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Issues of Les LudwigEdit

Source: from site, Do More With Les

To turn the City aroundEdit

  • Alternative funding of government from nontax sources to reduce taxes and fill budget shortfalls
  • Cooperate with Council, Act 47, ICA, State Legislature
  • Restore/maintain our city rather than demolish and replace it
  • Encourage the "Yearn to Return" of Seniors already occurring
  • Increase public involvement in city government -- town hall meetings; an open door policy; the open government amendent to the City Charter

Candidate comparison from Ludwig Edit

Bob O'ConnorEdit

The City's current fiscal crisis did not happen overnight. The massive subsidies for real estate speculation approved during O'Connor's ten years on Council and under his leadership as Council president have led the City down "a path of financial ruin." Worse than being one time payouts, much of those subsidies, done as TIF's, will continue draining City resources for a generation yet to come. As Bob has said, there isn't much difference between him and Tom Murphy.

Michael LambEdit

The transit funding crisis threatens to cripple service, with city residents being hit hardest. Yet Lamb supports spending a half billion tax dollars on a transit tunnel under the river, not to serve local residents but for hoped for tourists who don't live here. Worse than a simple waste of money, its added operating costs would rob money from current service in the rest of the city. In accepting PAT's glaring mismanagement, Michael would jeopardize the City as mayor.

Bill PedutoEdit

In 2003, Peduto pushed through the largest TIF subsidy in the City's history for a real estate speculation deal that will move residents and businesses out of properties now paying their full tax burden. The $60 million in lost taxes must be covered by other residents for the next 18 years. If mayor, Bill plans to follow Tom Murphy's lead and continue pushing for more subsidized real estate speculation, most notably in the Baum-Centre corridor, sinking the city deeper.

Questionaires from Ludwig Edit

PROGRESS PITTSBURGH MAYORAL CANDIDATE SURVEYEdit

“Do More With Les”, “Do More With Less (money)”, “Do More With Less and Eventually Less Taxes

Bob O’Connor, Bill Peduto and Mike Lamb are machine-owned Democrats being used by the machine portion of the party to continue to control our city. Would you buy an old newspaper or put dimes in a pocket that you knew had holes in it? That’s what will happen if any one of these three candidates wins the Primary and the Mayoralty in November. My campaign slogan above lays out for the reader exactly who I am and what it is that I intend to do without having to read every answer to every question in the following pages. Thank you for your interest in reviewing this website.

TransportationEdit

1.What is your vision for the future of transit in the Pittsburgh region?

A regional approach must be applied as we megamopolize our suburbs. Suburban sprawl may be stopped by proper planning and land use regulation. If not, there sill be no clear boundary; for instance, up Route 8 from Pittsburgh border to Butler. Long term regionalism and government mergers will possibly be required at least in transportation.

Rail and bus service will be needed to cover such large areas effectively. San Diego sets an excellent example for us. Once rail and bus were separated, both because highly efficient in saving the area. Old railroad tracks have to return to service. Overall the two systems have to give integrated service with planning from the bottom up and the top management down for the best and most efficient effect. Computerized models of traffic loads from high density centers of employment to residential area taking into account hours of route operation, labor costs, fuel carrying capacity, roads surface wear and tear are a few of the many factors that have to be studied and used in compromise, so that service is available and as inexpensive as possible. High speed watercraft-air boats should be studied for using our rivers in conjunction with rail and bus.

2.Given the limited influence city government can bring to bear on transportation policy, what specific actions or steps could you take as Mayor to help fulfill your transit objectives? Or, what are some concrete steps you will take as Mayor to make your vision a reality?

Governor Rendell and his top press aide are friends from his campaign. He should meet with ours and the county’s transportation experts, including out to Greensburg north to Butler, south to Washington, PA, and west to the nearest Ohio Turnpike interchange to get a regional feel of what has to be done, taking into account existing studies. I would advocate with our governor for a dedicated funding stream that would permit the growth of rail and bus system, so that people from all over the region could enjoy modest riding times to and from Pittsburgh, so that employment is not discouraged and optimum growth can be realized by Pittsburgh and our overall region.

3.Given the scarcity of transit funding for Pittsburgh, what should your role as Mayor be in shaping the priorities and planning process for transportation?

Funding stream for the region is a State issue and I would use my Philadelphia contacts to produce pressure on the Governor and legislature to put long-term funding in place for us.

