Monday, March 23, 2009

Re: Contracts

With the contracting brouhaha that surfaced in yesterday's Post-Gazette, the consenting opinion from the de facto leader of the opposition, and the rebuttal from the incumbent, I got to thinking. My sense is that there are those in the local political establishment that are suffering from some sort of cognitive dissonance, not quite understanding that, whether they mean it or not, when contributors to their campaigns receive lucrative contracts it reflects badly on them and implies that there has been some sort of a quid pro quo. Some of the people you've elected just don't get it.

Of course, in a disturbingly small city like this, it's sometimes very difficult to differentiate between one's friends, one's contributors, and other qualified professionals. So, when your circle of "experts" is limited by the people you are in contact with (and often contribute to your campaign), it seems only logical to you that they should be awarded government contracts and that you should be the one to help them.

Then again, there are the other times when there's plain outright corruption.

The immediate, shoot-front-the-hip response has been to stop non-competitive contracts, which is more of a pain in the ass for those in the Bureaucracy who have to administer the contracts than an actual remedy to the problem. The problem can't be solved with limiting campaign contributions either, however; contractors will just find something else of value to do for the elected representatives (name a building after them, fund a charity, lobby other similar contractors, etc.). You can shake up the box, I think, but there are always going to be some old school people trying to game the system.

So, I'm generally pessimistic about this whole thing.

8 comments:

EdHeath said...

I would be perfectly happy if (a) there were twenty buildings downtown named Luke Ravenstahl, (b) Raventahl got taken on free trips to New York City, Miami and Nookie Island, (c) Ravenstahl and Dowd had exactly the same amount of campaign cash and (d) the ACDC stopped endorsing candidates.

Actually, I expect a and b will happen anyway. Since Luke would probably not make it as a county-wide candidate, to say nothing of state-wide, I expect Luke to be Mayor until the County absorbs the City, at which point he will "retire" as a district justice.

MH said...

Don't you need to be a lawyer to be a district justice?

EdHeath said...

Like Jim Motznik?

MH said...

So a district justice is like what other states call a magistrate?

Anonymous said...

County absorbs City?

I'll have what Ed's smok'n!

Why is it that everyone thinks County does it better than City?

City practices are more professional. And, County practices are better than Harrisburg's.

I'll take Luke over County Smuck or Placebo Govenor.

monk.

Anonymous said...

Ed you 'really' ought to get head out of ass.

Pittsburgh's problems far outway County's. To think lily white suburbs can do better than the City Proper, blows me away.

Are you ready to consolidate urban schools with suburban. My children did very well on own without 'Pittsburgh Promise.'

Brashear High, rocks....Thanks to staff.

No way suburban folks have expertise to deal with urban reality.

Fact is burbs don't wish to send white kids to black schools.

County absorb City? Whatever.

Push the Promise! Mayor...

monk

Anonymous said...

My daughters are fond of their education @ Brashear.

All choose continuing education...cost a fortune, given I live on City wages.

Gallows humor...I smile every time I hear about teachers...

Daughters (3), are proud of Brashear (their pronunciation)

' Ed-you My Ca shion'

Daughters knew guys named Abe and Himmler....had rooms across from one another.

They enjoyed the differences between the two for obvious reasons.

Names speak volumes..

Priceless.

monk

EdHeath said...

Hey, my point was that Ravenstahl is likely to keep doing what he is doing now until he physically is prevented from doing so. Like the ADB said ("shake up the box" but "always going to be some old school people trying to game the system").

That said, I think it is possible that if Pittsburgh does not get its act together budget wise, the State may be get tired of having five year 47 plans that just barely save the City's collective asses and the State might force the County to take us. This also might be a fitting punishment for Dan Onorato for causing the rest of the State to do something with their re-assessment system. In short (too late), I think the COunty might get the City not because the COunty is capable, rather by (pardon the expression) default.