Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Red Alarms: Theater District Revival Plan smacks of elitism, cronies and stupidity

A gathering of 75 out-of-town building, planner, designer, developer wonks is being held downtown at the Renaissance Hotel to gather, ponder, pitch and fester about some parcels of "key" spaces that are controlled by and within the Cultural District.

That's fine, except.....

Only outsiders were allowed to attend and participate.

Pittsburgh individuals and firms were EXCLUDED by DESIGN.

How stupid can they be?

But, remember, fools like this run the PDP, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. The PDP held a candidate night for participants in the Pittsburgh Mayor's race -- and told people that they were NOT invited. There were people who were not allow to attend as spectators. A black woman walked to te event from her home in The Hill -- and the PDP morons shut the door in her face.

We've got too many with 1940 style country club attitudes in our downtown institutions.

I won't raise my concerns with the AARP again, now as another example.

The headline in the Trib, "Rivival continues in theater district" -- is plain old B.S. Same old sh*t.

The information I'm blabbing about in this post comes from a few trusted sources. I'll be happy to eat my words and make a public retraction as soon as I see the list of those who attended the sessions. Then we'll call the Pittsburgh-based people and firms and figure out why they were 'blacklisted.'

It is uneasy for me to write this. It is a shame to have to read it. And, I'm sure that some who read this are going to be livid at me, the messenger, and ignore the real message.

I think the creative people that have been invited are the one's who call home something other than Pittsburgh. The ones from here are homers and they might have the luck of setting up the rules, playing gatekeeper, and doing catering duties.

Another head-scratching point: A pedestrian bridge is mentioned in the article. It is to go over Ft. Duquesne Boulevard. They're attempting to span the wrong gulf.

The cultural district is a fine jewel, no doubt. But, I have a big problem with elitist running around acting like they've got rocks in their heads.

All the king's horses and all the king's men won't be able to put Pittsburgh together again.

I guess that the photo in the story shows the first residential structure to be built in Downtown Pittsburgh in the past three decades -- if you ignore all the abodes from the homeless, loft conversions, the new Allegheny County jail that's overflowing, (plus the new-new temp housing jail annex), and units within downtown's spitting distance (The Hill and North Side, and anything Uptown???).

We should have more downtown housing. I'm in favor of that. But, I don't want to have subsidized housing for the rich.

We should have open community forums to dream big and plan for sensational, stars-bound landings. But, I don't want any leader nor leadership entity to display the slightest closed-door mentality yet alone outright hostility. What gives when people who live here, and who are experts here, are spat upon?

To right the impressions -- publish the minutes of the meetings, online, in haste. I'd like to see the documentation from those brainstorming sessions. And, I'd like to know what other buildings are going to be needed -- perhaps by eminent domain -- to make this a public-good "darling."

Please, make me eat these words. I want to be wrong.


O said...

Of course, the parcel that they're talking about is owned entirely by the Cultural Trust. If this is a private interest that controls the property, I can't seem to see why they would be under any obligation to open this type of planning meeting up to the public.

Honnistaibe said...

Mark, you're right and it points up the problem with the recent Supreme Court Decision on "eminent domain".
The justices have basically said that "local officials know what is better for their communities than the judiciary." The problem with that is that those local officials will be acting on the desires of powerful economic "elite" forces who may or may not be local. And with the decision it's now only one policy choice by the local govt. away from where the "cultural trust" starts moving beyond its own "parcel" to acquire those of its neighbors possibly with the force of govt. behind it.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The "of course" assumptions are not so simple. It is, as the name implies, a cultural TRUST. It isn't an organization that should BREAK the TRUST.

Obligations are exactly what I want to imply. I want people to do the right thing -- because they should do the right thing. I don't want the law to force them to behave as they should. But, when they are closed minded -- then we have an duty to point a finger, raise a voice, rant on our own.

Too many around here are able to witness a murder and they are NOT obligated to be a witness in court. As dozen of people turn their backs on the community -- in the streets or in our cultural organizations -- then the lives of thugs has become universal.

O said...

So... assuming that it's a conforming use (i.e., doesn't need to go to Zoning Board of Adjustments), does not require a zoning or property line change (i.e., doesn't need to go to the Planning Commission), is not in a Historic Area (i.e., doesn't need to go to the Historic Review Commission), and is not a recipient of any Public Tax Incentives (i.e., doesn't need to go in front of City/County Council or the School Board), you still want to direct what the Cultural Trust does with its own property and how they do it?

Mark Rauterkus said...

This is a trap question.

First, the assumptions you make are GRAND! I write enough that I don't need others to write weirdness into questions with spill over assumptions to me too.

I do not want to direct what the cultural trust does with its own property -- given your grand assuptions.

Bottom line: I don't want the cultural trust to "gather minds" by subtraction. That's their shame and farce.

Attending guests have a 'great deal of freedom' -- but others from Pittsburgh are trampled. Freedom to the elite VISITORs is not the type of freedom Pittsburghers crave.

Self reliance is a missing link within too many endeavors around here.