4.What do you see as the benefits and detriments of the Mon-Fayette toll road for Pittsburgh, and what role do you feel the Mayor ought to play in the planning for this road?

It must not come into the city up Bates Street, as the area cannot absorb large volumes of traffic into Oakland up those narrow streets.

I agree with those who question total expense, vs benefit to the area to be served. In its current form, we should drop it for economic and service reasons.

Sustainable DevelopmentEdit

1.How can you make the city a more fertile climate for entrepreneurs and small business owners?

I succeeded in presenting a successful approach to the Chinese government by matching Chinese investors outside the mainland to business plans needs in the homeland. I suggested better business plans to reduce failure rates. What is the equivalent here in Pittsburgh? We have to have the Mayor’s office open to thinking by entrepreneurs to be matched up with our venture capital companies and business owners.

I have just completed a project in the African-American community by helping to find funding for Brian Meadow’s K9 training company, even though I am not in office yet.

2.What is your strategy for creating new jobs and attracting new businesses to the Pittsburgh region?

We have been trying to attract new businesses from outside of Pittsburgh for years. It has failed for the most part because of high taxes on business. We should not give up trying to attract new businesses, but a more realistic approach would be to take care of ourselves and in doing so, create businesses from within, based on the market strengths that are already here. The easiest examples of this are to envision growth in the health care industry because we have the seventh best city in the country to retire to, and we have a major portion (60%) of our population which is aged. Also the hospital centers already exist here and we have to find ways to build on this base under the phrase “We have to take care of us.” Those of us who are here and those seniors whom we should encourage to return for their retirement years to downtown Pittsburgh in apartments or condos, as each case can afford.

3.Why doesn’t the city have a comprehensive plan? Should this be a priority for the next mayor?

Pittsburgh has been too busy with real estate speculation to develop a comprehensive plan built on the very base that I described in my answer to Question #2. Lazarus Macy, Lord & Taylor, two ball parks that the voters rejected, are examples of the pall mall rush to give tax Increment Financing. There is only so much energy in a day and our administration, as influenced by the Allegheny Conference, has used up its energy to no avail.

I agree that this comprehensive plan should be a priority for the next mayor. Composed of my answer to Question #2, and with a first-time comprehensive plan for assisted living within the city limits, keeping in mind that assisted living was chased out of Pittsburgh by the administration, Bob O’Connor and Dan Onorato, when he was a councilman. Ninety multimillion dollar facilities for assisted living and nursing care surround the city of Pittsburgh and the American Institute of Architects President, Stephen Quick, stated in their mayoral meeting that only two facilities have been built within the city limits of Pittsburgh from 1992 to date. The baby boomers are fast arriving at a need for assisted living and nursing care, and their parents have long been in need of facilities within the city, so that friends and relatives can visit and so that the resident waiting for death does not feel deserted because he’s outside of Metropolitan Pittsburgh. Each assisted living resident that leaves the city takes a gross disposable income of $2,000 per month and each nursing resident who leaves takes $72,000 in direct cash out of the city to be spent in suburban institutions. A Federal multiplier of ten applies in terms of the economic effect, and therefore, approximately a quarter of a million to ¾ of a million dollars a year until death leaves the city when a resident of Pittsburgh cannot find a bed close to home. We can’t afford to give away this much income for any reason, and therefore, a comprehensive plan for the care of seniors and for the locations required to service their needs close to home, even if in residential neighborhoods, must be accommodated and planned for. Twenty thousand properties are on our tax loss roles and perhaps they can become the base on which to lay out the locations for a bid by a national firm in the assisted living and nursing industry with an excellent record of cared, who would bid for the rights to construct some number of facilities in appropriate neighborhood locations for five to ten million dollars, which our budget could easily use.

4. What role should the city play in the development of a regional comprehensive plan?

I believe that Pittsburgh cannot carry the region on its shoulders because our current population has dropped to almost less than half of what it was in the days of big steel. However, Pittsburgh should play a direct role in planning regional development by attending all meetings that are called for this purpose.

5. What do you believe should be the region’s focus in economic development?

Pittsburgh Technology Center’s president stated in a recent article in the Post-Gazette that 13.2% of the gross disposable income of our city still comes from a robust manufacturing sector. It’s just that it’s a different type of manufacturing than we’re used to. Therefore, we should focus by way of my answer to Question #2 on our health –related industries and on growing existing manufacturing companies as rapidly as possible, by offering them whatever help they need.

6. What types of development do you believe are not sustainable? What benefits and detriments do you feel they have for Pittsburgh?

