I have followed City Council closely, and as much as I find Peduto calculating in his political correctness and disappointing in his penchant for corporate welfare subsidies, I find Rudiak to be candid, courageous and straightforward, taking on issues in a very genuine way.
Shadyside has 1700 bus trips per week, about the same as Oakland, and more than any other place in the city outside of the Golden Triangle. Yet it is illegal to build a residential unit in either place without providing a parking space, and illegal to build large units without multiple spaces for each unit.
That's really, really dumb. To make it even dumber, the city waves one car space if the builder provides bicycle spaces in the garage, as if people want to trust good bicycles to public garages when they can just bring them indoors.
They could have just eliminated the parking requirements and charged for street parking, with the revenue going directly to a Shadyside or Oakland Improvement District, but the zoning board never lets go, and the people who already park free in these neighborhoods would rather keep other people out than pay something themselves - even if the money went back to their own community.
People talk a green game, but nobody wants to make the sensible tough decisions that might antagonize someone.
Since you are tying this into the mayor's race:
The right way to "go green" is by taxing resource consumption and pollution, not by subsidizing technologies whose only merit is that they will "pollute less." Subsidies cause people do consume more energy, while taxes on energy cause them to consume less.
The greenest, most sustainable form of energy is human energy, and Jack Wagner is the only candidate who lowered the wage tax, a tax on human energy. He also shifted the property tax onto land values, which not only saves money for most home owners, but encourages the efficient use of land. It is endorsed by the Green Parties of the United States, Canada, Scotland, England, and other countries.
Peduto voted to repeal the land value tax. To be fair, he did this in the face of the county's truly awful land value assessments, but he did nothing to challenge those assessments. To be fair again, doing so would put him in a bind, because the core of his council district (Shadyside and Squirrel Hill) are the most under-assessed wards in the city.
Peduto talks a good green game, but when it came to greening Pittsburgh's tax system, Wagner didn't just talk about it; he did it. He has also been campaigning on making Pittsburgh's assessments honest.
The problem with council by district in a strong-mayor system is that money crosses district lines easily, and the mayor can punish insubordinate council members by screwing their whole district. The solution is not to go back to an at-large council but to shift power away from the mayor.
I would rather have a weak-mayor system like boroughs have, with a city manager serving at the pleasure of council. In the four decades I have lived here, Council has been more often on the side of the people while the mayor was making deals with corporate interests. The only notable exception was mayor Sophie Masloff.
I bear no ill will to tow truck operators generally.
However, there is no free-market arrangement between the tow truck driver and the person being towed against his will. The only free-market arrangement is between the tow-truck driver and the owner of the lot. There should be a fixed charge for towing an illegally parked car in the city of Pittsburgh, and anyone exceeding that charge should be prosecuted for theft by fraud, and should be subject to the same fines and jail terms as any other thief. If the lot owner wants to pay an additional amount per car, that is between him and the tow truck driver.
The owner of the towed car is paying, not merely for the cost of the tow, but for the cost of the tow-truck driver patrolling the lots and looking for victims. There may or may not be kickbacks to the lot owner who profits from snaring people who simply saw an empty lot where they would do no harm in parking there, but it is unconscionable in any case.
This issue is way to polarized on both sides. Can't dispute either side's assertions without shrill responses.
Sarah, you do know that it's illegal for bikes to ride on the sidewalk, right? You do know that they have the same rights to the road as you have, right? Yes, some bicyclists do stupid things, but your attitude is beyond bizarre.
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