Friday, October 17, 2008

Taking Care of Listness and Working Overtime*

Public Works supervisors suspended for receiving, granting overtime pay.

Officials in Ravenstahl's office said the four men were not entitled to receive overtime because they are supervisors. Public Works Director Guy Costa will be suspended for one day, said Ravenstahl spokeswoman Joanna Doven. She could not say whether he would be paid during the suspension. (Trib, Jeremy Boren; see also KDKA, Marty Griffin)

* UPDATE: Getting choppy: (P-G, Rich Lord)

I'm amazed stuff like this doesn't get revealed more often.

Union employees are always a little more comfortable than nonunion employees; public-sector union employees a little more so; public-sector employees in a one-party government even more so; and public-sector union employees in a one-party government in a city with a longstanding and unique reverence for organized labor far more so. It's surprising the folks who run Public Works don't give Our Mayors noogies and kick sand in their faces on a daily basis.

URA facilitates three hotels for Homewood East Liberty.

It may seem like an awful lot of rooms for such a compact space, but URA officials said yesterday marketing studies have indicated that the area can support up to 450 rooms. (P-G, Mark Belko)

Okay. No objections, I guess. I can't help but wonder all of a sudden though if the hospitality industry has some kind of active trade group or PAC on the case.

Speaking of Homewood...

The P-G's Elwin Green writes an open letter to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl regarding vacant properties and the seeming lack of a game plan to reintigrate them.

I am aware of the program to offer vacant lots to the owners of adjacent properties as side lots. But what if the owner of an adjacent property does not want the vacant lot? Or what if the adjacent property is itself vacant - as 7213 Race Street is?

In March 2007, you announced that the City would begin seizing houses that are frequent crime scenes. But what will the City do with those houses? What is the City doing with the houses that it owns? Is the City placing tenants in them and acting as a responsible landlord? Is the City selling them to residents and boosting the homeownership rate? Is the City selling them to investors?

Is 7215 Race Street the exception, or the rule?

Does the City have any coherent policy on what to do with properties once it takes possession of them?

My understanding, Elwin, is that the city intends to produce green energy on these lots with switchgrass, sunflowers and unicorn manure, until such time as the URA acquires enough of them near enough to one another that it can provide a whirlwind of development.

However, unlike the Comet, Elwin is proposing solutions instead of just complaining:

I ask you, as Pittsburgh's first mayor to come of age during the Internet era, to consider the possibility of an Internet-enabled auction of City-owned real estate. I ask you to challenge all departments that might be involved with such an effort, from IT to finance to legal, to put together a process that will shift ownership and responsibility for those properties from the City to individual owners - and that will book payment from those buyers - in record time, a process that can provide a model for other cities in similar straits.

It's a good idea -- assuming anyone at all would want these properties presently. Go PIRC, go!

Please, lead us forward.

Everybody's a comedian.

McCain office in Port Vue vandalized.

So much for the moral high ground, jackasses. (Trib, Team Effort)

Pittsburgh experiencing issues with Latino immigrants.

Slowly but finally. (P-G, Jerome L. Sherman)

The Animal Rescue League is the place to be.

6000 Verona Rd., Verona, 15147
Sat. Oct 25th Noon-4
Food, Games, Crafts, Hiking, Hayrides

Diesel Club Lounge (what?)
Wed. Nov. 12th 6PM - 9PM
$50 Ticket includes 2 drink tickets and heavy appetizers (Heavy, but presumably vegetarian? Or just free range? I don't know. E-mail for details.)


  1. Re: Auction of City owned properties.

    Something like this?

  2. Good info, Bugaboo.

    If I understand correctly, that is a website that calls attention to county property acquisition procedures, including ordinary auctions. It doesn't look like some kind of streamlined, innovative online city auction; of course, that could be very difficult to finagle -- there are courts involved. Still, I think something more like the Freemarkets auction of municipal bonds would be closer to what Elwin Green had in mind.

    Either way, there should be ways to promote these vacant lots to a wider audience, considering Pittsburgh's sudden renown as the City That's Not Taking Part In The Depression.

  3. I agree. The City page that I linked is extremely difficult to find, and I only stumbled across it once when looking for something else for work. Your post just made me think of it and I thought you and your readers might be interested, especially if they might want to acquire some of these properties.