Sunday, February 14, 2010

follow those stories

first off:  Why does this picture look a lot worse than the local news has me expecting? That and I am sure we are now getting a lot less lake effect snow now that Lake Erie has frozen over.  and speaking of Pennsylvania snow, Philly seems to have done ok with dealing with the storms.  Reading more on Philly and snow I came across this article.  Who knew Brian O'Neill was a Philadelphia City Councilman?  He must travel across the state an awful lot??

PG posts a graphic from the Calculated Risk Blog comparing past US recessions to this one.  I have not updated it, but if you want to see the Pittsburgh perspective in the same type of graph, it was in this post last year.

Last week I mentioned the problem that snow days meant minimal, or no, Meals on Wheels for many seniors for an extended period last week...   I had not thought as much about the corollary impacting many kids who rely on food programs at their schools. See the AP writeup on that.

Trib has a story an the economic cost of the snow storm(s) here.  It comes in higher than the number I had here last week but the methodology is much the same.  I was figuring a city number, and looks like they were quoting a similar back of the envelope number from Professor Lave for the entire region.  The only difference between the two is that I'd quibble with the implicit assumption that the snow day had everything shut down at any point which I don't think is true.  But whichever numbers you look at, the 'cost' of being shut down is orders of magnitude higher than the $$ spent on dealing with the snow directly. In fact, if you take Professor Lave's numbers, the cost-benefit analysis would be an even stronger argument for doubling public expenditures for snow removal to minimize disruptions from this type of situation even if it only happened once a year. 

PG also looks at the impact of government fragmentation on how we dealt with the snow.  Just worth looking again at the graphic I had in the PG last month showing just how fragmented local government is... Talking about it, or seeing a few numbers just does not really show the situation.

PG also has an oped from Elsie Hillman and and David Roderick on their past report looking at the state of city's finances.  Over the years it has been a cottage industry to study the city's finances and a slew of past reports I try to keep compiled among the things I have online here fyi.

And the Pittsburgh Parking Chair gets a few more mentions out there including this in the Delware News Journal.

Up in Cleveland a story worth a read: Suburbs losing jobs faster than city of Cleveland, new data show.  Is that the situation here?

also from Cleveland and this is funny with a Pittsburgh reference to boot.  Read: For good or bad, Cleveland is among the most listed cities: Ted Diadiun

and finally... for now.  Inky writes of the dire state of Atlantic City casinos.  I'll add this in here since it kind of got lost in the snow-obsession last week.  Given that the Rivers Casino had to shut down entirely that Saturday and must have been hit by the bad weather the Friday before that, their revenues that week were nowhere near as bad as I expected.  Bad, mind you, but I expected a week worse than G20 for them and they came in a bit higher.  Really really bad numbers out at the Meadows casino though.  For both I do now believe they must be burning cash pretty quickly at anything near recent revenues.

finally finally.  After reading the last line:  Ouch.


Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

The Post-Gazette gets a little demented when the subject of the wired internet comes up. I don't think there's any help for it.

Do you really think the Rivers is "burning cash"?? I always figured at worst, the investors' profit margin would go down lower than they'd prefer. I wonder if Smokey Robinson or Jerome Bettis would have done a better job scurrying up business.

Sunday, February 14, 2010 2:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't see how you get "Philly did ok" from that article. Also if Luke could spend 10 mil or for that fact 3.5 mil for removal he would have looked good!

Sunday, February 14, 2010 6:27:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I can't see how you get "Philly did ok" from that article.

hmm. other than the headline that says 'Nutter gets high marks'.

Philly has 5 times population of Pittsburgh these days. So for a simple ratio that 10mil there would equate to 2mil here. Pittsburgh has already said they spent over a million on this. I would bet that the costs, if ever added up, comes to 2 mil or more. So the spending in itself is awfully comparable. We might wind up having spent more per capita I bet. I wonder what $ amount is being put forward to FEMA?

Not that simple of course... hills and all. But I think Philly got a whole lot more snow than we did over the last week and a half. That first storm we got 20-22 inches I read, they got 28 or more I read.   and then they got a much bigger whack the 2nd storm as well.

Makes me wonder which city spent per capita per inch of snow? We will never really be able to quantify that.

Sunday, February 14, 2010 7:06:00 PM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

A couple of things...

1. I couldn't help but notice on that recession graph that, from an employment standpoint, the U.S. took longer to recover from the 1990 and 2001 recessions than from any of the others. It makes me wonder in which decade the U.S. will fully recover from this one.

2. Philadelphia has flat land, wide boulevards and a perfect street grid. Pittsburgh is located within three ravines, and looks like a clusterf__k on a road map. That's probably why Philadelphia had their streets plowed better.

Monday, February 15, 2010 3:19:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

are they burning cash? read the news stories closely. They say directly they were spending down their reserves set aside for bond payments... and their revenues have only gone down since then. One story even pegged the first quarter for when they might run that reserve fund down. We are in middle of 1st quarter now right?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:54:00 AM  

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