Loading: A pop punk rejoinder…

Fitz down, Lamb up, Wagner up, Machine resurgent, Peduto weakened.

Don’t believe that just because there are now 4 or more bosses, the Machine is “gone”. At the same time, don’t expect it to stick around any longer than four more years.

There are loads of light at the end of these tunnels…

Stay tuned during our editing process.



BACKGROUND: P-G, Lord and Born; and previously Molly Born.

124 thoughts on “Loading: A pop punk rejoinder…

  1. Anonymous

    You’re going to have to work a bit harder if you want to distance Fitz from The Machine. Fitz IS The Machine, if any current local pol is. Voting Pittsburghers (always a select and skinny bunch) just threw his machinations to the curb, and he just finished showing as much contrition as he is capable of in statements about the returns. What part of all that didn’t you understand…or are you so immersed in current admin glad handing that you’re simply immune to simple political realities?

    And please let’s not forget that when Bill Peduto assembled his campaign team and then his administration, he put Guy Costa at the center of it all. Guy Costa is Old Pittsburgh from head to toe…totally familiar with and at ease operating alongside The Machine.

    And Kevin Acklin…a big-money corporate Republican in all but name with a serious Mad Men fetish…if he is not Machine, then he’s the leading aspirant to the New Machine.

    1. Bram R Post author

      I was under the impression that Fitz tried to take control of the Machine and acted like he was its Boss already, but sizable portions of it didn’t cotton to him, partially because of his support for Bill, partially due to personality conflict.

      I was also under the impression that Bill half-heartedly tried to take control of the Machine (or at least a chunk of it for a while) but with an understanding that he intended to diminish them. So they really never cottoned to him and he probably never ought to have bothered.

      And there’s no such thing as “machines,” new and old in the plural. You are thinking of “teams”. There are different teams of politicians and interests who will try to cooperate, but there is only one Allegheny County Democratic Committee (and only one Allegheny County Labor Council for that matter). Only one “Machine” that dates back to 1934 and 1850, only one with an institutional knowledge of vote-gathering in each and every precinct, only one that operates like a secret society one can’t participate in without winning a petty election against neighborhood royalty. You can’t duplicate that just by shaking hands with a few new politicians. Try to keep up.

      And it doesn’t need a Boss, although its potential to make bosses acts as great motivation to keep feeding it.

  2. Anonymous

    What happened to the anti-fracking movement in Pittsburgh, by the way? Why do some of the folks who opposed drilling most vehemently now seem to be silenced? One of the central figures of this movement…an uncompromising, principled figure of opposition…now works as Peduto’s office manager and answers gleefully when Fracking Fitz calls to chat. The people who were chasing Patrick Dowd around, disrupting his community meetings, flooding his mailbox with acrimonious prose, calling him a Whore for Industry…all because he favored a zoning approach to preventing city drilling (i.e. a well-researched and potentially quite effective position)…where are these people now? Why are they not badgering Peduto constantly for being so close to a dedicated and enthusiastic landlord of Industry? Why have they filed down their teeth? Why have they so meekly accepted compromise? I guess it’s hard to bolt together the New Machine when you’re marching with hand signs reciting Gasland by memory, and shouting down anyone who wants to really examine the landscape with pragmatism, so all that stuff goes to the shelf.

    1. Bram R Post author

      I don’t think you’re a party to the same conversations, is all. The people who loathe fracking are very much still there, they worked hard to defeat Corbett, and they’re still complaining about the things you want them to complain about. Most of them just don’t view “badgering Peduto constantly” about Fitz as the most effective way to progress their issue. Especially with 95% of that issue determined at the state level.

      But you’re right in another sense. If Fitzgerald was under-appreciated on election day, it was only partially due to a bullying demeanor. A lot of it was just plain anti-fracking. And Rich hasn’t pulled a mea culpa when it comes to that, yet.

  3. Anonymous

    Time was, exploring nuanced opposition just wasn’t on the table. This always has been a state level issue, but there was plenty of political hay to make in Pittsburgh for a while there. If fracking opponents have shifted their efforts towards the right targets at last, that can only be a good thing…a shame they didn’t understand and appreciate that approach back when the state level decisions were being made, focused as they were on the City boundary. Perhaps it’s for the best that Peduto gets a pass for collaborating with a dedicated fracker, too bad about the past when this pragmatism really could have been useful.

  4. Anonymous

    Fitz was the one who brought Corizon on board to begin with. Chelsea Wagner was the one whose scathing audit brought their many shortcomings to light. Not exactly sure that this one can be counted as a glorious Fitz victory, if we’re keeping score. Let’s just hope that a similar dynamic will continue to play out…that the County Controller looks under rocks and succeeds in shaming Fitz into doing the right thing. Let’s take a deep breath in relief that Fitz was unable to change this dynamic, for now.

  5. Anonymous

    Peduto ran one of his stooges in every race in the City. This had nothing to do with Fitz. It was Bill’s money in the City Council and City Controller races. After he talked until he was red in the face about “new” Pittsburgh, he tried to pull this old school cronyism on us. There’s only not a Bill “machine” because us City voters were way smarter than he gave us credit for.

    1. Anonymous

      There needs to be a better definition of “machine,” otherwise everyone will use it to describe their enemy. That means it will be used to describe everyone. Let me try this. The “machine” in my book means the committee structure when people vote according to a slate. That means the machine can exist in the 19th Ward, the 27th Ward or the 14th Ward. And I suggest that we should use the word to describe what happens in any of those wards when it goes down pursuant to committee/club/team slates. Isn’t that the point of the machine? In other words, to have a few long time insiders maneuver and manipulate the system in order to turn out long time followers to vote a certain way. It is really hard to beat that structure when it is well oiled, i.e., the machine.

      If we look at it that way, the machine is alive and well and we all perpetuate its existence by pretending it only exists in the enemy’s territory. We all need some self reflection here, but I doubt anyone will actually change. Long live the machine!

      1. Bram R Post author

        The machine is the ACDC and nothing else. The 14th Ward gets a pass because they’ve worked hard to defang it and disassemble it.

        Even though it has to peddle patronage in secret now or deny it (meaning it does somewhat less of it) and even though civil service laws get in the way of holding committee members “accountable”, the sheer fact that politicians still turn to it to acquire perceived legitimacy and support shows that it’s still strong in our political muscle-memory. Ravenstahl for example came in absolutely paranoid about his legitimacy, so he hired a ton of committee people throughout his tenure. Peduto, who built a reputation as a typical East End anti-machine intellectual, needed to signal to committee society that it was “safe” to back him even in a race without a party endorsement, so he pursued Guy Costa early in ’13.

        The machine is now like a fume that encourages transactional, quid-pro-quo, closed-door, secret society, top-down and cynical politics. It doesn’t matter politicians can’t use it to wield power like they used to. The people most involved in politics still see it that way, because they’ve been seeing it that way all their lives, and that’s how their parents in politics explained it to them. It doesn’t even need a boss or a purpose anymore. It’s just the machine itself, with no mission other than making Pittsburgh cynical, conservative and 19th-century-like.

  6. Anonymous

    But Peduto played the committee game too…. Look at his board and commission appointments. They are littered with committee people, heavy from the E. End. Look at many of his hires, committee people. The 14th Ward is different, but it is also the same. It seeks to defang the machine, yes, but only to empower itself and politics played there. I certainly do like that the 14th can hold politicians in check from getting too much power, but it is a machine in of itself.

    Elsewhere in the City, patronage is alive and well under Fitz and Peduto. Rudiak herself comes from a long lineage of political players and union bosses. Wilson’s father was a committee man who supported Bill and then got a job with the City.

    Look, i’m with you on the machine and how it wields too much power. But I truly think you perpetuate its existence by pretending one part of the machine is better or worse than another. Maybe we should advocate for the end to slate cards or endorsements City wide? That is something maybe we can all get behind.

    1. Bram R Post author

      When you say “an end to slate cards or endorsements City wide”, you mean by the Party, right? Just checking, because we can’t ask unions and other groups not to endorse. But in a Party primary, letting the Party endorse is kind of like having the NCAA support one team during March Madness.

      That’d put us on the same page. I should have distinguished better between the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club, which is NOT machine, with the Ward 14 of the ACDC, which you’re right is plainly part of it.

      1. Anonymous

        Yes, that would put us on same page. Except the 14th IC is most of the same people as ACDC. Maybe the structure is different, i’m just not familiar.

      2. Bram R Post author

        Its structure is significantly different, because any registered Democrat within the ward for $15 can become a member, attend its meetings and vote for its endorsements.

  7. MGG

    At the risk of offending, I think this argument is a bit goofy. To wit: “The 14th Ward is different, but it is also the same. It seeks to defang the machine, yes, but only to empower itself and politics played there. I certainly do like that the 14th can hold politicians in check from getting too much power, but it is a machine in of itself.”
    So a bunch of people who are interested in politics get together and stand against the machine, and they manage to get some of their own people elected, then that makes them the machine? That’s way too circular. What, exactly, is supposed to happen? Nobody knows nothing, nobody takes an active role in the political process, and then a bunch of random people off the street get elected? Sorry, but there was only one Lansberry.

    1. Bram R Post author

      I agree! (I think you are agreeing with me, MGG, and disagreeing with Anon 8:44?) People will politically organize for good, bad or indifferent purposes, to further their own altruistic or selfish or debatable agendas, and that’s democracy.

