Smizik article in PG

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Smizik article in PG

Postby Racer17 on Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:33 am

Did anyone catch this? Sorry if this is a repost:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06053/659034.stm
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Postby netwolf on Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:37 am

Interesting that he calls the IoC plan the frontrunner. That's the first time I've heard that. I wonder where he got that notion?
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:54 am

I'm usually a Smizik fan... but this line really gets 'my goat'.

He takes the Pens supports to task for name calling:

What is particularly unfortunate about this process is the name-calling by Lemieux supporters. Gov. Rendell, Mayor Bob O'Connor and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato all have come under heavy criticism, which is mostly unfair.

Then turns around and does the same himself directed at the Pens.


The notion put forward by Lemieux supporters that a contribution made by Forest City to Rendell, in the amount of $147,688, will play a role in the decision is laughable and only makes the Penguins look stupid.


Overall I agree with much of his article, I can see he's making an attempt to come off as fair, yet he fails to mention important information like the public relations attempt by the local Pols to make the Pens look bad by touting in the local media the Pens unwillingness to negotiate a Plan 'B' when the Pols know such a move by the Pens would be unethical and probably leave them vunerable to a Lawsuit by IoC.

He also fails to mention the Apartments, Single family homes, 200 plus room hotel, and two office buildings as well as retail space in the IoC plan.

And while he mentions that a $148,000 ($170,000) dollar campaign contribution wouldn't have bought Rendell, he dosn't mention FC's and harrah's extensive interests and might in multiple political circles (In other words, that FC is one of the single largest residential landlords in the Philadelphia Area).

Please Bob, fair is fair. With your characterization of the Penguins as 'Stupid' you're the proverbial 'pot calling the kettle black'.
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Postby Racer17 on Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:06 pm

Mr. Smizik,

Thank you for writing your article today on the Pens slots license plan. You showcased the complete ignorance many people in this area have about the situation. You conveniently pointed out any and all negative aspects of the IOC plan without pointing out any of Harrah's and Forest City. Is there any reason you couldn't point out the fact that Forest City would be building in an area that already has seen extensive development recently? Perhaps mention all this development might overrun the already cramped South Side and Carson Streets? Did you mention the fact that just a few miles from Station Square, where you touted the condominium units and several hundred new hotel rooms, that the South Side works has much of the same development going on? Of course not, you just painted a picture of the Pens being greedy and denounced their plan.

Facts are facts Mr. Smizik. As recently as late December, Mr. Onorato and Mr. O'Connor announced there was no local money to aid the Pens. Now you expect the Pens to rush to the bargaining table since local politicians are feeling the heat? Perhaps your article could have mentioned the fact the Pens have been waiting for 7 years now for local politicians to come to the table with a plan for a new Arena as promised when Lemieux purchased the team? Or maybe you could have mentioned the binding contract clause that the Pens have with IOC to partner exclusively with them during this process, essentially leaving no chance for a Plan B? But no, you want to paint Mr. Onorato and Mr. O'Connor as the white knights riding in to save the greedy Penguins. If the County has done nothing in 7 years, why trust them now Mr. Smizik? Why terminate the contract with IOC for another broken promise from the County?

Lastly, you mention that Mr. Onorato and Mr. O'Connor will not make the decision on the slots license. Conveniently you forgot to mention that public support IS a contributing factor and a united front in Western PA will go a long way towards influencing the Board. That is why nearly 20 local politician already endorsed the IOC plan after visiting the arena in Columbus, Ohio. Yet the two people with the most influence have shown no urgency to promote any plan, even though the Pens are free agents in a little over a year. Your notion that contributions towards the Rendell campaign will have no effect is laughable in itself. Do you really think that Forest City donated that money to be generous or because of the influence it brings? You conveniently ignored another issue because it was against your agenda to paint the Pens as being foolish for making such claims. Ironically, you are the one who ultimately looks foolish this morning Mr. Smizik.

Sincerely yours,

Vince
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Postby td_ice on Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:12 pm

What name calling is he talking about??
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Postby bill from turtle creek on Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:36 pm

Maybe the politicos have shown him some of the email we've sent???

Hehe.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:50 pm

Nice letter Racer... let us know if you get a response.
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Postby Racer17 on Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:00 pm

Response and counter- I do give him credit for writing back.

Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 11:53 AM
To: 'bsmizik@post-gazette.com'
Subject: RE: Winning Slots Plan


Thanks for responding Mr.. Smizik.

