Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Conveniently Forgetful Life Of Joanna Doven

With Luke Ravenstahl on a longshot Chinese takeout run, the task of braying dutifully as the Great InsolvenCity Parking Garage Sale is declared "dead" (and beyond "crazy math" resuscitation) has been entrusted to mayoral mouthpiece Joanna Doven, who warned today that "the clock is ticking."

Deadlines are tight, but the schedule was controlled by the Ravenstahl administration, which (1) spent the better part of a year hatching its privateering plan in secrecy and (2) secured an arrangement that prevented competing plans from being considered until the late-in-the-game unveiling of the mayor's proposal.

It's tough to take seriously complaints about a bad deal from people who stacked the deck.

Infinonytune: Already Gone, The Eagles


Bram Reichbaum said...

I'm loathe to pick a fight with you, but your (1) and your (2) just did not happen by any reasonable reckoning.

If it ever does become time to deliver post-mortems, the worst one can accuse them of is maybe (A) not soliciting / incorporating enough Councilpersonic input into the final lease parameters, (B) staying aloof from the political process instead of righteously greasing wheels + twisting arms sufficiently down the stretch and (C) championing an concept that is anathema to Pittsburgh's entrenched proclivities.

And (D) allowing the wrong (for him) candidates for Council to win races too consistently.

Infinonymous said...

Doesn't a calendar handle the reckoning concerning the first point?

Wasn't the second point publicly acknowledged?

Bram Reichbaum said...

(1) The broad strokes of the lease were discussed for a year or more. There was a first draft circulated months in advance, which was later amended. There was then a significantly transparent bidding process, allowing nothing can be completely conspiracy-theory proof. And then there were about six weeks scheduled to chew over the results. I see no evidence of undue secrecy or dawdling.

(2) Any other options might have been discussed whenever. In particular, nothing was preventing the State Takeover from being openly discussed earlier than just a week ago. What was requested to have been delayed was a valuation of the parking assets, so that the high bid wouldn't be depressed by say, $50 million. So in truth I see no reason why discussing a bond as well should have been off the table; I think the Council was using warnings over valuation discussions as an excuse.

If anyone used secrecy and the calendar to their advantage, it was / is the administration's opposition. If you're scoring this as a victory, it could turn out to be pyrrhic on multiple levels. We still need an intelligent, forward-thinking plan. Have a preference yet?

Anonymous said...

Given how long the parking lease deal has been a "known possibility", your claims that it was a plan hatched in secrecy is an overstatement and ignores posts you made earlier this year.

http://infinonymous.blogspot.com/2009/08/time-to-address-pittsburghs-pension.html (August 2009-- mention possible lease of garages on this blog)

http://infinonymous.blogspot.com/2010/01/luke-what-garage-lease-plan-lacks-in.html (10 months ago it was known the city of Pittsburgh was seeking outside legal counsel to help it with its plan)

http://infinonymous.blogspot.com/search?q=parking&updated-max=2010-08-23T08%3A08%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=20 (City Council members stated they wanted to conduct their own research in March)

Perhaps the mayor did not seek enough input from teh council, but the council could have been devising and researching alternative months ago.

Anonymous said...

What does it mean if the mayor's opponents used underhanded tricks to achieve their goals? Is it the Rebel Alliance beating the Empire at its own game to save the city? Is it chalked up to the cliche that all politicians are crooked? Or, does it fall into the grayer area of personal motives, allegiances and insider information?

Infinonymous said...

Most of the time (more than a year) available for consultation, investigation, collaboration and consideration was devoted to a one-sided project (proponents of a particular lease) that excluded other prospects and other people. The push toward a proposed lease was not secret; the identities, roles and interests of the people involved were, as was the polishing of a particular plan.

(By the way, weren't the relevant roles and interests -- who lobbied whom and on whose behalf, who stands to profit, etc. -- scheduled to have been disclosed by now?)

The privateers had superior resources, secrecy and control of the schedule on their side for most of the process. If the short fuse they once preferred has become a disadvantage -- because tables have turned -- it is difficult to feel sorry for those who measured and cut that fuse, is it not?

Bram Reichbaum said...

That parenthetical point is interesting -- though the degree of difficulty is high, because that legislation has never been invoked.

The other stuff -- I'm just not seeing it the way you do. The privateers had superior resources to what, Council members, so that means the administration exercised undue influence?

I'm still curious as to your educated take on the Laharridowdiak plan.

Anonymous said...

Rehashing the personalities, whether respect was shown, how and when info shared, personalities,etc etc is missing the point...point is the best plan-what is best for our City and our residents- & the lease was/is not it. A lot of work is left, wasting time on a bad deal for the City and will never get enough votes is wasting time we do not have. The Mayor etc will try to figure out how to get his result without Council's vote, investors will help Mayor while trying to figure out a way to stick us with some kind of bill(yes it's coming we have already been warned about millions), but Council members job now is work with the State, come up with solution that is fair to City residents and Pension Fund stakeholders. Time for all to stop wasting time on personal stuff, who treated who good or bad, old issues, there is no time for that now."Dead" is just telling it like it is. Now we have to figure out how it should be, we have seen Council members take votes with real courage on this. It will help if Mayor cooperates on Authority etc and is part of good faith-remember this is not personal- but, Council will have to make a choice whichever way it plays out.

None of this is meant at you Bram, I know you act in good faith,

Anonymous 3:02 said...

Anon 2:45
"Dead". Shouldn't you properly assess and compare the life raft you're being offered before you burn the old one?

What part of their actions were brave? Waiting until the opposition was on the other side of the planet? Quietly talking amongst themselves to make sure no one would have to stick their neck out alone? Declaring their opposition dead and themselves successful by default without a verified plan to be criticized?

Also, the "my constituents don't want this" argument is pretty weak considering no one ever wants to pay off a debt incurred by others.

Anonymous said...

Quit picking on Joanna. You got a bone to pick with Luke or Yarone, fine, be my guest but putting Joanna's name in every other headline is a chickenshit move.

Anonymous said...

You Are A Dick

Anonymous said...

Joanna is the mouthpiece...she's just as guilty.