Friday, January 4, 2008

Officials Make Amusing Offer to City Neighborhood

Luke Ravenstahl, Dan Onorato and the Pittsburgh Penguins handed down development terms to city residents, in regards to the new hockey arena in Pittsburgh's Hill District.

The Comet has obtained a copy of the seven-point proposal, which we will review now.


1. A Hill District master plan will be undertaken which will essentially be a planning, basic conditions report providing recommendations regarding...

The consultant team for the master planning process will be selected pursuant to a request for proposals.

Hill District community input will be solicited regarding...

A master plan is no blessing, if the community has no role in its development.

We already know the Mayor's opinion as to whether anyone from the neighborhood itself is equipped to handle city planning.

You would think providing some very modest funding to help get a community-originated master plan off the ground would be a good thing. However, they (Ravenstahl, Onorato, the Penguins) already have a fair idea what the master plan should look like -- and don't need the competition.

Pledging to "solicit" community input says nothing at all.

2. In order to identify gaps or deficiencies in or to identify ways to better provide for human services, recreational opportunities, employment and training services and other support services, an assessment will be made...

First, neighborhood residents already have a good grip on the gaps and deficiencies. They have been working hard to bring them to your attention for about a year.

Second, identifying ways to provide better services is not the same as providing those urgently needed services, so pledging to make an "assessment" after months and years says nothing at all.

3. The City and the County will set up and staff with a trained person, a Resource Center in a central, easily accessible and visible location in the Hill District...

Employers for the arena project will be encouraged to fill all new jobs by first considering for employment, and interviewing, candidates referred by CareerLink...

First, the City County Building is easily accessible to the Hill District and has many trained and helpful persons. Hill District residents already know how to live.

Second, the issue is not that residents don't know how to access available resources, it is that there are too few resources being made available to them through that portion of the taxpayer handout to the Penguins clearly designated for Community Development.

Third, to "encourage" employers to look at CareerLink to fill jobs says nothing at all.

4. The City, the County and the Penguins are in support of the establishment of a viable grocery store in the Hill District and will use good faith efforts to cause that to occur.

First, what if they don't want Ron Burkle's Grocery Palace for Downtown? What if all they've been clamoring for is a reasonably priced Kuhn's?

Second, "in support of" and "good faith efforts" says nothing at all.

5. The City and the County and the Penguins are in support of the new YMCA facility being planned by YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh ... and will support obtaining the state funding needed for its development.

First, what if the community would like something a little different than the YMCA? What if they want to consider other models?

Second, why go for state funding? Once again, millions of dollars of public funds and of Don Barden funds were earmarked specifically to go towards community development. Why must it all remain stuffed in Ron Burkle's pockets?

Third, pinning all of the responsibility on Harrisburg to ride to the rescue once again means this term says nothing at all.

6. The SEA and the Penguins will meet with the community quarterly to update and discuss the project including ...

What will these lectures accomplish? Must we explain exactly why this item says nothing at all?

7. When making appointments, the City and the County will consult a data base developed by the community of Hill District residents interested in serving on boards and commissions...

Now this is interesting -- possibly, the most crucial point in the whole proposal.

What Luke Ravenstahl and Dan Onorato are saying is, "WE R UP IN UR ORGZ, BUYING OFF UR LEADERZ!!"

Point seven is supposed to tempt certain prominent figures within One Hill and the minister's group to sign on, entranced by the possibility of getting into the game on Grant Street.

Of course, these folks already have the ability and the right to get involved in government; many of them do. We guess this offer is geared towards the same residents who need a one-man resource center.


In conclusion, and in the opinion of the Comet, the terms sheet issued by Ravenstahl, Onorato and the Penguins says nothing at all.

It bears no similarity to an authentic Community Benefits Agreement -- which would be developed at least as much by the community as by the developer -- and would also be a binding legal contract, without all this verbiage of intentions to support efforts.

It certainly has nothing to do with what any of the neighborhood residents have been talking about.

Pittsburgh's Hill District wants a piece of the pie that is going around. They want some control over their own destiny. They want an opportunity to partner with developers and local governments -- they want the same opportunities given to many other neighborhoods.

You don't always get a second bite at the apple.


  1. "Hill District residents already know how to live."

    I'd say the people of any sizable community that has to beg and plead and STILL CAN'T convince a grocery store to move into their neighborhood don't know how to live. That much should be obvious.

