Friday, November 29, 2013

Doing my part UPDATED

Won't you save the lives of these poor, young MTL athletes? Today, they're locked into a life of sports depravity where every day might mean playing soccer, lacrosse or football on a field full of mud and grass. Or worse yet, not playing at all.


While others in Mt. Lebanon are calling


there are coaches, frantically canceling games. Do you want your kids playing in this?


How many game delays from hosing the mud off the revenue generating sign can these young athletes endure?

Won't you please help? Give these young, potential professional athletes hope! Your monthly contribution of $100, $200 or more to the Bendel, Brumfield, Linfante and Franklin Turf Their World Fund will assure these kids that they have facilities better than USC, Cranberry, Peters and that young families will continue to purchase over-priced Mt. Lebanon homes.

So please save the young athletes and write your checks today!

"I think this is something that, without a doubt, benefits us as a whole."
-Dave Brumfield
 
Improvements "have been years in the making."
-Kristen Linfante

"I do believe that this project will bring value to every single home in this community."
-Kristen Linfante

"There is a big financial contribution expected from the sports groups to come into play here."
-John Bendel

“We'd never had a project before that we could go out and ask about, and sell. I was a salesman without a product.”
-Dave Franklin

Update November 29, 2013 2:45 PM Dave Brumfield had made it very clear that turfing fields was the Commission's #1 priority as listed here. Drum roll...The Commissioners' 2013 Priorities are...

Thanks goes to the reader who inspired me to write this post. You know who you are. B>)

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/28/learning-to-play-football-right/

Can I order more traumatic brain injury with those new fields?

Anonymous said...

Uh Dave Franklin...Mt.Lebanon Golf Course...Bird Park...Brafferton...Mt. Lebanon Ice Rink...Mt. Lebanon Swimming Pool...Mt. Lebanon High School Stadium...Robb Hollow...Twin Hills...McNeilly...

Anonymous said...

That second photo of the game in slop reminded me.
Has anyone every had the pleasure of oberserving the pick-up touch or tackle football games the kids (girls & boys) play in that grassy, wooded area by the Tennis Center on Cedar Blvd.
It wet, has little grass and slick as ice and the kids love it.
They slide, they fall, get covered in mud and they have fun! Fun with a capital F.
There's no meddling parents, they keep score, and don't need snacks.
The epitome of kids getting out, being active, learning how to interact in social situations.
Its brings back memories of the youthful days I loved.

Anonymous said...

No goal for swimming pool improvement
No goal for a Washington School Crosswalk
No goal for a turfed field

It looks like the commissioners paid for a consultant to help them set their commission goals, then three of them traded votes and foiled the process. I wonder how much they paid him?

Adding insult to injury, the Recreation Director pushed a second swimming pool project after we spent an additional $2,000,000 on the high school pool for two extra lanes, and the Municipal Manager suggested using the bond-issue credit card again even though we have illegitimate excess taxes piled up for next year.

No wonder we have trouble selling a $400,000 house in Kristen's ward!

Anonymous said...

11:49am, I don't know. If you can't live vicariously through your child's organized athletic experience on the finest turf other people's money can buy, then you just aren't living!

Anonymous said...

5:43, is Kristen's house For Sale?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bendal tipped me off with his next plan. His latest proposal - to float a bond to pay for the Robb Hollow development. HAHAHAHAHAHA Where is it going this time Mr. Bendal ?

Anonymous said...

How many bons can the municipality float?
We have the pool. McNeilly's, Twin Hill's (still ?), street paving a couple years back. Are there more?
Seems to me that credit card (coupled with pension obligations) pension obligations could be getting too heavy to carry soon.

Anonymous said...

Correction-
How many bonds can the municipality float?
We have the rec/pool bond. McNeilly's, Twin Hill's (still ?), street paving a couple years back. 
Are there more?
Seems to me that the municipal credit card (coupled with pension obligations) could be getting too heavy to carry very soon without a major tax hike.

Anonymous said...

The kids in this community are not worried about field conditions.

Ask them.

Anonmyous said...

