Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Open Letter To City Council

The Pittsburgh Partial Promise, With Strings Attached

I hate to laugh, but I just can't help it. But before I indulge myself in a bevy of "I told you so's", let me offer you a suggestion: YOU GUYS turn the "Pittsburgh Promise" into the "Pittsburgh Guarantee". UPMC has $10 million a year to spare for the next 10 years with $1.5 million either going to the city or going toward the Promise? Fine. In fact, that is very generous of them. So tell them and that wonderful mayor of ours to re-do the photo-op press conference but this time they need to celebrate the WHOLE truth. This time conduct themselves as honorable men doing a good thing for Pittsburgh instead of shell-game hucksters trying to reap $100 million dollars worth of political capital without having to actually pay that $100 million.

YOU TELL THEM thank you for their "gift" to the Promise of $85 million over 10 years. Because that is what it is. And then at the same time YOU TELL THEM you'd like to firm up their payments in lieu of taxes for a longer period since they appear to have $1.5 million in spare change for the next ten years. Pittsburgh's operating budget would benefit greatly by a 10-yr guarantee instead of having to go begging to them every couple of years. That brings their 10-yr "Guarantee" to $85 million for the Promise and $15 million to the city.

Period. End of story. End of drama.

My laughter? It's due to Luke sticking it to you again. Luke who was one of you and who howled when "the administration" was absent when HE wanted to question them during the Act 47 fracas. Luke who wailed further each time "the administration" shoved last minute legislation in your faces, expecting you guys to just give it the rubber stamp. Now that he's "the administration", he operates in exactly the same way. All the while proclaiming to be "fresh government". Now THAT is funny.

How does it feel having "one of your own" treat you worse than hired help? He is being heralded as the $100 Million Dollar Hero and has set you guys up as fall guys if you don't jeopardize the city's finances to pay for HIS coup. So now it's your fault if the city goes into the red and it's also your fault if the poor kids don't get to go to college. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And very, very funny also.

Tonya, word on the street and the blogs is you are supporting Luke because he's promised to wrest the council presidency from Doug and put the fix in for you. And apparently Luke's repeated disrespectful and shameful treatment of the folks on the Hill, YOUR CONSTITUENTS, is fine by you just as long as you get to be Council Prez. Besides, the woman Luke walked out on, MID-SENTENCE with cameras rolling, is one of your political adversaries. So no harm done, right? But is it okay that he's now scammed you by setting you up to be the fall guy here? Think he won't scam you over and over again if and when you are Prez?

Darlene, you okay with all of this? I don't know if Luke has promised you anything to buy your loyalty. If he has, I'd think twice. Luke has a tendency of picking the pockets of those he owes to pay them what he has promised. He'll pick your pocket for budget monies, political capital, or both. So get ready to give, give often and give a lot.

Doug …… You already know everything I am about to say. Do I really have to say it? You, who have "given" the most for Luke's benefit and not-so-coincidentally have been burned the most by him and the Party. Aside from Peduto, of course. Peduto who doesn't count for anything because he doesn't drink The Party Kool-Aid that's passed around and therefore is not really "one of the gang" anyway.

But Doug, have you forgotten? Luke & Motznik couldn't even wait for O'Connor to actually die before they roamed the halls lobbying for power. Luke ripped the O'Connor mantle right off your shoulders, not even leaving you enough to win your controller bid. He needlessly butted heads with you over invoice review thresholds during the Carlisle debacle. Why? Who knows. Maybe just to let you know who was in charge.

Now he's robbing Peter (city coffers) to pay Paul (his political image/capital), unconcerned with any budget divots he's left behind on the golf course. All the while standing shoulder to shoulder with the unions, grinning ear to ear, calling for an end to Act 47.

And you accommodate this "man", Doug? You continue to play his game on "his team"?

Oops, I've rambled too long. I started out laughing but the laughs are now gone. I should have quit before the point of remembering how pathetic our local government is. How the quest for individual political power trumps everything. How backroom deals and scams are the standard faire of the day. How spin and the relentless pursuit of political capital can even sour an $85 million "gift".

Maybe as you guys recess for Christmas each of you can quietly contemplate your own contribution to our local state of affairs. If you ponder the wisdom of not "looking a gift horse in the mouth", maybe you can also find time to consider just when, if ever, the end does justify the means.


Bram Reichbaum said...

"Tonya, word on the street and the blogs is you are supporting Luke because he's promised to wrest the council presidency from Doug and put the fix in for you."

That may be word on the street, but I for one would not put it like that.

I think Luke and Tonya see eye-to-eye on a variety of issues. It would only be natural and efficient for Luke to want Tonya for Council Prez.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait till this promise fund is raided, borrowed from and turned into another pension fund. Need a new police car anyone?