Category Archives: City Council

End of the Ravenstahl Era

I was going to write this post for my blog at Pittsburgh Magazine, but I feel like at some point I’m going to want to be all “choke a bitch” or “shit a brick” or “[BEWBS]” or something, so I’ll just leave this here instead.

With a slightly lower voter turnout than in 2009 when 45,416 votes were cast in the Democratic Primary, last night Bill Peduto won his party’s nomination and if history is any indicator — and right now History is all, “Bitch, have you met me? I am the BIGGEST indicator.” — then Bill Peduto is the next mayor of Pittsburgh.

Lukey’s arch-nemesis.  The man against which Lukey spent God-knows-how-many dollars to destroy.

Right now Lukey is sitting next to the brick he shit last night and is writing some super depressing rap rhymes that contain rhyming pairs like “dude/rude” and “haters/gators” and “mud/crud.” Lukey is TERRIBLE at writing raps.

Wagner was Lukey’s Chosen One.

You know this because he bankrolled anti-Peduto ads and left some super fierce [snap snap] Facebook comments about “haters” and “He said duty. Heh.” I might be misremembering that second one. [shrug]

And you can be sure this is how he looked as he watched the results last night:






Wagner picked up Lukey’s supporters and that included the police and firefighters unions and I don’t need to tell you this, but they aren’t happy with the results.

Alluding to Mr. Peduto’s support for the state supervision that curbs the bargaining leverage of city unions, Mike LaPorte, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police said the new nominee “treats the city workers like garbage.”

“I’m thinking about retiring,” he added.

Let me translate:



Super mature.

[golf clap]

Regardless, this is the first day of the beginning of the end of the Ravenstahl era. I once had really high hopes for Luke, and now I’ll transfer those high hopes to Bill Peduto, just as I would have done if Jack Wagner had won.

You can be against Peduto, but you can’t be against Pittsburgh; so let’s hope for the best and see where this new road leads us.

Hopefully we won’t find ourselves suffering with typhoid and cholera, fording a rapidly rising Mon while riding a three-wheeled wagon being pulled by dysentery-riddled oxen.


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Random n’at


1. If you haven’t yet, please scroll down or click here to see pictures of the $20,000 in technology upgrades we dropped off and installed at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh this week.

2. Reader Kathleen is running the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon for Genre’s Kids With Cancer Fund.

If you’re looking for a charitable place to spread some good karma today, go throw in a few dollars for her? She only needs about $240 more to reach her goal!

For sick kids!

3. The Bucs are in second place. Half game out of first. They’ve won 12 of their last 16, I think. The best team in baseball, Atlanta, has only lost 6 games all season, and three of those were to the Pirates.


4.  Did you know you can buy Yinzer Bingo at Wildcard and another store that sells them, but I lost the name? There’s a K in the name? Anyone? Anyone? Zober?

Regardless, LOOK!



These are created by John the Craftist, who is actually a woman. Look at some of the other amazing stuff she creates, many of which are greeting cards:






I’m kind of in love with all of this and I wonder if there’s a Gemini one that says, “Witty. Passionate. Batshit Crazy.”

Anyway, I’ll be in Wildcard very soon to buy all the things.

5. Pigeons are assholes. And they smoke too. Look at this news photo from a 1989 edition of the Post-Gazette.

Click to embiggen and then read the caption.

The Pittsburgh Press   Google News Archive Search

Unreal. If today’s pigeons get wind of this, it is going to RAIN FIRE.

(h/t Jerry)

6. If you’re around Market Square next Friday morning …

Light of Life Rescue Mission is presenting former MLB player Sean Casey with the 3rd annual Locker Room Leadership Award at 9:30 a.m.  Sean is a former all-star baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians. Dennis Bowman will emcee, introducing former Steelers Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley who will present Sean with the award.

I’ll be there hanging out for sure. Sean does amazing things for the homeless via Light of Life.

7. This is old, but shut up.

Pittsburgh leads the nation in people moving in.

Suck it, Portland.

8. Giant Eagle is grocery store Big Brother?

Also, people are STILL commenting on my pharmacy rant. My God.

9. Lukey went AWOL, said he never left the city, but apparently his press secretary thought he went to Bradenton at one point. 

That sounds right.

10. Pretty sure the P-G is going to endorse Wagner after reading this article. Why? Just scroll down and read the comment left by Matt Barron. The P-G very conveniently left out some HUGE names that endorsed Bill Peduto yesterday. 

