Monday, October 29, 2007

Two stories today ...

There were two stories today that point to a level of disarray in the Ravenstahl administration that ought to be cause for concern. The first, from the Post-Gazette concerns William Rogers and Zora Mae Stone, who have both contacted the city with issues. His concern the length of time it is taking for approvals for his development, hers are with the trucks and construction of this development near her home. He started this development in 2001, according to the story. It mentions how several departments demanded changes in his plans. He submitted a second application for a second phase of development in 2005 (which apparently got lost in the system). He resubmitted in November 2006, and has been waiting ever since, but still working on his development. Now, we have heard the Mayor say, in the debates, he has (already) streamlined the process for building applications. Apparently the building inspection office has not heard of it. Neither has the building inspection department heard the repeated complaints from people living near the construction site to the 311 line, until the story was being written. That’s six years that the city administration did not communicate internally. This is all from the paper, so if y’all want to dispute it, talk to Rich Lord. And we are all aware the Mayor inherited a distressed city and understaffed government. But the point is that in some respects it appears he has made no progress in the problems of city government. For example, his 311 line is of no use if it doesn’t pass the issue to the right department.

The second story is a profile of Nate Harper in the Pittsburgh-Trib. Now, I don’t know what to make of Nate Harper, but a lot of police seem to want to be on the record about what a good chief he is. On the other hand, the chief seemed to dismiss the concerns of a subordinate when she complained about the Mayor’s use of a Homeland Security SUV. Maybe the Mayor has a temper about such things or something. Anyway, the important thing about the story is that Harper reports he and the Mayor hardly ever meet. This seems like a big problem. We know it lead to the police promotion issue and possibly the SUV issue. The Mayor knows gang-related violence is up in some neighborhoods. Doesn’t he want to know what is going on, doen't he want progress reports or doen't he care?

Taken together, these two stories point to a city government that is not communicating internally, and thus not serving the people of Pittsburgh as well as it could.

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