I suggest a computer study industry-by-industry, which takes into account the requirements for each specialized industry. Such lists of industry exist in Federal government databases, along with Internal Revenue Service breakdowns, by percentage, which can be used to tell us if an industry is sustainable on a cost basis. Therefore, one would run the study, determining how many industries Pittsburgh could sustain by type, by the training of its labor force, by the available capital and infrastructure, road systems, etc. Only those would be pursued that pass the greatest majority of the questions posed by the Internal Revenue Service’s cost breakout percentages for a particular industry. The benefit of a new industry would immediately be more employment. A detriment might be an environmental issue that would reduce the desirability to produce the particular type of industry being studied.

Green PittsburghEdit

1. What are Pittsburgh’s most important natural assets? How should they be developed?

Our most important natural asset is our people, their training and education to be a sophisticated workforce. The workforce should be developed by ongoing continuing long-term education, designed to make each individual who has the interest to fit into sustainable industry. There doesn’t seem to be a point in using a continuing educational approach to educate a populace for employment that is not available. However, education for the sake of the joy of learning must not be discouraged. Another natural asset of Pittsburgh is its rivers, which are still far from being developed to their greatest potential, although we see the vast fishing convention fast approaching. Therefore, water represents a pathway for industry because of its low cost compared to other modalities, as well as a recreational asset that needs much development.

2. How would you expand and/or exploit Pittsburgh’s status as a leader in green building?

I would ask my solicitor to examine our right to demand by law that all buildings in excess of an acceptable number of square feet be built to green building standards. We have the technology and we have the need and the desire to use it for our own and future generations’ benefit. It’s time to move forward with a positive legal step.

3.How could you improve the technology the city uses to be more environmentally responsible?

Responsibility in this case is socioeconomical. We can’t start educating our youth at a young enough age for them to understand the value and meaning of the question. It has to start in the home and then in the school with an anti-litter base, and expand as our children grow up to an understanding of clean air, clean water, etc. We are spending millions in reclaiming brown fields, clean air technologies and an expanding understanding of pollution that is carried from sources in other states.

4.How do you think that alternative sources of energy will play a role in the future of Pittsburgh under your leadership?

Tax incentives would be offered for the implementation of alternative sources of energy, whether they be used for homes, office buildings or industry. Can you picture a windmill farm on possibly city-owned property in the areas similar to where television aerials exist.

DiversitiesEdit

1.Do you believe that segregation exists in this city? If so, where and how would you work to counteract it?

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word that tests all of us as difference or differences.

It has since the Civil War and especially since the riots of 1915 been the warp and the weft of our American social contract here in Pittsburgh.

Diversity is a societal element that has not and will not end in our collective foreseeable future. If we read the National Geographic’s article covering this subject, we find perhaps to our consternation, that we are becoming more diverse and at a faster rate than we may perceive this change in our one community called Pittsburgh.

How are we to react to the influx of Korean and Chinese peoples into our West Coast? To immigration from Mexico and South America? Squirrel Hill gives a limited example of three Chinese families and multiple African American families moving into the very street where I live.

Old barriers of community contracts have perished under scrutiny of law. Laws come and some go, but what is in our hearts is what really counts.

I really dislike, but accept the reality of the joke of two ethnic people deposited alone on an island who instinctively know that they would have to establish three congregations to attempt to live peacefully.

We live in a land governed by laws and our Pledge of Allegiance, our community called Pittsburgh, one nation under “god” with liberty and justice for all. Don’t forget or leave out equality of opportunity.

When will we all stand together hand in hand as one? It can’t be soon enough for any of us in this room or watching on TV.

So a die is cast that says we share one small space and one moment and opportunity in time called Planet Earth and we have been ordained in the societal sense to share what each of us does best to produce our collective greater tomorrow!

The answer to the question is that we do have segregation. We have had segregation and it has established a separate but equal mentality in the African American world here in Pittsburgh and nationally. I was a businessman on the Hill from 1960 to the year before the riots, and believe that I bring an understanding of the pain that needs healing between the African American and Caucasian communities. I have stood at multiple African American gatherings where I have appeared as a mayoral candidate, and said, “It’s time to heal. It is not the time for reverse discrimination by the African American community against the Caucasian community. When asked at Grace Memorial Church in the Hill district I answered that I have already spoken to two qualified African American leaders who would join me in my administration as assistant mayors.”