[golf clap]

11. Headline: “Penguins Drop Second Straight.”


Seriously. Two losses in a row. NBD.

12. The fountain is almost ready to go!

Here’s an image from today via Point Park TV’s twitter account:


Cannot wait until I can take my kids for a stroll around the fountain again.


Also unreal? That WTAE used FOUR anchors to intro it. Hah!

But seriously … amazing video.

14. Mother’s Day!

I wrote about Pittsburgh Moms for the May magazine edition. A snippet:

Our conversations about the latest episode of “Greatest American Hero” turned to hushed whispers. There was no whining about elbows in ribs or bothersome jelly-shoe blisters. While we painfully swallowed our sneezes, our mom drove with her chin hovering 3 inches above the steering wheel and her hands locked in a death-grip. She’d hold this position until the wagon was safely parked — which is when she’d exhale and revoke the sacred Writ of Silentium Absolutus.

I didn’t appreciate it then, but I can see it now for what it was: My mother was doing something far outside of her comfort zone so that her girls could have nice clothes (that didn’t scream, “Five kids. One job. Hills is where the toys are.”).

And I also put together a Burghy Mother’s Day gift guide for you. Everything from Burgh-made jewelry, to an awesome Pirates iPhone case, to BYOB painting classes where Mom can paint her own Pittsburgh skyline, and LOTS more.

I mean, the Confluence necklace pictured up top of this post? Holy moly.

Check all the gift suggestions out here.

15. Finally, your amazing tweets:



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Whoever gets there first, wins.

That’s the way life works.

You get there first, you get the best ticket for Air Supply. What?

You get there first, you get the early worm, birdie.

You get there first, you get the first punt of the pigeon in Market Square.

You get there first, you get to work on saving the trapped victim.

Except not in Pittsburgh and this is all news to me and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this.

If I’m understanding this correctly and I know you’ll tell me if I’ve got this wrong … in Pittsburgh, due to a union contract, firefighters are not to perform “rescues.” Instead, since 1977, paramedics have performed them. Rescues could be a rescuing a person trapped in an elevator or in a pile of rubble, or rescuing a person trapped in a car or in a well or swift-moving flood waters.  Rescuing victims of a bridge collapse. Or rescuing the blogger cowering in the alley surrounded by a slowly advancing throng of angry pigeons holding ninja stars.

Here’s the problem for us, the potential rescuees waiting for our rescuers: it takes firefighters only between four to eight minutes to arrive on scene, with a majority of responses happening closer to the four-minute mark. The last available statistics for paramedics in Pittsburgh show that it took them an average of 17 minutes to respond to a call.

The paramedics are stretched thin going from call to call while the firefighters have a lot of downtime between calls.

And now the paramedics have rejected a new contract and authorized a strike because the City wishes to move rescue operations, as required by Act 47, to the firefighters to free up the paramedics to focus on medical calls.

Paramedics averaged 56,500 calls annually over the past four years, and the city is seeking help more often from medical teams in neighboring communities, said Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Pittsburgh requested outside assistance 47 times in 2010; 124 times in 2011; and 127 times so far this year, she said.

Both the ICA and the city’s Act 47 financial-recovery team have recommended that the city move rescue operations to the fire department. City officials have been trying to do so since 2010, Huss said.

I’m so confused, because I thought that’s what firefighters were for. RESCUES. I thought the firefighters rescued and then the paramedics treated after the rescue, but that’s not how it works in Pittsburgh. The paramedics rescue and then triage and THEN treat, and the firefighters don’t step in unless something or someone has burst into flames, I guess. Or they sit around waiting for something to burst into flames.

The EMT union claims that the reason they are rejecting the contract is because of our safety. Firefighters aren’t trained well enough to rescue us, so it’s all about our safety and it’s all about you and me and it’s not at all about their jobs or overtime pay.

Let’s get a few things straight. I love paramedics and I know paramedics and I want them to have job security and paychecks and insurance. And please, if I’m in an accident, save me, paramedics. But if I’m stuck in an elevator I do not give a rat’s ass if it is a paramedic or a firefighter who comes to my aid. I care that they get there fast.

If a raging flood river is threatening to sweep away my car with my children in it, I don’t give a crap about anyone’s overtime pay. I care that my rescuer gets there lickety split to save me and my family.

