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December 23, 2018

One Pgh : On Thin Ice

If you want change, it takes money. If you're a mayor who wants change, it usually takes a new packaged funding stream. In the hands of the right mayor with a good arrangement, it can be effective. Otherwise it can be a slush fund.

WESA lays out a sloppy start with their reporting, Peduto’s OnePGH Aims To Address Pittsburgh's Problems. So Far It Hasn’t Solved Its Own.

I think "thin ice" is the perfect visual for OnePgh. All the beneficiaries of the status quo - the Foundations, Private Sector, Developers and Non-Profits (CMU, Pitt, UPMC) are represented. They don't seem to know much about it, and haven't condescended to any funding. None of the challengers to the status-quo are represented.

Peduto's program does seem to conflate "resilience" with unity and social justice. There's a lot of marketplace talk in the program, and not much social justice. They talk about workforce but not about population.

It's probably not coincidental that this initiative surfaces after the Mayor and Council have implemented a scheme of approving some citizen orgs and disapproving others; you have to be on the right list to deserve attention. OnePgh is a power play, a money play, and a control play for Peduto's next wave.

The Payments-In-Lieu-Of scheme is difficult but can be a mayor's fantasy if the money appears. Usually, a mayor with a Program writes up the proposal and the budget and submits it to City Council. It's fairly transparent and the people's representatives get a voice. But with OnePgh, there is no accountability or transparency; there's no legislative review or approval. It's just a bag of money coming in and going out.

Finally, we note the program name, One Pgh, seems like a response to the critique of there being Two Pittsburghs. I don't see much in this new program that's going to heal Pittsburgh. Maybe that would be a better name for a better program: Heal Pittsburgh.

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