Assessment games: Allegheny County's failure to produce and maintain a fair and regular system of property tax assessments — and, in some instances, actively working to undermine that system — has produced what you might expect: local municipalities and school districts attempting to use the appeals process to engage in nothing less than spot assessment. This end around is dubious public policy and has the perverse effect of not only pitting neighbor against neighbor but perpetuating unconstitutional taxation. All of this nonsense must stop.
Staffing questions: Pittsburgh International Airport no longer is a hub airport. And passenger traffic has been cut in half over the past dozen years. But the Allegheny County Airport Authority employs about the same number of people. The authority defends the employment levels, saying it has the same amount of infrastructure to maintain. Yet operations at comparable airports employ fewer people. It's food for thought as airport officials struggle to turn around Pittsburgh International's fortunes.
Another success: Nearly 24,000 runners. Tens of thousands of additional spectators. Logistics that would make the heads spin of the most adroit planners. And a safe race with no serious problems. That was Sunday's Pittsburgh Marathon in a nutshell. Kudos to the organizer in chief, Patrice Matamoros, who is the first to thank the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who worked just as hard to implement a plan that works quite well.
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