2. Which of the city’s many demographics do you feel is perhaps the most disadvantaged? What efforts will you make to strengthen them?

The most disadvantaged seems to be the African American community. Naming two assistant mayors from that demographic and making sure that equal opportunity really exists for minority enterprise and for those enterprises to be paid promptly because they are small, underfinanced companies, for the most part, should strengthen that demographic and permit the healing to begin.

3.What will you do, as Mayor, to encourage young people to stay in Pittsburgh?

Applying my answers in sustainable development in green Pittsburgh questions and in diversity means that we would be taking care of ourselves and that in the passage of time there would be sufficient employment opportunity for young people to stay in Pittsburgh.

The JobEdit

1. Without speaking about your qualifications for office, why do you want to be Mayor? What drives you to seek this office?

When you have appeared, as I have, before the cable television audience that views City Council for three minutes each Tuesday and Wednesday; when you have spoken of alternative funding for two years before the same cameras; when you have seen the inability of the administration to realistically provide leadership and you see the same lack of leadership in City Council and County Council, and when you see your predictions of too small a tax package from Harrisburg, and the development nationally of alternative funding to a point where there is now a national paper, as of this past January, that covers this area, the desire for creativity and the frustration of nobody listening begins to drive you to seek office in justification of the positions that have been taken in my e-mail. Please go to Ludwig@domorewithles.org.

2. In the most specific terms possible, what do you want to accomplish? What are your goals?

Financial stability for the city is not only a goal, but an absolute necessity when a community is faced with $15 million of red ink, regardless of the political expediency of our Mayor in stating that he expects to have approximately $13 million in surplus at the end of 2005. The restructuring of equality for the African American community, so that counter-racist thinking does not bring us back to the cruel reality of riots that have been experienced in Pittsburgh since 1915. Alternative funding must be made a major factor in Pittsburgh’s economic development. Marketing Municipalities, the new newspaper of this growing industry, tells us on its front page of Philadelphia receiving $25 million from the Bill Gates Foundation for coming up with an idea and Huntington Beach, California receiving 17 pickup trucks and one SUV for use of its beach patrol, which had no remaining fleet to pursue its responsibilities.

City Council has to look at every expenditure item, along with the administration, to say, “How can we get this work done for free or at a reduced cost?” A current example of not implementing this thinking is the fact that Council in the past two weeks voted without a competitive bid $150,000 for medical services resulting from Workmen’s Compensation claims. When I asked the Finance Chairman of Council why hospitals had not been asked for services in kind, which is their claim to tax-exempt status, the answer was that there was no answer. No one had bothered. This must stop. Conceptually, Act 47 and ICA, whose meetings I have attended, have prepared a path, if we would only cooperate with them. Our machine Democratic party and specifically Mr. Peduto, who is a City Council member, have refused steadfastly for six months to supply information requested by those two governing bodies. All three primary candidates keep saying how they will cooperate. Isn’t this a little disingenuous? Therefore, conceptually, I envision members of City Council to be our emissaries of alternative funding because they already know who has given them the money in the business community to become City Councilpersons. I expect them to perform and believe that they should be rewarded in bringing in millions of dollars free of taxation for use by the city, by paying them 2% of whatever they accomplish.

3. How would you empower Pittsburghers to take a more active role in the decision-making process in local government?

If 2% is good for the purpose of empowering Council members, we have to find a way to give volunteers 2% of the saving that they bring before City Council and 4% of new thinking. This would be accomplished by my personal encouragement at Town Hall meetings, keeping the mayor’s door to his office open (now closed), and producing a feeling that we’re all in this together and that as many as possible of us have to help.

4. What kinds of tools do you plan to make available to Pittsburghers to encourage and enable them to learn more about the way their government works – and how do you feel city government would benefit from such participation?

Education in our public, private and parochial schools can play a major role to produce this understanding of government. Councilmen and their council offices, as well as personal appearance by the same, some of which has already been started, has to be brought to play a bigger part in the education of our youth, so that when they grow up and enter the work force, we can benefit from their ongoing participation because they know that they will be rewarded by either 2% or 4%, as mentioned.

5. Many people perceive the Democratic Committee in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to be a close “old-boy network,” resistant to new ideas, more concerned with patronage than innovation or strong leadership. What steps do you feel the committee could take to address this perception?

They could join the “Do More With Les” campaign; the “Do More with Less (money)” and the “Do More With Less which eventually leads to lower taxes.”

