Dear PittGirl,

1. Email from reader Curt O:

Just hoping you could help get the word out about a county meeting to repeal the 10% drink tax. It’s tomorrow the 15th at 5pm at the County Courthouse. Details here.

Thanks,
Curt

You’re welcome, dude.

Although I should warn you that Danny O is already on the offensive:

He sent automated voicemail messages to thousands of residents represented by those council members saying they wanted to raise their property taxes, naming Matt Drozd, Vince Gastgeb and Jan Rea.

“There’s a few individuals that are trying to get cheap PR hits and these are individuals I actually thought were legitimate individuals that wanted to talk seriously about the budget,” Onorato said at a press conference. “Now if they want to come in here and get serious and say, ‘Hey Dan listen, we don’t need the police department, we don’t need public works, we don’t – let’s get rid of all them, or we don’t need transit, shut it down,’ then say it!”

Wow, who knew Drozd, Gastgeb, and Rea were not legitimate individuals?

I strongly encourage you to watch the video because Danny is pissed and gets all Tony Soprano at one point.  I laughed.

(h/t Arika)

2. Email from Dan (NOT ONORATO, HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?!!?)

Good morning PG-

Just wondered if you were going to put an opinion on the Arena Deal with the people from the Hill District. I’d be interested on seeing some feedback.

Just for the record, I’m not Dan Onarato. ;)

I’m just confused about it.

Talk to you soon and keep up the good work

Dan (Not Onorato)

Good morning, Dan (Not Onorato):

What’s up with that drink tax, man?  You about ready to admit it was a bad move for your future run for gov’nah?

Just kidding with you, Dan.

Okay, the Arena Deal.  Man, Bram has this thing owned and the reason I haven’t written an opinion on it is because I can’t seem to pick a side, if you can believe that from this awesome side-picker.

On one hand, the Hill has seen a huge decline in its vitality over the last 40-50 years.  But can you blame that decline entirely on the building of the Civic Arena?  Perhaps, considering there were streets and streets bulldozed to make room for the Arena, displacing many residents.  But I don’t believe the arena is wholly responsible for the Hill’s current state, and therefore I can’t say I think the residents of the Hill should expect a development agreement to be a cure for all that ails them.

One on hand, I do think they’re right to fight for every single thing they can get, including a supermarket. But on the other hand, demanding direct funds seems a bit much.

On one hand, I can’t believe that Lukey is on the right side of this fight because he’s an immature kid, but on the other hand, setting fire to a draft agreement because you don’t like what it says doesn’t do much to bolster any reputation you might be trying to earn as a respected group of people that can be reasoned with.

There are admirable, strong, persuasive, respectable Burghers on both sides of this issue, some that I know personally, so I’ve just decided to park my ass on the fence until my mind is made up … or until someone sets the fence on fire.

3. Displaced Burgher wrote:

I think that, now that the Steelers are gone for the next 8 months, that we need something to fill our What They’re Really Thinking fix. I propose the occasional Pens game recap.

I will consider it.  I’ll have lots of time to think about it, sitting here on this fence and all.





85 Comments


  1. curtO.
    January 15, 2008 10:05 am

    Thanks PittGirl. Did anyone tell you that you rock today? If not, I’ll be the first. You Rock!

    curtO.



  2. Dan (not Onarato)
    January 15, 2008 10:31 am

    Thanks PG…as Curt said “You rock”

    And dont worry about my….errr Onarato’s drink tax….people will forget about it as soon as I top that one with another wise…errr stupid tax..pfffttt whats THAT guy thinkin eh?

    Thanks for reaching into your mailbag and sharing!

    Have a PittGirl kinda day!



  3. Erik
    January 15, 2008 10:45 am

    I suggest the occasional What They’re Really Thinking: Pittsburgh City Council Edition.

    A potential Burgh Blog/Burgh Report collaboration? I THINK SO.



  4. Pensgirl
    January 15, 2008 11:19 am

    2. I’m on the fence with you PG. Everybody’s a little right and everybody’s a little wrong, and all I can hope for is that they can let sensible people lead both sides so that a real solution can be had.

    3. The Pensblog does such a great job with photo-based recaps that it seems redundant to use WTRT for hockey games. However, it’s great that you’ve given the Pens more mentions of late (didn’t get a sense until recently that you actually watched them) and I’m all for seeing even more about them.

    Erik’s idea about a City Council edition is a fantastic one.



  5. bucdaddy
    January 15, 2008 11:30 am

    I know this is water under the Clemente Bridge now, but to tie two things together: There are a lot of things the city could have squeezed Barden for to let him build his casino, and he would have happily paid it, because he’s going to reap profits above the bribe … er, agreement by orders of magnitude out of the pockets of suckers. The city could have insisted, for instance, that he build 10 state-of-the-art schools to replace the ones falling down around your kids (Schenley) … to, you know, maybe lure more taxpayers back into the city. Or, more relevant to this discussion, the city could have signed him on to make up any deficit in PAT’s budget for the next 100 years, so y’all wouldn’t have to pay the DannyO tax to (supposedly) keep that sucker afloat.

