Friday, June 15, 2007

URA Declines to Allocate Land for Hill Benefit

The Trib's Bonnie Pfister has Hill District leaders shouting in anger, while URA board chair (and Ravenstahl chief of staff) Yarone Zober banged a gavel to maintain order.

The P-G's Mark Belko has State Rep. Jake Wheatley calling the Board's decision to move forward a "slap in the face."

The Penguins won the right to develop 28 acres of land adjacent to the Hill District and the new arena, without yet having accepted a Community Benefits Agreement. The Penguins argue that the 28 acres was a central tenet to their decision to stay in Pittsburgh, and any delay could foul up their bond issue.

This argument was not convincing to Wheatley, who called it "totally bogus," nor to One Hill CBA Coalition spokesman Carl Redwood, who claims the Penguins have been "twisting the arms" of the city and county to get an optimium deal for themselves.

Zober said that such an agreement with the community can be revisited at the City Planning stages of the process, and circulated a letter from Ravenstahl, Onorato, and the Penguins recommitting themselves to such an agreement.

Tonya Payne seemed to be in a difficult spot -- representing the Hill District as a city councilperson, but as a URA board member, supporting Penguins claims to these development rights without yet having negotiated a CBA.

Someone explain to us this quote, which seems fraught with meaning:

"If the community wants me to go to the Penguins to ask them for a CBA, I will do that," Payne said. "But I will ask them to support only the One Hill coalition -- no other terms, no other conditions."


  1. I can pretty much guess why certain people may have been on Ravenstahl’s resignation list. Tutsock has been asleep at the wheel for the last 8 or so years when the city was supposed to be revamping its sewer system to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act. We now have to come up with millions (?), billions (?) to comply or face millions (?) in federal fines. Guy Costa hasn’t been a damage control refuge for Luke during the flaps over political potholes, Triangle Pet, etc. George Specter didn’t maneuver Ravenstahl to a win in the McNeilly affair and I’m sure that pissed Luke off.

    But Jerry Dettore of the URA. Someone fill me in here on what that might be about. The URA voted unanimously to turn over the Melody Tent site without community benefit language as part of the agreement. Was Dettore part of that vote?

    Putting off the Hill (and no doubt pissing them off again) with that vote which said “well, we’ll worry about that next time around” must be okay with Luke because it was Yarone who delivered that message. And Yarone’s head is not on the chopping block.

    So what am I missing here? Must be something obvious but I’m not getting it.

  2. This is exactly what I was expecting; a no commitment from the URA. A 'good faith' agreement that is NOT binding.

    And, yes, Char, I'm not getting something either.

    Bram, Payne's quote is likely her only choice. She has not demonstrated herself in solidarity with her constituents. I've been questioning this in a couple of recent posts. Good to see she has now, rhetorically, advocated for the "One Hill" position but, as Wheatley asked, it wasn't clear from that article that she put this statement in writing, i.e. holding herself to it. I hope she did/does for the community's sake. Who will Ravenstahl, Inc. woo with her URA seat? Remember Koch's seat on the SEA will also come available soon too. Damn!