They should join my campaign for bringing alternative funding, community sponsored murals, naming rights and any other idea that produces tax-free income to the city. Yes, it is an old-boy network resistant to new ideas and more concerned with patronage than innovation or strong leadership. We cannot have the Allegheny Conference pulling strings with the marionettes of government. Our city is bankrupt. What do you think was the most important decision or series of decisions that brought us to this pass and what would be the most dangerous mistake we could make with regards to our future?

Government consolidation into a format of decision-making from the top down, such as is currently offered in row office reform, has been the most important of decisions that brought us to this pass. It takes many forms, such as the marionette effect of the Allegheny Conference, the musical chairs of real estate speculation, the closed door of the Mayor’s office to both City Council and the public, the giving away unnecessarily of 2.3 million dollars to National City Bank for refinancing of municipal bonds, which Finance Chairman Doug Shields, could have effectuated for as little as $154,000. Blackmailing of councilmen over street paving played a part in this last stated escapade. If you want your streets paved in your district, because there are no CDBG funds, you will vote for the mayor’s position and give the $2.3 million to National City Bank without a competitive bid. This was described for me by a councilman who voted against giving the $2.3 million.

Government Finance and TaxesEdit

1. In your view, what is the best way to deal with city debt and pension problems?

A moratorium on spending should be willingly passed by City Council at the new Mayor’s suggestion, to prevent further waste of taxpayers’ funds covered in the answer to #5 above. Nothing should be allowed to be purchased or dispersed without a competitive bid regardless of the size of the item in question, and as already stated, an attempt should be made to anticipate spending patterns, so that an attempt can be made to find less expensive ways to run our business called “The City” or to get the item or service for free with a proper reward for controlling costs, so that a new attitude toward money is created. A penny saved is a penny earned and City Council has disrespected this age-old admonition. When you spend less, there will be money left over from our expected increase in alternative funds, which then will provide the opportunity to apply those funds to debt service (currently 25% of every dollar) and pension problems.

2. In light of restrictions set by the Act 47 and ICA Boards, and the current fiscal crisis, how can city government ensure provision of adequate services to city residents?

In this question one sees the growth of frustration and distrust for government. We should not scarify and pave our streets this year, when there has not been a capital improvement program, but rather we should only scarify and leave the concrete sub-base to be driven on, as we have done for years, whenever paving has occurred in every part of the city. There has always been a gap between scarifying and paving with fresh asphalt. We have to look at the 6 potential asphalt materials and ask their manufacturers to provide us with test areas in our worst applications, so that we know which of the materials may work the best, rather than continuing to take asphalt from the former city plant, in order for the Mayor’s friend who bought it, to make a profit, unless his materials that he can furnish is the best. There is a capital budget program planned for 2006 in the Act 47 program. Councilmen who voted for the expenditure of $2.3 million should have told the Mayor in no uncertain terms that he was wrong to pressure them and that they would sooner see the streets scarified and left for the next paving season. There’s been too much of this nonsense going on here in Pittsburgh. This paving issue will burn up almost the entire $6.5 million freed up by the deal with National City Bank. To describe further, one would only change the basic issue, but the results of our government in its current form will stay the same. That’s why I have repeatedly asked, “Would you buy an old newspaper?” and would you keep putting dimes into your pants pocket when you knew there was a hole big enough for them to fall out of. All three of the so-called major candidates have already announced plans to spend or to give TIF’s .

A tax increment financing takes anywhere from 18 to 25 years for the project to reach full taxation, and almost the same time for the bonds to be paid off that are issued to fill the gap of the tax benefit given to the project. Do we need Mr. Peduto and more TIF’s or Mr. O’Connor, who says he is like Mayor Murphy. TIF’s – real estate speculation has helped to bring us to our knees.

3. How will you cope with the impending extinction of Community Development Block grants and the blow this will be to the city’s ability to provide services?

Last year there were approximately $12 to $15 million of these grants, with each councilperson proposing long lists of beneficial items for their district. Can we live without new night lights at Magee Field? Can we live without new basketballs and nets in our recreational areas? Therefore, I say the answer is that we can, and I have asked for two straight years that these funds should have been going into the general budget, in order to open recreation centers and city pools and for provision of other needed programs, not pork barrel for councilpersons’ districts. Therefore, we may have to play basketball with a torn basket net or even a bent hoop, but the game will go on.

4. Given Pittsburgh’s legal constraints in imposing new taxes, what opportunities do you feel you will have, as Mayor, in working with the state to identify new sources of income for the City?

