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Mayoral candidates debate nonprofits, privatizing - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'It has worked in other cities, and there is every reason to believe it can work here,' he said."The question about privatization had weak answers from all the candidates. When it was asked, I whispered to the guy next to me: Zoo, Aviary, Phipps.
None of the candidates talked about what really needed to be said. Other cities isn't the same as THIS city.
I'm sure that everyone in the room has been to one of those facilities. The PPG Zoo and Aquarium, Phipps Conservancy (flower show / botanical gardens), and the National Aviary on the North Side are all wonderful examples of what should be said when there is talk of privatization.
All facilities are doing very well now. All are wonderful asset. All were once owned and operated by the City of Pittsburgh. All are much better institutions now that they are NOT under the city administration's care.
The city has a vibrant legacy with privatization. Those stories needs to be revisited, understood, retold, and reviewed.
All efforts to privatize have NOT been nearly as successful as the big three spin offs.
+ When the auto garage was sold by privatization -- the costs to the city increased.What is public and what is private is not always clear -- and it is NOT as it should be.
++ The city did a half-way job in the indoor ice rink on the South Side. It allowed for a private operator to upgrade a facility in public spaces. However, there was no oversight as the private operator stumbled and eventually fell. In recent years, the city has done NOTHING but block access to this public facilities.
+++ Then there is the asphalt plant.
++++ Even the authorities need to be examined in this chatter with privatization. City officials sold the sewer pipes for goodness sakes.
For example, letters from the Ethics Hearing Board to the mayor should never be considered PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE.
I think the city has a long way to go in this realm. The city needs to get its act together. Be straight. It's crooked. It does goofy deals.
The Housing Authority is selling city land to one place but giving private development rights to the space above that land.
The city builds stadiums for the Steelers and Pirates -- yet still owed millions on a stadium that was torn down (3RS).
|From playground - usa|
Another question that unfolded at the debate last night was about Don Barden, the owner of the slots license. The question was about the treatment he was getting from the various neighbors including the other North Side institutions (Science Center, Steelers, Pirates).
My answer would have started by tossing the question to the dirt. The Steelers and Pirates are RENTERS. They are not "neighbors" in a sense of having an equity position on the North Side. I've been pushing to have the Steelers purchase Heinz Field. I'll insist, as best I can, that the Pirates OWN PNC Park. After they own those properties, then I'll consider them 'good neighbors.'
Don Barden is building his own facility, Majestic Star Slots Parlor. Don Barden has purchased the property. He is able to make money with a license given to him from the state -- but -- at least he is going to own his own property. The same should be said for the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins.
|From Convention Ce...|
The UPMC SportsWorks site, part of the Carnegie Science Center, was recently purchased by PAT (Port Authority Transit). PAT's move makes MORE of the North Side land in the hands of PUBLIC OWNERSHIP. Remember the Gimbles Warehouse?
The land is needed for the expensive tunnel under the river. Part of the need for the tunnel is to take people to UPMC SportsWorks. How ironic is it to build a tunnel to get tourist and visitors to the a destination that was trashed to build the tunnel.
|From Convention Ce...|
Furthermore, the buzz today is about another delay for the eventual opening of the slots parlor. It won't open until 2009. The politicians have been spending the incomes from that casino since the city's 2006 annual budget. Talk of fruitless, pre-mature politics has never a problem with phantom budgets.
The slots parlor could be operational already. I wanted Don Barden to purchase the white-elephant David Lawrence Convention Center and put the slots parlor in there. We could have been rolling in the cash as soon as the All-Star Game's fan fest concluded.