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Sam M

As it stands, Sean, I think you are in quite a pickle. Because you are still saying that the new downtown residents are going to come from outside the city. Despite the fact that the planners themselves are not saying that.

So you either have to say that the planners are wrong, and that the new residents will come form outside the city.

Or you have to say that the planners are right and that the residents will have to shift around within the city. But that will be hard for you to do. Because as we all know, the condo dwellers will not be people low on the economic ladder. And you have decreed that the residents will not be coming from upscale places like Shadyside. So then, I guess, you would have to develop a theory that does account for their arrival--by pegging an associated departure.

Which would of course allow me to say... "See, that's the landlord I was talking about."

Which you seem to be trying to avoid at all costs.

Hmm. I don't know. Perhaps your theory is that city residents will become so excited about the building boom that they will begin mating at a fevered pitch, leading to a related baby boom. And the city will be sitting on so much money that it will coddle these tykes with so much early intervention that they will be college educated by the time they are four-years old--and in a position to afford the $500,000 condos.

Far fetched? Sure. But it's less far fetched than your theory. Which seems to be that the people will magically appear.

Unless of course you are willing to argue that the city planners are wrong and the building boom will lead to a population expansion.

An interesting theory, to be sure. But it does not appear to be one you are ready to defend. And it would also allow me to ask why you would trust planners who are wrong about basic assumptions.

Instead, your argument appears to be to stick your fingers in your ears and shout, "Sam teaches at Pitt! Sam teaches at Pitt! I can't hear you! Sam teaches at Pitt!"

The fact of the matter is, it DOES matter where the people come from. From an economic perspective--especialy an economic revitalization perspective--it just does.

You seem happy to ignore that and cheer on the plan no matter what. Great. I'm not willing to do that.I would prefer to ask basic questions. Like, "All these houses you are building... um, who is going to live in them?" Seems like pretty basic due diligence to me.

If that makes me overly pessimistic, I will have to say I prefer that to the pollyanish alternative you are offering.

sean mcdaniel

oh sam,

yes, i know jonas salk developed the polio vaccine...what's that they say about the exception that proves the rule? but what significant breakthroughs came from the university before starzl got on board in the 80s? and what happened before 1956? i'm glad that salk did his work here. but where are the significant medical achievements before his? it was a medical one hit wonder.

as for UPMC, maybe you ought to ask the staffs of St. John's, Dividence Providence and St. Francis hospitals what they think of UPMC. What's that you say, can't find those hospitals in the phone book? Oh, that's because these small, catholic hospitals with histories a hundred years old or more couldn't compete with the subsidized giant. you can look it up.

as for people in murrysville...well, golly, gee gomer, who needs the opera when the brickyard 400's on! is that what you're trying to say about your redneck friends in murrysville. there's no culture in the burbs? what an elitist, mr bradford, pa. thank god you escaped the cultural oppression of hicksville.

i'll ask you the question again...is oakland real community...or is it just someplace where most of the people there during a weekday or working, going to school, or getting medical care? and do you really think that jo mama's is really any different than the cheesecake factory...and, please, don't tell me about the authenticity of the qedoba restaurants popping up on every other block in this area. because a chain is a chain is a chain (believe it or not, that's what gertrude stein -- a pittsburgh native -- originally side. and hell, here famous quote about oakland california could well apply to oakland , pa. these days: there's no there, there) is jo mama's the real character of oakland, sam? or is it panera...or mcdonald's...or (go ahead, fill in the blanks)

if you can convince me that oakland is a "better" neighborhood for pitt's looming presence, then i'll shut up...and if that's the case, why don't you live there? after all, when you live in the city, you have to accept that students will be loud, renters will trash the sidewalks and streets, predators will break into your home (as will the rapists), vandals will spray paint your house or try to break into your car (with a good deal of success)...even though Fred Rogers' neighborhood was in Oakland, I don't think central Oakland was what he had in mind...and i really don't think it's the neighborhood most of us would want to call home ...outside of our college years.

come sam...has pitt made oakland a great city "neighborhood" for old people, for families, for single women in their 30s and older? i don't think so, but maybe you do...but you never seem to get around to answering how pitt's presence has affected the environs.

and really, should pitt get that $175 million a year? hell, if it can't compete without it...shouldn't it have to adapt?

you never seem to get around to anwsering those questions...but i guess that hand that feeds you doesn't look biteable. I think you must really fear the "H" word.

