Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The other shoe ...

Despite the posting date of Tuesday, it took a full day of editing to get this actually onto the blog.

I wanted to post on the KD/PG Sunday Edition of a week and two days ago, about gun control. The guy from Butler county basically said to David Shribman, if you don’t understand what’s wrong with limiting handgun sales to one a month, I can’t explain it to you. Kind of a perfect Catch 22.

But then the Mayor had to raise the specter of the Mario Invitational, which he was invited to by UPMC and the Penguins. First, the Mayor has started to say he will give no cash to CDC’s on the Hill, only buildings. Specifically he is advocating a grocery store, a community center and some kind of YMCA. But no cash. This is the old argument against providing cash to the poor, instead advocating food coupons (food stamps) and housing assistance. If you give the poor money, they will spend it on alcohol and drugs. We don’t want them to do that with our money (we can’t control what they do with their money), so we put the assistance in a form that pleases voters. Not just food assistance, specific boring food assistance (no junk food). Not just housing, specific modern projects in their neighborhoods. I guess Luke figures he has the black vote sewed up, and can afford risking pissing them off in order to pander to some of the white vote.

Second, there was this business with UPMC and the Pittsburgh Promise. The Mayor wants to count UPMC’s donation to the PP as a tax credit. Of course, since UPMC pays no property tax now, that’s actually just a smoke screen. (Actually, UPMC does apparently pay some property taxes through its affiliates, but that won’t stop as a result of this donation, so that’s not a concern) But the donation also covers payments made in lieu of taxes, the Pittsburgh Service Partnership something or other. You may remember that during the campaign the Mayor made a big deal about how necessary this fund if to balance the city’s (shaky) finances. Mark DeSantis had proposed using non-profit contributions to specifically pay down the city’s debt and pay up the City’s under funded pensions. The Mayor asked which city services would DeSantis cut, because the city needs every dollar. (Of course, the Mayor waited until after the election to buy himself a new SUV on the city’s dime) Now the city is down a million and a half dollar. Which services will you cut, Mr Mayor.

So the city will have lost a million and a half, probably each year for the next few. Bill Peduto is still offering dire warnings about the city’s finances, but he did manage to get the Ethics Board ten grand, to pay for legal fees and whatever else. I wonder if the Ethics Board will reopen the issue of the Mayor and the Mario Invitational. No quid pro quo, the Mayor said in September. No deals with UPMC or the Pens. I don’t think ten grand is going to be enough.

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