      My point has been, the ACDC is a closed, semi-secret, practically inheritance-based organization, but at the same time an officially empowered organization that literally has no purpose except to perpetuate the hierarchical patronage politics of the 19th century. There is only ONE machine. You don’t have to like every group that isn’t the machine. You don’t have to like Mayor Peduto or any of his decisions in particular (especially when he tries to placate the machine, or exercise his own patronage) but his circle of supporters is not the machine. Only the machine is the machine.

      When is the ACDC’s next meeting? How do I join? How do I discover who are my precinct representatives and get in touch with them if I have a concern? Anyone?

      1. 31Forever

        I have to agree with what’s been said before: you’re making a circular argument, with no basis in pragmatic reality.

        Peduto campaigned on being a “Pittsburgh Outsider”; dedicated to eliminating politics as usual. He then gets into office; and not only does he fill patronage spots with political appointees (say what you want about the abundant abrasiveness of Kevin Quigley, he was a man with over 20 years of DPW experience, both as a worker and a supervisor; yet he was fired because he – loudly – held a political opinion different from the incoming administration’s); but he doesn’t hesitate to avail himself of the selfsame perks of the job that he decried when Luke was in office.

        It was easy to campaign against Fitzduto’s anointed candidate’s: people don’t like hypocrisy. Bike lanes may be great, but bike lanes painted on crumbling roads (because Bill doesn’t like Darlene) are the apex of silly. Forcing needed repairs in the city to wait until after the primary, in an attempt to make a candidate look ineffective, is callow.

        There are a million other points that I can make, which show Fitzduto for the calculating shysters that they are, but you can’t argue with those who won’t listen. And will you listen? Well, your high praise of the UPMC lawsuit being dropped makes your intent fairly transparent.

        You want better roads? You want a stronger, more comprehensive safety net? You want to sing from the rooftops about how much better the budget is under Peduto, with its extra $30 million in spending? Be my guest.

        But UPMC’s back taxes, the price that they would have paid in property taxes year-over-year, could have made those spending increases not just possible, they would have been feasible, with money left over for the present and future pension funds, as well as getting PBP staffing levels up to what they SHOULD be, not just where they were.

        But that starts with a criticism of Peduto. SOME criticism. ANY criticism. And I don’t see you doing that.

      2. Bram R Post author

        Then you’re reading selectively. Who was the first person in the city to call out Undercover Boss? Who tore apart the plan in the Hill District before the Hill CDC took them to court?

        And I didn’t remotely have “high praise” for dropping the UPMC lawsuit, but that’s an impossible situation. It was impossible under Ravenstahl, it’s impossible under Peduto and will be impossible under Jesus. We can’t force them into it without spending 10 years time and more money on lawyers in a dozen or more lawsuits than we’d ever be likely to recoup.

        And the roads are crumbling all over town. We built more than enough roads for a city with twice the tax base we enjoy presently. At least now they’re crumbling equally across all Council districts, and it’s possible that fewer cyclists are dying.

        Oh, but I do like “spending”, because the people deserve better infrastructure and services, and I’m not a Republican.

        It’s a fine line staffing your administration with people who share your values and sport the credentials and experience you favor, yet while avoiding political patronage. Go ahead and criticize the Mayor for whatever you don’t like (yet although I don’t know Quigley personally, I’d say “abundant abrasiveness” is a good reason to replace a middle manager). I’m just here to say that Party endorsements have no redeeming qualities whatsoever and encourage the worst in everybody. Care to comment on that?

    2. Anonymous

      you presume though that the people that you call the machine are not just “people organizing to make good political change.” Why are those in the 19th ward that organize to keep in check the wealth in power in the east any different that those in the 14th ward that organize to keep in check the power of the 19th? I’m sorry, i’m just not seeing some bright line difference, other than you don’t like the people in the 19th.

      1. Bram R Post author

        I don’t even know where is the 19th (like most non-machine types I organize Pittsburgh into neighborhoods). The bright line difference is that one is “the Democratic party,” has access to a lot of official power, and keeps it held mainly behind closed doors. The other is just a random club anyone can join.

  8. MGG

    Bram – If you, or anybody else reading here, wants to be an ACDC committee person, you could start here, at the “contact” website


    Say, “I want to be a committee person”
    “who are my current committee people?” (there’s a man and a woman for each district)
    “who is my ward chair and how do I contact them?”
    “when is the next ward meeting?”

    Ideally, you should include your ward and district number, but if you don’t know them, you can ask for that information too, just provide the address (your home address) of where you’re registered to vote.

    I will grant you it could be a far easier process. Even committee people sometimes have trouble finding out who the other committee people are in the ward. Posting the list of committee people on the website, at the “elected officials” drop down menu, would be a great start, but don’t hold your breath.

    One other thing: Some wards, like 14 and 7, hold meetings pretty regularly; others, like 15 (Greenfield) are practically on lockdown. It takes more time in those closed-shop wards to get involved, but it’s doable. Just ask Audrey Glickman. Last year, by ONE VOTE, she ousted the distaff side of a couple who held down the district committee seats for-ever.

    1. Bram R Post author

      Thanks, MGG.

      First, a Contact Form? Sheesh. As you illustrate, it’s hard to know even what to ask exactly. They could, and have ever-so-briefly in the past, just put the information about who “serves” me online. But it always comes straight down, as though committee members immediately complain about the transparency.

      Second, I happen already to know who my district rep is. It is a ward chair. If I want to participate, I have to wait for an every-fourth-year election and instigate a nasty war in my neighborhood. And how would I even find out how my district rep has performed, so I know what to criticize? Audrey is a tank, but I think that’s asking an awful lot of people.

      It’s my understanding that a number of districts aren’t even represented. When is the last time the ACDC promoted the fact that elections for committee folk are coming and that they need new blood? I certainly missed those.

      1. MGG

        You can call the ACDC too to inquire about being a committee person. I just thought the online route might be easier. Also, the ACDC has a calendar of events that consistently lists many committee meetings all over the county.

        You’re right about committee seats in many districts being vacant and that fact not being advertised. In fact, it’s a kind of a game that ward chairs play–since they have the power to appoint folks to vacant slots, it’s in their interest to hold the seats open if somebody agreeable isn’t available to fill in.

  9. Jerry

    Some of the fighting here comes because people are trying to re-use terms. What if we all agree that Peduto/Fitzgerald don’t have a machine — that, like Bram says, The Machine is a very specific group of people with a specific purpose, not a concept to be applied to one’s political opponents — but that Peduto/Fitzgerald DO have a network (long-time observers of local politics will understand that even this word is fraught) which they would like to be as thorough as the machine someday.

    I think that, like with Obama, a lot of people took campaign rhetoric too genuinely and expected some things that were not necessarily ever promised. The Peduto administration has been much more of a meritocracy than past administrations, but it’s not perfect, and maybe it’s that lack of perfection that bothers people.

    1. MH

      I don’t think its supporters feeling let down so much as sour grapes from the other side. You can sort of tell because they never establish a consistent pseud or strain of argument.

      1. Anonymous

        I disagree. and let me use a term people really don’t like – elitism. Elitism is when you believe that one group of people doing the exact same thing as another group of people is somehow better or altruistic. It isn’t sour grapes and it isn’t “machine” versus “network.” It is elitism. And those with all the money and the power can always influence the press to describe the other group as the “machine” while the elites reap the benefits. You may not like it, but it is true. A bunch of middle class people in the 19th ward organizing to gain political clout to help them lead middle class lives is described by the hypocrites as “machine” politics but when the well to do exercise the same brand of politics we call it something else. Kind of shameful.

      2. Bram R Post author

        If the “middle class people” in the 19th ward were running a club that anyone can join, is transparent, and not officially privileged through its association with the national Democratic Party — or if it organized along class lines and aims — I’d agree with you. But it’s a secret society with official privileges whose aims, true to its roots, aren’t class-based at all; they’re personal.

        If the machine was a force for the lower classes, they’d be aligned with service industry unions and minority communities, instead of Walnut Capital and the FOP; not vice-versa. They may not be cultural “elites” but politically they tend to collaborate with elites in order to look out for #1.

        This is good, though, you’re making me get ahead of myself…

      3. Jerry

        As a Peduto supporter and donor, during the election, now, and probably in the future, I strongly disagree that it’s sour grapes. I also think that’s patronizing, as if you believe the only reason someone could take exception to anything Peduto does is because he didn’t get the patronage he wanted.

        There are a lot of different people with a lot of different positions, but as for me, my consistent belief is that Peduto is doing a lot of good government, open and transparent, but occasionally, like in this last election cycle, he turns a little bit autocratic. And that is why I (mildly) criticize his network.

      4. MH

        Jerry, I didn’t mean every criticism of Peduto is sour grapes. Just that when I hear repeated criticisms that are almost word for word copies of the criticisms of Ravenstahl from what I assume is the same person, I’m guessing that guy isn’t a Peduto voter who had a sad.

      5. MH

        It costs like $15 to join the 14th Ward Club. That’s a very low threshold for elitism.

      6. Anonymous

        Bram you are so out of whack that the committee is aligned with Walnut. Where do you get that? Did you see that Walnut gave Peduto $50k and they are getting deals from the URA? And yes, the FOP are middle class Americans. You are proving my point and don’t even realize it. The elites in the east could give two shoots about the middle class and champion groups like the service employees because it makes them feel good. It makes them feel ok that they attack all the regular middle class people across the city that actually want some power instead of standing under the boot of the rich and powerful. If some people in the 19th ward actually band together and form an alliance and use that power to promote middle class jobs and power you criticize the. That is elitism. I’m sorry, it just is. You only like working class people if they get in line and support the real power structure that exists in the very rich and powerful foundation families and landed gentry. You just don’t realize it, which is exactly their power.

