Providing Greater Lancaster with an Alternative Source
for Local News and Commentary
September 1, 2006 Volume 1, Number 1
Lancaster Newspapers’ ‘Day of Infamy’: August 11, 2006
On August 11, the Intelligencer Journal crossed a red line when it ran a banner headline that purposefully and falsely announced: "Center Closes Fund Gap." The article also extensively quoted its own chairman, Jack Buckwalter, who said: "This is a happy day. It looked like this project would fail. Failure was not an option."
The apparent purpose of the distortions was to win public support and defuse an anticipated outcry to the scheduled awarding of $140 million in construction contracts by the Convention Center Authority on the next business day.
Compounding the journalistic outrage, a point by point refutation submitted in a timely manner by project critics went unreported. Among the claims that the more than $20 million budget gap was bridged were:
• A $7 million savings by having others pay for the parking garage, but a parking garage was not in the construction budget.
• $5.25 million would be saved through "value engineering," although value engineering had already been performed two times and construction contracts were about to be awarded.
• $3 million would be acquired from the Historic Preservation Trust. However Tim Smedick, Executive Director of the Trust, states that: "This was an inadvertent reporting error by the Lancaster Newspapers...We will not be giving money to the convention center project." In addition, the actual budget gap remains closer to $30 million because no provision in the budget has been made for contingencies, a standard line item provision ranging from $6 million to $8 million for a $160 million project._____________________________________________________________________________
Nevin Cooley, President, Penn Square Partners, to convention center backers on Aug. 10, 2006:
"Let me be very clear about the importance of the [Convention Center Authority] meeting. Many project opponents are increasingly irrational, strident, entrenched in their positions and resorting to nothing short of using deliberately misleading information, seeding false rumors and fanning wild conspiracy theories."
Mr. Cooley, it isn’t 78% of us countians who are "irrational." Look in the mirror!