Thursday, July 21, 2016

MTL is failing again with the Office of Open Records

The Municipality of Mt. Lebanon lost, at the minimum, a third Final Determination by the PA Office of Open Records. See  Mt. Lebanon is pulling the same crap as they did with me.

  • Mt. Lebanon invoked a 30 day extension to respond to the Request, but failed to do so in 30 days. At that point, the Request was deemed denied.
  • On the 33rd day, MTL claimed that the records were confidential AND argued that the request was "overly broad."
  • The Requestor appealed to the OOR, challenging the denial. A week later, both parties submitted position statements, as in both of my appeals.
  • The Requestor only asked for electronic records, nothing scanned or printed. Mt. Lebanon admitted that there were some electronic records, but then goes on to say that the Requestor was modifying the request, which is not permitted. They pulled the same crap with me. In all three cases, the requests were not modified on appeal.
  • MTL argues that there was too much information to email. MTL is permitted to put all the information on a CD or a flash drive and charge the Requestor the actual cost of the media.
Mt. Lebanon has thirty days to comply or go the same route as they chose with me TWICE, and appeal to the Court of Common Pleas. As noted by Commissioner Steve Silverman, appealing to a higher court is free to taxpayers according to the contract with Buchanan Ingersoll. The only cost for transparency is with the Requestor.

I know that Rep. Dan Miller is personally inviting our five commissioners to his Office of Open Records seminar on September 15. Thank you, Dan!

Too many deer? How about cougars or mountain lions?

Too many deer? Get cougars, scientsts say

Even though cougars killed 21 people and attacked 152 in the United States and Canada between 1890 and 2008, scientists estimate cougars would indirectly save far more people from death (5 per year) and injury (680 per year) by reducing deer-vehicle collisions than they would likely directly kill (< 1 per year) or injure (~5 per year). [Keep in mind that there have been no deer related deaths in Mt. Lebanon.] But scientists think the risk of one human death by cougar could indirectly save far more people from potential deaths.

Oy vey.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Updated Deer "Management" Information on Municipal Website

Mt. Lebanon updated their website today concerning Deer "Management." 

DeNicola's consulting fees and expenses were not listed.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Elaine Cappucci resigns

Elaine Cappucci resigned at the school board meeting tonight. A family member is applying for a position with the school district, so her resignation is effective immediately.

Cappucci's term is over in 2019, but the school board will appoint someone to fill her seat until 2017, when there will be a special election for a two year term.

Elaine Cappucci, longtime Mt. Lebanon school board member, resigns

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Quite a claim

A photo of two bucks credited to Eleanor Bailey appears in The Almanac this week with the caption, "Deer continue to make their presence known in Mt. Lebanon." I'm concerned that the assumption being given here is that the deer killing would eradicate all deer in Mt. Lebanon. I believe that would be Eleanor Bailey's expectation since she is the photographer that I saw year after year at the Mt. Lebanon Garden Party, the event that takes place the eve of the annual Mt. Lebanon Garden Tour.

The article, Mt. Lebanon commissioners to vote on deer management quotes Manager Keith McGill,
“We know that removing deer from the population can be effective in reducing collisions,” said municipal manager Keith McGill. “It just comes down to what program is the right balance for each community. It is a very emotional and polarizing issue. The commission is focused more on deer vehicular collisions rather than the other impacts they have on the community.”
McGill's quote follows these two paragraphs:
Despite the elimination of deer, vehicular crashes with the animals have risen. In the six months tallied in 2016, with the exception of March, collisions have eclipsed each monthly amount of the past three years, according to the Mt. Lebanon Police Department.
While the goal to cut the 44 accidents that occurred in 2013 by half, the police department has already reported a number that has trumped that total, with 47 deer-related accidents already occurring this year.
Someone please explain how killing 219 deer and spending thousands of taxpayer dollars supports anything that Keith McGill said. It confirms what the anti-kill people have been saying all along. Killing deer results in more accidents because deer tend to bolt into streets and highways because they are frightened and are running for their lives.

Snake oil salesman and patent holder of apples and corn, Tony DeNicola wants another crack at killing deer this year, even though he left earlier than expected in March.
DeNicola said that if the decision is made to continue the controlled hunt – while being able to operate on the Twin Hills Park property, which is the subject of a lawsuit against the hunt filed by Scott Township – that the program will more successful than last year because of the hunters’ familiarity with the area.
Of course, the program will be more successful - for DeNicola. That is 25 acres of deer's natural habitat that was not available last year. Then it becomes a numbers game. More deer killed this time, so more deer need to be killed next time.  I illustrated earlier that killing deer in Twin Hills, located in Scott Township, will have little impact in reducing collisions. See the first paragraph in my post, Where are the car/deer collisions?

