Monday, January 28, 2008

BREAKING: We Got Hosed, Didn't We?

This agreement is something that's going to be used and referred to for decades and decades, so we want to make sure it's done right.
... Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, 1/23/08

This is the voguish excuse for ending any meaningful discussions with Pittsburgh's Hill District.

Even before the dynamic duo fled to the other side of the world, negotiating sessions were being held far more infrequently than Hill leaders were explicitly led to believe prior to master plan approval. Even then, the Mayor and County Exec personally swore off involvement in negotiations until "a deal is reached."

What we have here is either a lack of leadership, or a lack of sincerity.


Carl Redwood, chair of One Hill, spoke with KDKA's Fred Honsberger
. He says one of the main sticking points is that the Penguins are not taking part in any of the negotiations, and that the famous "90% of the way there" line of the mayor is not his own perspective -- Redwood says they have "quite a ways to go."

When questioned why the Penguins should have to negotiate anything, the Comet thinks Redwood pretty effectively destroyed Honsberger's knee-jerk pro-business inclinations. Your mileage may vary of course. (Marty Griffin was a completely different story.)

Redwood did not, however, do as good a job illustrating the city-wide benefits (and Penguins benefits!) of some interwoven, humane-scale development connecting the Hill District with Downtown. This would necessitate the Penguins re-envisioning some of what was until recently 28 acres of public land -- we are not sure where that stands in relation to One Hill's Blueprint for a Livable Hill.

This is why government leaders need to start selling the Penguins on the idea of vibrant, sustainable development. They should begin by illustrating the savings the Penguins will achieve by limiting their payments to massive-scale development, contracting, architecture and engineering firms.

Didn't we just read something about how Downtown is already over-capacity on high-end stuff?


One more piece of data.

Conventional wisdom holds that Ravenstahl and Onorato rushed back to the negotiating table weeks ago because somebody from One Hill burned their proposal in front of news cameras.

This may only be indirectly true. Highly placed sources indicate to the Comet that certain African-American constituencies far to the east of Pittsburgh made their opinions on this matter very clear to our County Executive, who has a rational enough political brain to have realized it was time to start treating Pittsburgh's minority community with just a tiny bit more respect.

How much more remains to be seen.


  1. What we have here is either a lack of leadership, or a lack of sincerity.

    An either-or proposition? Why do we have to choose here? Surely, what we are seeing is lack of BOTH leadership AND sincerity. I'd even throw in the absence of morality, concern, and understanding.

    That's what you get when your neighborhood votes 95% in favor of the Democratic candidate. You might think that such impressive results would reap appreciation and a desire by the political leadership to return the support the community has given them. But instead, when it keeps happening year after year after year, you end up getting taken for granted.

    And you know what else? If the last mayoral election were re-run right this second, the Hill would still give 95% of it's votes to Ravenstahl.

  2. 1. In re either/or or both, that was exactly my thinking. I just didn't like how that sentence kept turning out if I tried to mush it all in.

    2. I wouldn't lay a large portion of this at the feet of one-party voting. After all, voters in the Hill and elsewhere will have many opportunities to choose among different candidates in primary elections, and as the Onorato experience is showing us this kind of politics DOES NOT PLAY WELL OUTSIDE OF PITTSBURGH.