Thursday, September 27, 2007

Power to the people right on

North Side residents are shocked, shocked, to learn that Luke Ravenstahl could care less what they want for their neighborhood:

Others at the meeting, held at The Pittsburgh Project building on North Charles Street, accused officials of being more enthused about building a casino than tackling the crime and poverty that have ravaged North Side neighborhoods. (link)

Well, duh. Of course politicians would rather build a casino than address crime and poverty. Just like they would rather build stadiums, arenas, convention centers and luxury condominiums than address crime and poverty. As our president might say, reducing crime and poverty is hard work. The causes are complex and the solutions not readily apparent. Progress often occurs so slowly that if you're not careful your successors end up taking all the credit. (New York City's celebrated decline in crime began under David Dinkins, for example.)

But large, glitzy economic development projects are easy. You just hand over money to a politically connected developer and within a matter of months you're getting your photo taken with a big shiny shovel. By the time anyone realizes the project was a dud, you just might be out of office, or even dead. Which would you prefer if you were a politician?

The North Side residents are not wrong to demand more of their mayor. Just a bit naive. On the other hand, there is an alternative.

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Blogger EdHeath said...

In "Presumed Innocent" (the book particularly, but also the movie) the defense attorney Sandy Stern has a "hmmm" moment with Raymond Horgan on cross examination, catching him in a moment of hypocrisy on the stand. I wasn't there, but I gather there was a sort of "hmmm" moment last night at the candidate's forum. The Mayor claimed he listens to people (vis a vis building design) and DeSantis pointed out he hadn't been at Tuesday's Northside forum (which happened to be about design - hmmm).

7:10 AM

Blogger Robert said...

Hey Jonathan,

My name is Robert Folk and I work in the Pittsburgh area for a wealth management firm. We have read several of your freelance articles, and were interested in more information. My contact email is Your article last year in the PBT, "A Balanced Approach" about one of our business partners was especially good. Please send me an email so I can give you some more information and see if you are interested in a lead. Thank you!

10:33 AM

Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

I think that's part of the concept behind these CBAs -- it helps to have an excuse to organize these communities, and if a major development on their doorstep opens the door for them to get some lovin from their government, what of it? It'll be interesting to see how it plays out in Pittsburgh, long-term. I suspect the movement may have to suffer a few failures before it learns how to succeed.

5:15 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I wasn't criticizing the residents for organizing to get some benefits from the casino for their community.

8:24 PM


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