Mr. Potter you have nailed UPMC on perpetrating what is known as "passive-aggressive" behavior. I also believe that a lot of "charities" sheilding themselves under 501 (3) (c) umbrellas probably need some sort of watchdog facility to monitor their comings and goings. Good work and great reporting.
Federal investigations are not capable of alerting us that somebody "didn't do anything wrong." They can inform us when there is enough solid evidence against an individual to charge them with breaking an a specific law, but can merely provide circumstantial evidence of the many types of wrongdoing (negligence, tacit complicity, poor standards, official cynicism) which may have contributed to enabling lawlessness. Only the Lord and voters are equipped to rule on right and wrong, by making judgments on whatever information is at hand.
" And his friendliness to gay causes was more than one would have expected — or than Pittsburgh had previously gotten — from a conservative, Catholic mayor."
I'm gad you used the word "gay" instead of LGBTQ. Signing a pledge to support marriage equality hardly offsets the damage Ravenstahl has done or the lack of accomplishment.
His Administration bungled a change in the way income tax on domestic partner benefits are collected, a fail that caught many of us off guard and created financial hardships that could have been avoided with planning. But I guess that only hurt City employees so no big whoop?
His Administration failed to provide adequate police protection - as required - for the Dyke March and only did so when he was publicly called on the carpet in front of his Advisory Committee. But that's only some random women? Why can't they just be in the Pride Parade which had plenty of police protection right?
His LGBTQ Advisory Committee hasn't done much of anything. I received an email every six months or so asking me to update my contact information. No reports, no letters, no updates, no visible action. If I report a concern to them, I'l redirected to Ravenstah's staff. ???
His Administration seems to be okay with the web filter software for the City automatically labeling the word "lesbian" as pornography. The only vocal complaintant is an anti-Ravenstahl lesbian blog which is caught in the filter (me!) so who the fuck cares right? Never mind that it is patently offensive & creates a hostile work environment. It is also easy to fix so why would we expect the CIS team to address it? Competency? Bah!
Yes, Luke Ravenstahl is a friend to the affluent white gay men in Pittsburgh - and I suppose that is a step forward. Thankfully, Bill Peduto understands that the LGBTQ community includes many more people and will likely accomplish more for all of us by simply using his own car to attend the Dyke March.
THANK YOU for your devoted hails to our Chief and his innovative PPPs!
I really, really don't get how Ravenstahl got elected. Inertia is a powerful nonforce, I guess.
You give the holier-than-thou NCAA far too much good-guy credit, and by doing so, cede it way too much power. It levies punishments unfairly and in this case without jurisdiction (which it claims, to enforce rules it writes and rewrites at will), and acts only in its own interest. It should have remained silent but it bowed to media outrage and hand-wringing about the nebulous "culture" of college football. It's about time someone took on that organization. I hope the state wins.
I agree w/ both responders above that HR 676, "expanded & improved Medicare for all" would be the fairest and most cost effective choice for universal health care in the US. I spoke with a young woman who moved here from Canada and she was apalled at the the US system. I also have friends who spent $20,000 last year in health insurance premiums to cover their family because the husband was self-employed and the wife works part time. Now he has lost his job and who knows what their next step will be. While a couple provisions of the Affordable Care Act have been helpful, i.e., getting rid of the pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plan, it also falls far short of solving our health care crisis, while insurance companies make out like bandits. My daughter got a job with benefits, so was no longer able to stay on our plan in accordance with the ACA. Her plan has high deductibles and copays. My husband (and I'm sure many others) would love to leave the job that he hates, but can't because we need the health coverage it provides. Employers like CCAC can manipulate their payroll while the employees suffer. I have a friend who is a full time nurse for UPMC and they call her a "floater" so they can avoid giving her any health benefits. We all know UPMC is hurting for $, non-profit that they are! Everytime I go to one of their facilities, they mail me a solicitation for contributions so they can "continue their charitable mission!"
Thanks to Chris Potter for this story and Ed Cloonan for his comment. Improved Medicare for All is the only solution to the healthcare crisis we are facing. The Affordable Care Act will leave close to 25 million uninsured and many more underinsured, with deductibles and co-pays that many people cannot afford. It's very sad. Meanwhile, HR 676--"Expanded and Improved Medicare for All"--will no doubt be reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman John Conyers in the next Congress. We need to remind our members of Congress to co-sponsor the bill (there are currently 77 co-sponsors, including Mike Doyle) and for the U.S. Senate to introduce a companion bill. There IS an answer to the healthcare crisis.
There is no answer except an improved Medicare for All. Private insurance profit and pharmaceutical profit must be eliminated and or pared from our heathcare system.The affordable care act only insures greater private profits for insurance and pharmaceutical companiesl at the expense of care for all of us.
