Char had a post about how Doug Shields is joining the movement to get us out from under Act 47 status. Which is interesting because it dovetails well with apost on 414 Grant Street about what the Act 47 legislation and the ICA actually do. Just to rehash building’s post a bit, Act 47 status changes the nature of binding arbitration with the police and fire unions, requiring the arbitrator to take the city’s financial status into consideration (where (s)he doesn’t without Act 47). Building describes ICA as the legislature’s eyes on the city’s finances. Now Jim Ferlo has apparently lobbied to have the ICA board removed, but our city officials such as the Mayor and now the Council President have asked to have Act 47 status rescinded. With Act 47 gone, the city would lose control over certain taxes like the parking tax, but I suppose it could just double the earned income tax or something. I tried to raise the alarm about the ICA, that it had signed off on the Mayor’s budget with its projected deficits out four years. I think it might be of benefit to the city if the ICA team went away, right now they seem to exist to encourage the Mayor to take the city down the wrong path. And if you look at Jane Orie's treatment of the Mayor when he was in Harrisburg to discuss the Parking Tax issue, you see she is only interested in controlling, if not throttling, Pittsburgh. But Act 47 status still seems to be a good thing right now. It’s like that metal bar the little cars ride at that Turnpike ride at Kennywood. We can’t stray too far off the road as long as we are in Act 47 status.
I think I might rehash the election just a bit more (Schultz, look away!). I saw the end of “Twelve Angry Men” the other day, one of my 10 or so favorite movies. I think that I, and maybe some of the other nearly 24,000 that voted for DeSantis, might have hoped the election would go something like that movie. The scenario starts with the primary, where Luke was the only choice on the democratic side, but that’s ok because he is the anointed successor to Bob O’Connor and the democrat is always the right choice for Pittsburgh, right? But maybe a few people would meet and talk to the republican, and he would talk about some ideas for dealing with the city’s fiscal problems, not ideas you would want to contemplate in normal times, but these are not normal times. And those people would get out and talk to others. And the republican would clearly spell out his ideas in the debates and even more people would wonder and think, does the democrat have plans like these? You know how the movie goes, the prosecution’s case is thrown into doubt because of quirks the witnesses had. Not dis-proven, just shaken to the point of a reasonable doubt. So too, if people had looked at the ideas Mark DeSantis presented, and then compared them to the vacuum that is Luke Ravenstahl, I think they might have been persuaded that trying something is better than doing nothing when the city is in bad shape.
As it turned out, voters had to work too hard to find out Desantis’ ideas. His sound bites on the TV news (and there were a lot of them) were inevitably about the Mayor’s latest ethical mistake, not DeSantis' policies. Policies did appear on his website, outlines of full blown ideas, but they would be replaced by new press releases and essentially disappear. And this is all besides DeSantis' only average debate performances and his late start to the campaign.
It might,... it should have been like “Twelve Angry Men”. Except that elections aren’t won by the side with the better policies. Read The Political Brain by Drew Westen.