Paul Ryan in Pittsburgh Tomorrow

October 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm Comments (0)

Paul Ryan in Pittsburgh on Tuesday

Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan will be in Carnegie, on Tuesday, August 21. His stop in Carnegie, or, as Joe Biden would say, Los Angeles, is open to the public.

Doors open at 9:00 am, and the event is free. Register here for your tickets.

Incidentally, the Romney campaign is managing all their events through Eventbrite. You can purchase and reserve tickets online and they have an app for your iPhone.

August 19, 2012 at 10:04 am Comments (0)

Barbecue Ban in Bellevue

You cannot make this stuff up. Seriously.

Here’s Bellevue. It’s a little borough northwest of Pittsburgh. It’s one of those nice Western Pennsylvania towns where Grandma lives. It is also apparently a town where the Borough Council has lost their freaking minds. The Council voted to ban barbecue grills within five feet of homes, any combustible material, or property lines. Got a wooden deck? Then you’ll either have to move your grill or teach it how to levitate. Otherwise you’re a criminal.

Fortunately, Mayor George Doscher chose to veto it because apparently his head is screwed on straight. Good for him. Not to be outdone, though, the Bellevue Council doubled down and overrode the veto! I sure wish I lived in a town where safe barbecuing was the most pressing issue of the day.

Obviously this is another case of the nanny state intruding where it doesn’t belong and the residents of Bellevue are standing up to the tin-horn overlords who claim to be governing in the name of “common sense”. The mayor and Councilwoman Kathy Coder (who is also running for the State House and you should totally check out her website and throw some cash her way) led a good old-fashioned civil disobedience event by holding a still-legal-for-now cookout in front of the Borough Building. The mayor even wore a chef’s hat. Rock on, Your Honor.

It kills me to see jackassery like this on the part of elected officials, but I do have some hope when I see people like Mayor Doscher and Councilwoman Coder standing up for liberty. I’m always an optimist–maybe the people of Bellevue will figure out that they need to pay attention to whom they elect to run their town and maybe the voters of the 16th District will see fit to promote Kathy Coder to the State Legislature.

We can only hope.

July 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm Comments (0)

A Victory for the Free Market in Pittsburgh

The State Legislature has finally ended the union monopoly on transit in Allegheny County.

Legislation eliminating the state-mandated monopoly on transit services in Allegheny County is on its way to the governor for signature, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) announced today.

The legislation, House Bill 10, will allow private companies or other regional transit systems to deliver transportation services in Allegheny County, while still allowing the Port Authority of Allegheny County to provide services. Under current state law, the Port Authority has the exclusive rights over transit within the county.

By allowing other transportation agencies to offer services, the people will be far better served, Turzai said. Eliminating the transit monopoly is a win-win for taxpayers and transit riders.

For those of you who haven’t been following it, the Port Authority in Allegheny County is way broke. Not just financially, although it is truly screwed up in that respect, but they can’t even provide adequate service when they know they need to. It is still one of the most expensive transit systems in the country, is overly unionized, and, in generally, has long outlived its usefulness.

Maybe now we’ll be able to get a bus that goes where we want to for a price we’re willing to pay.

June 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm Comment (1)

Rumors and Innuendo in the Allegheny County Exec’s Race

There has been maddeningly little news on the race for Allegheny County Executive between D. Raja (R) and Rich Fitzgerald (D). That sort of thing has led political junkies like me to basically make stuff up, so I figured I’d pass along some rumors, innuendo, and outright fantasies regarding the race. Here at the watercooler, we all have the same monkey on our backs, whether you’re a blogger or a bloggee.

We have a total of one data point in the form of an independent poll from early October showing Fitzgerald ahead by only 10 points with 28 percent undecided. Rumor has it that after that poll came out, Raja’s consultants went into collective cardiac arrest and one or more of them started living at the campaign headquarters. That tells me that the poll results are real.

After that, the negative ads started hitting the airwaves, and Fitzgerald has, apparently, become increasingly unhinged. He’s attacking Raja’s campaign consultants. Really? That’s, um, not a sign of a healthy campaign.

Most strikingly, the Pennsylvania State Committee has gotten behind Raja. I just got two very nice pieces of literature in the mail this week, both of which were paid for by the State GOP. The State Committee is lots of things, but courageous isn’t really one of them. Well-funded is also not one of them. So if the State Committee is a) spending money on b) a “long-shot” candidate, it stands to reason that the candidate isn’t really a long shot.

