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Monday, June 21, 2010

Revisiting Pintek, natural-gas drilling and (sorry!) a 19th Ward item

Posted By on Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 7:34 PM

A few quick items including -- for those who still care -- a brief update on the Kimberly Cagni dispute. 

First, a follow-up to my post last week about KDKA Radio host Mike Pintek's puzzling take on local cyclists. Pintek revisited the subject today, and had me on as one of his guests. (I was a last-minute substitute -- Pintek had originally tried to schedule something with the head of Bike Pittsburgh, but apparently it didn't work out. The group's Scott Bricker is now scheduled to go on KDKA on Friday afternoon at 1:00.)

Pintek acknowledged -- more than once -- that his remarks last week were, well, ill-considered. And I think it's safe to say that he was taken aback by the some of the impassioned online response his remarks provoked. So for those seeking to track the influence of online commentary (Hai Bram!) here's another piece of evidence.

In fact, it's sort of interesting. I think cycling brings up a new Pittsburgh/old Pittsburgh tension in this town, with newer/younger residents brought into a conflict with lifers -- a conflict exacerbated by a constricted street grid and decaying infrastructure. (These may be the symptoms of just about every argument in the city, come to think of it.) And similarly, what we saw with Pintek was a battle between new and old media. Because KDKA originally put Pintek's snippet online -- it has apparently since been removed -- he got a much different audience than I suspect he is used to. 

But in any case, Pintek was open and fair with me and another guest, the wife of an avid local biker who professed fear for her spouse's safety. It was a good, even-handed discussion, and the guy deserves props for that. There are plenty of radio talk-show hosts who don't admit to mistakes, and who wouldn't let a critic get a word in edgewise before hanging up. 


Moving on ... one of the iron truths of Anthony Coghill's life, apparently, is that the guy loses even when he wins. 

Coghill, you may recall, vied with Pete Wagner for control of the city's 19th Ward ... and lost handily. But as part of that effort, a Coghill supporter challenged the residency of Kimberly Cagni, who they claim actually lived in Mt. Lebanon, rather than within the city neighborhood she represents on the Democratic Committee. 

I am told by Jim Burn, the party's county chair, that last week Cagni submitted her resignation from the committee, thereby making the challenge moot. 

But Coghill can't feel too much satisfaction at this turn of events. The party's rules state that vacant committee spots shall be filled by the chairman ... " upon the recommendation of the Ward or Municipal Chairperson on whose committee the vacancy has occurred."

In other words, Kimberly Cagni's replacement will likely be named by ... Pete Wagner, the guy Coghill was hoping to defeat. 


Finally, a quick tip of the hat to Maria at 2 Political Junkies, who reminds us that the documentary Gasland airs on HBO tonight. The special -- which had a sneak-preview airing here in Pittsburgh not long ago -- is an eye-opener. So is the fact that Maria's post results in an amusing visit from a gas-industry spokesperson, who Maria outs in short order. 

Also tonight -- and also demonstrating how the gas industry is looking to shape our environmental debate -- is a WPXI special, "Fueling Pittsburgh." Among the special's featured sponsors? Range Resources, among the largest gas drillers in the country. Also the legal firm of Babst, Callan, Clements and Zomnir, which lists "Marcellus Shale Development" as a special area of expertise on its home page.

"Fueling Pittsburgh" airs at 8 p.m. -- it might be interesting to watch just to see how upfront it is about some of the concerns surrounding Marcellus drilling

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