Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday: Welcome, Firearms Enthusiasts!

Guns don't commit crimes, the folks who wield them do -- as is the case with any other tool, like a common sledge hammer.

Police said the son of a former West Mifflin Area schools superintendent broke into a videographer's Butler home with a sledge hammer last week, demanding footage from his sister's wedding. (P-G, Sadie Gurman)

Yes, that son of a former schools superintendent. Made famous by Rich Lord and Mary Neiderberger.

The younger Mr. Risha also made headlines and angered some West End residents when he sought to build a strip club on West Carson Street. (ibid)

There has been a debate raging for years as to whether or not the sex industry, when left unregulated, unfettered and "well enough alone", tends to attract an element that can be "not exactly law abiding" and result in public safety "hot spots". Pending the outcome of this trial, this could or could not become another data point for that criminological theory; note the variety of charges against the two alleged co-conspirators.


Approaching the end of an era: 200 Ross Street is up for sale, as-is. All those bureaucrats, scattered to the four winds. But this may take awhile: LINK.

Governor Tom Corbett warns us that the natural gas industry will "take the tax but only if it gets the regulations on forced pooling." GOOD TO KNOW WHO IS IN CHARGE. If Pennsylvania really is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas with our Marcellus and Utica shales, then with wind and solar being so woefully far distant from cost-efficiency and with nuclear power being what it is, don't we get to call the shots? We should demand an extraction tax, no forced pooling, and pitchers of mojitos every day at 2:00 PM. LINK.

If you haven't voted 130 times for Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 yet, for goodness sakes why do you hate Pittsburgh? LINK.


  1. Amazing, is it not? The very man that has told us not to worry over in the West End because he will be running an "upscale" gentlemans club, is now arrested for breaking into someones private establishment and stealing. Frankly, I am very worried. By a slip he has been granted the ability to open. Without a council hearing, no conditions will be place on his establishment. Mr. Risha and those like him can not be trusted to do what is right for our communities because first and foremost they have no idea of what is RIGHT. Mr. Risha behaves, frequently, like a thug. He has been arrested before for his immature, self serving actions. This industry must be subject to heavy scrutiny because these are not reputable people and communities will suffer as a result. If left unregulated, this "industry" will drag our communities down in the interest of turning a profit.

  2. Debbie-

    1. "The Whitfields". So you're finally going to make the leap into blogging. Take your time! :)

    2. From everything I've heard (though I haven't visited) Blush Nightclub is an upscale adult cabaret theater in the best sense of the word "upscale". They police the towing lanes near CAPA. They clean up the ally. They sign real national headliners, for what that's worth. They've even wound up at 200 Ross Street on occasion (scan records for Edison Hotel, New Edison Hotel and the name Bortz).

    2. But that's the idea Debbie, the industry *tends* in the aggregate to reliably attract a greatly disorderly element. For reasons one can only speculate reasonably. The legal compromise that was struck between community rights and free speech rights was probably best laid out in Barnes v. Glen Theatre, though it has always been the case beforehand and afterword.

  3. so let's say that Council would have had the chance to put conditions on it and he was willing to meet those conditions...what do you have? A strip club.

  4. Anon 10:24 - Not all adult entertainment need be cut from the same cloth. One could theoretically forbid close physical proximity between entertainers and patrons, forbid direct tipping of entertainers, mandate bright lights and maximal visibility while forbidding "private" rooms and closed doors, annually license both owners AND all management staff -- of course much of this works far better as general regulations rather than individual conditions or zoning regulations.

    Such things tend to discourage the bad elements from congregating, or indeed even getting involved.

    From what I understand, something in the vein of parking might have been a good condition for this particular club on Carson -- or perhaps rather "transportation" regarding the car services it reputedly intends to utilize as a strong part of its business model -- but that's really neither here nor there. Water under the West End Bridge.

  5. Inside information and trust me on this one:

    Council let Risha's club slide through to take pressure off the exclusionary zoning ordnance and ensure that the strip clubs in town would be away from the east end.

  6. Anon 5:15 - I don't know about "trust you", but that makes a huge amount of sense!!

    And the other sides of the hall / street would have played along, because they rarely mind what you call 'exclusionary' government privilege either. The political approach had a good long run after all.

    Problem is, the casino came along and heaped more pressure both on that policy's incognito-status, and on everything within a decent drive of the West End Bridge. The difficulties are such that areas like West-south/central Pittsburgh will require a little more regard in the future, along with what's now the Cultural District, the Strip / Polish Hill and south Bloomfield.

  7. I could go with the "anywhere but the East End" if it was 30 years ago and the East End still dominated city council. Gee, I long for the good ole days!!!

  8. The East End still does dominate. the East End dominates cultural, civic and business institutions - as well as government. Even the non-
    east end" legislators cater to their east end counterparts. Think about this. How many City Council members are from the "east end." How many are from the "south?" How many are from the "north?" Start doing the math and then start looking at where campaign contributions come from for all of the them.

  9. I think we all know adult entertainment is here to stay. The problem is that it is so unregulated, owners are given carte blanche as to how to operate. IF a council hearing had been held, then the concerns of the communities who will be most impacted by this business would have been heard and addressed. Since there was no hearing, no conditions were imposed on his conditional use of the building. If this is the wave of the future of Pittsburgh, we must support legislation to regulate how these businesses operate. If left completely unregulated, it is more likely that these businesses will bring about the very problems that the community expressed in front of the planning commission. There are issues about the impact to the Onala club, traffic problems, parking problems, impact on surrounding communities, etc. Legislation could keep these adult entertainment businesses upfront and legit. Unfortunately, in the case of the West Carson Street property, Mr. Risha continues to prove over and over again that the communities concerns about his ability to run a legitimate businees is not unreasonable. Maybe some legislation will force him to be a more responsible businessman.

  10. I'm not really keen on what I'm hearing about workforce abuse either. In the industry, that is.

  11. Regardless of occupation, people should be treated like they are human beings, not an object. To be subjecting to physical and verbal abuse all in the name of "adult entertainment" does not sound like entertainment at all. Perhaps we need to regulate the patrons, not just the workforce.