Friday, September 27, 2013

Pass Transportation Funding! Make the Governing Happen! And other tales...

Old Tappan Schools


There are doings a'transpiring on the transportation bill...

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, who opposes [Senate Bill 1], said he intends to call a vote.

That could come as early as next week. (Trib, Brad Bumstead)

If the House really has absorbed that it needs to once again do basic Government 101 stuff (without being distracted by dueling liquor trick-shots) then better late than never. Good job, fellas! Cometmaniacs, if you ever travel on any roads and bridges, ride on buses or subways, or know anyone socially or professionally who does, now is a truly excellent time to WUPHF your legislators (both D's and R's) and firmly recommend that they ought to keep the trains running on time.

Iiiiiiiif however the plan is to get everybody ginned up to pass "Senate Bill 1" and then amend it by decreasing its total funding allocation to, say, $4.37 and a coupon for half off a 6-inch Quiznos sub -- and then bounce the legislation back to a strongly-unified Senate so we can all finger-wag for another year -- that would be most unfortunate.

Rumor has it that Turzai may try to resurrect the Hess Amendment:

The sweeping amendments to a Senate-approved transportation bill would eliminate many of the fee increases on motorists that were aimed at raising more money for public transit. The amendments would also require Philadelphia and other local governments to pay a higher share of the costs of transit and would allow counties to levy a $5-per-vehicle fee on local residents, as well as to raise sales taxes, realty-transfer taxes, and earned-income taxes. (Inky, Paul Nussbaum)

In other words, state funding for transit would be thrown under the bus, but metro areas are told they can always pick up the entire tab themselves if they can stand it. But we've been here before.

Obligatory duck
We know that steeper and "left-field" taxes are not really a practical option at the local level due to competitive pressures from just two miles down the road. We know that fees on motorists make intuitive sense for transportation, and that broad-based efforts distribute the burden. We know that as things stand, urban motorists are disproportionately subsidizing rural motorists in a number of ways, and that's not even going to change. And we can see that the businesses community understands perfectly well how public transit is important to state and regional competitiveness and healthy bottom lines.

The only folks who don't choose to acknowledge all of that are the truly radical anti-state fundamentalist clerics. Let's try to resist giving the Commonwealth over to them. We have real jobs to do. Let's pass the popular Republican Senate bill and move on.

*-UPDATE: There is another rumor going around as to how even a "clean" version of SB1 might get voted down, which is too whackadoo for me even to think about except to say it's definitely Harrisburg enough. Call your Democrats. (Keystone Politics; see also PoliticsPA)


It's a shame we can't implode the Stadium Authority immediately, but hastening that day is better than nothing. It will be nice when the land between PNC Park and Heinz Field is... uh... just like the rest of our City. (P-G, Mark Belko)

It's probably starting to sound really silly to say things like, "Whoever that next mayor turns out to be." (Trib, Bob Bauder; Bill Zlatos)

I know I linked to this story already, but about the "crystal glassware"... we're starting to hear rumors about a certain company making these annual custom-engraved sets. Why would the Steelers choose to give those to public officials? There's a lot I don't understand about business. (P-G, Moriah Balingit)

Our buddy Hank Sciortino dahn' the ICA got a raise, despite everything. (P-G, More Iah Balingit) Several of you are outraged over this, with particular respect to how the oversight board withheld millions of dollars of the City's share of gaming revenue for months upon months, and ultimately released it without the accumulated interest... interest which probably was used to pay for Hank's exorbitant salary and vacation time. Well, the Pittsburgh Comet is outraged too! Duly! Two-timing ninnies.

Here are some tweets from last night's District 7 event. On Wednesday the 9th, the Bloomfield Citizens Council is hosting a forum among all candidates moderated by KDKA's lead non-Marty Griffin investigator Andy Sheehan.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday: You can't say "Ethics" without "Thick"

clean version

The Steelers have been subpoenaed: P-G, Rich Lord.

The City Ethics Hearing Board is not tearing it up: P-G, Moriah Balingit.

If you want further background on the length and depth of the official City ethics outfit's "abeyance", the Busman has a plethora of interesting material beginning in Feb. 2007 up through Nov. 2008.

Do you run an enterprise reliant on underpaying and undervaluing its longtime professionals, refusing them health benefits, dismissing them with no warning and without cause, and claiming that when they finally vote to unionize that you are exempt for some reason? If so, you might be a jagoff: P-G, Daniel Kovalik.