Dear Lukey,

In a surprise move, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today threw his support behind the concept of merging the city and Allegheny County, as he joined county Chief Executive Dan Onorato and University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg in unveiling a detailed report on governmental cooperation.

Listen to me.  I don’t care if you made this decision because you did the research, read the report, and truly found it to be in the best interests of the region, or if you made this decision because Dan Onorato and Ed Rendell gave you dual Indian burns until you peed your pants.

I just want to say THANK YOU for agreeing to support this merger because when I drink too much from the Move Forward drinking game and fall drunkenly off of my fence, I always land on the side of the consolidation.

Git on wit’ yo bad self, Baby Face!




  1. Leah
    April 3, 2008 11:40 am

    LOL Pitt girl you are just too funny….I have to read your blog everyday to get my day going.

  2. KGC
    April 3, 2008 1:02 pm

    Full merger should never be approved. Never. Ever. Hopefully, I’m long gone before the day comes that suburbanites are even asked to approve a merger of governments. Can you imagine suddenly becoming responsible for multi-millions in pension and other obligations?

  3. Gunn Lino
    April 3, 2008 1:25 pm

    Yeah you’re a forward thinker, it’s been this way for a hunnert years why change it. That’s one of the reasons the “Burgh is in the quagmire it’s in, same gov’t for the past 60/80 years really make for progress, no mass transport, union gridlock on business and industry, high taxes etc, etc.

    Look around, take a good look at some other places that have done it.

    Hopefully you will be gone, one less naysayer.

  4. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    April 3, 2008 1:43 pm

    Cities all across PA are in the same boat, especially those with a large percentage of non-profit/governmental entities/colleges & universities entities exempt from paying property taxes. Fewer people are living there, but more are working there. The money for services has to come from somewhere. Why does the state need 501 school districts, 67 counties and 3,200+ local government units all with taxing authority? Then throw in the 1,200 plus polices forces, the 67 sheriffs offices and who knows how many county police forces throughout the Commonwealth. Not quite sure what the answer is to making things better, but there has to be something that works more efficiently than what we have right now.

  5. pgh33
    April 3, 2008 1:55 pm

    “The 21-page report, entitled “Government for Growth: Forging a Bright Future — Built on Unity, Efficiency, Equity and Equality — for the People of Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh,” seems to recognize that. It suggests the region is known for “general discomfort with change” and predicts “reflexive resistance from champions of the status quo.”

    Haha, well the report is already correct. Here the crying pittsburghers come to line up and shut it down before they even hear what it’s about.

    I think it’s a great idea. I’ve read about a lot of other cities doing this and how much they’ve turned things around. Let’s just hope that we can do it before it’s too late for Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and all of Western PA.

  6. TheTruth
    April 3, 2008 1:56 pm


    Keep in mind that there are financial problems that the county is unable to solve on their own as well.

    e.g. Funding the Port Authority and their legacy costs

  7. Dan (Not Onarato)
    April 3, 2008 2:12 pm

    Bout time…Im sick of hearing about it….just get it done already

  8. parking chair
    April 3, 2008 3:10 pm

    Is it just me? Or do you supect that after making this declaration, Lukey went back to his office, stood on top of his desk and yelled “I’m King of the World!”

  9. KGC
    April 3, 2008 3:56 pm

    Lukey is on KDKA right now. Calling for 1 Police depat, 1 Fire Dept. 1 Public Works Dept. etc. Promises suburbanites will not be responsible for City’s obligatrions. Right. (Know when a politician is lying? Their lips are moving.)

    Lukey said he studied the issue for some time and it’s clear “incremental changes will not work” and “it’s time for bold change.”

    Let me translate – “We need more money!” When Willie Sutton was asked “Why rob banks?”, he replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”

    I do NOT EVER want to see the bloated Union contracts, etc. hoisted upon suburbanites. And, no one can tell me that won’t happen if any full-blown merger ever is approved.

    I fully recognize we have 130 personal fiefdoms plus an overabundance of School Districts resulting in HUGE duplication of costs. However, I feel strongly that I want NOTHING to do with the City’s financial problems. I will not and can not speak for others. Let the City declare bankruptcy, renegotiate or void all Union contracts, outsource many services… then talk to me.

  10. Zsa
    April 3, 2008 4:55 pm

    You guys are overlooking the most important issue.


  11. pgh33
    April 3, 2008 4:58 pm


    “The report stresses the large debt and pension legacy costs of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County should “remain segregated.”

    In addition, since a higher number of minorities live in the city compared to the county, the report says it would be a “high priority” to draw up new city/county council districts that allow for sufficient minority representation.

    Allegheny County’s 130 municipalities would remain as they are, Onorato said.

    If a city-county government merger is approved, Onorato said the existing jobs of county executive and Pittsburgh mayor would be eliminated.”

  12. scottie
    April 3, 2008 5:04 pm

    I’m just wondering if they’d make me pay city income tax again. I spent 6 years paying that damn 3% income tax and am happy(er…less dissatisfied) with the 1%.

    As for the Port Authority… Somebody in my ‘hood needs to just buy a bus and start a business for themselves. I’d pay double not to have to sit on the bus with that yeastie-smelling girl standing in front of me.

  13. Geenie
    April 3, 2008 5:51 pm

    School districts are not included in this study. It’s off the table. Let’s get this done. It should have been done years ago. Most growing cities inthe south and west have this form of government. It’s the stuck-in-the-past cities of the northeast and midwest that won’t change. These small fiefdoms were designed for the 19th century.

  14. Joe Magarac
    April 3, 2008 7:05 pm

    I do NOT EVER want to see the bloated Union contracts, etc. hoisted upon suburbanites. And, no one can tell me that won’t happen if any full-blown merger ever is approved.

    Um, I can tell you exactly that. One of the problems in the City is the relative dearth of progressive politicians who will challenge the union contracts you despise. When Lukey was on council, he was the only member with a college degree. (Not that a college degree is everything, mind you, but it suggests a certain willingness to spend time thinking through issues).

    If the City were governed by the 15 members of County Council – the vast majority of whom represent suburbanites like you who distrust bloated government – the City would be more likely to reject excessive government.

    In other words, the best way to get the City where you want it to be is to support consolidation, not oppose it.

  15. Mitch Cumsteen
    April 3, 2008 7:42 pm

    Umm, I’m in the suburbs and I’m open to the idea of consolidation. But I’m afraid. People in the city proper elected Twanda Carlisle. That can’t be a good sign. I can’t trust them city folk.

  16. pgh33
    April 3, 2008 7:53 pm

    haha nice name Mitch…i love Caddyshack

  17. bucdaddy
    April 4, 2008 10:02 am

    Would it end the REAL problem: one-party rule?

    Here’s what one-party rule does for you: Democrats have run West Virginia for 80 years.

  18. scottie
    April 4, 2008 4:55 pm

    bucdaddy: so west virginia is the poster child for democratic vote? somehow i find your logic flawed.