Monthly Archives: December 2014


And a merry farewell to 2014; we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet.

We have no idea who this “Matsuda” is. But word around the campfire is that Dick Skrinjar may be in the race against Councilor Deb Gross, and Andre Young is almost certainly in the race against Councilor Ricky Burgess. Additionally, Pittsburgh has some public education problems, public transit problems and public safety problems. Economy looks nice. BREAKING: Chief McClay holds a sign up to us. UPPERDATE: And writes a post.

Hearth’s Warming Eve: A Comet Holiday Tradition

Every year we mention that there is actually a rather subversive moral to this story, particularly for people who work in political offices, agencies and organizations. Maybe if we cue it up at 03:32 and skip the prologue, someone will notice…

Stand Strong for Justice and Peace

Police officers involved in deadly force incidents would be investigated and prosecuted by special prosecutors, according to forthcoming legislation by State Sen.-Elect Art Haywood of Philadelphia. That’s a great idea.

Pittsburgh police chaplains are encouraging residents to display blue lights or candles in windows in memory of fallen officers and to call for peace. Also a great idea.

A fever is setting in among Americans, whether it be chagrined police leaders outrageously declaring “war” or barmy radicals calling for violent retribution. No matter what your prejudices when it comes to the state of race relations and police-community relations, it’s hard to be encouraged.

However, the Comet is convinced this polarization is a false perception. Continue reading

Mayor Rewards Good Service… Like a Boss

Last night on network television, our own “office-type” Mayor donned a wig and camouflage to show off the progress of our City, cavort with some of his employees, almost saw off his fingers, deliver a few Aesops and make a few dreams come true, Hollywood style, to much rejoicing.

Who could possibly find fault with that?

The show typically includes the boss helping out his employees in need when he reveals himself or herself, though Peduto noted he didn’t have the personal resources of a corporate CEO.

Instead, money to help the four came from donations by private companies and individuals, said city spokesman Tim McNulty.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority was authorized to handle and disburse up to $155,000 for the employees. Peduto, using donors’ money, pledged to help Nasiadka go back to school and make up for his lost overtime; get Allen a promotion, a scholarship for her son and money for law school and a house; help with Amend’s animal shelter, caring for his mother and his mortgage; and provide money so Smith could start his dream of becoming a minister, along with help for his foster kids and a program in which he would teach young Housing Authority residents carpentry.

“We said from the beginning, we wouldn’t spend one dollar of city money,” Peduto said after entering Cappy’s to cheers and applause. (Trib, Matthew Santoni)

See? Cheers and applause.

But wait a minute… so he or his own representatives worked the phones to solicit the Undercover Boss prize kitty, from “private companies and individuals?” Kind of like an inaugural ball?

Prizes that were given “by” Mayor Peduto during this nationally televised tear-jerker? Which, while great for the City, comes with a rather noticeable political benefit?

Should we… um… Continue reading

Friday: Calling Out Everything in its Turn

UPDATE: The ICA anticlimacticly approves Pittsburgh’s 2015 budget, concluding all major City Hall drama before Christmas. You see? You may now return to regularly scheduled troublemaking.

Bill Isler is leaving the School Board. For years it seemed, Bill Isler was the old white man at the end of the table reminding everybody of budgets, debt service and property tax rates. He was also informed, concerned and cordial enough to be a valuable resource.

Mark Brentley might be departing as well. For years it seemed, Mark Brentley was the frustrated black man at the center of the table reminding everybody of disparities, duties and equity. A wide-open race for that School Board seat might be very inspirational and productive, but then again so might a School Board with Brentley’s senior leadership.

Our public School District is plagued by daunting challenges Continue reading


The occasion: Eight years of this!

Tuesday: The Center is Dragged, the Politics Changed.

If you are interested in the Civic Arena site and reduced-rent housing and opportunities, then UPDATE: Councilor Lavelle introduced a new initiative and a meeting was held on Tuesday resulting in a unanimous, affirmative recommendation to Council from the Planning Commission.

Meanwhile under the spotlights, Pittsburgh’s 2015 budget passed Council with flying colors, 8-1, and we’ll return to Harris momentarily.

Our City of Champions fixed the Great 2013 Tax Cut to where its framers mathematically intended had reassessments been finalized. We compensated for suddenly increased but prudent pension funding. We have data-driven parking policy poised to strike this year, and we have “truth in budgeting” in as much as disclosing a slight .2% deficit pending resolution of how exactly to bring residential landlords into the group effort at excellence. Finally, the Peduto administration brought permitting, licensing and routine building inspections into the fold of priorities.

We still have no buy-in from the “big four Nonprofits”, disappointingly.  Continue reading

Transforming What? The Hill District story remains old-school.

Pittsburgh took the head off of a diverse, blighted but thriving neighborhood near Downtown, and built an arena with a retractable dome, and lots of surface parking lots. Yet despite assurances of follow-up investment, we saw the broader neighborhood descend into deeper disinvestment, isolation, segregation, poverty and breakdown.

50 years later, Pittsburgh demolished the arena. Now thanks to public money it will be the new home of US Steel as well as other businesses and offices, some retail and entertainment, and apartments or condominiums — by and large sold at surging local market rates.

It will be a new planned community catering to the affluent. employing many, and with some vague promises to poor and minority Pittsburghers for future access to the fruits of that opportunity — vague, non-binding, and through yet-to-be-determined processes separate from the one before us at “today’s meeting,” whichever one that happens to be.

If it’s a nexus of anything, it’s the same old business as usual.

What are we transforming?   Continue reading


ETA 07:00

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