    Grocery stores are in the business of making money, not making people happy or providing community services.

    I assume the people in the Hill District do eat food. So the demand for food sold at a grocery store is probably pretty significant, so lack of demand for their product can't be why a grocery store is not open in the Hill District.

    There must be some other factor...oh maybe it's the fact that the people in the Hill District DON'T know how to live like civilized people and the grocery store owners fear for the safety of their store and employees so much that they ignore a viable market for one of their stores.

  2. I find it hard to argue with your point, Trolleyrider. I hope someone else here tries to, but I for one am finding it very difficult.

    I will say that a properly constituted urban redevelopment authority might act to arrange for and underwrite those urgently needed services that can be provided for by the private sector, until a critical mass of stabilizing infrastructure is embedded within the neighborhood to sustain itself.

    There are certainly OTHER FACTORS that go into market failure such as we see in the Hill District, BESIDES the inherent unsuitability of Hill District residents to maintain commerce.

    It is also unclear from your comment what strategy you would recommend for the Hill. Give up on it? Get rid of it somehow?

  3. Trolleyrider,

    If you're not just a racist troll, then I don't think it would be hard for you to understand the relationship between population and supply and demand when it comes to a grocery store.

    As I explained to you, specifically, before (which is a part of the reason why I suspect you are, indeed, just a racist troll):

    1. repeated displacement (to the tune of thousands of people)


    2. low socioeconomic status (due to Pittsburgh's grandiloquent system of white supremacy)


    3. fear of financial risk for a large company

    Is why we presently do not have a grocery store.

    We DID have Shop n Save for years before more displacement.

    And, you know, I am fine with you all not understanding or knowing the history of the Hill but the most immediate leap to something so asinine is what *I* find hard to argue with, simply because it's so extraordinarily ignorant.

    Bram, I'm disappointed in you, telling somebody you have a hard time arguing with a point when he includes, in his silly analysis, the question of civilization.


    And, by the way, Troll(ey), we are not begging anybody for anything. For the record:

    1. we are taxpayers too
    2. in some areas, we pay more taxes than you
    3. we are tired of our tax monies being disproportionately spent on things that don't matter as much as others.

    We need NO ONE to be paternal or to have sympathy for us. Pittsburgh's longstanding legacy of virulent racism and classism is what created this inequality.

    Leave us alone, get your foot off our backs and stop taking all of our time, labor, resources with very little representation and reinvestment and we would be perfectly fine.

    But then, that prospect alone is unacceptable to those who are insistent on practicing and supporting the system of white supremacy.

    By the way, please don't let your racism blind you to the fact that precisely what you all have been complaining about relative to UPMC and tax credits is *precisely* what we have been complaining about relative to public subsidy and the Pens.

    But I could see how sensible ideas that anyone in the public would understand would sidetrack the racism necessary to get real cloudy over this issue.

  4. Dr. G said above: "We need NO ONE to be paternal or to have sympathy for us."

    Frankly, I think you could stand to benefit from some sympathy and empathy, and maybe even a little paternalism if it's not too over the top.

    This is the Hill's problem but it's also Pittsburgh's problem and the region's problem, and its a big one so we all need to get on our horses.

  5. I should also clarify -- when I said in my reply to Trolleyrider:

    "There are certainly OTHER FACTORS that go into market failure such as we see in the Hill District, BESIDES the inherent unsuitability of Hill District residents to maintain commerce."

    When I wrote that, I was definitely thinking of racism as one example. Sorry if I was being obtuse.

  6. I'll just reply to Raise your hand! point by point I guess.

    First of all, I never mentioned race. It seems to be something you are quite obsessed with though. You even go so far as to call Pittsburgher's white supremacists. I don't really know where you get this, I know plenty of black professionals in this city/area who do very well for themselves. The main idea there is "for themselves", just like everyone else.

    Secondly, I post pretty regularly in comments sections all over the burghosphere so I don't think I'm a "troll".

    Congratulations for being a taxpayer. I have no idea what that has to do with your "right" to have a grocery store.

    I'm sure it is possible that you pay more taxes than me. I don't really know how you're coming to that conclusion though.

    Why is it the responsibility of the government to spend your tax money to open a grocery store??? A better idea would be to ask for tax cuts, which would give you more disposable income. More disposable income in your neighborhood would probably help in attracting a grocery store.