    Lots of things you could have demanded.

    And I like hockey, but: What are you getting? A stately pleasure dome that (funny how nobody ever talks about this) 98% of y’all will seldom if ever be able to afford to set foot inside (and that figure probably goes up to 100% on the Hill, except for the handful who will get menial jobs as ushers or concessionaires — see, I even managed to tie in that guy who ranted about the lack of black faces in sports venues).

    So enjoy looking your gleaming new, while you pay your drink tax and your schools fall down and you can’t get from A to B on the bus.



  6. bucdaddy
    January 15, 2008 11:31 am

    Ulp … “looking at your gleaming new arena …”

    (Memo to self: proofread before posting).



  7. Bram R
    January 15, 2008 12:13 pm

    Gah.

    If you’re not convinced by now we’ve got to use this opportunity to start dealing with the huge, persistent minority slum perched atop Downtown and choking off the possibility of life like a normal city, I’m not going to convince you.

    For the record, I’m less interested in scurrying up seed money than I am turning the Hill District inside-out. Since this is all being done on public land in their neighborhood, you figure the plan should be concocted to an extent to make their neighborhood a little nicer, more sensible, on scale they can use, maybe even hooked up with the City of Pittsburgh once again.

    Instead, we’re going to shove them back just a little further, use their land to add some “amenities” to Downtown, shuffle around the parking lots and call it day.

    If the sob story doesn’t convince you, perhaps your revulsion at the game that is being played will.



  8. Dan (not Onarato)
    January 15, 2008 1:22 pm

    Easy Bram…I was just wondering what other people thought of it. Im on the fence as well and I havent seen it on this site as a topic of discussion.

    Sure the “game”, as you put it, is revulsive, but your idea in your second paragraph is in a perfect world. The City, as well as the Pens, want to make money. A “come on everybody…gosh-golly-gee-okie-dokie-Ned Flanders type of world” doesnt exist…sorry

    There are faults on both sides and the respect you give is the respect you get…



  9. Bram R
    January 15, 2008 2:02 pm

    The Pens can make money wherever they want. I’ve got no problem with that. The Pens have development credits applicable to the whole city.

    It’s the City that is enriching itself, or the City and it’s special friends. Pittsburgh should be setting a slice of land aside for the neighborhood. Luke made his admission that the whole hill district must benefit, and the mistakes of the past must not be repeated.

    You’ll notice in the news stories, the Penguins wanted no part of this victory. They saw the dirty pool that was going on around them.



  10. Dan (not Onarato)
    January 15, 2008 2:34 pm

    Yes…Pittsburgh SHOULD be doing this and Pittsburgh SHOULD be doing that but they arent..at least not as much as they should. The City and the Hill Dist has a chance to work together and do something great for this City that could be a model for other Cities around the country.

    Its who the people elected. You get who you vote for.

    Keep an eye on the Penguins too…they arent as squeaky clean as people think. They can just be letting the City and One Hill go back and forth while they sneak away with more. But that just the conspiracy theory in me, what do I know?



  11. Megan
    January 15, 2008 2:55 pm

    Love the Calvin & Hobbes!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  12. Bram R
    January 15, 2008 2:55 pm

    Bill Peduto is convinced the Penguins can be won over. Generally, if Bill Peduto advocates a position, everybody else RUNS!!!!!

    That juvenile nonsense has to stop.



  13. Bram R
    January 15, 2008 4:22 pm

    Okay, PittGirl, since this is getting bumped down and my rants have scared everyone away, I’ll address your concerns.

    “On one hand, I can’t believe that Lukey is on the right side of this fight because he’s an immature kid, but on the other hand, setting fire to a draft agreement because you don’t like what it says doesn’t do much to bolster any reputation you might be trying to earn as a respected group of people that can be reasoned with.”

    The “ministers group”, so to speak, has been negotiating civilly and in good faith for over a year. When they could get meetings at all, they were laughed at.

    One Hill got together maybe four or five months ago. They followed a more official democratic process and came up with some demands. They’ve been trying to negotiate civilly for about three months.

    Then finally they get this letter of terms handed down from the mayor and the county exec, and it is condescending as anything you’ve ever seen. Do your own research if you’re skeptical.

    As Carl Redwood said, it was only the burning of the document that ever got them to the table to begin with. And it wasn’t even One Hill. Brenda Tate did it on her own and stepped into history.



  14. Dr. Goddess
    January 15, 2008 8:52 pm

    PittGirl,

    I hate to say it but I am just not surprised that you can’t make up your mind and that there are so many undecided persons. You see, I keep telling Bram that it’s this unfortunate thing we have in America called “racism”. If the Hill were a poor, white community, I believe you would be decided. Not because this is about YOU but because of the manner in which this entire situation would have been discussed in the meanstream media, because of the fact that it would be written about on the blogs far more than it has and because some of the basic assumptions people make about this situation and/or their lack of understanding would not be CLOUDED by the issue of race.

