The rehab program is likely to be lengthy and difficult, but the City of Pittsburgh may be exhibiting the initial flickers of recognition that its prolonged financial bender may be near its end . . . or, at least, approaching the beginning of the end.
Not because Pittsburgh has decided to sober up, of course, but instead because adult supervision may be about to be imposed.
A period of petulance is to be expected. The pension board planted a lame press murmur about a lawsuit against the Commonwealth (sure to be every bit as helpful as Yarone Zober's recent public analysis of Tom Caltagirone's career). Firefighters union leader Joe King -- apparently answering a call for the 'absolutely last guy in town who ought to be yapping about grimy politics' -- is moaning about "how politics work." Mayor Ravenstahl, taking a cue from Zober's approach to city-state relations, is publicly asking local legislators, "Don't you represent us?"
The city is insolvent. It is dysfunctional. It has defied reason, actuarial principles, common sense and the self-preservation instinct for decades, squandering money, forgoing revenue and living far beyond its means while failing to fund important obligations. That trajectory is unsustainable. That it has been tolerated this long is madness. That the trajectory seems about to change seems a welcome, overdue development.
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