Thursday, May 20, 2010

Perfect Foresight

Quick: What were Pittsburgh's development plans in 2004?

While you're thinking about that, there's this:

Pittsburgh Councilman Ricky Burgess unveiled today legislation that would require a six-year capital spending plan, potentially totalling some $200 million to $250 million, for the city's spending on roads, bridges, development and other infrastructure...

He cast the legislation as part of a push he launched in March to ensure that lower-income communities get not just federal development funds, but a fair share of locally generated city spending on paving and other infrastructure matters. He said that would be a change from 30 years of inadequate investment in struggling neighborhoods...
While there's definitely something to be said for increased transparency in local government, there's something completely different to be said for planning for something 6 years out.

Heck, within the next 6 years Homewood, East Liberty, and Larimer could turn into fabulous new markets, and the West End could slide off into oblivion. Or the reverse could happen. In early 2008, people across the country thought that the housing market would carry the US economy to untold heights, instead of throw it down a well.

Projections are hard enough 6 months out, let alone 6 years out. Just ask Council members Harris and Shields about planning for business district improvements in their neighborhoods and how that all works out.

And, just to jog your memory:

In January 2004, Lazarus closed. In June, Pittsburgh Development Group II proposed a 175-acre horse track in Hays. In August, the SEA proposed a North Shore amphitheater. In October, Lord & Taylor followed Lazarus into oblivion. In November, Ebony Development proposed building a supermarket in the Hill District.

Notably missing from this list: any mention of a new Arena.

So much for foresight.

Taunting the Corbett

By now, if you are familiar with the Internets, you've heard all about this:

An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer said Thursday his organization is helping two anonymous Twitter users fight an effort by prosecutors to unmask them after they tweeted criticism of a Pennsylvania attorney general who is running for governor...

A Corbett spokesman said the subpoena was partly related to a Friday sentencing hearing for former Democratic legislative aide Brett Cott. He is one of three people convicted in March of public corruption charges in the ongoing investigation into the alleged illegal use of legislative employees and government resources to run political campaigns.

The grand jury on May 6 subpoenaed the identities and other information about the two users from Twitter Inc. Corbett's office has been using the highly secretive grand jury process for the past several years to look into allegations that government resources and legislative employees have been illegally used to run political campaigns...

On Twitter, both CasablancaPA and bfbarbie have been critical of Corbett and the Bonusgate prosecution.

In a tweet Thursday, bfbarbie called Corbett "an evil man," and CasablancaPA wrote that Corbett "should try reading the blog he wants to shut down a little more closely."...
Poor Tom. Poor, poor Tom attacked viciously in some back alley Tweet by two guys using only their words. After the incident, Tom was barely able to get back to his office, and courageously used what little strength he had left from the savageness of the beating to issue subpoenas against, what I assume are, his two Cheeto-smelling assailants.

Of course, Tom was dressed all politicians like; he was just begging to be blogged about.


You know, when stories like this (including the one where Luke Ravenstahl absolutely did not go on a five day coke and goat sex binge and will sue the ever living pants off of anyone who even insinuates the mere hint that he did anything of the sort) break, one can only respond with scorn and ridicule. But in this case we also have a list of other things that Corbett has (allegedly) done:
As a reward for being an adviser to the campaign of Tom Ridge, Corbett was appointed to several Pennsylvanian commissions.

While he was a 9th grade teacher, students complained that he graded "unfairly."

He has two acknowledged children by a woman who is his wife.

He has publicly acknowledged that he is pursuing a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Government with Pennsylvanian tax payer money, which has little chance of succeeding, but may take years.

He became Attorney General after his predecessor was mysteriously indicted for mail fraud.

He is known to be involved with a known felon linked to the "suicide" of Budd Dwyer.

He has had involvement in Waste Management, the same field as Mobster Tony Soprano.

While he claims to have served in the Army National Guard, no one has stepped forward to corroborate his attendance.

Mr. Corbett wrote several explosive papers while attending Lebanon Valley College, but both Mr. Corbett and the College have refused to release them for examination.

And finally, Tom "Hussein" Corbett has refused to release his long-form birth certificate in response to growing concerns that he was actually born in Belgium.
I think "Hussein" Corbett needs to answer these questions, don't you?

