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sean mcdaniel

once again...i may shock you...i side with the factory owner...and the shoe store...but the same situation doesn't exist here...those "urban wear" shops on smithfield...all owned by one guy...opened after a longtime card shop and other businesses closed...he's not a pioneer with a lengthy track record there...none of the businesses really have done anything to improve the region...aside from candy rama.

Sam M

Sean,

Perhaps it would shock you to learn that I am not shocked. These are obviously tough cases. Ones that the reporter sought out to illustrate the downside of such things.

I just wish the discussion was always this balanced. As it stands, the major players talking about such things are usually city leaders, members of the "partnerships" in question, and editorial boards who seem to cheer things along out of a sense of public duty--not to mention a mindset that is inherently optimistic about the capacity to mold human behavior and social realities.

I am not charging any sort of "media bias" here. Rather, I think it's simply a reflection of the kind of people who enter the editorial field. I think the editors at the Post-Gazette really do think "Renaissance III" is just what the doctor ordered. For the same reason that editors at the Baltimore Sun supported that city's recent decision to build a $300 million hotel with public money--in an effort to save the convention center that has failed to save the city.

To the newspapers' credit, I think both have done excellent REPORTING on the issues in question. Now if they would only do the same for... oh, to hell with it.

Again, perhaps Mark Cuban will save us all.

Jonathan Potts

So who decides what's an improvement and what isn't? I mean, the Brookline Boulevard business district has too many hair and nail salons for my taste. If a couple were replaced by say, an upscale coffee shop and an art gallery, property values would probably improve. The neighborhood would attract a more diverse mix of shoppers and ultimately residents.

Then again, those hair and nail salons must be attracting customers. Some of them have been there long enough now that I have to think they have a steady client base. Maybe they are not to my tastes, but it's not my property, and the whole world doesn't have to cater to my tastes.

I know, I know, Downtown is different. It's the centerpiece of the city. It's what visitors see, etc. But why do the nail salons and T-shirt shops thrive Downtown, while the Lazarus and Lord & Taylor failed? Perhaps the Downtown we have is the one that we can support.

If a building is allowed to physically deteriorate, if it becomes a safety hazard or a threat to the surrounding community, that's one thing. But for the state to dictate that one private use is better than another private use, and then enforcing its will through eminent domain, seems a form of tyranny--even if it is sanctioned by the Supreme Court. To paraphrase Sandra Day O'Connor's dissent in the Kelo case, there is always going to be someone who could claim to make better use of your property than you could, and who can convince the government that they are right.

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