The season of “Wait for it, Wait for it…”: A critique sandwich!

Bill Peduto’s techniques for recruiting talent have put a bunch of really able and well-qualified people into important City positions. That is no longer in dispute.

The Mayor is good at sticking to his guns. Some thought his internal and external processes too tardy, slow, cumbersome, silly or prejudicial, but there was never any question of his hastening or curtailing them. Even when perhaps three or four out of his scores and scores of designees for Directorships, Deputy Directorships, staff, as well as Authority or Commission seats caused the slightest commotion, he fought tenaciously in defense of them.

The strategies are paying off. We have seen the cavalry arrive
at the Continue reading

The Strip’s Produce Terminal: Now, isn’t that special!

Strip District, Heinz History Center.

5th Floor, French and Indian War.

A life-size, painted, period-costumed Native American tribal chief greets you upon exiting the elevator, which would be ludicrous in any other context.

Turn left towards an enormous unadorned gathering hall, with a small stage and a massive wall-mounted projection screen bearing the agenda for a meeting to consider who will redevelop a 5-block long, hundred-year old “Produce Terminal”.

THREE-WAY POWERPOINT FACE OFF!!

The URA was hosting this rodeo, Continue reading

August Work: On the AWC, the Produce Terminal, and a deal with UPMC.

It may be August, but it sure does not feel like recess!

To differentiate the Julian month from the august dramatist, we will herein adopt the voguish lingo:

The “Augie Willy Center” has of late become a tale of deed covenants and a 25% monetary differential between dueling proposals. Yawn. It is almost enough to make one mutter: might this venture not do better if it were rooted in the historic Hill? Where dude grew up and found so much inspiration? Besides, it seems some passengers are jumping ship.

A few months ago, the Augie Willy story was a heady ferment Continue reading

Ceasefire with UPMC might not be atrocious

the usual

the usual

I wish we were not accepting UPMC’s rhetoric voguish rhetoric* about how challenging their tax-exempt status is like “holding a gun to their heads”.

We all pay taxes. Dunkin’ Donuts pays taxes. Dollar Bank pays taxes. Going to court to ensure that a profitable enterprise pays the taxes that they owe is nothing like robbing someone at gunpoint, it is like instructing them to “make their bed” or “put some pants on already.”

Be that as it may, it took Pittsburgh one full year, and Lord knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, only to see the case get tossed out at the first technicality. We might appeal the decision, but legal appeals are not quite like picking up dice and throwing them a second time. The judge had a sound enough rationale, it would almost certainly be further waste.

We could file new challenges against each of UPMC’s hospitals. Aah, that’d be sweet!  Continue reading

Fix tha’ Police: Reform as a long-term priority (pt. 2)

A hundred or so Northsiders filed into a church basement last Thursday to take part in the 5th of six community forums designed to gather input on selecting a new Chief of Police.

The cherubim and seraphim of Mayor Peduto’s office were on hand to welcome us at the door. Upon signing in and receiving a name tag, one of them informed me, “You’ll be at Table One!”

Assigned seating?

The meeting process was led by Consultants for a Dope Democracy the Program for Deliberative Democracy, housed at CMU. Sometimes when it comes to community development, a group like Michael Baker Corp. fills such a role, but this seemed like something new.

After introductions, each table would engage in “small-group deliberations” among themselves, culminating in Continue reading

Fix tha’ Police: Reform as a long-term priority

We ask members of the Pittsburgh Bureau of the Police to do a lot of hard and dangerous things, and we often commend them for how they do it.

Still, other frictions continue to heighten and converge, bringing demands for better police management.

Last week, we heard confirmations that the Police have flatly refused to implement the PIRC, the City’s program to address group-related homicide which is based on a data-gathering and community engagement strategy shown to produce notable effect in other cities.

Councilman Ricky Burgess described the intensity Continue reading