I think to ensure the best use of the waster funds...I mean, the best use of our new "investment (for the ten people who supported it), we should insist on a minimum number of kids using it within certain timeframes. If those quotes aren't met, then the YSA pays a fine of a thousand dollars per day the quote is short. Hell, we could pay off their plastic field in one season.

There's also this:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/14/us-nfl-leg-injuries-idUSBRE88D1KT20120914

Where is the media on this? I saw the Trib reporter sitting in the audience. Why didn't he ask the Commission how many people actually supported the idea?

E. T. Gillen said...

6:05 PM, Kristen's house is not for sale.
6:07 PM, that is the word on the street. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
7:10 PM, according to our new finance director, Andrew McCreery, we can float more bonds and still be fine.
10:07 PM, I don't believe there is a YSA anymore. The Sports Advisory Board can advise all they want now, draw up agreements, collect sign revenue, and create an RFP schedule.
There is no need for the reporter to ask the commission how many support the idea. Remember, Brumfield wrote to me, "...hundreds if not thousands of households supported it steadfastly for years." THOUSANDS of households.
I do hope there is a sunset provision as Chuck Bachorski suggested. In fact, the commission should seriously consider Chuck's calculations. They're pretty scary.
But does it really matter? Brumfield said that turf was the number one priority. There are thousands of households supporting it. Linfante claimed that the ESB approved of installing artificial turf. These two commissioners would never lie to us, would they? Dave Franklin would keep them honest, as he does with me.
The bids will come in too high, even for the eco-UNfriendly turf. We'll be forced to pay for the balance through the million dollars in overtax a.k.a. unassigned funds or when it comes out of the second Robb Hollow bond. The lights will be next. Then on to McNeilly, Mellon, and back to Middle and Wildcat.
They won.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the concept of putting our kids first? Our kids have to play sports in these deplorable conditions, while we send money, our hard earned tax dollars, to other schools that we say are less fortunate. One of the reasons people moved into our community over the years it so that they could give their kids the very best. So why are we giving it away? Who is going to do something for us? When are we going to start to see money coming back and our area so that we don't have to have to pimp and pander for relief?

E. T. Gillen said...

1:33 PM, do you think the soccer game photo was from Mt. Lebanon? Oh, that's funny. Did you miss the news, 1:33 PM? Our kids are going to get the very best, non-ecofriendly turf our money can buy.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Really 1:33, you're really going to try and pull off that... "what about putting kids first" schtick again.

Tell me, making the kids pay $50 for a parking permit, then requiring them to park in a church lot and walk across the busy Washington/Cochran intersection at rush hour in all kinds of weather... while the adults park for free onsite...is that putting the kids first?

Then taking the $5,000 generated from parking pass revenue and passing out $5,000 in bonuses... was that putting kids first?

How about scimping on showers for the girls in the pool locker room, but giving the 'Soup' his own private facility... was that putting the kids first?

Knock off the heart-wrenching BS!

Anonymous said...

1:33 what was Comish Brumfield's big selling point for turfing Middle/Wildcat?
Saving the environment? No.
Reducing injuries? No.
Making kids better athletes? No.

His big selling point... realtors will be able to drive prospective home buyers past the turfed field and lasso sales.
The kids don't give a hoot about prospective home buyers.

Anonymous said...

1:33, When the seniors told off the freshman in the Devil's Advocate did the administrators put the kids first?

Anonymous said...

1:33 - "deplorable conditions", ypu really think Middle/Wildcat are "deplorable conditions?"

I thought MTL could look down their noses at everybody? Dormont, Bethel, USC, NA.
Are you telling us we've been living a big lie all these years?
Oh God, you've let the cat out of the bag, we're not getting much but deplorable conditions for all the high taxes.
Are we fools or what?

Anonymous said...

Deplorable conditions!
Somebody's head should roll if our fields are as bad as 1:33 says they are.
When I think about the taxes we've paying year after year.

Anonymous said...

This is 1:33. You all completely missed my point. I happen to agree with all of you. My issue is how we piss that was meant for our kids away. We want to levy a fee for turfing our fields while we send care packages to those less fortunate districts. So, who is looking out for us?

