UPDATE: WTAE lays a lot of this out for us, with some very interesting new details involving would-be subpoenas. Also KDKA, who has a Lamar exec saying "the rules changed in the middle".
Councilman Kraus held a press conference at 2:30 today to "assure the public that proper legal process will not be overlooked for Lamar Advertising."
In the statement, he says he speaks on behalf of Council members Peduto, Shields, and Burgess.
So that's four.
Today it appears the rule of law is prevailing. We are pleased that Lamar and the administration have acknowledged that the process was ignored, and is now taking steps toward compliance.
Our hope is that today's actions will allow for a legal and transparent process to take place, as required by the City Code.
So based on appearances, today those four characterize themselves as hopeful.
"This is a tremendous victory for process," said city Councilman Patrick Dowd, who had filed suit as a private citizen to challenge the issuance of the permit by city administrators without the project going through hearings before planning and zoning boards. (Post-Gazette, R. Lord)
That was this morning.
In the agreement, Mr. Dowd pledged not to "protest" the sign in subsequent public hearings, but the other members have not.
A new permit application for a digital sign on the new Grant Street Transportation Center will go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the city Planning Commission, each of which would hold hearings and votes. Mr. Specter said he did not believe it would require a vote of City Council.
This still appears to run afoul of Sec. 910.01.D.2, which says that electronic sign messages in the Golden Triangle district shall be permitted as a Conditional Use. Conditional Uses must be approved by Council, after the Planning Commission makes its recommendation.
Why is this important? It is a matter of considerable speculation whether or not members of the Planning Commission will be liberated to vote their consciences on this issue.
Some city watchers are telling us that the massive scrutiny surrounding Lamar Advertising and Pat Ford will force the mayor's administration to take a step back. Others tell us that monkeys are more likely to come flying out of George Specter's butt.
Also, in that same P-G update:
[Ravenstahl] said he stopped by the meeting "to say hello ... Pat mentioned that [billboard executives] were in town and I went over to say hello.
"They contributed [to his campaign] based on the fact, I'd imagine, that they thought I was the best candidate for the office of mayor," he said. "I didn't broker the deal."
Deal? Did somebody say, 'deal'?