Monday, May 18, 2009

Connecting The Depressing Dots

The Comet offers a worthy connect-the-dots exercise, addressing topics such as Don Walko's bizarre stewardship of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority; the California-based Forza Group's large, last-minute contributions to the campaign of a mayor of Pittsburgh (which, if I read the Comet's trail correctly, is even worse than I originally thought, because this isn't the first time it occurred); and a valiant effort to see the strings of the Tuesday puppet show (titled "Election Day") featuring Theresa Smith, Luke Ravenstahl, Anthony Coghill, Tonya Payne and Tony Ceoffe.

The water and sewer authority angle is pathetic. Mr. Walko -- apparently miffed that anyone would question the management of an authority that first allowed a politically connected customer to skate on bills for 10 years, creating a $4 million delinquency and then accepted a dime or two on the dollar, enabling other ratepayers to foot the remainder of the bill -- objects to the concept of a press conference that might illuminate the authority's current fiscal hijinks, which make the $4 million soaking seem like a drop rolling off a duck's back. Mr. Walko is a nice enough guy, as pawns go, but his description of the $46 million fund transfer demonstrates either a comprehensive lack of understanding of the situation or an equally thorough disdain for the audience's intelligence. Or, I suppose, it could be both.

The effort to discern among a handful of seemingly disparate campaigns a cohesive program, and to associate it with Dan Onorato's quest to reach Harrisburg, seems like a stretch. Except that it appears to be accurate. One could argue that some of the candidates might not be up to the task of orchestrating such an organized effort . . . but since when do the keys need to understand what the pianist is doing?

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