    Having said that, Father O’Malley is not clouded. The many, many white Pittsburghers who have come down in support of the Hill District are not clouded. And, given the fact that you wrote about the UPMC situation so clearly, I’m saddened that you are still clouded. I’m even saddened that you’ve not blogged about this or written much about it or even referred that many people to even Bram’s blog about this, even if not my own.

    I’m sad that you would spend so much time on Mike Seate’s article and not the very real revolutionary situation that can and should change the political, social and economic landscape of Pittsburgh forever.

    We will still win; but we could probably win bigger and faster without persons such as yourself being undecided. This is precisely why Martin Luther King said we will not remember the violations of our enemies but the silence of our friends. He was talking about white liberals . . .

    Now, to get to the ideas you listed in this post:

    1. The Civic arena does not have to be the SOLE reason for all of the ills in our community for this to be a righteous cause.

    a. displacement did set our neighborhood on the path of ruin.

    b. bad urban housing projects (literally, the projects) was a failed social and economic . . . project.

    c. Pittsburgh’s own brand of white supremacy prevents Black Pittsburghers from getting good jobs, on every level—period.

    d. REPEATED displacement and the broken promises from the arena, coupled with nationwide disappointment over Martin Luther King’s assassination, is the cause of the 1968 riot.

    e. Many other cities recovered from the HUNDREDS of riots that occurred in 1968—but not Pittsburgh.

    f. Benign neglect and *repeated* displacement is the reason for continued problems in infrastructure.

    g. the root causes of crime are economic disenfranchisement, lack of ownership and hopelessness.

    2. I do not personally feel that we need to earn your respect in the Hill District by not expressing our anger and frustration. If you can’t relate, fine but we are not going to “earn” your respect by pretending to like this situation or acting as though it’s not as desperate a situation as it is. This is the rest of our lives. We LIVE here. And I guess what I’m saying is that we don’t have to be a model minority just to assert our civil and human rights.

    3. We don’t expect for the CBA to be a cure-all. Our hard work and tears are the cure-all but we could use some HELP in the same way that EVERY. SINGLE. NEIGHBORHOOD. gets via direct funds.

    4. If 50 years ago had never happened, WE are the host community and deserve special attention, treatment and privileges, plain and simple. It’s our streets, our houses, our apartments, our lack of resources, our need for protection and the list goes on.

    Enjoy the seesaw.



  15. Dr. Goddess
    January 15, 2008 8:54 pm

    Oh and by the way, if you want to learn more about the neighborhood, the history, not be offended and have a good time doing it all:

    Dr. Goddess Goes to Jail
    A Spoken Word, Musical Comedy (Unfortunately) Based on a True Story
    February 6, 2008
    Duquesne University Ballroom
    7:00pm

    The little girl everybody fell in love with at the Commission hearing (Kendal Lee) is one of the main stars of the show. She’s nine years old.
    http://www.myspace.com/drgoddessarts



  16. Dr. Goddess
    January 15, 2008 8:59 pm

    Your new motto:

    “PittGirl says THINK.”



  17. pittgirl
    January 15, 2008 10:05 pm

    Dr. Goddess,

    I have no indecision about whether or not the Hill deserves every single thing it can get out of this agreement. As I wrote.

    That said, I’m simply on the fence about taking a side on the direct funds demand, and yes, I personally found lighting the agreement on fire to be a bit heavy handed. YMMV. Now, if it is as you say that every other neighborhood is getting direct funds from the city, then yes, lordy, the Hill deserves it, too! That would be new information to me.

    I haven’t written about this previously because I was going back and forth on that issue, because I wasn’t quite sure what to write and didn’t feel educated enough on the subject to write about it, because Bram was doing great writing on the issue, because up until that time no one had asked me to write about it, and because, my God, I don’t have a lot of time, lady.

    I don’t view my blog in any way shape or form to be a change-inducing or opinion-shifting blog. I’m not an activist; I’m not getting paid for this; I’m just using this as a creative outlet. I’m not ignoring the issue. I just didn’t have time for the issue. I’m sorry that saddens you.

    And please don’t brand me a racist, because someday you’ll understand just how far that is from the truth.

    PittGirl



  18. Bram R
    January 15, 2008 10:41 pm

    PittGirl, all I can gather is there is a huge distinction between saying “racism (yours and others) is affecting your judgement” on the one hand — or even saying “what you just said is racist” — and on the other hand telling somebody “You’re a racist.”

    An example of this is the rhetoric our leaders choose to employ. In this way a politician need not actually be racist to utilize racism; he or she can just make a racist argument to tap into the vast wellspring of low-level racism that is a portion of our cultural heritage.

    Also, racism is not a taboo subject for everybody. Apparently many African-Americans don’t care if whites’ hearing the word sounds to others like nails on a chalkboard — or like hearing that they burned a proposal. To them, it’s just another thing to point out and discuss. (And of course, you’re free to disagree. Thanks for hosting the discussion.)



  19. Dr. Goddess
    January 15, 2008 11:11 pm

    PittGirl,

    I didn’t brand you a racist. And you don’t have to be an activist.

