Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Fistful of Dollars

Lots of news on the Hill and CBA talk this week. And since my blog is reflective of my column in the Pittsburgh City Paper, here is the latest:

A Fistful of Dollars:
If the Pittsburgh Penguins want to play, someone has to pay

"I always enjoyed it when Clint Eastwood squinted, flicked his cigarette and faced his enemy down with a cold, hard stare. Well, here in the Hill District we’re at that point with the city, the county and the Pittsburgh Penguins."

You should definitely read my column with another main article in the CP (History Repeating? by Chris Young) in which you will find such gems as:

“We’re not asking for a handout,” [Eugene] Taylor said, wearing a One Hill sticker on his chest. “Just a fair share.”


“We’re going to be ready to sign it on our side,” the mayor said. But, he added, “I’m not saying it’s a requirement for [planning-commission] approval.”

"The mayor did, however, say that there are “many disagreements” between sides."


“He is virtually saying he’s not supporting a CBA,” Milliones said. “You can’t not support funding to the community and still support the CBA. It’s a contradiction.

“A CBA is a request for financial support.”


“It’s past time for talks,” [One Hill CBA Chair Carl] Redwood said. “It’s time for action.”

Uhh, yeah!

Then, there's the New Pittsburgh Courier article by Cynthia Levy entitled, "Mayor, Penguins say 'no' to 'cash payments' to the Hill" and has such gems as:

“When you start talking about payments made in the future, questions begin to arise like who will get the money and who will disburse the money. What we are in favor of is targeted initiatives and finding financial support for challenges,” [Former Pittsburgh Gaming Task Force Co-Chair---who endorsed the Isle of Capri, temporarily resigned Hill House Board member and Senior Consultant to the Penguins, Ron] Porter said."

All, please see what was gained in Los Angeles (the kick-start for Community Benefits Agreements) when the Staples Center arena was being 'hosted' in a poor Black and Latino neighborhood. Nothing wrong with so-called initiatives but absolutely everything we have asked for is legitimate and the programs and initiatives we need sponsored costs money. Period. I really hate that rich, white corporations always find a Black person to be the frontman for their selfishness, greed or otherwise callous affairs. One year ago, "Pittsburgh First" found Rev. James Simms to be one of the few preachers with the sole distinction of promoting a gambling facility.

"Since terms that required the Penguins to engage in a community benefits agreement with Hill residents were never added to the leasing agreement (despite resident requests) the Penguins are only under a “good faith” agreement, according to Councilwoman Tonya Payne.

Yeah, it wasn't added because you didn't support that move and you voted against it, Tonya Payne, even though we asked you not to, so that we would not have to negotiate "in good faith" with a rich, white corporation and a billionaire owner. Thanks, alot!

“On June 4, 2007, a letter was distributed stating they would in good faith work toward a CBA,” Payne said. It was not given out until after the lease signing.

Right. Which is why you are now touting "good faith" Tonya Payne. God, you are disgusting and an embarrassment. What did we do to deserve you as our representative? Please find some way to do the right thing with the little time you have left to be in office.


Joshua David Hall said...

What did you do to deserve tonya payne? You voted for her...or at least Hill district residents...that voted did.

I think it's ridiculous for a group of people to demand money. They have no accountability besides to themselves. These people demanding money have just come together in the past year or so as an "organization". There have been far too many groups claiming authority and it's wasting the city's time. There are those pastors that broke off and said that they needed money.

Basically, the hill district groups are far too new, unorganized, and poorly planned to accept any sort of funding. Any funding would probably wind up being paid to those "handling" the money, or not spent in a democratic fashing.

Raise Your Hand! No Games said...

Joshua David Hall,

First, thanks for writing. Second, it's clear you know very little about which you write. For the record, the One Hill CBA coalition is not really a group, it's a federation of groups---the majority of which have longstanding history and authenticity in the Hill District. Even the three main groups here in the Hill (not just in One Hill)---the Hill CDC, the Hill House and the Hill Consensus Group are at *least* 16 years old. The pastors did not "break off" of anywhere, so stop reading the newspaper and assuming everything you see or read in the news is fact. They felt they had a moral obligation to stand up for full representation and proper reinvestment in the Hill. I do understand that persons like Jim and Tammy Faye Baker existed, so I understand peoples' skepticism but not everybody is a scammer. So, really, you don't know what you're talking about.

In addition, you seem to have no problems with the Pens (or any other private entity, perhaps?) taking public money and public land for their private use with NO major reinvestment even back into the city, let alone the neighborhood that has to host the arena. Was our land given away in a democratic fashion, Josh? Do you even know?

To think that there would be no accountability is just silly. This is 2008 (practically), not 1908. It's called "having an accountant", Josh. We have our own banks (like Dwelling House Savings and Loan) that have been running for many decades. We have our own businesses that can handle such things. I believe in oversight and transparency, so give me a break.

This whole issue of accountability is an excuse. Pittsburgh was near-bankruptcy just last year and thanks to "gaming", we're no longer there. Have you asked for a city audit?

We demand FUNDING because we are tired of everybody using us, our land and our neighborhood as their dispensable place to rest, play, whatever, without giving anything back. No other neighborhood or community would tolerate this, so I don't see why you think WE should. I think Pittsburgh is just used to a bunch of "yessuh, massa" folks going along to get along but those days are over, Jack! I mean, Josh . . .

As for T. Payne, she won by a mere difference of percentage points because our city councilman was also running for Mayor. Not to worry, we will get the leadership we deserve one way or another.