Today, we clarify all the region’s business.
In regards to public law and order, the Comet has five notes:
1. Howard McQuillan, representative of the Fraternal Order of Police Local 1 of Pittsburgh PA, does not like racism. He (and presumably those in his circle) was greatly pained at suggestions that there might be racism amidst the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. That’s a laudable instinct, full stop.
2. The difficulty lies in ill communication over what racism is. I do not know what the Right thinks racism is. But the Left thinks of it like a household mold — something which will grow anywhere if not directly addressed: the unnoticed acceptance of involuntary positive or negative impressions based on skin color. Thanks to culture and upbringing, most Americans’ brains take longer to associate good qualities with darker people even when instructed. It’s simply not what we learned. It’s not a coincidence: Blackness is often over-played as poor, uneducated, lazy, criminal, bestial and violent, whereas Whiteness is somewhat more often viewed as pitiable, unfortunate and troubled.
3. It pays to acknowledge that we presently demand law enforcement officers intervene in violent conflict and investigate suspected criminality. It may not statistically be the most deadly job in the world, but it absolutely has to be the most stressful. To prepare for these situations as they come hourly, daily, yearly… it is a responsibility that is deeply affecting, and creates a debt that deserves appreciation every time policing is discussed. I for one think it makes little sense to think automatically of all arguably flawed police work resulting in tragedy as necessarily criminal, or “ordinarily” criminal.
4. If the bulk of our homicides stem from the illegal drug trade and criminality around that market, why don’t we decriminalize the drug trade? ASAP? That won’t directly address all honor killings or all crimes of passion, want or mental illness, but it sure will mitigate the structural incentive to pursue and search a lot of “suspicious characters” in our neighborhoods.This is controversial, but the public health approach to drug abuse is the right approach.
5. Pittsburgh needs to look at the facts of any given case and respond. Officers require the confidence to document accurately, internal investigations need to be matter-of-fact, and legal proceedings as they arise must proceed in a straightforward manner. Police rewards and discipline must be proportionate to stimulate good results for public safety, such as increased community collaboration. That’s just another part of “the job”.
Mayor Bill Peduto on FoxNews’ O’Reilly Factor was a righteous snooze. I submit to you that none of this is rocket surgery. Train, reward, respond, repeat. We can even negotiate a contract amidst it, though I would imagine slowly. A side-benefit of having so many things on the bargaining table, is that there are so many things to exchange.
The most controversial part of that sign borrowed by Chief McLay was the hashtag. Not “end white silence”, but the actual pound sign. It reeked of common rabble, youth culture and decentralized organizing. Such is the world — get to know it, engage with its creatures! Establish a rapport.
There is little value in blaming Al Sharpton or Barack Obama or Bill DeBlasio or Cameron McLay or Tim Stevens for something that precedes them, predates them, bubbles up with persistent consistency. If you must blame something in these times, blame widespread digital recording and Twitter. But don’t pretend these grievances need any special heating by the media, politicians or establishment advocates — these have been long-simmering in racially mixed communities throughout the nation. No sense pretending otherwise!
Here in Allegheny County, a “fairness hearing” is scheduled regarding Leon Ford, and we pray for as little brand-new friction as possible.
Now, let us turn to City Hall, where Councilor Natalia Rudiak is taking care of paid parental leave, as you do.
Mayor Peduto is being himself:
A. Apologizing for taking a while declaring the six Undercover Boss sponsors
B. Defending his Parks and Recreation hiring of a friend with a family in politics
C. Pledging 2 to 3% of future capital budgets to cycling infrastructure
Looking east, there is the matter of Downtown’s immediate neighbors…
Think of this as Skywalker weighing in suddenly against Count Dooku, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi or Emperor Palpatine… or better yet, as Varys sliding up to Prince Doran Martell…
This is what engrosses yinzers: wealth privilege vs. socialism vs. “Pro-Growth Progressivism” vs. various neoliberalisms. And it all boils down to Mario Lemieux and Bill Peduto and their respective councils and counsellors and critics, above a trench before a long-contested hill at the forks of the Ohio.
COMET ANALYSIS: Mario has more experience leading teams to victory, but one would hope this isn’t ice hockey. When Le Magnifique sues, he should sue for peace. That’s how somebody is going to suit and score.
MORE: It’s always fun to compare Our Mayor to Our County Executive. Mayor Peduto is hounded by his detractors, and County Executive Fitzgerald gets the business from a chorus of Progressives, Republicans and political reactionaries in even deeper harmony. The clock on brilliant efficiencies through consolidated services is ticking.
County Controller Chelsa Wagner has been making a strong showing of spotlighting procedures which can be fixed. City Controller Michael Lamb seeks a third term to point to past decisions which he still doesn’t think were very good.
If you reside in the City of Pittsburgh, possess a basic knowledge of math, finance and investigative accounting, have successfully managed an office of employees, are not excessively eccentric and love your City, this is a lovely time to consider public life.
Anything fun happening on County Council this cycle? Or the School Board… heaven help us, the School Board?!?!
Pittsburgh and ordinary Pittsburghers will do what they do, which is dominate. The likelier worst case scenarios ought not be that bad, or at least that much worse. But we ought not miss the grand opportunities of this epoch.
Criminal justice reform. The conflict over the Hill. Public education and public transportation. These are the necessary subjects of the Pittsburgh Comet’s orbit in 2015.
Throw some related keywords together, and one winds up with a video on Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History. So here’s to you, Barack Hussein! Bring it on home.
Education, Transportation, Law and Order and the Forks. And of course some updates and wise-quackery, but mostly from you. The Comet shall return anon and anew. Look alive!
SPECIAL DEDICATION: To Chief Paul Donaldson, a 39-year veteran of the force, a gentleman and scholar. We’ll never know how much he’s done.