Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pittsburgh Pontificating

An inside joke... but if you saw the print edition of this, can you believe they put an illustration of Moe there to go with my pontificating (otherwise known as my unctuous baffle-gab) on the G20 meeting that was in the PG today?

Maybe I have not been paying attention and this isn't new... but anyone notice the PG changes. Book section back in forum. Next page off the back page. Anything else?


Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

What is this "print edition" of which you speak?

I like how you stressed that it was understandable for the DC press corps to respond a little incredulously to our selection -- it *was* an outside-the-box choice.

Maybe this is an elementary question, easily answered, but ... when it comes to identifiable initiatives that have had an impact on our reputation (slow-mo economic transformation aside) ... who's responsible for making possible such a Green convention center? I groused about it in 'white elephant' terms too, I think particularly when beams were falling down, but that thing really honestly seems to be paying dividends.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 1:16:00 PM  
Blogger Infinonymous said...

Paying dividends?

I am no accounting expert, but shouldn't we wait until the convention center repays the principal associated with its construction and operation before beginning to discuss the prospect of dividends?

I fear the convention center will never shed its appetite for substantial subsidies, let alone repay the principal, consequent to its size (too large for a city unlikely to become a national destination) and surroundings (comprehensive lack of complementary amenities).

Unless you were one of the politically hard-wired insiders . . . I mean, vendors paid at closing, the convention center has been a huge mistake.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 1:41:00 PM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

It drew Netroots Nation ... an opportunity to cordially re-invite everyone back for the G-20 Summit a month later. For which Pittsburgh might not have made the cut either were it not for the convention center, and the LEED-certified road it set Pittsburgh on thereafter.

I mean, we might still have to parlay it into literal dividends, but ... the dividends of public housing are not to be seen on balance sheets either.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 2:44:00 PM  
Blogger Infinonymous said...

Has the convention center hosted an event that has used more than half its space yet?

Has the convention center's occupany percentage been half of what it should have been?

Could Netroots Nation have been accommodated by a facility one-half the size of the current convention center? (I suspect G20 and Netroots Nation could be accommodated simultaneously.)

Was it a mistake to devote funds to an oversized conventon center rather than to constructing a convention center hotel?

Was it a mistake to construct a convention center that requires huge subsidies?

Was it a mistake to refrain from locating the casino near the convention center?

Was it a mistake to rush construction, causing structural problems during and after erection of the building?

These are not nits being picked. They are fundamental flaws -- a building too big for its context, lacking adequate lodging inventory, needlessly distant from the casino, sold on flawed economic projections, requiring massive subsidies as far as the eye can see.

The concept of a new convention center was probably good. The execution was and continues to be dismal.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 5:04:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

If the convention center isn't being used to its fullest, maybe we should think about running the T to it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 5:21:00 PM  
Anonymous johnnyg said...

I agree with Bram. The ROI on public buildings is not a pure P/L analysis. Public buildings, by definition, do not need to turn a profit to be profitable for the region. The international press is coming to Pittsburgh, in part due to the convention center. It would not be happening without the center. More generally, a small public subsidy that leverages substantial jobs in the hospitality sector and visitors who generate positive word-of-mouth? Yeah, I'll take it. And, I do believe that the All Star Fan Fest, Auto Show, and Home Show regularly fill the center.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 6:12:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

I'm considering running a pool on how many months it is before local publishers no longer feel the need to explain who Chris is. I've got dibs on 12 (May 2010).

Overheard at a bus stop, May 2010:
Person A: What'cha reading?
Person B: Chris in the PostGazette.
Person A: Who's That?
Person B: The Post Gazette. It was once a great newspaper. You know, it's where Chris' stuff gets put on paper.
Person A: Oh.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:19:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Future Wikipedia entry:

Print edition: Mass produced ink on paper version of standard news compilation, typically issued once per day and distributed via hand carry delivery or metal distribution boxes that used primitive gravity powered mechanical computers to collect old-style coin currency.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:31:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Future Wikipedia entry:

PLCB (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board): Formerly, the governing body tasked with regulating sales of alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania and with retail sales of wine and liquor. Originally created by the combination of people wishing to purchase monopolies from the state and protestants who read every part of the Bible except the part where Jesus makes wine. Also, anti-immigrant sentiment gave rise to concerns that the Irish would never get any work done if they could buy liquor conveniently.

Finally destroyed in the "If they can't fix the economy, can't we buy beer at the grocery store" riots of 201?.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:54:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

as for the convention center and who is responsible for it, good or bad... I'd try to answer, but it would probably increase MH's blood pressure too much. If you get my meaning.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 9:02:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Given when it was built, it doesn't take much to figure out Murphy must have been behind the convention center.

I certainly agree with several commenters above that you shouldn't necessarily expect a public building to run a profit. However, you certainly should figure opportunity costs. Given serious infrastructure problems, underfunded transit, huge debt, stupid taxes and whatnot, I'm thinking the money would have been better not spent.

Sunday, May 31, 2009 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Unctuous baffle-gab? I thought Spiro Agnew was dead.

Monday, June 01, 2009 9:48:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Nabobism lives!

and you think JFK is dead as well? I bet Cyril knows the truth.

Monday, June 01, 2009 10:21:00 AM  
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:42:00 AM  

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