Fitzgerald leads own Democratic surge with new weapon

Pittsburgh’s hottest political action committee is “Better Jobs, Better Future”, or BJBF.

It has everything: Chelsa-smashing, Council-whipping, and centrist triangulating. There are donor congas — that thing of when politicians with access to money open up all sorts of new money appendages to each other.

[Allegheny County Controller Chelsa] Wagner called the group’s activities, which extend to county council races, “terribly concerning” and said they jeopardize checks and balances in county government.

“If we cannot have a government where this is a healthy discourse and dissent, I think it’s pretty clear that this is not a strong or functioning form of government.”. (P-G, Potter & Born)

That’s a little overblown. Continue reading

SURPRISE: Natalia Rudiak to challenge Michael Lamb for Controller

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 2.34.39 PMThis is a little stunning.

Healthy for the City to have a serious 3-month debate about fiscal issues and fiscal accountability. A fiscal focus, if you will.

It will be hard to make the case against 7-year incumbent Lamb that he’s too politicized or obstructive against the popular Peduto administration, that is, without getting lost in inside baseball. Can’t call him the Mayor’s lapdog though. Difficult to knock his competence convincingly. One might make a case he’s too dull for any elected office, except City Controller. Her message will probably have to be, “I’m Natalia Rudiak. Oh, and I’m council’s Finance Chair.” That has to be equivalent to Prothonotary.

If Rudiak happens to win, something weird could happen to City Council, since her district to the South lists more conservative than its 5-year officeholder. Team Peduto might be unconcerned about keeping all that tight a grip anymore, or they could have other prospects in mind. In that event, these might find themselves taking on Mt. Washington resident Michael Lamb.

Time for School! These 9 Players Will Reform Public Education. Class 1 of 3

Daycare. A summer camp. A detention facility.

How do we make sure that the children being dropped off by parents and other guardians at these urban public schools are being offered greater blessings? Who do we reach out to if we are agitated that all these kids need to be made ready to take on the world?

Here is a list of who else in Pittsburgh is struggling to accomplish that here, on a grand scale. Grab these levers according to taste…

1. PPS aka Pittsburgh Public Schools:  Managers

Led by Superintendent Linda Lane. They are in charge, they have their views, and they are on some clocks…

Still, the board does not want to close more schools. “I still have an obligation as the superintendent to talk to them about things I think we need to do. I still do. They can say no. That’s their call.” (P-G, Eleanor Chute)

The financial horror is presented today much as it was under Mark Roosevelt, another Broad academic recruited to Pittsburgh in 2005 amidst high hopes. In 2011, Lane stepped up Continue reading

February: Cold air, high pressure, big plans

MOTCOP is grinding the old gears about public transportation, specifically gondolas:

Not more than two years ago, the country announced three new cable car lines with a total distance of around [7.5 miles] spread across 11 stations. Those three lines were all operational by the end of last year. This new announcement will add an additional [13 miles] of lines distributed over 23 stations — all of which, presumably, will be built in the same speedy manner.

When completed, the system as a whole will offer a level of capacity beyond that of the average North American tram or streetcar, as well as wait times of seconds between vehicles — at a fraction of the price of other standard modes. (Steven Dale, Creative Urban Projects)

If the community welcomes the necessary zoning, and Pittsburghers embrace their root engineering inclinations, urban gondolas could be the next driver of economic growth. Mayor Bill Peduto might want to have quick talk with the Pittsburgh Land Bank, once there is one.

Meanwhile, alert scribe Brian O’Neill observes we are still flinging poop in our rivers Continue reading

Historic Neighborhood Progress and other diversions…

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 5.10.25 PMLet’s get Pittsburgh’s Hill District out of the way first, because we know you’ve been asking.

Basically, the Hill CDC employed its ability to slow down development over a very legitimate issue — most likely, the City’s compliance with the Fair Housing Act. Having taken it seriously and gone to the mat for it, the City and the Penguins returned to the table with agreeable terms before getting bogged down in court. Now, everybody is cool and we’re about to see a host of investments explode up the gut of the Lower Hill and out east, like a tailback breaking into the secondary.

What additional did “the community” get Continue reading

Protestors march recalling Martin Luther King, Jr., just as attorneys frenzy over inner-city development

The permitted holiday march began with a rally at 5th and Bigelow, near the Pitt Student Union.

Many signs and placards decried racism and in glowing letters, for it was winter and evening fell early. Young and old came out. Drums sounded, booming low. Some horns, in a soft dirge. A few bicycle chimes.

The City Paper reported 1,200 participated in the three-mile march and demonstrations spanning from Oakland to Grant St., Downtown. A student observer estimated about 300 participants in the early going in Oakland, which was my own estimate. And of those, about 85% White. Both stats may have changed over the evening.

See also the P-G and the PIttNews.

Not all motorists were happy being rerouted up Bigelow Blvd. CMU officers manned the barricades against them Continue reading