Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I don't know where to begin PHOTOS ADDED

Please sign this petition if you want to halt public funds for use of artificial turf at Wildcat and Middle Fields.

Just random thoughts because I am too tired. The room was packed, so I welcome random thoughts from those in attendance.

Jim Cannon asked Kristen Linfante to resign. I asked Kristen Linfante, Dave Brumfield, and John Bendel to resign. Note to self. I don't think they are going to resign.

The room was filled with Brookline residents upset about the Castlegate property, newcomers upset with appeals, and people opposing the artificial turf. Citizen comments lasted until 11:30 PM. 

Let me back up a minute. A few important facts from the Discussion Session. The organic infill will be more expensive because the cork has to be kept moist or it will disintegrate. A watering system has to be added. Additionally, every year a 1/4" additional infill has to be added. That will be an additional charge. Right now, the organic infill is at $1.57 million. The Commission has decided to ask an expert, someone who is not a toxicologist, questions about the safety of the turf. They were going to bring him in, but it would be more cost effective to just submit some questions to him instead. Why the Commission is only worried about costs when it comes to our children's safety, is beyond me.

Originally, the sports people had until May 13 to raise $250,000. Now, I believe it is until June 15. John Bendel said that in his presentation, May 15 was listed, but that has changed. No mention about 25%. It looks like they are holding to $250,000.

I got some answers tonight. The project can be "de-voted." The SAB can be dissolved. Even though residents are upset with the turf project in Ward 2, Steve Silverman supports the turf project.

Gateway said that the fields never flood. A resident will be sending me photos that tell a different story. I hope to receive them tomorrow, I mean, later today.

110 signatures opposing the turf project were handed over to the commissioners. Keep in mind, we only started this on Thursday evening. Dave Brumfield doesn't pay attention to petitions. He was reminded of how he announced for Dave Franklin on August 27, 2012 that Franklin's petition had 300 votes. See There is a new service available at commission meetings! Interestingly, Dave Brumfield paid attention to that petition. We will continue to get signatures. Dave was the only one who said that he didn't pay attention to petitions. Thanks to those of you who have signed the petition so far.

I loved to watch Dave Brumfield squirm when a resident asked him to define "fairness." Dave was speechless. I doubt that the camera will be on Steve Feller when Kristen was asked to voluntarily challenge her underassessed property. She said that she will wait for DMS who makes that decision. Steve Feller was very upset with her. 

I really need to get some sleep, so I am encouraging others to submit their take on the meetings. I will continue my mission to stop the installation of toxic turf. Also, I will continue to advocate for commissioners' resignations. Good night.

Update April 29, 2014 8:18 AM I just received the photos of the flooding at the fields. The resident wrote, "I wish we had the pictures of Wildcat too, but this does give some perspective of the big issue that watershed is...these were taken in 2013."








I forgot to add that during the discussion session, they talked about adding an e-layer under the turf. Wasn't that an issue with the high school field?

Update April 29, 2014 11:40 AM I want to bring this to everyone's attention. At the Sports Advisory Board meeting on October 3, 2013, a vote was taken as to WHERE this turf should be installed. Click on Turf Project on the Agenda listed with the video. The subject of artificial turf has been discussed for years, but the location was not determined until that October 3, 2013 meeting. Kelly Fraasch admitted that she did not know about the project until a few days before the first meeting in November. Remember she was barely included in any of the emails in my mother of all RTKs when I asked for any communication about artificial turf from November 1 - January 24, 2014.

Update April 29, 2014 3:33 PM The following is James Cannon's comments from the 042814 Commission Meeting. He respectfully asks for Kristen Linfante's resignation.



Here are my comments from the  042814 Commission meeting. I put Kelly Fraasch and Steve Silverman on the hot seat and demand that Brumfield, Linfante, and Bendel resign.



Steve Diaz gives a lesson in Civics 101 at the 042814 Commission meeting.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some of the Castlegate Brookline residents approached me after the meeting. They demonstrated typical Pittsburgh demeanor - caring, reaching out and interested. They said that they don't understand how our residents could be in such a bad position with our Commission. They noted the turf people and the newcomers - all unhappy victims of unchecked government.

