Monday: It’s the Politics, Stupid.

Here it is, late summer, and there are so many weighty issues being addressed right now!

Drilling regs, policing plans and oversight, the capital budget, Hill planning and a courageous and possibly unholy concession to actual real communism, electronic billboards, storm water management — there’s even public transit, though that seems comically out of our hands. If we include genuinely contested gubernatorial and U.S. senatorial races, it’s enough to keep anyone overloaded and distracted.

Yet one thing persistently excites our imaginations beyond all else: THE PENSIONS CRISIS AND THE PARKING LEASE.

And one thing, it suddenly springs to mind, lurks squarely in that thing’s shadow: Council members Burgess, Dowd, Harris, Kraus and Shields are up for reelection in May of 2011 — that is, right around the corner from the fallout of this vote. And I guess Lamb also.

(Tangent: potential serious challengers would have to be getting their ducks in a row right about now. Know any?)

What does this mean in terms of the parking issue? It means that if there is an argument to be made that Pittsburgh ought to allow its public pensions to be taken over by the state, you won’t hear it out of Burgess, Dowd, Harris, Kraus or Shields, or possibly even from Lamb.

I think that means you can scratch it off the list entirely.

That leaves two real options: either do the deed, or borrow the $200 million plus at interest over 20 years, and raise the parking rates (or like, taxes) considerably anyway.

The Reelectables probably aren’t salivating to defend a vote to lease away parking spaces and appear responsible for rate hikes — but are they any more more excited about defending a vote that still results in a rate hike of some kind, and in new debt, and therefore a decreased ability to raise money for capital needs and withering infrastructure?

And so, the Comet has the deal’s odds at 80%

… and odds for those individuals of reelection dependent upon A) whether they voted to support it and fail to make it appear as a sufficiently inevitable and responsible “tough choice” or B) whether they voted against it and cannot fend off attacks fueled by wounded-feeling city workers, some discouraged corporate-types, and a wrathful Mayor.

10 thoughts on “Monday: It’s the Politics, Stupid.

  1. Anonymous

    Who is best prepared to deal with Unfunded Pension Liabilities (Urban Areas)!

    Letter to Editor Tribune Review

    FW: Say, it ain't so, Joe (Mistick)‏

    To: Wendy Urbanic,,,,
    Izzy Normal,,,,,
    Megan Zirkel,,,



    I take exception to stance by Op-Ed writer for the Tribune Review.

    Don't expect it to be printed. Pretty shabby pen, I now hold…

    Tuition Tax, should be resuscitated in event Parking Lease fails. The High Echelons of the Universities that objected to the Tuition Tax, raised Tuition by an average rate of 5%.

    ….as such, argument from those that raise tuition, comes with blood on hands.

    If Assholes were gold, Non-Profit Administrators….would be Fort Knox!

    Keep the faith….

    GW Zirkel (Monk)


    Subject: Say, it ain't so, Joe (Mistick)
    Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 16:38:17 -0400

    “I write in short, concerning piece Titled “Pittsburgh's passing” by Joe Sabino Mistick.

    Joe did a wonderful piece a year ago on 'Proposed legislation Concerning Urban Gardening'. Thought I was reading from Church Paper, an article by Monsignor Rice…Duquesne University.

    It was eloquent as it was humble and clearly Joe spoke of what heart knew.

    'Pittsburgh's passing'….(July 25, 2010) Bamboozled….Strange choice of word from one drunk on politics!

    The pension benefits to which he objects to were awarded due to law.

    To argue now, is to reap upon what he sowed as he was aid to Mayor Masloff.

    The administration to which he served chose the easy way out. Act 205 The Pension Recovery Act of 1986 (1988?)….

    This Act, as I hear it was amended 45 times in Harrisburg. Joe, as lawyer must have realized implications of selling soul to the devil, that is Harrisburg.