Point one- I lumped the Penguins into the IOC plan... and I felt you were painting the Penguins in a negative light and therefore the IOC. I do agree you called the IOC plan the deserving "frontrunner".

Point two- I pulled the public support from your own paper, please see below.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06026/644470.stm
One is safety -- whether the operator is qualified to operate a casino, has a clean criminal record, has run a business properly and is current on taxes. Another is whether the bidder has the financial wherewithal to operate a casino. The third involves how customer-friendly the facility would be, including issues such as access.

Other factors to be considered are diversity and public reaction.

Thank you for reading.

Vince

-----Original Message-----
From: bsmizik@post-gazette.com [mailto:bsmizik@post-gazette.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 11:43 AM
To: Vincent
Subject: RE: Winning Slots Plan


Please tell me what negative I pointed out in the Isle of Capri plan?

I await your response. -- Bob Smizik

PS: What facts do you have to show me that ``public support IS a contributing factor?''
Again, I await your response.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:02 pm

BtW, after reading the article again, I see another of Smiziks asumptions rise to the forefront...

"It's understandable the Penguins don't want to put up any of their own money. That doesn't make it right. The current ownership group, headed by Mario Lemieux, is in the process of selling the team. The franchise is far more valuable if a new arena at no cost is part of the deal. If there is a Plan B, which might expect the Penguins to contribute, say, $25 million, that's a large chunk of money for a group in the process of selling. In effect, it's taking $25 million out of their pocket."

Untrue Bob. Why should the Pens stay here and help fund a MULTI-Purpose Arena for Pittsburgh when other cities are offering venues which have no such requirement?
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Postby dboss on Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:11 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:BtW, after reading the article again, I see another of Smiziks asumptions rise to the forefront...

"It's understandable the Penguins don't want to put up any of their own money. That doesn't make it right. The current ownership group, headed by Mario Lemieux, is in the process of selling the team. The franchise is far more valuable if a new arena at no cost is part of the deal. If there is a Plan B, which might expect the Penguins to contribute, say, $25 million, that's a large chunk of money for a group in the process of selling. In effect, it's taking $25 million out of their pocket."

Untrue Bob. Why should the Pens stay here and help fund a MULTI-Purpose Arena for Pittsburgh when other cities are offering venues which have no such requirement?


This seems to be a recurring theme with Smizik and ESPN Radio. Why is it a big deal the Pens aren't contributing any money to this plan? NOBODY is contributing any money towards the plan except IoC. So because the Pens were able to secure a partner to entirely fund a new arena and aren't contributing any money, but the Pirates and the Steelers did that makes it a bad plan??? Plus, how do we know that is even true. Let's not forget that IoC is ONLY contributing $290 million. ANY cost overruns beyond that are covered by the Penguins.
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Postby Pitts on Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:00 pm

td_ice wrote:What name calling is he talking about??


The one and only Mark Madden. Smizik hates him with a passion.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:42 pm

dboss wrote:This seems to be a recurring theme with Smizik and ESPN Radio. Why is it a big deal the Pens aren't contributing any money to this plan?


I think Smizik, and others who share his view, would respond 'that of course, there's nothing wrong with that. But the IoC plan only has a 33% chance of winning. That the pens need to look to a plan 'B'. Whether they do so officially or unofficially.'

The issue these folks have is that they feel the Pens are being stubborn when it comes to putting cash into the venue. Their logic is that both the Steelers and the Pirates contributed to their stadiums, so why not the Pens?

The answer to this is simple. Heinz was used about 17 times all of last year. Eight times by the Steelers, six(?) by Pitt. The remaining three were H.S. playoff games. I don't think there were any other events were there?
So that's 50% by the Steelers.

That's not my idea of an MULTI-purpose asset used by the community.

PNC Park was used at most 90 times last year. 70 some by the Pirates. I can't even tell you who else may have used it. (But as an out-of-towner I'm not always exposed to the advertising for those events).

The new Arena will be used 44 times a year by the Pens. (Not counting Playoffs), probably twice that number by other entities.

In addition, K.C. and others are offering the Pens attractive terms for 'existing state of the art' venues that require no investment on the Pens part.
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Postby taiteng on Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:51 pm

I sent the following email to B. Smizik, I kept it civil, hoping for a reaction.