They wondered why we can't just vote these Commissioners out. I explained that only 30% of residents show up on election day and of those who do show up, most of them vote the party line - predominately Democrat. So, when the Democrat party puts up candidates and does not vet them, (or does?? - unknown given what is going on here) we get what they back. If there was real competition for seats it would be a different story but at the time being there is no other game in town.

I explained that this Commission has an agenda and dismisses our residents and volunteer Boards. They asked why theses expensive projects, such as the turf project, are not put up for a community vote. I explained that these people who want their personal agendas to be satisfied will never put their pet projects up for a community vote.

You know what was interesting? Those Brookline residents were more concerned about us Mt. Lebanon residents than they were for themselves. In spite of Castlegate, they felt better off, you could see it in their faces. That's the Pittsburgh I know.

-Charlotte Stephenson

E. T. Gillen said...

Photos were added of the flooding down at the fields. We're not buying what you are saying, Guys.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Gateway had proven to be incompetent with a number of estimates and now our engineering firm of record doesn't know it floods down there.

Anonymous said...

Elaine, regarding consideration of adding an E-layer under the turf carpet, I submitted a comment about E-layer history with the former turf system at the high school. See your post of April 27 "President Kristen, you're going...." and my comment at April 27, 5:25 PM. Maybe you can repeat it here or post a link to it.

E. T. Gillen said...

I uploaded the podcasts to last night's meetings. They are available here.
Many powerful comments! The comments from James Cannon begin at 4:55 minute time stamp. Please listen to this and hear why he has asked for Linfante's resignation. My comments follow his when I put Kelly Fraasch in the hot seat.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

The photos provide even more evidence that the turf-supporting nitwits have absolutely no credibility, lie, are bullies, dictatorial and reprehensible. And the Commission majority with their totally compliant, unquestioning staff are poster children for the exact antithesis of good and proper governance in a free and democratic society.

Resign fools, or face being run out of town !

E. T. Gillen said...

8:52 AM,
Here it is again. Thanks for submitting it.
Elaine

"Anonymous said...
When the former high school turf only lasted 6 of the expected 8-10 years about 3 years ago, the District believed that only the turf grass and turf carpet had to be removed, and nothing below that, known as the "E layer" which acted as a backup & cushion. The expected cost of the carpet removal and replacement was to be just under $500,000.

When the contract was let and the contractor tried to peel off and remove the turf carpet, it would not release from the 3" rubberized E layer. They had to bring in a number of gigantic mechanized field saws and saw 6' x 6' sections out, each weighing 800 lbs. according to what the District maintenance supervisor told me as I observed the process. The entire turfed area must have been 125,000 s.f., so there must have been some 3,450 squares of turf material, each 800 lbs., or a total of 2,760,000 lbs. or 1,380 tons of non-recyclable waste hauled to area landfills in 40' dumpsters that were used.

The actual cost of the removal, hauling and landfill tipping fees of the removed turf plus the cost of new turf installation were never revealed by the District.

This rather new District turf is being misused and abused and the warranty is in question because graduation exercises continue to be allowed on the turf (hundreds of people sitting on metal chairs, podiums, platforms, tents, people marching, many in high heels, chewing gum, eating snacks, trash, etc.); and, the turf continues being used as a depository for snow from District roadway and sidewalk removal during winter months. Both are misuses that invalidate warranties and shorten the useful life of artificial turf. Should we expect anything really different from the Muni turf use, particularly when the District will be in charge of maintaining it ? Are lessons never learned by these people ?

April 27, 2014 at 5:25 PM"

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have quotes on what the commission or Gateway said about flooding on the fields?

E. T. Gillen said...

The discussion session video has been uploaded on the municipal website. Click on the agenda and you will be able to watch that portion of the meeting. The commission meeting video should be uploaded later on today.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Unbelieve! No one finds it repugnant that a commissioner apparently has no problem with with forging another person's name on a list to speak before the commission so... they (have to be politically correct and be gender neutral) remember to present that other person's petition.