      7. Bram R Post author

        Form alliances. Organize for whatever you want. Just let any Democrat who wants join and participate do so, don’t cloak yourselves as the official “Democratic Party”, and don’t keep your members in line by threatening them with expulsion or worse. That’s a machine.

        The criticism of progressive East End “elites” who only advocate for the disenfranchized because it makes them “feel good,” reminds me of all the people who attack “coastal elites”, “Hollywood elites” and “urban elites” for their out-of-touch liberalism. We call those people Republicans, and they are recognized for the conservatives invested in the corrupt status-quo which they are. Meanwhile, that which brews on the coasts reliably becomes the center of the Democratic party, given time.

    2. Bram R Post author

      I’m fine with Jerry’s formula 100%, though I don’t think the Peduto/Fitzgerald team (I’m not going to use “network” because of the Rich Lord connotations, but that’s fine) can ever be as formally organized and empowered as an urban political machine, and they’ve got to know this.

      And I agree with MH. I’m writing about the ACDC, and people are counterattacking with “Peduto sucks”. That’s got to mean something.

      1. Jerry

        I actually agree. It’s probably not possible to win a seat like Mayor without some kind of network (there’s that word again!), so I’m not saying he’s doing anything that anybody else wouldn’t do. Just trying to counter the shangri-la vibe I get from a lot of Peduto supporters (not you, Bram).

  10. 31Forever

    “Ceasefire with UPMC might not be atrocious” Yeah, I can’t imagine why I thought you were loathe to criticise this lawsuit getting dropped. How silly of me. And yes, I read the article. “But seeing as how this horde of lawsuits would likely take more than three years to litigate (heck, sometimes they last five before even getting to trial!) and seeing as how we all have lives to lead here, and progress to make on many other matters of mutual interest… sigh… a breather aimed at constructive dialogue probably makes sense.” Sounds like our KumBayYa moment is here!! Oddly, it seems to be masked in this very specific smell…..

    Here’s the facts of the matter: A “nonprofit” with a valuation of $10 billion would have been forced to pay slightly higher than 1% of it’s current value in back taxes; and roughly ….. what? 3% annually, in property and corporate income tax? Less?

    You want to be a progressive, be my guest. In fact, I’d invite you to try it. Here’s one of our primary tenets: we’re sick and tired of the richest among us abdicating their responsibility to a productive society, and demand that they pay their fair share, instead of always placing it on the backs of those who can afford it the least. Or maybe you’ve been living in a cave during all these speeches that Bernie Sanders has been giving?

    “And the roads are crumbling all over town. We built more than enough roads for a city with twice the tax base we enjoy presently. At least now they’re crumbling equally across all Council districts, and it’s possible that fewer cyclists are dying.” Yes, driving through Shadyside and Squirrel Hill the other day, I was brought to tears by all of the abandoned properties and $5,000 houses I was confronted with. And the number of cyclists being thrown from their bikes by potholes the size of Buicks was approaching extinction-level!!

    In fact, one perfect example: Frick Park. Those roads are such a danger to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike, that it’s a shock that people even go there anymore. Oh wait: that was RIVERVIEW, and since it’s in Darlene’s district, it doesn’t matter. Right?

    “Go ahead and criticize the Mayor for whatever you don’t like (yet although I don’t know Quigley personally, I’d say “abundant abrasiveness” is a good reason to replace a middle manager).” How about “lack of ability to do the job”? Like the political appointee who heads the BBI, who sends all of the building inspectors out of town at the same time? Kevin Quigley was very good at his job – which should have been the only barometer by which his performance was measured – and yet, was fired anyway, and HIS job taken by a political appointee.

    “I’m just here to say that Party endorsements have no redeeming qualities whatsoever and encourage the worst in everybody. Care to comment on that?” You’re damn right I do. Everybody had an equal chance to earn the party’s endorsement at that meeting; and in point of fact, Bobby Wilson went out for the endorsement as well. But, funny thing: when he went before the committee members and they asked him what his qualifications for the job might be, his answers were considered to be lacking in merit, and they gave the endorsement to Darlene. The same held true for Lamb; and I’d say the same held true for Ranalli-Russell, except Connolly, in his infinite arrogance, never even went out for the endorsement, the same way he never bothered to campaign. But I guess that money that Better Jobs, Better Futures spent sending a mail piece (or two) a day is just “responsive politics” in your world, huh?

    You want to be an ideologue for progressivism? Join us. I have been frequently known to say that I stand only about a half a step to the right of Karl Marx and Cesar Chavez. But what you’re advocating ain’t that. Just because it’s not falling under the banner of the historically recognised machine, doesn’t make it any less machine politics.

    And how did that Stonewall scandal sit with ya? You all good with that?

    1. Brian Tucker-Hill

      Hmmm . . .

      “Here’s the facts of the matter: A ‘nonprofit’ with a valuation of $10 billion would have been forced to pay slightly higher than 1% of it’s current value in back taxes . . . .”

      That’s not a fact, that’s a prediction, and a successful outcome to the litigation was not in fact guaranteed in the manner you are suggesting. Recall that the City actually lost in the trial court because UPMC successfully argued that the City had to go after the individual subsidiaries (the individual hospitals and such) and not the parent. So the City either had to successfully appeal that decision (certainly with no guarantee of success) or file against all the individual subs. The latter course would have massively compounded the City’s legal bills, and there STILL would be no guarantee of success because particularly at the individual sub level, it isn’t clear how state charity law would have been applied.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean the City made the right decision to drop the lawsuit–that will depend on things like what sorts of voluntary contributions UPMC ends up making going forward. But at the minimum, one has to acknowledge the risk that the City could have expended a lot on legal bills and still ultimately failed in the litigation.

      1. 31Forever

        “Voluntary Contributions”, Brian?

        Should we start expecting that UPMC will begin making “Voluntary Contributions™” to the municipal tax base in the $100-$150 million range, now? And why does that sound like the national Laura Ingraham/Ann Coulter arguments; to wit, that “if they wanted to pay more in taxes, why not just write a check?”

        That’s not how taxes work, much like that’s not how society works. People don’t make “voluntary contributions™” to baseline society, and it’s foolish in the extreme to assume that someone is going to make “voluntary contributions™” to a tax base.

        Not to mention that to do so sounds an awful lot like a quid pro quo action that would require quite a few favors in return.

        Hey! Maybe we could give UPMC “most favored nation” trade status!!

        Or maybe we could just get UPMC to stop being a scofflaw, and start them paying their fair share.

      2. Bram R Post author

        My own logic was really this: although it’s mostly UPMC that wears the pants in the club of highly capitalized nonprofits, it’s also CMU, Pitt and Highmark. All of them, and a lot of other Pittsburghers believe it or not, probably just believed that Ravenstahl was no good at negotiating (not really a stretch) and that it’s not right that Peduto never even tried to negotiate a PILOT program the nice way. So in addition to the difficulties in winning multiple complex trailblazing court battles, in a political sense he had to be seen working to do things the “collaborative” way.

        If the “collaborative” way doesn’t bear fruit within another year or so, or only bears rotten fruit, I’ll be back on the bandwagon demanding the legal challenges from this administration, dang the torpedoes. But I truly honestly believe Peduto did what he needed to do upon ascending.

      3. 31Forever

        Fair enough, Bram; I don’t suppose that things can go too much to hell in a year. However, it does beg the question: Why do you feel that dropping the lawsuit was Peduto’s best course of action?

        I ask out of genuine curiosity, not any desire – latent or hidden – to bash.

      4. Bram R Post author

        In terms of the original lawsuit, not only did the judge’s ruling on the need to go after each facility seem authoritative… but remember, it had this weird side-order of Ravenstahl’s computer attached to it. Now, I doubt there was any real dirt relevant to UPMC’s case on that computer, but the fact that UPMC was within striking distance of actually getting to rifle through a former mayor’s computer just kept muddying things up. Procedurally it even slowed things down.

        As to the rest of it, I think I just explained it. Peduto couldn’t afford to get tagged by the entire business community, nonprofit community AND half of the ordinary community as an uncompromising ideologue, before he even broke in his office chair. So, spend some time trying to negotiate, give them some benefit of doubt. Then he can throw up his hands at some point and place the blame squarely on the other side.

      5. Brian Tucker-Hill

        “Or maybe we could just get UPMC to stop being a scofflaw, and start them paying their fair share.”

        Again, you seem to be starting with the assumption that there is some magic button the City can push which would remove UPMC’s tax-exempt status. In reality, the ultimate outcome of the lawsuit was uncertain, and continuing the lawsuit would have been expensive, likely very expensive if the trial court’s decision was affimed and they had to file individual actions against all the subs.

        In litigation, often the rational thing to do is settle. Indeed, often the best time to settle is before a case is even filed, because as cases drag on, the size of the slice of the pie that will go to the lawyers et al just keeps growing, which means less for the parties themselves to split.

        Whether an individual party should accept a settlement instead of starting or continuing litigation depends on factors like the risk of losing, the anticipated cost of litigation, and the terms of the proposed settlement. And that is all I am suggesting–the City’s decision after its first case was dismissed to seek a voluntarily settlement before refiling a bunch of separate actions was likely rational, and whether it counts as a successful strategy will ultimately depend on the terms UPMC offers.