    You think you need no one to be paternal or have sympathy for you...except that you need the government to force someone to open a grocery store in your neighborhood. I don't think those two ideas go together.

    I'd be more than glad to "leave you alone". The problem is you are asking taxpayers to NOT leave you alone, because you want them to help pay for a grocery store for you. If you wanted us to leave you alone you wouldn't complain to city government to intervene in your neighborhood.

    I get one vote in city government. That's the same amount of representation that you get. Unless you think your "time, labor and resources" are worth more votes than mine.

    By the way, thanks for assuming I'm white. Unless you think I'm a black racist. But I think it's more likely that you judged what you think my skin color is based on my ideas and beliefs. Now THAT sounds racist.

    Other communities in the area have multiple grocery stores. There are at least 5 grocery stores within 5 miles of my house as I type this. I don't think that is because my community is of a certain race. I think it's because people in my community buy food at grocery stores and the threat of being robbed, shot or broken into is very minimal.

    Also I'm curious as to where you've explained this specifically to me before? IF that's the case I must have missed your reply to one of my other posts.

  7. To reply to Bram...

    Do you really think that all of the grocery store owners in the area are so racist that they would pass up a potentially profitable store because a community is mostly black??? How does that jive with the fact that other mostly black neighborhoods have grocery stores???

  8. TR-

    First of all, you mean how does that "jibe" with the fact.

    Second of all, I said it was one factor among many. How many times have entrepreneurs failed to do their homework at a potential location, because the neighborhood or the neighborhood it is close to is just too ... oy vey, better to avoid the hassle.

    Thirdly, a nice sized chunk of the corporate welfare the Penguins received (and we all know that NO sports teams go from welfare-to-work) was specifically designated for community and economic development.

    Any local governments worth their salt would make sure a piece of that gets put into development the way the surrounding neighborhood wants their development. It's the role of government. It's why we have boards, commissions, councils, and the city code. It's only their job.

    But no, by all means. Ron Burkle deserves our tax dollars because he's such a visionary.

  9. Troll(ey),

    Point by point:

    You don’t have to mention race when you’re a racist. All you have to do is bring up ideas about “civilization” or the lack thereof when you’re talking about a community of color and we all know what that connotes. In one of your previous posts, you wrote “how bad could your neighborhood possibly be” or something to the effect.

    I am not obsessed with race. I am obsessed with justice. White supremacists are obsessed with race and their varied, multifaceted and wayward view of a social concept called “whiteness”.

    When I wrote something, although I do make errors, it is more purposeful than not. I did not say that Pittsburghers were white white supremacists and the manner in which you made your statement implies that I think ALL of Pittsburgh is white supremacist, which is ridiculous.

    If you make racist comments like this everywhere you go, you ARE a troll and you’re just busy trolling across the blogosphere with your wayward and fallacious ideas.

    As for being a taxpayer, my “right” is the human right to self-determination and, second, because of the Pens’ public subsidy (OUR taxpaying dollars in MY host community), as well as the giving away of the 28-acres of land (in MY host community), I have every right to demand reinvestment in my community and to demand that it reflect what the community wants.

    In case you were unaware, the cruel irony of the world is that often times people in poor communities pay more for goods and services than those who could actually afford to do so. This also translates into more taxes.

    I’ll give you a pass for confusing our quest for ANY proper reinvestment in our community (which includes tax cuts, btw) for thinking that we are asking the local government to buy us a private grocery store. For the record, that is NOT what we are asking for and you’ll have to do more research, read more of Bram’s blog and the newspaper articles therein to help you out. This will recontextualize your statement about “leaving [us] alone” and what we’re actually asking for. You are even more ignorant than I thought, although your ignorant point is well-taken given its ignorant context.

    No, we don’t need sympathy. We just need understanding, justice and, oh yeah, this grand idea called ‘no taxation without representation’. And, um, maybe some comparative reinvestment to the corporate welfare the Pens are getting to host an arena in my community.

    My time, labor, resources and votes *do count* for more than yours unless you live in THIS host community in which an arena is being built. Still, you are also entitled to ponder what the city did in terms of the gargantuan amount of public subsidy granted to a private corporation.