If we come close to break even this year, I believe I can, as the next Mayor, take a shopping list, including new taxes, to Governor Rendell in Harrisburg, because we know each other. We’re not strangers. Basically, I believe God helps them who helps himself, and that’s why I conceptualize above, making council members emissaries at 2% for the above, to bring in millions of fresh dollars to our city treasury because we all know that the Republican legislature and the City of Philadelphia’s control or effect on Pennsylvania’s budget and fiscal policy is to our disadvantage. Again, alternative funds are the wave of the future, not only nationally, but especially in Pittsburgh.

5. Who, if anyone, do you believe should be exempt from paying taxes (property and others), under what conditions, and why?

For the present tax exempt foundations and educational institutions should remain in the same status as they have been until alternative funds from community-sponsored murals, etc. have been established under five-year contracts with cost of living increases. The Pittsburgh Public Service Fund is going and has begun to donate quarterly payments to a total of $6 million a year for three years. This avoids for them Sala Udine’s request during the meeting of Act 47, when he said, “$6 million isn’t enough -- $12 million is what it should be.” Reynolds Clark, the head of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Government, is also the head of the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund, who stated to me publicly at Point Park University’s meeting of the members of the Fund that the meeting was private and when I asked if a financable note would be available for 6, 12 or the full 18 million, his answer was a disappointing “no.” I have suggested to him that if he starts the ball rolling with the group he leads, will Mellon and other industrial tax-exempts see a value in community-sponsored murals as art advertising locations. If corporate America wants to help local government, then a decision should be made nationally, as a suggestion as to what part of every company’s advertising budget should be devoted to this community-sponsored murals concept until the Public Service group or other similar groups can retire because of the volume of funding from other parties. If none of this occurs, I as a product of Philadelphia, would visit my old home-town and share a thought with a mayor of the distressed Philadelphia to say that it is time to gather the forces, the votes in the State Legislature, and make these businesses and institutions or foundations to pay taxes.

6. What does the appropriate use of City and County tax incentives look like?

We know the disastrous TIF called Lazarus Macy and the resulting failure of loans that will never be repaid ($27 million) to URA from the Lord and Taylor error. If a project is that good that it cannot fail, why are we making TIF’s (Mr. Peduto and Mr. O’Connor) and badly constructed loans in the marketplace at all. Can these projects stand on their own feet. Until we try we will not know, even though we realize that the threat of taking business elsewhere is always present. TIF’s for five years for homeowners, apartment building owners, to encourage them to refurbish the beautiful old structures of Pittsburgh, make fairness to the little guy and the probability of successful completion a more desirous path to follow.


Pittsburgh Human Resources Association Mayoral QuestionnaireEdit

PHRA, Regional Enterprise Tower, Suite 1650, Pittsburgh, PA, 15219.

What in your position on the living wage?Edit

Two years ago, when I first appeared at City Council, a living wage seemed like a proper piece of thinking. Little did I know of the serious fiscal problems of our City as I was a neophyte to the problem. Therefore, today, with a fuller knowledge and as a candidate for Mayor, while I admire the intention, the City can ill afford to go beyond its Act 47 responsibilities. If the recovery as planned in the "Do More With Les; Do More With Less (Money); Do More With Less Taxes; Business should return as well as residents." At that point, the question of a living wage should be raised again.

Pittsburgh and region continues to have a reputation as a contentious, organized labor market that is not conducive to new business seeking "friendlier" labor markets. How would you address this image?Edit

The question of definition of a friendlier labor market is significant. I would address this image as the result of the answer to the above question. Because if you lower taxes, you have made the market friendlier to business regardless of labor's position. We would not have the country that we live in today if we had not had a labor movement. And we cannot ever afford to ignore the contribution of labor to our way of life. If we do, we will actually destroy our society as we know it, but rather we have to find ways to accommodate between labor and management or we will lose a most-valuable component of our society. Therefore, Act 47 and ICA's ill-thought-out decision to not sit down with any labor union and find out what they have said to me were millions of dollars that they were willing to give up in order to accommodate these two governmental bodies says that there was a basic mistake in thinking because in the end, the parties will have to accommodate to each other. You can hold a hammer on the labor movement or any part of society for so long and then do you want to go back to the 1800s and the social warfare that has produced the country that we live in? For myself, as a potential mayor-elect, I have gone to both the firemen and policemen's unions and told them that I basically believe that the City of Pittsburgh Administration does not appreciate their services and are basically trying to get off as cheaply as they can. When you stand in a firehouse and see a trustee of the Firemen's Union jump into his boots, pull up his overalls, and jump on the truck, and stop to think that he may never come back alive or in the same physical condition that he goes out to fight the fire, then perhaps one can begin to understand the risk element in making one's livelihood as a fireman or a policeman. What I have suggested is that there are potentials seen in Sandy Spring, Maryland, that would help to bring about a long-term accommodation, a sense of security, for the firemen and policemen, and a contractual system where these two important segments of our society would work and feel appreciated.

