Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Liveblogging the Death of the Lease Deal
As I tune in, it is still the public comment period. Tons of fire fighters and police officers are yelling at the Council not to play politics with their pensions and not to kill the Mayor's deal, at least not yet. The last public commenter is...
Alan Lazowski, LAZ - He was surprised over these last two weeks that Council wasn't happy about the deal. "The infrastructure world was surprised." He says he met with Council members, named each one individually, and understands their concerns. Maybe there needs to be some changes or modifications. Maybe look at a revenue-sharing arrangement. We need time. We need you to table this plan.
Then we get to the meeting, and the vote to reject or table for later the 50 year LAZ / JPMorgan parking facilities lease:
Patrick Dowd - We've had a lot of testimony on this issue in many formats. [On your alternative?] "The city would be lucky to have a partner like Alan Lazowski" ... who is passionate about his business and earnest about his desire to help the city. Mayor deserves credit for getting us here. My vote today is a decisive rejection of false choices and Chicken Little approaches. Believes in city's ability to control its destiny and solve its problems. A loss of control for 50 years is too long; he'll have grandchildren watching it. Some have said in the media it's a choice between the lease, a loss of control; and a state takeover, a loss of control. Those are two lousy options. The Mayor has said up until yesterday that he'd consider options. Still, over all this time, Mayor and his team dismissed "out of hand" his alternatives. One time the Mayor even sent three law firms to do that. His asset transfer / bond idea now is exactly the same as Mayor Tom Murphy's sale of city water assets to the Water Authority, which was bemoaned at the time. He's looked at engineering reports for our Parking Garages and ... yeah, they need maintenance, but we shouldn't sell our house or soul over it -- certainly not to JPMorgan, who is awful. This can only work if the Mayor joins with this Council. This vote will be a vote to maintain the city's control [the more you tighten your grip, Tarkin...].
Theresa Smith - We need to wait until the facts come back from the state and until all the plans are all on the table. Doing anything less would be irresponsible. Everyone here talks about making data-based decisions, what is this then? Ms. Harris I know you've been a big union supporter so I guess this is directed toward you.
Darlene Harris - I've been a union supporter for 35 years. One thing I've learned is not to privatize. Doesn't believe the state takeover's an option either.
No further discussion! Hm! (Very disappointing!)
Ayes 1 (Burgess); Nays 7; Abstentions 1 (Smith). Pittsburgh's $452 million payday has been successfully, resoundingly vanquished.