Today's Post-Gazette has some really top-shelf reporting and analysis from Bill Toland and Dan Fitzpatrick. And by "top shelf," I mean that it basically falls in line with what I already think. (Strange how that works, no?) Both stories deal with the complexities of "growth," the vagaries of "attracting immigrants," and all the rest.
Toland's piece deals with immigration. Or the lack of it. So what to do about that? Would a stadium cure what ails us? A convention center? A blue-ribbon panel? A panel of young people? Actualy, no one really knows.
It's possible that the puzzle is unsolvable for Pittsburgh. Because policies and networking efforts designed to recruit immigrants to urban area are still relatively young, research on whether it works or not is scant. The truth may be that political and business leaders don't have any real ability to substantially affect immigration inflow.
The best answer, according to the article, seems to be the most obvious: jobs. But it's complicated. So read the whole thing.
And speaking of jobs, Fitzpatrick reports that Pittsburgh's development gurus no longer quantify how many jobs they want to create because... well... sometimes the plans don't work out. And if you use numbers, people can tell.
Ask about the new strategy, and it sounds like a return to business basics. "The regional agenda is to promote our strengths and remove our barriers to growth," said Kathryn Klaber, the Allegheny Conference's executive vice president of competitiveness. "I think we are looking at the areas where we can have control."
To the conference, that means lobbying the state to lower the corporate net income tax, the second highest in the country. It means trying to bring about a consolidation of city and county governments as a way of making the public sector more efficient.
This is bad news, I think, for people who believe in salvation through ribbon-cutting. A stadium! A team! A skyscraper! OK. Sure. Those are all nice things. But real progress is a good deal less sexy than all that. Unfortunately, "slow and steady" doesn't play all that well on pamphlets and billboards. And politicians like pamphlets and billboards. Hell, Luke Ravenstahl is falling all over himself to get his name attached to a former porn theater.
Memo to Pittsburgh politicians: This is a machine city. And you are running the machine. Relax. You'll get reelected. So... you know. Try to stop wasting so much money.