Monthly Archives: January 2012

Friday: Diving In!


I love it when anything winds up in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. They deserve their very own leitmotif.

Lamar Advertising, based in Baton Rouge, filed suit on Wednesday, asking Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to void the legislation passed by an 8-1 vote of City Council on Dec. 19. Lamar claims the ordinance is critically flawed by procedural errors and violates its First Amendment rights. (Trib, Bob Bauder)

First, I will have to check to see if I know any good civil rights lawyers.

Second, I was just thinking about the Kamins, I forget why. I was thinking they’re always reliable to go stately forth and deliver an old-fashioned, “This is a violation of the most shocking caliber! Not since colonial Boston have we seen such an affront to economic liberty!”

“This bill was a compromise,” said Councilman Patrick Dowd, a co-sponsor. “Lamar was involved with this. None of us got what we wanted, including me.” (ibid)

If Dowd was in the majority on this one and the City enacted it, I’m sure it’s fine. Legally speaking. The City as a whole brings its A-game to carefully vet politically charged things — it’s most everything else that might potentially be problematic.

Expect this law suit to take a long time. A very very long zzzzzz…….


Now on to things that are crucial:

Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s both said they are convinced the city has attained financial stability in recent years. City officials credited the upgrade by Moody’s from an A1 negative to A1 stable rating and Standard and Poor’s BBB negative to BBB stable rating to their trip to New York City last week where they met with agency representatives. (Trib, Bob Bauder)

It’s like the Ravenstahl team is just toying with the competition. Here you go, up and took our Spiffy New Council to New York City, New York City did we mention, and together won the confidence of the world’s most powerful investors. Saved us a small fortune.

It’s early, but they’re so good at this.

It’s also a data point in favor of the proposition that the Great Midnight Pension Solution was for real, for real — or that Wall Street doesn’t actually know what we did. Or doesn’t care to understand. Or knows better than the vast majority of us.


Onward! By car, foot or bicycle.

[State Rep. Dan] Frankel said he had seen evidence of “the inklings of a bipartisan solution” to provide more funds for transportation projects. (P-G, Len Barcousky)

So expect service cuts somewhat more mild than the draconian ones now placed on the table. The same thing we get every year. The chances of a new subway “spine line” extension from Downtown to Oakland being announced in 2012 are … steady, let’s call it? (For a passing glance at the political calculus, see link.)

“The Port Authority’s problems were created locally, and they should be solved locally,” [Gov. Corbett spokes] Kevin Harley said. “For years, generous contracts and high management salaries, combined with unrealistic pension costs, have strained the system to the breaking point. Gov. Corbett wants to see the problem solved, but the Democrats, who have controlled Allegheny County for all but a handful of the past 80 years, will have to do their part.” (ibid)

I’m sorry Mr. Republican conservative sir! We don’t deserve decent public transportation! The only way to save mass transit is to destroy it, Outbreak-style! Bus drivers don’t deserve to be able to afford to put their kids through some college and to retire, simply because they can be relied upon for years upon decades to pilot hulking and sometimes bending vehicles safely in this weather and through this terrain! Just don’t hit us in the food stamps again, m’lord! #cringe


If you’ve spaced out on Null Space because property assessments ain’t your thing, 1) shame on you for six weeks and 2) you may not fully appreciate the tale of the purple-coloured river.

Maria of 2PJ’s highlights some of the adversity facing Mitt Romney v. 10.4.11. It’s like, he’s a been a robot, right? Perfectly performing mechanics, this is common knowledge? Only now we actually, finally can see him shorting out. “Inquiry cannot be responded to with standard reference to free market ideology, can not be responded to with an appeal to military might or Divine right, cannot be resolved by an attack on incumbent, must account for own existence [whir, click] frank lack of empathy, er, horrible awkward joke, er, irrationally simple lies, clueless, clueless, Error Message 657” and frozen.

Here is Occupy Pittsburgh’s legal page in regards to their matter with some bank — I think it’s Bank of America? — including all court filings, hearing transcripts and a slightly dated but still usable FAQ.

What Will the Reassessments Fiasco Reveal?

This appears in today’s Tribune-Review:

Laurel: To Chris Briem. Numbers crunched by the Pitt researcher suggest what Allegheny County’s panderers of populist anti-reassessment pap don’t want you to know: Sixty-five percent of residential properties in the City of Pittsburgh would see their real estate taxes drop. Fewer than 25 percent would see property tax bills rise by 10 percent or more. Here’s to the truth trumping the political tricksters. (Trib, Edit Board)

Even more tellingly, this appears in today’s Null Space:

So it’s been an interesting couple of days. Sincere thanks for all the notes of support and sympatico along the way. (Null Space)


Can we all at least agree on the issue being data transparency, openness and why we don’t even know what is known. So the very first question is will the new assessment numbers reappear on the county web site anytime soon? Has anyone asked that question? Not there as I write this is all I know. Will they release a full data set or will we all have to become a county of hackers to scrape it over and over again? (ibid)

All of a sudden I recognize a sort of distinct, woodsy aroma, with hints of ozone. The bloggers are now entering the Heinz Red Zone. Stop by your local Giant Eagle for great deals on thick and rich Heinz Ketchup.

Guy Fawkeseses Day: Our Day In Court!

Symbolically that is, as one among 99 Jane Does and John Does.

“Is that called rickrolling?” asked Daniel I. Booker, an attorney for BNY Mellon, which is asking the court for a preliminary injunction to have the protesters removed.

“Yes,” Mr. Lawson said, prompting court spectators to roar with laughter. (P-G, Moriah Balingit)

I still think that’s hysterical. Mad solidarity with the Internet.

SEE ALSO: Trib, Bill Vidonic

Jess and the Marcellus Shale

Do You Get Occupy At All?

Michael Lawson on Occupy Pittsburgh

This guy has since volunteered to file briefs regarding the litigation.

Pittsburgh Solidarity Now!


In a maneuver carefully designed to demonstrate how little I know about City Hall these days, Councilwoman Darlene Harris was elected Council President today for a second two-year term with the support of council members Ricky Burgess, Patrick Dowd, Daniel Lavelle, Theresa Kail-Smith and newly minted Councilman Corey O’Connor.

Burgess was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Finance and Law by Harris, a position which entitles him to hold a gavel on Tuesdays and to write strongly worded, politically loaded open letters to the city’s financial oversight panels.

Since I don’t know why this developed, how council members Bruce Kraus, Bill Peduto and Natalia Rudiak came to be left out in the cold, or what this means for the future, we will fill the remainder of this essay with familiar song lyrics.

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy
I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

MORE: The P-G alludes to “personal political differences“; the Trib has Mayor Ravenstahl foreseeing “a very, very good time“; Infinonymous detects “no apparent majority for anything“; Early Returns perceives the avant-garde possibility of “a veto-proof six votes in support of Ravenstahl“; Chris Potter sagely writes in retrospect that “Harris’ defection to lead a council bloc allied with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl should come as little surprise“.

Happy New Year!

A day late, and a dollar short.