Mt. Lebanon uploaded a map today of the deer/car collisions in Mt. Lebanon from May 2011 - June 2016.
Keith McGill is right about something. It is a very emotional and polarizing issue. Nothing is based on facts. It is not about reducing collisions because there is no supporting data. Killing deer in Twin Hills will only pacify the residents in Virginia Manor.  That is what it is all about. And our snake oil salesman will make even more money off of Mt. Lebanon taxpayers. Remember, he was paid for his time and expenses every single time he made an appearance in front of the commission when brought in for advice. The corn and apples patent holder also convinced our commissioners not to believe the 2014 aerial survey which showed 196 deer. Aerial surveys are so accurate, they can even track the number of bucks and does in their reports. DeNicola left town early because he ran out of deer to kill.

There is a sucker born every minute, right Tony?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Where are the car/deer collisions?

Mt. Lebanon uploaded a map today of the deer/car collisions in Mt. Lebanon from May 2011 - June 2016.

In small print, there is a note at the bottom of the map. "NOTE: Approximately 50% of incidents cannot be mapped due to data limitations." The data limitations are related to missing information related to location. The location of a deer vehicular incident is not always included in the report. Really?

I do see the urgency now to kill deer in Twin Hills. Just look at all the deer/vehicular collisions that could have been avoided in the last five years. But our municipality is in litigation with Scott Township so that we can kill Scott Township deer in Twin Hills Park. Yeah, makes perfect sense.

Not a whole lot of deer/car collisions around the golf course.

The deer/car collision that stands out for me, is the one that isn't even on a road. It is near Beadling and Purchase.

What has been spent so far on deer management? $100,000? We're going to pay Tony another $9,000 so that we can kill deer in Scott Township? Seriously, why are we doing this?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Triple J is history UPDATED

Jody Jodi Joe D. Maddock will not be heading the archery program this year. It appears that Mt. Lebanon is going to get the head honcho of White Buffalo, the patent holder of corn and apples - Dr. Tony DeNicola. Tony will be charging us $9,000 to vet the volunteer archers. I'm not sure what went wrong. The purpose of having Triple J last year was to lay the ground work for future archery programs by introducing the archers to the residents who wanted deer killed on their properties.

Car/deer collisions were at an all time high this year. Here are the numbers:

From Jan. 1 - June 30, 2016 47 car/deer collisions
From Jan. 1 - June 30, 2015 18 car/deer collisions
From Jan. 1 - June 30, 2014 17 car/deer collisions
From Jan. 1 - June 30, 2013 19 car/deer collisions

It couldn't be because deer were being hunted from September through March and tend to run frantically into streets during those times, could it? No, of course not. We must kill more deer is the Mt. Lebanon Municipal mantra.

I believe the commissioners will be voting on the $9,000 archery program on August 9.

Update July 13, 2016 11:10 AM A court ordered conciliatory meeting between Scott Township and Mt. Lebanon over killing rights in Twin Hills will take place on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 11:00 AM in the City-County Building on Grant Street. That should be interesting. MTL is NOT backing down. They are planning to kill deer in Twin Hills this fall.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My addiction

Below are some of my latest projects which gave me the fortitude to write my checks to Mt. Lebanon, PA and Mt. Lebanon School District today. I have over 400 designs now. My latest:

L-R 1st row Pacman, our favorite vacation spot, minion, skull hippo
2nd row Blue Line, skull deer, truck, skull spider, bat signal
3rd row skull unicorn, my staycation spot, skull pig, skull duck, baseball
The Blue Line key fob is not for sale.

The hot items collected at the moment are skull animals. I have the entire collection:

I don't quite get it, but they are cute. Since those take longer to sew, I would only have to sell 13,533 key fobs to equal what our Public Information Officer earns in a year, which does not include longevity pay plus benefits such as breakfasts, lunches, dinners, health insurance, phone bill reimbursement, or my costs for time and material. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Coffee with Keith

Want to meet our new municipal manager? You can have coffee with Keith McGill on Monday morning at Uptown Coffee. You must buy your own coffee.

I had been to a coffee with the manager a few years ago. Steve Feller had provided coffee at one of the meeting rooms at the Rec Center. It was a nice event. Then it was discontinued.

I wonder if our manager will use a crosswalk when crossing Washington Road.

Why can't we coexist?

Our nation has gone mad. Shootings everywhere. Why can't we coexist? When I was at a commission meeting at the high school little theatre, I stood up and said that I wish we could coexist with the deer. At that time, I was representing myself as a member of the Mt. Lebanon Coalition for Coexistence.

I will never forget when Roycroft resident Elaine LaBalme spoke during citizen comments, turned around, looked right at me, and said that she didn't want to coexist. She was screaming that she almost hit a deer. She. Didn't. Want. To. Coexist. 

The Mt. Lebanon Commissioners will be discussing deer management AGAIN on Tuesday. Mt. Lebanon Commission Discussion Session Agenda That is the politically correct way to say more deer massacres are in our future. More guns in our neighborhoods. Our children will be learning once again that if you don't like something, kill it. Tony DeNicola and Keith McGill, will be providing an overview of 2015, but certainly won't be revealing the super secret, proprietary method of baiting the deer with his patented apples and corn.