    PittGirl, this is not personal to you, per se. I have come to realize that I have some general observations on the Burgh’s (very white) blogosphere, the media, Pittsburgh, white Pittsburgh, black Pittsburgh, whatever.

    I have also been thinking long and hard about racism in Pittsburgh. There is something about what I’ve read on your blog for a bit that I should address now: White Privilege.

    I think I’m upset about the fact that (the collective) you get to choose whether or not you want to pay attention to this issue. You get to choose whether or not you will stay informed, let alone get involved. You get to choose whether or not you want to blog about it or help out or anything at all—and you, specifically, PittGirl, have the number one blog in the Burgh according to the CP; and I’m offended that you would treat this issue so casually.

    I’m saddened by the fact that with the pecking of a few fingers, you could singlehandedly help inform a huge chunk of Pittsburghers who might care enough to make a difference. I rarely see the blog world rely on just one person to illuminate an issue; but I’ve noticed that even on Bram’s blog, many a comment section is blank.

    And the sad part is that I know you don’t mean any harm. You have every right to blog about your open and secret crushes, what you think about your favorite sports teams, articles you’ve come across and hilarious Craig’s lists postings. And you certainly have the right to create T-Shirts that celebrate drinking (alcohol?) ’til one’s heart is content. I enjoy some of your blog postings.

    I guess I just don’t want you to be the Paris Hilton of the Pittsburgh Blog world. I want you to use your privilege and your powers for good—at least some of the time. And since I know you wrote about the UPMC debacle and you had to take the time (and you made the time) to get informed on that issue, I simply wish you had (or would) do the same here.

    For some of us, (the quality of) our lives depend upon being / staying informed and involved; and I am thinking that I wish we Pittsburghers were more connected such that everyone knew that (the quality of) their lives and the welfare of our city is dependent upon the outcome for the Hill District as well. For better or for worse, we are interdependent human beings. And in Pittsburgh, we are one of the oldest neighborhoods and a good barometer for what the future of our City will be.

    Some recommended reading for you and your audience:
    http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~mcisaac/emc598ge/Unpacking.html

    Thanks for hearing me out.



  20. the 99
    January 16, 2008 1:51 am

    can’t sleep, but not quite awake.

    i want to take the time to appreciate the activism and awareness shown by dr. goddess.

    its funny, i started reading this blog because dave conrad’s a pal, (and its clearly fun to google people you know if they are also on tv, because then you get lots of results). but i continued reading this blog because i was fascinated to hear a different set of voices speaking about pittsburgh than those i usually hear.

    pittsburgh is a city of unique neighborhoods, of rich cultural history. but the minute the borders between them become fences become walls become busways,…we keep losing sight of the whole.

    the devastating impact of the decision in the mid-50’s to replace a black neighborhood with an arena is something that may be difficult for us today to understand. and no, it’s not one thing, perhaps, not merely one arena, that caused the decline of “the crossroads of the world.” but, when examining the broad spectrum of the social and economic decisions made in pittsburgh between the 50’s and 70’s, an alarming disregard for stability becomes clear.

    the residents displaced by the arena moved to homewood, which became overcrowded. the URA re-designed east liberty to appeal to a more suburban taste, and in so doing demolished the commercial heart of the neighborhood, fragmented a main artery of transportation, and put up housing towers. new housing codes in neighborhoods such as garfield caused residents to leave the city rather than pay for the new required upgrades. these decisions were made without input from neighborhood residents, in many cases with the city using eminent domain (the government’s right to seize private property without an owner’s consent for government/public use.)

    imagine if our current administration decided to block off forbes or fifth avenue in oakland and reroute all traffic and busses to only use bates street and the complex network of one ways.

    imagine if all the homeowners in highland park were suddenly required to upgrade their eighty-year-old homes to modern standards or move out.

    imagine if the plan was to put the new arena on walnut street/ellsworth ave.


    pittgirl, thanks for the opportunity to voice some thoughts!



  21. Dan (Not Onarato)
    January 16, 2008 8:31 am

    What the hell did I start?



  22. Julie
    January 16, 2008 9:36 am

    Which other city neighborhoods are receiving direct funds and where can I find that information?

    Btw, PittGirl, I agree… lighting an agreement on fire *is* a bit much. That’s typically not how reasonable adults negotiate.

    Dr. Goddess – being offended and saddended by someone’s lack of time to research and write about something? Are you serious? Geez. Your feedback is appreciated, but come on.



  23. back in the burgh
    January 16, 2008 10:20 am

    All of the information is nice to have and I appreciate being informed by all sides, but let’s not forget that PittGirl can post whatever she wants … and many of us enjoy her lighthearted posts about the things going on in the Burgh. Keep up the good work, PittGirl.



  24. What?
    January 16, 2008 10:40 am

    That is right ‘back in the burgh’ this is PittGirl’s blog, so content is decided on by her. You don’t like it? Go make your own magnificent blog. Until then, don’t try and tell PittGirl right from wrong on HER blog. Because by doing that, YOU are the one that is wrong no matter what.



