Friday, May 25, 2018

Thanks

It's been fun, but I'm done.




Winners of the Golden Quill Award

Jennifer Rignani won for Finn's Bow. Jennifer was the only winner from Mt. Lebanon Magazine this year.  http://www.westernpapressclub.org/pdf/2018%20Quill%20winners.pdf

You read it here first.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

I knew it was wrong!

Oh the crap I have had to deal with in this community by public officials! To be told over and over to file a Right To Know for answers and then receive "anonymous" comments from school board members saying that I have wasted thousands of dollars on Right To Know Requests, is just part of it. The eblasts to encourage folks to vote for the other two finalists in the Best of the 'Burgh contest was really messed up. At least the honor of being a finalist couldn't be taken away from me. Remember how my poor husband was brought up? Despicable. A former commissioner joked about igniting me, and also claimed that I was going through her garbage at 6 AM, and then resigned because she was "dying." Being taken to court all because I had PTSD and wanted to know which areas to avoid when the deer killing was taking place. Uninvited visitors at my door. The police calls. The threats. All the BS from former school board presidents for EIGHT years. Don't forget all the cease and desists from the municipality And then there was this. Can you get away with this in your District? A federal court ruled yesterday that public officials, from President Trump down to Tim Steinhauer, cannot block people from following their Twitter accounts. I knew it was wrong!!!

Tim, I knew that what you were doing to me was wrong. Nobody would listen to me. Many have been harassed for years in this "community with character."

As late as Monday, a resident wants to file a class action suit against me. I was within my rights to go the PA Ethics Commission for a decision. If it had been a frivolous complaint, it would have been tossed out. But. It. Wasn't. I went through all the proper steps before, during, and after filing my complaint.

With all this and more, I am the one who is constantly being labeled as the one with the problem. I was raised to stand up for what I believed in. I raised my kids that way too. I am revisiting that philosophy, because this really sucks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Final Order is now public UPDATED

I received a copy of the PA Ethics Commission's final order and what Mary Birks received and spoke of at the last school board meeting is what is posted here on the State Ethics Commission website.

Mary spoke of 41 pages, but it was printed on one side, while what I received and what is on the website is printed on both sides of paper.

I spoke with the executive director of the Ethics Commission and he assured me that all interviews by the State Ethics Commission remain confidential.

Update 6:01 PM School board meeting at 01:46:00 time stamp May I remind you that this blog is a "taxpayer freebie." I have put in more than a 1,000 hours per year since 2010. I also want to remind you that you are now treading upon my Constitutional Rights. I am a private citizen, a taxpayer of Mt. Lebanon, and at the time, Mary Birks was president of the Mt. Lebanon school board. For all of her term, we were told to file Right To Knows for answers. How she treated Nick Meduho, who died just a few days later, didn't help her at the polls.  Yes, it is a harassment issue. If anyone is guilty of harassment, it is Mary and her minions.

It is always 6-15 people "who are out there." Where these numbers come from, is beyond me. I do know that there are at least 6-15 people who have consistently been harassing me. Most, not all, are serving the public in some capacity or have in the past.

So to talk about filing a class action lawsuit to recoup her legal fees is just a waste of more money, not to mention, harassment. I am a retired, 64 year old widow on Social Security. Knock yourself out.

I needed this.

Student Protect App

Dear Mt. Lebanon School District Parents,

In our continuing efforts to enhance student and staff safety, the Mt. Lebanon School District, in partnership with the Mt. Lebanon Police Department, has launched the MTLSD Student Protect app, a new mobile alert and suspicious activity reporting app.
The app is free and now available for both Android and iOS phones at the App Store or Google Play. Search for MTLSD Student Protect. You may also visit www.mtlsd.org/app for links to the MTLSD Student Protect app at both app stores.

The MTLSD Student Protect app is another tool to use in our layered approach to school safety. It allows students, parents and community members to send tips to report: Threats to schools or individuals; firearms or weapons concerns; suspicious activities or bullying. Once submitted, the tips  go immediately to Mt. Lebanon School District administrators and the Mt. Lebanon Police Department. Reports will be monitored at all times. Appropriate action will be taken.