Mt. Lebanon commissioners will not coexist with deer. Bobcats, coyotes, and bears? We have been told to learn to coexist with them. They only eat small dogs and cats. But deer? Lock up your wives, your children, and your pets.

Also on the executive session agenda - the Scott Township litigation where Mt. Lebanon wants to kill Scott Township deer, as well.

Not only is our nation in trouble, but so is our community. Why can't we coexist? Or I should ask, "Why won't we coexist?"

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Erik Arneson Tweets from the OOR

  • Tweets
  • Tweets & replies
  • Media
  1. The 1st half of 2016 was the 2nd busiest 1st half of a year ever at the OOR.

Appeals Filed in the First Half of 2016

A total of 1,146 appeals were filed with the Office of Open Records in the first half of 2016. Here’s the monthly breakdown:
  • January – 122
  • February – 317
  • March – 184
  • April – 141
  • May – 198
  • June – 184
That’s the second-busiest first half of the year ever at the OOR. Here’s a comparison of appeals filed in the first six months of each year the OOR has existed:
  • 2016 (Jan. to June) – 1,146
  • 2015 (Jan. to June) – 1,181
  • 2014 (Jan. to June) – 1,017
  • 2013 (Jan. to June) – 1,129
  • 2012 (Jan. to June) – 1,064
  • 2011 (Jan. to June) – 908
  • 2010 (Jan. to June) – 601
  • 2009 (Jan. to June) – 560
State Representative Dan Miller is hosting a seminar with Erik Arneson on September 15, 2016 at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. Save the date!

In case you haven't seen them

I took these two pics today on Washington Road. The parking sensors are located in the middle of the parking spaces and resemble hockey pucks.

Note: No jaywalking laws were broken when taking these photos. I did witness jaywalking and an illegal U-turn in front of the new Mexican restaurant.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I'm puzzled too, Your Honor

When Mt. Lebanon had me go before Judge Terrence O'Brien on April 11, 2016 for a judicial review concerning emails that were withheld in my two RTKs, the Honorable Judge was puzzled as to why a particular email was withheld. The sender did not offer her time or her land to be used for killing deer, but simply wrote in support of the program. Judge O'Brien made his decision on May 23, 2016 and is available here. 

Mt. Lebanon Solicitor Phil Weis released the email today per Judge O'Brien.

From: Weis, Philip []
Sent: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 11:45 AM
To: Ronald D. Barber <>
Cc: Garfinkel, Daniel <>; Lucas, Brendan P. <>
Subject: Gillen


If you have any questions, please let me know.


Philip J. Weis, Esq
Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, P.C.
301 Grant Street, 20th Floor
Pittsburgh PA 15219
(412) 562-3937
(412) 562-1041 (fax)

Monday, July 4, 2016

MTL Rec July 4 Festivities in Mt. Lebanon Park UPDATED 2X

MTL Rec July 4 Festivities in Mt. Lebanon Park

Join in the festivities all day on July 4, 2016 at Mt. Lebanon Park! Enjoy family activities from Noon to 5:00 p.m. in the park. There will be games/prizes, inflatables, pony rides, a petting zoo, Euro Bungee, vendors, plenty of food, and more.

Cool off at the Mt. Lebanon Swim Center. Weather permitting, 
the pool will be open from Noon to 7:00 p.m.

The powerful acoustic rock trio, Tres Lads, will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. by the basketball courts in the park. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on and enjoy the show.

Mt. Lebanon's fireworks extravaganza, by Zambelli Fireworks, will begin at 9:30 p.m. in Mt. Lebanon Park. The high school stadium will be open for viewing the fireworks. Those planning to park in the high school South Lot, and view the fireworks from the stadium or park, should arrive prior to 9:00 p.m. to avoid entering the safety zone during the fireworks.

Come hungry, ready to shop, play games and have fun. Chic-Fil-A, cookies, Chicken on a stick, Egg Rolls, Fried Rice, Pizza, Moe's Southwest Grill, Hawaiian Shave Ice, Kettle Korn, Betsy's Ice Cream, Lemonaide, Water, Soft Drinks Iced tea and more.

OH Snap - Interchangeable Jewelry, Legacy Remodeling, College Nanny and Tutors, North Way Dormont Photo Booth, Historical Society of Mt. Lebanon, S. Hills PA Tutors, MTL Recreation Cheerleaders, State Rep. Dan Miller, Senator Guy, U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy, Councilwoman Sue Means, and MTL Democratic Committee.

Parking in the high school South Lot will be available throughout the day. Limited parking is also available at the baseball field parking lots on Cedar Boulevard. Please note: only handicap parking is permitted in the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center parking lot during the day. Official handicap permit required. Limited spaces are available.

Mt. Lebanon Recreation Department, 900 Cedar Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(412) 343-3409

Update July 4, 2016 8:11 PM This is an important notice from LeboALERT.

Concert this evening is cancelled due to inclement weather. Fireworks decision will be made later tonight.

Update July 4, 2016 8:41 PM This is an important notice from LeboALERT.

Barring a major change in the weather, fireworks are a go for 9:30 p.m. tonight.