Friday, March 14, 2014

To vote, or not to vote

While I have to admit I do not have a definitive opinion on what is 'best' all around on this question of residency requirements for city workers, I am rather perplexed that a piece of city code can be thrown out merely by the fiat of a labor arbitration.  I must be missing something.

This goes beyond some century old piece of city administrative ephemera of course. There was this city referendum just a few months ago that set in stone Belgian block the longstanding requirement.  It passed overwhelmingly, with just under 80 percent of the vote, making it far more popular than even the library tax recently enacted within the city.

I am not sure this was ever parsed publicly, but if you go look at the referendum results by ward you get the following. Basically it was without opposition most anywhere with 'yes' votes ranging from a low of 72.6% to a high of over 90%.

I think the bigger question here is why the public so wants what the actual workers so oppose.  Just take a look at the results by ward:


Ward Yes No
1 90 28 76.3%
2 230 59 79.6%
3 236 38 86.1%
4 973 234 80.6%
5 597 103 85.3%
6 568 124 82.1%
7 1092 370 74.7%
8 1143 324 77.9%
9 1003 222 81.9%
10 1927 454 80.9%
11 1707 366 82.3%
12 680 82 89.2%
13 840 131 86.5%
14 4863 1439 77.2%
15 1509 340 81.6%
16 637 150 80.9%
17 514 125 80.4%
18 633 136 82.3%
19 3052 835 78.5%
20 1423 409 77.7%
21 318 34 90.3%
22 302 56 84.4%
23 246 43 85.1%
24 376 124 75.2%
25 306 55 84.8%
26 1026 258 79.9%
27 1228 332 78.7%
28 1026 348 74.7%
29 983 263 78.9%
30 283 58 83.0%
31 569 215 72.6%
32 687 246 73.6%

14 Comments:

Anonymous marketdiamond said...

“Judicial activists are nothing short of radicals in robes--contemptuous of the rule of law, subverting the [vote of the people] at will, and using their public trust to impose their policy preferences on society. In fact, no radical political movement has been more effective in undermining our system of government than the judiciary." -fellow Pennsylvanian Mark Levin

Or in short "Welcome to the party, pal." -John McClane

California, Arizona, and other governments get their "vote" overturned all the time.

Friday, March 14, 2014 5:03:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

This isn't a real judge.

Friday, March 14, 2014 5:15:00 PM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

Who said these 3 were MH? No need for "real" ones in order to effect change, despite what one calls this panel. Everything from the PG to NS is concerned, & just like a "real" one your only option is to "appeal".

Friday, March 14, 2014 5:27:00 PM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

It'd be very cool if all those voters now channeled their energy into consolidating the city with the county, probably Butler, Washington, Beaver and Westmoreland counties to in some fashion. Then all of a sudden a 25 mile radius IS the city of Pittsburgh. Otherwise some rich attorneys are gonna make a bundle appealing this & probably losing again in 2-3 years.

Friday, March 14, 2014 5:42:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Not a completely separate issue - the search for a Public Safety selection is constrained by adhering to the same policy.

Friday, March 14, 2014 8:33:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Also, I'm not bright enough to grok the headline. Would you help a fellow out?

Friday, March 14, 2014 8:34:00 PM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

@Vannevar:

This what your thinking of?

If Pittsburgh annexed Rodriguez's suburban boro then problem solved!

Friday, March 14, 2014 8:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan Romanus said...

If they annexed the first inner ring of the suburbs, this probably wouldn't be an issue.

Friday, March 14, 2014 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

My father, in fact, was a cop and for years we lived in the city (NYC) because of residency requirements. The rule changed and we moved out to the burbs, which was a great thing for us.

I see both sides of this.

One problem standing in the way of the reasonable, intermediate solutions are: a lot of people don't have a good view of Pgh Police. They treat the citizens as lesser beings. Not a lot of professionalism, more an occupying force.

So when the population has a bad feel about the PD, they're not going to tolerate them living in the suburbs and then treating city residents like "the population".

We keep having Jordan Miles, and kids beat up because the Lt. wasn't sure they were old enough to be smoking cigarettes, and you're not going to find the goodwill required for the change.

Which is a shame - because Pgh PD needs outsiders, non-Yinzers. We need a police chief like Michael Ameri from Brooklyn's 78th, or Ken Lay from Australia. We need a world-class PC.

But if they can't get Ameri or K.Lay, and they have to pick from within, I hope they pick Commander Rashall Brackney. I'm impressed with her.

Friday, March 14, 2014 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Lots going on here....

But just to be clear, this was just an arbitrator in a contract negotiation. This was not a judge ruling the residency requirement violated the officers' civil rights and issuing a ruling deeming it unconstitutional or something anything close to that. If this is valid, could the arbitrator have hypothetically ruled the CPRB must be disbanded if it had been a item brought up n negotiation? I don't see why not. So this is not a case of judicial activism in any sense, at least not yet.

I am not sure the inner rings would be enough to make anyone happy in this case. Note the 25 miles now at issue go far far beyond that. Wouldn't address the MR issue either I suspect.

Note also and again, this was a negotiation with the police union for the workers covered by their contract. Even if left standing, the ruling can't possibly apply to all other city workers can it? So it would not apply to the next public safety director would it?

the question of suing is another question. Let's say city lets this stand despite the referendum results and does not try to appeal it even. Standing is always murky in cases like this yes (legal beagles?) Could a citizen sue to keep the referendum binding?

VB: Does everything have to have a higher meaning? That is the question.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 7:24:00 AM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Thanks, BurghBard! it is curious how the election presents a parallel constraint probably not affected by the contract negotiation. Is this an example of nimble timely election-based response?

Makes me wonder, how widely could a govt (generically, not Pgh) outflank labor law and legacy deals by continually passing onerous legislation? Oh yea, Gov. Walker. Nevermind.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 7:41:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

To acknowledge one argument before our legal friends chime in possibly. I guess the question is whether Act 111 gives labor arbitrators plenipotentiary power to ignore all laws passed by cities with home rule charters in place. Makes for a case in Commonwealth Court at the very least.

VB.. methinks you got it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 8:22:00 AM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

To the mantra about parsing the difference between this panel of mediators vs. things like Article V judges, magistrates, administrative law judges, agency rulings etc.

The effect on the common citizen is not any different (and if it was substantially different then why all the press coverage of the "decision"), and the legal remedies of either going around the ruling by in this case annexing suburbs or launching a possibly multi-year tax-payer funded "appeal" are exactly the same as if an Article V judge handed down this opinion.

By chance has anyone checked out this 25 year old article on Campbell & Skonier's CV? Acknowledgement that there is heated debate in the ivory towers of the legal community over this the last few decades but my comments earlier in this thread stand. People may parse "judge" but this 3 person panel has the same binding legal effect as if it came from any courthouse on Grant Street, with the same dire financial & time commitment to challenge it. Yet another example of popular votes being overruled but the good news is that unlike California, Arizona et. al. Pittsburgh can theoretically expand into a radius of something close to 25 miles without action by Congress lol.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 2:22:00 PM  
Anonymous marketdiamond said...

Article III judge lol (saturday morning cartoons will destroy your brain), oh and not "mediators" lol.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 4:24:00 PM  

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