Three concerns are glaring:
1. This commissioner can remember to sign in, but isn't smart enough to scribble a reminder on his personal copy of the agenda. Have they never heard of posted notes?
2. Why not if they are to stupid to use one of the options in #1, why not sign in their own name?
3. If this commissioner can't retain an important topic for 30 minutes, how in the hell can we depend on them to retain and then analyze important numbers and facts! Considering the evidence in Elaine's link - "http://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2012/08/there-is-new-service-available-at.html" I'm surprised this commissioner can remember their way to the chambers.

But here is the biggest concern of all-- WHY IS THIS COMMISSIONER PRESENTING ANOTHER RESIDENT'S PETITION TO THEMSELF and their fellow commissioners????
I thought the commissioners were supposed to be unbiased, have no conflicts of interest. Obviously this wasn't the case, just exactly is the relationship between these two? How much information are they sharing outside the public eye and ear?

Anonymous said...

Forget about writing to the commission.

Write to the newspapers.

E. T. Gillen said...

11:06 AM, please watch the discussion session video around the 53:00 minute mark. Gateway's Dan Deiseroth claimed that those fields were never flooded. He specifically says that those fields have never flooded around the 54:25 minute mark.
That probably explains why Dan had the expression that he had on his face when the resident had photos of the flooding of the fields.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Please do not accuse me of being a naysayer...I am simply asking a question. These pictures only show flooding on Cedar Blvd and into Dixon field. Runoff from Dixon is draining into the Dixon parking lot sewer.

Dixon is not being turfed.

Are there any photos showing actual flooding on Middle or Wildcat field? I think that might help your cause.

Anonymous said...

how did the Castlegate vote go?

E. T. Gillen said...

1:12 PM, why don't you read The Almanac or listen to my podcast of the meeting or wait until the video is uploaded on the municipal website and find out for yourself? Do I have to spoon feed you?
Yes, I am a little cranky because I desperately NEED A NAP!
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

MY CAUSE, 12:43 PM? Why don't you go to the residents and ask them to take pictures of Middle or Wildcat when it floods next time? I am sure they will want to accommodate you when they get flooded again. Gateway Engineers said that the fields have never been flooded. I guess you need to see more flooded fields besides Dixon to make your decision. Obviously, the residents on Cedar need to take MORE pictures of flooding to satisfy you.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

holy crap, you are cranky. Just asking a question since you go to every meeting like it's your job. a simple yay or nay would have been quicker and let you go get your precious rest. Your podcasts do not play on my computer. I will wait for the video. thanks cranky pants. Way to get blog followers. You are so rude sometimes - you probably would make a good commissioner.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thealmanac.net/article/20140429/NEWS/140429947#.U1_ojfldVQg

Here is the link in case anyone else is interested. My husband was there but had to leave before this vote.

Anonymous said...

You obviously misinterpreted my comment. There is no need to satisfy me. I did not dispute that Cedar Blvd or Dixon field were flooded.

There were no pictures showing Middle or Wildcat field flooded. The "lawyers" will say that their is a lack of evidence. Sorry, but you know that is the response that you will get.

Anonymous said...

Silverman supports turf as an economic development for Mt. Lebanon. HAHAHAHA How many gatorades have to be sold to justify the cost Commish Silverman?

Anonymous said...

Brumfield doesn't believe in petitions. Someone should direct his highness to the Home Rule Charter Sections 1204, 1205, 1206. Residents have a right to use petitions, though the charter is specifically referring to petitioning to overturn passed ordinances.
But the commissioners must recognize or deem the petition sufficient. Brumfield has told us he essentially doesn't hold much stock in petitions.
From The Almanac: "He also stated that he didn’t believe citizen petitions regarding the project carry much weight, since people are so easily swayed.
“I don’t want to get into signature battles,” he said. “You can say to someone, ‘are you for this?’ and they’ll sign. Then the next person comes along and says, ‘but aren’t you against this?’ They sign both. We saw that with the high school project.”"