The MTLSD Student Protect app will also have a direct connection to 911.

Tips may be sent anonymously or you may leave contact information for follow-up.  When you first open the app, you will be asked to select a school to receive emergency alerts from the District.

The MTLSD Student Protect app is easy to use and accessible anywhere. We ask that when you see something suspicious:
·         Select a school and a category from the dropdown list
·         Enter the description
·         Enter Contact Information or leave blank for an anonymous tip
·         Snap a photo or video if possible
·         Hit Submit

Our number one priority in this District is keeping our students and staff safe.  Please download the MTLSD Student Protect app today to help us with this very important mission.

Sincerely,

Timothy J. Steinhauer, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools



Monday, May 21, 2018

Tax increase for approval tonight

2018-2019 Final Budget: RESOLVED, That the Board approves a final budget for the 2018-2019 school year in the amount of $98,933,314 setting the millage rate at 24.32, a .39 mill increase over the 2017-2018 millage rate, utilizing $750,000 of the Fund Balance to balance revenues with expenditures and continuing in force all other taxes levied for school purposes as per the formal budget resolution. (Formal Resolution to be appended to the minutes.)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Every PERSON...

I completely disagree with Kelly Fraasch's commissioner's column 

Nationally, we have seen a greater interest in women running for office. It has been inspiring for me to witness my daughter’s potential and encourage her responsibility as the next
generation. It’s just as important to see my son support women’s and men’s equal opportunity to run for office.

However, as a community leader and the only woman serving as a Commissioner, I have concerns that Mt. Lebanon is missing out on this progress if we don’t take an active role in ensuring more women are able to run for elected position within our municipal government.

One of the top reasons I ran for office in 2011 was my concern that a woman hadn’t served as a Commissioner since Barbara Logan completed her three terms in 2007. For the last three of my six years on the Commission, a majority of my time serving, I have been the sole female. That concerns me in many ways for our community’s future, as I begin finishing up my eight years.
In 2011, I made the decision to run after speaking to my husband and recognizing I had the time and we had the financial resources to serve. At that time, I did not fully understand the privilege afforded to me so I could run.

Within the first two months, I realized the 20 hours a month I estimated the job would take was an underestimate. Thank goodness I had a spouse to assist with child care and running kids around, and we had the financial means to pay for the expenses that go with this role.

In 2013 to 2015, my spouse traveled an extraordinary amount and then soon after I became a single parent. Through my transition of being married to divorced, I could see more clearly the potential struggles for women to run for office or maintain their elected position. I understood the privilege I had in 2011.
I felt this new perspective afforded me the opportunity to speak out.

We should all demand changes big and small to give every woman the opportunity to consider a run for office in our local government.

I have brought value to this Commission in many perspectives, but here are a few things I am certain my male colleagues haven’t provided to this community. I’ve assisted women have needed help in domestic situations from all wards, not just the ward I serve. I’ve talked with numerous young women and men to discuss the importance of a gender-diverse leadership. Not to mention, in discussions with my colleagues, I have added to a conversation with my “particular lens” to address or resolve a situation.
Between 1988 and 1991, women made up the majority on our Commission. I hope and expect this community develops a conscious effort to ensure that women continue to serve our municipality and the residents of Mt. Lebanon.

Please help your Ashland Ave./ Pennsylvania Blvd. friends

From Facebook:

"PLEASE HELP your Ashland Ave/Pennsylvania Blvd,, friends fight for a neighborhood appropriate development at the end of PA BLVD!!!
The developer plans a contiguous 13-unit row of townhomes with many requested variances to town codes, some of which pose safety hazards. This development will affect all of us with traffic at the T stop, loss of green space, construction, and some of us will have our backyard views forever diminished.
Please join us at the MtL Planning Board meeting on Tuesday night 5/22 at 7 pm, where this issue will be up for a vote. Power in numbers!"

