That’s how Mayor Bill Peduto described the problem to City Council today, at a special meeting on flooding called by Councilor Darlene Harris. Peduto came prepared with a preliminary “green first” stormwater plan and the backing of about eight Departmental officials.
By the end of this year, they intend to finalize a plan that will both “keep water from ever being able to get into the system, and make our rivers cleaner.”
The plan consists of engineering in seven primary “action areas” including Negley Run, Four Mile Run, Sawmill Run and Streets Run for increased green infrastructure: restoring streams and lakes, wetlands, rain gardens and bioswales, Continue reading
The public got to speak at city hall on Wednesday evening, before the cameras, to tell City Council what they thought of the proposed “Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund”.
It would be a $10 million annual kitty, managed by the City, and structured to make investments furthering the cause of affordable housing for low-income people.
The overwhelming majority of the 100 or so speakers were wholly for it, and passionately — aside from a few real estate agents.
“Why is the city subsidizing market-rate housing?”
“I’m witnessing the 4th re-gentrification of the Lower Hill.”
“They’re being pushed to neighborhoods with less food, less transit…”
“Pittsburgh’s population is now less than it was in 2010.”
“Pittsburgh was cute before all the plastic surgery — now, it’s getting ugly.”
A good test of whether your Facebook friends are up to delivering your news is whether you’ve already read this must-read Guardian expose on Pittsburgh’s problems with “dookie water”, and Brian O’Neil’s piece in the P-G on how local authorities are in way over their head.
Here is some background to open up just how much deeper these water problems go, and how greed and corruption are a factor. First:
In 2008, PWSA borrowed more than $400m in variable rate bonds just as the market collapsed. This year, debt payments alone accounted for 44% of the authority’s operating budget. (Guardian)
Imagine falling so far behind on your student loans to a predatory lender that almost half your income goes to penalties and fees. Now try to pay rent, utilities, eat, and whoops fix your truck or buy medicine. That’s more or less going on with the fancy “Swaptions” deal that our Water Authority signed, and it’s hard to imagine our water pipes getting fixed under that sort of handicap. Continue reading
With its 6 bedrooms and bathrooms; its “huge formal rooms,” domed breakfast room and art deco bar; its in-ground swimming pool and several garages; and its lions and goddess statues, the old Stern family property has sat empty for a long time.
The estate at 1830 Beechwood Blvd. rests near the corner of Forbes and Dallas, just south of Homewood Cemetery and west of Frick Park. Built of white painted bricks sprawling smoothly into a vast north-facing hillside, the emptiness of the bomb mansion now joins its gothic fixtures in lending it a haunted aspect.
No one with the money to purchase such a single-family dwelling, upgrade it and maintain its “manicured grounds” really wants to reside in the heart of the city, I guess.
A construction company plans to demolish it all and develop eleven (11) new free-standing 3-4 bedroom condominiums to market at $900,000 apiece — for a grand total of just under $10 million.
Meanwhile, Continue reading
40 million dollars from the federal government, to enhance transportation infrastructure.
Another $10 million provided by a venture capital firm’s philanthropy — the carrot tied to the wagon of “high tech” innovations.
Pittsburgh, from a field of 78 applicants, had made it to the final round of 7 — the celebrated seven! We were competing against the likes of Portland, Austin, San Francisco, Denver… all the most shining cities upon hills.
The Comet applauds local officials for answering the nation’s call to begin planning and preparing cities for a likely future economy. But can you imagine what would have happened if Columbus, Ohio didn’t steal the grand prize, with its greater matching fund commitments and crisp pitch? Continue reading
Way too many people don’t want you to be President. You’re a weak candidate, with no knowledge, you make a lot of mistakes, you can’t control your delegation, and you’re toying with forces beyond your understanding. You should drop out before things get even more embarrassing.
Embattled former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is not embattled former Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl.
Hillary Clinton has spent a long career in public service, and knows her stuff.
Yet Ravenstahl and Clinton assimilated into the same centuries-old political arrangements, and may be of the same species. That top-down, hierarchical “machine”-era politics which the one still pursues, was once pursued by the other.
This blasé politics of privilege, self-perpetualization and clientelism, together with enough arrogance and faith in spinmeisters, tends to produce stubborn questions about patronage and other official privileges.
It turns out, they’re displaying many of the same symptoms: Continue reading
The Democrats’ last presidential nominating contest was held in 2008. How long ago was that?
We were only just starting to write about these strange, alarming new creatures called “blogs” — all without once referencing “Facebook,” or “Twitter”.
There were no hashtags, few memes, and your friends’ parents, your boss’s vendors and your former side pieces were not in your “news feed” fact-checking each other regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Today, we live in another dimension. We have evolved. Or at least we have mutated. Continue reading
The time: 2016 primaries