Sunday, February 05, 2006

500 show support for Penguins' new arena-casino proposal

500 show support for Penguins' new arena-casino proposal Ms. Harris, 17, of Carmichaels, Greene County, was holding a sign that read, 'Rendell ... No Arena, No Vote!'
For starters, a 17-year-old does not vote. Now, that is a shame, but it is a fact. Plus, the payment for the arena does NOT generally fall upon the backs of the people in Greene County -- but rather upon the people of the city of Pittsburgh.

The sign should read: "No Arena, No Vote, No Smarts." Logic is absent. Think again.

I was NOT asked to be a speaker at this event, by the way.

If the Civic Arena was BAD URBAN DEVELOPMENT -- why hasn't Peduto fixed it already? Why have the Dems not fixed the urban development of Three Rivers Stadium -- nor Heinz Field's urban development project too. I say the North Side is bad urban development too. Deadlines have passed and the only thing that is really happening is the shifting of jobs from other offices downtown to the North Side, leaving big holes in the downtown market. And, we get a massive parking garage that is going to be empty most of the time.

It is bad urban development to churn. The civic arena is a historical site now. It can be better blended into the fabric of the city. I think I know how to make that occur. Heck, the civic arena is the only indoor ice rink in the city.

Worse urban development -- far worse than the civic arena -- is the closing of an indoor ice rink on the South Side behind UPMC's South Side Hospital within a park. That is a dark hole that has been ignored by the likes of Bill Peduto and others on City Council. Gene Ricciardi, our former city council person, was the Chairman of the Citiparks when that was closed and NOT re-opened. He didn't care nor did he do much at all.

These guys are quick to stand up and grab a new shovel and want to re-do everything. They want big projects. They want big-ticket spending. But, they also drive up the debt. They also make earth move and nothing else moves -- not the economy, the the jobs, not the quality of life for ALL the city's, county's and region's citizens.

The Pens should stay, of course. The Pens should build a new arena, of course. But, they should do it on their own land with their own money.

The windfalls from gambling need to be diverted to more pressing needs, not a new hockey arena in a league that is about to die and didn't play a game last season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

500 show support for Penguins' new arena-casino proposal

Sunday, February 05, 2006
By Ann Belser, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It was no idle threat from Andrea Harris to Gov. Ed Rendell.

Ms. Harris, 17, of Carmichaels, Greene County, was holding a sign that read, "Rendell ... No Arena, No Vote!"

Tony Tye, Post-Gazette
Sara Harper, 15, front left, and Kaitlyn Lee, 16, front right, both of the North Side, rally outside the Mellon Arena in support of the Penguins and the Isle of Capri's plan to build a casino and a new arena close to the existing arena.
She turns 18 before the next gubernatorial election.

Ms. Harris was one of about 500 people who showed up at the Mellon Arena more than an hour before the Penguins-Islanders game yesterday to show their support for a proposal by Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. and the Penguins to build a casino near the arena. Isle of Capri is also pledging to include $290 million for a new arena.

Fans were standing in the rain shouting "Save our Pens" as speaker after speaker stepped to the microphone.

"Let's do this loud enough for Rendell to hear all the way in Detroit, because we're paying for his tickets, right?" shouted Penguins radio broadcaster and former team member Phil Bourque before leading the crowd in another cheer of "Let's go Pens."

The crowd ranged from teenagers who play high school hockey to adults to babies who may one day play hockey.

"If the Pens leave, so do I," read the sign held by Darin Lesefka, 40, of McCandless. Mr. Lesefka, a helicopter pilot for STAT MedEvac, still plays hockey in pickup games when he can. He will be leaving in three months to serve in Iraq but said if the team isn't here when he gets back, he'll move to Arizona or somewhere else where they appreciate the sport.

Mr. Bourque and other former Penguins, who refer to themselves as team alumni, lined up on stage with politicians and fans who have become active in keeping the team in Pittsburgh.

One team alumnus who did not attend was Mario Lemieux, the current owner. He had gone to Detroit for the Super Bowl.

Mike Mooney, 35, of Whitehall, who helped organize the rally and is one of the creators of the Web site, put a good spin on Mr. Lemieux's absence.

Mr. Mooney said the purpose of the rally was to focus on keeping the team in Pittsburgh.

"It's nice to have him around, but it might have taken away from the issue," he said.

State Sen. Jane Orie, R-McCandless, state Rep. Frank LaGrotta, D-Ellwood City, and city Councilman William Peduto all said keeping the team in the city was vital to the region.

Ms. Orie said she has received more than 2,000 e-mails, phone calls and letters supporting the Isle of Capri's application for a slots license.

"This is bad urban development," Mr. Peduto said, pointing to the Mellon Arena. "We have a chance to change it. This is going to reconnect the Hill District to Downtown. For every reason, this is the right thing."

(Ann Belser can be reached at or 412-263-1699.)