Friday, November 13, 2009

Updates: Circling Back toward the Hill

Things are looking bleak for what seemed like a done deal:

When 20 or so Hill District residents attended the regularly scheduled Dinwiddie Community Alliance meeting, they expected to hear from Hill House CEO Evan Frazier that construction would soon begin on a grocery and retail center anchored by a Kuhn’s market.

Instead they heard Kuhn’s has not committed to the project, despite giving that impression to the community, the Hill House and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh for nearly a year.
(Courier, Christian Morrow)

It must also be mentioned that Mr. Frazier himself soon will be moving on to Highmark Inc., for to handle community affairs -- rather like Ron Porter, his predecessor at the Hill House, moved on with the Penguins.

And very related:

Hill District groups want a community master plan before the Penguins start developing a 28-acre site near the new arena but haven't yet gotten the Urban Redevelopment Authority's approval to hire the necessary consultant. The Penguins agreed in a community benefits agreement not to start development until Feb. 19, but Mr. Lavelle said there's no way a master plan can be in place by that time.

"We probably will have to seek an extension of the deadline," Mr. Lavelle said.
(P-G, Rich Lord)

That one had been apparent for a little while. If you are a CBA enthusiast, one moral of this story is that your CBA isn't likely to be very successful if it ensures only contingent future processes for benefits rather than concrete benefits.

But let's say you're not particularly a CBA enthusiast. What is the takeaway? Well, one is the importance in public affairs of keeping deals: not only contractual deals but handshakes, virtual handshakes and understandings. I do not exempt myself from this; for example as a novice I did not comprehend until very recently the 45% Rule and you can have your own conversations amongst yourselves.

At any rate, I suppose the unique importance of the Hill area as a neighborhood to the whole of Pittsburgh's geis will have to become an item of contemplation again. I hope I can help bring its now very recent history into a balanced yet thorough perspective. Because obviously there is still time and hope. No one has an interest in seeing little besides scorched earth and continued festering discontent.


Daniel D. Regan is to take over as City Solicitor, pending interview? and confirmation, while for George Specter it's out of the frying pan and into the fire at the URA. (P-G, Karamagi Rujumba)

Bill Peduto asks the ICA to make an immediate ruling on the legal propriety of the Student Tax, which I've got to say seems reasonable and expeditious. (Correspondence) is going after Jason Altmire, which I have say is only going to help him. They should create a nom de plume for themselves in this effort here locally such as "Citizens Against Duplicity". (Early Returns)

Someone is telling me that Robb Hollow Park is being misused as a leaf waste site. (Desperate Correspondence)

Hmm, I generally don't think it's disgraceful to offer a hypothesis, express an opinion about it, or even to play politics if you think that's what will be most effective. But hey at least they are all trying to work it out. (P-G, Moriah Balingit)


  1. Is Daniel Regan related to Dennis Regan or Baldy Regan? Why is someone so young the best candidate for the city solicitor job?

  2. Re: the leaf dump site...

    It was "news" this week that Collier Township received "permission" from PA DEP to establish a leaf dumping site. Woah! Let me give the environmentalists and bureaucrats a clue - leaves are, are you waiting, NATURAL. They decompose (rather quickly, I might add). Decomposed levaes make great compost for... GROWING purposes!

    Where the f*ck is the environmental aspect?

    Only in America. Sadly.

  3. CM - The letter seems to protest on safety and nuissance grounds for neighboring residents and park users -- nothing environmental.

  4. The should have taken the Aldi's and liked it. The hill has a bunch of idiots.

  5. Housing, housing and...more housing. You can't have grocery stores or anything else unless you have housing with demographics/disposable income to support it. Get a clue.

  6. Anon 9:39 - You can't have lots of things without the underlying fundamentals to support them -- that is without subsidies and other forms of government sweat equity. That never stopped all sorts of other projects from manifesting, many of which succeeded and many of which would go on to fail after having given it the old college try.

    This state of affairs obviously is a point in favor of those like Ms. Payne who favored Sav-A-Lot, or even the older Aldi idea. But I wouldn't make any snap judgements or teach any lessons quite yet as to why Kuhn's has been dragging its feet and what all is going on. Still murky.

    And this doesn't address the situation with the master planning process / non-process.

