Pittsburgh needs a new pair of shoes
Well, Pittsburgh City Council voted to press the mayor to apply for a slots license, with council President Gene Ricciardi leading the way:
"Why allow one family, or a number of families, to make millions on a casino?" said Ricciardi, the proposal's author.
And while we're at it, why should one family reap all the profits from 84 Lumber? Or the Steelers? Or Eat 'n' Park? I realize that unlike those businesses, the slots parlors will be licensed and heavily regulated by the state, but that makes Ricciardi's statement no less assinine.
Still, I expect no better from him. What's truly disappointing is that Doug Shields and Bill Peduto, who I thought were the adults on council, apparently went along with this nonsense. The only no vote came from Sala Udin, the last person I'd expect to be the voice of reason:
"Gambling is not an essential public function," he (Udin) said.
Of course, Udin's belief in limited government is a recent development; as a member of the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, he's signed off on most of Tom Murphy's government-driven, top-down redevelopment schemes. Which should send a clear signal to the rest of us: If even Sala Udin is against this, it must be a truly, truly terrible idea.
Incidentally, Joel Kotkin has an op-ed in today's New York Times discussing the mayoral election in New York. He offers some advice that all cities should bear in mind: Stick to the basics.