If Elected, Jim's goals include:
Pave/patch our pothole ridden streets
Jim feels that safety is not only limited to your police, firemen, and EMTs. Safety extends to fixing our streets and collapsing sewers. If elected, Jim will work tirelessly to push the city and PWSA to fix what they have neglected. As citizens of the City of Pittsburgh, everyone pays a lot of money in taxes and Jim feels that we are getting too few services for our money. In every neighborhood, the streets are not being maintained. Jim believes that the potholes need to be fixed right away before they become out of control. Over $100,000 was spent on promoting bicycle riding in the city in the last year. How can we promote this when our roads are in very poor condition? Someone is going to get seriously injured because of swerving to avoid hitting a pothole.
Large hole neglected by PWSA on Bowden Street
off of N. Euclid Ave in Highland Park
Collapsing sewer on Willow Street in Lawrenceville
Maintain and fix our parks
Parks are a great place for families to come together and play, just like neighbors Tony and Olivia do at Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville.
Unfortunately, many of our city's parks have become neglected. In his final act, the previous councilman reallocated $70,000 to conduct a study on revitalizing Arsenal Park. Jim believes that if there is money to be reallocated, it should go into making the necessary repairs. He believes that new projects and programs should not be initiated until old problems are fixed. Jim wants to see the parks in the district being utilized by families, instead of being neglected by the city.
Be your eyes, ears, and voice on council
If you need something done in your neighborhood, Jim wants to know! He will hold community meetings, have an easily accessible website, and an open phone line and email address so he can effectively address your concerns. From having conversations with many of the neighbors in various neighborhoods, Jim has found that many residents have not been appropriately informed about community meetings or changes that would affect many of the residents. As councilman, Jim would work to ensure that if new construction or a change was taking place in a neighborhood, he would hold a meeting in order to discuss what was happening and to get input from the neighbors. If there is a fight to be had, Jim would be willing to fight alongside the neighbors in order to ensure the best outcomes for those residents.
For example: Bloomfield residents on Cypress Street are very upset about UPMC building parking garages behind their homes. They have tried to fight this, but no one seemed to help back them and be on their side. If elected, when new projects emerge, Jim would try his best to help the residents get what they want.
In light of the current scandals, Jim would like to instate a policy in his office of fiscal transparency. Jim believes that it is your money, and you have the right to know how it is being spent. Furthermore, he will post his monthly expense account and require his staff to do the same. He will also recommend that every other councilperson does likewise. The people of the City of Pittsburgh have a right to know what incomes are flowing into the various authorities, how the money is being spent, and where revenues are being derived. We need more transparency in these areas.
How many times have you been told the city cannot fix this problem because they are broke? Jim is 61 years old, and he can attest that when he was young, we had well maintained services, well-kept park effective garbage pick-up, and relatively low taxes. Today, we have an income tax in the city, a tax for the right to work in the city, property tax, the RAD tax, and if you have permit parking, you pay a fee to park in your zone. This does not include large number of taxes placed on businesses. We pay fees to go to cultural attractions, such as the museum and Phipps Conservatory, which at one time were free. Obviously, there are ample sources of income for the city.
Jim believes that council representatives, need to be fiscally conservative when voting on the budgets for the city. As a city, we spend too much money on funding studies and pet projects and we neglect spending money on the problems facing the residents of the city. Jim believes that if there is money to be reallocated in the budget, it should be put towards maintaining our streets and parks and not given to support new projects or studies, nonprofit organizations, or to support corporate welfare.
Pittsburgh has a huge debt. While the City is bragging that for the past 6 years we have not issued any bonds, they ignored the fact that the State did not allow the issuing of additional debt in order for Pittsburgh to get their financial house in order. In 2012, the City of Pittsburgh issued $80 million worth of bonds with the idea of "public improvement." In the past we were reckless with spending money. We built stadiums, invested in companies like Lord & Taylor and Lazarus, which are no longer there, and yet we are paying the debt for those decisions made by previous administrations. The City is planning to issue more bonds in 2014 and 2015. We must be vigilant that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and rack up more debt than the city can afford to handle.
Taxpayers, keep in mind that every time you pay a dollar in interest to service your debt, you are taking one dollar out of your budget that could be used for maintenance purposes. How much debt are you willing to finance, and will those projects be worth it?
Buncher Projects in the Strip District
Jim believes that if a developer wishes to come into an area, he or she is financially responsible for the project, not the taxpayers. We should not be running businesses who pay taxes out of the city to support corporate welfare, or millionaires who could fund these projects themselves. As a council representative, Jim would vote against allowing these projects to come to fruition.
Thunderbird Expansion in Lawrenceville
Jim is against expansion of Thunderbird in Lawrenceville. There would not be nearly enough parking for an arena of that magnitude. It is not fair for neighbors to lose already limited parking, have extra noise, or trash thrown on their property. Jim is hopeful that Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation win their lawsuit against the expansion. If not, Jim would work with the residents to report noise complaints and bad business practices to the appropriate entities and push for revocation of the institution's liquor license.