What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 24, 2006

Has anyone checked the freezer yet?

According to the Tribune-Review, the Twanda Carlisle probe is triggering discretionary spending disclosures by some other Pittsburgh City Council members:

Four of Pittsburgh's nine City Council members vowed Tuesday to publish their discretionary expenses online just days after the city's lawyers handed their investigation of Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle to county prosecutors and the state Ethics Commission.

Council members said they're trying to draw a distinction between their discretionary spending of taxpayer money and Carlisle's. Each council member has access to $85,000 in discretionary spending this year.

Councilman Bill Peduto was the first to promise to put his spending records online yesterday, followed by Council President Luke Ravenstahl and council members Doug Shields and Daniel Deasy. "

Supporters of Councilwoman Carlisle have stated that all council members are guilty of the same spending habits," Peduto said. "I want to assure the public that that's not the case. Every dollar I spend is transparent."
Carlisle's supporters have been seen week after week at City Council meetings asking for investigations of council members' expenses for the past ten years (is there anyone on council who has held that office for 10 years?).

The Trib article says that Carlisle has been advised by her attorney to refuse requests for interviews while D.A. Zappala investigates the consultant payments in question, but KDKA News has a brief interview with her (including video) where she states:

“I'm glad I live in the United States of America and there's a process, due process so I'm glad we're going through the process," said Carlisle. “But at no time did Twanda Carlisle sign any checks and everything was in Pittsburgh City Council for approval. Council approved every expenditure that was put in front of them. I've stay within my budget so I don't know what the particular situation could possibly be at this point.”
2 Political Junkies thinks it's not a good sign when anyone refers to themselves in the third person.

The interview was conducted after yesterday's City Council meeting. At that meeting Ora Lee Carroll from Larimar, a constituent of Carlisle's, called for Carlisle to either resign or be impeached.

KDKA's report said that Carlisle would not respond to reporters' questions at the City Council meeting. I can't tell you anything else that occurred at the meeting because it was apparently Sister City Day and every time I tuned in to The City Council Show either someone was speaking in a foreign language, or singing colorful folkloric songs in a foreign language, or there was no sound at all and viewers were "treated" to images of Mayor Bob O'Connor signing papers.

2 Political Junkies says if we have to see Mayor Bob make a guest appearance on one of our favorite TV shows, he must appear in a Donald Trump-style The Apprentice format and hold a board meeting. (One guess who Ms. Ora Lee wants to have said to them, "You're fired!")

Either that, or groups being honored with a day named after them must compete American Idol style for the right to their own exclusive day (no sharing) -- no wait, that might involve more colorful folkloric songs -- OK, compete cage-match style.

The City Council Show

The City Council Show broadcast a very special episode on Monday that reviewed a slots location study done by the City of Pittsburgh's planning director. Some council members panned the study and The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat pans their pan here.

So after two bad episodes, has The City Council Show jumped the shark? Has 2 Political Junkies jumped the shark by using the tired phrase "jumped the shark"?

Have I used enough cultural references yet to end this piece?

*Has reading too much MacYapper influenced my writing style?

But back to The City Council Show...

2 Political Junkies feels compelled to note that there was a good episode last week. Councilwoman Tonya Payne (District 6) had several bills relating to vacancies and real estate buys by the URA which will put together a critical mass of property needed for both commercial and residential development in The Hill -- hopefully anticipating a sorely needed grocery store in that neighborhood. There was also discussion of 12 new units of low and moderate income housing being built in the Middle Hill (as opposed to the often discussed and much TIFF'd luxury variety). We did not see any reviews of this episode in the MSM.

If The City Council Show can stick to storylines like Ms. Payne's, we predict a long run.


PtBreeze said...

Everyone of them has misused tax dollars for pet projects and political supporters. IMPEACH THEM ALL.

Anonymous said...

"I'm in a big hurry, plus it's all the media's fault!"

From yesterday & today's P-G

1. "...Councilman Leonard Bodack opposed ...putting spending information online.

"I don't see what the difference is whether it's out there or not out there," said Bodack, who accused the media of "making too much" of council's spending practices."

2. "...Mr. Bodack also used $4,675 from the consulting fund to buy a photocopier for community group Lawrenceville United..."

WOW! That must be SOME copier! For that kind of money it should also function as a moped, coffee maker, blender, air conditioning unit & lawn mower.

"...(Bodack) could have tapped other city funds that are often used for community groups, he said. "I guess [the consulting fund] process was quicker than going through the neighborhood [funding] process."

Why did Len need to buy LU the copier so quickly? What kind of copying emergency was LU facing? Could its Exec. Director's organs have been in danger of shutting down b/c he couldn't do 2-sided copies with automatic stapling?

Color me curious.

Anonymous said...

It really looks like this "consulting money" is juat a way for council members to hire their friends who live outside the city and avoid the residency requirement.