The Process of Planning Is NOT Fair, NOT Democratic and NOT Understood by MostThe South Side Forum, a facist organization, fails in the following test of political fairness.
This opinion is based upon first person observations by someone who has attended all the meetings since November.Furthermore, the proposed plans for UPMC to build a sports performance compound is not fair, not democratic, nor understood.
Three Tests of Political Fairness
- from Lani Guinier
- Does the system mobilize or discourage participation?
- Does the system encourage genuine debate or foster polarization?
- Does the system promise real inclusion or only token representation?
Vibrant Democracy Action Makes Us Great!Vibrant democracy action does not occur at the South Side Planning Forum. Other pages can discussion the merits and faults of that charter and their conscious districting, but for now, think of fascism in all mentions of seeing either the South Side Planning Forum and the LTV Steering Committee.
A system of government characterized by rigid one-party dictaorship, forcible suppression of opposition, private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism....
We need all voices to have a reasonable influence throughout the extended political process. There are many systems and schemes to choose among to insure that this occurs, and a strict consensus operation isn't among the suitable alternatives.
The planning process should reward and champion the highest and best use, rather than be a series of binary decisions that cause a regression to the mean or lowest-common denominator effect. With a consensus operation at the helm, our future is flat.
As is the present case, the South Side Planning Forum does not offer even a modest level of checked and balanced to the planning process. Rather, the URA, as a part of the executive structure (Mayor's Office), advances plans to the South Side Planning Forum, much like the President of the U.S. might advance plans to the Cabinet. The Cabinet is hand chosen. So too is the URA and in turn the South Side Planning Forum.
A body of official advisers to a president, king, governor, etc. In the U.S. comprised of the heads of the various governmental departments.
Cabinet members should agree with the executives and should work as a sounding board for fine-tuning ideas and policy decisions. Renegade cabinet members might hurt the administration, as there are times for agreement and times for democracy.
URA Official, but, but, but, but....A URA official, Jermoe Detore, was at the table with City Council on March 17 at a discussion session that was on the city cable network. He was present for a short discussion as City Council had just given a preliminary vote for the sale of the IBEW site.
The reading of the petitions that was a call from the citizens of Pittsburgh to hold a public hearing on this matter was made. Rightly so, the members of council quickly approved the matter. And, Mr. Detore said, "I'm not sure what this is all about."
He said, "But, we've been working with the South Side community."
"You want to have a public hearing?
"There will be a public hearing before the Planning Commission."
Dan Cohen (city council) said that this was a request of the citizens and City Council did not have any choice.
Meanwhile Jim Ferlo (city council) said that there will be plenty of Public Hearings on this matter.
Yes, the URA has been working with the South Side Planning Forum. Yes, the South Side Planning Forum has a LTV Steering Committee that has held a number of special meetings on this topic. Those meetings are important to the URA and help to uncover some additional information. But do not equate an approval by the South Side Planning Forum as any type of grass-roots approval by the citizens of the South Side. Their approval comes under a cloud of facist control.
Ignorance: The Most Dangerous AssumptionCity Council can not assume that the plans that advance out of the U.R.A. and are filtered by the South Side Planning Forum have any inkling of community-wide support. The Planning Forum's model of resentation is invalid and the Planning Forum's operational dignity confirms this bias.
The plans that advance out of the U.R.A. are bounced to a selected few in the neighborhood. The plans might get tweeked about, sorta like window dressings. Furthermore, the delivery of the plans to the selected few in the neighborhood gives the U.R.A., its developers and its partners ample opportunities to refine presentations and rehetoric.
The salesmanship is finly tuned, but the wolf is still under the nicly pressed sheep's clothing.
City Council can't shrug its duty to represent the people by bestowing false credtabilty on the flawed process.
The only governmental body to serve as a check to the planning process as instigated by the URA is City Council. This is a grave responsibility that needs to be realized. Do not think that the citizens of an area are in strong support or even of marginal support of what is being done by the URA because the local groups say its okay.
The local planning groups are really cabinet level supporters of the U.R.A. Nothing more.
It seems that the South Side Planning Forum can please only one entity per meeting each month. Citizens, this month is not yours. Next month isn't looking good either.
