More good stuff in PG (Feb 8)

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More good stuff in PG (Feb 8)

Postby bill from turtle creek on Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:12 am

Unlike O'Connor and Onorato, who are incidentally the 2 biggest losers I know of, the PG is not shying away from the arena issue. Today there's a letter from Myron Cope, and a column from an associate editor, both speaking in favor of a new arena.

I'm starting to believe that this thing will get done somehow. There's just too much public opinion getting voiced, and the PG is helping out a lot on their editorial pages. I still don't think Capri gets the license, but Rendell and his pals are going to figure out a way to get the arena built while they give Forest City the slots. They are going to figure that the public outcry will be too big if FC gets the license AND the arena doesn't get built, but they will (probably correctly) assume that as long as the arena gets built, the screaming over the license will die away. One thing they don't want is any investigation after the decision, which is sure to happen if the Pens leave town over the whole thing.

Good job, everyone.
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Postby Ben Klingston on Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:21 am

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Re: More good stuff in PG (Feb 8)

Postby Sleestak on Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:39 am

bill from turtle creek wrote:Unlike O'Connor and Onorato, who are incidentally the 2 biggest losers I know of, the PG is not shying away from the arena issue. Today there's a letter from Myron Cope, and a column from an associate editor, both speaking in favor of a new arena.

I'm starting to believe that this thing will get done somehow. There's just too much public opinion getting voiced, and the PG is helping out a lot on their editorial pages. I still don't think Capri gets the license, but Rendell and his pals are going to figure out a way to get the arena built while they give Forest City the slots. They are going to figure that the public outcry will be too big if FC gets the license AND the arena doesn't get built, but they will (probably correctly) assume that as long as the arena gets built, the screaming over the license will die away. One thing they don't want is any investigation after the decision, which is sure to happen if the Pens leave town over the whole thing.

Good job, everyone.


Yes good job thus far, but I'm hoping to get more than just 500 people at the next rally. There is no reason, when 16,000 fans show up for the game at 2pm, that they couldn't show up 2 hours (hell! 1 hour even) early for a rally in support of this team. If you are taking the time out of your day to watch them surely you can go to a rally.

A good job by supporters and local media so far, but this fight is far from over.
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Postby passmaster16 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:46 am

Well I think this is a good start. We need to continue with the rallys but also, just as important, we need to show up at the Gaming Control Board Hearings. I think just the shear volume of Pens fans voicing our opinion will help...and it would be in our best interest to have as much as, if not more, pro-IOC/Pens people in attendence. It will be held on Apr 18/19 Register before March 6 This is our chance to be heard.

http://www.pgcb.state.pa.us/hearing_indiv.HTM
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Postby Pitts on Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:54 am

I've said it before...The Ratners can have the license if they want it. But they need to pony up $290 mil for a new arena. Period. The bar has been set. Station Square is NOT the ideal place for a casino. There are no major roads to aleviate the traffic. If they want the license, they need to build a "free" arena to placate the public. I love the fact that they and Rendell are finally being painted into a corner. This will only get better folks.
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Re: More good stuff in PG (Feb 8)

Postby Jerri on Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:52 am

bill from turtle creek wrote:and a column from an associate editor, both speaking in favor of a new arena.


I can't find the editorial - can someone post a link? Spanks
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Postby bill from turtle creek on Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:57 pm

Not an editorial per se, but a column by an associate editor.

The arena is just one of a number of topics in it.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06039/651709.stm
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Almost posted this in it's own thread...

Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:18 pm

Rendell is a politician. (Yeah, I know, it takes a genuis to say that... but hear me out).

Politicians are always looking for solutions that satisfy everyone, or offend the least amount of people while still lining their own pockets (or setting themselves up for future gain).

Lets say that Rendell is caught between the proverbial 'rock and a hard place'. He's in bed with Ratner and Forest City. He has already commited himself and see's no way of reversing himself.

What if he were to use the excuse of the media and public pressure to go back to Ratner and tell him it looked as though the deal was falling through. That the community wouldn't settle for an proposal that didn't include funding for the arena.

If Ratner / Forest City included Arena Funding as a deal maker. Well...