  25. Dr. Goddess
    January 16, 2008 10:54 am

    Um . . . folks? I said she can write what she wants. We write what’s on our minds. Also, click my name. I DID start my own blog. I also enjoy PittGirl’s blog and my comment was about the Burgh blogosphere, not JUST this blog.

    I like light posts, too. We’re all multifaceted human beings here.

    Julie, I have a powerpoint to illustrate this without people having to pore over bureaucratic details but if you want the info immediately:

    1. Go to the city’s website
    2. Click on City Budget 2007
    3. Scroll Down. Way Down.
    4. See “Mayor’s Discretionary Funds”
    5. See Councilperson’s names and neighborhoods by District
    6. See specific neighborhoods and funding attached
    7. Know that if a neighborhood or organization is mentioned twice in mayor’s funds and district funds, that is not an overlap, it’s even *more* funds.

    They need to stop playing games. This isn’t over. Saying “cash payments” is a purposeful ploy to do exactly what Bram said.

    BESIDES, the CBA is supposed to *primarily* be with the private developer (the Pittsburgh Penguins), not forcing the city and county to do what it *already* does (or is supposed to do) for its citizenry.

    The 99, a million and one thanks for your post (and not even for your compliment). You GET IT.

    Dan, I think you should name yourself:
    Dan Notaroto ;-)



  26. John
    January 16, 2008 10:58 am

    This is PittGirl’s blog, and she can write about whatever she darn well pleases. If she chooses to write about what’s going on in the Hill, that’s her right. If she chooses to not write about it, then that’s also her right. Yes, she has the number one Burgh Blog per the CP, but that does not make her beholden to anyone but herself.



  27. oldgraymare
    January 16, 2008 11:36 am

    Dr. Goddess should look up the definition of racist! If ever there were racist remarks made, she made them! Racism can be directed to ANY race, including whites!

    Don’t get me wrong, I am just as concerned about the people involved in this issue as anyone else, but that is not the point here. The point is that you claim the problem is because of white liberals. To me that is a very racist statement. The Civil war is over! We are all Americans. Quit worring about what color to BLAME and fix the damn situation!



  28. unsatisfied
    January 16, 2008 12:00 pm

    I can appreciate where “dr. goddess” (quite a title) is coming from. and, it’s quite apparent that “dr. goddess” is passionate and well-informed on this issue — moreso than I.

    and, I, for one, appreciate the information the “dr.” has [osted here.

    but, calling PG the “Paris Hilton of the Pittsburgh Blog world” and saying things such as, “If the Hill were a poor, white community, I believe you would be decided” is going too far and it does not positively contribute to this blog.

    what PG wants to be and what she wants her blog to be is purely up to her. plus, you don’t know her (neither do
    I), so how do you know how she would react if this involved a “poor, white community”?

    I would suggest that if you would like to contribute positively to the discussion, as you have in some parts, that’s great. but, to resort to name-calling and using th race card in such a way is ridiculous.



  29. Dr. Goddess
    January 16, 2008 12:01 pm

    John, I’ll not repeat myself anymore about what PittGirl has a RIGHT to with her blog. I was asking her to do the right thing. Big difference.

    Oldgraymare, just so that I understand you correctly,

    1. Are you suggesting that there is no racism and no system of white supremacy in America now that the Civil War is over?

    2. Are you sure I said white liberals caused this problem?

    3. What do you think the role of white liberals should be in this situation? What do you think IS the role of white liberals in this situation?

    4. Do you think it helps to have more white liberals informed and actively engaged in this movement or is it better to let only Hill residents handle this?

    I believe you when you say you’re just as concerned. I really do. And it’s good because I’ve lived in predominantly white towns where poor white people were treated almost as bad as poor black people are treated here. When I hear white suburbans complaining about Wal-Mart, I really understand but it took me to see it from another perspective (as you can imagine, I cannot relate to having a battle with a Wal-Mart, as that is never a question in these parts).

    When I witnessed the city-wide disgust with the UPMC tax credit debacle, I could relate because I live here. We are far more connected than we think we are. We probably should not let the rivers, bricks and roads separate us, as the 99 so eloquently stated.

    I’m sorry you think I made a racist statement. The problem is . . . I didn’t. I also did not call PittGirl racist, nor did I say she made a racist statement. This *situation*, however—the manner in which it’s been couched, what is covered, how it’s covered, what Luke says, what he doesn’t say, what Dan says, what he doesn’t say, what the public knows, what they are told or think is important, what they say, what they don’t say—all unfortunately shaped by Pittsburgh’s own brand of past and present-day racism.

    Thanks for reading.

    And just in time, I received this event announcement in an email:

    http://www.chatham.edu/news/eventdetails.cfm?EventID=817
    Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m.

    White Privilege 101: Getting in on the Conversation

    Facilitated by Prof. Adale Sholock

    PCW Room – Anderson Dining Hall

    Watch and discuss an informative new film that defines white privilege, gives examples, and offers a plan of action for anti-racist whites and their allies. Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your awareness of racism in our society today.