    I assumed (and still believe) you are white because I am unfortunately all-too-familiar with the assumptions of persons indoctrinated in white supremacist/racist thinking. And no, not only white people (and not all white people) are so heavily indoctrinated as you---but we are ALL susceptible and fall victim to it because of the manner in which it permeates our society. So, yeah, there are Black folks who also share the thinking of white supremacy. We have special names for those type. But, yeah, you’re white and it’s not racist at all for me to know so. Think like a duck, talk like a duck---duck.

    Dealing with crime is an important issue for a community such as ours, particularly since rampant inequality, racial hostility and repeated displacement breed a sort of desperation ripe for criminal activity. However, if you think you have five grocery stores nearby because of the content of your community’s character, you are truly even *more* ignorant than I initially imagined and also assessed in my earlier production of this response.

    So, unless you can get better educated about this issue, it’s hard to really discuss anything with you and certainly harder to grant you any legitimacy in terms of your opinions, no matter how much I disagree with them. Ultimately, I don’t mind your ignorance but I do find your ignorance, arrogance *and* racist diatribe to be puzzling.

    I have explained this to you before in another post to which you replied on Bram’s blog.

    Take care.

  10. You say Pittsburgh is run by white supremacist ideas, but you can't possibly be implying that Pittsburghers are by default white supremacists. Just me I guess. And Pittsburgh city government. At least I'm in an exclusive club I guess.

    I have no problem with investment in a community. I just don't understand how it is government's job to be instrumental in deciding which businesses open where.

    I guarantee you that if you fixed problems like crime, unemployment and single-parent births in your community the grocery store problem would fix itself. And don't say you can't fix the unemployment problem without government help. Unemployment in our city the last time I say it was 3.7% which is statistically zero. If you can't find a job in a town with under 4% unemployment you simply aren't trying. Fix unemployment and that would do a lot to fix your crime problem. And those two would do a lot to fix your grocery store problem in the form of more disposable income and the grocery store owners feeling safe.

    I feel my community has grocery stores for the exact reasons I stated. Not our character. Our disposable income (we buy groceries) and owners feeling safe to open a store here.

    Do you even know what taxation without representation means??? I don't think you do, since you said you do pay taxes and you do vote. It doesn't mean you get whatever you want from government if you pay taxes. It means you have a voice in who represents you. You have that.

    You seem to ignore the facts of why you already don't have a grocery store. Crime. No disposable income. Crime. Crime. Crime. Those are the reasons. Fix those and you'll get a grocery store I promise.

    You are so obsessed with race it's really almost unbelievable. White trailer park communities with very high crime have trouble sustaining grocery stores as well. It has nothing to do with the color of your skin. No one is oppressing you. Your community is oppressing itself.

  11. "If you make racist comments like this everywhere you go, you ARE a troll and you’re just busy trolling across the blogosphere with your wayward and fallacious ideas."

    If you go around the burghosphere calling everyone with dissenting ideas racists instead of debating ideas, what does that make you?

  12. "I have no problem with investment in a community. I just don't understand how it is government's job to be instrumental in deciding which businesses open where."

    First of all, from this it sounds like you'd be in favor of burning down the URA in its entirety. Which is fine, I just want to know if that's what you're saying.

    Secondly, once again, the Penguins got a massive public subsidy with money specifically intended to go towards community and economic development. So in a sense it's not the government's job to provide anything, it is the Penguins.

  13. Also, many of the planks Hill groups are asking for would have an impact on crime -- loan programs, substance abuse programs, childcare, job training, and yes a grocery store. I don't know your idea of how to "fix crime" but in my opinion when it infects a population (whether through years or racism or their own damn fault), it still takes resources to begin fixing it. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor was it built entirely in the private sector.

  14. Bram

    I tried posting a reply to you last night that would have explained that but I guess I screwed up and it didn't go through.

    To clarify, I have no problem with the city government investing in a community by building parks, tearing down abandoned buildings, building community centers, etc...

    Have we learned nothing from the downtown department stores that the city bribed to open in an area that no department store would open on its own? This is the same scenario in the Hill. Obviously no grocery store will open there with the Hill in its current state. So the solution isn't the government trying to force a square peg in a round hole. The solution is to make yourself a square hole, i.e. fix your problems and you won't have to worry about a grocery store opening up.

