Friday, July 6, 2007

Connect The Dots ... La-Lalala!

About three weeks ago (Trib):

"I think it's overkill," said Kyra Straussman, the commission's vice chairwoman. "I think (UPMC) can get what they need out of a smaller sign."

About ten days ago, as reported this morning (P-G):

The three members who originally voted against the sign all said yesterday that they were not pressured by UPMC or the mayor's administration to change their positions ... Kyra Straussman did not attend the second meeting because of a family matter.

And now, late-breaking, c/o the P-G's Diana Nelson Jones:

The Urban Redevelopment Authority today confirmed the hiring of two community-development specialists who have made their marks in East Liberty and the South Side...

... Kyra
Straussman, a co-founder of Cool Space Locator and member of the city's Planning Commission, has been named real estate director...

... Ms. Straussman will earn $87,700.

As the editorial said this morning, "None of this sounds very good."

How else might the URA be exhibiting friendship toward UPMC? Also from this morning's Rich Lord piece:

Council, for instance, is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether the city should act as a pass-through for a $10 million state grant toward expansion of UPMC's Shadyside cancer treatment complex.

It is on the URA's recommendation that Council is being asked to approve this scheme, according to council minutes.

Why would the City of Pittsburgh be so generous with taxpayer money to an organization that tries so hard to continue offering almost nothing in return, during our desperate hour of need?

We have no earthly idea.


  1. Nice freaking work, mate. I saw the headline for Diana's article, thought about clicking on it, and decided that it probably wouldn't offer any news that was all that earth-shaking. Thank goodness someone like you was paying close attention to all of this.

    I hope that you don't mind me doing a special post to link to yours, but I really wanted to draw some attention to this story.

  2. "Stop what you're doing and go listen to what Bram has to say."

    Right. That's totally our nightmare scenario. :)

  3. Kyra Straussman is highly qualified for this job, and she deserved it. She shouldn't have changed her vote, but she IS qualified and doesn't HAVE to be a puppet. Hopefully she will continue to vote her conscience b/c i think if she does she can make a positive impact on development in this city. If she keeps being bent to the will of the mayor, well, then I guess that is a loss for progressive Pittsburgh.

  4. Duhhhhhhhh...Sounds like Kyra was bought

  5. And Yarone Zober would be the great big fat dot right in the middle of all of this. He learned well at the knee of Denny Regan - the URA has become their personal cash register for handing out political favors - typically, those favors benefit Yozo's other puppetmaster Jimmy Ferlo, not Luke's golf game.


    Nice conspiracy theory though, Bram.

  7. As long as we have you on the line ... um, let's call you "Bowser" ... as long as we have you on the line, Bowser, why the $10M public subsidy? Who's running UPMC, Jim Rohr?

  8. Pass through grant that needs to hit a municipal entity because of state regulations.

  9. So shouldn't we get a cut? A real cut? For all these little kindnesses, already?

  10. These two new positions were not advertised on the URA website. Look at the site under employment opportunities and try to find the job posting for these two jobs that have been vacant in recent years. All you will find is the following:

    Employment Opportunities
    URA Position Posting, June 2007

    URA Position Posting, March 2007
    Development Officer (Housing Department)
    Project Development Specialist (Economic Development Department)

    Look under this link for the real estate license for the new real director, couldn’t find it.

    As a minimum requirement of the position, shouldn’t the URA Real Estate Director have at least a PA Real Estate Brokers license?

    Is it a conflict of interest to sit on the city's Planning Commission and work for the URA?

    I am sure that if there were real job openings and not created ones then the public should have been informed about the positions.

  11. So shouldn't we get a cut?

    There's usually an administrative fee taken.

    As a minimum requirement of the position, shouldn’t the URA Real Estate Director have at least a PA Real Estate Brokers license?

    At least the last two have not. Government property sales are a completely different animal.

  12. This certainly makes you wonder what was behind the planning process in East Liberty, and what is intended to be repeated throughout the city.

  13. No we mean a CUT, i.e., you want your URA approvals, your Zoning Board approvals, your Planning Commission approvals, then how about coming out from behind the pastor's robes and making with some serious payments-in-lieu-of-taxes?

    Anon 9:14 - We have heard the same concern. We don't understand it fully yet, but we are intrigued.

  14. Reply to July 9, 2007 7:34 AM

    As a minimum requirement of the position, shouldn’t the URA Real Estate Director have at least a PA Real Estate Brokers license?

    "At least the last two have not. Government property sales are a completely different animal."

    If you were a state licensed real estate broker or salespersons or even had a degree in real estate you would know the there are several types of government sales as well as open market sales. To have someone represented as having a professional license to practice real estate in this Commonwealth and to have someone who is a good marketer( as the new real estate director is described as) is completely different.

    Yes it is true that government sales can be different, however in this Commonwealth the Department of State requires (by laws and regulations) ANYONE who sales real estate (other than your own personal property) to be licensed this includes governmental authorities.

    AND since the broker license is more advanced than the salesperson license then the URA should want to hire people with the highest qualifications possible.