Sam M


You certainly have mastered the art of changing the subject. Re:

"as for people in murrysville...well, golly, gee gomer, who needs the opera when the brickyard 400's on! is that what you're trying to say about your redneck friends in murrysville. there's no culture in the burbs? what an elitist, mr bradford, pa. thank god you escaped the cultural oppression of hicksville. "

Um... What the hell are you talking about. YOU said that people out in the far-burbs are more likely than people lving in Shadyside to move downtown. I mentioned that the people I know in Murrysville have no interest in living downtown. At least not as much interest as the people in Shadyside would have.

Allow me to repeat, just to make sure you understand: YOU said that the people most likely to move downtown are currently living in Murrysville. I didn't say that. You said that.

And that is so obviously wrongheaded that I regret even addressing it.

But I did. My mistake.

But what I did not do was in any way disparage the people who live out in Murrysville. Nor did I disparage NASCAR. Or anything else, for that matter. What I did was point out that the things that downtown living has to offer--density, walkability, access to museums and universities and restaurants and nightclubs--will probably appeal to people who have currently decided to live near density, walkability, museums, universities, restaurants and nightclubs. Places such as Shadyside.

And probably won't appeal to people who have decided not to live near those things. Like the people in Murrysville.

Again, that seems pretty obvious to me. And probably to anyone else whose hinges are still intact.

Sam M

Care to answer the question yet? That being, where will the people living in the downtown condos come from?

Or are the fingers going back into the ears? Perhaps you think if you keep changing the subject I will stop asking the question.

I won't.

I know. It would be easier for you to just say, "Who knows?" or "Who cares"? Or, "I ride a bike."

Sorry. Some times life ain't easy.

In the meantime, I will brace myself for another attack on Pitt or JM's art gallery. They seem to come a lot more frequently when the questions get more difficult.

sean mcdaniel


i don't think only people from murrysville will move downtown. i think they'll come from many places within the area and from out of state...but they're not going to show up en masse tomorrow. you know that as well as i do. by the way, the high rise on first avenue is more than 50 percent sold, and the framework isn't complete yet. yes, i know it could be the exception, but at least one place is seeing the demand. you gotta give it some time. but i'll ask, just how fast do you expect to see downtown transform?

"I mentioned before that I almost lived in one of these sorts of places in Silver Spring."

does that quote look familiar? Those are your words, Sam. To me it looks like an admission that you were willing to live in the suburbs...why? didn't you care for museums and universities back then? or was it a matter of affordability? perhaps your stay in regent square included a massive infusion of cultural refinment.

as for life not being easy...i'm in pittsburgh for the long haul...born here and probably die here. but will you stay here any longer than it takes to get a master's and a new job somewhere you (or your wife) likes better?

and seriously, is oakland a better functional neighborhood because of pitt's presences? and could those smaller catholic hospitals compete in the face of UPMC?

as for JM's art gallery, i've never slammed it or the philosophy behind it. it's a cool place. you ought to visit it sometime.

as for bike riding, typical snotty ass remark from someone who expects the arts festival to paint lines on the streets to available downtown parking. no wonder your family only made it to bradford pa, the cultural hub of the northeast. hey, did your folks pick that town because they had no interest in those things that shadyside residents hold dear?

sean mcdaniel

sam, really are you going to tough out here in pittsburgh?

i'm making a living here.

j.potts is too. i disagre with his subsidy views too. but damn, he bought a house, which seems as though he intends to stay put for a while.

how about you? do you see yourself in pittsburgh 10 years from now? or will you be ranting (and renting) about the unfairness of subsidies in some other town where you live/rent in 2016?