    I think if you lowered taxes on business inside the city and Allegheny county as a whole as well as getting property tax rates to be similar to surrounding counties you wouldn't need things like the URA. Businesses would be falling all over themselves to be in our city, like they have in the past.

    I am completely against the Pens corporate welfare as I'm also against PNC and UPMC's corporate welfare. I'd rather see all of this money returned to tax payers, because that money in the free market along with lower tax rates would encourage more sustainable business growth than any government intervention ever could

    If the Penguins want to open a grocery store in the Hill that would be great. The problem isn't that the Penguins or the city or Burkle don't want to open a grocery store there. The problem is that NO ONE wants to open a grocery store there because of crime and to a lesser extent the question of whether it is a viable market. If it wasn't for crime someone would open a store and see if the market is viable. The problem is crime in the Hill. Again, fix that problem and you fix the grocery store problem instantly.

    I guess the major difference between myself and the race baiter is this:

    When I see a successful person/business/community I don't ask myself "Why don't I have what they have? I deserve it more than they do and I should get what they have! They must have done something to cheat to get ahead of me, and I need someone to right this injustice!"

    Instead I ask myself "What did they do that I could have done to be successful like them? How can I start myself down that path, how can I improve myself and my skill set so that I can get the opportunities that they have that I don't right now?"

    If I was in the Hill I'd be asking myself whether assistance from the city state and federal government has been helping or hurting my community? Would my community be better off if the people who have grown up here learned to provide for themselves instead of waiting for a government handout? Why do we look to the government for solutions to these problems instead of to ourselves?

  15. You say the Pens got corporate welfare -- $300 million worth -- and it should go back to taxpayers. Seeing as how it will not go back in their paychecks, and seeing as how a chunk of it was earmarked for community development, how about using our boards, commissions, authorities and councils to make sure that money gets spent in ways the community prefers.

    When I speak of racism -- and I don't often, but that's just by choice -- I think of how differently the process would treat the complainers if they were from wealthy neighborhoods. Does anyone believe the demands of wealthy neighborhood coalitions are not taken with far more weight in front of boards, commissions, authorities and council's? That's why these major projects don't go in those neighborhoods -- those folks would know EXACTLY how to extract a piece of the pie.

    There IS pie going around related to this arena deal, whether you like it or not, Trolleyrider. I just want the pie to go AROUND.

  16. And honestly, Dr. Goddess, I don't know whether or not you CAN launch racism attacks on TR because he's talking about civilization. I don't know if that's a code word. He could well be talking about the state of too many Hill schools and too many Hill families, which are problems ones that are well-acknowledged. Surely history played a role but surely there were ways to mitigate that history. When I said I didn't know how to respond to him, sorry but I wasn't being entirely coy.

  17. I went back and read reaise tour hand!'s original reply to my first post again. The argument for reasons a grocery store does not already exist seems to center around lack of population. (two out of three points)

    If you don't have the population to support a grocery store opening on its own, what makes you think you will be able to sustain one once it has opened? That situation sounds very similar to the department stores downtown. City leaders felt we needed department stores. The only problem was department stores didn't feel wee needed department stores downtown, and there was no customer base to support the department stores downtown. So getting the department stores to open wasn't a problem, just throw some money at them from city gov't. The problem came when the department stores actually needed to seel enough products to sustain themselves.

    So once a grocery store opens, are more people going to move to the Hill and in turn sustain the grocery store? Or will the grocery store eventually (when the payments/tax breaks from city govt end) determine there isn't enough population to support the store and close? (This is ignoring the crime factor causing a store to close).

    My point is, if the reason you don't have a grocery store is there isn't population to support one, how will that problem be solved once you have one?

  18. TR: I think if we got a grocery store in there, and we got their requests B and C in there, we'd stand a decent chance of getting some stable black families and some stable other families to move in. Or students and young wannabe professionals, anyway.

    It's convenient to Downtown, it's dirt cheap, and hopefully with A, B and C it is starting to look nice. It seems to me like a good investment. Aren't we supposed to be investing in neighborhoods?

  19. Definitely.

    The Hill is in a GREAT location if you wanted to live in the city. It's convenient to Oakland and Duquesne U., downtown, the T, the stadiums...basically everything. The only thing keeping people from moving there is the environment that currently exists there.