  30. Bram R
    January 16, 2008 12:24 pm

    I think what Dr. Kimberly Ellis AKA Dr. Goddess is trying to say is …

    (I get myself into more trouble this way…)

    WE ARE DESPRET 4 YINZ HELP UP IN TEH HILL

    XCEPT WE KAN DO IT ALONE, BUT STILL

    GET OFF YER FENSES

    ——-

    Also, guys? Neighborhood development corporations get public and even private funding all the time, not to mention other properly accredited 501c3’s. The whole idea is to plan development on a smaller-scale, utilizing the persons who know the neigborhood. The Bloomfield / Garfield corporation is one example of a well-utilized developeent corp, I believe there are examples in Lawrenceville, parts of the North Side, and in fact most places in the city. When you hear the “racism” card get played, think about why the Hill might be suspecting that.



  31. Nel
    January 16, 2008 12:40 pm

    My house is up for foreclosure, My electric is being shut off by next Friday if I can’t come up with $1,250. My water was shut off the day before thankgiving.Those are not even the biggest problems I have, just mentioning a few.
    I haven’t had health insurance since my husband dropped dead three years ago.(make 50 dollars over income limit to qualify for any programs for insurance)
    Boy, am I glad I’m white and privledged.
    (And I am not making this up)



  32. spoon
    January 16, 2008 1:04 pm

    “I was asking her to do the right thing. Big difference.”

    That’s subjective. What you consider right might not be what anyone else does.

    I think everyone is all uptight about the possibility of not winning one of those gangsta hip hop award thingies.



  33. Dr. Goddess
    January 16, 2008 1:14 pm

    Bram, you are absolutely hilarious.

    Spoon, you’re an idiot. Winning a gangsta hip hop award? Me? You are out of your mind.

    Another reason why I love Pittsburgh (and folks like Spoon). If a poor, white community were seeking a CBA (and there will be one in Pgh, btw), nobody would ever, ever, ever bring up gangsta rap.

    Absolutely ridiculous.

    And Nel, I am sorry to hear of your woes but if you were a Black Pittsburgher, you would be told to get up off of your lazy ass, stop asking for handouts, do for your self, shut up and stop whining all the time.

    Ignorant, isn’t it?

    BTW, poor whites have privilege, too. At least your situation is not attributed to something as ridiculous as your skin color. Sorry, I didn’t create the system, I just live here.



  34. Jonesin' for Pittgirl
    January 16, 2008 1:20 pm

    I do agree with the good Dr. Goddess that racism is alive and well in America, although I wouldn’t use the phrase “white supremacy.” And I also agree that the Hill District should get everything they possibly can out this situation. However, it seems to me like Dr. Goddess only wants Pittgirl off the fence if Pittgirl gets down on the Hill’s side. I doubt you would encourage her to voice her opinion if she decided to disagree with you.



  35. spoon
    January 16, 2008 1:57 pm

    holy shite, Mike Seate in drag is calling me an idiot.



  36. Nel
    January 16, 2008 3:31 pm

    Dr. Goddess
    They say that to us white folks also. Problem is, there are only so many hours in a day to work if you are making an hourly wage.
    You mention Fr. O’Malley, what a great human being.
    When people start trashing priests, he’s my example of what is good in the catholic church.



  37. John
    January 16, 2008 4:30 pm

    Dr. Goddess, just because you classify something as “the right thing” doesn’t mean that everyone else has to view it that way. One person’s important issue is another person’s non-issue. For me, personally, it’s a non-issue, but that’s primarily because I’m a white male who doesn’t live in the city (and barely lives in Allegheny County, for that matter). Yes, it is an important issue to a lot of people, but I’m not among them as are a lot of people. I think PittGirl made her stance on the issue very clear, and I don’t think she should be called out for not yelling her support from the rooftops.



  38. Dr. Goddess
    January 16, 2008 9:58 pm

    Nel, Thanks for your post. And you are right, people do say that. We live in an ignorant era (witness spoon, for example).

    Julie, the woman who burned the paper (it was not an organizational decision, so please understand individuals do what individuals are free to do), was literally, physically displaced from her home as a little girl. You’ll have to pardon her if her anger doesn’t match up to what you find acceptable or reasonable.

    John, I’ll repeat myself and say that my comments were about the Pgh blog world, not just this one (in fact, not even MAINLY this one). But I have to say that you all are making me think that maybe I gave PittGirl too much credit.

    Look, I said what I said and in the manner in which I said it because I feel that she can take it and I also figured she would understand. I wrote to her and about her on this issue because I HAVE read things she’s written where she’s shown that she writes about all manner of topics, not the least of which is unfairness, injustice and the sheer insanity of what happens in Pittsburgh (and other places).

    Yes. I personally believe (and my mileage *does* vary) that if there is something happening that is very important and has the potential to change every aspect of the landscape of the city upon which you focus, you probably *should* address it. Do you have to focus on it completely? Change your blog style? Only write about that? NO! That is not what she did with UPMC or any other serious issue. Even *I* make jokes right in the middle of my political meanderings.

