Disarming…

11 thoughts on “Disarming…

  1. MH

    The editorial you have linked at “STERN WORDS” is really strange for the PG. For example:

    Just the threat of higher taxes due to a failure to avoid takeover breeds fear, uncertainty and a reluctance to live, invest and do business in Pittsburgh.

    Somebody either shoved the usual editors in the closet or they decided that if the Congressional Republicans can do it, they can work the same angle. They may be right, I suppose, though maybe they need some practice at worrying about taxes. Somebody should do a “Who said it?” contest where you have to decide if a quote was from Sen. McConnell or the PG editorial board.

    Anyway, among the people with residential real estate in the more stable areas, the uncertainty started at least with the reassessment lawsuit thing. For most people, I think it started sooner since the city or schools had been appealing everything until the “base year” thing hit.

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  2. Bram Reichbaum

    Talkin' bout that editorial: I'm going to make a great effort not to dwell on this, but …

    Likewise, the mayor has been unwilling to consider alternatives…

    Surely they know the mayor put forward specific reasons for rejecting those Council plans, chief of which was always the Council-Controller. It would have been smashing had P-G reporting (or any other reporting) done independent research on whether or not the Council-Controller plan was likely to bankrupt the authority in the long run, or if either the bond-side math or revenue-side math did add up properly in real-life. Or even had a previous editorial ever offered some guidance on those questions. Instead, now apparently they just trust whoever forwarded the plan implicitly.

    But … no sense crying over spilled milk.

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  3. MH

    Really, if the schools went back to the funding they had ten years ago, on a per pupil basis, it would offset much of the increase needed for the pension.

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  4. C. Briem

    Instead, now apparently they just trust whoever forwarded the plan implicitly.

    Bram.. I really have to say that those broad conclusions (“was likely to bankrupt the authority”) on what the numbers mean for any alternative plan are no more supportable than the oft-repeated conclusions that the lease plan would 'solve' the pension problem. It just won't. Yet, it occurs to me that you nailed the real issue. Whether the media did ever more reporting on this or more parsing of numbers that may not have added all that much value in the end, would not have helped all that much. Yet, it really does all come down to who you trust. The lack of trust, all around, is the source of the miasma Downtown at the moment. Going forward it may be worth thinking about how to build some minimum working trust amongst them all.

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  5. Bram Reichbaum

    Chris – It didn't come out quite that way, but yes had the 4th Estate come back with, “We ran the #'s, and it looks like C-C is sound,” then I'd have been inclined to believe them. But it was all mere counterfactual assertions. I guess I can't shake some faith that even had that not gained traction with the public, it might have made one of the sides relent.

    As to “solve” – can that be a relative term?

    As to “minimum working trust” – more would obviously be better, but neither side was afraid of being backstabbed here. Each knew what the other wanted and wished to deny it. Maybe charitableness? Equanimity?

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  6. C. Briem

    and then what about the next big issue? Wait for thet PG editorial board to weigh in and line up sides?

    Truth is.. our professional journalist friends actually are taught not to become the news.. and the failure you see in them is the failure in the body politic to shape the issues. Present company excepted.

    However, there are times when semantics do really matter and the misuse of the 'solve' in all of this is in itself the core problem. “relatively solve” may indeed be an oxymoron. If the lease happens (note I am not writing it off) and folks walk away thinking anything is really solved then it will represent one of the biggest failures in city history. If the lease happens and folks are willing to go that much further to have a hope of actually preventing us being in this same situation a few years down the road there is the potential it could be the city's finest moment. Not where we are at.

    Like it or not, there will be the next big disaster they will all need to deal with and it may be about more than actuarial accounting.

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  7. Pittsburgh Pirates

    it will represent one of the biggest failures in city history.

    It's like we don't even exist from August to April.

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  8. Bram Reichbaum

    and then what about the next big issue? Wait for thet PG editorial board to weigh in and line up sides?

    Firstly I'm wishing upon a star not so much for the edit board as more of those “news analysis” pieces (and financial rather than political analysis in nature) and not so much one particular news outlet doing it but several…

    Truth is.. our professional journalist friends actually are taught not to become the news.. and the failure you see in them is the failure in the body politic to shape the issues.

    I think this is a fairly common complaint of the 'Net generation. You see a lot of, “If the Democrats say the sky is blue and the Republicans say the sky is plaid, the press will report only that views on the color of the sky differ.” (I guess the only way to complete the analogy is, assume most readers live in a cave when it comes to complex issues.)

    Let's just say I would like to have seen some independent analysis of what the results of the Council-Controller plan might have looked like, under the rubric of “fact checking claims made by public officials.” I don't blame the P-G for the current state of affairs really very much more than I blame “the blogs”, but after that scorching editorial part of me was like, “Now now, let's all be taking a personal inventory, fellas.”

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