... would you care? Would you care that IoC didn't get the license? Would you care that the Slots venue would be on the South Side? Would you care that the former Civic Arena / Melody Tent would be reduced to ruble and that ECONOMICS ALONE would dictate development at that site?

Would you care?

Personally, I think this is a possible outcome.

I also think that Tonya D. Payne City council woman for the area, Sala Udin, and the area they represent (The Downtown and Hill district) would be the ones left out in the cold. These "Hill" community leaders and groups need to recognize that The IoC proposal is in *their* best interest. They need to join the fight. *They* are the ones at greatest risk.

(Sidenote: The entire Pittsburgh area would benefit far more from IoC than from Forest City and the reason is development of the Lower Hill - Their proposal is the ONLY one that adresses the future of Pittsburgh in a Planned Positive manner - It's the only one that builds a foundation for further long term growth of the City - It's just that in the near term, the residents of the 'Hill' would be the first ones to be effected.)

Everyone seems to know that Pittsburgh is bound on two/three sides (OK, the 'Point' isn't really a side, but you get the Point - excuse the Pun), very few folks think about the fact that Pittsburgh is really Boxed in on the fourth side by the economic conditions of the 'Hill District'. Yes you can build out Forbes avenue towards Oakland. You can build out Liberty and Penn through the Strip, but the real development would be the 'Hill'.

Envisioning Pittsburgh 20 years from now, with a developed lower Hill, and economic revival of the area up Center Ave, that vision is of a pretty wonderful place to live and work.

None-the-less. The question in my post is "Do you care if Forest City gets the license if they provide the finances for a new barn?"
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no but yes

Postby fourtKNOX on Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:26 pm

i think a lot of ppl would immediately say heck no... if an arena is built no problems... which was my first opinion...

but after taking a milisecond to reconsider i thought about what this fight really is for... lets think about it... yes we are all upset about whats going on... but what is the reason... because stinkdel... and his forest city cronies are working in the closet exchanging money and what not... buuuuuuut that is the problem here... its stinky politics that we are all so upset with...

another reason is... if i am correct (which i may not be) the pens would be able to collect concescions from the arena built by the ioc... now i could be wrong but if forest city didnt want to build an arnea in the first place im guessing the 290 million they are throwing out would make them say uuuuuuuuu yeah we will take all the beer sale, nachos, etc.
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Re: Almost posted this in it's own thread...

Postby passmaster16 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:30 pm

None-the-less. The question in my post is "Do you care if Forest City gets the license if they provide the finances for a new barn?"


I completely agree with your analysis. I believe that the IoC plan is the best for Pittsburgh not just because it's the only plan that offers the arena funding, but also because it will redevelop an area that truly needs it. When you look at the other two possible sites, North Shore and Station Square. Those areas are already developed or are in the process of being developed. They don't need the casino to spur development. And in the case of Station Square, my concern is the amount of traffic being introduced by building a casino there. Carson Street is not a freeway.

But, as you said, it is possible that Rendell might feel enough pressure to force Ratner's hand. And maybe I'm being a bit selfish here, but I think in the end, I would take the arena any way we could get it. And it seems to me that is what many of the politicians are trying to do. They are trying to force the situation where whoever wins the license pays for the arena. I received the email from Sen Fontana and Logan saying they introduced a bill to do just that: require the recepient of the license to fund the arena.

Another question is...lets assume this would happen and Ratner agrees to build the arena. Would the Pens accept this and stay in Pittsburgh? Obviously we know what happens if IoC wins the license. But the new owners are only bound to PGH until the license is awarded. I don't recall there being anything said if they are bound if they don't get the license but the arena gets built anyway, via the license recepient or public funds.
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Postby Bowser on Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:31 pm

Good question.

If you take out the arena aspect of this debate, I would still support the IOC plan because the Lower Hill needs help and Harrah's fails to address the traffic problems.

Until I see an economic impact report on all three casino applications, I will not believe the SS plan will generate the most tax money for the state.
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Postby passmaster16 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:42 pm

Until I see an economic impact report on all three casino applications, I will not believe the SS plan will generate the most tax money for the state.


