A Few Questions About What I’m Hearing About the Arena Land Disposition Issue

Let’s read today’s P-G article by Mark Belko. Whom I’ve never been moved to nickname.

1. Is the lead fair — or so cleverly artistic that it can get away with begging the entire question as it does?

2. Did it occur to anyone that Oxford Development Co. might be telling the SEA exactly what its political masters — the Mayor and the County Executive — want to hear and have resoundingly verified?

3. Was anyone aware that the “Hill District / Downtown street grid connections” are almost identical in the Penguins plan as in the Pfaffman plan? Same number of connections at the same places. One street becomes a pedestrian concourse in lieu of auto traffic. Another street curves slightly instead of going straight. The grids follow the same general layout. Same exact vagueness and submission to the obstruction that is the Crosstown Expressway. No magical improved “connectivity”.

4. “Oxford did not give a reason for the difference” in its revenue estimates. Important, no? Possibly lead-paragraph important. And it so easily might have been, “Oxford had no comment on the lack of supporting evidence” or even “Oxford did not respond to inquiries as of press time”?

5. How the heck does Oxford know exactly how many permanent jobs and how much tax revenue is going to be generated on this site over 10 years under both scenarios? Are they wizards? How many “permanent” jobs was Lazarus supposed to generate? And all things being equal, isn’t one development a bit more an exciting, eye-popping, out-of-the-box attraction than the other? What with the giant retractable semi-art-deco dome over this one development notion, that being kind of a “Wow” factor.

6 How many times did Pfaffman mention “historic tax credits” exactly? Every time his lips moved? If not, I feel like I understand that piece of information way, way too thoroughly.

7. Was anyone curious what were the “numerous issues” of installing a hotel in the arena? Did it not strike people as comical that the “report” glossed over this key finding?

8. Did anyone try asking anybody who was not Rob Pfaffman or the spokesconsultant at Oxford what is their take? A third party? A neutral or disinterested economic development or city planning expert of some kind?

9. Someone gunning for a spot on the ed board?

We’ll pause there for now as we begin to understand this issue.

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