Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What will the News in NeoPittsburgh Be Like?

The Municipality is borrowing $80 million for its capital needs over this year and the next, and it somehow seems drenched in signs and portents.

"You're going to see a different city now," Councilman Ricky Burgess, the finance chairman, predicted after council gave the borrowing final approval.

Officials said market interest in the borrowing, which comes about two weeks after two ratings agencies revised the city's financial outlook from "negative" to "stable," offered additional evidence of the city's financial progress.

"This is proof positive that our mayor has been leading the city on strong fiscal ground and is leading us toward economic recovery," Mr. Burgess said. (P-G, Joe Smydo)

This is where the Comet and I both typically get hung up over what sort of image I and we should pair with the blog post. Something cheerful and optimistic like this?

Or something with a wry and cynical edge, albeit a bit easy to miss?

Do we latch onto the concept of "transformation" to smash-cut to something civilly jarring?

Trib writers seem to have the most fun sometimes. (Trib, Rick Willis)

Then again, what's wrong with progress already?

Developers of a long-blighted North Side block at North Avenue and Federal Street said on Friday that they signed a lease with Nakama restaurant, which should help jump-start development there. (Trib, Thomas Olson)

As a Deutschtowner, it's fantastic to see some momentum around that intersection. I was holding my breath for a Trader Joe's or an East End Co-op North to spring up there and I guess I still am since as a member of the 1% sandwiched between the top 85% and the bottom 14% I could actually use one of those. Again, it's exciting but I'm having a hard time envisioning how Light of Life Ministries, the ARC House and the old YMCA are going to interact with this...

Wait, what the butt? Where is that image of Celebrity Chef Ravenstahl flipping a shrimp and trying to catch it in his mouth? We were going to crop it and everything!

Alright. Anyway, back to the bond issuance, or that is, the $80 million we're putting on our credit card because we've been good and finally qualified for a metallurgical-caliber card. What do the experts say?

So, the city took out this huge loan which seems like a sort of good idea. On the one hand, the refinancing should help out with their last loan but on the other hand, it seems a little like we're still paying off our undergraduate degree in psychology and have decided to get a Master's 30k/year. I guess I would be less worried if I knew exactly what all of this money was going to be spent on. (The Collected Notes of Secret Agent Ska)

Oh boy, now the wheels are really coming off. Any sense of decency and prudence is falling by the wayside.

And it's not like we have a gigantic cushion.

Anyway, ahem. "Experts":

Thing is that these bonds are callable on March 1, 2012, with a minimum of a 30 day notice to the registered holders of those bonds. 30 days left of March 1st is... tomorrow? You are talking seriously down to the wire in all of this. (Null Space)

Right, good to know some things are immutable. And...?

Like I said.. not quite the stuff for a general audience, but beyond any headlines on this, there must be a very serious inside game of poker going on between the city, ICA and everyone else involved in the timing of this. Given how much ink we spill over some incredibly minutia things, you think this all would get a little more coverage or public debate. (ibid)

Oh yeah, "coverage!" That old thing.

It's not as easy as the professionals make it look:

For more than a year, reporters and anchors seeking a contract through collective bargaining at WTAE-TV (Channel 4) have been stonewalled by owner Hearst TV. After 13 bargaining sessions, Hearst still refuses employee proposals for such basic contract standards as:
  • Severance benefits when the station fires a worker without cause.
  • A minimum salary scale.
  • Overtime pay after eight hours work in a day.
  • Retirement plan benefits on same terms as other employees at the station.
  • Consideration for unscheduled call-outs, split shifts and work on the sixth consecutive day and thereafter.
Meanwhile, Hearst signed collective-bargaining agreements containing these basic standards in six other cities: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Boston, New Orleans and Omaha. (Fairness 4 WTAE)

Not going to have time to cover this story at every base, but those are some pretty reasonable proposals for any workers to put forward -- much less highly skilled and educated ones with good teeth and cheekbones. Therefore in our autonomous capacity we / I / the Comet endorses WTAE workers' demands (nyeah nyeah) not to be treated worse than your average Hollywood Video trainee just because there's a steady stream of starving single childless journalism graduates out there desperate to catch a break. You have the website already, now sign the petition, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, and subscribe to their YouTubage.

We need real reporters. Could you imagine the state of things if there wasn't any good reporting?

I know, right? What?