Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mr. Bodack's data is back on the city website...

So I got a comment this morning on yesterday’s post, that councilman Bodack’s spending information is back on the city council website. And so it is. I’m not sure I buy the idea that its absence was caused by maintenance issues, but the councilman could very have pulled it while he audited his own office. That would have been a prudent thing to do. In any event, the information on the council website matches the information sent by the Dowd campaign *except* the council website information is yearly summaries only. The information from the Dowd campaign is broken down to individual amounts with dates attached, probably at the invoice level.

I have thought about this and decided *not* to post the information sent by the Dowd campaign. The two sets of data do match, but I have no way to verify the breakdowns. And frankly, I’m not sure I should try to verify the breakdowns sent by the Dowd campaign. I ‘m fairly sure some other enterprising soul round the Burghosphere will not be as conservative as me in this regard, so I suspect I am depriving no one.

The spending information being there is another step by Mr. Bodack in answering the Dowd campaign’s request for information. I'm sure it’s not enough for the Dowd Campaign, but it advances the discussion.

Meanwhile, I notice the DowdforPittsburgh website lags a bit behind the latest campaign emails. There's no reason I can see to deprive people not on the Dowd Campaign email list of their latest ideas, so I am going to take the liberty of posting one, on transit/transportation issues:

Transportation Proposals
By Patrick Dowd
Candidate, Pittsburgh City Council District 7
Monday, April 30, 2007

As you ride down Butler St. , Penn Avenue or Negley Avenue in your car, on your bike, or on the bus, you can feel the bumps and potholes. These bumps are the result of dwindling resources and infrastructure investment decisions being made to the detriment of our communities.

While recent attention is being given to Port Authority’s issues, they are only part of the story. Pennsylvania is also battling a crumbling road and bridge system that, when coupled with our mass transit system, calls for us to do business a different way. As we embark on fixing our system of mass transit we also need to change how we invest in our other modes of transportation whether it is highways, avenues, streets, bridges, or trails. Our transportation system creates the link between our communities. Our investment practices should do the same.

As you know, a transportation network is an integral part of any community. Ensuring that you can travel to and from the places where we live, work and play is an important part of all of our lives. Having a variety of transportation options available to us makes our communities more livable, economical and environmentally sound. We need to ensure that we can create this necessary connectivity by using our transportation resources wisely. This is why we need to create a transportation vision for Council District 7. To do so, I’d like to begin this conversation by proposing four principles.

1. First, we need to align transportation investments with community investments.
The district is seeing new growth and development. Where these opportunities are arising, we need to make sure that they support our communities and enhance our quality of place.

2. Second, we need to ensure that we fix our existing infrastructure first.
Before new roads get built, we must make sure that we take care of what we have first. New roads mean new potholes in addition to the ones we already have. Being responsible with our money means taking care of our current assets.

3. Third, we must design of a transportation system that meets the needs of our communities.

This includes:
A mass transit system that encourages development around transit stops and services populations that will maximize system efficiency

An Access and Para Transit network that creates opportunity for seniors and persons with disabilities

A Bike and Trail network that creates a safe alternative to the automobile

Road and Bridge Improvements that enhance economic development, reduces wear and tear on our cars and improves safety and efficiency

4. Fourth, we create a dedicated and increasing source of funds to support mass transit.

Investing in transit is an investment in our future. Successful regions around the country are making prudent use of Mass transit. People are locating near transit to provide themselves with this choice. Transit needs to be a choice in our district.

Policy Proposals:

Community Planning and Prioritization
We will work with the Community organizations, Department of City Planning, Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Department of Public Works to create the Pittsburgh Principles for Growth and Development. A community engagement and planning process that will help determine criteria for project prioritization, multi-neighborhood cooperation and the efficient allocation of resources.

Transportation Town Halls
We will work with transportation agencies, advocates, operators and planners to engage residents and begin the discussion to create a transportation vision for District 7.

Engage in the Regional Discussion
Transportation decisions go through a series of hoops. From the federal government to the state, to the metropolitan planning agency, to the municipality transportation resources move at a similar pace to the slow leak in your faucet. We will bring each level of the transportation discussion to District 7, keeping you aware of how your tax dollars are being spent.

Other issues for consideration:
· Support for the use of environmentally friendly busses
· Encourage and enhance bike safety and trail linkages
· Improve taxi-service
· Keeping bus stops clean and safe

Our City Council needs to play a bigger role in SPC discussions to make sure that projects inside the district are in line to get funding. That means advocacy, engaging with surrounding communities. We must align our transportation investments with community investments.

Our current representation isn’t thinking about how to connect our infrastructure with surrounding communities. Take for example the Enterprise Zone that runs from Millvale up to Aspinwall. How does that zone connect with Lawrenceville? Municipalities on the other side of the river are thinking about how to maximize this enterprise zone. 40th St is the lynchpin for the City to these communities.

We must engage in discussions with City Planning, the URA, and Community Organizations to get all stakeholders focused on this issue. There is more potential dedicated funding for this issue than anything else. If we aren’t spending our transportation dollars wisely, we can’t responsibly spend other public dollars.


Helpful Resources
Transportation Funding and Reform Commission

American Society of Civil Engineers ( Pennsylvania Report Card)

Pennsylvania Economy League (Investing in Transportation)


Larryville Heights said...

The whole line item about district office interests me. It seems like an accounting nightmare being that there is his office, Lawrenceville United's office, the Bodack campaign headquarters, and from what I have heard Senior has some direct mailing business up there too (that was years ago I heard that). The one thing I can say is that I'd be very upset to learn that taxpayer paid heat is also heating the campaign headquarters.
As ridiculous as my arguement sounds, these people obviously don't even understand that the appearence of conflict of interests is as bad as crossing the line.

EdHeath said...

Yeah, there's no charge for rent? Do we want a Councilman accepting a gift of that magnitude? Granted, he is accepting it from his father, a long time and respected politician. On the other hand, his Dad ought to know better than to present his son with a conflict of interest.

It would be better if the "mileage" line was instead rent for the district office. That would make more sense. Maybe that is just an error in entry.