The steep and winding road to a Wilkinsburg-Pittsburgh merger

Wilkinsburg

The news coverage on on how all this actually happens is scattered, so I hope I am piecing it together correctly:

It appears backers of an idea to merge Wilkinsburg into Pittsburgh[1] have secured the signatures needed[2] to put the proposal on the November ballot[3] if Pittsburgh’s City Council agrees.[4] Supporters can now ask the Court of Common Pleas to order Pittsburgh’s City Council to vote on whether to allow the ballot question to go forward.[5] Whether the Council would vote in favor is one question;[6] whether Wilkinsburg voters would support the idea is yet another.[7] Supporters claim that Wilkinsburg property taxes would go down;[8] Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto says that’s unclear and wants Wilkinsburg not to be a financial drain on the city.[9]

A lot of Wilkinsburg looks maybe a little worse than Pittsburgh’s nearby and distressed East Hills, Homewood, and Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar neighborhoods. It also includes a piece of the relatively prosperous Blackridge neighborhood and some middle class neighborhoods but my guess is this dies at the City Council because both Peduto and the Council are expressing concern about Wilkinsburg potentially being a drain on Pittsburgh’s finances,[10] which says to me that this is a real concern.

Jon Delano, “Wilkinsburg Moves Closer To A Vote On Merging With The City Of Pittsburgh,” KDKA-TV, June 28, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/06/28/wilkinsburg-potential-merging-with-pittsburgh/

Sheldon Ingram, “A lot needs to happen for Wilkinsburg to merge with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 29, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/a-lot-needs-to-happen-for-wilkinsburg-to-merge-with-pittsburgh/36880087


New York City

Um. Oops.


The narrative I’ve been hearing pretty clearly since the ranked-choice New York City mayoral primary is that Eric Adams, who had run on a “law and order” platform, was likely the winner. That might still be the case, but a botched count suggested that Kathryn Garcia had come close enough to make it really close.[11]


But that count included “test” ballots which should have been excluded from the official count. So we don’t fucking know. And I’m being gentle here: The city’s Board of Elections fails to inspire confidence.[12]

Maya Wiley, who finished second in the first choice count,[13] is reputedly the progressive candidate.

Joe Anuta and David Giambusso, “Latest New York mayoral count voided after ‘test’ ballots included in tally,” Politico, June 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/06/29/election-officials-void-latest-new-york-mayoral-count-after-including-test-results-in-tally-1387464


Contraception

Marisa Fernandez, “CDC: 30% of women at risk of pregnancy are not using contraceptives” Axios, June 30, 2021, https://www.axios.com/women-at-risk-pregnancy-not-birth-control-5a796ccb-8748-471d-8818-8ff428cab5e7.html


“Labor Shortage”

There’s a lot of evidence that unhappy workers are seeking greener pastures and a lot of evidence that employers are trying desperately to keep workers so desperate, in part by maintaining a pool of long-term unemployed, that they’ll work for nearly nothing,[14] but at the Wall Street Journal, Justin Lahart doesn’t want to hear any of it and instead focuses on lots of other reasons that employers may still be having difficulty hiring.[15]

Lahart is likely right that it isn’t any one factor.[16] But still, nobody will hire me,[17] which tells you all you need to know about the so-called “labor shortage.”[18]

Erica Pandey writes, “For the first time in decades, workers have the power to be choosy.”[19] And maybe that’s true, if you’re anyone other than me.[20]

Justin Lahart, “Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-are-hard-to-fill-and-ideology-makes-it-hard-to-understand-why-11625050801

Erica Pandey, “Why almost no one is looking hard for a job,” Axios, June 30, 2021, https://www.axios.com/unemployed-people-not-searching-jobs-115934de-9159-4e4a-abbd-436f51049ee7.html”


Donald Trump

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office charges are only one part[21] of a somewhat larger picture.[22]

Erica Orden, Kara Scannell and Sonia Moghe, “Manhattan grand jury indicts Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg, sources say,” CNN, June 30, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/politics/trump-organization-charges/index.html

Corinne Ramey, “Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg Expected to Be Charged Thursday,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-organization-and-cfo-allen-weisselberg-expected-to-be-charged-thursday-11625060765


Bill Cosby

My contempt for this ruling and a system that could produce it knows no bounds:

[T]he Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that Dist. Atty. Kevin Steele, who made the decision to prosecute Cosby, was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise not to charge the entertainer. There was no evidence that promise was ever put in writing.

Justice David Wecht, writing for a split court, said Cosby had relied on the former district attorney’s decision not to charge him when the comedian gave his potentially incriminating testimony in Constand’s civil case.

