Saturday, June 18, 2005

SEA needs a hand - I say give it an arm. Then run the other way with a quick turn of ownership.

SEA needs a hand - Without more than $3 million in gambling revenue it was counting on this year, the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority could ask Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to help plug a hole in the operating budget for the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, according to an audit released Friday.

This spells trouble on many fronts. And, some of us saw it coming.

The SEA is banking on hype. The authority is over spent. The authority has yet to tighten its belt to match its income. The overhead of the building is getting like a heavy weight that is going to be a bigger and bigger burden.

The term WHITE ELEPHANT needs to be realized. If it is ignored, the problem is going to be worse later. Come to grips with reality.

That big sucking sound is still ringing from the operation of the Convention Center. Look at the cost of the water fountain that runs within in the convention center, its new DAM, its re-building and contrast that with the cost of running a real swim pool and the smack-down being tossed about with the ACT 47 oversight board (see next post) about the hope of shifting operation of swim pools to other entities.

These are not cash-flow issues. These are overspending issues. These are bad decision issues. These are poor planning issues. These are didn't close down operations issues. These are issues of inaction and poor leadership.

By the way, how much of the Convention Center was put in use by the recent events of the Senior Olympics?

Could the Convention Center hosted the badminton, shuffleboard, table tennis, opening or closing events, and more?

The Convention Center isn't be leveraged to be a great community asset that is could be. Our potential is being squandered because there isn't enough creativity with that venue.

Why isn't the Act 47 team looking into the use and miss-spending at the SEA?

Why wasn't the Convention Center turned into a campaign issue in the mayor's race?

Joe Weinroth could make some serious waves if he talked about the Convention Center and injected some new, creative ideas backed up by research and understanding of what really goes on in that facility and how it is and will yet impact the budgets of the city and the SEA.

Rather than getting a bailout for the SEA for the convention center .. think again. How about if we sell the convention center and make money on it. And, sell the convention center to the new gambling site owners. They could take part of the convention center and turn it into a casino. Then other parts could be dedicated to gaming and other ventures as they wish.

The convention center is a massive public liability now. It would be an asset that can be taken off of the backs of the taxpayers. Then the ongoing gambling money incomes won't be diverted and lost in continual bailouts of the convention center.

Then, the SEA can be liquidated and go away.

The boat show and the home show -- and other conventions that are slated for the convention center can still go forward. But the operators would be the casino owned coordinators.

Get that skin in the game and into the marketplace -- now!


Anonymous said...

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Sport & Exhibition Authority may have to ask the city and Allegheny County for money to meet a budget shortfall at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The authority's 2005 budget anticipated $3.33 million in income from slot-machine gambling, but the gambling law is being challenged before the state Supreme Court.

An audit released Friday recommends that the authority use a 1978 cooperation agreement in which the city and the county agree to cover the operating deficit associated with running the convention center.

"If receipt of the funding does not occur in 2005 and the other revenue streams do not materialize, the authority will have no other recourse than to call upon the cooperation agreement with the city and county," the audit said.

Craig Kwiecinski, spokesman for Mayor Tom Murphy, said the city's budget speaks for itself. The city, operating under a state recovery plan, has all but eliminated spending on capital projects and has also closed police and fire stations to cut costs.

Ashley Henry, spokeswoman for county Chief Executive Dan Onorato, said the county likely would seek help from the state before agreeing to cover a deficit.

Jeebas said...

That convention center was always a waste. Turning it into a casino is a great idea