This is what I would like to know as well. If we have a casino that has 5000 slot machines, how can we be sure that a casino in Station Square has more money making potential than a casino in Uptown? For all we know, that could be Harrahs marketing speak.

My agrument is, we have a pretty good idea of the economic impact from having the Penguins, a pro sports franchise. According to the PG, the city lost out on 1.6 mil in tax revenue and estimated 48 mil overall economic impact during the lockout last year. If you don't award the license to IoC, you lose the Penugins and the revenues that go with them. I think that is a valid argument. If the number of machines is capped at 5000, you need to see what proposal has the best opportunity to generate volume of customers. I believe that a casino within walking distance of the new arena would do very well. And I would have to think that people would drop money into the machines before going to a Pens game or an event at the arena. In a sense the same can be said for the other two sites but would it be on the scale of what IoC would get? I'm not sure about that.
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Postby Pitts on Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:43 pm

ExPatriatePen, I too, agree with what you state. The IOC Plan is the BEST plan for PITTSBURGH. I don't believe for 1 second that Station Square is anywhere near the ideal location for a slots parlor as well. That area is just too closed in. The IOC plan can and should be the linchpin in revitalizing downtown Pittsburgh. A casino in Station Square will be just that...a casino in Station Square.

That being said, I would still accept an arena paid for by them to secure the license. In the end, I just want the Pens to stay. Also, a new arena on the hill can also spur redevelopment in that area. There will be a need for new hotels, bars and restaurants to go along with it. So, in the end, that may just be enough oompfh to get the ball rolling on the Hill.

To answer another poster's question...I think the city and county can talk the Pens into staying in Pittsburgh, in a new arena, no matter who gets the license.
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Postby bill from turtle creek on Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:46 pm

My cynical take on all of this is that first and foremost, the arena get built somehow. I personally don't care who gets the slots license itself, because I firmly believe that the projected revenues from slots in the entire state are going to be nowhere near what is being projected, which would mirror what has happened in other locations. These things have not all universally been successful. Once revenues fall short of projections, the various development efforts will probably be cut down, as well. When that happens, I want the arena to already be standing.

Now, if I could be assured that all of the projections were to be accurate, I'd still go for Capri, because I too believe it is in the city's best interests to have a third site of development downtown. The Lower Hill, Station Square, and the Theater District would all complement each other nicely.

Not that is pertinent to the Pens' situation, but not enough has ever been said about what a good job the Cultural Trust is doing. They have been magnificent.
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Postby Jamie on Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:03 pm

The problem is with the pending sale of the team. If the Isle of Capri plan does not carry the day, the new ownership will not be obligated to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh. This is what scares me. A new ownership group could also start lining the pockets of crookED if it is their agenda to move the team.
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Just trying to look at the proposals from a different light

Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:47 pm

That's one of the reasons I wrote that little piece.

To answer critics that the only reason any of us are accused of favoring IoC because "we're Pens fans first and foremost".

It's just not true. Backing the IoC plan is vastly different from "Slots for Mario" - While I applaud the efforts of Mike Mooney and Sam Menchyk, founders of the "Slots for Mario" initiative and Website, their choice of a name proved to be disadvantageous. The IoC bid is the best bid for Pittsburgh regardless of it's Arena implications. While that may be tough for others to understand, the point is easier made if you use the "lets say Forest City agrees to fund the Arena" approach. Even with the Arena being a given, the IoC proposal is best for Pittsburgh. I think it's a point many people are missing.

I think IoC's choice of "Pittsburgh First" was a great move. I'd like to see that splashed all across the 'Burgh.

