Monday, January 14, 2008

Arena Negotiations Ongoing

Last night's discussions between the Mayor, the County Exec, the Penguins and Hill groups lasted through 1:30 AM, and are being picked up again at this hour. (P-G, Dan Majors)

"Our interests are common," [Mayor Ravenstahl] said. "We want to see the best for the Hill District in the future, it's just a matter of how you get there. I think we're getting there. We have some good general agreement on some of the points, but then there are others that we still have to have further discussion on. I'd say we're 90 percent of the way there. We just need to get that other 10 percent."

He may be off on the exact percentages, but the rhetoric is encouraging.

One Hill is prepared to call on community residents to attend the 2 p.m. city planning meeting en masse, Mr. Redwood said, regardless of the outcome of today's talks that begin at 10 a.m.

"We will be there," he said.

He said he would like to see the planning committee's vote postponed two to four weeks "to give the process a chance to work." Still, he said, "we have had fruitful negotiations -- we are making progress on all the issues, although we still have a lot to do."

Remember that real negotiations -- after six months, a year of being given the runaround -- finally commenced only this last Friday. Also remember, in the One Hill way of doing business, the leadership must present a CBA proposal to the general membership for approval.


The other business on the agenda at today's Planning Commission meeting is Don Barden's Majestic Star. His actual residential neighbors are giving him high marks -- from the North Side Leadership Conference even to the rascally Northside United.

But the parking garage. It's too tall, apparently.

Remember that Mayor Ravenstahl and URA Director Pat Ford -- along with honestly half of the rest of Pittsburgh -- are prepared to fight this issue and let the approvals process grind to a halt, all because Don Barden is not sufficiently taking into account the pretty, pretty view from Mt. Washington.

However, when a huge new development is reorganizing your own neighborhood, giving away public lands with no mention of public benefit, when it's ignoring an opportunity to improve the street grid and finally weave your neighborhood back into Downtown, when it's adding hotels and surface parking and other things that do not remotely interest your community, when you have not even been taken seriously by the players at the table, let alone been represented by your own elected officials -- then it is the duty of all decent city residents to get out of the way, and quit demanding a say in the process.

Maybe One Hill should be asking for decorative screening on the Arena.

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