So come a taxpayers petition to change or cancel and ordinance and Brumfield will say- "I don't want to get into signature battles." Is this a commissioner you want representing you?

This is precisely why we need a recall provision in the revised Home Rule Charter!

Plus did Brumfield commit forgery by signing in Franklin on a commission meeting sign in sheet? If should is he eligible for removal due to state ethics violations?

From http://i.word.com/idictionary/forgery
forg·ery
Pronunciation: \ˈfȯrj-rē, ˈfȯr-jə-\Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): pluralforg·er·ies
Date: 1583
1 archaic : invention 2 : somethingforged 3 : an act of forging ;especially : the crime of falsely and fraudulently making or altering a document

Brumfield as reported by Elaine falsely entered Franklin's signature to the commission meeting sign in list.

Anonymous said...

I have done some more digging and found the following:

First off, the claim of additional field space is bogus if lights are not included. Softball has the Middle field in the spring and plays games there for 3 months. There are 8, 2 hour time slots a week for the games. Eliminating the slots they lose to the high school baseball team, this amounts to about 80-90 games a year. In the past 2 years they have had a total of 10 games rained out, 4 last year and 6 in 2012. Even if the field was turf, some of those games still would have been rained out since they don't play when it is raining steadily or hard. 4-6 games a year is pretty minor.

There was a recent field scheduling meeting for spring of 2015 assuming there is turf. Some field times were traded around among the sports, but the only field times added were in February and March and they will use it when it is not too cold and there is no snow on the turf. Lacrosse would use it for conditioning and soccer for some practice.

How in the world can this minimal benefit justify the cost?? No way Jose!!

-Charlotte Stephenson

Anonymous said...

Regarding petitions, Brumfield has passed, endorsed, created policies in Mt Lebanon within the last two years that require residents to submit petitions.

So on the one hand, he requires petitions, and on the other hand, he just doesn't like to get into signature battles.

He is making Mt Lebanon all about him without any attention to ethics, law, equality, fairness or the common good.

Anonymous said...

The sports groups have given up on the school district maintaining their fields and they don't do a decent job (remember who is in charge of the district?) with some of the fields, particularly Mellon. So now they are targeting the muni for a perfect field.

E. T. Gillen said...

To be maintained by the school district, 4:35 PM.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

4:35 now... finally now... you've gotten to the root of the problem.
It's not the number of fields, it's not the rain outs-- remember the artificial turf DOESN'T create any new fields and as Ms. Stephenson points out doesn't stop a big number of rain outs.
Our fields are in bad shape because of lousy maintenance and initial or long overlooked proper grading and seeding.

Anonymous said...

Good point Elaine, the plan is for the school district to maintain the turf, isn't it.
They did such a stellar job maintaining the stadium turf that had to be replaced after only 6 years.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Brumfield suppose to represent ALL the residents of Mt. Lebanon equally?
Did he sign in as someone else to present the anti-turf petition as he did under Franklin's to present the pro-turf petition?
This guy is an embarrassment IMO.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the photos don't show flooded Wildcat and Middle Fields, but what happens when Cedar and the field parking lots flood.
Will the 'games go on' just because, damn we have $1.2+ million worth of plastic turf?
Will players and spectators be required to wade through dirty water to access the games or will the commissioners embark on a multi-million dollar drainage project for their crown jewel recreation boondoggle?

Anonymous said...

Let me see...elected officials come up with a plan that is purelu aesthetic, not purpose driven. They show virtually no evidence of anyone im favor of the project. When asked for details, they obfuscate and outright lie. The cost is murky and keeps changing. They claim to have "considered" alternatives but insist on going with the most expensive option. They embark on personal attacks against people who disagree with them. And in the end, the project creates no benefit whatsoever for the community. Now where have we seen this before?

Anonymous said...

Now we're talking about a $1.57 million turfing project instead of a $1 million project!
Considering Gateway's track record at preliminary estimating we're in a lot of trouble when the final bids come in!

