First, thank you to all tipsters who have been writing to the Comet about City and URA dirt. People seem to be in the mood to unload.
We may not have the capacity to investigate many of these matters, but when something piques our interest we will definitely pass it along to those who do. To wit:
An anonymous tipster (let's call him/her "Deep South") reports that in the Fall of 2006, the URA Mainstreets coordinator approached the South Side Local Development Company (SSLDC) about acquiring street "kiosks" from Lamar Advertising.
The URA provided the funding for SSLDC to "buy" them, but Lamar retained ownership of the kiosks. No bids, no RFP's, no compelling reason to accept them, but since they were free for SSLDC (and at the expense of taxpayers) they accepted them anyway.
Although the theory was to provide street maps and other city and neighborhood information, in reality the kiosks were utilized mostly for advertising.
Who was the URA Mainstreets coordinator in Fall of '06 again?
Speaking of advertising and the URA:
"Personally I'm sick and tired of all the gratuitous advertising everywhere in our face. So, obviously, if I were on that board I would be anathema to this action," [Sen. Jim Ferlo] said. (P-G, Mark Belko)
Well isn't that convenient.
Do you think more people should know about what's going down here in Pittsburgh?
A colleague posted this morning's excellent Post-Gazette story to Digg.com. The more people who visit the site and "digg" the article, the higher it will climb on Digg.com's rankings, and the more people will be exposed to it worldwide.
If Lamar wants to play hardball, 300,000 can play at that game.
UPDATE: Speaking of hardball...
Four members of Pittsburgh City Council are attempting to move an increasingly bitter court case involving a controversial Downtown billboard to the federal courts. (P-G, Rich Lord)
So now the litigators have become the litigatees.
Another filing, by Lamar, appears to withdraw any claims of federal constitutional violations by council members against the billboard firm, while reserving the right to pursue them in state court.
Aw! We wanted to hear how that case went!
The case stems from Lamar's contention that five city council members may have met in violation of open meetings laws, used their influence to file their zoning appeal after the usual 3 p.m. zoning administration desk closing time and otherwise engaged in a "plot" to nix Lamar's permit to place a billboard on the front of the Grant Street Transportion Center.
Sources close to the Gang of 5 indicate that they are always extremely mindful never to all meet in the same room, seeing as that would shatter the space/time continuum. We think that sounds kind of sad. They can never all get together to barbecue or anything.