BtW Jamie, the new ownership group wouldn't give a 'rats patooie' what
rendell or any other Pittsburgh/Pennsylvania politician thought. They'd just move the team, they don't need permission of any outside the NHL.
(And there's even precedent for Sports teams being moved without the leagues authorization - See: Raiders/NFL)
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Re: Just trying to look at the proposals from a different li

Postby Jamie on Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:52 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:That's one of the reasons I wrote that little piece

BtW Jamie, the new ownership group wouldn't give a 'rats patooie' what
rendell or any other Pittsburgh/Pennsylvania politician thought. They'd just move the team, they don't need permission of any outside the NHL.
(And there's even precedent for Sports teams being moved without the leagues authorization - See: Raiders/NFL)


I understand what you are saying Bill. But, if it is the agenda of the new ownership to move the team, there is only one thing that could possibly prevent that. That one thing is if the IOC gets the slots license. All I am saying is I would not put it past a new ownership group to pay off Rendell to make sure that does not happen.
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Postby passmaster16 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:42 pm

The team wont be sold until after the license is awarded. The teams investors will want to make as much $ as they can and a new arena in the city will get them a bigger return on thier investment.

What scares me is after it is awarded, if Lemieux still owns the team will he care anymore about keeping them here? He has been screwed over by the politicos of the city and state for so long, what if he becomes a defeatist and says screw it?


If they intend to hold the sale off until it is awarded, why did they stipulate that the new owner must keep the team in Pittsburgh if IoC gets the license? I figured the point was so that Mario could sell the team as quickly as possible while also retaining the team if IoC is awarded the license.

While there is always a chance that somebody would purchase the team and pay off Rendell to ensure the license does not go to IoC, that is not my primary concern. I'd be more concerned that somebody buys the team, with the intent to move it, and does so even if IoC fails to get the license but the arena is built anyway. It would be nice if Lemieux group could hold off until the license is awarded, just in the event that the arena is built, whether it's IoC paying or not. If the team was being sold, you would think that it would be logical for new ownership to keep the team here and take advantage of the new arena. But I understand where Mario is coming from. He has waited for years and nothing has been done. He had to take some action and that is the finality that the team is being sold and *could* be moved.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:12 pm



What scares me is after it is awarded, if Lemieux still owns the team will he care anymore about keeping them here? He has been screwed over by the politicos of the city and state for so long, what if he becomes a defeatist and says screw it?


Lemieux has stated numerous times for the record that he's a Pittsburgher now, and WILL NOT be the one to move the team. I for one am takinh him at his word. I'm normally cynical, but I really believe Mario on this point. He's a sports legend in this town, and one of the first things out-of-towners say about Mario isn't his stats, it's that he's the one who saved hockey in Pittsburgh TWO TIMES. I doubt that he'd tarnish that for any money. Unlike Ken Lay of Enron and Bernard Ebbers of Worldcomm, I really think that mario is a guy who realizes that the difference between being a 50 millionare and a 150 millionare isn't going to make much difference in his standard of living.


If they intend to hold the sale off until it is awarded, why did they stipulate that the new owner must keep the team in Pittsburgh if IoC gets the license? I figured the point was so that Mario could sell the team as quickly as possible while also retaining the team if IoC is awarded the license.


No, the clause is there to insure that the team stays in Pittsburgh regardless of who owns it, if IoC gets the license. After *any* sale, mario would be out of the picture and forgo any option to jump back in.

While there is always a chance that somebody would purchase the team and pay off Rendell to ensure the license does not go to IoC, that is not my primary concern. I'd be more concerned that somebody buys the team, with the intent to move it, and does so even if IoC fails to get the license but the arena is built anyway.


Whether or not IoC gets the license is inconsequential to new or existing Pens ownership. Since they have no interest (at least thats what they're saying) in the IoC bid, they're ONLY interested in the new Arena and the lease terms of being a tenant in the new Arena.

If the new Arena is built, make no doubt, it WILL BE the premiere 'Barn' in the NHL. There would be NO financial incentive to move the team. revenues from operating the franchise here would be equal to, or greater than, moving to an existing (alibiet new) building in KC or an old building in Las Vegas, Portland, Houston, etc...

It's all about the money unfortunately.
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Postby Pitts on Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:18 pm

I can almost guarantee the team WILL NOT be sold before the slots license is awarded. Why on earth would anyone put a bid in prior to that unless they think they will get some sort of super deal? I would think everyone would want to wait until after the license is awarded to see how the chips fall.
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Postby passmaster16 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:33 pm

No, the clause is there to insure that the team stays in Pittsburgh regardless of who owns it, if IoC gets the license. After *any* sale, mario would be out of the picture and forgo any option to jump back in.


