Joe Leaphorn | Pittsburgh City Paper

Joe Leaphorn 
Member since Dec 28, 2006


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Re: “Bar owners make Brenda Frazier public enemy #1

It is amazing to me that Allegheny County Democrats would rather pull the party line lever at the ballot box (the most unconstitutional fraud ever perpetrated on a democracy), with the result that they are frequently lied to but at least it is by like-minded individuals. Never mind that Pittsburgh Magazine noted that "no new taxes" Onorato was actually a Republican until he decided that he be unelectable and switched parties. And all that "no new taxes" means is that there will be no new taxes for some, while others will need to pick up the slack. The truth be told, returning the .5 mil tax that resulted in the last property tax reduction would have raised more than what PAT required and would have increased property taxes, on average, $150. Assuming that a Martini costs about $6 a bottle of wine $20 and a beer $4 anyone spending $30/week on in-house cocktails, wine and/or beer would pay MORE than $150/year in increased taxes. And since the average Allegheny County resident does not spend $30/week on in-house cocktails/wine/beer, the smaller percentage of those who do will be paying substantially more for the privilege of patronizing their favorite restaurants, taverns or watering holes. And some of those people have already decided that 10% is too much, especially since their consumption must be above the $30/week level. So who loses? Well, the hospitality workers who work mostly for tips (the average bartender makes about $2/hr in actual pay). But who cares about hospitality workers? Obviously not our elected officials. Of course, any other segment of the population might be next, especially given the current state of the budgets of our local governments. Time to move, I guess.

Posted by Sean McLinden on 04/22/2008 at 5:05 PM

Re: “Recurring Night-mayor

I think that we have to face the fact that leadership involves making difficult decisions for the greater good and we simply don't want to elect leaders. And when we do, they fail to lead. Jim Roddey, for example, was a breath of fresh air. Not a career gubernatorial candidate he brought executive management experience to the office of Chief Executive. But then he failed to do the courageous (and necessary) thing which was to create an equitable property tax system which provided sufficient revenues to run the County. Instead, he left his successor with a "surprise" $40 million deficit, though why the chief bean counter for the County should have been surprised is a bit troubling in and of itself. Now that bean head is Chief Executive, he has his sights so set on being governor that he won't do the courageous thing by proposing an equitable solution to the County's budget shortfall. (Never mind that he must have been well aware of the excessive costs of the Port Authority for many years but did nothing about it.) Instead, the burden is ultimately going to fall on the backs of hospitality workers such as wait staff and bar tenders, most of whom make far less than minimum wage as a base salary and, therefore, will likely see diminishing revenues from tips. All this because he won't ask property owners to pay an average of $150 more a year in taxes in order to maintain essential county services! What a strange world we live in when the Democrats are holding the line on taxes. Even more disturbing is the turnaround on big government. Here is a Democrat who, in two terms of office is prepared to lay off/buy out a total of 1300 employees (many of whom had the most experience of anyone in their offices). He gets away with it, in part, because he plays into the Conservative mantra that big government is bad and big because it is inefficient, and that most government workers are underqualified and overpaid. This is a Democrat talking!?! The fact is that the cost of everything has gone up. Steel is three times what it was 10 years ago, concrete, oil and aluminum are all more expensive. Someone needs to level with the residents of the County that the same level of service is going to cost more because that is simply the way things are. Sure, there are inefficiences that exist in the current system. But the potential savings through the elimination of these inefficiencies is far less than what the cost will be to maintain and improve services. And without investment in our infrastructure, which is not money-losing stadiums, we will further continue into the economic slump that the region is facing. Ten years ago, I could fly directly to Paris, London, Rome and Frankfurt, as well as to most major cities in the US. Today, there are no regular direct flights from Pittsburgh to any of these cities. That should tell us that we are heading in the wrong direction and have been for a long while.

Posted by Sean McLinden on 12/07/2007 at 10:04 AM

Re: “Bunker Mentality

Thank God I don't live in Pittsburgh. First there was "MAYOR LUKE RAVENSTAHL'S help line" billboards, half of which featured his mug, which were "donated" to the city and had "nominal value". Then there was the hijacking of the City web site such that it became a paean to the kid, complete with "Luke in the City" pictures of the boy king posing next to an obviously uncomfortable Sarah Jessica Parker (ironically, the picture was taken outside the city). Of course, we can't forget his hubris at including his name on the new "Most Livable City" billboards, though he was in plastic pants for most of the events which made it so. And his incredible "L'etat c'est Moi!" comment that he is the public face of Pittsburgh! Huh? There are literally hundreds of Pittsburghers more recognizable than Ravenstahl. Something is seriously missing in this guy, including humility and a sense for what is proper and improper. What amazes me is how many Pittsburghers seem to eat this stuff up but many of those people probably also view a win by the Steelers as being some form of personal validation. We already have one publicity hound in the County Executive (funny that they both attended the same high school which tells you something about the state of Catholic education in this town). A serious politician with a serious agenda, not a deer in the headlights is what Pittsburgh needs in a mayor (I almost typed "mirror" as in Narcissus).

Posted by Sean McLinden on 08/23/2007 at 12:08 PM

Re: “My Space

The City of Pittsburgh Ethics Handbook states that "No public official or public employee shall...Use or allow the use of any City facilities, property, staff or information obtained in the course of his/her employment for personal use other than would be generally available to the public at large." Either the mayor plans to afford equal time and placement on the website for the names and faces of the city's other 334,562 residents (not to mention the use of chauffeured city vehicles to visit Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of her latest film), or he should answer the question of why the taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill to promote his candidacy for office (or when I can expect to be reimbursed for the "Lordy Lordy look who's turned forty" bulletin board I put up for my wife's birthday?)

Posted by Sean McLinden on 12/28/2006 at 10:56 AM

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