Thanks to the Burgh Report, there is a link to today’s speech by Mark DeSantis. I know nothing about the link, or how the speech got there, but I linked to it because it is the only lengthy document from the DeSantis campaign so far. It strikes me as a good speech. I might have led with something specific, like giving a name to a pensioner, although it’s not clear DeSantis didn’t do that, since the speech seems to start abruptly.
Now, DeSantis is only talking about contributions to the pension shortfall. The Mayor mentioned a figure of 90 million for debt service when he was on the KD/PG Sunday thingie last week, and you can find that number on the city website, in the budget. In fact, I couldn’t find the city’s contribution to the pension plan, but I have no reason to doubt Dr. DeSantis’ number, 23 million plus 15 million currently from the state. So Dr DeSantis is only looking at adding 23 million a year to the contribution, but it is a nice symbol of a new commitment in Pittsburgh to tackle our own problems.
Consider the difference, whether we go the state legislature and say “We need money for our pension plan, we have nothing extra to contribute ourselves, because we have given our senior citizens tax relief” versus “We need some help with our pension plan, we’ve channeled all our new revenue into it, and we’ve held the line on government spending and increased efficiency where we could”. The legislature may want to help those who have at least tied to help themselves. So in fact the DeSantis strategy may be the best way to get additional help from the State.
Interestingly, the Mayor has gotten out the door with one good, new idea, the RFP for a computerized paving management plan. Of course, Bill Peduto had called for that in the spring and had been shot down by the Mayor. And we have to worry that there will be enough bidders, and the review process for RFP will be fair and unbiased. Also, what’s the county do? Any way we could share costs?
Also, there is a new program that may make the Mayor look good, the citizenobserver program. It was in today’s paper. It appears to be a way to get alerts from the cops on things that happen in your neighborhood. I can only assume there is an email address as well to send information to the cops. It had started out in the spring as a Northside thing, but now suddenly it is citywide. I signed up for it as quick as I could. Hey, who couldn’t use emailed alerts of things that the cops think are important?