    So, I stand by my right to be saddened and even offended. You can stand by your right to remain aloof. Whatever, man. It’s just the sign of the times and I’m amazed that you let a small boundary keep you from sharing and caring. I mean, I am presently concerned about Pakistan, Randy Pausch (been following since the speech, even introduced Bram to him), people whose bus routes have been eliminated and, strangely enough, Britney’s kids. Everyone is allowed to be human.

    I appealed to PittGirl to use her powers for good. She can do whatever she wants to do; but she should know that I appealed to her because I think more of her than I think of other bloggers and now you all feel more comfortable trying to bash me for appealing to her. Oooookay.

    Have it your way.

    There are persons who have spoken on here who “get” me and what I’m saying and I’m comfortable enough about that.

    Having said that…

    This reminds me of when I was in college and we were trying to figure out how to get kids to stop turning their canons and other war symbols toward the (only) black frat house, how to make the curriculum more broadly reflect all of American history and how to combat the latest, racist rant in our school paper or the latest swastika graffiti or racist slander on campus.

    The overwhelming majority of white kids? They were planning their next trip to Paris, Florida and the whole nine.

    Two different worlds.

    C’est la vie… all I can say is that I appreciate those who realize (sooner rather than later) that we are all connected and our problems are each others’ problems.

    Thanks for reading.



  39. spoon
    January 16, 2008 10:47 pm

    saying that I’m ignorant is pretty ignorant. I mean I can become ignorant if I felt ignorance was something I was ignorant about but that’s just ignorant.

    I’m hungry, lets go get a taco.



  40. Woy
    January 16, 2008 11:26 pm

    Ok kids, only (at the time of this writing) 730 comments to go to tie this post’s comment count!



  41. What?
    January 17, 2008 1:30 am

    Let’s get ignint. You look at it your way, I’ll look at it mines.

    I’m an avid Pens fan. So my focus is making my season tickets as comfortable as possible. So if building a community center for the Hill will take away a cup holder, or an extra inch of room in my seats, then I will say they don’t need a community center. Shoot, I don’t have a community center where I live.

    Why should the Pens or city be involved with having a grocery store in the Hill? If Giant Eagle doesn’t think it’s a smart investment to build one there, then maybe that should be a lesson to the people that live there it’s time to move. I have >4 grocery stores within a 20 minute drive from my house, but I don’t think any of them recieved public money to build.

    Now reading what I just wrote…am I black or white? My favorite players is Georges Laraque if that helps.



  42. Sofa King
    January 17, 2008 1:57 am

    White privilege? Wtf?! Was I supposed to get some membership card in the mail or something when I turned 18?

    Where was my white privilege when I was a lower-working class incoming freshman to the University of Pittsburgh? I had good enough grades to get inducted into the Honors College, but when I asked if there were any other financial aid options available to my poor white ass, I was told no because I wasn’t black.

    Apparently, Pitt doesn’t except the White Privileges card.

    Or maybe it’s just that it’s a b.s. concept.

    Dr. Goddess, please go back to your own blog and shut the f*ck up here. While you are obviously well versed in local politics, you are just as narrowminded as the people you speak out against.



  43. sickpuppy
    January 17, 2008 9:26 am

    Dr. Goddess,
    You say your not a racist but as I scroll down through your posts you seem to blame everyone else for your communitys problems and not place any blame on the community itself.

    1. “You see, I keep telling Bram that it’s this unfortunate thing we have in America called “racism”. If the Hill were a poor, white community, I believe you would be decided.” – So its our fault that the hill is a poor community? Take some responsibility for yourself to better your life instead of depending on or blaming others.

    2. “Pittsburgh’s own brand of white supremacy prevents Black Pittsburghers from getting good jobs, on every level—period.” – Extremely racist comment, this statement is complete bullshit. I have several black friends who are intelligent, work GREAT jobs and are successful because, just like me, they got off their ass and made something of themselves without any help from others. It comes down to how much YOU want to better yourself and stop blaming others for your problems.

    3. “We don’t expect for the CBA to be a cure-all. Our hard work and tears are the cure-all but we could use some HELP in the same way that EVERY. SINGLE. NEIGHBORHOOD. gets via direct funds.” – In my OPINION, why give more money to a neighborhood that simply and honestly does not give a shit about itself. Some in the community may care but I for one believe that the majority does not.

    4. “Are you suggesting that there is no racism and no system of white supremacy in America now that the Civil War is over?” – There you go again blaming the white race. There are plenty of opportunitites in this country, get off your collective asses and improve yourself, I was in no way raised a “priveleged” individual. I busted my ass to be where I am today and I take pride in that.

    5. “Another reason why I love Pittsburgh (and folks like Spoon). If a poor, white community were seeking a CBA (and there will be one in Pgh, btw), nobody would ever, ever, ever bring up gangsta rap.” – There you go again with the white comments. I believe Spoon was just trying to lighten the mood with this thread and made a joke, have a god damn sense of humor

    nd Nel, I am sorry to hear of your woes but if you were a Black Pittsburgher, you would be told to get up off of your lazy ass, stop asking for handouts, do for your self, shut up and stop whining all the time. – I agree totally with your statement here. I dont give a shit what color you are, get up off of your asses and stop blaming others for your problems. The only person that can improve your life is YOU.