        The very idea of settling with UPMC–which necessarily means they voluntarily agree to the terms of the settlement–seems to draw a strong negative reaction from you. But I might note that probably the biggest barrier to rational settlements is clients who cannot get over the emotional hurdle that any significant concession represents a crushing loss, a violation of sacred principles, a signal of weakness, or so on. All that is of course understandable when you really believe you are right about the law, and there can be circumstances where the other side is being so unreasonable that no settlement is possible. But in most cases, both sides are well-advised that the uncertainty of the outcome means both sides should be prepared to take less than everything they feel they deserve, and give to the other side something they don’t like giving.

      6. MGG

        31Forever needs her own blog.

        Which district are you moving to in the 14th Bram? Maybe the committee man there isn’t a lifer.

    2. Bram R Post author

      How did the Stonewall thing sit with me, 31Forever? Poorly.

      You say, “Everybody had an equal chance to earn the party’s endorsement at that meeting…” and go on to describe the meeting. So I’m guessing you are a committee member on the North Side. That would also help explain the sympathy for Quigley. (Or, you could be from the 31st ward near Lincoln Place, and heard about the North Side meeting from a fellow insider up that way.) Great, welcome! But you’re not addressing the real thrust of my argument: who are these people on the committee, what makes them special, and what is the function of anyone having to spend thousands of dollars just to seek their endorsement?

      What’s your name, oh true leftist progressive champion 31Forever?

      1. 31Forever

        Focus, Bram. Stop trying to make this about the person, as opposed to the argument.

        I’m not your researcher. If you want to be a part of the ACDC, find out how you can do that on your own.

        In the meantime, why don’t you ask yourself this question: “If the candidates that Peduto and Fitzgerald were promoting were what’s best for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, why did they need to spend nearly $200K to sell them, as of the May reporting period? Shouldn’t their positions and platforms stand on their own? Shouldn’t their arguments have overwhelmed the opposition? Why did the “best” (and I use that word with GEOGRAPHIC latitude) of their candidates lose by 15 points?”

        You want to know who I am? It’s very simple: I’m Bill Peduto. No, no, wait: I’m Rich Fitzgerald! No, wait: I’m Patrick Dowd! Sophie? Natalia!!

        Okay, you caught me: I’m Mike Mikus; and like Atlas, it’s become incredibly tiring trying to keep this column of BS upright. I mean, seriously: Flaherty runs for Controller, and BJBF doesn’t give a cent, but Peduto’s, Fontana’s, Josh Shapiro’s, John Weinstein’s, and Jay Costa’s PACs each give $20K?

        Let’s go back to that chat we had about “responsive politics” vis-a-vis Dan Connolly’s campaign.

      2. Bram R Post author

        Like everyone I acknowledge that even perfect political arguments need money to survive in the marketplace of ideas. Heck, if you want the media to cover your campaign beyond saying, “Steve Smith is also in the race, but he has no money and is of little account,” then you need money. So although you are illustrating that candidates the ACDC doesn’t prefer or that you don’t prefer can get money, I don’t see how that’s relevant to anything. It’s a different world, anybody can reach out to unions, businesses, coalitions of politicians, the Internet to raise funds.

        I can’t join the ACDC, is my point. There’s no way I can beat Bernie Grady, he has spent a lifetime cultivating relationships on my block. In a different world I’d like to join alongside him, but I don’t have that option. I imagine that describes the situation in most of Pittsburgh. You shouldn’t need to start a personal war in your neighborhood to participate in your own political party.

        Had I known Connelly “in his infinite arrogance, never even went out for the endorsement,” I might have worked for him.

      3. 31Forever

        Really, Bram? You’re planning on sticking with, “Boo hoo, Bernie has been working for years to cultivate political relationships; and now, I can’t get in” as your affirmative defense?

        I’m curious about something: do you feel that it’s your job just to stand outside and curse the darkness; as you complain that you’re lighting phantom candles, but while you’re really just decrying the dark?

        How about this: what would you say if I were to tell you that both Virginia and Judy Chinko were highly endangered right now; as they chose to not only go against the party’s endorsement, but became combative about it, and came very close to violating policy within the committee? What would you say if I were to tell you that, if you were to go to Bernie now and being to “Cultivate a Relationship”; it’s entirely likely that he would put you up in opposition of her next year?

        Or is that flat spot outside the wall getting nice and comfy?

      4. Bram R Post author

        Well, if the problem Grady has with the Chinkos is that they opposed the endorsement, I don’t imagine he’d be any happier with me. That’s the whole point. Even if a person slaloms their way into the machine, they have to tow the line or become “highly endangered”. Why would I want to do that?

        And to satisfy your curiosity, I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.

      5. 31Forever

        Well, I must admit: it’s certainly noble that you’re willing to give up sex to join the committee. But again, you’re not listening.

        It wasn’t that the Chinkos went against the endorsed candidate, it was that they chose to do so in a combative and underhanded fashion. Example: at a tenant meeting at 601 Pressley Tower, it had been intended that Darlene, as well as a couple of other candidates who were on the ballot, would be in attendance, ostensibly to answer questions as they pertained to issues specific to the tenant’s needs. Once the Chinkos caught wind of that; suddenly, who to my wondering eyes should appear, but Bobby Wilson, and his visible lack of a platform. And again – and again and again – he was asked questions which required specific answers, and responded with boilerplate. It got to such a point that the Ward Chairs of the 23rd and 24th wards had to point out to Bobby that he wasn’t answering the questions, and things got rather testy.

        Is that your intent? to become the discordant note? If it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if you WOULD become “highly endangered”. Unless that is, you were to organise a coup d’etat.

        How’re your Flag Officer skills?

      6. Bram R Post author

        As Sam points out, there is some wiggle-room in those vows.

        I don’t think I follow when it comes to “Flag Officer skills”, but unfortunately, after 13 years here up north I’m moving back to the 14th ward in a matter of weeks. Typical, huh?

        But I sincerely thank you for all this insight. In my researches I discovered that the daily newspapers used to actually report on committee dust-ups like this, but I suppose back then they had subscribers.

      7. Jerry

        In reply to 31Forever on May 27, 2015 at 6:17 pm: The way I see it, Bram has done a lot more for government in this city simply by writing this blog than an average ACDC chair does by rubber-stamping for the candidate Jim Burn tells him to support. You’re not being fair when you criticize him for “not doing anything”.

        If your argument is not about Bram but about the average yinzer who complains about the committee but never does anything (like me) … well then, good point. If I recall correctly from about 10-12 years ago, there was a lot of progressive noise about taking over local government at the ward and block level, exactly as you advocated. I think that had a bit to do with Peduto being elected, though I don’t know nearly enough to say how much it helped.

    3. Jerry

      The Stonewall thing was BS, for sure, but what makes you think Peduto had anything to do with it, other than the fact that he frequently coordinates with Fitzgerald?

      1. 31Forever

        I’m gonna go with ….. the $30K that “People For Peduto” spent on the four candidates that benefitted most from the ballot-stuffing?

        Example: Deb Gross. Was she really the candidate that Stonewall wanted to endorse; especially considering that one of their longtime members, La’Tasha D. Mayes, was running against her? Deb Gross stood in front of that group and made a boilerplate speech about how she’d made Lawrenceville better for everyone. Lawrenceville.

        So let’s talk about Lawrenceville. The average earned wage in Pittsburgh proper is $37k, plus or minus; and houses in Lawrenceville go for roughly $300K. So what happens? People who have lived in Lawrenceville for generations are pushed out, as they seek to modernize and develop properties in the area to capitalise on this. Meanwhile, what’s happened to Friendship? Garfield? Bloomfield? Are these areas experiencing a renaissance? Only inasmuch as they can extend the borders of Lawrenceville; otherwise it’s, “Gee, I’m sorry your life sucks, but best of luck!”

        Meanwhile, La’Tasha talked about what she’s done to advance tolerance and equality for all people, not just members of the LGBT community. Which of these arguments would be best received from a group THAT’S ABOUT PROMOTING TOLERANCE AND EQUALITY FOR ALL?

        And yet, the vote fell along new guard vs. old guard lines: 90 to 26. Every. Single. One. of the old guard voted unanimously for La’Tasha, while the fakers – which included Rich Fitzgerald himself, in all his smug glory – voted for the candidates that they had paid to promote.

        Oh, that’s right. I’m sorry: that MIKE MIKUS had paid to promote.

        Coordination? Are you crazy? Surely that never happened.

      2. Anonymous

        Same PAC, right? The political folks are the same for Fitz and Peduto. Like it or not, their actions are not distinct from the pols themselves. Lie down with dogs…

      3. Anonymous

        Um, the fact that every single one of his supported candidates won. Even the ones Fitz didn’t care about.

      4. Brian Tucker-Hill

        Arguments of the following form are not generally valid:

        1) Person A supports Candidate X
        2) Person B supports Candidate X
        3) Therefore, Person A has endorsed and indeed participated in everything Person B has done to support Candidate X

        About the best you can do usually is try to get Person A on the record about whether they endorse or condemn what Person B has done. And even that tends to work far better for Candidate X herself, rather than Person A. That is because Person A can usually just say, “I’m not responsible for what Person B does, my support is for Candidate X,” and it is tough to really argue with that (outside of preaching to the choir).

      5. Jerry

        People for Peduto can support the same candidates Fitz supports without supporting all of Fitz’s tactics.

        I’m not saying Peduto DIDN’T endorse the Stonewall thing, I’m just saying there’s no evidence he did.

        Also, I wanna echo someone else in saying that you should start your own blog.

