Complicating Pittsburgh's Progressive Narrative

Once in a while, the Mayor of Pittsburgh makes a move that clealry and publicly undercuts the "Pittsburgh is moving forward again!" narrative that has dominated recent media coverage of the region. This is one of those times. The Mayor is booting Debbie Lestitian from the chair's position at the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority, over her reluctance to go along with below-market plans to develop the North Shore space between Heinz Field and PNC Park. Her replacement: local lawyer Michael Danowitz.

The Mayor's hostility to the Stadium Authority has what passes for a long history during his tenure. These pesky Boards and Commissions seem to be getting in the way of real estate developers and their partners doing deals directly with the city, with the relative absence of public scrutiny that usually accompanies that way of doing business. But the Authority and its role in the redevelopment has a history that's even older than he is, as Chris Briem points out. Read the names on the report that Chris links to. Once upon a time, and despite all of the flaws associated with redevelopment, government was seen as a way to make Pittsburgh a bigger and brighter place.


3 Responses to "Complicating Pittsburgh's Progressive Narrative"

Monk said... 6/23/2009 6:27 PM

Didn't hear any objections from you, Professer, when residents of City's Oldest Mobile Home Community, Alpark Terrace were tossed into street by Boilermakers Local 154...

University of Pittsburgh has head up ass..when it comes to little guys and reality...

I wasted my money sending daughter to PITT!

Mike Madison said... 6/23/2009 7:43 PM

@Monk: I have no idea what the comment has to do with what I posted. Until I read your comment and went searching, I had no idea what Alpark Terrace was or Boilermakers Local 154 had to do with it. Now I do. Anyone curious about Monk's comment can go read this post at the Comet, which I just read, and the comments there.

The current issue involving the union seems not to be the first time that the residents of Alpark Terrace have found themselves on uncertain legal ground, judging from this five-year-old Post Gazette report.

Monk seems to be holding his own in the comments at the Comet (and at this post, too), so anyone who wants to pick up the topic should head over there.

For the record, though, occasionally I blog here and elsewhere about various good reasons to limit the exercise of private property "rights" having to do with land. Almost always, the comment brigade comes out in force and accuses me of socialism or communism or some kind of 'ism, which I find equal parts offensive and amusing. Property rights are never absolute, and the legal system has centuries' worth of experience in balancing the legitimate interests of property owners against the legitimate interests of others. I don't know anything about Alpark Terrace, so I don't know whether any property-limiting rules should apply to the property owner there. But "the property owner can do whatever they want with the land" is rarely a winning argument in my book.

Mike Madison said... 6/23/2009 8:50 PM

The last link in the last comment seems to have been eaten by Blogger. Here it is.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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