Is something organic if it is shipped across the country? What about the fuel that is used and how that affects our environment, not to mention the freshness of the food and a myriad of other factors. Over the last few years i have been reading everything i can get my hands on to help me answer these and other questions so sit back, relax and explore where my quest has taken me thus far.

Friday, November 20, 2009

totally off the topic

The below is a post from me that i have posted on facebook and am now throwing on this site because it is important.  

 Based on information from a reliable resource- 
I am very rarely this serious but the below email sent to me totally pissed me off. As many of you know i am not in Pgh at the moment - but as someone that was born and raised there, it does not matter where i am at - Pittsburgh is still my home. The below information was sent out to CMU alumni, is deplorable and we ...need to take action. It is unacceptable that students are going to be charged a tax just to be students in the city limits. It is expensive enough to go to school - our young mayor (who should remember the expense clearly) can choose another group of people to charge.

Hey Luke - go pick on someone your own size! Or is it that you are just trying to drive every young person out of the city? if you are unclear about what it means to be a servant of the people feel free to contact me - i will help you to remember - jerk!

Please join me in eliminating this ridiculous tax and driving our young people away from such a great city!

Dear Fellow Alumni,

As some of you who still live here in the Pittsburgh region may already be aware, the mayor of Pittsburgh has proposed imposing a tuition tax on all college, university and trade school students in Pittsburgh in an effort to raise funds for the city, closing a deficit gap. Student Government leaders, as well as the administrations of Pittsburgh's education institutions, are organizing to oppose this effort.

Below is a message from President Cohon to the campus community explaining the university's position. In the message, he references a previous email from the Student Government leaders, a copy of which can be found online.

Please take a moment to review this information and, if you are willing, share your thoughts with city leaders through the links provided.

Jay E. Price (S'66)
Interim Associate Vice President for University Advancement,
Director of Alumni Relations

Dear Members of the University Community:

I'm sure most of you have read about recent efforts to impose a tuition tax on college, university and trade school students in Pittsburgh. The university is opposed to this tax, and we are working with other member institutions of the Pittsburgh Council of Higher Education to stop this from being implemented.

You received an email recently from our Student Government leaders opposing the tax, and I applaud and support their efforts. They have helped to create a website,, where their fellow Pittsburgh students can make their voices heard. I commend Student Body President Rotimi Abimbola, Undergraduate Student Senate Chair Aaron Gross and Graduate Student Assembly President Patrick Gage Kelley for their leadership.

Some in city government say non-profits consume services and give nothing back. That could not be further from the truth. Being tax-exempt does not mean that universities do not pay taxes. In fact, Carnegie Mellon pays more than $1.4 million in taxes, fees and services to the city annually. The university also has supported the city through voluntary participation in the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund (PPSF).

But taxes and the PPSF represent a small portion of what we contribute to Pittsburgh. Carnegie Mellon is an economic engine, spinning off more than 200 companies and creating more than 9,000 jobs in the past 15 years. Through the results of our research programs, we've attracted numerous Fortune 500 companies to the region, including Google, Intel, Apple, Disney, Microsoft and Caterpillar, creating hundreds of jobs in the city. Carnegie Mellon also is one of the region's largest employers with nearly 5,000 employees, many of whom reside in Pittsburgh and pay city taxes. We raise money for Pittsburgh community efforts and support the city through community outreach - last year students, faculty and staff contributed more than 117,000 hours of community service. Carnegie Mellon also positively impacts Pittsburgh's culture through many of our fine arts performances.

Non-profit tax exemption took years to legislate thoroughly and thoughtfully, providing an environment in which Pittsburgh's educational institutions have thrived, creating new ideas, jobs, industries, and a new generation of skilled, well-educated workers. It has fostered Pittsburgh's transformation and we must do everything to keep the city moving forward, not backward.

At a time when Pittsburgh is trying to attract and retain young people, it should not become known as the only city in the U.S. to impose what is being called a "privilege tax" on its students. If you wish to let your views on this proposal be known, you can write to the Mayor at or and the City Council.


Jared L. Cohon, President
Carnegie Mellon University

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