Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Scratch My Back with a 300-Million Dollar Arena!

Apparently, if you hang around long enough, and whine loud enough, someone will eventually build you a new arena, stadium, baseball park or convention center. And that someone is usually the state or local government, which means that someone is really you and me.

So it goes in western Pennsylvania that the forces are beginning to gain momentum and someone, whether it's Country Executive, Dan Onorato, Mayor-elect, Bob O'Connor or the sitting Governer, Ed Rendell -- someone is going to get credit for "saving the Penguins." Maybe it's because of that movie. I don't know. And the truth is, all these pols want to be the savior. Maybe it's because of Christmas. I don't know.

There are many interesting twists and turns to this venture. I'll just note a few;

The City of Pittsburgh is a bankrupt shell. There is absolutely no way any money should be handed over to a sports team until (or, if ever) the City gets its act together. Schools are being closed, downtown is slipping further into the void and O'Connor wants to build an arena?

This is the "stadiums" issue all over again. The citizenry doesn't want a new arena, particularly. They'd probably rather be able to shop downtown, but they don't, not when the day rate for parking is hovering around $20. At that price, who's going to go to the same store that's in their nearby mall? Who's going to go in for lunch...or dinner?

The slow moving slots bail-out is bogged down in Byzantine back door deals and bizarre the Pens will be long gone before the first token has dropped, skating away to Kansas City or elsewhere. Can someone tell me why we needed these "brokers" to sell machines? Was it just so Jim Roddey could do something in his retirement?

Did anyone notice that the Pens didn't play last year? Not many. I'm a fan, but I could not only live without a hometown team, I could get through my life without the NHL altogether.

Rendell, feeling the heat as his re-election looms, would love to solidify some votes in WPA.

Finally, if someone wants to dump $300-million on the City of Pittsburgh, don't ya' think we could find better ways to spend it....?