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Not only is today Primary Election day in Pennsylvania, for me it is also moving day. As of last week I officially became a homeowner (so long as I pay my mortgage on time, mind you). So, it is a busy day for me indeed. I am still voting, however - and you should too. I recommend Smart Voter for finding your local ballot.

On my local ballot, I recommend the following votes:

Mayor of Pittsburgh

Bill Peduto for Mayor

Pittsburgh City Council - District 4

Natalia Rudiak for City Council District 4

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It would be that time of the year again: the second Tuesday of November, this time the 8th, Election Day (though some districts are having elections on the 15th). Check your local district to see what your polling choices are. Meanwhile here are my local (Western Pennsylvania) endorsements:

Allegheny County Executive

Rich Fitzgerald for Allegheny County Executive

Allegheny County Controller

Chelsa Wagner for Allegheny County Controller

Vote "YES" for the Library

Vote YES for the Library

On the G20

Sep. 25th, 2009 12:00 pm
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One would hope that this is the final day of madness. I've been home all week long, going ever-so-slightly stir-crazy with no set routine to keep my brain in order. Like many businesses in downtown Pittsburgh, upper management at my place of employment decided that it was better to let the majority of employees stay home for the week rather than try and maintain normal operations during the G20 Summit. I'm happy about that, as downtown has been fortified while world leaders play pinball with the future of the economy.

Read more... )
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I'm not sure how I feel about this. I am generally for development, with the exception of cul-de-sacs filled with McMansions, however, I like my neighbourhood's business district as it is. From the Post-Gazette:

A public hearing conducted by Mt. Lebanon commissioners last night provided details for a proposed boutique hotel on Washington Road.

The 12,600-square foot parcel is a parking lot but developer Kratsa Properties of Harmar is promising a seven-story SpringHill Suites by Marriott that will echo the architecture of major buildings surrounding it. James McMullan of architects Burt,Hill said the 108-room hotel will provide "the smallest footprint possible" at the ends of what is considered downtown Mt. Lebanon.

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Ye olde Goth/dark alternative night Ceremony will be having it's swan song tonight. I plan to attend, although my original plans of drunken debauchery haven taken a back seat to the sobering reality that parking in the garage next to Pegasus is less expensive than getting a taxi ride home. Even so, I shall be at the full five hour "extended free remix" of the night.

I won't get into the whys and wherefores of the night's demise as there are plenty of others who have or likely will do a forensic analysis, however I will note that it is a shame that it is ending with a whimper and not a bang. A twelve year run is none too shabby though and something else will pop up, though I suspect that the years of "unity" (no matter how tenuous) are very much over.

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Today's Post-Gazette has an article detailing what is going on with the Port Authority. It's not exactly uplifting:

Dec. 1 has become D-Day for the Port Authority and its bus-trolley riders.

That's when a labor contract adopted by the authority board is to be imposed upon Local 85, Amalgamated Transit Union, covering 2,200 bus-trolley workers and an associated bargaining unit covering about 100 first-level supervisors.

Dec. 1 also promises to trigger a series of events that will largely shape the future of the 44-year-old agency.

Essentially, the authority wants the union to report to work under terms of its "final and best" offer made during negotiations, one providing annual 3 percent pay raises but requiring higher employee contributions for pensions and health care.

Union leaders have claimed such a contract is illegal and would constitute a lockout. They especially don't like added provisions designed to deal with excessive absenteeism and expanding the authority's ability to contract out jobs traditionally performed by the union.

I would usually side with the union on these matters, however the Amalgamated Transit Union comes off as such a corrupt entity that I'd sooner throw the bird at picketers than offer my condolences should my ride to work be interrupted. This union is part of the reason that the Port Authority is in such dire financial straits as it is - not the sole reason, mind you, but one of many contributing factors that shouldn't have occurred in the first place.

illusionofjoy: (No Obama)

From KDKA:

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― Pittsburgh police are investigating after a volunteer for the Republican campaign says she was attacked by a mugger who became enraged after seeing a John McCain bumper sticker on her car last night.

According to police, Ashley Todd, 20, said she was robbed at an ATM at the corner of Liberty Avenue and Pearl Street in the Bloomfield area around 9 p.m. Wednesday after leaving a Republican phone bank.

Todd told police that the suspect, described only as a dark-skinned African-American man about 6'4", stole $60 from her and became enraged after seeing a bumper sticker supporting Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain on her car.

Todd, who is from Texas, said the suspect put a knife to her neck and demanded money.

Todd told police that the man became very angry after noticing the McCain sticker on her car and began punching and kicking her.

After repeatedly hitting, kicking and threatening her, Todd told police that the man carved a "B" in her cheek.

