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It was an obscure sign of the concern mounting over the threat the coronavirus pandemic poses to the future of boroughs, cities and townships. For the first time, “voluntary disincorporation,” the idea of allowing municipalities to shed their political boundaries, was on the agenda of the leadership arm of the Congress of Neighboring Communities, an …

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The Gerrymandering Fix

Pennsylvania voters go to the polls Tuesday in congressional districts redrawn by state Supreme Court justices who decided the old boundaries unconstitutionally favored one political party over another. While Allegheny County residents agree gerrymandering is a problem, most favor a different way of going about making sure it doesn’t occur again. The state’s high court …

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Our Future with Governor Dan Onorato

Over the last six years that I have served as Allegheny County executive, we achieved momentous results by working together, putting taxpayers first and keeping our focus, making southwestern Pennsylvania an attractive place for businesses to invest and families to live. We know the story because we’ve been through it together. Six years ago, we …

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The Pittsburgh Project

The year is 2020. You’re driving home from work, listening to your favorite satellite radio station. An announcer interrupts with breaking news: Smallpox has broken out in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of patients are flooding hospitals, with untold more infected. The public is panicked. Local officials are scrambling to maintain control. Everything points to a terrorist …

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Underlying Problems/Solutions

The impact of population decline was very much in the news at the end of last year, a reminder that, for all the accolades at the recent G-20 Summit about Pittsburgh having moved beyond its industrial past, painful choices still face the region, particularly its local governments and major service institutions. I have in mind …

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Wasting our tax dollars

At one end of a long, rectangular table in an Aliquippa restaurant, a grandmother of 12 sporting a big, blond hairdo was talking about how everyone in Beaver County calls her when their dog is lost. Someone even called at 2:30 a.m. the other day. She wasn’t complaining—she loves dogs and has five of her …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Summer 2008

Great cities take great care when it comes to aesthetics, and Pittsburgh is fortunate to be among the nation’s great architectural cities. It doesn’t continue by magic, though. It takes planning and vigilance. Going into the stocks this issue is the monstrous parking garage being planned by casino developers on the North Shore. The 10-story …

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The Case for Consolidation

The governments of Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh – the two largest governments in our region – duplicate many departments and services, including parks, public works, human resources, computer services, emergency management and so forth. This redundancy of functions and services results in operational inefficiencies, public confusion and unnecessary costs.​ However, there are …

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Paul O’Neill (1935–2020)

Facts and knowledge have always been important to me, in government and in business. I believe that it is my duty to either know the answers or to know where to get the answers fast if an important decision must be made. I first entered government when John Kennedy was president, and I was there …

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The City’s Fortune Depends on It

Among subjects of continuing public attention, none resonates like the size and efficiencies of local government. For some months now, a citizens group under the leadership of Mark Nordenberg, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, has been investigating the potential merger of city and county government, either in total or in part. I cannot recall …

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Westinghouse CEO: Steve Tritch

We Pittsburghers have had our share of recent good news/bad news upon which we can pontificate over summer cocktails — the challenge of population loss vs. the glory of again being the most livable city. We can also prattle on about our region’s CEOs — better they be homebred or global business stars? With Westinghouse Electric’s …

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Hold That Thought—Now’s the Time to Act

“Things do not change; we change.”—Henry David Thoreau Soon you will be asked to choose the purpose, shape, size and basic character of your local government. Fellow citizens are organizing now to ask you whether to reorganize the many layers and types of local government that have defined Allegheny County for almost 250 years. The …

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Let’s Solve the Region’s Fiscal Strain

Very much in the news these days are the related subjects of unfunded pension liabilities and escalating costs of employee benefit packages because of rising health care costs. They are delivering a one-two punch to local governments and school districts throughout the nation, with the situation being particularly acute here in the old industrial heartland. …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Spring/Summer 2006

There is a tide in the affairs of leaders. A rising tide, the saying goes, lifts all boats. It’s a low tide that you have to survive, and rare is the leader who doesn’t face one. Jim Rohr’s low tide came in 2002. After the stock market bubble had burst, America was looking for people …

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Destination of Choice?

Seemingly overnight, China has become the destination of choice for American companies looking to expand their operations overseas. In 2004, China surpassed the United States for the first time as the top worldwide destination for foreign direct investment. For 2005, that should equate to about $58 billion. In the western Pennsylvania region alone, there are …

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