Sunday, February 19, 2006

Lebo: Another Murphy Challenger

The field is getting crowded. Also in the hunt for Tim Murphy's Congressional seat is Chad Kluko.
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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lebo's Winter Olympian

Mt. Lebanon's Jamie Silverstein is getting noticed in ice dancing at the Turin Olympics.

Link: Post-Gazette

Link: Tribune Review

Link: New York Times
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Lebo: Empire Music Expands and Moves

Congrats to the staff of Empire Music, which is expanding and taking over the Washington Road space vacated by TRM Cycles. Joe Ravita has worked hard to grow that business, and I hope that this move pays off!
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Operation Clean Sweep Posts a Candidate in Lebo

Gordon Johnston is running as a Republican challenger to Tom Stevenson, on the Operation Clean Sweep platform. On the right, I've added a link to his site.
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Tim Murphy has a Demo Challenger

Tim Murphy, Republican member of Congress based in Upper St. Clair and representing the 18th Congressional district, has a Democratic challenger: Tom Kovach. The Kovach campaign website, and Murphy's site, have been added to the links at right.
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Lebo News from All Over

Yesterday's Post-Gazette was filled with Lebo news:

Mt. Lebanon panelists to discuss risky behavior
The Mt. Lebanon School District will hold a panel discussion on youth and risky behavior at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the high school auditorium.

The session comes in the wake of the death of a 13-year-old boy who was an eighth-grader at Jefferson Middle School.

The boy's father has said he believes the boy was playing The Choking Game and died accidentally. The Allegheny County medical examiner's office has ruled the boy's cause of death as asphyxiation by hanging, but is waiting for the results of the Mt. Lebanon police investigation and toxicology tests.


Pedestrian safety
On Feb. 9, Mt. Lebanon police wrote 14 citations to pedestrians for jaywalking and nine citations to drivers for failing to yield to pedestrians. The operation was part of the department's Pedestrian Safety Initiative, aimed at reducing pedestrian injuries and deaths.

The two sites included the 700 block of Washington Road and Cedar Boulevard at its intersection with Salem Drive.

As a California native, I absolutely love the ticket-the-driver piece of this initiative. (I'm not opposed to the ticket-the-walker piece; I just really love the ticket-the-driver idea.) Pittsburgh drivers sometimes seem irrationally polite when it comes to other drivers, and irrationally rude when it comes to pedestrians and bicyclists.


ESPN Radio at Molly Brannigan's
Steelers fans who haven't had their fill of celebrating the Super Bowl XL victory will get another chance at Molly Brannigans in Mt. Lebanon tomorrow. Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, better known as ESPN's syndicated radio show "Mike and Mike in the Morning," will broadcast live from 6 to 10 a.m. The special guest will be Steelers running back Willie Parker.

I had coffee yesterday morning across the street from the broadcast, and (fortunately) there was little evidence that anything unusual was going on inside MB's. Other that the TV trucks set up outside.


Condo developer moves forward on TIF proposal

Representatives of a developer proposing a 60-unit condominium complex at the corner of Bower Hill and Washington roads in Mt. Lebanon plan to ask the school district for tax increment financing which would allow 75 percent of the real estate taxes to be used to pay off the project's debt for up to 20 years.

Sara Davis Buss, a lawyer with the firm Houston Harbaugh, who represents the developer Zamagias Properties, told the Mt. Lebanon school board Monday that conservative estimates show the real estate taxes generated by the Washington Park project would generate $635,359 annually for the school district.

The developer would like a TIF that allows 75 percent, or $487,328, to be returned to the project for the duration of a 20-year agreement. During that time, the district would see $158,840 in real estate tax revenue, which is a tenfold increase over the current $15,000 the empty parcels now bring in.

This is still a bad deal for Mt. Lebanon. After I posted an earlier note about this proposal, a friend reminded me that the School Board rejected a TIF for the Galleria redevelopment by the Continental Group. Hopefully, the current Board will have the same cojones. Remember: Although the developer is arguing that the proposal still leaves Mt. Lebanon ahead on tax revenues for the parcel, but the developer's own numbers show that TIF or no TIF, the proposal is profitable for the developer. All the TIF does is add to the profit margin, and deprives Mt. Lebanon of much-needed commercial real property tax revenue. If you want details, email me; when I get a chance, I'll post the relevant document online. Also, be sure to read the Comments to my earlier post. Bill Matthews is all over this issue.


School board acts to improve communications
The school board plans several new efforts aimed at providing more information to the public.

It soon plans to post the minutes of its meetings on the district Web site once they are approved by the board. The names and addresses of people who speak at the meetings will be removed before posting.

In addition, a folder containing most of the backup paperwork that board members receive in their packets for meetings will be available in the high school library, where board meetings are held, for the public to view during board meetings.

Also, the district will post on its Web site the agendas of board meetings, which are held on the second and third Mondays, by the Friday before each meeting.

Steps in the right direction.
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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wanted: New Fire Chief

Nice article in the Post-Gazette two weeks ago regarding Chief Stephen Darcangelo of the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department. He is retiring after 16 years as chief and 19 years as a member of the department.

The job posting is located here if you know anyone that is a firefighter and wants to be a chief!
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The Choking Game

Sad news regarding the death of a Mt. Lebanon middle school student this past Monday.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lebo / Steelers Spirit

Mt. Lebanon High School turned out yesterday to show its support for the Steelers. KDKA caught the action from above -- watch the video.
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