Sam M

More problems with critical reading skills:

"no wonder your family only made it to bradford pa, the cultural hub of the northeast. hey, did your folks pick that town because they had no interest in those things that shadyside residents hold dear?"

Well, no, that's not why they picked that town. In fact, there is no reason they picked that town. Meaning they didn't pick it. They never lived there. Neither did I. And I never said I did. But somehow you think I did.


As for cultural refinement, I might explain why I lived in Silver Spring. Or why I live in Bloomfield. Or why every little comment you make about how I am some sort of snob who hates the suburbs is off base.

But I suspect that would send you off on a wild spree of eisegesis.

I didn't know what that word meant until last semester. But since I know now--and since you keep casting me as some sort of elitist--I might as well live up to the billing. Because you are going to keep saying it and saying it in the face of contrary evidence. The same way you do about where I am from.

So... yes. A wild, reckless, solipsistic spree of eisegesis.

Carry on with it.

sean mcdaniel

damn, okay. i'm off base with bradford. sorry. i really thought that was where you lived. and damn you are so right, ridgway is so much more cosmopolitan than bradford or murrysville.

well, all i can say is that if interpreting a text, religious, historical or blogged, isn't open to interpretation, then what's the point?

hey, i do appreciate the introduction to the new word. didn't know what it meant till i looked it up...however, doing so made me think of a word the describes you... a word that neither of us needs to look up...


so i screwed up on the hometown...but tell me sam, are you in pittsburgh for the long haul? or will you pack your carpetbag with an education and move on in a couple years? and never give a damn about pittsburgh again...unless it's the focus of your thesis or the comparison point of your next screed in the next wrong-headed town you live in? (by the way, why do you keep moving to towns that are soooo headed in the wrong direction? you really have to do your homework better the next time. contentedness really is a good feeling. honestly, don't you ever get tired of paying attention? to everything? especially since you're not changing a damn thing.sometimes, you just have to let go.)

so i'll ask again...was the state support of pitt the right move? i think it was, even it if did drastically change the nature of central oakland from residential with a commercial that supported a significant permanent population to an area (it's not really a "functional" neighborhood anymore) that caters to the university and medical complex. i really don't think would be in the position of prestige it is today witho the state life preserver.

as i said, i don't think subsidies are bad, even when they give the recipient a distinct advantage. seriously...whether it's a bakery on forbes that had been around since the 1920s or a hospital with a 137-year legacy, pitt's presence tilted the playing field against them. no one can fight an uphill battle forever.

so when the next locally run business on forbes disappears in favor of a rita's frozen ice or qedoba, please write the loving obit. no matter what you think about the cheesecake factory, there are far more paneras around putting local bakeries and eateries out of business. no matter what you may think, all chains are the same, they push out the little businessman who just can't compete. come back to oakland 10 years from now, and the O will be gone and jay's bookstall, too. and trust me, you want see a bunch of area entrepreneurs filling those spaces (and others).

last night i was in bloomfield, and there were as many people at grinder's as at angelo's. and you know what bothered me even more? the people at angelo's look like true rough and tumble bloomfielders...steeler shirts...no sleeves t-shirts...cut off jean shorts and old tennis shoes and white athletic socks pulled up to their knees. you know the look...but at grinders...it wasn't quite A&F or American Eagle...but it was a more kempt crowd...and that's what was discouraging...more and more people opt for the "safe," "cute" choice...and that's what's happening in oakland.

by the way, the sandwiches at angelo's do live up to the boast in the window...and if you like thai food, you can't beat the one a block or so up from tessaro's. sure it's a little worn around the edges...but it's 80 times more authentic than the mezzotint or mezzosoprano place in between.

hey sam, are your students permitted to disagree with your interpretation of a piece of writing? or question your beliefs?

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