Arena talk on Stan Savran today 5pm--Onorato, Morehouse

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Arena talk on Stan Savran today 5pm--Onorato, Morehouse

Postby td_ice on Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:29 pm

I saw this on another Pen's board.

"Stan is going to have Ono on at 5:15 today. At 5:30 David Morehouse will be on and I believe the rep from Beaver county is supposed to be on right after 5. "
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Postby Bowser on Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:36 pm

can someone please record these interviews and post a transcript. I'll be away from a computer or radio until later tonight. I need it for a report.
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Postby Jamie on Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:38 pm

If Stan is taking calls, we need to bombard these idiots with question after question in regards to the Arena/slots plans. Onorato needs to be called out on the carpet. If I get through, I am not going to pull any punches. I will not be ignorant, but I will put him on the spot if given the opportunity.
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Postby Bowser on Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:55 pm

Jamie and others who call.... someone please ask the following to Dan Onorato.

Mr. Onorato, will you pledge support to a casino plan prior to the April 18-19 meetings in Pittsburgh? If not, why?
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Postby fourtKNOX on Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:25 pm

what station will this be on... radio wise... u thnk they would take a call from albany! haha
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Postby passmaster16 on Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:37 pm

Bowser wrote:Jamie and others who call.... someone please ask the following to Dan Onorato.

Mr. Onorato, will you pledge support to a casino plan prior to the April 18-19 meetings in Pittsburgh? If not, why?


And we know what his answer will be. Just as he said on Marty Griffin's show, he will say that it is irresponsible for him to make a decision until the board can look over all the plans. He may mention the IoC financial situation indirectly. Then he will say that he feels that he wants Pittsburgh to get a multipurpose facility and that he thinks that anybody who wins the license should pay for the arena.

Maybe a better question is:

Mr. Onorato, you have said publicly that you want Pittsburgh to get a new multipurpose facility. We know of your intent to force the recepient of the license to build the arena. However, this is not guaranteed. What if you are enable to do this? Why not support the only plan that can guarantee a new multipurpose facility for Pittsburgh?
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Postby dboss on Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:38 pm

fourtKNOX wrote:what station will this be on... radio wise... u thnk they would take a call from albany! haha


Stan takes calls from anywhere. Its Fox Sports 970 AM. I won't be around at this time, but I think a great question for Onorato would be: What would be the impact on the infrastructure on Carson St. and SS if FC is awarded the slots license? Basically what would need to be done in order for that area to sustain a $550 million casino and WHO is going to pay for it?
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Onorato & O Connor

Postby penny lane on Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:56 pm

"Mr. Onorato, will you pledge support to a casino plan prior to the April 18-19 meetings in Pittsburgh? If not, why?"
in yesterday's article about the IOC & Forrest city proposals,
a quote from both mayor & county ex that they holding out giving
their reccomendation until the propsals have been finalized.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06046/655402.stm

their quotes:
Mr. O'Connor said the dispute over revenue projections is one reason local officials must be "very prudent in evaluating all the proposals" in terms of economic development, jobs, tax revenue and property tax relief.

"The bottom line is there's no urgency to rush and support any proposal at this time. We have to do our due diligence and, hopefully, the consensus will be to pick the best one for the city of Pittsburgh," he said.

Kevin Evanto, spokesman for Mr. Onorato, said the dispute over numbers is also the reason the chief executive wants the state Gaming Control Board to vet all proposals before he decides which one he will support.


Just trying to save the pens and it's getting harder by the day.
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Postby td_ice on Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:57 pm

If Onorato is only going to be on for a short time, which is likely, there will only be so many calls that will be taken, if any.

Also, just in case, email your questions to Stan, and hopefully he will pick the most pertinent, and probing questions for Onorato.
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These are the questions that we should be asking...

Postby Stoosh on Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:30 pm

Don't waste your time asking Onorato why he won't endorse a particular plan. There are too many details of these proposals that have not been made available to the public and he can come up with an easy, cop-out answer as to why he or O'Connor won't endorse a particular plan.

Onorato should be asked the following:

1. Over the last several years when discussion of a new arena for Pittsburgh came up, the Pens were told by both state and local officials that no money was available at either level to help fund a new arena. The Pens were told to explore private financing options, with a suggestion coming from Gov. Rendell himself that they submit a bid for the slots license. The Pens have killed both of those birds with one stone by partnering with IoC. So why now have both Rendell and Onorato mentioned over the last couple of months that local and state money IS in fact available and that the Pens should be looking into a "Plan B" that involves such public funding?

