Three major stories.
1. Wednesday’s meeting of the ICA is set to be held in Pgh. City Council Chambers, and be pretty hairy.
One of Pittsburgh’s state oversight boards is demanding that city officials explain this week why they haven’t implemented a financial management system that was supposed to be in place by the end of last year. (Trib, Bill Vidonic)
We’ve been waiting on the purchase and implementation of this transparent, unified financial software longer it seems than we’ve been waiting on road and bridge funding. Only natural to begin assuming: maybe it’s the transparency and unification that is being resisted by the administration. That’s at least what the ICA is getting at in referencing its own “ongoing forensic invistigation” of the Harper affair (see also P-G Early Returns).
A disquieting thought, moving into…
2. InvestigatePGH has taken a new turn towards the Urban Redevelopment Authority
Though the process outlined in the requests called for a vote of the URA board before any lease award, and set maximum rental payments as the first goal, neither occurred. Instead, in June  the URA staff, then led by Rob Stephany, picked the winners [incl. William Penn Parking] based on other considerations in consultation with Mr. Zober. (P-G, Lord & Balingit)
At the times this parking lease RFP was conceived, issued and the bids first reviewed, Pat “Patrick” Ford was the director of the URA under Zober and Ravenstahl. At that same period, during the height of the billboard scandal which led to his fiery resignation, Ford pointedly demonstrated to City Council that he keeps “copious” notes on every meeting, every interaction, every phone call he takes a part in.
“The mayor directed Pat to issue the [request for proposals] at issue,” Lawrence Fisher, Mr. Ford’s attorney, told the Post-Gazette on Aug. 26. (P-G 9/08/08)
If federal investigators have any questions, Ford’s own records would surely fill in a more complete picture of how these contracts came to be, and how many other things dated to that time period came to be. Of course today he has business interests which may make a seamy spectacle undesirable.
My own notes on the supercharged five-hour Council meeting in which Ford brandished his notes can be found here:
Looking back, the first lesson I take is that Pittsburgh city government was shamelessly and brazenly evasive about subverting all manner of rules back then, making the flimsiest of excuses and most arrogant of appeals against submitting to them — back when the Ravenstahl administration was still essentially unscathed, and its execution duly entrusted to Housing Authority chairman, Parking Authority chairman and URA executive director Pat Ford in spring of 2008.
The second lesson I take is, Pat Ford took copious notes on his every interaction. This parking lease with Mr. Gigliotti’s company would be reflected in them.
3. On the North Side, long-simmering tensions are boiling over in advance of a community development vote.
Proponents said expanding the historic district would raise property values and prevent developers from destroying historic homes. Detractors said it would force out low-income residents who can’t afford home improvements to meet the historic district code.
I think they should expand it. Owners should take care of their properties, said Eliza Carey, 77, who has lived in the neighborhood for 57 years. Her home on Jacksonia Street is in the proposed expanded zone.
It will keep the property values up. I’m having problems with a Section 8 mess around me, she said. (Trib, Bobby Kerlik)
If this is what proponents sound like, I’m not surprised there is so much organized opposition. See also P-G.