Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Holding Hands

If I had any artistic ability, I would make this into a cartoon.   It is hard not to laugh when reading this recent filing in the court case forcing Allegheny County to complete the property reassessment that was supposed to be completed by now.   

The cartoon would have some set of county apparachiki sitting around a fire, slowly roasting a Vodou doll effigy of Judge Wettick pondering new and ever creative ways to torture him.   I guess it all is an improvement from days past when the Judge had to issue formal orders just to have the county officials show up in court.  Or even worse I suppose, the days when the assessor was told not to even read the Judge's edicts by unnamed superiors.

I still miss Ed Schoenenberger.  Since I can find Bernardo Katz a lot easier than I can find Ed these days, I am beginning to wonder if he even was real.   

Anyway..   since his honor is a pretty smart hardworking fellow by most accounts, I suspect he has a plan for the end game here.  The judge's standing in the legal world is about the only thing the Trib and PG agree on completely.  Will be interesting to watch the final countdown here.  For the judge who has never been overturned on appeal, he has to date been thwarted in getting the county to comply with his rulings.  Has the judge finally met his match?

The biggest irony in all of this: If you assume there will be an assessment in the end, the scorched earth strategy of the county intended to delay at any cost will only result in much higher assessed values for most property owners.  Allegheny County is one of a very few places in the country that has seen steady real estate price appreciation in recent years.   If the assessment had gone off years ago as the Judge would have liked, there is little doubt the average real estate values would have been lower than they will come out now.


Anonymous MH said...

I'm thinking of voting Fitzgerald just to see what happens.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 8:35:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I can't wait for the new millages based on the estimated aggregates to come out. It will be like putting the politics of all this in a food processor.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 2:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that the politicos have all bought in to the idea that you can't win at the ballot box and do a re-assessment. Jim Roddey lost because he was a republican running in Allegheny County against a likable enough democrat. Not because of the re-assessmnet. Onorato could have re-assesed and won agian just like Forster did but he was affraid of losing like Roddey. Fitzgerald seems as blinded by this as Onorato was.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 2:52:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

The one thing I say in favor of the raw political calculations is that people have a tendency to single-issue vote on blame a lot more than they single-issue vote on praise. So when you hand out a bunch of new tax bills, some higher and some lower, you may well get punished on net because the people blaming you for the higher bills will vote against you more reliably than the people who praise you for the lower bills will vote for you.

But again, once people have their new millages in hand, then a sense of entitlement will build among the winners and the escape routes for the politicians will close (hence why they are trying to avoid even getting that far).

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 3:03:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

What Brian said. Also, I would guess that Onorato has specific research on how much a reassessment would have hurt him. At the very least, it would have hurt fund raising. I agree with Anon that he almost certainly could have kept County Exec, but he had bigger goals.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 3:12:00 PM  
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