Anonymous said...

Why not sell Mt Lebanon Magazine and use the proceeds for turf?

Let's solve two problems at once.

Anonymous said...

The new selling point for MtL: We are a turfing community.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, when I'm looking to spend a fortune on a new home, that's one of my first priorities... asking the realtor to drive me by the nearest turfed field.
I'm betting thats why the luxury condos at Bower Hill & Washington weren't successful. No turf to show!

Anonymous said...

Again, they only say what is convenient, serves their agenda and helps to reshape the history of the sequence of events. Whatever happened to "we need more fields"? It did not start as a turfing project.

Anonymous said...

12:04 notice how there are no longer any response to any of the comments here by the commissioners of Franklin regarding the justifications for turf?
They still have to approve $112,000, but as Brumfield said, he's got another 4 years to proceed with his turfing work.
The community could pack the commission chamber and demand a no vote on the $112,000, but it won't and the money will be spent.

E. T. Gillen said...

The commission chambers could be standing room only with people against turf, and the $112,000 will still be approved. In fact, with over a million dollars next year in unassigned funds, they can vote to turf McNeilly or Mellon and have the money to do it. Overtaxing stakeholders is a beautiful thing for these commissioners.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

'Overtaxing' - that is only "common sense" for spendthrift, progressivel democrats, right Kristen?

Anonymous said...

Don't you really wonder what broke Brumfield and Bendel away from all of their coaching responsibilities and into running for the commission?

T

U

R

F

Anonymous said...

I've always wonder why Franklin didn't run, 9:07.

JE Cannon III said...

I've been a fan of this blog for a while, posted comments here (while signing my name) and am thankful for the information provided. That said:

Some of you (and you know who you are) like to sit at your keyboard or hide on your iPhone while hammering away online, launching a wide array of opinion and insight. You do so anonymously. Funny thing, though, for all the bluster of so many on this site, how many of you have shown up to Commission meetings and publicly expressed yourselves? I was at the last meeting. Where was all the opposition to turf?

Dave Franklin isn't Satan. He is a guy who wanted something. I have said publicly I think artificial turf is a complete luxury and a waste of public money. Dave Franklin disagrees. Great. That's how public discourse works (take note, school board). Had there been 30 people speaking against turf every meeting as opposed to Franklin's three or four, I would imagine the Commission would have kept kicking this issue down the road or otherwise assigned the "unassigned" (meaning they have too much and should give it back) funds to other projects. But guess what--when one side wants ham and nobody is showing up to lobby for cheese, you're getting ham. That's how it works.

Again, I wholly disagree with using public money for this project. I've said that directly to Mr. Franklin. I've said it directly to the Commission. I've said it directly to others in the community. Have you? The people who stay at home and don't get involved in the political process--have you said anything publicly and directly to anyone? If not, maybe you should think about taking a break from that computer.

In the meantime, those of you who are serious about changing things in Lebo need to stop complaining and start acting. If you're interested in lighting that fire and getting things moving, there are avenues to pursue but they require comittment. I'm happy to discuss some of my ideas. Email is jcannon1775@verizon.net, and I can be reached by phone at 412-304-6114.

Anonymous said...

James, I couldn't agree more. People hate me because I want to improve the fields in a way that I think is most efficient for the community. Yet they reject invitations to meet, they don't show up at meetings and they complain when things don't go their way. As you may may remember, I was very vocal in my opposition to the scope of the high school project, but that's forgotten because I prefer turf.

I truly feel sorry for Elaine when I see her alone at meetings even after 30, 40 or 50 comments are posted on her site supporting her position. I agree with you that this site is great. But for Elaine's efforts I might have missed a couple meetings when turf or fields were on a Commission agenda. I mean that. Honestly. This site really keeps me informed. Many people read it, although they don't always admit it. For everyone who bashes me anonymously, at least that many approach me on the street to tell me that they like what I wrote. I usually tell them to post that, but either way I'm glad that there are many people out there who read what I write, and agree with it.

