Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I believe that's pronounced "quiche"

Well, just a quick post. So City Council and the Mayor have made public their disagreements, more or less. Council is looking at implementing elements of the Act 47 five year plan now, even as the clock is running out. The new Council persons – Burgess, Kraus and Dowd – might be trying to fulfill some of their campaign promises. Jim Motznik seemingly makes no secret of his plan to punish his fellow council members (and himself), with a resolution that alternately praises past and current Mayors for exceeding the parameters of the Act 47 plan and then expresses puzzlement that Council is referencing Act 47 in some current legislation (and goes on to reduce the funding for Council staff, and transfer it to public safety equipment).

My sympathies are with the newer members of Council. It is hard to fault attempts to reduce expenses in the city’s budget. That said, it is true, as some blog commenters have noted that the Council is now distracted by this issue, away from crime or potholes or other issues. I’m not sure what daily Council attention to crime would achieve, unless they have some ideas to share with the police on how to prevent or solve crimes (talk about micromanaging the city’s operations).

There is a meeting of the State’s Economic Development people here on April 8th. It was called for by Council, to see if the city could exit distressed status. Personally I would like to see another five year plan, this one addressing the issues of the city’s under-funded pensions and the city’s long term debt, instead of an exit. Here’s hoping someone has the courage to stand up and say something.


Char said...

You know, all of these little squabbles actually cut to the heart of the matter and to the most important problem this city faces......

Are we going to be governed by the rule of law? By a set of laws which are fair, equitable and allow equal opportunity for all to achieve commensurate with their abilities?

Or are we going to be ruled by a dictator who abides by no laws because those are made for the serfs he rules?

Or an impotent front man for a group of corrupt, smoke-filled-backroom powerbrokers who comport themselves like the mob. Complete with "selective enforcement" of the law, treats and perks for themselves and their cronies, threats and reprisals for their political enemies?

THAT is the central problem at hand. No amount of "Most Livable City" PR crap, attendance at economic stimulus conventions, trips to Europe to drum up business, begging from the state, begging from the federal government ...... will make any difference at all unless the city returns to some lawful form of democracy.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Ed, I don't know about daily attention, but I am told there is a crime plan in the pipeline. It is broad-based, both politically and in scope. If this tumultuousness endangers that project that will be unfortunate, but all indications are that everybody wants to give this a chance to succeed.

Char, is it me, or is this burning issue of law-based governance to a precise, pattently obvious point in history?

EdHeath said...

Char, I'm not sure the (Allegheny County) Democratic Committee shares your views. I think they feel they have put the time in, and deserve some spoils. And I believe the Ravenstahl administration feels it needs to reward campaign donors with what money there is left in this city. That whole business about Kunka and then Motznik saying that the five year Act 47 plan is a roadmap, not a law. It's just incredible. My fear is that Dennis Yablonsky is cut from the same cloth, and will recommend to Fast Eddie that we be allowed to exit Act 47.

Bram, I'm sure you've seen the comments (on the Burgh report) about how Council is wasting everyone's time, and not dealing with the important issues. So it is heartening to hear that there is a crime bill coming. Too bad you can't tell one anonymous from another, or we could say "told you so" (or something).

Bram Reichbaum said...

I don't know about "bill" I said plan.