We don’t know what happened during this recent police vehicle stop in Highland Park. Sure, we can imagine a lot of different scenarios — which is what happens when you don’t personally know squat. (P-G, Moriah Balingit)
But the police department is not letting Leon Ford’s parents visit him in the hospital after having been shot in the chest — a wide-open invitation to public outrage. What is the criminal justice concern there, exactly?
There might be a legitimate case in the aggregate. But as I wind up saying to Customer Service on most occasions, “Can you put me in touch with somebody empowered to make an exception to your policy?”
Meanwhile, School District Superintendent Linda Lane is putting a brave face on an institution that seems chronically broke, has not for a long time been high-achieving, and now seems to have suffered some discouraging performance setbacks just as things were supposed to be improving.
While there are a host of challenges over which the District has only meager levels of control (including its own past mistakes and other sub-optimal practices which are apparently human nature), an undercurrent among many seems to be: “Well, what else can we do to give these kids some kind of an edge?” And that gets to the bitterly controversial idea of using what measurement data is at our disposal to attempt to manage our crucial teaching force more optimally and intentionally. Such a move would not provide an ironclad guarantee for a panacea — but it’s trying something that has a clear and scientific rationale, that is within our control, and that instinctively most parents desire.
The Pittsburgh Promise might really become the huge game-changer it was hyped to be, but if and only if our District inspired confidence. Right now it does not, and has not, and we’re a long way from it. The reasons for that are structural and systemic (including the politics of attaining proper funding). Let’s introduce something structural of our own, something that’s good news, something for which we and only we are responsible.
County Councilman Bill Robinson is suggesting that Rich Fitzgerald’s proposed 2013 county budget be increased by somewhere in the singular tenths of a percent. In return we would keep the Controller’s office staffed up (removing any unfortunate appearance of surreptitious accountability dodging and political sabotage) restore funding for our community colleges, and give a raise to an exemplary public safety official who seems to be making far less than his official responsibilities warrant. Sounds like a good, and responsibly modest deal. (P-G, Len Barcousky; Trib, Bobby Kerlik)
Veolia Water seems to be pursuing more ways to make our Water Authority more fair and efficient. (P-G, Joe Smydo) Meanwhile, the PWSA board has agreed to “performance indicators” by which we will evaluate Veolia Water itself (DowdNet, pdf). At a cursory glance, though it looks like Veolia will be very busy, it does not appear that helping to rewrite an infrastructure plan and to green-it-up is part of the contract. Maybe we can schnor it in there? Why not, we’re buddies now. Let’s schnor!
Finally, over at the Parking Authority, while it sounds like increasing revenue with new meters is moving along adroitly, Councilwoman Rudiak resigned from the board. In her resignation letter to the Mayor she cited that her term having expired a year and a half ago, “it’s time to move on.” (P-G, Joe Smydo)