As far as I'm concerned, this is a hate crime. The fact that this poor woman was "branded" is beyond appalling. All rational people can agree with the Obama and McCain campaigns in their mutual condemnation of this reprehensible act.

Update 10/24/2008: The Post-Gazette reports that Todd has confessed to completely fabricating the story. Being the victim of a violent crime is a horrible thing, but lying about it for untenable reasons is far worse, in my opinion.

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As I was walking downtown today, I saw a car run a red light. There was no way this was a vehicle completing a move through the intersection on yellow - this was a flat-out "behind the stop line" with plenty of time to brake running of the red light. There was a police cruiser immediately behind the perpetrator. "Ah ha," thought I, "surely it is obvious that a law has been broken and the motorist who thinks he or she is too good to obey traffic signals will be punished." So, I watched, as the police car drove through the same red light, the roof lights and sirens remaining inert and both car continued through the green light at the next intersection down the street and out of sight.

This is why it does not pay to be a pedestrian.

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It was on July 2nd that I posted what would be the final infamous "countdown" entry warning people not to rent from Steiner Realty if they were planning a move to Pittsburgh. At that point, I and [ profile] joi_division had known that we'd be leaving our now former place of residence before our lease expired for a whole week. However, altering the countdown would have "spilled the beans," so to speak. Besides, it was a countdown until the lease expired, not when we were leaving anyhow.

Read more... )
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Do you know what has been turning my stomach as of late? In the race for Pittsburgh's next mayor, the local media, including local weekly alternative City Paper seems to have their collective panties wet for Republican Mark DeSantis. For some reason they seem to think that this guy will be a beacon of reform; the second coming who will save us from the bumbling of Democrat Luke Ravenstahl. I'll concede that Ravenstahl hasn't been the ideal mayor. It is his inexperience and seeming inability to learn from mistakes the first time around which trip him up. However, he is not nearly as incompetent as certain columnists (John McIntire with his vicious, vacuous and unnecessary "Mayor Opie" spiel) would have you believe.

As an aside, I'd like every member of the media who has used the phrase "Mayor Opie" to know that those of us who are the same age as the mayor don't particularly appreciate being marginalized in such a way. The voting age is 18, in case you hacks forgot that. You can make fun of all of Ravenstahl's flaws all you like (i.e.: playing fanboy to Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open), but leave age out of it; this is an irrelevant and, frankly, cheap shot.

I honestly do not know where the DeSantis love-fest is coming from. True, Pittsburgh hasn't had a Republican mayor since the Great Depression, and some people think that change would be a good thing. However, given the track record of the modern Republican party, do you really think trading one mainstream party for another is optimal? By and large, Democrats have become experts at maintaining the status quo, no longer a progressive party by virtue of the fact that they have to spend the majority of their time undoing the damage done by their Republican counterparts (who aren't so much a conservative party as a regressive party). This, of course, is contingent upon the Democrats having the backbone to stand up and do anything at all.

I can tell you what would happen if DeSantis is elected mayor, assuming that it doesn't create a permanent gridlock with the city council. The fact that he sent significant donations to Rick Santorum should raise alarms for progressives everywhere. In any case, the remaining rich will see their taxes go down, most likely at the expense of city services. I seriously doubt any politician is interested in shrinking city government (see Taxes under the issues column of DeSantis' website) and the fact that he used the draconian phrase "right-size" indicates to me that, like Dan Onorato who used it before him in reference to the Port Authority, cuts to service are more important than trimming the administrative fat.

I'm not saying that DeSantis is the devil incarnate (although that Santorum donation may very well put him in league with the devil), but I doubt that he is the change that Pittsburgh is looking for. I do not trust it when the media grips onto something and paints it as some great watershed - everyone should be asking, "what's the catch?" and "What's the real story?" The mainstream media are loathe to do such things.

I say that if Pittsburgh wants a real alternative to the political landscape of the past several decades, they should look outside of the two mainstream parties. No vote should go to the Republican party, however, ideally this would be a race between Democrat Luke Ravenstahl and Socialist Ryan Scott. Scott (who is three years younger than Ravenstahl, in case you lame columnists need any more "Opie" wank-fodder), who works in the city as a meat-packer, officially announced his candidacy at a rally on Saturday, July 14th. I'm not endorsing Scott, but I will reiterate that he is a true alternative to the status quo, should Pittsburgh want one. A Republican is not an alternative, but a major step backwards. Pittsburgh hasn't had a Republican mayor for well over half a century and it would be a shame to break that streak now. So, I say vote for either Luke Ravenstahl or Ryan Scott. Ignore the empty hype for the party George Bush and Dick Cheney are arrogant members of.


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Seth Warren

May 2017

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