As of today, the available evidence indicates that three -- of an ostensibly required five -- city councilors intend to vote for the Great InsolvenCity Parking Garage Sale.
The three in-the-bag councilors -- Lavelle, Smith, Burgess -- have little to no influence over their colleagues. (Patrick Dowd has exhibited minor, tentative movement toward an alliance with Rev. Burgess with respect to certain issues but evinces no respect for Rev. Burgess' thinking or position on the parking transaction.)
That leaves three potential persuaders -- the mayor's office, the privateers and the public -- and six candidates for two votes. Four members of council -- Shields, Peduto, Kraus and Rudiak -- dislike or despise the mayor, for varying reasons and in varying degree. Patrick Dowd has moved from shouting details of the mayor's corruption on streetcorners to merely thinking the mayor a dullard controlled by objectionable puppeteers. Council President Darlene Harris doesn't dislike the mayor but is a fan of neither the mayor nor the proposed transaction.
Several councilors have been angered by the city administration's failure to seek an accommodation from Harrisburg that would enable the city to defuse the "it may be ugly, but it's the last chance to avert doomsday" deadline that appears to be the bulk of the privateers' argument. Several people -- in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg -- have expressed astonishment that a plea from InsolvenCity for reprieve was not advanced during Tuesday's legislative caucus meetings in Harrisburg. Pile that focused anger atop the general (and deserved) disdain for the Ravenstahl administration and it becomes difficult to see Luke or Yarone or John or Bill or anyone else persuading any councilor to vote to unleash parking hell.
As more details of the winning bid -- how rules were bent, which List-Makers are involved in lobbying and skimming -- emerge, the privateers are likely to become even less attractive to the skeptical councilors.
Public voices? City residents are demonstrably incapable of recognizing a logical argument, let alone advancing one, and emerging evidence that the Post-Gazette takes advice from a cog in the parking deal wheel should render the editorial page even more impotent than usual.
How, then, do the privateers secure the Dowd and Harris votes?
If an answer exists -- a seemingly big "if" -- it likely begins with a dollar sign.
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