Politics in Lebo are not that complicated. If you really think there is a need, you just have to put in the time. It may even take an election cycle or two but if you commit to it, it can happen (or not happen). Thanks again.

Dave Franklin

Anonymous said...

"Politics make strange bedfellows" indeed.

But where do you get the idea that people hate you? Why do you feel you alone are the victim?
There may be readons why people have chosen to remain anonymous. Seeing how some have been attacked, mistreated on blogs, professionally and in the press.
If things were more civil, more respectable here the bubble may be we'd see more candidates, more signed opinions.
Part of the problem with you Mr. Franklin is that if someone doesn't buy into you present turf plan you brand them an adversary.
This anonymous blogger is willing to compromise, but you won't like the ideas and so you'll label them a hater. Or maybe a wingnut.
Remember the reception Kluck got when he tried to have a town hall.
It wasn't acceptance, wasn't lets join him, lets make this truly democratic.
It was "what the kluck!"

Lebo Fields said...

I don't label anyone as my adversary. As Mr. Cannon pointed out, I am simply advocating for something. I have extended the olive branch on more than one occasion, and only a couple of people have accepted it. Most notably, the folks who use their names - Mr. Gideon and Mr. Cannon. And I think we all walked away with a mutual appreciation of each other. We may not agree, but life goes on.

I think it is fair to say that no one on this blog, except for perhaps Elaine and a few elected officials , have taken more abuse then I have. My friends rib me for it, but again, life goes on. I'm willing to take the heat to get this project over the finish line.

I would also point out that I was asked to moderate Mr. Kluck's much maligned public meeting. I declined due to a family vacation. You see, we may have more in common then you care to admit.

Dave Franklin

Anonymous said...

Or you care to admit, Mr. Franklin.
While there are certainly people dead set against artificial turf, there are others that wish for different site, public/private managing, caring for fields already in service and/or land purchases already made and sitting unused.
Unfortunately, this current plan ignores all above in the single effort to turf.
We can easily see that in the money diverted from Brafferton. That fact that I say it anonymously doesn't make it any less true.

E. T. Gillen said...

Dave, I am not sure if I should be thanking you. I sit alone at meetings because I am in the front row with my recorder. It isn't because I have no support. Almost four years ago, I had almost 4,000 people behind me, and BTW, you weren't one of them, and it didn't matter.
You are "willing to take the heat to get this project over the finish line" - what heat? You have three commissioners on your side. It is a done deal. We, the people opposed to artificial turf, never had a chance. Bendel's proposal was never publicized on any official sites. LeboALERTS are rarely sent out for SAB meetings. Your last meeting conflicted with Dan Miller's RTK information session.
You have been confrontational for years, not just here, but on other blogs as well. I don't recall any olive branches extended my way. I'm still waiting for the free car wash and tankful of gas that you offered to me, if parking was ever an issue at the high school.
I don't appreciate the anonymous comments that you have submitted here. Some have been published, while others sit in my spam folder.
I feel sorry for the people who are having real problems here in Mt. Lebanon. Unless you are in a select group, the school district and the municipality don't really care about your needs.
Elaine

Lebo Fields said...

I will certainly concede that there are multiple opinions and ideas that aren't reflected in the current turf proposal. That said, I'm not sure how you want me to respond. I am moving forward with the proposal that has been approved, and I hope to see it succeed.

With respect to Brafforton, I have already stated that the sports advisory board was as concerned as anyone that it did not move forward. We were fully expecting that project to be well underway by now. Unfortunately, the actual bids significantly exceeded the estimates that were provided. I can't say that I blame the commission for moving away from those renovations, but to suggest that the sports advisory board is happy or relieved by the outcome, would be 100% wrong.

Anonymous said...

Elaine makes focuses on a good point.
Mr. Franklin, you may have the personal resources to absorb countless tax hikes, buy $500,000 worth of land for $1,000,000 and let it sit unused and buy $1,000,000 of plastic grass every 8 to ten years. Good for you. But there are others who may be more frugal, or on limited budgets or just don't see turf as a necessity. I can see why you may be enthralled with turf, but I don't understand your unfinching desire to have everyone pay for it.
Had the scbhool district not sucked cash up like a Hoover vacuum, one might support your plan. But with the HS, Obamacare, a slowly rebounding economy this isn't the time.