      6. Anonymous

        Jerry, this isn’t that hard. Just ask him. Seriously, just ask Bill if he supported what happened at Stonewall. He absolutely had everything to do with it. All of his candidates won the endorsement. All of them. Again, some that Fitz didn’t even fund. Don’t want to to any investigation? Fine, but then don’t absolve Bill by saying “there isn’t enough evidence.” There is plenty of evidence and i’m challenging you and Bram to ask him to publicly condemn what happened there. it is well known that Fitz and Bill had a pact. Fitz took on the county seats and Bill took the City and they supported each other. Bill endorsed Caroline Mitchell over Danko. Don’t forget that. He can’t separate himself now from what happened, as much as his revisionist friends would like to try and do on this blog.

      7. Jerry

        Anonymous May 29, 2015 at 8:06 pm: Why on earth would I contact the mayor to ask him to deny an unsupported allegation by an anonymous internet commenter? You seem to have no clue what it means to assert something. You can’t just let any rank BS drop from your fingertips and then take the privilege to assume it’s accurate, and that the burden is on others to disprove it. If you think that’s how it works, I assume you don’t talk to anybody except through the internet.

      8. 31Forever

        As I said before, Jerry: $30,000.

        You can argue that maybe, just maybe, Bill’s and Fitz’s interests aligned on these particular issues, and that would be a difficult argument to counter.

        But, here’s the thing: if you want to be “the watcher on the wall” – as somone so snarkily put it to me the other day – then part of that job is to actually SEE things. If you’re just there to be an internet cop to things that might be detrimental to your sigil, then you’re simply a partisan, not a watcher. And, I would dare say, a hack.

        “Why on earth would I contact the mayor to ask him to deny an unsupported allegation by an anonymous internet commenter?”

        Because you aren’t. The APPEARANCE of impropriety can be as bad as the impropriety itself. You’re there to ask a public figure to confirm or deny his collusion to something.

        Here’s an interesting, and highly plausible scenario: Jerry and Bram go to Mayor Peduto and ask, “Were you colluding with Rich Fitzgerald to do A, B, and C?” The mayor answers in the negative; but days or weeks – or months – later, it turns out that there are records of him doing, in fact, just such a thing. Perhaps even uncovered by the aforementioned Bram and Jerry.

        Pulitzers have been won for roughly the same thing. Or do the names Woodward and Bernstein not ring a bell for anyone here?

      9. Jerry

        Are you the anonymous I was addressing above? I really wish people would at least call themselves Donald Duck or something. “Anonymous” makes discussion difficult.

        Anyhow, at least for me, I think you vastly overestimate my importance. I mean next to nothing to Peduto. Now, would it be appropriate for Bram to ask this question of the mayor? Maybe. He at least has some cachet in the blogging community, and I suspect that would give him some credibility in City Hall. Nevertheless, this Stonewall thing rises nowhere near Pulitzer level. You can’t expect a journalist to ask hostile questions about an incident that, in the worst case, amounts to a faux pas, simply because anonymous internet people told him to. That’s a good way for an internet journalist to quickly lose any credibility he might have.

  11. 31Forever

    And I never said “Peduto Sucks”. I said “hypocrisy sucks”; but I find it telling that you’re drawing that parallel.

  12. Gabe

    As much as they want to be a machine, I just don’t see the ACDC as the “machine” that Bram describes. 2 people get elected in every precinct (many remain vacant). They then vote to organize under municipal and ward chairs and officers. They meet and vote on an endorsed slate of candidates (an old process that should probably end so that this party infighting would not be so ugly). Then most of them go about supporting the candidates they want whether they are endorsed or not. Many committee members were supporting non-endorsed candidates in this past election. Some supported McGough, McCready, Crawford, Wojcik, Schubert, Wagner, Rudiak, Wilson, Mayes, Zotter, etc. All non-endorsed.

    Seems to me the Peduto-Fitz funded BJ Pac acted much more like a cohesive machine, just unsuccessfully.

    If you need to call the ACDC a machine, then this past election was a race of Money vs The Machine. In some cases Money won (McReady, McGough) in other cases Money lost (Connolly, Mitchell, Rudiak). The only counter to that is Wagner who had neither Money or Machine and could just ride the anti-Fitz wave.

    1. Bram R Post author

      “an old process that should probably end so that this party infighting would not be so ugly”… I’m glad to read that from you, Gabe, That really is the crux of what’s in my argument for the local party, and it’s no small thing. But the rest of my argument is that if they think they’re still the machine, act like they’re still the machine, and their uh, rings still get kissed regularly like they’re still the machine, then behold… at the very least, machine politics remain legitimized.

      Don’t forget the bit where ward chairs get to appoint people to fill vacancies, never mind the elections.

      Do you think segments of labor heed the machine endorsement in some instances, magnifying its effect? That’s my impression.

      When it comes to “class” or “elitism”, come to think of it, do you think that within the machine, it is easier for some members to break from it and support non-endorsed candidates rather than others? I can imagine some being independent by dint of their vocation, while others are made dependent by it.

      Why did (prior ACDC chair) Jim Burn fight so hard to remain chair of the State party committee, contra the new Democratic governor? How was he able to succeed? And why, the night of the election and the morning after, was he so keen to visit with the victorious controllers, get them together, and advertise how he did so? It seems like that job (once filled by Lawrence) is still valuable and it’s still being worked hard in the classic manner for some reason.

      Lamb had more money at his disposal than Rudiak, no? She may have raised a bit more this cycle, but Lamb had money sitting around since forever, since his last abortive mayoral run with the lack of donor limits he precipitated. Please correct me with the data if I’m wrong, as I might be on that point.

      1. Anonymous

        Rudiak/Lamb was not money vs. machine…it was a direct result of years of campaigning and office-holding and plain hard work vs. Peduto coattails. Nothing more…

      2. Anonymous

        Let me take a shot here. This Anon may agree with you Bram on more than we both think (although I am sure we have big differences elsewhere). I completely agree that the ACDC and endorsements are problematic. But I think many here a stretching themselves to justify why one group (whether based on class or geographic location) is better than another or why one endorsement has more credibility than another.

        I suggest the following is the real issue and infects any group or location or gaggle of people: when they choose politics and alliances over qualifications in the endorsement process. If candidate A is clearly more qualified or a better fit but another candidate is endorsed and funded because of politics and alliances – I suggest that is a bad result. That definitely happens in the ACDC, but it also happens in the new network, different groups and subparts of the ACDC and new and old alliances. Isn’t that what we should be guarding against? We should hold every group accountable for simply doing the perfunctory endorsement and funding of allies simply because someone else is deemed to be an enemy or tied to the other group.

      3. Bram R Post author

        I’m not basing anything on class or geographic location. I’m basing it entirely on the rules of the organization, on who they purport to represent, and a demonstrated 150-year history of why they choose who they choose. I think we have time to offer specific guidance on both which candidates are “more qualified or a better fit”, and general warnings about which institutions are fundamentally problematic. The Commissioner of the NFL has no business attending games in a Steelers or a Browns jersey.

        Additionally, it’s particularly important for all of us to hold the institutions we are actually in accountable, to push for positive reforms in those. I am not in the Chamber of Commerce. I am not in the SEIU. I am not Rich Fitzgerald. I am a registered and lifelong Democrat. I have a stake in its success. When it shoots itself in the foot EDIT: over silly, emotional, nasty, but frequently impactful and inequitable intermural disputes like “Party endorsements“… I bleed.

      4. 31Forever


        Again, I’m curious. Which of the candidates endorsed by the ACDC did you not agree with? Feel free to be specific. Again, not to bash, I’m trying to gain insight into your thought process.

  13. Anonymous

    Did anyone notice the spark Peduto showed recently in denouncing Lamar’s ad plans for the rotting Bayer sign? Wouldn’t it be nice if he showed a glimpse of that where UPMC scofflaws are concerned?

  14. Anonymous

    So did he drop the lawsuit against UPMC in exchange for UPMC’s Undercover Boss funding? Or did UPMC fund Undercover Boss in exchange for Bill helping UPMC’s general counsel’s brother win an election? Or some combination of the above? Was it a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for a mayor to fund a church? I know this blog was the “first in the City” to criticize Undercover Boss, but I missed the investigation into these questions. P.S. If you think all the streets in Lawrenceville and East Liberty are all being repaved all at once this summer due to some objective, data-driven computer program, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.

    1. Brian Tucker-Hill

      The Supreme Court has made it clear that a state actor like the City can give money to churches without running afoul of the Establishment Clause provided it is for a secular purpose. So, you can give out vouchers which can be used at religious schools, fund soup kitchens hosted by churches, and so on.

      In this case none of that is really relevant, however, because Peduto was not giving out City money in any direct sense. Much has been made of Visit Pittsburgh contributing, because Visit Pittsburgh in turn gets grants of public money. But Visit Pittsburgh itself is not a state actor (it is a non-profit corporation), so you can’t go after their contributions directly on an establishment clause theory.

      Now if Visit Pittsburgh itself was a religious institution and its purpose in contributing was religious, you could maybe take a step back and go after those public grants to Visit Pittsburgh. However, of course Visit Pittsburgh is not religious, and its purpose was in fact secular (to help promote Pittsburgh through this TV show), so there would be no basis for such a complaint.

      Finally, generally Peduto can do a lot of things to promote religion as an individual that he could not do if he was exercising his official powers as Mayor (in fact, more likely there would be a First Amendment free exercise or free speech problem if the City tried to STOP him from doing such things). So, for example, he could lawfully stand up and say, “I am Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, and personally I think the Catholic Church is great. Everyone should consider attending Church services, joining the Church, and donating to the Church.” Some people over time have tried to suggest public officials should not be allowed to lend their names to such causes, but that hasn’t gone anywhere because the courts think being a public official doesn’t mean you lose all your own individual free exercise and free speech rights.