And FWIW, I’ve also talked to some insiders who have confirmed that the race really is tight, and that the race is very winnable.

So there you have it–your fix for the day. If you’re in Allegheny County, get out and vote. This could be the upset of a lifetime.

November 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm Comment (1)

I’ll Show You Where You Can Stick Your Olive Branch

I’ve been blogging about the situation at W&K Steel for the past couple days, and it just keeps getting better and better. It’s turning into something straight out of Atlas Shrugged.

Now that Allegheny County Council President and union waterboy Rich Fitzgerald has been exposed in his attempt to smear W&K Steel as a “sweatshop”, he’s trying to cover his ass make reparations by offering a truce. The owners of W&K Steel told him to take a hike.

Owners of a Rankin metal fabricating plant rejected a peace offering by the Allegheny County councilman who accused them of running a “sweatshop.”

Shortly before announcing he wouldn’t try to overturn County Executive Dan Onorato’s veto of a bill designating W&K Steel a sweatshop, council President Rich Fitzgerald called the owners, Ed and Celeste Wilhelm.

Council passed the bill Tuesday. Onorato vetoed it Friday.

“He told Ed that he wanted to try to call a truce. Ed said, ‘No way. We’re not a sweatshop. What you did was wrong,'” Celeste Wilhelm said. “We didn’t start this fight, but we’ll see it through.”


You see, the way this is supposed to go is that W&K Steel is supposed to let Rich Fitzgerald off the hook now that he’s said he’s sorry. By doing that, though, they legitimize Fitzgerald’s actions. Ayn Rand called this “the sanction of the victim”, and Ed and Celeste Wilhelm are having none of it.

“This was trying to put the olive branch out,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve taken her up on her offer to (tour the factory). We’re giving them what they wanted. Now that’s not good enough.”

Fitzgerald noted council can still try to reimpose sanctions on the company, which would prevent it from doing business with the county. He said Thursday he wouldn’t try to override the veto because W&K was working to fix the issues that were the focus of a union-backed campaign against the firm.

“Rich has said things got better, things improved. Well, nothing has changed between Monday and (Thursday). We were never a sweatshop,” Wilhelm said. “For Mr. Fitzgerald to act as if he’s fixed something is just wrong.”

Celeste Wilhelm said she wants an apology and a retraction.

“We’re giving them what they wanted. Now that’s not good enough?” Seriously? So, under that logic, if someone holds a gun to your head but then eventually lets you go, you should feel grateful since you got what you wanted. Is that about right? Wait….yeah. Yeah, I think it is!

This whole thing reminds me of my nephew throwing a temper tantrum when his parents took his toys away. Of course he was six years old at the time, but the behavior is just about identical. Maybe Rich Fitzgerald, John DeFazio, and the other union lackeys on Council will stomp out of the room screaming “I hate you!” and make the picture complete.

As for the Wilhelms (they would be the adults in this story), good on you. Stick to your guns and do what’s right. You’re on the right side of history on this one.

February 19, 2011 at 11:26 am Comments (0)

Re: Government at Its Worst

It looks like the Allegheny County Council is backing off of its threat to smear W&K Steel as a “sweatshop”.

Two days after declaring a Rankin factory a “sweatshop,” Allegheny County Council Democrats announced they were backing down in the face of County Executive Dan Onorato’s threatened veto.

Council’s declaration barred the county from doing business with W&K Steel LLC and touched off criticism from people who said Democratic leaders pushed the bill through to please unions. W&K owners deny they’re running a sweatshop and said they’re considering legal action.

“After consulting with my colleagues on council, we have decided that we will allow the veto … to stand at this time,” council President Rich Fitzgerald said Thursday in a written release.

That last line could also read, “Never in a million years did I think we’d get caught doing this. We’ve been the handmaidens of Big Labor for so long that we never even imagined that there might be opposition to unethical and potentially illegal action on the behalf of fat cat union bosses.”

Make sure you read the whole thing. The frantic backpedaling is hilarious.

This is a huge victory for those of us who support entrepreneurship, capitalism, and transparent government. Let’s hope and pray for similar outcomes in Wisconsin, Ohio, and everywhere else that the left is on the march.

February 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm Comments (0)

Government at Its Worst

Consider for a second how outrageous something would have to be to earn that title given everything else that has been going on.

Done? OK.

The Allegheny County Council has declared W&K Steel a sweatshop. By which they mean non-union “sweatshop”.