    “Ignorant, isn’t it?” – No, it’s the hard truth

    So you can call me ignorant, racist, or uniformed. I don’t really give a shit what you think. After all my comments here I guess my point is to everyone – STOP BLAMING THE OTHER SIDE AND DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE IF YOUR NOT HAPPY!
    EVERYONE has an opportunity in this country, there is proof of this everywhere you look. Stop looking for a handout and improve YOURSELF!

    Done ranting now, and damn do I feel better! Thanks Pittgirl! :)



  44. Bram R
    January 17, 2008 10:35 am

    “STOP BLAMING THE OTHER SIDE AND DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE IF YOUR NOT HAPPY!”

    I think she is doing something. She is making sure that the PUBLIC land in and abutting her neighborhood is utilized TO AN EXTENT to improve her own neighborhood, and the lives of her neighbors.

    NOT to enrich a bunch of developers, contractors, and consultants who would have no right to that land, had her public representatives not taken them for granted and sold them out for campaign money, political support, and free steak and seafood dinners.

    And they’re using racist arguments to justify taking that land. “You wouldn’t know what to do with it.” “You’re a nebulous group of people.” “You should be helping yourself.” Duh. They are.



  45. sickpuppy
    January 17, 2008 10:49 am

    Bram R,
    I see your point and agree with you there, I was simply making a point about her particular statements. I think its GREAT that she is active in her community and I commend that. However, her statements are still in a negative light that frankly Im tired of hearing. Using the race card will get you nowhere. That is what I was focusing on in my comments and Im sorry if that was somehow lost in translation. I have the upmost respect for people who care for their community and I have NO respect for the people that bitch about their community, yet do nothing but blame others and ask for a handout.

    Now lets all relax and have a beer!



  46. M. Silenus
    January 17, 2008 11:10 am

    Discussions about race in the blogosphere tend to follow very predictable patterns, a lot of which appear in this thread. If you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend Cornell West’s Race Matters. It’s an older book now, but I think still very relevant. He does an excellent job of avoiding the liberal error of thinking that everything can be solved by addressing social and economic structures and the conservative error of thinking everything can be solved by appeals to personal responsibility.



  47. sickpuppy
    January 17, 2008 11:18 am

    Silenus,
    Interesting, thanks for the post! I will definitely be looking into that book. You are correct that arguments like this tend to just go back and forth with nobody really gaining anything and Im almost sorry I posted my opinions because of that, BUT on the other hand I felt I had to post my 2 cents. Whatever thats’ worth!

    Cheers!



  48. M. Silenus
    January 17, 2008 11:45 am

    Cool, Sickpuppy. Hope you find it useful.



  49. Schultz
    January 17, 2008 11:50 am

    “I’m an avid Pens fan. So my focus is making my season tickets as comfortable as possible. So if building a community center for the Hill will take away a cup holder, or an extra inch of room in my seats, then I will say they don’t need a community center. Shoot, I don’t have a community center where I live.

    Why should the Pens or city be involved with having a grocery store in the Hill? If Giant Eagle doesn’t think it’s a smart investment to build one there, then maybe that should be a lesson to the people that live there it’s time to move. I have >4 grocery stores within a 20 minute drive from my house, but I don’t think any of them recieved public money to build.”

    So, what is it going to take to get people to care about local issues like what is going on in the Hill District? Maybe if the city bulldozed Heinz field or the Penguin’s arena and moved the teams to another city people would start to give a sh!t? Is that what it takes? Maybe if the sports obsessed Pittsburghers (not all of live and die with the steelers!) cared more about other Pittsburghers instead of the win-loss record of the Steelers or Penguins (and cup holders at the new arena??? For crying out loud!), maybe this could be the city we all want it to be?

    Maybe if the individual who posted that comment above cared to learn some history of the city and how the heart and soul of it was ripped out of it when the Civic Arena was built, maybe he would see where Dr. Goddess and others in the Hill were coming from?? Just a thought.



  50. sickpuppy
    January 17, 2008 12:07 pm

    “Maybe if the individual who posted that comment above cared to learn some history of the city and how the heart and soul of it was ripped out of it when the Civic Arena was built, maybe he would see where Dr. Goddess and others in the Hill were coming from?? Just a thought.”

    If that was directed towards me, then I must say that I do know the history and frankly don’t really care about dwelling on the past. Yes, mistakes were made but learn from them and move forward. On the other hand (i’m probably going to get a ton of hate for this comment but here it goes..) It’s called progress, if the city does nothing to improve itself, then the city in itself dies. You can’t expect a city to thrive if there is nothing in the city to push that thriving economy.

    Now with that being said I understand completely that people suffer when things change but the fact of the matter is, a price has to be paid for progress and unfortunately sometimes we pay that price no matter what color or gender that we may be. This may be a brutal statement but it also reeks of the truth no matter how ugly it comes across on this thread.