Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hill clergy lead effort to rebuff slots casino in Hill

OMG. That's short for either Oh my gosh. Or, in this case, might as well say, Oh My God!
Hill clergy lead effort to rebuff slots casino in Hill 'We don't want it in Pittsburgh, period. If it must come, let it go to the North Side or Station Square. We don't want it near our residential district,' he said.
Bless their souls too.

The ministers are now backing the plan for the casino placement at either the North Shore or at Station Square. That makes sense.

They are right in saying that few people live near the Station Square and the North Shore site. Those locations are already entertainment destinations. They are not residential areas.

But what kills the story is the fact that they hit upon Toyna Payne of Pittsburgh's City Council but gave a free pass to Gov. Ed Rendell. It was Rendell that was the one who put gambling into our local landscape. It was the state reps who passed the bills to allow it to arrive.

If the ministers had been against Ed Rendell in the past season, I'd have more understanding of their actions now.

The ministers are saying good things -- but it is too little and too late.

Russ Diamond was a candidate for Governor and he wanted to get rid of the gambling law. He wanted to nuke the entire bill.

Rev. Tom Smith of Monumental Baptist Church said, in the article, "This is our first action to ensure that the spiritual and economic well-being of this community is not compromised." The first action should not come a month before the final decision is announced. The news is expected December 20, 2006.

Folks, it is good to speak up. It is always good to speak up. When you speak up late -- fine. Do it. But, we really need more people to speak up sooner.

Frankly, the Isle of Capri plan should not be considered because of the silence treatment the public has been subject too from the Penguins. The "Lockstep Boosterism" and "contract agreements" of non-statements between the NHL's Penguins and the Isle of Capri effort to secure a gambling casino sucks.

The closed-mindedness stinks. It is only matched by the other killer action of hatching deals behind closed doors.

If the Penguins and Isle of Capri want to get into bed with each other -- fine. They can hop in bed with each other on their own time, and with their own dime too. Don't expect to win a public license for an exclusive gambling license from under the covers. Don't wager a secrecy campaign in our public spaces where we have the calling to be concerned as citizens, neighbors and taxpayers.

The pathway that the Penguins, as an organization, has taken is sad. I had hoped that the new ownership group would have been more bold and open-source in their ways. This amounts to a communications deal. And, the Blackberry's screen has gone blank.

The Penguins have fumbled an opportunity to connect with the city and region. But, fumbles don't really happen in hockey as the puck sits on the ice.

The Penguin ploy was to rush the ice with wave after wave of public officials to speak in support of the new arena. They had line changes down pat in the first period. They went to an early lead, sure. But once the counter-attacks came, the only defense was to field multiple goalies.

The entire process is built upon some false hopes. The new arena isn't the top priority. Oh well.

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