Anonymous said...

Lebo Fields-Question if you don't mind:
If Brafferton bids significantly exceeded the estimates that were provided why didn't the sports advisory board counter with a fundraising proposal ?

Lebo Fields said...

Keep in mind, the plan was to make Brafferton a multiple-purpose practice field, with the ability to have some small-sided games for younger kids (which already happens at Brafferton). The goal would have been to expand this current use by eliminating the baseball diamond, but it still would not have been a full sized field. Given the material changes in scope of the project once the bids came in (the need for significant retaining walls, much higher costs, etc.), the investment was simply too great for a space that would not even result in the addition of one full sized field.

In other words, it was determined that the conditions of this space would drive up the cost to such a degree that there could be no real return on the investment. Simply put, raising and spending something around $600,000 for Brafferton to get a space with the same limitations didn't seem like a wise venture.

Anonymous said...

So Dave, you're telling that someone estimated the Brafferton project at $137,400 and convinced you, the SAB, the commisioners that this was a doable project and it really couldn't be done for less than $600,000.

I hope that same estimator hasn't worked up the estimate for your preferred turf plan, Mr. Franklin.
But we probably won't see the project stopped even if the bids top $2 million, will we?

Anonymous said...

11:27AM,

There is a 100% chance of the bids coming in over the estimate.

E. T. Gillen said...

11:27 AM, I believe Gateway Engineers did both estimates. And no, the project won't be stopped, no matter what. Come hell or high water. Literally.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Did Gateway also estimate the $3.3 million, but in reality $4.2 million pool project as well?

Does Gateway use a dartboard or a Ouiji board to create their estimates and how much do we pay them for their "guesstimates?"

Anonymous said...

How does anyone estimate a project like fixing up Brafferton Field at $137,4000 and the project bids come in "something like" $470,000 too high?
There's something amiss here and it needs to be ferreted out.
Either Gateway is completely clueless on cost or someone keep adding to the project to drive up the price tag.

Anonymous said...

Wow if Gateway's turf estimate is as good as their Brafferton project estimate, we could be looking at a $4,000,000 to turf Wildcat/Middle.
That is scary!

Anonymous said...

If Gateway misses another estimate by more that 10%, the muni needs to look for another engineering firm.

Anonymous said...

Historically if Gateway is behind a project, the estimates come in low. If their not, the estimates come in high....

E. T. Gillen said...

That's interesting, 12:55 PM. I found that to be true with deer management in Mt. Lebanon.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

I can see it now. Anonymous letters about turf will surface during the installation, and those too, will be ignored by the public officials and community.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for someone with a better mind than I to answer.

How can the municipality legally transfer the profits from the use of municipal property to another entity (in this case field sign income) and then consider that money non-municipal funds?
Do the commissioners have the right to  let any group 'profit' from 'our' collective property?
Taxpayers erected and maintain the field fences, any money made from their use belongs to the municipality.

Anonymous said...

Think of Gateway as the 6th Commissioner.

E. T. Gillen said...

1:20 PM, I brought that up during Citizens' Comments. The sign revenue should go toward the municipal share, not the non-municipal share. The commission was silent. No interruptions this time.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Gateway gets 10% of the project cost, right? for their engineering plans. I think that's the case...

Anonymous said...

Plus $125-150 for a copy of the plan documents from construction bidders.

Anonymous said...

Elaine you are correct about the sign revenue and as soon as it goes into effect a lawsuit will be filed. My four kids are NOT into sports and I question why all this money is being spent on just 300 some kids.

E. T. Gillen said...

6:35 AM, I hope you are right, but wouldn't it be more fun to blindside them, instead of tipping them off here?
Elaine

Damion Deringer said...