  20. Yeah but the thing is ... you can't cherrypick, gentrify, skim the cream off the top and chase everyone else out. You need to let the responsible residents in on the action; you need to let a few of the initiatives be their very own. In fact, you need them to have a stake in this, or else it will go badly.

  21. Troll(ey),

    Let me try to be exceptionally clear and brief (a rarity):

    1. We did not ask the city nor the county to purchase or otherwise finagle a grocery store for us. We *demanded* that there be proper reinvestment in our community based upon the fact that we are the host community to the arena and the gargantuan amount of public subsidy to the Pens (way over $300 million, btw, START at $500 million, then add annual revenues with little even going back to the city).

    2. We have disposable income. We also have crime. So do many other neighborhoods. Crime is a factor but it is not the only or even the main factor for the lack of (re)investment in the community. The Hill used to be multiracial. It's now mostly Black. There are a *lot* of people who want this community all to themselves. I suppose we call them the "gentry". The lack of reinvestment in the community, particularly around certain ideas such as a grocery store, is a deliberate attempt at benign neglect, further displacement (or just waiting for people to die) and desired gentrification.

    In other words, this collective blind eye that has occurred for at least 30-50 years was then and is still now, a (blatant) conspiracy to remove an entire population and racial makeup of folks from the "GREAT" location you describe.

    I'm not the race baiter. They are. And, you know, that's what white supremacy is---thinking your life is worth more, your kids are better, your homes and your places of interest and your community is better and worth more than mine---because you're civilized. LOL. So, of course, you should be able to live where you want, right? "Those people" need to get their act together and until they do, they should not be complaining about a lack of representation or investment, they should have better families, raise better kids, work harder---just like us. LOL.

    Get real, man . . . take a look around the entirety of America...

    And speaking of:

    3. Define civilization an explain why you used that term and please share with me if so-called "white trailer park communities" are civilized people?

    4. Between the people who are getting their heads chopped off, slicing their wives in half, organizing murders of family members and dumping folks in suburban neighborhoods, one would imagine that based on your analysis, no one would have a grocery store.

    5. Because we fight for our neighborhood and demand/ed reinvestment and the right of return, there are some new developments to increase the population and people are moving back. We LOST the grocery store due to population, capital and crime. We will gain a grocery store due to population, capital and there will still be crime but less so if we are able to enact the synergy of things necessary to revitalize a community---doesn't occur in a vacuum, Jack. And I feel quite safe in my neighborhood and always have.

    6. You're probably the first person in the blogosphere I have ever openly suspected as being a racist (still do, btw). And, by the way, please don't put words in my mouth. If you don't understand the history of white supremacy in Pittsburgh, you might want to get a clue about it. You clearly have no idea how your neighborhood was able to get enough people and disposable income to have five grocery stores nearby and no, it was not due to the content of your character at all, nor did it (initially) have anything at all to do with crime, so that straw person will not work with me.

    7. Your being against the public subsidy behind PNC Park, the Pens and UPMC is meaningless, since you are doing little to nothing about it. Pittsburghers have every right to demand reinvestment, especially if they are the host community and just because it wasn't done right on the Northside doesn't mean we're going to allow that to happen over here. Thankfully, The People stopped UPMC in their tracks---for now. So, thanks for your non-supportive support. I guess that's why they say everybody has an opinion...

    8. People like you always talk about government handouts and, yet, I bet you, your family and your neighborhood received way more government "handouts" than ours. While I believe in self-determination, the myth of American *self-reliance* that you purport is nothing more than a myth. The "rugged individualism" of the Wild West was heavily subsidized by the investors and government agents in East, Troll(ey).

    9. Now, I want you to think long and hard about Pgh having the lowest unemployment and why YOU think unemployment is still a problem in the AA community here *in Pittsburgh*. Why are AAs here in Pittsburgh worse off than the majority of AAs in the entire nation? You're absolutely right that it makes no logical sense. And you know what else doesn't make any logical sense? --- White supremacy and Pittsburgh's LOOOOOONNNNGG tradition of practicing it.

    I guess we need to try harder . . . or move?

  22. "In other words, this collective blind eye that has occurred for at least 30-50 years was then and is still now, a (blatant) conspiracy to remove an entire population and racial makeup of folks from the "GREAT" location you describe."

    Let's get this straight. You think that you don't have a grocery store because of a conspiracy by white people to destroy your neighborhood. lol.