    While organized labor currently has no friend in Duquesne Law Professor, we always embraced the spirit of Monsignor Rice, of same locale..

    Maybe, non-prophets, are now taken to task.”

    Gary W. Zirkel
    Elected Employee Representative
    City of Pittsburgh Municipal Employees Pension Fund
    Board of Directors (1996-1999)

    442-1 Saline Street
    Pittsburgh Pa 15207


  2. Bram Reichbaum

    Yes, I receive an exclusive e-mail newsletter distributed by Monk which includes Wendy Urbanic, Doug Shields, Gene Collier, Rich Lord, Joe Mistick (ordinarily) and the ghost of Selena Schmidt at City Hall. I can't tell you how fun it is.

    I JUST HAD A BRAINSTORM. I think I figured out the Secret Plan to End the War. Putting it in terms of the board game Clue, I think it involves A) an attorney, B) in the Office of the Controller, C) with a fishing rod.

    No sourcing, just pure speculation.

  3. Anonymous


    You forgot,

    …Bud Light w Lime!

    Another board game, “Risk”.

    It is about fire-power…

    Heard from Alpark Terrace…individual that you met…

    Once ran for US Congress, still inquires from position alittle less elavated than mine.

    Doing Arctic Circle in 2011…lawyer, no controller other than GPS, many fishing rods….

    Good guys..STORM-CHASERS.

    Not Brainers…



  4. Anonymous

    I recall in the early discussions on council that Rev. Ricky said he will not tolerate a tax hike for his district, that the Parking Authority must be sold by the mayor. Of course, who pays to park in Homewood? He fails to consider the business districts and will throw them under the bus for his own interest instead of the well being of the whole city. Maybe we could somehow “CDBG” the whole thing up and he would be a bigger thinker!

  5. MH

    Yes, I receive an exclusive e-mail newsletter….

    But, really, as long as there are no vampires that “sparkle,” it can't be that bad.

  6. Bram Reichbaum

    Anon 4:40– From that opinion piece:

    Then, the city should either impose the taxes necessary to cover the pension deficit — letting the city reap what its elected politicians have sowed — or let the Act 47 people come in, less influenced by local commercial and political interests, and collect what is necessary from us, wherever the chips fall.

    Yeah, cuz that won't empty out the city like a bomb went off.

    Stay tuned.

  7. Anonymous

    Third, I find it difficult to imagine that a sale of Pittsburgh's parking facilities to private interests could be carried out without corruption. The transactions involved — the part we would see and the part we wouldn't see — would risk becoming one of those “we have always done it this way” Pittsburgh affairs. Campaign contributions, kickbacks or bribes could easily find their way in.

    Getting rid of Mr. Ravenstahl is not an option at the moment since he was re-elected in 2009 for a four-year term, unless he were to be indicted

    Stay tuned indeed.

  8. Anonymous

    Learned term 'Redact' from Doug Shields….while serving on Pension Board (1999). President Nixon, was mentioned….


    One of the neater things experienced today was at PPG Place

    Saw PPG Rink in winter-time, with date from Florida…

    Funny how one who wants to touch Arctic Circle: was so mesmerized by fountains of water…that is PPG place in summer.

    I was afraid if I and other worker were to splash about, with oil and grease from origins which lie in City-County Basement upon our bodies…we would cause BP to respond.

    Mayor has enough problems…without us splashing about in skives, in PPG Place. Hazmat and such…parade of Public Safety vehicles and Officials.

    And, given fine physique…barricades would be needed to fend off, overheated PPG Chicks. Public works in in Sheraden today…busy, need not call

    My friend and I saved considerable money by honoring limits of lunch hour.

    OHHHHH, how I wanted to splash about!

    Causal Friday should include free swim…

    God given right….should include more than two tadpoles, that enjoyed 'today'…

    I called Harrisburg, and requested legislation concerning Free Swim. Veon, De-Weasel…and Orie chicks, did not respond.


    gw (monk)


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