Allegheny County Council declared a Rankin steel plant a “sweatshop” Tuesday night, the culmination of an 18-month union campaign against W&K Steel LLC.

The bill moves to County Executive Dan Onorato, who hasn’t decided whether to approve a designation that bars the nonunion company from county projects, county manager Jim Flynn said.

W&K Steel doesn’t have any county contracts. Council members said they were acting on accusations of low pay and unsafe working conditions.

“(Union organizers) would not be sitting there if something wasn’t going on,” Councilman James R. Ellenbogen, D-Banksville, said in announcing his support to an audience filled with union activists and company employees.

The something that’s going on is that W&K is one of the few steel fabrication companies that is non-union, and the County Council can’t have that. Not with USW bigwig John DeFazio and sundry other union butt-wipers on the Council.

Cooler heads may prevail, however:

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato on Wednesday rejected council’s declaration of a Rankin steel plant as a “sweatshop” as lawyers and labor experts criticized the label as a political ploy by Democratic council members and their union allies.

Or Council may elect to embrace the pain completely…

The bill’s lead sponsor, Council President Rich Fitzgerald, D-Squirrel Hill, plans to push for the 10 votes needed to override Onorato’s veto. W&K Steel officials have been slow to respond to union complaints, first lodged with council more than three months ago, he said.

What they don’t tell you is that Council had plenty of hearings about the charges but never informed W&K about them. Or that people were denied access to the plant because a busload of them showed up unannounced.

The fact of the matter is that Rankin ranks just behind Darfur in terms of economic prosperity. ANYTHING that brings jobs to the area should be embraced. Instead, we have governmental malfeasance chasing jobs away for the benefit of a few union bosses who want their payday. After something like this, no one should ever seriously question why Allegheny County can’t attract jobs, people, or investment.

February 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm Comment (1)

Raja for Exec

The race for Allegheny County Executive just got interesting. (h/t GrassrootsPA)

Mt. Lebanon Township Commissioner and businessman D. Raja is actively leaning toward a run for Allegheny County Executive.
According to a source close to Raja, he will likely announce his candidacy at a press conference next week. Raja confirmed to PoliticsPA that he is considering a campaign.


Born in Bangalore, India, Raja came to Pittsburgh in 1987 to pursue a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh. He later received an MBA with Honors from Carnegie Mellon. After graduation, Raja went to work for Lockheed Martin before co-founding CEI in the spare bedroom of his Pittsburgh townhouse in 1993. His company now employs more than 300 people.

The PAWaterCooler political report now rates this race as “tossup”.

February 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm Comments (0)

PA-39: It’s over

Levdansky concedes.

An attorney for state Rep. David Levdansky said Monday that he and his client won’t be challenging the results of the election in the 39th Legislative District.

But attorney Angelo Papa of New Castle said he has “concerns” about the lack of a paper trail on Pennsylvania’s touch-screen voting machines.

Their decision lets stand the victory of Levdansky’s Republican opponent, Rick Saccone of Elizabeth Township.

Saccone’s victory over Levdansky (I will never get tired of typing that) is the only Republican pick-up in Allegheny county and marks the first time a Republican has represented the district in at least 40 years. Most of all, it marks the end of the reign of a petty little tyrant who is the poster child for term limits.

Levdansky is (sorry–was) one of those politicians who thought nobody would figure out that what he did and what he said were two different things. Levdansky spent 26 trying to create a public persona, but his lies finally caught up to him. Here are some examples:

Myth: Levdansky supported gun rights.
Fact: He was supported by Ceasefire PA, voted against the Castle Doctrine, and flipped off members of Firearm Owners Against Crime from the floor of the House. He was also forcibly and physically removed from the clubhouse at the Clairton Sportsmen’s Club which is just…entertaining.

Myth: Levdansky was pro-life.
Fact: He was rated “pro-choice” by Planned Parenthood. How he ever thought he’d be able to keep us a charade like this is beyond me.

Myth: Levdansky was a “stand-up” guy.
Fact: His ex-wife got a restraining order against him because he was physically abusive. Note that I said “ex” wife.

It should be no surprise, then, that instead of doing the honorable thing and simply conceding the election on November 2 or shortly thereafter, Levdansky drug it out for nearly three weeks. It’s almost like he can’t let go or something. Either that or he’s a dishonorable SOB. Take your pick.

November 24, 2010 at 8:03 pm Comments (0)

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