Friday, February 29, 2008

Let The Games Begin .....


FOR RELEASE: IMMEDIATELY
CONTACT: COUNCILMAN BRUCE A. KRAUS, 412-255-2130
SUBJECT: GRANT STREET TRANSPORTATION CENTER SIGNAGE

COUNCILMAN BRUCE A. KRAUS ASKS MAYOR TO RESCIND APPROVAL

Voices Concerns About Process and Absence of Public Scrutiny

Pittsburgh, February 29, 2008….City Councilman Bruce A. Kraus announced today that he will introduce a resolution on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, asking Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to rescind the LED sign zoning approval granted to Lamar Advertising for the Grant Street Transportation Center. The approval was granted without being brought before the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board, or City Council.

The no-bid agreement was the subject of a lengthy special meeting this week during which Council Members questioned Planning Director Noor Ismail, Zoning Administrator Susan Tymoczko, City Solicitor George Specter, URA Director Pat Ford, and Pittsburgh Parking Authority head David Onorato.

“Though Council had the opportunity to engage in an extensive review of the events leading up to the deal with Lamar, there are just too many significant questions that remain unanswered,” said Kraus. “Council needs to understand whether the intent of the law was followed and how the absence of proper process excluded any possibility of public input or scrutiny.”

The Councilman is also asking David Onorato, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, to rescind or invalidate the lease agreement. “A lease agreement has the potential to provide significant revenue to the city,” said Kraus. “However, just like the zoning matter, the lease did not receive Board Action.”

Kraus notes that City Council recently joined in signing a pledge with the Mayor and Controller’s Office that is to improve governance in Pittsburgh. “It is critical that we adhere to that pledge,” said Kraus. “Whenever public property and public funds are involved, it is incumbent upon elected officials to assure our citizens that their government is working in their best interest.”

(Will Of Council Below)

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WHEREAS, following a recent fact finding meeting held by City Council on the issue of an LED Sign for the new Transportation Center, City Council believes the Zoning Department, in consultation with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, acted in error regarding its interpretation of the language and regulations contained in the Pittsburgh Code; and

WHEREAS, while language is often subject to legal interpretation, it is clear that the authors of the Home Rule Charter and the Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances clearly intended to ensure that the right of the people to participate in major decisions, particularly land use matters, was the foundation for the very existence of the Regulations; and

WHEREAS, given the current controversy over the zoning process, and the fact that the Mayor and all Members of City Council recently signed a formal pledge that prioritized “excellence in service, increased access to and confidence in all City services by ensuring equity for all Pittsburghers;” and also committed to “improve the quality of life for future generations by identifying current land use opportunities and challenges facing the City” and “ensure the ethical operation of the offices,” it is only appropriate that the matter of the LED Sign be rescinded at this juncture.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh hereby requests that the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh direct the City Zoning Administrator to take the necessary steps to rescind the current permit issued to Lamar Advertising for approval of an LED Sign on the Transportation Center, and direct that a new application be filed and processed under the guidelines of a Conditional Use Application as outlined in the City Code; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh also requests that the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority rescind the Lease Agreement between Lamar Advertising and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.



SPONSORED BY COUNCILMAN BRUCE A. KRAUS

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

the return of the jedi!

Bram Reichbaum said...

Kraus seems like the logical choice.

Mark Rauterkus said...

So, Kraus wants to micro-manage the Parking Authority.

Who on council is on the Parking Authority Board?

The real stand should be to OUTLAW ALL NO BID CONTRACTS. Start with this one -- but don't end with that one.

Then, the next step is to NUKE all authorities. The Parking Authority should go away. Liquidate it. Sell off the assets. Make a "parking department" -- and be done with them all.

It will take some time, but that is where I want them and Kraus to go.

Anonymous said...

Dear Councilman Kraus'

I thank you for watching our backs.

I'm glad to see another councilman speak up. Great job, keep up the good work.
Got my vote.

Anonymous said...

OK LET'S SEE

No bid contract to lease the not-a-sign by the parking authority which did not vote on this. Why? because Pat Ford says the sign is "free."

Chair of the Parking Authority Board: Pat Ford

Planning Department gives administrative approval of the not-a sign, violating the city's zoning code which requires a Conditional Use Exception process (requires approval of Planning Commission and City Council). Planning Dept "advised that this is 'okle dokle'" (see Myron Cope) by:

Zoning "Expert" and Supreme Adminsitrator & note taker Pat Ford

Oversisight of Planning Dept. given by Luke Ravenstahal to:

URA Executive Director Pat Ford


Lamar enjoys a "special" relationship with mayor. 10's of thousands in cash contributions to Luke as well as in-kind donations with billboards with Lukes face plastered all over it. Lamar Lobbyist Jim Valasich is buds with Ford and Mayor Luke.

Housing Authority spending questioned by former employee.

Chair of the Board at Housing Authority: Pat Ford


Wylie Properties, owned by convicted federal felon Edelstein, gets Pat Ford to "tell" former Building Inspection Chief Ron Graziano to break building code requirements for Edelstein. Pat Ford calls Edelstein his best friend.

SEE PG http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07273/821704-53.stm "The file indicates that in late March or early April of 2006, Wylie executive Joseph Edelstein met with Mr. Ford and Ron Graziano, the chief of the Bureau of Building Inspection until he was dismissed by Mr. Ravenstahl earlier this month. Mr. Edelstein has become a controversial developer because of his receipt of URA facade renovation subsidies despite a 1998 guilty plea for health insurance fraud.

"Is Joe a friend? Absolutely," Mr. Ford said. "He's one of my best friends. Do I treat him any differently? Absolutely not." He said he did not know the details of the fraud plea.

On April 2, 2006, Mr. Ford e-mailed Mr. Graziano asking that he consider the structure as two buildings, eliminating the need for sprinklers. "Regarding the city's liability," Mr. Ford wrote, "the city can require that adequate fire protection be maintained between the [two] buildings."

Chief Graziano was fired.



Now we know who is running the city: Pat Ford.

Anonymous said...

This mayor Lukey stuff reminds me of Pinocchio. Pat Ford as the Sly Fox: "Come on Pinnocchio, you don't need to go to school. Come with me and we can goof off."

Char said...

Tuesday 10am council session will be very, very interesting. Lets see who votes for/against the Kraus resolution. And most importantly (for entertainment reasons if nothing else) ..... Lets enjoy their stated reasons for their vote.

Motznik will undoubtedly hurl curse words. Payne will spew a long stream of malaprops.

Will qualify as Must See TV.

Bram Reichbaum said...

"I DON'T THINK IT'S RIGHT FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS TO COME IN HERE MAKING ALL KINDS OF STATEMENTS AND ASKING QUESTIONS AND MAKING ACCUSATIONS AND BEING POLITICAL. I DON'T THINK ITS RIGHT OF YOU TO GET POLITICAL AND NOT DO EXACTLY WHAT THE MAYOR TELLS YOU IS RIGHT."