Providing Lancaster City & County with an Alternative Source for Local News and Commentary  _________________________________________________________
 March 17, 2007                                         Publisher: LLC                                    Volume 1, Number 28
Convention Center Authority
"Between Rock and a Hard Spot"

According to a source close to the Authority, "If [the LCCCA] puts a hold on construction, the contracts they let will expire, costing them millions of dollars, especially should they try to start up again in one, two, or three months. On the other hand, if they continue to move forward and the court rules against them, they will also lose millions of dollars."

As an indication of how effective the Authority leadership has been in persuading the public and even high officials that financing is in hand, even this person does not mention the very real possibility that Wachovia Bank will not agree to provide credit enhancement for the proposed hotel. Significantly, a hotel bond guarantee is one of the conditions of Wachovia's commitment to provide credit enhancement on the convention center portion of the project.

Yet the LCCCA started drilling and pouring concrete for foundations and walls at the beginning of January 2007. This is irresponsible to the highest degree, the equivalent of building the foundation for a house before the mortgage is approved. So far, the Penn Square Partners are paying for the LCCCA's share of construction costs, which totaled $2.9 million dollars as of the Feb. 21, 2007 LCCCA board meeting. This ever-increasing loan from the PSP to the LCCCA is also to be paid off from proceeds of the $65 million Wachovia Bank bond sale.

Whether the $65 million Wachovia Bank construction bonds are sold in a timely manner or not, the LCCCA's decision to proceed with construction without funding in place proves just how arrogant and reckless they really are. The risk associated with these actions far outweighs any advantages that might be gained by keeping some kind of artificial schedule.

This is evidence that the LCCCA is so concerned about ongoing court challenges to the financing of the project, and the appointment of a fourth LCCCA board member by the County Commissioners effective September 2007, that they are willing to take unreasonable and unnecessary risks to make certain their project gets built at any cost to taxpayers.

Pre-Emptive Attack

The New Era editorial, "Open appointment plan: cynical again" can be seen as a pre-emptive attack against whoever is chosen as the fourth County appointee to the Convention Center Authority.

The Convention Center / Hotel Project represents a war between entrenched and powerful corporate interests, in most part owing their position to patrimony and legacy, who seek to push through at any and all costs this merit less and destructive project against all facts and overwhelming adverse public opinion.

If this kleptocracy (government by rich and powerful) is allowed to bully ahead and continue to use the Authority to churn out propaganda, they will be able to continue to conceal greed, ignorance, and / or hubris and to run Lancaster as its private fiefdom. anticipates that an investigation into past expenditures and misrepresentations will produce scandals on such a scale as to bring criminal justice and national media attention to long standing local abuses. The monopoly Lancaster Newspapers will no longer be able ignore the truth.

Let us hope that the Commissioners show the courage to choose a replacement for board member Ted Darcus that indeed will pursue Dick Shellenberger's call for: (1) transparency, (2) feasibility, (3) audit, and (4) accountability to the public. It has been long overdue!

Congenial Commissioners/Audience Moved by Report

With Sharron Nelson replacing Pete Shaub, it was apparent at the March 14th meeting that the County Commissioners are functioning in a productive and respectful manner.

Every county citizen would have benefited from hearing the discussions of societal problems that took place, many of them exacerbated as the federal and state governments cut back spending and pass the problems on to the counties.

It was also emphasized by Shellenberger that lack of appropriate services actually lead to greater cost and without optimal results.

As an example, Shellenberger reported that he had learned at legislative conference that 25% of inmates in prison are there not primarily because they are criminals but because they need mental health care and there is no other place to

put them.

Shellenberger also related how King County, Washington, had adopted a program whereby workers could voluntarily submit to health evaluations in exchange for a reduction in the cost of their medical insurance and, if they agreed to continue to confer concerning recommendations, they would receive a further discount in health care cost.

Marv Adams on Ombudsman in Sunday News

Reader: "What do you think of's suggestion of an ombudsman?"

Adams: "It's a good idea. I think is in dire need of an ombudsman."

Fair enough! When the monopoly Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. engages a legitimate ombudsman (otherwise known as a public editor), will be glad to employ the same party or someone comparable to critique our postings. Now Publishing Letters

We welcome communications but reserve the right to select and to edit for clarity and brevity. To avoid the need to verify authenticity, we will not publish

the names of the authors.

Letters should be addressed to [email protected].

181 days, less than half a year, until county
appointees become majority on
Convention Center Board.