      Accordingly, asking his “friends” (as he called them on the show) to make donations to a church project didn’t provide a basis for a First Amendment challenge, since he was not actually exercising official powers as mayor in doing so.

      All this helps explain why a bunch of lawyers looked at all this and decided there was nothing unlawful. Mayors in fact do this sort of thing all the time (lend their personal support to all sorts of causes, religious and otherwise), and generally it is going to be OK for them to do so, at least in terms of the law (whether you like the causes they support, and whether that influences your opinion of their merits as a public official, is something voters are entitled to consider).

      1. Anonymous

        The lovely twists and turns of justifying the actions of a political favorite. This has nothing to do with the Establishment Clause. It just has everything to do with side deals, alliances and generally unsavory activity. No matter how you spin it, that is what it is.

      2. Brian Tucker-Hill

        Anon at 7:49 asked about the Establishment Clause, so I answered that question.

        Personally, I’ve always thought that Peduto’s political critics trying to manufacture a controversy out of Undercover Boss was tone deaf and self-defeating. It was fantastic advertising on national TV for the City, and the people on the show seemed genuinely deserving. So trying to rain on that parade isn’t likely to make any new friends.

        Accordingly, the smart thing would have been to pick different issues to focus on and just minimize the attention paid to Undercover Boss. But I guess because Peduto was so prominently and personally involved, they just couldn’t help themselves.

      3. Anonymous

        It wasn’t Undercover Boss itself that was bad. An no one said that, so stop with the straw man argument. What was a political crime is that Peduto went to great lengths to tell everyone that no taxpayer money would be used. And then used taxpayer money. Then, despite the fact that the URA went and shook down developers for donations, once some light was shed on that they scrambled to find different donors. UB boss might have been good for the City, but that had nothing to do with Bill Peduto. He isn’t the producer or director of the show. He was just the person sitting in the chair we call mayor at the time of the show. But that guy did take unnecessary shots at his predecessor on national TV and lie to the public about key facts surrounding the mysterious donors.

  15. Anonymous

    I’m confused about the argument that the City is saving on legal fees by dropping the UPMC lawsuit. Does the City Law Department have more lawyers than ever under Mayor Peduto? Are they not the best and brightest plucked from Talent City’s national search? Instead of dropping the lawsuit, why not just bring it in-house if we’re worried about legal fees?

      1. Anonymous

        That is the dumbest argument i have heard from you MH. No, they don’t design a new space shuttle. But the law department is supposed to press the City’s legal cases. Your credibility = gone.

        PS – most of the engineers left when Peduto took over and they now outsource much of that function. Check your facts.

      2. MH

        I’ve said much dumber things than that crack about designing a new space shuttle, but nothing as dumb as the idea that a small city’s regular legal council could or should take a case like this.

    1. Brian Tucker-Hill

      Complex litigation is generally a field for specialists. If I had a client who wanted to take on UPMC in a case like this, I’d help them find the right lawyers, not try to do it myself, because I don’t have any experience in that area of law.

      1. Anonymous

        Saying this as nicely as I can…the City doesn’t have the legal expertise in-house to “press the City’s legal cases”.

      2. Brian Tucker-Hill

        So usually in-house counsel will be able to handle some sorts of common cases by themselves, and with other sorts of cases their job will be to hire specialists and assist them. It doesn’t make sense to try to keep in-house specialists to cover every conceivable sort of case.

      3. Brian Tucker-Hill

        You might find this instructive:


        This is pretty typical:

        [quote]The Law Department is divided into seven sections or divisions which perform different functions:

        The Litigation Section defends the City against all lawsuits in which the City is a party. This includes representing the City at all levels of the Commonwealth and Federal Court Systems. The four primary areas of law involved in these actions are Tort, Civil Rights, Employment and Construction.[/quote]

        So the Litigation Section is focused on defense work, and in fact four specific types of defense work. I’m sure they have many capable lawyers doing that work, but those people are not thereby going to be qualified to do complex plaintiff side work in a different area of law.

      4. Anonymous

        This is the important thing….the suggestion that the City Law Department could gain an inch of ground in a legal battle with UPMC is laughable and truly removes any trace of credibility for the suggester in this discussion. But dammit…Peduto seems to be doing absolutely nothing on this issue. He needs to publicly express dissatisfaction with UPMC and move the conversation forward towards a better resolution. He appears weak on this because apparently he prefers private conversations with them…and things seem capable of dragging on for more years. I love that he’s made progress on bike stuff, but maybe the larger issues are out of his grasp.

      5. Bram R Post author

        Back when a Councilwoman and I were urging that the City embark on a complex legal Land-Use initiative against well-funded adversaries (including Larry Flynt) the Law Dept. similarly urged contracting out, it is true. That wasn’t routine Tort, Civil Rights, Employment or Construction law defense.

        But I think Anon 1:40 (immediately above) states the broader complaint well.

      6. Brian Tucker-Hill

        Personally, I honestly have no idea what is the best way to get more money out of UPMC. They’ve taken a lot of public criticism from all sorts of people, but if that has blunted their business it is hard to see. Maybe Highmark can eventually make them feel less bullet proof, because I agree their attitude about these things as it stands is pretty freaking offensive.

      7. Anonymous

        The City had a law firm handling the case pro bono. Next argument as to why they dropped the suit?

      8. Anonymous

        Yes, Bram, they were. And there were lots of other firms that would have taken that case. And SMGP had an ethical obligation to see it through once they took the case.

  16. Anonymous

    I can’t believe we need to go over Undercover Boss yet again. There were a number of valid criticisms made of that…and they remain unanswered. It’s foolish to suggest or believe that these criticisms were made because of sour grapes. Above Bram claims that he was one of the first critics…well if so, then he became that after the discussion here took place, because he was definitely pushing the sour grapes angle at first.

    1. Brian Tucker-Hill

      As I recall, most of the “valid criticisms” were implausible hypotheses that proved baseless on further examination. And that seems to still be happening–for example, speculating that there was a quid pro quo involving the UPMC litigation when the City dropped its appeal in July and the TV show didnt even happen until December is pretty silly, and of course there is zero actual evidence in support of that hypothesis. But people can and will make up ever-evolving increasingly-implausible conspiracy theories when they can’t let go of something they just KNEW would be a devastating scandal for a hated political figure (see, e.g., Kenyan birth, Benghazi, etc.).

      Of course I’m not saying it is improper to merely ask questions, and it took a while for all the relevant information to come out. But these sorts of manufactured controversies rarely do anything to move the needle, and instead at most serve to rile up those already looking for an excuse to be riled up.

      Incidentally, there are completely valid criticisms that one can in fact make about many of Peduto’s actual policies and decisions. That’s part of why focusing on this makes little sense. But these days, everyone seems committed to just going 100% on any thing that comes up, with little thought to whether that is a good long term strategy.

      1. Anonymous

        “there are completely valid criticisms that one can in fact make about many of Peduto’s actual policies and decisions.”

        I’m all ears, let’s hear them.

      2. Brian Tucker-Hill

        Well, for example, I have a long-standing interest in historic preservation, and land-use policy in general. Right now Point Park is in the process of tearing down three historic buildings Downtown on Forbes which are contributing structures to a National Historic District, and gutting a fourth historic building on Fourth. They are then going to use all that land and much more to build a low-rise student theater complex. So that is just a terrible project all around by my standards–it is destroying historic buildings to make way for a gross underutilization of that land.

        Peduto recently gave a speech in which he implied the City is no longer going to settle for any old crappy project that comes along. And in this case, it would be easy to stop the current version of the project and demand something better. These buildings easily qualify for protection under the City’s Historic Preservation ordinance, and I have no doubt that if Peduto announced his opposition to this project and intention to support their designation under the ordinance, it would happen.

        However, instead Peduto is supporting the project. This apparently has been enough to chill any effort by local preservations to try a nomination (the problem with the City ordinance is ultimately City Council can overturn the HRC and City Planning, as they did with the Produce Terminal, and I guess they are worried about that happening again). So all they have done is negotiate Point Park trying to move the facade elements and paste them onto various walls within the complex, which of course entirely misses the point of what it means for historic buildings to contribute to historic districts.

        So, that sucks. Note this entire criticism in no way depends on crazy conspiracy theories. It is just an observation of Peduto taking a policy position–supporting the project when he could oppose and very likely stop it instead–with which I strongly disagree.

      3. Anonymous

        Whoa whoa whoa. Plenty remains unanswered about Undercover Boss that is well clear of conspiracy theory.

        Why did the Mayor of Pittsburgh get on a TV show and promise money to city and authority employees that he didn’t have at that point? Doesn’t that seem a little shaky?

        Did the URA bankroll this? If so – we need a concrete list of expenditures and what/who is covering them and when. Some contributors have been named, but do we know all of them? Have the employees been paid? Has all the money been collected?

        How much did Bill Peduto receive for being on this show? Are there implications for the non-functional Ethics Commission about receiving this money? Some use of City facilities and the time of City workers was involved. He was acting as the Mayor of Pittsburgh, at least after he took off the silly beard, anyway.

        Thanks to Chelsa Wagner (whom Peduto was spending good money in order to defeat), they backed away from filling this debt out of the Visit Pittsburgh coffers. This is definitely deserving of closer ethical scrutiny, as Peduto sits on that board and is in a position to influence votes there.