The court called Cosby’s arrest “an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was forgone for more than a decade.”[23]

MaryClaire Dale, “Bill Cosby freed from prison after court overturns sex assault conviction,” Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-06-30/bill-cosby-sex-assault-conviction-overturned


Pandemic

Don Sweeney and Katie Camero, “Face masks not necessary in US to curb Delta variant, CDC chief says,” Sacramento Bee, June 30, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article252469793.html


  1. [1]Paul Van Osdol, “Wilkinsburg mayor backs merger with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 18, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/wilkinsburg-merger-with-pittsburgh-proposed/36768006; Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  2. [2]Jon Delano, “Wilkinsburg Moves Closer To A Vote On Merging With The City Of Pittsburgh,” KDKA-TV, June 28, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/06/28/wilkinsburg-potential-merging-with-pittsburgh/
  3. [3]Paul Van Osdol, “Wilkinsburg mayor backs merger with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 18, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/wilkinsburg-merger-with-pittsburgh-proposed/36768006
  4. [4]Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  5. [5]Jon Delano, “Wilkinsburg Moves Closer To A Vote On Merging With The City Of Pittsburgh,” KDKA-TV, June 28, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/06/28/wilkinsburg-potential-merging-with-pittsburgh/
  6. [6]Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  7. [7]Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  8. [8]Paul Van Osdol, “Wilkinsburg mayor backs merger with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 18, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/wilkinsburg-merger-with-pittsburgh-proposed/36768006; Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  9. [9]Sheldon Ingram, “A lot needs to happen for Wilkinsburg to merge with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 29, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/a-lot-needs-to-happen-for-wilkinsburg-to-merge-with-pittsburgh/36880087
  10. [10]Sheldon Ingram, “A lot needs to happen for Wilkinsburg to merge with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 29, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/a-lot-needs-to-happen-for-wilkinsburg-to-merge-with-pittsburgh/36880087; Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  11. [11]Joe Anuta and David Giambusso, “Latest New York mayoral count voided after ‘test’ ballots included in tally,” Politico, June 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/06/29/election-officials-void-latest-new-york-mayoral-count-after-including-test-results-in-tally-1387464
  12. [12]Joe Anuta and David Giambusso, “Latest New York mayoral count voided after ‘test’ ballots included in tally,” Politico, June 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/06/29/election-officials-void-latest-new-york-mayoral-count-after-including-test-results-in-tally-1387464
  13. [13]Joe Anuta and David Giambusso, “Latest New York mayoral count voided after ‘test’ ballots included in tally,” Politico, June 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/06/29/election-officials-void-latest-new-york-mayoral-count-after-including-test-results-in-tally-1387464
  14. [14]Abha Bhattarai, “Retail workers are quitting at record rates for higher-paying work: ‘My life isn’t worth a dead-end job,’” Washington Post, June 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/06/21/retail-workers-quitting-jobs/; Stephanie Kelton, The Deficit Myth (New York: Public Affairs, 2021); Eric Levitz, “Letting the Economy Create Jobs for Everyone Is (Sadly) Radical,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/biden-full-employment-policy-labor-shortage-inflation.html; Heather Long, “It’s not a ‘labor shortage.’ It’s a great reassessment of work in America,” Washington Post, May 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/05/07/jobs-report-labor-shortage-analysis/; Greg Rosalsky, “Is There Really A Truck Driver Shortage?” National Public Radio, May 25, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2021/05/25/999784202/is-there-really-a-truck-driver-shortage; Eli Rosenberg, “These businesses found a way around the worker shortage: Raising wages to $15 an hour or more,” Washington Post, June 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/06/10/worker-shortage-raising-wages/; Jon Schwarz, “The Business Class Has Been Fearmongering About Worker Shortages for Centuries,” Intercept, May 7, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/05/07/worker-shortage-slavery-capitalism/
  15. [15]Justin Lahart, “Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-are-hard-to-fill-and-ideology-makes-it-hard-to-understand-why-11625050801
  16. [16]Justin Lahart, “Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-are-hard-to-fill-and-ideology-makes-it-hard-to-understand-why-11625050801
  17. [17]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  18. [18]David Benfell, “About that alleged ‘labor shortage,’” Not Housebroken, June 10, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/05/09/about-that-alleged-labor-shortage/
  19. [19]Erica Pandey, “Why almost no one is looking hard for a job,” Axios, June 30, 2021, https://www.axios.com/unemployed-people-not-searching-jobs-115934de-9159-4e4a-abbd-436f51049ee7.html”
  20. [20]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  21. [21]Erica Orden, Kara Scannell and Sonia Moghe, “Manhattan grand jury indicts Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg, sources say,” CNN, June 30, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/politics/trump-organization-charges/index.html; Corinne Ramey, “Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg Expected to Be Charged Thursday,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-organization-and-cfo-allen-weisselberg-expected-to-be-charged-thursday-11625060765
  22. [22]Dan Alexander, “Trump Will Have $900 Million Of Loans Coming Due In His Second Term If He’s Reelected,” Forbes, October 19, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2020/10/19/trump-will-have-900-million-of-loans-coming-due-in-his-second-term-if-hes-reelected/; Devlin Barrett, “Trump’s remarks before Capitol riot may be investigated, says acting U.S. attorney in D.C.,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/federal-investigation-capitol-riot-trump/2021/01/07/178d71ac-512c-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html; George T. Conway, III, “Donald Trump’s new reality,” Washington Post, January 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/22/trump-charges-george-conway/; Jane Mayer, “Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose,” New Yorker, November 1, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/09/why-trump-cant-afford-to-lose; Andrew G. McCabe and David C. Williams, “Trump’s New Criminal Problem,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/trumps-new-criminal-problem-457298
  23. [23]MaryClaire Dale, “Bill Cosby freed from prison after court overturns sex assault conviction,” Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-06-30/bill-cosby-sex-assault-conviction-overturned

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.