On History: How we are doomed to learn from it…

Thanks to writer Salena Zito and Mayor Bill Peduto for some thought-provoking historicizing this week.

This need for change was not what many of America’s Founders believed, especially those who worked the land and tended to view history as cyclical, according to Curt Nichols, political scientist at the University of Missouri.

He explained their philosophy: “Things tend to go from good to bad to worse before they get better again. And things only got better if a virtuous citizenry worked hard and was willing to sacrifice to make things better.”

Timing was everything for these “country” thinkers. They believed, as Shakespeare’s Brutus did, that “there is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” (Trib, Salena Zito)

The “country” people who worked the land and made sacrifices were slaves. This point takes nothing away from Zito Continue reading

New Pittsburgh. Old Pittsburgh. What is Timelessburgh?

Today we’ll take a look at the next wave, and then the Old School.

P for Pittsburgh launched its enterprises with a two-day invitational pep rally celebrating a moment of potentiality.

A citywide building boom, an infusion of young professionals and heightened partnerships between foundation and civic officials are among factors jump-starting conversations about long-term planning strategies. (Trib, Natasha Lidstrom)

Strategies abound. Planning would be excellent!  Continue reading

Years Later, no easier Being Green (or writing Fresh Headlines)

The Pittsburgh region got another 18 months to devise “greener” stormwater runoff plans, so hopefully hundreds of engineers are working day and night.

But sewer officials in Cleveland insisted it was not the right remedy. They described overflows as a “volume-based problem” that overwhelms the sewer system during large storm events while green technology is designed to keep out very small amounts of rainwater. (P-G, Daniel Moore)

That is chapter-and-verse what our own sewer agency officials told the Comet three years ago. There is no question that “source-control” methods like rain barrels, permeable pavements, rain gardens and bioswales are effective and more affordable than new sewer tunnels at the points at which they are located. But how do they fit into a strategy for a region spanning several hundred square miles that is already well-built?

When it rains, it pours, Continue reading

Flaherty’s Invasion of Advocacy group betrays desperation

This is a good example of why people get disillusioned with the political system and turn to more constructive pursuits, like smashing windows.

“Ninety people submitted membership forms — and cash registration fees — to the Steel City Stonewall Democrats in the hours before a midnight Monday deadline, nearly doubling the group’s membership… The money involved, according to Mike Mikus, amounts to $2,580 that came from his political action committee Better Jobs, Better Future…” (P-G, Dan Majors; see also Trib)

Lo and behold, the Stonewall Dems discovered it had developed some very powerful convictions when it came to the office of Allegheny County Controller — and besides which that its own organizational and community members aren’t good enough to endorse for office.

I remember something similar happened Continue reading

Budget dogfight shows Matt Smith, Frank Dermody have issues with Peduto

Both gentlemen hail from our suburbs; one from Mt. Lebanon, the other from Oakmont.

Both are Democrats, at the apex of the party’s two legislative pyramids.

Yet if the city’s secondary financial oversight board is still stonewalling over $20 million in casino money, they must somehow be at odds with the City of Pittsburgh.

“They’re creating a $20 million deficit and I don’t think they realize that they’re doing it,” [City Finance Director Paul Leger] said. “By June I would have expected about $7 million in the kitty. If we don’t have $7 million in the next several months we’re in trouble. (P-G, Robert Zullo)

Contentiousness with the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) had been easier to explain when Republicans held its majority, and when Mayor Ravenstahl brought his own special style to bear.

Now, with a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion and a reasonable partner on Grant Street, we are not sure what is the problem.

Nominally, the bone of contention is Continue reading

On how my neighbor Salena Zito maligns half of America and probably makes stuff up

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 7.26.54 AMWe at the Comet used to refer to ourselves in the royal “we” and enjoyed attacking deserving local targets in plain terms — politicians, journalists, even other bloggers. It was awesome!

Eventually we began encountering most of our subjects in real life, where things can get socially uncomfortable, and, hypothetically, costly in terms of opportunity. For what “good” is notoriety if you’re notable for hurting other peoples’ feelings and reputations? Isn’t slamming people on the Internet only a winning proposition for those still confined to “Mom’s basement”?

Besides, we’re all only Pittsburghers, after all. We should take each others’ sides no matter what.

And isn’t politics a trite and nerdy thing to actually get upset over, anyway?

Demand is booming for all sorts of political products, and everyone deserves to be able to pay the mortgage. Don’t hate the player, hate the game; show you understand that “game” by  Continue reading

Reasonability of police fears may sanction prejudice, injustice

To protect and serve is to enforce the law. Doing the job means making lots of choices and responding to various adversities, but one cannot spell “enforce” without “force.” The policing community is rooted in proud tradition, heeds its elders and serves many masters.

A thrashing was witnessed in Downtown Pittsburgh last week:

[Devon] Davis, listed as homeless, was wanted on bench warrants for failing to appear in court for two cases — one in which officials said he sold heroin to a confidential informant then led police on a 200-yard foot chase, and another in which they said he urinated in public, prompting officers to search his car, where they found heroin and a gun he was legally prohibited from possessing because of a prior conviction.

About 3 p.m. Wednesday, a bail agent told police that Davis had been spotted in a vehicle Downtown. A chase began near Macy’s department store on Forbes Avenue… (P-G, Navratil & Czebinak)

The fleeing fugitive of the law crashed his vehicle Continue reading