|Texas Watchdog (fixed)|
Downtown there are tragedies woven with mock:
[US bankruptcy judge and August Wilson Center conservator Judith Fitzgerald] has also been talking to public entities and private foundations about releasing previously allocated funds or contributing new money to the center.
So far they have refused to do so, "based upon asserted past failures of AWC to carry out promises with transparency," Ms. Fitzgerald said in a Dec. 27 interim report to the court. (P-G, Mark Belko)
The reaction to debt accumulation has been reasonable and on-key, until this note:
"Nonetheless, ultimately if there is a complete refusal of the foundations to provide funds and no public agency or governmental financial support sufficient to determine the viability of AWC, it will be unlikely that AWC can survive," she wrote. (ibid)
Perhaps it is time to get bold and creative.
If the overhead and other challenges of inhabiting the glimmering Downtown facility are too steep, and the debt profile is so stubbornly implacable, then might not the August Wilson Center's own cultural and logistical assets be protected, the present facility be sold or foreclosed upon and thence repurposed, and the AWC be relocated to a sufficient and sustainable new or refurbished venue? One where it can hew to advancing its missions, perhaps even in the neighborhood which provided that playwright with legendary material, yet still near enough to Downtown and its expansion energies?
The Comet regrets the inescapable impertinence of this suggestion. We are aware of various blind spots in our levels of knowledge and perception about the proper "missions" of the Wilson Center, and its present stakeholders, and what the Downtown "Cultural District" facility and presence means. But shedding an ill-fit structure and adapting to new circumstances might get public entities and private foundations back on board supporting the necessary enterprise.
Meanwhile, news in the federal probe into City corruption is hard to come by:
“We have acknowledged that we are doing an investigation of the city of Pittsburgh that has arisen as a result of investigations of” the Bureau of Police and former police Chief Nate Harper, who was indicted and pleaded guilty, [US Attorney David] Hickton said. “I am acknowledging that it is ongoing.” (P-G, Rich Lord)
UPDATE: Indeed, there should be little hindrance.
Moving forward, in terms of triage assessment:
[Public Safety Director Michael] Huss acknowledged taking on responsibilities beyond his job title for much of the past year, such as personnel matters, collective bargaining and policy decisions.
“You make the decisions that you have to, and you do what you have to do until someone tells you, ‘Don't do that anymore,' ” Huss said. “I didn't think that was going to happen.” (Trib; Harding, Prine & Conte)
"As a principle matter, the lack of guiding policies in this instance is I think what was most shocking."
"The City of Pittsburgh had virtually no policies, regulations, concerning the management of outside employment by Bureau officers. To me, that was frankly shocking."
"In this type of instance, when police officers can use types of tactics, equipment, confidential means, records, data, to assist in the conduct of a private industry, there is a real potential for a conflict of interest to exist. Our courts have addressed it, Pennsylvania law has addressed it, the answer is clear. That active police officers should not be involved in that type of conduct."
(WESA, Steve Toprani, former Washington County DA and City consultant)
The implications of such statements being stated will continue to develop. There may be all sorts of management tools converging upon the troublesome spots.