Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday: Summer Squalls

Gary Sullivan Online

Allegheny County seems poised to do some slant-drilling under certain County parks. As you do. Coincidentally, a free screening of Gasland Part 2 with director Josh Fox arrives later this week.

The grand jury hearing evidence for InvestigatePGH allegedly is going to be active this week. As I review that which has fallen under suspicion, I see a consulting business set up by the indicted former Police Chief listed in McKees Rocks, a "gentleman's club" raided in McKees Rocks, and a Fire Bureau equipment contract with a company in McKees Rocks causing consternation. Do you suppose that's a bingo?

Payday lending in Pennsylvania is apparently making a comeback under a new monicker in the State Senate, although apparently it has been shown to weaken national security.

On the Port Authority management bill, due for action Monday, the latest draft circulating as to board appointments looks something like this:

4 go to the Allegheny County Executive (but 2 among these must come from lists provided by groups such as the SPC, PDF, the ACCD and others)

2 go to Republican members of County Council (both of which must come from lists provided by CAT and perhaps SPC and/or ACDC too; again, this may become more clear on Monday)

1 goes to the Governor.

1 goes each of the 4 Legislative caucus leaders.

The strangest thing of course is the appearance of these lists of outside organizations which limit the local yokels' choices. At least one of these, for example, represents interests already demonstrating significant ease getting the ear of political leaders. And if we have several advocates for one community specially impacted by transit options, why not certain others?

Sen. Vulakovich confirmed to Helen that this Port Authority bill (SB 700) is important to House Republicans to make the Senate's Transportation bill (SB 1) "more palatable." Road and bridge repair apparently is not sufficiently appetizing without a side-order of extracting maximum tribute over various trifling outrages.

Finally, there is "some language about privatization" being bandied about as part of this Port Authority bill -- perhaps funding for a study, perhaps more. Helen says she has Vulakovich animatedly on record stating, "But I don't care. I care about getting riders from point A," he said, pausing dramatically, "to point B. That's it."

That's it, indeed. Have a nice remainder of your weekend!


  1. Austerity to the right of us, austerity to the left of us. What direction will the masses leap with such gulfs on either side of the crumbling bridges that Keynes built?

    1. As a rule, the masses do not to leap. First they'd need to recognize in large numbers austerity is bad. I'd give them about ten to fifteen years, but even then in terms of "leaping" there's that frog-slowly-coming-to-a-boil problem.

    2. If the bus lines are cut again - that's a quick and painful boil for a LOT of people.