2. Forest City Enterprises recently contended that the new arena as proposed by IoC isn't necessarily "free", as the costs for clearing and preparing the land - $50-100 million by FCE's estimates - aren't accounted for and these costs would likely come out of the revenues the casino would bring in. But if taxpayers have to be saddled with any of these arena costs, doesn't it make more sense to limit it to the site prep costs NOW (which is what the IoC plan would do) as opposed to site prep AND arena costs five or ten years down the road?

3. When he was a guest on Stan's show in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, Onorato himself contended that the arena under IoC's plan wouldn't be "free" to the city. He didn't elaborate much further on this contention other than to state something about the city not seeing as much revenue from the arena under the IoC plan as it would if an arena would be built by public money. He vaguely alluded that some of these revenues would instead go to either the Pens or the Isle of Capri. But it was my understanding that the lease on the arena would be turned over after its construction to the Sports & Exhibition Authority. Someone needs to ask him to clarify this.
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Re: These are the questions that we should be asking...

Postby dboss on Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:47 pm

Stoosh wrote:Don't waste your time asking Onorato why he won't endorse a particular plan. There are too many details of these proposals that have not been made available to the public and he can come up with an easy, cop-out answer as to why he or O'Connor won't endorse a particular plan.

Onorato should be asked the following:

1. Over the last several years when discussion of a new arena for Pittsburgh came up, the Pens were told by both state and local officials that no money was available at either level to help fund a new arena. The Pens were told to explore private financing options, with a suggestion coming from Gov. Rendell himself that they submit a bid for the slots license. The Pens have killed both of those birds with one stone by partnering with IoC. So why now have both Rendell and Onorato mentioned over the last couple of months that local and state money IS in fact available and that the Pens should be looking into a "Plan B" that involves such public funding?

2. Forest City Enterprises recently contended that the new arena as proposed by IoC isn't necessarily "free", as the costs for clearing and preparing the land - $50-100 million by FCE's estimates - aren't accounted for and these costs would likely come out of the revenues the casino would bring in. But if taxpayers have to be saddled with any of these arena costs, doesn't it make more sense to limit it to the site prep costs NOW (which is what the IoC plan would do) as opposed to site prep AND arena costs five or ten years down the road?

3. When he was a guest on Stan's show in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, Onorato himself contended that the arena under IoC's plan wouldn't be "free" to the city. He didn't elaborate much further on this contention other than to state something about the city not seeing as much revenue from the arena under the IoC plan as it would if an arena would be built by public money. He vaguely alluded that some of these revenues would instead go to either the Pens or the Isle of Capri. But it was my understanding that the lease on the arena would be turned over after its construction to the Sports & Exhibition Authority. Someone needs to ask him to clarify this.


The answer to question #3 is that, yes the lease is turned over to the SCEA, meaning they now own the arena. The Penguins then lease the complex and receive all of the revenue from any events held there, etc. and they also provide for the maintenance, etc. at the facility. The county, city, and state still collect the usual taxes that are applied to those events. This arrangement is EXACTLY the same as the agreements the Steelers and Pirates have at Heinz Field and PNC Park respectively. If Onorato says anything other than this its a total and complete LIE and Stan needs to call him on it.
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Postby bill from turtle creek on Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:40 pm

Mr. Onorato, when you get your kickback from helping FC get the license, do you plan to invest the money in conservative investment products that produce income, or do you think that you will be more likely to buy stock in Google?
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Postby Stoosh on Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:43 pm

dboss,

That's exactly what I thought it was when IoC released their plan. Thank you for clarifying that.

What irks me was the way Onorato came off when he addressed the situation. He almost made it sound like this was a novel concept that was designed to line the Pens' pockets, but it was in fact perfectly OK for the city when they built the other two stadiums on the North Shore.
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Postby Stoosh on Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:46 pm

Anyone have Savran's email address? I'm going to email those questions that I types above to him and ask him to address them with Onorato.
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Postby Admin on Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:50 pm

Stoosh wrote:Anyone have Savran's email address? I'm going to email those questions that I types above to him and ask him to address them with Onorato.

ssavran@foxsports.net
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Postby dboss on Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:50 pm

Stoosh wrote:Anyone have Savran's email address? I'm going to email those questions that I types above to him and ask him to address them with Onorato.


ssavran@foxsports.net

I have been e-mailing questions already and he has been on the radio asking for more.
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Postby Stoosh on Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:13 pm

That was easy enough. I couldn't find it on Fox Radio 970's website.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:56 pm

passmaster16 wrote:
And we know what his answer will be. Just as he said on Marty Griffin's show, he will say that it is irresponsible for him to make a decision until the board can look over all the plans.