I’m not saying I want to hurt the paramedics’ jobs. I’m saying I don’t understand why Pittsburgh can’t do this like most of the country does.

Why such the division between the two units?

Aren’t there enough medical calls to go around even if you let the firefighters do rescues? Would it be such a terrible thing to have PARTNERS in your rescue efforts for the good of the people you are serving and who you want to save?

If there are people trapped in cars, aren’t the firefighters already going to the scene along with the EMTs? So why not let them do the rescue and let the EMTs worry about the medical side of things? Doesn’t that just make sense?

Can’t the city form an elite team of people trained in both firefighting and emergency response medicine who will respond in eight minutes or less to the hardest, most complex of rescues while the rest of the EMTs and firefighters are trained in standard rescues? Wouldn’t it have been great to call that team to the Washington Boulevard flood tragedy? Like firefighting SWAT doctors?

And can’t the firefighters and EMTs trained in standard rescues then share rescue duties? So if the firefighters are busy, the EMTs head to the rescue. Or if the EMTs can’t get there for another 17 minutes, we send the firefighters who can get there in four because right now they’re sitting in the firehouse waiting for something to burst into flames? And if the rescue becomes more complex, they call on the elite team to step in and help?

If a building falls, can’t they all come and work together to save us?

Am I a stupid simpleton who has over-simplified a truly complex problem?


But it felt good to get it off my chest.

But P.S. Seriously, whoever gets there first, save me from the pigeons. I think I heard tiny nunchucks being bandied about and several pigeons are wearing wife-beaters and I think one of them is doing that Gangnam Style dance.

Kill that one first.

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My hug wish list

This is not satire. This is not a fake news story. This is not The Onion. This is REAL:

Pittsburgh, the World’s Most Huggable City

The City of Pittsburgh has  been voted the most liveable (sic) city, the top ten Best in the World for tourism among many awards  and now (sic) and Pittsburgh City Council have teamed up to prove that Pittsburgh is the Most Loveable, Most Huggable City!  Using the model of the international phenomenon of the “Free Hug Campaign” plans to create a spectacular event on September 6, 2012 with preview events leading up to it.   The goal is to create an event that brings attention and prominence to “Pittsburgh’s best asset, the friendliness of its citizens.”

What’s Happening When and Where!

  • February 14th Proclamation declaring September 6th as Hug-A-Thon Pittsburgh Day.  There will also be a group hug with City Council Members.
  • Hug Ambassador Events are open auditions to be huggers at the Hug-A-Thon Events of September 6th.
  • Hug Ambassador Auditions will be held in the City Council Districts of Darlene Harris, William Peduto, and Theresa Smith.
  • Hug Auditions scheduled during the months of March, May, July and August
  • Hug Ambassador Categories will include, but aren’t limited to: Best Granny Hugger, Best EMS Hugger, Best Sports Hugger, Best Entertainment and Media Hugger
The Hug Ambassador Event Winners will be determined by Facebook contributions and donations raised at the event for four area charities.  Hug Auditions are scheduled during the months of March, May, July and August.  These will be preview events to the September 6,  Hug-A-Thon Pittsburgh™
September 6, 2012 Outdoor Hug-A-Thon Pittsburgh Event and Gala

  • The outdoor event will be held in five locations in downtown Pittsburgh.  These Hug locations are the City County Building, Market Square, Katz Plaza, underneath Macy’s Clock, and the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown.
  • Times to get a “free” hug and make your optional donations:  2:30 PM to 5:30 PM at these locations
  • There will be signage and entertainment to draw attention to the Huggers.
  • The hugs will be free.  Donations will be accepted and the donations will benefit four local charities.
  • The Presenting Sponsor is Wyndham Grand Downtown and the first official Hug-A-Thon Pittsburgh Gala will be held in the Wyndham Grand Ballroom. Celebrity Hug Stations will be set up around the room.  Celebrities will include local sports figures, media personalities, and entertainers. Local musical and variety entertainment has been engaged for both the lobby of the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown and the ballroom from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

“I am proud to be a part of this great campaign and to show how much Pittsburgh cares about its local charities.  Pittsburgh is hands-down the World’s Most Lovable City!” Bill Peduto.


1. I can find the minutes to the meeting, but I cannot find any pictures of the February 14th City Council group hug session! THIS IS A FIRST-WORLD TRAVESTY! What if there is a picture of Lukey hugging Bill Peduto?!

