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September 19, 2009

Flanagan's Folly and Open G20 Questions

I'd like to repeat some value-added content from an earlier blog post. This does not mean that I'm embracing content recycling, or that I'm looking for an easy blog post; it's just that the questions remain open.

These questions matter (to me) because in a democracy, government action doesn't just appear from the heavens as a fait accompli. Decisions are made by elected officials, and implemented by careerists. Nobody shuts down a city without the people knowing who made that decision, and holding them accountable. That's the American way.

The alternative, where unidentified, unelected government agencies/ officials take unilateral action and impose their whims while the hoi polloi "Make the best of it", is totalitarianism. Seeking cover by hiding behind "G20 partnerships" and the Allegheny Conference is a sham.

Flanagan's Folly

Does anybody really believe this was Bill Flanagan's decision? Who voted for Bill Flanagan? What's his authority/ power base/ funding? Can he shut down streets when he wants to, because he thinks "earned media" is good for us?

Who is Bill Flanagan?
  • Executive Vice President for Corporate Relations at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development
  • Publisher of the Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership Web site
  • Host of Our Region’s Business, a Sunday-morning business affairs program co-produced by the Allegheny Conference and Cox Broadcasting
  • Chief Public Affairs Officer for the Pennsylvania Economy League--Western Division, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce
  • Executive Director of Pittsburgh 250 (the birthday party)

I understand that everybody needs their bowl of rice, but Mr. Flanagan's got some major action going on. He should be the focus of a future Rick Sebak video! Maybe he can get the bike trail completed at Sandcastle.

G20 Questions

I get that some details are tightly held for security reasons; none of these questions are security issues. It's too easy too hide behind "security" and "partnerships".
Philosophically, if we tolerate the (current) totalitarian approach and don't insist on democratic transparency and accountability, we're making the Anarchist's argument for them.

Here's my questions that I'd love to see answered, preferably before the G20:
  • Who actually said "yes" to having the G-20 in Pittsburgh? What elected official is responsible for bringing it here?

  • What elected official is responsible for public safety in the streets of Pittsburgh - is it Luke Ravenstahl (city), Dan Onorato (county), or Ed Rendell (state)?

  • Why is Pittsburgh planning on a much smaller police presence than either London or Italy used for their G-20 meetings this year? Who decided to adopt the Rumsfeld Doctrine downtown?

  • Was Pittsburgh the first city offered the G-20, or the eleventh?

  • Will the people/government that agreed to host the G-20 be responsible for the impact of their decision, and reimburse lost salary to low-income workers (voters) who lose days of paid work because of the security zone?

  • Post-G20 Follow-Ups: What actual work was done here, or was this just a photo-op? How many injured, dead, arrested? What's the economic impact of closing downtown? What's the loss of property and/or life in protests?

  • In the midst of a mayoral election campaign (which is supposedly not decided yet), why isn't there a significant discussion along these lines?


Toronto realtor said...

Well, I certainly cannot provide these questions with suitable answers but the thing that came into my mind was "when are not these questions implied?". I think the main reason of asking them is to find someone to blame for potential complications connected with organising such an event. I don't say I support the G20 group but conventions like this are being held all the time all over the world and every time it brings certain restrictions with it. Although I must agree that it doesn't have to interest the people who are restricted in various fields of their lives even though they are not connected anyhow to the event. Julie

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