This narrow strip of green space is located next to the T tracks between the Poplar Stop on PA Blvd and Arlington which is almost at Mt Lebanon Blvd..this may be the last large track of green space left in Lebo where we are already packed."

Thursday, May 17, 2018

From the Ethics Commission website

I still have not received the final order from the PA Ethics Commission, but here is a link to the April 10, 2018 final adjudication posted on the PA Ethics Commission website which is saved in Google Docs. Actual link is here.

Mary Birks spoke at the May 14, 2018 school board meeting and referred to 41 pages of findings. This document has 24 pages. I skimmed over the pages and found that on page 8, Mary attended an Outreach Board of Directors meeting on May 6, 2010, where concerns of conflict of interest were raised by several Outreach board members.
Outreach Board member David Hartman verbalized Birks' need to recuse herself as a Member of the District Board if /when the District Board voted on any matters involving Outreach.
Outreach can't be too happy with how this all went down.

I also find it interesting that the Ethics Commission noted that Mary had left a block blank on her 2016 Statement of Financial Interests filed in 2017 and was deemed deficient. (Page 16) Upon notification of the above referenced deficiency, Birks amended the SFI with the District. I guess the Ethics Commission did not see the boo boo that Timmy made this year. It is ironic how Mary Birks defended Larry Lebowitz. See below.

I can't help but think how the PA Ethics Commission would have a field day over the municipality's SFIs. Statements of Financial Interests are a big thing with the PA Ethics Commission, but Keith McGill, Susan Morgans, Ian McMeans, Dave Brumfield, Bonnie Cross, and a host of others don't or didn't seem to take it seriously. Nick Meduho was on top of this too.

See We don't pay her enough; she's homeless!
We've been lied to repeatedly
T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-C-Y
Mt. Lebanon is on a roll

This is like a locker search at Mt. Lebanon High School, announcing what is ahead: I will be filing a Right To Know for all the SFIs for the municipality, Keith. Just a heads up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A finalist, but not a winner

The winners of Pittsburgh Magazine's Best of the 'Burgh were notified yesterday. Not a winner, but I am so happy to be a finalist. Thank you to all of you who voted for me. I really appreciate it. And to the one who was encouraging people to vote for either of the other two finalists in my category, I feel sorry for you.

Tim, it's 2018...

From a Right To Know, here are the School District's Statements of Financial Interests.

2018 Statements of Financial Interests for 2017 part 1

2018 Statements of Financial Interests for 2017 part 2

Unfortunately, our superintendent is not aware that it is 2018.

A Right To Know has not been filed with the municipality yet. When Nick Meduho filed for them, Bonnie Cross, the Open Records Officer, redacted everything and then charged him 25 cents a copy which is outrageous. It is all public information.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Coup de grace UPDATED

I am so discouraged with the system. Things are so unfair here in Mt. Lebanon.

  • The PA Office of Open Records ruled in my favor. No land was donated to kill deer. Property owners only granted access for deer to be killed. Mt. Lebanon appealed and won. Twice. PA Supreme Court would not hear it.

  • A local magistrate threw the book at a visitor from Boston when she came across a hunter who had just killed deer in an area which had no warning signs posted. When the case was appealed in Common Pleas Court, the judge called the case, "A tempest in a teapot."

  • A school board director had to resign from office because her son was interviewing for a teaching position and ultimately got the job. The job posting was altered nine months after he was hired. She ran again and is back on the school board. Yep, no conflict there. It also helped that she made a sizable donation to the capital campaign. Covering all her bases, she pushed for an early contract amendment for the Superintendent, that resulted in a pecuniary gain of roughly $50,000 over three years. I filed a complaint with the PA Ethics Commission, but they dismissed it.

  • A man is out until 4 AM and gets cited for public drunkenness and similar misconduct, runs for commissioner, beats out a fire fighter, has his hearing delayed to two days after the election, and then gets his case dismissed. He also had other cases dismissed by his next door neighbor, the magistrate. (See above.)

