Sunday, April 26, 2009

North Side meets the Great White North

Again Jim R. caught some news of note from our neighbors to the north. From the Hamilton (Ontario) Spectator eh. See their column from yesterday: How Pittsburgh's pain can heal Hamilton. Which is a follow up to a story a few weeks ago covering a trip by former mayor Tom Murphy: Lesson our politicians can learn from Buffalo: Don't do what we did.

But beyond the general economic interest in the stories, the more recent story starts out with a fairly amazing quote from the former mayor. Any local political observer who remembers the Murphy years will want to take a look. Just by pointing that out I worry I may drive regular commenter "MH" here into some form of apoplectic shock along with a few others in town I know. I admit to being a little speechless myself in reaction to that quote.

Nonetheless, I stand by my past suggestion that at the very least the Hot Metal Bridge ought to be named for the former mayor. Still may need some time to heal old wounds before that goes very far.


Anonymous MH said...

I'm sure people who moved here before 2003 have a more complex view of Murphy. But, even people with dubious mortgage brokers had more time after buying a house before their costs went up than we did after buying ours (appealed property taxes, plus hiked parking tax). Also, that was the year they pretty much didn't fill a pothole.

But, it was certainly a learning experience. What I learned:

1. Take a worst case scenario, add $600 a month to it and be ready for that.

2. If you are dealing with a city employee who sits at a desk, assume an adversarial stance.

3. Never be without a four wheel drive vehicle in Pittsburgh in the winter.

Learning these quickly was a real time saver.

Saturday, April 25, 2009 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Infinonymous said...

I not only endorse the idea of renaming a bridge for Tom Murphy, but I also believe we should do it promptly -- and I have just the bridge for the job.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I think we have been over this in the past. Wasn't it the school district and not the city that was working hard to appeal values upward in 2003. The city's involvement was probably just pro-forma being listed in the filings, but it was likely the work of the school districts attorneys. I really doubt the city solicitors were involved at all except in some very rare sitations that were not residential.

I also wonder a bit if your situation involved the elimination of the split tax which is what really provoked the largest ire at the time. If true, that is another case of poor Tom being blamed for everything bad. Who was it that really pushed the elimination of the split tax?

Nontheless, obviously a lot of anger toward Tom M. and he clearly is responsible for a lot of it. I figure that anger must extend into some of his past supporters. How much did he first win office by. I think it was 76-25 (that's from memory, somebody have the exact number?) over Jack Wagner or something like that. Lots of lessons in that result. One of which is what it says about a relative outsider being able to win, and win bit at that. At the same time there is clearly life after an election blowout with Jack Wagner the talk of both Governor and Senate elections coming up.

But I really do have some sympathy for Tom M. in that he learned early on that the fiscal condition of the city was far far worse than had been reported until just before he was elected .... consider this little snippet of news from just before Tom M. was elected mayor.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 8:13:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

I am not a fan of the school board either. The last I heard, they were spending like $18k a kid, which is almost enough to close PPS and send everybody to Shady Side academy.

As for Murphy learning the city was in worse shape right before he was elected, that would be a bigger mitigating factor for someone who wasn't a three-term mayor.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TM likes conflict? Shocker.

Kind of funny how the article touts the success of a commuter tax ... Went from a whopping $10 to $54 a year. Oh, and by the way, didn't most other municipalities in the state quietly raise theirs at the same time after the legislation changed?

As for the reassessment increasing my taxes by 50% ... My overall mortgage payment is still way less (for more house) than friends in other cities.

Sure there were things of TM's I didn't support. But it's hard to argue that despite its problems, the city is way better off than it was 10-15 years ago.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 8:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy must be reading Null Space:

Sunday Forum: Man vs. machine
Pittsburgh needs a Sidewalk Savior to protect its pedestrians, says CHRIS ZURAWSKY
Sunday, September 07, 2008

"... In fact, I propose recognizing the father of the city's newfound love of biking -- former Mayor Tom Murphy -- by renaming the Hot Metal bike and pedestrian bridge in his honor."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

well.. if you read my earlier post you will see I specifically reference an anonymous commenter.... hmm...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 1:12:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

I'm in with a slight variation

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 4:55:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

that makes 3 supporters thus far.. gotta work on the other 311,215 folks in the city.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 5:12:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

I was trying to start a campaign to get the enormous pothole on Bates (by the Italian market) named after Luke, but they fixed it instead.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 7:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Murphy had his faults but was ambitious and was/is under-appreciated. time and perspective will only improve his legacy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 1:48:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

"...time and perspective will only improve his legacy!"

Unfortunately, I'm guessing that by the time Luke is done, you'll be right.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 3:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Russell said...

More Mayor Murphy in the press:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 10:18:00 PM  

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