also have a masters degree. Since I'm obviously so over-qualified politically, you should just take my word for it and vote Peduto.

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  25. Look, you are correct about the grouping of people you call the "machine." What amazes me though is that you don't think bill has the machine. He has a collection of developers, unions, attorneys, finance people, etc. trying to get him elected. It is just a different group that wants the other group out. That's all. Wonder why bill is having a big fundraiser at Bill Benter's house? Wonder will Bill is calling people asking them to raise him $20,000? For real, this isn't some fairytale story. it is reality. Wake up. Let me guess. The people on Bill's side are "good" and only want good things for government but the people on Jack's side are "bad" and only want bad things for government, right?

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  26. Anon 9:30 - Who is Bill's collection of developers, attorneys and finance people? We know Luke's / Jack's. And we tried to have an election in which nobody was soliciting $20,000 checks, but...

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  27. Flyby worked for doug shields, the consummate machine insider and yet she tries to frame herself as some outsider.
    Just more hypocrisy form the left.

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  28. And Doug Shields is bad why??? You can't just name politicians and say they're bad, you have to connect them to something like this or something like what's swamping the Mayor's administration right now, actively, as we speak. Your assumption that "all politicians do it and always will" is disgusting.

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  29. You said Doig is bad..I said he is a consummate machine politician. Why u hate Doug?!?

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  30. Why do we have to do your job Bram? Just pull the campaign finance reports. Lots of lawyers and developers and business people on Bill's lists. It is easy - just look.

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  31. @Anon 4:40pm

    If you're going to make aspersions that undue influence by campaign donors has approached anywhere near the level of corruption, or has swayed Peduto's decision making to negatively impact our community, then please do your JOB as our fellow citizen (nobody that writes at this blog is your employee) and present some solid evidence to back up those assertions or implications.

    There is NOTHING wrong with having "lots of lawyers and developers and business people" on those donor lists.

    Yes, I wish like (seven words that not even George Carlin could use on Bram's blog) that we had a campaign finance law that would have restricted the out-of-proportion influence of that particular subset of citizens, but thanks to Wagner and Lamb, we do not.

    If you are a voter, and you have questions and doubts about candidates in a primary that directly affects you and this city so much, then you have JUST as much responsibility as ANYONE who writes or comments here to do some solid research if you want an elected official that equitably represents the interests of this community.

    Otherwise you can rely on the objectively slick ads and courageously anonymous whispers so selflessly donated to Good-Old-Boy-And-Girl Networks.

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  32. Correction - the last comment should have been addressed to Anonymous 4:50 pm not 4:40pm.

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  33. @ Helen - I know who they are and am informed. It is you who ignore the facts in effort to pursue an elitist agenda. However, unlike you and the Peduto crowd I choose not to publicly attack private private citizens. I'm not going to act like you and characterize any developer or lawyer or "downtown crowd" who wants to participate in government as corrupt simply because they are other side. I'm just amazed how readily you call out people you don't like and call them names. But, you won't take literally a couple minutes to search and see that the same crowd exists in your camp. If you won't be informed, that is your problem, not mine.

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  34. I wrote:

    There is NOTHING wrong with having "lots of lawyers and developers and business people" on those donor lists.

    That's because I NEVER characterize that subset of voters as corrupt - I know and respect and value many of that subset of fellow Pittsburghers. I never call them names. I am working with many such concerned citizens to help revitalize our public transit system, along with many hard-working bus-riders and drivers and activists and post-Occupiers. I value the wide range because in my opinion we are all vital to each other if we are to have a healthy democracy.

    YES, I am concerned when people with wealth and old networks of privileged connections are given disproportionate influence in our democratic process. YES, I will protest and point out when that wealth and influence is used to accrue more wealth and influence at the EXPENSE of hard-working families that suffer greatly from lack of access to the basics of what we need to live a less fearful life of struggle, the basics that allow us to contribute back to our communities: nutritious food, a good education, a roof over our heads, reliable transportation to work, health care.

    Please define "elitist" because I'm not sure what you mean.

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  35. Helen - the network of lawyers, developers, newspaper owners and financiers behind Bill and the E. End power structure has much more money and influence that the "network." That is why they are so angry they aren't controlling the Mayor's office and want it back. The same stuff will go on, just with better cover.

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  36. Six years, and the last ditch argument of whatever you call the non-progressives hasn't changed: "We're not saying you're wrong about us, but nothing can ever change, and you're a fool to try."

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  37. Don't you all know, at the Comet anyone for Bill is just in it for good government and anyone for Jack is corupt, want jobs, want sweetheart deals!

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