Providing Lancaster City & County with an Alternative Source for Local News and Commentary  _________________________________________________________
 March 10, 2007                                Publisher: LLC                              Volume 1, Number 27
Street Cars for Lancaster?
Here We Go Again!

The March 3rd Sunday News contained an opinion piece by Althea C. Ramsay headed, "Climb aboard an old idea," promoting the use of streetcars for Lancaster.

When it comes to City renewal, the good, solid, conservative Lancaster establishment seems to have a single approach: Grab as much federal grant money as possible, float bond issues guaranteed by local taxpayers, and construct gigantic projects that are likely to do more harm than any good.

In the past, we had the eyesore and failed Lancaster Square. Currently a misbegotten, ruinous Convention Center / Hotel Project is being thrust upon the community despite wide scale reluctance by the public. And now our benighted leaders are suggesting that all will be well if we spend another couple hundred million dollars in bringing back streetcars.

Never mind that street cars were replaced by trackless trolleys and later buses a half century ago in most towns. Never mind that they congest streets and threaten pedestrian safety (They can't be heard). And give no heed to the fact we already have to subsidize the far more practical and flexible Red Rose bus system.

It is frustrating that our local power establishment doesn't seem to understand the route to revitalization is through attracting people to move downtown and simultaneously encouraging shopkeepers and restauranteurs to start or expand businesses, not hundred million dollar boondoggles at taxpayers' expense.

Let us stop wasting our tax money and the tax money of future generations and concentrate on allowing private enterprise — remember capitalism? — to invest significant private funds. Then, at least, the projects would not be disconnected from reality.

Enough already!

188 days left until county
appointees become
majority on Convention
Center Board.

Consider two possibilities.

A Convention Center on the Watt & Shand site in use an average of 80 days per year, half of those days attracting visitors from outside of the area who patronize the adjoining hotel. On the other 285 days, picture yourself walking empty streets most evenings at 8:00 p.m.

Now envision a Watt & Shand site developed with a hundred upscale condominiums for single professionals, young couples, small families and empty nesters. Their patronage would help support retail shops and restaurants on the ground floor level and draw outlying City and suburban dwellers downtown.

Would you now feel better about strolling near Penn Square at 8:00 p.m.?

Commissioners to ratify selection process
for County 'swing vote' on Authority next week
In anticipation of the majority of appointees to the Convention Center Authority switching from the City to County in September, Commissioner Molly Henderson formally placed her proposal for selection the county's fourth appointment on the table for a vote.

Applicants would be required to submit their resumes along with replies to a questionnaire. Their names and answers to the questions

would be posted on the county's website.

Under the timeline, applicants would be interviewed at the public work session March 27 and the commissioners would vote on the appointee at their regular meeting March 28.

Newly appointed Commissioner Sharron Nelson suggested that instead of requiring the appointee to attend four Lancaster County
Convention Center Authority board meetings prior to taking the position, that it should be "recommended" that four meeting be attended. Chairman Dick Shellenberger and Henderson agreed with Nelson's suggested change.

The proposal will be contained in a resolution that will be voted on at the March 14th Commissioners' meeting at 9:15 a.m. at the County Courthouse.

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Lest We Forget
4 out of 5 County Residents Oppose Bond Guarantees

Television station Fox-43, along with Opinion Dynamics Corporation, conducted a survey of 500 Lancaster County residents on their opinion of the proposed downtown hotel/convention center development.

The results show that about 80% of the population had an opinion of the project, and approximately four out of five (79%) opposed taxpayer guarantee of bonds for the project.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Asks Name Taken Off LCCCA Website

In a stunning development that could have substantial consequences for the proposed Marriott Hotel/Convention Center development, an email has surfaced from a senior PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) analyst, which says that because of the drastic changes in the nature and scope of the project, the powerhouse accounting firm, asked that the board's executive director, David Hixson, remove all reference to PwC from its website.

The memo states: "Regardless of any review of our prior studies, the physical characteristics of the development that I understand to be proposed are VERY different from the project I studied (the equivalent of using a study of a 500-room Marriott to evaluate a 300-room Hampton)…"

Director Robert Canton went on to suggest that PwC be authorized to update its studies and the "…answer may very well be consistent with County Commissioners' belief given changes to the industry, changes in the Center/Hotel building program, and changes in the competitive environment…"