The Burgh Report reports a fact finding trip by the County Executive and the Mayor to Louisville to look at an example of a relatively successful city-county merger (http://burghreport.blogspot.com/2007/07/pre-coffee-thoughts.html), among other things. The actual story is here: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_517492.html. I like how the Trib called the Mayor's office and got a "no comment"; I think at this point the Trib is just playing with the Mayor's office. And the obligatory snarky remark: how are the links in Louisville? What's Nordenberg's handicap?
I myself have long thought a city county merger would be a great idea. Sure, the city would save money, but I think of all those little towns which would save a huge amount of money. The policing, fire and ambulance duties would be more complicated, but I see no reason the city fire trucks would have to stop at the city limits. Admittedly sending city fire trucks to Cheswick would leave them out of place for Lawrenceville, but some arrangement could be made. And the Pittsburgh school district could have another name change and become the Allegheny district.
I think the depth of the city’s problems call for a solution like this. I fact, I think the city’s coming near bankruptcy will force some changes, the only question being what sort of changes. A merger would be like a controlled landing. It is clearly not in the county’s interest to have a bankrupt city in its center. But the question of what sort of government would exist remains a problem. I don’t know Louisville’s history, and I guess it would be worth finding out.
Meanwhile, the fact the Mayor golfed with the County Executive at the Mario charity event and is now in Louisville with Onorato gives lie to the line in Fineman’s Newsweek piece about the Mayor’s Office being in a “constant tussle” with Onorato (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19096133/site/newsweek/page/0/). And final snarky thought, rather than be in town to face the fallout from Friday’s Ethics Board meeting, the Mayor has turned around from his Mexican Vacation and got out of Dodge.