E. T. Gillen said...

No, 6:50 PM, this is part of the dog and pony show. They are establishing the fact that organic infill is too expensive. Dave Franklin does not want organic infill. He wants rubber crumb infill. And what Dave Franklin wants, Dave Franklin gets.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Remember that Deiseroth can't blame anyone else for the costs - he's the one writing the specifications and has had meetings with all the turf manufacturers and installers, and even hired an "expert" turf consultant from the get-go !

His is a fascinating history of repeating this kind of thing over and over. He always lowballs initial cost estimates, or what government wonks call "OPC's" (Opinion on Probable Cost's), for projects favored by government officials to permit them to go forward. And high OPC's for those not favored.

By the time final cost estimates for favored projects materialize higher, the governments have invested too much time, their limited energy and political capital to call a halt. It's too easy to somehow "find" tax money hidden away, or issue or increase a bond to cover the difference.

Welcome to the world of home town governance. It's not really that different than County, State or Federal government, just smaller in dollar terms. The people involved, elected and appointed, however, are just as morally, ethically and sometimes even as financially corrupt.

E. T. Gillen said...

Grrr, I should have said from the comment I read during Citizen Comments, "This is poor governance on steroids." I was rushing since the clock watcher was timing me.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

Please note the photos showing the trees that will be removed for Phase II in my post about the educational forum on artificial turf. The meeting will be tomorrow evening.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Once again Linfante stretches the truth— according to the Almanac: "She went on to say that alternative proposals had been studied in the past and that the current proposal was the only “viable option” for addressing the community’s lack of field space."

For one thing artificial turf is not the only option for fast field recovery after a rain storm. There are natural grass field systems that allow fast drying, for some inexplicable reason commissioners aren't interested in allowing those companies to make a presentation. Why is that?

Number two, artificial turfing doesn't add field space! Only adding a field adds field space, turfing doesn't make the WC/M field any larger. As Stephenson points out there are minimal rain outs to begin with and the claim of simultaneous play at Wildcat/Middle is absurd, it is once again the same sized area grass or turf.
If they can hold simultaneous games on turf there is absolutely no reason that can't be held on grass too.
As for field availability in January-Feburary, football is over at the high school stadium and its highly unlikely that space couldn't be made available for lacrosse. Plus do we want to spend over $1,000,000 for a few more lacrosse practices?

So there are viable options out there, Linfante just doesn't want to talk about them!

Anonymous said...

I would have been even more against the project if they included organic infill. That was never a financially viable option. It was just used as a political softball to the Dems.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ms. Linfante, where are those alternative proposals from the past?
Which fields? How much were the estimates? Were they natural grass proposals or artificial turf proposals?
Which companies or products were looked at?
Open the books, let your constituents see the exact history trail that brought us to this point!
Yeah, I know file a friggin' RTK! Tell you what commissioners, until you show all the alternatives and their specifications, I won't believe there were any.
You work and represent us, not the other way around.

E. T. Gillen said...

At the risk of being called rude...again, that is the most ludicrous comment I have ever heard, 10:41 AM. This Republican is more concerned about the health and safety of our children. The organic infill option was only added to reduce SOME of the environmental, health, and safety hazards to toxic turf. Linfante. Brumfield, Bendel, and now Silverman are all in favor of the synthetic and less expensive toxic turf.
I am opposed to any kind of artificial turf. Both options are toxic. We have beautiful , natural grass on those fields. Artificial turf, any kind, is NOT a financially viable option.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Elaine, I stated that I would be even more against it, which means that I am against the turfing of the fields. BUT, if we are going to turf the field, I would NOT want the overly expensive organic infill and waste 2-3x more money.

Anonymous said...

There are natural grass alternatives that cost a helluva lot less.
We could improve Wildcat/Middle, Bird and Mellon for less than the $750,000 public share of artificially turfing WC/M.

Anonymous said...

The only alternative is DO NOTHING. There are other problems that are more important than Brummie's kids.

E. T. Gillen said...

Have you signed the petition yet, 12:19 PM?
Elaine

Anonymous said...

