A Dozen and One Ideas for a Better Pittsburgh

Today's P-G feature describing "a dozen 'Olympian' ideas to turn the region around and get it back on the national map" begs for commentary by Judge Rufus Peckham. Anything around here than mentions Skybus [pdf], even semi-seriously, deserves a serious roasting.

But I don't have Rufus's humor gene, so instead I have to go with more serious criticism. The Mayor wants "wow" that gets national attention? How about these -- for a start?

* City government adopts an official "get it done right the first time and all the time" policy when it comes to city services.
* Pittsburgh's public unions agree to scale facility and employment levels to the true, current needs of the city.
* Owners of Pittsburgh's three major sports teams agree to reimburse the City and the Sports & Exhibition Authority for the full, true cost of using Heinz Field and PNC Park and for the full public cost of building those parks. Then all three pledge not to rely on public funding to build or rebuild their facilities.
* Pittsburgh's largest not-for-profits voluntarily contribute sizable, public payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to the City, without complaining, and say that it's their civic duty, for the good of the region.
* Pittsburgh's business, community, government, and media leaders collectively renounce Pittsburgh parochialism and declare that Pittsburgh can't move forward culturally, socially, or economically without embracing change in every aspect of the fabric of the region.

The Steelers' run-first offense and blitz-happy defense are singled out as special exceptions to this last policy.


7 Responses to "A Dozen and One Ideas for a Better Pittsburgh"

Rustbelter said... 2/20/2006 10:18 AM

Create a Willa Cather, Pittsburgh tour.
Quit trying to change everything to be like something it isn't or wasn't.

Rich said... 2/20/2006 2:40 PM

I think your exceptionj for the Stillers is funny. See, you are funny.

Are you going to comment on the coincidence, within a month of one another, of the city/schoolboard giving PNC a $1.8mil tax break and PNC prifitng $1.9bn from Merrill Lynch?

Judge Rufus Peckham said... 2/21/2006 7:39 AM

These are all very fine ideas, as we've come to expect from Professor Madison, but none of them have the "wow" factor similar to the latest proposal before City Council:


rustbelter said... 2/21/2006 11:27 AM

Painting the town.
Pick up a roller. Pick up a brush. Apply orange.

In Detroit, they are painting the abandoned houses Tiggerific Orange.
Maybe Pittsburgh could start doing this.

It's being done with a Disney theme.

Tiggeriffic Orange is a color from the Mickey Mouse series, easily purchased from Home Depot.

Anonymous said... 2/24/2006 5:24 AM

Explain to me how it is a "civic duty" for non-profits to contribute "payments-in-lieu-of-taxes" to the city, with or without complaint? Would it not be better that they simply use those resources to provide social services to those the city does not reach, rather than throwing it into a black hole of patronage & waste?

rustbelter said... 2/24/2006 7:11 AM

Yinz could build a non-profit beef jerky plant down in Northside or on Washingtons Landing. Brand it Mayor Bobs Beef Jerky and make all the city pubs sell it or else. Make it real salty so everybody drinks more Iron City. Yinz could open an office in the old Alcoa HQ dahntown and be regional thinking. Maybe you could export it to Canada and raise money for a new arena for the Pens.

rustbelter said... 2/24/2006 9:32 AM

A United Arab Emirates developer could invest billions and billions into Fifth & Forbes dahntown. According to my sources at city hall, who can only use the Internet for 10 minutes at a time three times a day, this could be the key to getting not only a new arena for Mario but a new horse racing track in Hays with condos, slots and maybe a Walmart Supercenter for yinz guys who need jobs. Plans include 57 new Starbucks on Forbes Avenue and a new T station in the middle of Market Square.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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