  7. Dan Regan is Baldy's son.
    And he is at leats 4 years older than the Mayor.

  8. Dan Regan is a liquor license lawyer. He is a member at the firm of Caputo & Caputo, a firm that specialized in liquor license transfers.

    He has no known experience in municipal law and is relatively inexperienced as a lawyer having only been admitted to practice on 10/23/02. Thus, he only has about 7 years total experience as a lawyer. Not enough to make partner at most places let alone lead a City Law Department that is largely staffed with lawyers who lack years of experience in the municipal law field.

    It should also be noted that Dan Regan doesn't even live in the City of Pittsburgh. He is so committed to our city that he moved out of it.

    He sounds like the perfect choice for Ravenstahl & Zober. Someone who has no experience in local government (unless you count being an Assistant D.A., which is not applicable experience) and little experience in the law. He will not know how the City is suppossed to operate and he will not know the applicable legal principles. He can serve as Ravenstahl & Zober's rubber stamp.

    He is the perfect fit for the young, good old boy Ravenstahl administration, (as he is the son of a former councilman/North Side District Justice).

    The Ravenstahl administration consistently hires based upon political connections not on merit. The Ravenstahl administration has also largely excluded women from leadership roles in administration. Noor Ismail...the only one, and they promptly gutted her department by moving most its functions to the URA.

  9. A clueless Ravenstahl administration hiring a clueless solicitor...perfect!

  10. Looks like the 3:39PM anon raises some legitimate concerns.

  11. I assume someone will ask who are the bad guys that the City Law Department typically goes after. I am more accustomed to seeing the Solicitor advise on the legality of proposed legislation and the legal risks inherent in other actions, or else DEFEND the City from lawsuits. But I don't claim to have exhaustive knowledge of that position.

    One thing I do know is that the City Solicitor is explicitly also the Council's solicitor. So although confirmation of mayoral staff choices is usually a mere formality, in this one case the Council ought to feel empowered to really exercise some judgmental authority if they do find a reason for it.

    Oh, this all reminds me -- it's mid November! Is the Council ever going to hire its "dedicated legal officer" or whateverthenuts that it fought for so tirelessly in the 2009 budget?

  12. Oh Matt put a sock in it. You were part of the problem for years when you could have been doing good. It's a bit too little too late for me.

  13. Hey all. Leave Matt alone. He has got guts. I will reserve judgement on performance until I see the new goy (guy/boy) looking like he needs to toss his cookies while sitting at the city Council table. As far as residency goes, tsk tsk tsk...

    What are the chances he has mayoral aspirations once Luke would move into the governor's mansion? Ok, everybody stop laughing I can hear you from here...

  14. "Oh Matt put a sock in it. You were part of the problem for years when you could have been doing good. It's a bit too little too late for me."

    Really? Better late than never.

  15. Come ON, Anon 5:27. We're never going to be much of a coalition if we turn up our nose at converts. If it'll make anyone feel more comfortable I'll baptize him in the Mon on Wednesday.

  16. Ha! I liked that. Baptize him in the Mon. Again, give Matt credit for evaluating his loyalty when he saw nothing getting accomplished. That is what young people do when they start to mature. They are no longer blindly led, young adults begin to look for substance in their leaders.

    Wonder how long substance takes to develop? Do we have that long?

  17. Guess the guy cant ever do anything right to some people...jeez

  18. Aw, do we have a soft spot for Matt? Give the kid a chance it just what I don't think Pittsburgh needs to hear anymore. If you want to make a team up, I would not consider the low quality of certain individuals.

    Yes I DON'T think he can make it right in 2 weeks.

    I don't think years of shady dealings and the pathetic crap that came out of Matt's blog and mouth for over 2 years is forgiven with a surprise announcement 3 days before the election that he is not endorsing Luke.

    If he really had "guts" he would have made this announcement when he made the choice.

  19. For those of us not "inside baseball" who is Matt H ?

  20. Anon 6:24 - Specifically, a Democratic committeeperson from Elliot, a former employee and one-time notable whistleblower at the city's Housing Authority, and until very recently the only pro-Ravenstahl blogging voice on the web. 24 yrs old or somesuch.

  21. To the anonymous who is bashing Dan Regan - you're an idiot. Yes, you. Yes, idiot.