        Peduto promised the adoring crowd (and the City) that no City money was involved in Undercover Boss. This was a lie, or at very least it was way too early to make that boast. This should continue to raise ethical eyebrows, and should be denounced as tactless and tasteless at very least.

        I guess it’s distantly possible that UPMC paid into this to soften Peduto’s resolve for bringing them to bear as far as their tax status…but personally I don’t think Bill has been pushing them hard on that point anyway. I wouldn’t call this a conspiracy theory – it’s a valid line of inquiry, as much as Ravenstahl’s role in the Harper scandal was.

        I’m someone who was happy to see Bill Peduto get a chance at leading the City, long story short. I’m excited about what is possible under his leadership. I’m not about to compromise my call for things to be done ethically, though – and many appear to be comfortable doing that. I agree with you, BTH – the Point Park Theater project is definitely something that Councilman Peduto would have been in opposition to – but now that he is Mayor, he’s not in the same outsider position. It’s easy to lob trouble in over the fence for a mayoral administration, but quite another thing to be active in pursuit of compromise and alternatives.

        Meanwhile, nothing seems to be happening with eh Produce Terminal – are they waiting for the smoke to clear so that they can award their favored bidders the work there?

      4. Brian Tucker-Hill

        So the way the Kenyan Birth/Benghazi game is played is you always have more “questions” you need to have answered. Often the questions have already been answered, but that doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter if many of the new questions don’t actually seem to have any relevance. The mere fact there are “questions” is what you use to keep the hope of a scandal alive. But anyway:

        “Why did the Mayor of Pittsburgh get on a TV show and promise money to city and authority employees that he didn’t have at that point?”

        Most likely answer: because it was a great and unique opportunity to promote the City on national TV, and the amounts were small enough he was confident he could raise the money, which proved accurate.

        “Did the URA bankroll this?”


        “Some contributors have been named, but do we know all of them?”


        “Have the employees been paid? Has all the money been collected?”

        I have no idea of the exact timing for each gift, but it doesn’t seem particularly important. This is a good example of ongoing questions that don’t actually seem to matter, but get put on the list to try to keep the manufactured scandal going.

        “How much did Bill Peduto receive for being on this show?”

        Do you mean was he paid for making the television appearance? If he was paid anything I would assume it was the SAG minimum daily rate for television appearances (I think that is usually what reality and game show participants get). Again, this doesn’t seem like an important question, unless there is some reason to believe CBS wanted undue influence with the Mayor of Pittsburgh.

        “Are there implications for the non-functional Ethics Commission about receiving this money?”

        If Peduto was paid? I don’t see that being an ethics issue per se. I assume he is salaried so I doubt there is any sort of double payment problem.

        “Some use of City facilities and the time of City workers was involved.”

        Again, I don’t see that being an ethics issue per se. City stuff and City workers are used in City promotions all the time, and there is no doubt this was a great promotional event for the City.

        “This is definitely deserving of closer ethical scrutiny, as Peduto sits on that board [of Visit Pittsburgh] and is in a position to influence votes there.”

        I believe he is a non-voting member, but a simple vote recusal would be enough in any event. Note again that since Visit Pittsburgh’s mission is to promote Pittsburgh, and this show undoubtedly helped accomplish that mission way more than it would ordinarily cost to get that benefit, there is no actual underlying misbehavior here by Visit Pittsburgh to explain. So if Peduto encouraged them to do it, good for him, and good for them for listening.

        “This was a lie, or at very least it was way too early to make that boast.”

        It was actually true all along because Visit Pittsburgh is not a City agency, but rather a private non-profit. Of course they receive a portion of the County hotel tax as an annual grant, but many entities receive some public grants of some kind without thereby being transformed into state actors. But probably it would have been better to put the point differently, so it would provide less ammunition for critics looking to manufacture a scandal of some sort.

        ” I wouldn’t call this a conspiracy theory – it’s a valid line of inquiry, as much as Ravenstahl’s role in the Harper scandal was.”

        Harper was indicted by a U.S. grand jury on five counts, including diverting public money into private accounts, and ultimately sentenced to 18 months in prison. Harper was appointed by Ravenstahl, and Harper claimed he had been acting under orders, although he refused to name that person. However, his defense attorney stated Ravenstahl was involved. Of course a few weeks before Harper was indicted, Ravenstahl ended his re-election bid.

        THAT is why Ravenstahl’s role in the Harper scandal was a valid line of inquiry. There was an actual crime that was committed, and specific information indicating that Ravenstahl was involved in some way.

        In the case of Undercover Boss, there is no evidence of actual wrongdoing to begin with. People keep coming up with wildly implausible speculation about things that could have happened behind the scenes which would have been wrong, but in the absence of any evidence that any of those things actually happened, it remains a manufactured scandal.

        So if you REALLY think this is the same sort of situation–well, like I said, these days people seem unwilling or unable to exercise any sort of judgment when it comes to possible lines of attack on political enemies.

    2. Bram R Post author

      Anon 1:12 – I’m not sure what angles you saw me pushing regarding Peduto’s turn as a network reality television protagonist. I felt I was pushing the City Ethics Hearing Board restoration angle. And in my estimation, just about all of the pertinent questions have been answered, outside of that.

      In retrospect, hindsight being 20/20, when he told his employees that some of his “friends” were going to furnish rewards for leal service on the show and to the City, maybe he ought to have thought of People for Peduto. Group-supported political activity seems to be what it is there for, and that was a more confidence-inspiring form of political investment than most.

    3. Anonymous

      Dismissing the questions just because you don’t think they are relevant doesn’t answer them. You seem intent on uncovering some sort of bias, accusing of some Benghazi-style chasing…not sure why? You’re simply annoyed that these questions are not a big deal to you.

      The URA certainly was involved in awarding the gifts, and at the time said agency hid behind Right to Know:


      The Pitts­burgh Post-Ga­zette has filed a re­quest seek­ing the iden­ti­ties of the do­nors with the Pitts­burgh Ur­ban Re­de­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity, which is act­ing as the fis­cal agent for the money.

      The URA has said the re­quest “re­quires a le­gal re­view to de­ter­mine whether the re­quested doc­u­ments are … sub­ject to ac­cess un­der the Right-to-Know law.”

      So the question remains – has that money been restored to the URA? Is this how business should be conducted at the URA, i.e. treating it like a piggy bank for the Mayor to demonstrate his largesse to a handful of city and authority employees for a TV audience, with donations and details pending? Details, details. Since the URA was used as a pass-through for all of this, a public accounting needs to be made of how the money was allocated and spent and hopefully restored in full. Or perhaps we’ve forgotten all of the decades of criticism that the URA has endured for being a slushfund for administrations and connected developers? I guess we have, when that becomes convenient.

      Also – I’m not buying the “promoting the City” argument for a Visit Pittsburgh contribution. Firstly – I wouldn’t exactly call a public denunciation of Pittsburgh Public Schools – inherent in the private school gift – something that promotes the City. Secondly – if this was a totally legit tourist video, then why did VP back away from the second half of the donation? Why would that be necessary. Wagner wants to audit VP, I can’t wait for that to happen. So glad she’s still in place to do it, despite the efforts of FitzDuto.

      Speaking for myself…this video didn’t really reflect well on Pittsburgh. The Mayor dressed up in a foolish costume, selected a few employees to lavish gifts on with money that he didn’t have, promised that he didn’t use City money (all of the money at that point was coming from a City authority, with no solid and public guarantee of repayment). This, along with the vague “my friends” stuff and the private school gift, reflected rather poorly on the City, in my view. If it was Ravenstahl that did this, we ALL KNOW what your reaction would have been…and for the record I would have been right behind you in that criticism.

      1. Bram R Post author

        Perhaps let me rephrase — you don’t have to like the answers, but all the questions have been answered. It has boiled down to the point where it is what it is, and whatever that is, it is no more than that.

        EDIT: This was intended towards Anon of 1:03, but I guess it applies to whomever.

      2. Brian Tucker-Hill

        I’m going to assume this was a response to one of my posts above.

        Anyway, I’m not annoyed by people who are still trying to manufacture a scandal out of Undercover Boss. I’m just pointing out that this is very likely self-defeating behavior on their part.

        I’m raising examples like Kenyan Birth and Benghazi to point out why manufactured scandals never actually end. As you put it so well, it doesn’t matter to you whether the questions actually have any particular relevance to any real issues, the mere fact you can come up with questions to list is enough for your purposes. And since there is never an end to the questions people can ask, particularly if it doesn’t matter if those questions have been asked and answered before nor if there is any actual basis for the questions, then manufactured scandals can go on forever.

        The problem is just because you are still talking about it doesn’t mean it is actually serving your political purposes. Again, the examples above show that eventually all you are doing is preaching to the choir, and in so doing wasting time and effort that could be focused on issues that might actually matter to people outside of those who already share your commitments.

        Now if you are fundraising, selling ads to gold companies, or something like that, maybe it doesn’t matter if you are just preaching to the choir. But here in Bram’s comment sections, no so pecuniary purpose is likely to be served. But if this is your hobby and it doesn’t matter to you whether it changes any minds, then feel free to continue.

        On a couple specific issues:

        Peduto released the final donor list on 1/23. There is zero reason to believe the URA paid any of it out of its own funds. This is a good example therefore of a combination of a question already answered and a question with no basis.

        “I wouldn’t exactly call a public denunciation of Pittsburgh Public Schools – inherent in the private school gift – something that promotes the City.”