I went to a family affair in Sandy Spring, Maryland, and thought I was at Colonial Williamsburg, because the architecture of the building where the party was held, spoke of that resort. There were no fire doors on the side of the building that we entered from, and the property was roughly two-and-a-half acres of ground, beautifully manicured, lawns and plantings of flowers. We took an elevator to the second floor and stepped into one of the finest banquet halls that I ever had the pleasure of seeing. My curiosity was aroused because of the problems of the City of Pittsburgh and I addressed the man who seemed to be the head of catering for the party and he proceeded to tell me that this was a fire hall for a volunteer fire company. The original bid for its construction was $3.5 million and the volunteers had built it at a cost of $2.5 million. And all of the equipment, both fire and catering, the building and ground, were paid off in a short period of two and a half years, from the proceeds of banquet arrangements and that there were so many affairs that were scheduled that my son actually booked a date a year and a half in advance for a similar gathering. We have thirty-five potential catering halls from which to produce on subcontracted catering millions of dollars and yet we fight tooth-and-nail every so many years over contracts with police and firemen. It's time to license as many catering halls as the firemen see fit to operate, for catering, bingo, liquor licensing, and anything else that would contribute to a happy end of making these people feel appreciated but getting them away from the negotiating table in the long run. My reasoning is that after a demonstration period of two years that the firemen would agree to buy all of the assets involved at an agreed price that would be set before they would start up their profit-making business. At the end of the two year test period to prove to the firemen and policemen that they would benefit (equally) all the facilities would be purchased by a quazi-public volunteer fire department with a contract that would run indefinitely as long as the cost of living would not require a renegotiation of their Act 47 benefits regardless of how much money was generated out of their business. Therefore, the two unions would have a contract of indefinite length, a guarantee of Act 47 payments, and would be taken to the bank by the City with a proven business plan from which the bank would make the finance to the firemen or the firemen and police unions available to purchase all fire stations' equipment and land. The net result would be that neither of these unions could ever be accused or be a part of a blackmailing of a Mayor or mayoral candidate in exchange for votes and a non-firing agreement in the resulting contract. The only thing that the City of Pittsburgh would require would be that the firemen would show up in four minutes from whatever station they deemed was practical. They could have thirty-five or fifty stations and it would not matter to me as long as they did their job. If there's a similar way to reward the police separately, it would become part of a separate contractual arrangement, which I do not envision at this time. But because of the risk that the police take, I have suggested at a recent Firemen's Union meeting that the profit from the subcontracted locations be divided equally between all of the men.

Both Unions and Act 47 and ICA say that the management of their departments is top-heavy and that union rules lead to overtime charges. No such animal would exist because the money from the subcontracted business plus the Act 47 payments would be left to be divided between the members of the Union and therefore, they themselves would govern how much overtime they would permit for themselves. This, to me, does away with most of the management problems that have existed for years and a sense of the lack of appreciation that I have seen from talking to a trustee of the Fire Department Union and Michael Havens of the FOP.

Pittsburgh's population of aging residents continues to grow while we consistently see young talent leaving. This is creating a potential labor shortage for all types of talent. What can the mayor do the address the situation?Edit

Every candidate answers "jobs, jobs, jobs!" So do I. But there is no realism as to the way in which they think they will produce the jobs that will keep young people from leaving Pittsburgh. My view of this all-important problem is that the answer lies in my motto of my campaign, "Do More With Less Money!" which will lead to doing more with less taxation. Then and only then can Pittsburgh go outside of itself and attract businesses because of having an advantageous tax position for business. Then the new businesses will generate the jobs for our youth. At the same time, NPR Radio reports that there are three conditions needed for the growth of a city: 1) That we have a beautiful community in the physical sense of it in Pittsburgh. 2) That we have the technology base that's required for growth of a modern city. 3) That have to have tolerance and that tolerance is sadly lacking. Therefore, we have two of the three key components and I, as Mayor, have promised, have already anticipated the request, of the minority part of our community and have selected two men from that portion of our community to be assistant mayors so that we can deal with a problem that I call healing the differences between our neighborhoods because we have no choice. As diversity increases in our society, documented in national geographic of some years ago, if we do not employ a respect for diversity, we are inviting a catastrophe of open warfare and bloodshed that will exceed what we even saw in the Sixties here in Pittsburgh. Therefore, it isn't a question of liking or disliking everyone, it's a question of our national pledge to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for anyone..