Needing a Planning Forum and a Steering Committee is like needing a parachute. If the outfit isn't there the first time its called upon, chances are people won't be needing those avenues again.
Smoothing the HarshnessTo be sure, the South Side Planning Forum does serve a purpose. The purpose is to be a sounding board to the URA. The purpose of the South Side Planning Forum is not to speak for the people. The purpose is not to prop up the creditability of the URA's plans in the mind's eye of City Council, the School Board, nor the County officials.
The South Side Planning Forum should go about its ways and should not be terminated. These good people do good work. Do not be fooled into thinking that this good work is anything close to good work based upon a democratic process.
Wrongly Named OrganizationsThe LTV Steering Committee might want to change its name, so as to not confuse additional people, to the LTV Back-seat Committee. The steering has ended.
More Input to ComeAs things progress, the sale of the properties to the respective developers from the URA is going to occur. At that time, there is ample opportunity to make sure that the design forum folks insure that colors of the curtins don't clash. That authority for after-sale conditions is questionable.
Haste Makes Waste --- Rushing!The urgency of the sale of properties on the South Side Works looms very large for a number of reasons. Urgent deadlines seem to be self-imposed places in time that are managed by strange forces in nature.
When it comes to hiring employees, the City of Pittsburgh lets its deadlines slip. The Mayor can't seem to hire a Fire Chief, week after week goes by and nothing happens. The hiring delays are unmatched only by the seemingly strong love for deadlines on development projects.
Ya gotta love the deadline mentality, especially the whooshing sound deadlines make as they go flying by.
In early Feb 99, UPMC started to move earth with the graders, on behalf of the URA, without closing the benefit of a signed deal.
Rushing Ahead While Looking BackwardsCommunity members need to get smart with our presentations about the South Side Sports Performance compound. Let's get smart and tell the world, the School Board, the City Council members, and the County officials as such. The Pitt leadership won't know otherwise. To explain Pitt's disregard to urban planning and its neighbors is epic. We could tell you everthing that has happened in Oakland, but your brain would explode.
There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a suitable application of high incentives for community access program facilities.
To champion community access goes way beyond program decisions. Facility requirements and constraints are important issues that need to be fully explored before the foundation gets laid in steel, brick and concrete.
The line-up of community facilities in Pittsburgh has a number of serious shortcommings. Our needs are grave in some areas. The specific areas of need are covered by other sections of this paper and are subect to some additional speculation.
Realize that 90% of all of C.M.U. graduates depart the Pittsburgh area upon graduation. That type of human-resource retention is unacceptable. Needs exist, undoubtably.
So, we're working among ourselves to prioritize and express various needs and concerns. We'll tell Pitt what is needed, and Pitt will tell us how to get along without it. Pitt has done this over and over again when it comes to employee fitness, recreation opportunities and other quality of life issues with structured community play -- things that need facilities.
Nursing School Fitness CenterA new fitness certer was built in the ground floor of the Pitt Nursing School. The clamor to get that facility built lasted for years before the space was found. The need still exists for 10 additional sites, just for students on campus. The need for 10 or more additional sites is also exploding with the faculty, staff and employess.
Pitt wants the community to accept that some days we're the pigeons, and some days we're the pigeon droppings.
I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little StarIn the fall of 1999, we'll take a walk along the river banks and looking up to the stars in the sky and think to ourselves, "Where in the heck are the stars?!" The flood of lights will wash-out the night sky.
In the fall of 2000, we'll be working out in the weight room, and looking up to push out some of the reps on the bench press and think to ourselves, "Where the heck is the ceiling?!"
UPMC officials boasted by saying, "Pitt turns off its lights at night. We don't run the lights in the parking lots." That comment was to sound sensative and very neighbor-friendly. Well, it might be in other places, like in Cannonsburg. Downtown goes to sleep at night too. The South Side isn't elsewhere. If UPMC comes to the South Side, there is a great chance that we'll want you to keep the lights of the parking lot ON at night. We use our spaces beyond the 9-5 business hours, as we live, play and work here. That is balance. --- My Reality Check bounced. --- On the keyboard of life, as we plan with UPMC, let's always keep one finger on the escape key. --- People in Pittsburgh don't suffer from stress, obesity, back aches, and other wellness issues. We're carriers. Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.