    To make that assumption you also have to believe every grocery store chain in the western pennsylvania area or possibly the US is in on this conspiracy and no company will break ranks to open a store in an otherwise viable market.

    You have some serious delusions.

    "Between the people who are getting their heads chopped off, slicing their wives in half, organizing murders of family members and dumping folks in suburban neighborhoods, one would imagine that based on your analysis, no one would have a grocery store."

    If those crimes had anything to do with grocery stores, you may be correct. However crimes like loitering by gang members, robbing stores, theft in general, breaking and entering, etc...actually mean something to grocery store owners. You seem to not believe that fact.

    I don't believe I used the term civilization. I may have said "act civilized". Bram used the term civilization. I guess he's a racist too. And no, I don't think that white people living in a town with extremely high crime rates to the point that a business like a grocery store is afraid to open are acting civilized either.

    "In other words, this collective blind eye that has occurred for at least 30-50 years was then and is still now, a (blatant) conspiracy to remove an entire population and racial makeup of folks from the "GREAT" location you describe."

    I would bet that the majority of people in the Hill have voted for anyone with a 'D' in front of their names for the last 30-50 years. Those are the same people you seem to believe are oppressing you. Why not try voting for someone from a different party? We've had one-party rule here for well over 30 years and you see how well it's worked out for the most needy citizens. Remember that in the next election.

  23. TR says:

    "I don't believe I used the term civilization. I may have said "act civilized". Bram used the term civilization. I guess he's a racist too."

    I used that word in recollection of your words. I mixed up "civilized" for "civilization". Sorry.

    "Why not try voting for someone from a different party? We've had one-party rule here for well over 30 years and you see how well it's worked out for the most needy citizens. Remember that in the next election."

    Obviously, we were on the same wavelength here, Trolleyrider. But she / they could also try voting for someone different from the SAME party. Probably easier.

  24. What's most interesting Bram, is that raise your hand! talks about taxation without representation (although it's pretty obvious the meaning is lost on them).

    I would bet my mortgage that they and a vast majority of people in the Hill voted for Luke in the last election. And I bet the vast majority of them would have voted for Desantis if his name was the one with the D in front of it.

    So they vote for Luke, then he hands down these decrees that they don't approve of, they aren't getting the input they want, etc...and in the next election whoever has that magical D in front of their name will get their vote.

    And then they'll complain about taxation without representation again lol. It makes it hard to feel sorry for people when they continually elect leaders from a party that has done them so much harm.

    The "displacement" raise your hand! talks about was carried out under a Democrat. The injustices they see now are being done under a Democrat. The "white supremacist" Pittsburgh they think they live in has been created and ran by Democrats. Yet they refuse to vote for anyone else.

  25. There is some question as to whether or not "the injustices they see now" are due to actual Democrats.

  26. I'm sure in their deluded view of reality the small number of Republicans in Pittsburgh are controlling the Democrat leaders they elect after they are elected.

    Or maybe they're Republicans dressed up as Democrats. But wouldn't intelligent, well informed voters be able to discern that when they elect them?

    Please don't tell me the problem is that they don't have any TRUE Democrats to vote for lol. That would mean the cities fiscal problems are because we haven't gone far enough to the Left. That would be a pretty amazing statement.

  27. I'm not talking about the city's fiscal problems. I'm talking about the Hill District.

    The two issues are intertwined a little, sure, but they ARE TWO totally different subjects.

  28. you're right, sometimes you don't get a second bite, so if you want a bite, make sure you get a first one.

    I agree that the terms are vague and there needs to be defined promises to hold the city accountable, but burning the proposal and carrying on in protest is not a way to get that done.

    They're burning the Hill District, AGAIN.

  29. Glad you brought this up, Joshua David Hall.

    #1 - There was no 'carrying on in protest'. No large crowd, no chanting, no yelling, no giant puppets. A press conference of about eight people, politely jockeying for position in front of cameras.

    #2 - The one resident who suggested lighting a match to the agreement meant it very tongue-in-cheek. She was not even one of the main elected or self-appointed leaders.

    #3 - Someone else lit actually lit a match to the agreement much later. Again, not anyone we've blogged about before.

    #4 - Most everyone was embarrassed at the short spectacle and the foul odor. However, few could help but pause to acknowledge the symbolism of the moment.