Dear Mr. Smizik,

Thank you for your attention to the casino issue. I know you are more on the neutral side when it comes to hockey, however I would think that
may be an asset to the Pen's plight, because you would not come off as biased. But when reading your opinion, I got the impression that you
thought the politicians are acting responsibly. I do not, I find it curious about how they preach the positives of the Harrah's plan but doubt the positives
of the Isle of Capri. And they always repeat the same talking points, as if they are working together on a strategy to discredit the Pens.
Also, I cannot understand why local impact studies will not be released until after the license is awarded, that is very disturbing. They should come clean,
that way the politicians can be honest with the public. I think that is very likely that a new bridge would have to be built in order to provide proper traffic
flow to Station Square or at the very least, the Smithfield bridge would have to be widened, if so, who pays for that? That cost alone will eliminate any
revenue the city may realize.

Maybe Harrah's is for the best, but I will be very suspicious until in depth details are released of all plans. I can only ask that you, the P-G and the Trib
pressure these politicians to release these studies immediately.

Thank you for reading my ramblings, keep up the good work.
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Here is his reply

Postby taiteng on Wed Feb 22, 2006 4:52 pm

I have yet to read anything about either the mayor or county executive preaching ``the postives of the Harrah's plan.'' I'd be curious to know where you read or heard that because they seem to be keeping extremely low profiles on the matter.
Likewise, I know nothing of the locally impacted studies that you are talking about.
Thanks for writing. -- Bob Smizik
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Re: Here is his reply

Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:00 pm

taiteng wrote:I have yet to read anything about either the mayor or county executive preaching ``the postives of the Harrah's plan.'' I'd be curious to know where you read or heard that because they seem to be keeping extremely low profiles on the matter.
Likewise, I know nothing of the locally impacted studies that you are talking about.
Thanks for writing. -- Bob Smizik


Please find the link to the article mentioning the fact that the local impact studies will NOT be released to the general public and send it to him... oh please.

Edit addition:

http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-rev ... 22140.html

From the Tribs Andrew Conte Feb 9th 2006

"Mayor Bob O'Connor has not allowed access to the documents, unlike his predecessor, Tom Murphy.

"They'll be public after one of (the applicants) is accepted," said O'Connor spokesman Dick Skrinjar"


So much for your squeeky clean Mayor Mr Smizik
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Postby Pitts on Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:07 pm

Also, O'connor was talking up Harrah's numbers about more tax revenue generated by their plan on ESPN radio yesterday. He did qualify it by saying something like, whether the number is justified or not. But, he stated it in specific response to the question of the IoC plan being better for the region. His response was something along the lines of, Well, the SQ plan will generate more in TAX revenue. I'd call that putting a postive spin of the SQ plan as he is using key hotspot words and references when mentioning unsubstantiated numbers.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:09 pm

Pitts wrote:Also, O'connor was talking up Harrah's numbers about more tax revenue generated by their plan on ESPN radio yesterday.


Don't forget there's a link here in our archives to a recorded copy of that interview. So you can quote Mayor O'Connor directly.
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Postby dboss on Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:10 pm

taiteng wrote:Here is Smizik's reply.

"I have yet to read anything about either the mayor or county executive preaching ``the postives of the Harrah's plan.'' I'd be curious to know where you read or heard that because they seem to be keeping extremely low profiles on the matter.
Likewise, I know nothing of the locally impacted studies that you are talking about.
Thanks for writing." -- Bob Smizik


What about O'Connor and Rendell trumpeting all the additional rev. that Harrah's will bring in? Obviously he has his head stuck in the sand like his employer. Here are the impact study links from the Trib if you want to reply:
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/search/s_422140.html
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/search/s_422696.html
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Postby 25+66+22=#1 on Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:53 pm

Pitts wrote:
td_ice wrote:What name calling is he talking about??


The one and only Mark Madden. Smizik hates him with a passion.



Yeah he hates Double M, and i bet that's the biggest reason he wrote that piece. He's been after him for awhile and vice versa. maybe this time to the point it has clouded his judgement on this issue.

I'm certainly not defending MM's methods, but he's been on point with a lot of things. The package he delivers them in is much too abrasive. You as the listener, just have to get his schtick. And a lot of people don't . Obviously Mr. Smizik is one of them. The biggest disappointment i have is that Smizik seems to have equated MM's rants and the letters of a desperate fanbase as one and the same with the Penguin organization. When they have handled the last 7 years of this the best they possibly could.

One more thing on Madden. He said a lot of things a while back about how the politicians will look tp find themselves a way to blame the pens to save face. Just my Opinion but this plan b is just that. They will put together something purposefully that asks the pens to come up with more money than they can afford and then blame them and say we tried. Same as this they won't come to the table and discuss this plan with us ****.
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