Saturday, January 1, 2011

Unsolicited Advice Series: InsolvenCity Council

It is understandable that councilors and their attendants seem haggard this morning, after an extended period of wrangling and hand-wringing capped by a year-ending legislativaganza featuring cooperative vetoes, expedited overrides and enough sleight-of-cash to make the Great and Powerful Oz take notes.

So, enjoy a well-deserved weekend of recovery, and accept the gratitude warranted by your refusal to mortgage the city's valuables, on loan-shark terms, to an unsavory collection of pinstriped privateers, greedy List-Makers and low-grade political lackeys.

Until Monday, when it becomes time to begin to attempt to resolve InsolvenCity's pension mess.

This task will require reason, insight, information and deliberation, not another extended session of charades culminating in a last-minute circus. Any successful resolution would be likely to involve statutory revisions; overdue overhaul of pension terms; genuine financial pain; political courage (and, perhaps, a casualty or two); painful compromise with creditors; and resistance to the temptations that corrode lesser public officials.

To succeed, council will need able advisors (including independent legal counsel, which should be arranged before January concludes, and volunteers drawn from the altruistic among the region's financial and legal experts), effective emissaries (especially with respect to Republicans in state government), and a reliable majority (supermajority, ideally). To have a chance to succeed, council must disclaim any sense that anything durable or effective was accomplished on New Year's Eve.

The mayor, and the powerful financial and political forces that rely on him, have not surrendered; too much cash is still at stake in a once-in-a-generation skim play. That will complicate the problem. But a council majority has held together thus far -- with few resources, against formidable forces and odds -- and safeguarded the public interest.

You can do it. So do it. Starting Monday. Until then, enjoy the weekend!

Infinonytune: Eminence Front, The Who
Infinonytune: The Long Run, The Eagles


MH said...

You're either a starry-eyed optimist underneath a cynical exterior or still drunk.

MH said...

If the latter, drink a bunch of juice right now, don't eat too much greasy stuff, and don't drink much tonight. You'll feel O.K. by this time tomorrow.

Infinonymous said...

We were half-drunk last night. The half-sober part is responsible for today's content. (The half-drunk part may still be sleeping it off.)

PK said...

If Council doesn't find the cojones to begin building the necessary bridges to Harrisburg and fixing the structural problems of the pension laws, we're doomed...doomed I say.

I don't see that initiative coming from the mayor, or Joey King, or anyone else with a vested interest. As you note, they have too much already rigged in their favor.

And how apropos that on the cusp of the Winter Classic, the game many have so longed for this's nearly 60 degrees and raining.

Anonymous said...

"political courage (and, perhaps, a casualty or two)"

I can stop you right there.