Thursday, July 30, 2009

Water And Sewer Board Meets Friday Morning

Although the website indicates the meeting occurred on July 24, I have been told the board of the Pittsburgh Water Sewer Authority will meet, beginning at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, at the PWSA offices along Penn Avenue.

This appears to be the final meeting scheduled before September 11, which bolsters the stories emanating from various corners of city and county government that indicate the mayor wants to ram through a resolution of the Iron City Brewing lien/payback issues. There may be a spanner in the works, however.

In one corner, carrying water for the company that abandoned the city after taking millions in handouts from taxpayers, is the Ravenstahl administration. The boy mayor is said to be pressing hard to clear the liens and let the defaulting, departing, out-of-towners at Iron City off the hook. Why?

In the other corner, pushing for at least $1 million in repayments of water and sewer bills (at least, that's his current position -- I suspect that in the end he is going to push for a bigger recovery) is council member Patrick Dowd. Why? The brewery is in his district, which means the jobs shredded by the liars at Iron City (with indispensable and inexplicable help from from the Ravenstahl administration) were located in his district. Dr. Dowd appears be trying to prevent a massive abuse of taxpayers.

The mayor has several puppets -- Scott Kunka, Dan Deasy, Margaret Lanier -- on the board, but perhaps not enough to overcome the apparent strength of Dowd's position (why, exactly, should city ratepayers give a dime to people who fleeced and abandoned the city??). Don Walko, chair of the board, has made some interesting recent noises that appear to support Dowd's inquiries. Robert Jablonowski, vice-chair, was a close friend of former Mayor Bob O'Connor and has no apparent connection to the boy mayor. Henry Blum is a union liaison with a Mellon Arena background. Who knows? Maybe one or two members are familiar with the term "fiduciary duty"!

If nothing else, I expect Dowd to shine a needed spotlight on some financial dealings that make no apparent sense (and, apparently, some shaky legal issues). The amount at stake for the public approximates $4 million.

My predictions:

> two-paragraph blurb, at most, in the Trib (which outdid itself with the Heather Bresch promotion story that mentioned neither her illusory degree nor the current, stock-roiling FDA scandal), with no mention of the Iron City angle

> six-paragraph summary in the Post-Gazette, a bare-bones recounting of votes and reports with no context

> an extensive report at The Comet

Those willing to forecast the degree to which the public will be abused should check the Propositions Board; new odds posted.


Bram Reichbaum said...

Give me 5 pocarobas on IRON CITY/PWSA PAYBACK, >750,000 presently at 3-1.

And give me 2 pocarobas on Steve Kaufman at 7-2.

Infinonymous said...

Action, on both counts.

If the beer bet is based on a genuine doubt about the mayor carrying Iron City's pail, I mark it a bad bet. Go back to how Zober and Ravenstahl forced these owners down the PWSA's throat in the bankruptcy. Then check the docs (and the lack of docs) on how the administration let Iron City skate on investments required but never made. If still not persuaded, nose into the reason the mayor (Zober, technically) replaced PWSA's solicitor.

I, too, like Kaufman, but I still think the easiest money on the board is betting on the Nuttings to field hapless, profitable ballclubs.

Bram Reichbaum said...

If it's still open, give me 2 pocarobas on IRONCITY/PWSA PAYBACK, City Sues at 9-1.