Friday, September 5, 2008

This is How it Boils Down

Claire Meehan, a resident of The Pennsylvanian across the street from the center, presented a petition opposing the billboard, signed by 80 tenants.

"We just feel it's a landmark building and this is the antithesis of what landmark restoration is all about," she said. "I think it ruins the integrity of that area."

Another Pennsylvanian tenant, Don Carter, president of Urban Design Associates, said he helped plan the junction of Grant Street and Liberty Avenue.

"I pass the partially constructed billboard at least twice a day, and I wince each time," he said. (P-G, Rich Lord)

Everything else is political and legal jujitsu -- some of which will gain in importance once Lamar threatens to sue the City of Pittsburgh.


One of the lawsuits is expected to be an appeal of the stadium authority board's approval of the sales. In a release announcing its plans, Pittsburgh United said the board had failed in its "fiduciary obligations to the public in the transfer of land."

The second lawsuit is expected to involve a claim that the board failed to act in accordance with state open record laws. Ms. England said she did not have any other details yesterday.(P-G, Mark Belko)

Hey, as long as you're going to court...

There is also the matter that city residents having been inadequately represented on that Stadium Authority board, pursuant to the city charter. One member of Pittsburgh city council must sit on each of these authority boards. That is one vital check and balance in this admittedly Strong-Mayor form of government.

Mayor Ravenstahl is feuding with several council members -- hence, a lot of municipal Authorities are lacking in essential oversight and popular representation. If Northside United were to add that suit to its docket, it would be doing us all a favor.


"Once we adopted the base year and realized school districts and municipalities were pursuing recent sales to increase taxes, we filed appeals on behalf of homeowners to keep the base year assessed value where it should be," said county spokesman Kevin Evanto. "What the school districts and municipalities that were appealing were attempting to do were back-door tax increases." (Trib, Andrew Conte)

Whatever, dude. It doesn't sound like a transparent process.


  1. Doesn't Mark DeSantis live in that building?

  2. Mark DeSantis is hardly ever front and center in any matter of public discussion. Heck, it is rare to even here a peep from him. He should be doing something more visible in his own 'backyard' about a visible invasion looking at him so boldly.

    Bram posted above @ missing authority board members from the ranks of city council: "That is one vital check and balance in this admittedly Strong-Mayor form of government."

    Don't fool yourself. There is no way a board member from city council placed on an authority board can count as a "check" or a "balance." Dream on if you wish. They are, if we are lucky, a mere pimple to the side of balance.

    The root problem is that the authorities do NOT have checks and balances. We need that. We can't get it. It won't come with those type of members either.

    Jim Ferlo has not helped the URA. Not worth a darn.

    What really needs to happen long term is a total de-construction of all authorities.

    I've called for 'retention votes' for all authority board members by the citizens -- like we do for judges but more aggressive. That would give a tiny grip of balance.