Murphy’s Law

Last night KDKA TV aired an interview with Pittsburgh’s former Mayor which could best be described as a puff piece on economic development.

Too bad the reporter did not bother to ask the former Mayor about the true economic impact of spending all those tax dollars. Or about Lazarus, Lord and Taylor’s, etc. and the millions wasted by the Pittsburgh Development funds (proceeds from legalized slots are going to pay those loans off).

The ten years it took to field a winning baseball team is proof of how stupid the argument was to begin with. If the North Shore is so great, why is the City still hemorrhagingpopulation? Why are the schools so rotten and the City’s finances in shambles?

No net job growth for a decade and a hollowing out of the population of the key income earning groups. And a half billion dollars wasted on the Connector with all the lost economic activity resulting from the disruptions in constructing it.

The former Mayor lied about the threat of the Pirates leaving in 1997-98 to get the stadium built and then ignored the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the voters. His legacy can be found in the fact the City is under the financial supervisionof two state appointed watchdogs. Sadly, they have not done a very good job, but they are still here and are likely to remain so for a long time. Pittsburgh does not have the money to pave its streets. How’s that for a legacy?

The former Mayor is the epitome of what is wrong with egomaniacs who have political power. Enough is never enough for these people.

Pittsburgh School District Builds “Crown Jewel” School

City school officials are all gaga over the impending $14 million renovation of Northview Accelerated Learning Academy. The Northview Heights elementary school will incorporate a bunch of "green" innovations such as geothermal power and energy efficient lighting. Gushed the school district architect, "When we are done, this will be the premier elementary school in the City."

Unfortunately, there was no discussion about how going green, being so politically correct in construction and spending $14 million will translate into educational performance.

Would it not be much more desirable for the school district to just once hold a press conference and announce that 90 percent of 3rd, 8th, and 11th graders in the City schools had demonstrated grade level proficiency in math and reading?

The true test of the whether the $14 million spent on the school is a good investment will depend on the ability of the school to enhance student performance of the students over time. Otherwise, this crowing about the wonderful "green" school is nothing more than window dressing designed to divert the public’s attention from the enormous amount of money being spent per student and the very poor academic performance in many City schools.

A real crown jewel school has students demonstrating superior academic performance. We must stay focused on the real issues and that is not school architecture or heating systems.