Pittsburgh ranks among the nation's lowest for foreign immigrants coming to live and work. What would you do to increase our attractiveness of new people to this country?Edit

How are we to react to the influx of Korean and Chinese peoples into our West Coast? To immigration from Mexico and South America? Squirrel Hill gives a limited example of three Chinese families and multiple African American families moving into the very street where I live.

Old barriers of community contracts have perished under scrutiny of law. Laws come and some go, but what is in our hearts is what really counts.

I really dislike, but accept the reality of the joke of two ethnic people deposited alone on an island who instinctively know that they would have to establish three congregations to attempt to live peacefully.

We live in a land governed by laws and our Pledge of Allegiance, our community called Pittsburgh, one nation under “god” with liberty and justice for all. Don’t forget or leave out equality of opportunity.

When will we all stand together hand in hand as one? It can’t be soon enough for any of us in this room or watching on TV.

So a die is cast that says we share one small space and one moment and opportunity in time called Planet Earth and we have been ordained in the societal sense to share what each of us does best to produce our collective greater tomorrow!

The answer to the question is that we do have segregation. We have had segregation and it has established a separate but equal mentality in the African American world here in Pittsburgh and nationally. I was a businessman on the Hill from 1960 to the year before the riots, and believe that I bring an understanding of the pain that needs healing between the African American and Caucasian communities. I have stood at multiple African American gatherings where I have appeared as a mayoral candidate, and said, “It’s time to heal. It is not the time for reverse discrimination by the African American community against the Caucasian community. When asked at Grace Memorial Church in the Hill district I answered that I have already spoken to two qualified African American leaders who would join me in my administration as assistant mayors.”

As the mayor of any town is considered to the "The Boss" with 1000s of employees working for them, how would you describe your management style?Edit

My management style has always been in forty-five years of doing business based on "two heads are better than one". Therefore, I could come to Council in April of two years ago and suggest a 2% and 4% Club where people could come before Council, fill out a form, present an idea which, if valid, would give them a 2% of a saving for an agreed period or 4% of any new funding that could be produced from the idea suggested at the Rostrum in public comment. Volunteerism, while not dead, is stressed past the breaking point in a society where both husband and wife are employed and children have to be cared for. Therefore, pay for those people who think that they can make a contribution to our society, because if we don't, we're actually robbing ourselves of their potential contribution, because they don't have the time, or won't make the time available. My management style is based on the fact that every one of us, at some point in our work life, says "I know how to do that better!" What's wrong with doing it better? Our present Mayor lives behind a door that is locked, blocking out Council members and public alike. I have pledged to keep mine open so that two heads can be better than one.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions.

Letters from LudwigEdit

Les Ludwig Candidate for Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh 6589 Rosemoor Street Pittsburgh, PA 15217 412-758-1111 Email: Ludwig@domorewithles.org


Dear President,

I am the person who saw a need for a national website for the Gore-Lieberman Campaign for the Presidency. That website was hit so many times that a call came the Saturday before the election thanking me for my suggestion. From that experience, I have projected a need for a national employment website for handicapped and disabled people who, for mobility reasons alone, cannot go out to do a proper search for their talents so that they may be productively employed. Therefore, I am writing to you as a candidate for the Mayoralty of the City of Pittsburgh, so that my entrance into the political world may make it possible for me to help in the special way because the Carnegie Library has collected the data of handicapped and disabled people for me and its distressing to see how many people are suffering in our communities from lack of employment. If you have a mailing going out before the Primary on May 17 to the people whom you serve, could you be so kind as to include a flyer which, if you contact my office, I will make it available. Looking forward to hearing from you regarding the insertion of the flyer that is enclosed for you and to doing something constructive at higher governmental levels to solve this unemployment problem for handicapped and disabled people, I am,

Sincerely, Lester Ludwig, Candidate for Mayor, City of Pittsburgh Do More With Les! Do More With Less Money! And Do More With Potentially Less Taxes!

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