Feb 092010
 

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snowbound in Greenfield

a typical Pittsburgh neighborhood street after the storm

Snowmageddon. Snowpocalypse. SnOMG. Whatever you call it, we knew it was coming, and we knew it would be bad.

If you ask Mayor Ravenstahl, though, he and the rest of Pittsburgh’s government aren’t to blame for the painfully slow plowing process.

“Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who left town Friday to celebrate his 30th birthday in the Laurel Highlands and got stranded there, told reporters that forecasts that morning called for 4 to 8 inches of snow. Soon after he got back in town Sunday he was at the city’s Emergency Operations Center talking — he noted pointedly — to the same people he had been talking to all weekend by computer and phone while at the Laurel Highlands.”

Technically, he’s right that the morning prediction wasn’t for a blizzard. My memory is that the prediction in the morning was 3-6″. By midday it was upped to 4-8″ (6-10″?). By the time I left work around 4PM, we were to expect 8-14″. The point isn’t what the morning prediction was, though. The crux of the matter is what city officials did and didn’t do as the expected snowfall rose.

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Jun 242009
 

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl seems to have a poor grasp of what “voluntary” means. From an article with theĀ  headline, “Mayor Ravenstahl to nonprofits: pay up or else“:

“‘As we see the reductions [in voluntary contributions from nonprofit organizations] continue, and not meet what we need, this is our alternative,’ [Ravenstahl] said of surcharges on hospital admissions, undergraduate students, all-day parkers and nonprofit water users. A move toward fees ‘potentially would be the best way to compel the nonprofits to come to the table.’ The mayor discussed the issue during a session with the Post-Gazette editorial board.”

What’s the problem? Well, the city is badly in debt and the mayor’s looking for ways to bring in more money. Since the city is replete with non-profits that are to varying degrees tax-exempt, the mayor is hoping to extort money from them in some other way.

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