It makes my face hurt a little when the US pretends it's being bullied. What gets ignored in this latest round of economic xenophobia is that the US doesn't have the moral authority or the clean conscience to condemn "cheating on trade agreements, stealing technology, and abusing its people and environment", or large income inequality, or dubious attempts at freedom, or a trigger-happy military, or the other reasons for which Americans love to bash China. Self-awareness is often a little too much to ask.
"I wonder if there is a way it can be stipulated in a long term deal, that if sales tax receipts decline and if the fund balance shrinks, then the difference from Port Authority expenditures need to come out of stadium financing"
>>> Well, it's not just the RAD board's interests that would be implicated there. The RAD revenues are paying off bonds, and while I'm not the scholar that Chris Briem is on this stuff, I don't think you could do something like that without triggering a whole slew of lawsuits -- from bondholders and the teams as well.
I wonder if there is a way it can be stipulated in a long term deal, that if sales tax receipts decline and if the fund balance shrinks, then the difference from Port Authority expenditures need to come out of stadium financing. The Steelers' and the Pirates' operations are up off the ground and running on their own steam from what I hear.
You have summed up the situation very well. Thank you. There is no more important regional asset than our public transportation system. The present and future economy of Allegheny County depends upon it. RAD money helps get us to a reliable adequate long term funding solution for the Port Authority. That is the goal of 'the deal' and it must be reached very soon.
Likewise to be clear, I meant leadership not simply from the mayor but within and through the "brass" of the police department. That might mean a certain amount of housecleaning, I don' t know. It'll be interesting to test the strength of the ACLU's evidence it has previewed.
This can't just be about having more Black cops. Some neighborhoods have been known to be "unsafe" for decades and the police response seems only to arrest and arrest, costing taxpayers huge amounts for the court system, jails, and the occasional lawsuit, with no discernible improvement. This is grossly unfair to the families who have to live in these conditions and are paying taxes for police protection. It is unfair to the people who are arrested for "looking suspicious" and their families who pay with disrupted lives and careers. It is unfair to the police who appear to be helpless and hapless. I don't think it is a matter of the police doing things wrong, but doing the wrong things - which is a political decision and not made by the cops themselves. It would certainly be beneficial to have a more diverse police force. There is evidence that having a more diverse workforce does not lead to favoritism for the formerly excluded group but to generally more equitable outcomes. That would be better, but we won't really be a world-class city until we determine to have a city made up entirely of safe neighborhoods.
Just to be clear: While I wonder if a 1970s-style quota system may be the only way to ensure diversity, I don't expect it to happen. The legal landscape, and public attitudes, have shifted too much since then. But I also have doubts that an attitude adjustment is a sufficient solution either. We've now had a two-decade-long experiment -- under multiple mayoral administrations -- in what happens without outside supervision. Over those years, many of the folks in authority did, I believe, sincerely value diversity. They capitalized on the decree's heavy lifting by promoting from within. They doubled down on outreach efforts. Yet when it comes to recruitment, and thus the LONG-TERM prospects for diversity on the force, the results haven't been encouraging.
"MLK fan" - Some people might have the luxury of "not caring about race for a while" and of being comfortable relying for their safety and security on what is again rapidly becoming a white male police force. Others have good reason to feel very differently. Like you I also want the best, most capable, most qualified police force a city can put together. To me it's clear that is a diverse force, because with deep diversity it's less likely that assumptions and prejudices common to people of any single background take root. All of us are always smarter and better than just a few of us.
Where I differ with the author is his suspicion that the old rigid quota system of the consent decree may be the only kind of solution. I sure hope it's not. I have to admit it seems almost laughably ham-fisted, ideal for generating resentment, and constitutionally problematic. I suspect the best and perhaps only real solution is to secure leadership that "gets" the value of diversity and "gets" that it is a high, high, extraordinarily high priority.
Chris, you write: " But police Chief Nate Harper himself is black, and no one's suggesting he opposes diversity. So why wouldn't the roundtable arbitrarily favor black candidates?"
It seems likely that the Chief faces accusations of reverse racism all the time within his sphere of influence - surely his own vested interests lay in leaning opposite of such expectations. And I will not read motives in a man whose professional history and character I haven't studied closely, but internalized and reverse racism is a standard feature in racist systems, which often reward cooperative tokens as a form of self-defensive PR. Harper would surely not be lonely in the crowds of such tokens that have used "neutrality" as a shield to defend their shaky authority within a clearly racist system.
I didn't expect that twist at the end where the author suggests the city hire by diversity instead of the best candidate. I'm not sure about anyone else, but when I or my family needs help I want the smartest, strongest, fastest possible person and I don't care what color they are. If they are the best for the job to keep us safe they could have purple polka dots for all I care.
Can't we find ways to support Chief Harper and his officers who bravely face the worst of society and here's a thought - not care about race for awhile?
Very well written, and like article says there was no evidence voter fraud would have occurred. The Republicans are playing games with our rights and having government play a roll in who can vote. Very un-conservative with money spent and people impacted.
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