Well that was my point, that Mario wanted to make sure that the Penguins would stay in Pittsburgh if IoC gets the license. But what I was getting at was this should not be an issue if the team isn't going to be sold until the license is awarded because if the license is awarded to IoC, most likely the new owners would keep the team in Pittsburgh if a new arena is built. If a new facility is built, it is likely the team would be kept here regardless if this clause was there or not. The only way that wouldn't happen is if the new owners were bent on moving the team which as you already stated would be stupid as the profit potential with the new facility in Pittsburgh would be very lucritive. I just didn't see the point of the clause other than he wanted to cover himself (to ensure the team stays) if he decided to sell the team before the license is awarded. The clause really isn't as meaningful if they hold out until the outcome of the license is known.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:46 pm

Pitts wrote:I can almost guarantee the team WILL NOT be sold before the slots license is awarded. Why on earth would anyone put a bid in prior to that unless they think they will get some sort of super deal? I would think everyone would want to wait until after the license is awarded to see how the chips fall.


I can envision a scenerio where Mario and the existing ownership group feels that the license is going to Forest City NO MATTER WHAT, they throw up their hands and say, sell now.

Another investor may have really strong feelings that the Arena will get built (either by IoC or because the prospective new owner is Ratners brother in law or something and Ratner tells him he's planning on a last minute offer to build the Arena if he's awarded the license.)

Yeah it's a bit far fetched, but stranger things have happened.

In those cases the team would stay here.

If Marios Group is told the license process is going to extend past the end of the 2006-2007 season, and the prospects of the IoC proposal are slim, I can see him selling to someone who's offer has a 'drop dead date'. At that point the franchise has little to no upside. This is the only scenerio I can see where the franchise might move (for all intents and purposes) before the slots license is awarded.

Remember the existing lease is over in 2007.
Last edited by ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Vanbiesbrouck on Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:48 pm

So if the license doesn't go to IoC, but an arena is promised can the team still be moved or would the city be able to write a contract binding even potential owners?

Regardless of the potential revenue for a new building here, if someone in another city wants a tennant for something they already own, they'd certainly skip town regardless of what Pgh's plans are for a building.
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Postby passmaster16 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:53 pm

Vanbiesbrouck wrote:So if the license doesn't go to IoC, but an arena is promised can the team still be moved or would the city be able to write a contract binding even potential owners?


If IoC does not get the license, the new owners are technically free to do whatever they want with the team. The clause does not read that they have to stay if a new arena is built. They only have to stay if IoC wins the license. And I agree with you, if the new ownership wants to move the team, they can, but most owners are basing their decisions purely on revenue. If a new facility is built, I highly doubt that a team would make more money elsewhere than it would here.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:59 pm

Vanbiesbrouck wrote:So if the license doesn't go to IoC, but an arena is promised can the team still be moved or would the city be able to write a contract binding even potential owners?


The contract clause would be associated to any sales agreement between the Existing group and the new owners - the city would not be envolved in anyway. My understanding is that the clause applies only if IoC is awarded the license, any other offer to build the Arena would certainly involve a new agreement on landlord Tenant relations and therefore be an impediment to enforcing the clause.

Vanbiesbrouck wrote:Regardless of the potential revenue for a new building here, if someone in another city wants a tennant for something they already own, they'd certainly skip town regardless of what Pgh's plans are for a building.


Why do you say that? What incentive would the Pens have? Unless someone offers to let them play for free, they'd have to put out more in their operating budget to play anywhere else.

On top of that, name one town (without an existing NHL franchise) that would support a team better than Pittsburgh? Even Don Cherry grudgingly admits that Pittsburgh is a hockey town. I can't imagine an new ownership group that wouldn't look at what happened to the Whalers when they moved to Carolina. It takes years to build a loyal fan base, and there's already a great one here in Pittsburgh. It's the BARN that's the problem.

(Maybe that's what we should do, steal a phrase from the first Clinton campaign - It's the BARN Stupid! :-) )
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