And the final blow?

A year ago, I filed a complaint with the PA Ethics Commission against Mary D. Birks. I felt that it was a conflict of interest with Mary D. Birks serving as president of the Mt. Lebanon School Board while being the executive director of Outreach Teen and Family Services. She represented Outreach and the School District and never recused herself from any votes whenever the District contracted with Outreach. Mary Birks used her position to speak with PTA. She had a close relationship with the magistrate (see above) who referred defendants to Outreach. He also officiated at her daughter's wedding in Lake Tahoe.

Complaints filed with PA Ethics Commission against Birks and Cappucci

The PA Ethics Commission recently issued an order concerning my complaint. Finding: "De minimis economic impact." I haven't gotten a copy of the final order, but Mary Birks spoke at the school board meeting tonight and talked about the complaint.

Personally, I will never forgive that woman. After how she treated Nick Meduho at the October 17, 2017 school board meeting, Nick was really upset. His sister told me that she had seen him the next day and knew something was bothering him, but Nick didn't say anything to his sister. It wasn't until after he died, did Nick's family have any idea as to what was going on. With a heavy heart Nick was asking about the capital campaign.  Watching that segment of the video, Nick was trying to find out about taxpayer money being paid back to the general fund. Based on Mary's terse response, the money in the general fund is there to be used by the District. It has been out of the general fund for five years. Kiss that $910,930.02 goodbye.

There is no justice in this world. However, Mary did admit guilt. I know that the Democratic and Republican Committees want nothing to do with her. She lost the election big time. Mark Hart had gotten in trouble for not filing Statement of Financial Interests. Because he won the presidency over Josephine Posti, a scathing report was in the Posti Gazette. Former Mt. Lebanon school director cited in audit In this case, Mary Birks admitted to voting on Outreach contracts while on the school board. She admitted guilt. Let's see how this is covered up by the media since she is best buds with Josephine Posti.You won't hear much from the Posti Gazette. It was certainly downplayed by anonymous commenters in my post from June 20, 2017. Yesssss!

Update May 15, 2018 1:24 PM To hear Mary Birks' rant, go to the timestamp 01:59:05 of the May 14, 2018 school board meeting. She doesn't get it. Her behavior over the years, caused her to lose the election. Back when I attended school board meetings, Mary would make snide remarks during my comments. She would roll her eyes when residents would speak. Her attitude as school board president, particularly to anyone who questioned her, was dreadful. To put it simply, she was a bitch. She was power hungry and it went to her head. She didn't lose the election because of my complaint or because of any board member. She lost it all on her own.

Another thing I missed while I was out of town


“The issue I am most concerned about is one of privacy. Being required to give a reason to park on the street in front of your own home, and to share this reason with public officials, I consider to be a huge invasion of privacy and one with enormous implications,” she said. “The personal lives of the residents should be out of bounds.”

Amen.

Huh! Deer weren't the problem after all! UPDATED

I heard a teaser on the radio for tonight's news. Channel 11's Peggy Finnegan is doing a segment on Japanese barberry and its connection with deer ticks.



Doing some research, Japanese barberry is listed as an invasive species. It squeezes out native plants. It is so hearty that it can grow in full sun, shade, and even parking lots. It is also deer resistant. In this community, there is a fallacy that deer spread Lyme disease. As it turns out, Japanese barberry creates the perfect environment for ticks.


I am commonly referred to as the crazy deer lady in Mt. Lebanon, but as I have been saying for years, mice and rats are the main culprits for spreading Lyme Disease. More bunk about ticks, deer, and Lyme Disease 

White-footed mice and other rodents are important vectors for immature ticks, and are the primary sources for a tick larva’s first blood meal. Mice thrive in stands of Japanese barberry; the dense, impenetrable stands protect them from predators and provide optimal nesting sites.
Maybe our commissioners are the real crazy deer people. Open your eyes, Guys. You have been dead wrong all along.