I put this comment in another post thought it was applicable here as well:


When my wife and I bought our house last year, we didn't even take into consideration the municipal amenities. We took into consideration the school district, location pertaining to jobs, and PRICE. Turf fields would not have been involved in our criteria for selecting our home and I played sports from age 5 until 22. Mostly football so I know the harm of turf fields on a person's body (concussions, bad knees/ankles, and the outbreak of MRSA/Staph). I never realized the harmful environmental effects of turf until well after I graduated college (the first time)

Anonymous said...

1:24 turf doesn't spread MRSA, dirty unbathed players who are too lazy to wash their uniforms spread MRSA. We already went throughout this baloney in ML and we wasted taxes to have our field tested to prove it didn't spread MRSA. Please don't start this nonsense again.

Anonymous said...

I remember playing on fields like that in Mt. Lebo. Before the astroturf there was grass/mud until the temperatures turned and then it became a frozen mixture. Still, the best team won.

Damion Deringer said...

8:52AM,

You don't think out of the "thousands of children" there won't be a few "dirty unbathed" players on the field? NFL Facilities have outbreaks of MRSA almost every year. Are you saying that Mt. Lebanon has better facilities than most NFL teams? If so, then we better contact the NFL to get a team.

You said ML wasted tax dollars to clean the field, so why even turf the fields if there is a chance that we would have to waste more tax dollars to test/clean them? Why not keep the fields natural grass and not have to worry about MRSA testing?

Anonymous said...

8:52 is full of crap. MRSA can be spread by contact with towels, a dirty locker room and turf.
The fact that the turf was tested several weeks after the initial outbreak didn't eliminate turf as a cause.

Damion Deringer said...

Penn State has an amazing resource on turf (artificial and natural) at http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/ssrc/research

I would hope that all parents and taxpayers would take a chance to look at the studies. The majority of them are not pretty when dealing with artificial turf.

Lebo Fields said...

Damion, thanks for reintroducing the readers to the Center for Sports Surface Research and its website. I identified this resource earlier in the turf debate and was widely criticized for relying upon a body of research that is supported, in part, by a turf manufacturer. As you may have learned from reviewing the site, this Center is a partnership between PSU and FieldTurf, one of the most respected turf manufacturers. Given this affiliation, many considered these studies and reports to be tainted or flawed (even though most were conducted by independent state and federal agencies). I'm glad you find them to be valuable. Certainly if you find them to support your objections to turf, then the notion that they are somehow tainted carries less weight. I personally don't find them to support many of the objections to turf.

Given that we've come full circle, I am going to get an early start on my New Year's resolution, which is to no longer comment on this blog. I'm happy to meet with folks to answer questions and you are certainly welcome to review old SAB meeting recordings and attend future meetings. I think if you watch the last meeting, you'll realize that many of the issues discussed here were raised by the SAB members.

Happy New Year, a few weeks early.

E. T. Gillen said...

Lebo Fields, we have not come full circle. You won, remember? None of this matters, but obviously people are upset with the commission's latest move.
I think you need thicker skin. You got your way, but please don't expect everyone to take it as well as you are.
Just a suggestion, Lebo Fields, but if you truly want to be approachable, how about leaving some contact information as J.E. Cannon III has done? Some excellent questions have been raised here. I feel sure that there are some who would like to get in touch with you hoping for some answers.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Ha! Franny, if you are to believe your word then you would have left 2 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Run away, run away, Dave!

Hey, that'd be a great title for a children's book.

Anonymous said...

CDC research on MRSA states that there are 5 factors that contribute to MRSA infections. Dubbed the 5 C's, they are:

Crowding
Frequent skin to skin contact
Compromised skin (cuts, scrapes,
abrasions)
Contaminated items (towels, mats, synthetic turf
Cleanliness

Players are more likely to suffer abrasions when playing on artificial turf than on a natural grass surface, especially when the turf is old or not properly maintained. That is the perfect environment for a staph infection to occur. Because of the large area of skin that is involved in an abrasion, bacteria find a home there and the infection begins.

Would you be more likely to trust research from the CDC or research funded by the artificial turf industry?

E. T. Gillen said...

Unfortunately, the commission majority and the fundraising Sports Advisory Board don't care what anyone thinks, let alone the CDC. There is no way to stop this.
Elaine