So then, Sir, what are you doing to make sure that you get a chance to review those plans, and how far in advance of the April date do you expect to go public with your answer?
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Stan's Fox 970 Address

Postby imau2fan on Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:14 pm

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Postby dboss on Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:23 pm

I like how Onorato won't say that he wants whoever wins the license to FULLY fund the arena. He keeps saying he wants the winner 'to be a part of funding a new arena.' Freakin' scumbag. Fix is in.
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Postby imau2fan on Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:27 pm

Is it just me, or is Onorato just launching a filibuster here?

He can't even commit to endorsing either application--ever--let alone IoC.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:29 pm

dboss wrote:I like how Onorato won't say that he wants whoever wins the license to FULLY fund the arena. He keeps saying he wants the winner 'to be a part of funding a new arena.' Freakin' scumbag. Fix is in.


How *much* of a part sir? $1 a year $10 $100 $1000 $1000? WHAT?
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Postby td_ice on Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:32 pm

Bowser wrote:can someone please record these interviews and post a transcript. I'll be away from a computer or radio until later tonight. I need it for a report.


I took a bunch of shorthand notes on the segment. I will post later when I can.
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Postby td_ice on Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:32 pm

First guest was Frank LaGrotta. He spoke at the Pen's rally. Publicly supports the IOC plan for Pittsburgh.

(I am no shorthand expert, and the questions and answers came rapid fire, so I did my best to capture the essence of what was said, if not the exact verbiage. I am definitely paraphrasing.)


LaGrotta:
Democrat, PA House of Representatives. District Beaver County, Butler and Lawrence County, Chairman of Tourism and Recreational Development for PA.

Savran: Mentions the issue of campaign contributions and what effect they will have on the slots issue, if any.

LaGrotta: I don't believe so. I know many of the people on the board. In fact I know one, very well. Jeffrey Coy is a very good friend of mine. I don't believe contributions will have an effect on process.

Savran: Is the fix in?

LaGrotta: I can't say that. Although the Station Square group is VERY WELL connected on both sides of the aisle. But I believe the process will be decided on the merits.

Savran: What is your contact with the board? Are you allowed to communicate with them? Do you endorse the plan? And why do you think that other officials have not endorsed a plan?

LaGrotta: Today, I just submitted my request to speak at the April 18 public hearings. I will be allowed 3 minutes to speak. We are not allowed by law to speak to the gaming board memebers in private. And when I see my good friend Jeff Coy, we do not speak about this issue. Yes I definitely endorse the IOC plan.

(In regards to O'Connor and Onorato, LaGrotta said something to the effect that he believes that they will "come around".)

Savran: What do you believe the Gaming board will be focusing on?

LaGrotta: I know that they DEFINITELY will be very interested in the transportation factor. In my opinion that leaves the Station Square proposal at a distinct disadvantage. Because I beileve it will take between $30-$50 million in infrastructure cost alone, to make it as easy to access as a downtown location would be.

I have heard where they believe they are going to draw x number more patrons than the competing plans. I would love to know how they are going to do that, in the location they have. How is that going to work when you have a river on one side and a mountain on the other?

I am the Chairman of the PA Tourism board. And did you know that tourism is the number business in PA? It has supplanted agriculture as the #1. And the tourism factor in having a regional assest like a professional hockey team is big. The amusement tax revenue that is generated each year alone is huge for the area.

I definitely feel that the IOC plan is the best one for this area.

Savran: Why are we, the public NOT allowed to see the particulars of each proposal?

LaGrotta: I have no idea. And I only know the details of the proposals from what has been divulged in public.

Closing comments.

LaGrotta: The best hope that the Pen's have is their public support. Public support in this process is definitely needed, and can have an effect. It is very important the public lets the gaming board know of its wishes.

The best way to do that is in a POSTIVE, POLITE, and EFFECTIVE manner (stressing this point heavily). Comments or letters or emails that are in a negative or nasty manner, BELIEVE ME, will not have a good effect. We have already seen some emails that have been... well......pretty bad. Support this issue in a positive manner. That will help.
Last edited by td_ice on Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby netwolf on Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:36 pm

Thanks TD! I knew from previous interviews LaGrotta was on the IoC side of things and his comments today are certainly encouraging. Looking forward to the transcripts of the other interviews.
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