Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Burgh Report hits a home run

Do read his posting. Then ponder my reactions below.
The Burgh Report most of the nicer, newer ones - were built by private interests and are run for a profit.

Developers are not falling all over themeselves to build and maintain a public arena in Pittsburgh because everyone has pointed to them to locate the facility in the city. The city is not the ideal spot. Not now. Not in this marketplace. Not with our traffic, our demographics, our footprints. The scale and the potential make the central location (be it North Shore, Hill, or even Strip) a mega risk.

However, once the ties to the space are cut and all locations in the county are considered -- then the upside becomes much more obvious. The project has real merit if it comes somewhere else and not in The Hill.

Land in the city's core is just too tight. Expansion is too much of a headache. The infrastructure is old. The roads are going to need more than a redd up around the facilities.

More can be done elsewhere.

No one has stepped forward with a plan for a privately financed, state-of-the-art arena project because everyone has worn blinders concerning its location. The arena does NOT need to be on a bus line.

How many people take the bus to the circus?

How many people take the bus to a Pens game?

How many people take a bus HOME from a Pens game?

How many season ticket holders walk from Crawford Square to see the Pens play more than 30 times a year?

No one would dare, is right. Why dare the investement for a city with a government that is on the brink. Why dare build a parking structure when parking taxes yo-yo. One year parking tax is 35% then it is 50%. Now it is to go to 45% and next year 40%.

One year parking is made free for all downtown spaces in December. The next year it isn't. And when it is made free, they decide the day before.

Central services from rodent control to lids on dumpsters can present a quagmire of red tape from week to week.

Rodeos are out. Scalping of tickets is only by those who can stand on their heads. T-shirt vendors have to grease the undercover inspectors. SMG, blah, blah, blah. There are hundreds of reasons why serious players choose to sit on their hands.

People vote with their feet. And investment flows like water and avoids uphill challenges.

Governement does stand in the way. Your blog posting is right on the mark.

Why not us? Because we can't think again. Because we choose to only use half our brains. Because we allow the media to set an agenda. Because power aims to sustain its power. Because the status quo is far too sacred. Because those who rock the boat are called names, such as 'naysayers.'

We need to be open minded. We need to get out of the little boxes and little labels. We need wide-open discussions, thinking and sustainable conversations where criticism is not just tolerated, but welcomed.

We need to be able to spot 'lockstep boosterism' for what it is -- and brand that as evil.

FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) must be squashed in high level public sector circles. When FUD is the best tool deployed by those in control, we need to yank them from their seats. And if they don't go, we need to a revolution.

We have one-party rule in the city. And in the county when another party is present, they are without a dime's worth of difference. Generally, the powerful elite in Pittsburgh, both D and R, have a corporate agenda that hates community and challenges.

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