“Government of the people, by the people, for the people” is one of the phrases that
really stick with you. President Lincoln used the phrase in Gettysburg
150 years ago. There’s lots of bad financial news coming from cities
across the U.S. and for good reason. Things are not going as well as
In Pittsburgh, its was very refreshing to see the turnout on November 30th in Oakland
for the mayor’s transition team kickoff. Bill Peduto, who is taking
office next month and his team of Kevin + 7, were on hand to welcome and
speak to those that turned out. Originally, they expected a few hundred
to volunteer their services through an online application. The actual
result was 1059, of which about 1/2 showed up on that holiday Saturday
for four plus hours. For more on what transpired, click here. http://ow.ly/rMEWU
What seemed like chaos in the beginning transformed fairly nicely. The enrollment
process went smooth as did the breakout into the committees. I chose the
Economic Development, which was conducted by Kevin Acklin, Mr. Peduto’s
new chief-of-staff. We broke into groups and had a lengthy conversation
with Kevin doing a fine job as conductor. All of the talking points were
written down and then using a voting technique which relied on post-its,
we stepped to the stage and prioritized each on the list. Those with the
highest amount of votes were broken down into sub-committees.
I’m part of the Land Bank sub-committee which deals with blight and the challenges faced
when property owners are unable or unwilling to maintain the property.
Eleven of us met last Wednesday evening and it was revealing. All of the
obstacles were identified. We have challenges on our sub-committee –
identification, recommendations and preparation of the final document.
I’m sure its the same on the many other areas where volunteers are
trying to promote positive change. The subjects ranges from red lights
to health and human services to transportation. The deadline to submit
these proposals is the end of December.
There was plenty of high-end talent in Oakland and to a person, they were
passionate about promoting Pittsburgh and all of what this great city
has to offer. It was certainly something Abe would have been happy to
see. Stay tuned!
Mark Schuster, Partner
December 15, 2013