        This has been a common criticism (common among those looking to criticize, that is), but of course it doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. The City’s private schools, their students, and their families, are all stakeholders in the City too. The Mayor just as much represents those schools, students, and families as he does the public schools and their students and families, and in fact those schools are worth promoting to any considering the City who would be interested in private schools.

        “Speaking for myself…this video didn’t really reflect well on Pittsburgh.”

        Pittsburgh looked gorgeous, the people were heart-warming, and Peduto got to do his little speech about Pittsburgh’s remaking of itself. No one watching outside of a tiny fraction of Peduto critics specifically in Pittsburgh was thinking at all about the sorts of complaints you are making.

        But again, feel free to keep on trying to rain on the parade. Just don’t expect it to persuade anyone.

      3. Brian Tucker-Hill

        By the way, I think a lot of the Pittsburgh visuals were actually supplied to the show by Visit Pittsburgh. Getting those videos placed on national television alone is undoubtedly worth a multiple of the contribution they made.

      4. Anonymous

        BTH, it just sounds to me in this case like you’re shrugging because it’s “your guy”. You’re not doing that in the Point Park case, so I’ll credit you that. What you’re not acknowledging, as I see it, is that the use of the URA as a pass-though is questionable. The URA is a city authority – and when questioned by the PG about the list of donors, they threw up a Right to Know shield. The URA should not be funding projects opaquely, I hope we can agree. They should not be used to back projects that they then need to scramble back and fund with organizations like VP. So – either the gifts weren’t paid until they lined up the donors in January, or they paid them directly from URA funds. Regardless, the “my friends” thing rings a little hollow, as does the claim that no City money was involved. I just don’t want to begin overlooking ethics, if Peduto’s administration has a chance at a fresh start. Just count me as someone who believes that more transparency is needed at all City and County authorities and agencies, and this was a pretty questionable item when you step back and look at it.

      5. Bram R Post author

        All the workers came out looking heart-warming, high-performing and more clever than their executive in various respects. And with finer Pittsburgh accents than Zachary Quinto can manage.

        The program is just so unfortunately named, in light of machine politics. It should be called “Learn What Your Workers Do” or “Learn How To Work.”

      6. Brian Tucker-Hill

        Except Peduto is not “my guy”.

        I’m “shrugging” because this is a dumb battle to pick. It was a nice moment for Pittsburgh, and there are no long term policy implications of Peduto’s participation. So I see this as a Fox News-ification of local politics–it is all about manufactured outrage with no real substance. And that ultimately benefits no one (not even the people who think Fox News is their ally).

        I care about the Point Park issue because that is an actual real policy issue where Peduto’s decisions make a meaningful difference. I also care about the US Steel project in the Lower Hill for the same reason. For that matter, I recognize that the UPMC issue is a real issue–I don’t think the City was obviously wrong to drop the lawsuit, but it is certainly something worth talking about, and the issue is worth continuing to talk about because it is not yet resolved.

        But Undercover Boss? That’s just a waste of time and effort.

        “The URA should not be funding projects opaquely, I hope we can agree. ”

        The URA isn’t providing any funding. I see no problem with them acting as the agent which collects the money and then distributes it, and indeed that is preferable to most alternatives precisely because they will be more transparent.

        To be clear, I have no problem with the fact people were asking questions about the money in late December and early January, when there really was a lack of clarity about what was happening. But by late January we had answers to all the important questions. So that should have been that.

      7. Anonymous

        BTH, I’m glad you’ve found closure on the Undercover Boss issue – but that doesn’t mean everyone has, not by a long shot. The URA was indeed involved with the gifts. The authority put up the money for the gifts, and then they went about raising the funds afterwards. It’s not supposed to work that way – again, it’s not a piggy bank. When pressed, they redoubled the fundraising effort, and hid behind Right to Know. By Peduto’s own telling, when it was clear that disclosure was necessary, at least one donor backed out, and back to the fundraising they went. The fact is – they spent this money without having raised it first, and the money came from the URA. It doesn’t really matter that by January they had another donor list – because there simply isn’t enough transparency around this whole affair. We don’t really know anything about the flows of money – have the employees been given the gifts yet? Has the money been replaced by the URA yet? Sorry – once the URA got involved in this, a certain level of disclosure was needed, and that hasn’t happened. Folks like you are confident that all is in order…but there is nothing to prove that it is. You keep suggesting that this is not a big deal – which further establishes that you basically don’t understand the fundamental ethical issue. You don’t shoulder aside ethics and accountability because, hey, it’s reality TV! This is not what our public servants are supposed to use the URA and other authorities and agencies for.

      8. Anonymous

        “The URA isn’t providing any funding. I see no problem with them acting as the agent which collects the money and then distributes it, and indeed that is preferable to most alternatives precisely because they will be more transparent.”

        This is flat-out rotten! The URA put up the money. They distributed the money first, before it was collected. And when they were asked for the donor list, they hid behind Right to Know! There is nothing “more transparent” about running this through the URA – that contention is just odoriferous.

      9. Brian Tucker-Hill

        “Folks like you are confident that all is in order…but there is nothing to prove that it is.”

        Well, there you go. That is the Kenyan Birth/Benghazi attitude in a nutshell–you can never definitively prove that “all is in order” about anything, because there are always more scenarios people can imagine, baseless questions they can ask (and forget when answered), and so on. But once the serious, well-founded questions have all been answered, most people move on, and you are left with just a handful of people still clinging to the hope of a devastating scandal talking just amongst themselves.

        “The fact is – they spent this money without having raised it first, and the money came from the URA.”

        I don’t think that is a fact at all. What makes you think that all the announced gifts were disbursed prior to donations coming in, and that those disbursements came from an unfunded URA account?

        Again, people clinging to the hope that an actual scandal will materialize will frequently make up facts, but it just further alienates anyone who is not already in that camp.

        “The URA put up the money. They distributed the money first, before it was collected.”

        Again, why do you think this is true?

        But of course even if all this was true, so what? At most the issue would be whether the URA was properly paid interest on what would amount to a short-term loan.

        I get you (singular or plural–I can’t tell) are still convinced that there is political paydirt here somewhere, and so you won’t stop digging. But you have manifestly lost all perspective on what issues actually really matter to people, which is why my point was and remains that the attempt to manufacture a scandal out of this episode is self-defeating.

      10. Jerry

        Anon, would you agree that both Wagner and Lamb are sufficiently independent of Team Peduto that, if there is something here that seems untoward, they will investigate it and determine if there was actual wrongdoing? Maybe you should let them do their job instead of having a coronary in the comment section of a blog not associated with the mayor.

  17. Anonymous

    Good point – the money spent to support Flaherty and Rudiak would have been better spent on Undercover Boss gifts.

  18. Anonymous

    So what exactly has the Mayor done to get UPMC to contribute anything at all after dropping the lawsuit? Did anything come of that one meeting with Romoff? Will UPMC money be factored into the City’s 2016 operating budget? Is he getting a pass from the media on an issue that’s been huge in this city for a long time, and gets bigger all the time?

    I guess sometimes once people reach their own opinions as to the answers to these questions, they start to wonder why. Even if there’s no evidence of any particular reason, it’s still natural to wonder why. This doesn’t make a curious citizen into a tinfoil hat Benghazi truther.

  19. sean

    I read the comets endorsement of my wifes opponet mr Connoley, Both Mr Fitzgearald and Mr Peduto donated large amonts of money to a part time county council seat Mr fitzgearald donated $19,500.00 and Mr Peduto donated $1000.00, I think they were clearly working hard to get a person on county council that would just go along with them when it is all said and done why else would some one spend nearly a 100,000 dollars on a part time race (better jobs better future) donated the rest. I think the voters are to smart for that. We only raised about $8000.00 and won because the voters are fed up, my wife is the most kind hearted sincere people you will ever meet and truly has whats best for her district in mind, not what’s best for fitzdeuto.

    1. Bram R Post author

      Thanks for chiming in. The math would indicate that F was working 20x as hard as P, but clearly there is a sentiment out there against political teams and yes-persons, and it’s easier to make a case when an individual puts themselves out there for it like Fitzgerald did. Congratulations on the victory, that wasn’t the easiest race for me to call, and I’m certainly looking forward to the new County Council.

    2. Anonymous

      Sean, don’t you get it? She isn’t part of the new Pittsburgh. That means she isn’t entitled to win. The Fitzdeduto team is entitled to win because they are the smarter and more qualified and better candidates. That is, until they aren’t, then they are supposed to win because they are more populist. The message keeps changes i can’t keep up with what we are supposed to look for.

      1. Bram R Post author

        I don’t see where you get your resentments… “entitled to win”, sheesh. If you’re going to manufacture a gibberish case about “elitism” to discredit all the progressive voters standing between you and power, learn from the master.

  20. 31Forever

    I just wanted to make one last comment, and then we can leave this thread to lay fallow and wither on the ground.

    You’ll notice that I haven’t been contributing to the “Peduto’s illegal machinations” meme vis-a-vis the “Undercover Boss” thing because, well, frankly, I don’t see any sort of illegal behaviour here. At all. My entire issue rested the fact that this was the kind of buddy-buddy chumming up that Peduto was so eager to decry during his campaign; yet once he’s in the same position, he’s doing the same damn things, and everyone wants to talk about how wonderful it is.

    Anti-hypocrisy, not pro-indictment.

    May this thread rest in peace. Hopefully

    1. Anonymous

      When the City and/or URA leans on vendors and developers with business to make donations to the Mayor, the Mayor’s pet projects or the Mayor’s favored candidates, that is illegal. If that happened, it is illegal. Why people aren’t asking more questions is another story.


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