Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Laziness incarnate ...

Well, I continue to be spectacularly lazy about posting. The short reason is that the results of the election took a lot of the wind out of my sails. Not that they weren’t unexpected, but I was dismayed to see that so many of my fellow Pittsburghers were willing to place party over a good resume.

The longer reason is that I am also trying to do some of the things I wasn’t during the campaign, like get away on a weekend (and not post from the Bed and Breakfast), read books (instead of posting from the B & B) and get sick (while away at the B & B). I seem to have picked up some sort of eye (tear duct) infection, and I am not sure whether I should stay home or not. I start out fine, but as the day wears on my left eye starts tearing and then gets sore. Ah well, let’s hear it for Presenteeism.

There are lots of things out there well worth talking about, including the newly funded Pittsburgh Promise. Matt H asked where all the nay-sayers are now, and I would like to respond. I think the naysayers did not object in principle or theory to the idea of the Pittsburgh Promise. They objected to announcing an ambitious program before funding was in place. I gather someone was going to leak the news of the program and that’s why Roosevelt and Ravenstahl made the announcement, or at least that is their story. Even if that is true, how long where R & R going to sit on the PP before announcing it? The funding has come literally a year later.

And it came a month after the election. Does anyone wonder what that means? When did UPMC decide to make this donation? Was it truly after the election that they realized they had extra money and needed to do something with it? I find the timing interesting. I don’t think UPMC had some ulterior motive, like denying Ravenstahl the bump that would have come with having a funded Pittsburgh Promise. In fact, my guess is that UPMC had decided some time ago (in the summer, at the Lemiuex thing?) to make the donation, but wanted to avoid being seen as trying to influence the election.

The only thing we know for sure is that UPMC now has a bulletproof argument for avoiding any further Payments In Lieu Of Taxes, or any paying any property taxes. Of course, the state legislature could ignore those arguments and do what it wants to UPMC and Highmark, but the city and the county have lost a lot of leverage. Let’s hope it is worth it.

6 comments:

Matt H said...

"They objected to announcing an ambitious program before funding was in place"

Doesn't matter at this point does it?

Luke & Mark Roosevelt pulled off a major victory on this one.

EdHeath said...

Well, it matters in the sense that you asked where the naysayers are now.

As for the major victory, it may have a limited shelf life if we don't get some major matching donations starting next year. I really hope a group like Highmark steps forward (doesn't have to be them, but they have some excess margin too). But I won't be surprised if no one does; the not for profits and foundations have a poor record of helping the city's government.

Citizen Driven said...

It is a good thing, and regardless of what i say, i do not want to come off negative. The city schools do need help, but they are getting it as the kids are leaving the public school. It would seem a wiser choice to put more money into the school when the kids are younger and still in school. We have not fixed the city schools, we have only provided funding for getting them out of the city.
Now we can only wonder what will happen to the city finances as I do not see UPMC putting up more money after this, but I could be proven wrong.

“Allegheny Republicans”

EdHeath said...

Actually, Cit, I suppose you can say that UPMC has found a sneaky way to really help the city schools. If the parents can convince the kids this is important, that could motivate the kids to really pay attention and try to get better grades. That might be more valuable that throwing money at the school system so it can buy more books for the kids to trash.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Roosevelt has stressed on many occasions that the Pgh Promise and High School Reform are designed to pack a mean whallop TOGETHER. One fixes one end of the problem, the other the other.

I don't generally agree with that analysis. I would define the Pgh Promise as a good solution the less pressing need. And I'd define High School Reform, as conceived by the present school board, as uneven and somewhat troubling.

Not really seeing why the glow of UPMC's generosity, if you want to call it that, should rub off on High School Reform.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I was a big naysayer to the advance hype of the Pgh Promise. Now, my tune has changed. It is great.

But, the P.P. isn't high school reform.

Likewise, breaking the better middle schools (Frick & Rodgers) isn't high school reform either.