Or maybe I should look into getting a Twitter feed and get into that hot 140 character action.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


If Onorato has, in fact, won tonight and beats Corbett in the fall, does that mean that Ravenstahl will make a run for County Executive? Or will Onorato at least take Ravenstahl with him to Harrisburg?

A fellow can dream, can't he?

By the way: on behalf of Allegheny County, I'd like to apologize to the rest of the Commonwealth.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Park by Any Other Name...

What's in a name?

The Grandview Scenic Byway Park that winds though Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights would be renamed Emerald View Park under legislation introduced in Pittsburgh City Council Tuesday.

Councilwoman Theresa Smith said in a news release that the new name for the 235-acre park created in 2005 is "symbolic both of Pittsburgh's growing green identity" and the "green rebirth" of the park itself, plus the spectacular views available there. The proposed name came from a community process run by the Mount Washington Community Development Corp., Visit Pittsburgh, and a renaming committee, and will be the subject of a council hearing prior to a vote.
I find "Emerald Park" to be less than inspiring; it brings to mind poorly planned public housing, nuts or Winkies. Might as well just skywrite "SURRENDER DOROTHY" over the damned thing and be done with it.

I suppose it's better than the names they rejected:
Washington Park

Guyasuta Park

Guy Lombardo Park

Karma Sutra Park

Eaton Park

Highmark/UPMC Park

Doctor Richard Florida's Cavalcade of Flying Magical Mystery and Fantasmagoria Park


MacArthur Park

Cabrini Green

No Parking on the 4th of July Park

Frack Park

Luke Ravenstahl Memorial Park
Yes, those are all terrible names.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

And then...

There's this bullshit:

State Reps. Daryl Metcalfe and Harry Readshaw think Pennsylvania should follow Arizona's lead and "protect its borders and citizens" by giving local and state police more power to arrest, detain and eventually deport foreigners who have entered the state illegally and don't have proper registration papers.
That kind of weapons grade stupidity needs to be outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

Now, let's set aside for a moment that "protecting the borders of the USA" is the job of, you know, the Federal Government and let's set aside the fact that this kind of legislation would open up the Commonwealth, not only to lawsuits by those that are unlawfully detained, but to requests by state and local police for things like training and resources to enforce this kind of law ("resources" that don't exist in the current $1 billion budget hole). Let's really focus on the fact that, if there are 140,000 illegal immigrants in the Commonwealth that's 140,000 people that *are being counted* towards things like, oh I don't know, the Census, which keeps us from hemorrhaging population.

So fuck Metcalfe and Readshaw: bring as many goddamn illegal immigrants to PA as soon as possible. Build towns, boroughs, cities. Drive up the population. Drive up demand for services. Increase the tax base. Increase the number of seats Pennsylvania has in the House.

... Unless, that is, Metcalfe and Reashaw themselves are illegal immigrants. Actually, now that I mention it, they've never actually released their naturalization papers, have they? What kind of name is "Metcalf" anyway. Sounds foreign to me. How do we know that they aren't in Harrisburg taking the jobs of good, hardworking Americans?


You damned, dirty illegals. Don't make us deport you back to Guatemala.

The Devil in the Budgeting Details

OK so there's this odd little kerfluffle going on in Council which piqued my interest:

Pittsburgh City Council president calls URA allocation attempt 'sleazy'

That headline buries this piece of information:

Council President Darlene Harris said the measure to transfer money out of projects in East Allegheny, Observatory Hill, Brighton Heights, Troy Hill and Squirrel Hill neighborhoods...
So it sounds like the URA is asking Council to reallocate money to other (as they said about the stimulus) "ready-to-go" projects.

So what are these mystery projects? I can't make heads nor tails of it, but it's on page 281 of the .pdf, and it's labeled as a "new" project, whatever that's worth. That makes it sound like a special allocation by the Council to the URA for specific actions in specific neighborhood.

Could it be that someone on Council has tried to squirrel away money for her or his district's pet projects and is not willing to let it go to other districts? Any idea whose Council District contains East Allegheny, Observatory Hill, Brighton Heights, and Troy Hill?

(Hint: I already mentioned her name.)