Wednesday, May 27, 2009

None of Us is as Dumb as All of Us

There's a saying, well, maybe I have a saying, or perhaps it's one of my rules, but if it isn't, it probably should be.... any way, the saying goes like this: When you don't know what to do or what you're doing, you can always form a committee. Case in point:

City Councilman Bill Peduto is calling for a citizen commission to guide the city in spending its share of the federal stimulus funds.

Called the Stimulus Oversight and Reinvestment in New Growth (SOARING) Commission, the body would oversee the city’s stimulus tracker Web site, adopt a priority list of all city projects and evaluate and recommend projects to city council and the mayor...

Peduto said he envisions a five-member body of citizen experts in new economy, technology, public infrastructure and energy policy.

Each member of city council would make a recommendation and the mayor would select five of the nine nominated to serve on the volunteer board. All this should happen before the end of June, Peduto added, to comply with the Recovery Act’s speedy deadlines for moving money...

The stimulus oversight board would function like the city’s planning commission, which reviews proposed projects and gives recommendations to elected officials who have the ultimate say, Peduto noted.
'Cause, you know how effective the Planning Commission has been recently.

Anyway, while I'm usually all for unnecessary levels of bureaucracy, oversight, and general mucking around, this is kinda silly. My understanding of the stimulus funding is that (1) most of it is already committed, (2) despite claims by the Obama administration, it is filtering out slowly, (3) the funding has to be spent quickly, and (4) there are a whole lot of governmental and quasi-governmental organizations that are eligible for funding. You have a new, complicated Federal program, already loaded with oversight, that a City Councilperson wants to laden with more bureaucracy and oversight.

That sounds like a good use of time.

So, my guess here is that either Peduto had an acronym in search of a project or that he's trying to insert himself into the stimulus projects in order to either claim credit for something or thwart the mayor.

But, what makes all this even sillier is that, unless I'm mistaken, as head of the Finance Committee on City Council, Peduto can already call for public meetings and hearings on these financial matters. Why wouldn't he use that power? Has he run out of ideas? Is he waffling? Is he grandstanding? Who knows.

Seriously, what's the friggin' point?

And on a completely, totally unrelated matter: what's the City of Pittsburgh Youth Commission been up to recently? How's that thing working out?

Oh, and "SOARING"? Terrible acronym. "Pittsburgh Economic and Neighborhood Improvement Subcommittee," however, is an awesome acronym. Too bad so many people in this city Can't Understand New Terms.


Anonymous said...

Will this commission have the power to turn down stimulus money?

"Obama is giving us money for repairs to the Fort Duquesne Bridge, but we want to rebuild the Davis Avenue bridge more, so we're turning it down."

Mark Rauterkus said...

Right on.

Bill needs to spend his time playing more drinking games. This is why I encourage him to peddal and paddle more frequently.

My rant, same topic.