12:59, I don't understand your comment.
Do nothing is always an option to every thing, but there are some issues with both our municipal and school district fields especially considering what we pay in taxes.
Before we shell out a million dollars for artifical turf, we better get some people working for us that know how to properly take care of fields.
We're going to let the school district that burned through 8-10 year lifespan turf in six years, maintain another $1.2 million investment, is that wise?

Anonymous said...

The fields are fine the way they are, correct? They only cancel 4-6 games a year. That is NOT a major problem. That is NOT worth spending an extra cent. If the sports orgs want to fix the field, let them pay 100% of it. The municipality has a duty to ALL citizens and not just a few sports kids.

Bob D. said...

2:09pm - Pardner, there's nothing wise that goes on in this town. Since I came up here I've discovered that there's more gas above ground than in the shale!

Anonymous said...

In an article about the 'GRASS TURF' (we must be accurate) from ESPN— "It costs between $800,000 and $1.2 million to install FieldTurf. It costs $28,000 each time a field is re-sodded. Of course, there is more maintenance and upkeep on grass. And, naturally, there is more wear and tear on a grass field."

http://a.espncdn.com/nfl/columns/clayton_john/1461243.html

Fist question: $800,000 to $1.2 million to artificially turf a professional stadium and little old Mt. Lebanon is looking to fork over that or more for a bunch of amateur kids!

Hell, these stadiums are charging 60,000+ fans $100/ticket and up and charging $10/beer. Youth sports are planning on turfing by charging players $25 and selling signs for $750. What the hell is wrong with this picture?

Plus ESPN says it cost around $28,000 to resod a field. At that rate we could resod WC/M each and every year for 42 years!

I'd opt for resodding WC/M every 8 years as a civic duty. If the sports groups aren't happy with that they can come up with the additional $28,000 every year that want new "grass turf."

See Linfante-- there's a viable alternative, your buddy Brumfield might not like it, but tough sh*t. He wants something else, he can pay for it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Brumfield makes enough money to pay for a lot of things. Hence, the unbridled house/field envy. Based on his unhealthy appearance last week, I'd bet he spent most of his life with jock envy, and his desperate attempts to appease and please the SAB at all costs is nothing more than the manifestation of the fat kid still wanting to be liked by the jock crowd.

Anonymous said...

Ere's where you lose me 5:55.
I could care less if Brumfield has more money than Bill Gates, is better looking than George Clooney and plays football better than Mean Joe Green.
In my opinion he makes a terrible commissioner and isn't very straight on the Wildcat turfing project.

Anonymous said...

What's that old saying...hmmm....ah, yes---a picture is worth a thousand words. I'd say those pictures say it all!

Anonymous said...

Maybe ask the firefighters in Lebo about the records of floods... but do it before Brumfield gets to them.

From 2000:

"In Mt. Lebanon, firefighters rescued a woman trapped on the roof of her car, which was stuck in 5 feet of water on Cedar Boulevard near Greenhurst Drive sometime after 10 Sunday night."

Anonymous said...

With respect to fundraising for the non-Municipal share, Dave Franklin spoke about "trying to roll this into the United Way Annual Day of Giving". Is he referring to the Pittsburgh Foundation's May 6 Day of Giving event?

http://www.pittsburghgives.org/

Isn't lobbying citizens to contribute to a project that benefits private non-charitable groups not really "tax-deductible" to the donor?

Anonymous said...

Yes 7:02 PM, but you have to file a complaint with the IRS, which will take months for them to respond for your documentary evidence and then tell you months later, indirectly of course, that the claim is too small in $ terms to justify their assigning investigative resources. I've been that route.

Anonymous said...

Mt. Lebanon has declared that donations made directly to the Community Endowment qualify for federal tax deductibility, which is true except for the purpose for which such donations are intended. The actual purpose is to fund the construction of a municipal facility designed for the private use of local youth sports groups, mostly private corporate entities, and not the general public. This has been borne out by existing documentation that the alleged increase in playable hours because of the planned turf installation will be allocated entirely to the youth sports groups.

A basic tax deductibility criterion is that the money be devoted entirely to a charitable use by the general public and not for private use.

To contest this you'll have take it to the IRS and federal courts, and LOL with that !