Blast from the past
Hey, remember Tom Murphy? The mayor who presided over Pittsburgh's descent into state receivership? The guy who wanted to level Downtown and replace it with a glorified shopping mall? The guy whose bribe, er, I mean, contract, for the firefighters union ensured his third-term victory?
Well, as Mark Rauterkus discovered, some people still listen to what this guy has to say (from the San Jose Mercury News):
Tom Murphy, a senior fellow with the Urban Land Institute, was mayor of Pittsburgh overseeing the development of a stadium. Failure would have meant losing the Steelers. The odds were long that the team would stay in town and even longer that a new stadium could be built, but the city got it done.
``The referendum to pay for the development was defeated by 70 percent. But we decided we're going to do it anyway, because the Steelers were important to Pittsburgh in terms of our psyche and in terms of who we were,'' Murphy said. ``We were a Rust Belt, declining city and we were losing our Steelers.''
Murphy said $262 million was raised from the team, the state and hotel and sales taxes to build a baseball park, a football stadium and a convention center. The former mayor believes the development succeeded because it was incorporated into the city, rather than standing apart.
I drove around Heinz Field recently on my way to the Children's Museum. Seems to me there is still an awful lot of vacant land surrounding it. And I'm glad the article mentioned the convention center, which has consistently failed to live up to expectations since it was built.
The best part, though, is how Murphy practically boasts about defying the will of the voters. Then again, considering that he was twice re-elected mayor, maybe he's right to scoff. Maybe people truly do get the government they deserve.