“It seems like everybody has squared off and they aren’t really communicating anymore,” state Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, said Wednesday. “What people feel out in the community is this sense of dysfunction.” (P-G, Lord, O’Toole & Smydo)
One thing making yesterday’s public meeting necessarily awkward was the continued entrenchment of positions — Council’s majority still not open to sharing any assets with the private sector, and Mayor Ravenstahl of the conviction that no pensions strategy not involving an assets deal could possibly be worthwhile; that it would be like trying to bail out the Titanic with a Styrofoam cup.
Another factor was Council’s continued bilious, ill-concealed frustration. At one point Councilman Peduto openly theorized that the administration was now trying to engineer a state takeover in order to place the determination to privatize local parking assets before an incoming, privatization-friendly Republican state legislature.
And yet a third factor, perhaps at the very forefront: many participants and observers cited a pervasive sense of “bizarreness”. Others spoke of a feeling like “living in an alternate universe.” Quite aside from the whole “cooperative veto” thing, something about the conversation with the Mayor was like he was participating from inside an aquarium, or wearing a wire, or on careful alert not to be tricked into saying his name backwards. It was not a subtle thing.
And we’re moving…
“It’s still unclear to me how you can make use of future revenue streams to meet your unfunded pension obligations up front,” said state Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, the incoming House majority leader. (Trib, Bill Vidonic)
One would think that’s not a good sign as far as dodging the takeover, certainly not for very long — but apparently for now the decision on how to calculate assets is in the hands of the state Public Employee Retirement Commission, whose director now seems to be flashing the thumbs up signal. One hopes the City will not get tripped up in a game of Red light / Green light.
“Right now, there’s only enough money in the fund to pay our obligations for the next three or four years,” Ravenstahl said. (P-G, Joe Smydo)
That — what? That is a bracing shot of frankness out of nowhere! What? Holy cheese!
Best to change the subject….
Downtown’s only strip club is proposing a $1 million expansion.
Blush, located on Ninth Street near the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts, is “looking to significantly upgrade the facilities and operations of the club,” said Jonathan Kamin, attorney for owner Albert Bortz. (P-G, Mark Belko)
I still think this city-wide deluge of investment from the adult entertainment industry is indicative of some species of economic good news — all happening without a sliver of public subsidy! But not that there’s anything right with that.