2. I’m happy it’s for charity because otherwise this would be the most ridiculous thing since Gus the Groundhog’s birth.

3. How does one judge a hug audition? Too much squeeze? Limp squeeze? Too much breast pressure? Not enough breast pressure? Too handsy? Not handsy enough? Too much butt grabbage? Would it be like American Idol auditions? “I’ve had five-week old lettuce firmer than your hugs.” Would it be like Dirty Dancing with Johnny? “Look at your arms — Spaghetti arms. You gotta hold your frame.”

4. I miss Patrick Swayze.

5. This event is BurghBaby‘s worst nightmare. That girl HATES hugs.

6. My celebrity wish list for hugs … David Conrad, Mike Wallace, Randy Baumann, Jim Krenn, Daniel Sepulveda, AJ Burnett, Wendy Bell, Sally Wiggin, Matt Lamanna, Mike Tomlin, DAN BYLSMA, DAN BYLSMA, DAN BYLSMA, Sexhair, Sexgoal, Gina Cerilli, Elena LaQuatra, Patrick Jordan, Mario, Fort McKenry, Troysus and DAN BYLSMA.

What? Tell me you don’t believe Dan Bylsma would give the best hugs ever.

We won’t know until we try. To grab his butt.

(h/t Summer)

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[headdesk] [facepalm] [hulksmash]

Every time I write a post in which I use my blog to scoldingly click my tongue at a city council member, I worry there will be a surprise health inspection at the restaurant the following week (Doesn’t matter. We always nail ’em). The perils of writing a blog and owning a city business. It’s like navigating the Fireswamp. I’ll let you figure out who the R.O.U.S.s are.

Okay, so let me catch you up.  The city firefighters it seems are sent to the City County building to get flu shots and when the members of one fire station showed up in their fire trucks to get their flu shots while council members were at lunch, they parked their fire trucks in spaces reserved for councilpersons, spaces marked “Special Permit Parking.”

Darlene Harris didn’t like that.

Firefighters tell KDKA’s Marty Griffin that City Council President Darlene Harris asked one truck to move and the police officer followed with her ticket book. The council president says she had nothing to do with it.

Um, ya kinda did, lady.

But anyway, the firetrucks got parking tickets and now the fire department is fighting the ticket and hoping for leniency because they were city vehicles parked in city spots and now the city is taking the city to parking court and THIS IS THE BEST SNL SKIT EVAH!

Nowhere does it say whether or not Darlene Harris had to park somewhere else. For all we know, she was in the building at the time. But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and say she arrived and couldn’t park next to the building as usual.

My thought is this:

If I’m on city council and I arrive at work to find a City of Pittsburgh fire truck in my precious preciousssss parking spot that I paid for, I’m going to find another spot and I’m going to go in and find out why the truck is parked there. Maybe there was an emergency. Maybe there’s a fire. Maybe the Mayor got stuck when he tried to fit in the mail chute.

If I then find out that the city firefighters are in the building getting flu shots, I’m going to basically say something like this to myself, “These people are out there every day putting their lives on the line and while they work for the city, I work for them. And we’re having them come here to get flu shots to stay on the job and healthy, so I can loan them my parking space and sit my ass down for the five minutes it takes for them to do that because it’s not like we made it easy on them by just sending a nurse around to their stations with a bag of Flu Mists. If I’m feeling bitchy, maybe I’ll say something to them about parking elsewhere next time. What I’m not going to do is ASK THE FIREFIGHTERS TO MOVE THEIR TRUCK IMMEDIATELY. And I’m certainly not going to stand there and allow those firefighters to get a parking ticket all because it was my whiny piehole that opened up and complained in the first place.”

Shit. Whiney piehole. I just went there. CLEAN THE PLACE GOOD, HONEY!

“It’s really silly,” Ravenstahl said. “And when I was first briefed on it, I didn’t believe that it happened. I couldn’t believe that somebody would actually ticket a fire truck especially when we’re encouraging them to get a flu shot and stay healthy.”

Man, I wish I could have been the one to brief Lukey on this.

“Hizzoner dude. Sit down. You’re going to LOVE THIS.” Then I’d tell him and we’d fall down laughing and accidentally spill our juice boxes all over ourselves.

City Hall done lost its damn mind.

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