Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday: Brian O'Neill Day

I'm not going to knock the Steelers and Continental Real Estate for asking. That's what developers do. They ask for money and keep asking until the government says no. (P-G, Brian O'Neill)

Yeah, but you know: they ask for clearance sale prices on real estate, then threaten to sue and tie us up in court even though they have no real case if we refuse.

Once they wring the land from us, then they turn around and say, "Oh, by the way, this project was always envisioned with a massive state subsidy."

So they demand the subsidy, then scoff openly as city neighbors request a slender wedge of benefits or any consideration upon the arrival of this adjoining development.

"The governor believes that investing in programs that attract more development is always wise,'' Mr. Ardo said.

Has anyone done the thing yet where we check for political contributions, or does that go entirely without saying?

I thought the two multimillion-dollar stadia and the multimillion-dollar light-rail extension were supposed to be the catalysts. I guess that's always been the trouble with government catalysts. Ya gotta keep catalyzing 'em.

Brilliantly put. When will we stop believing these fairy tales?


In 1988, hearing about an opening for a columnist at the now-defunct Pittsburgh Press, O’Neill applied. His pitch: “a columnist,” he wrote to then-editor Angus McEachran, “should not be judged by how many awards he’s won, but rather by how many refrigerator doors his columns are posted on.” McEachran, a notoriously tough sell, hired him.

“I connected right away,” O’Neill recalls. “I got Pittsburgh right away. It had everything – professional sports. Neighborhoods and neighborhood bars. Theater. People who recognize St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday.” (Pop City, Abby Mendelson)

Wait a minute -- he's not a native Pittsburgher? He's just some yankee varmint who's been hornswaggling us? Then why have we been listening to him?

Long live Continental Amphitheater! Destroy the Clemente Bridge! Expand the State Legislature!


Last week, city officials acknowledged that they had threatened to close the club in August because adult-related activities don't comply with its permit to operate as a health and fitness center.

The city later withdrew the closure order after the club's owners, Mr. Karlovich and Mr. Herforth, met with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's chief of staff.

The club owners have made political donations to the mayor and held a fundraiser for him at their Mount Washington home. But he has denied giving the pair special treatment in their dealings with the city. (P-G, Sherman & Lord)

It doesn't really fit with Brian O'Neill day, but that's what happened. Disregarding all the distractions, that's what happened.

So. How long until the City tries to tell us with a straight face that Club Pittsburgh does not provide adult entertainment? Can we request that the City Solicitor do so personally, using the same cadences and gestures that President Clinton used while reassuring us about Monica Lewinsky?

And by the way ... do we know if the City of Pittsburgh can expect to collect tax receipts for lap dances / go-go dancing? Because if it can, I'm offended as a taxpayer. Here I am, with potholes on my street, paying extra for heterosexual lap dances like some kind of chump.


  1. I usually keep my O'Neill columns on the refrigerator until they start to disintergrate, then I move them to a file. The column he wrote on the use of the APPOSTROPHE is a classic and should be used in all high school English classes. It was probably from 2003. I can't find it right now.

  2. I'm offended my tax dollars go to prosecute bong salesmen and not popper pushers. I'm offended my tax dollars go to development subsidies of the sort Chris Ivey documents. I'm offended by our super hokey bus station / parking lot. I'm offended by snazzy lighting.

  3. "My refrig door is a virgin."

    Do you know how hard it is not to make a bad joke about the ice dispenser in response to your comment?

  4. This city needs more follow through.

    "Crack me up" said the ice tray to the holding joke teller.