Providing Greater Lancaster with an Alternative Source for Local News and Commentary _________________________________________________________________
  September 12, 2006                               Publisher: LLC                           Volume 1, Number 4
_________________________________________________________________________________________________ Digest
(Go to
for full articles)

  • Convention Center Fund Gap Not Filled
  • Historic Preservation Trust: No Money for Center
  • County Decides to Proceed with Purchase of Controversial E-Voting machines
  • Convention Center Authority Pays More Than $6.5 Million to One Law Firm. For What?

Jeff Kegley, 54, founder of the Lancaster methadone clinic along with many other public health accomplishments. In Lancaster and elsewhere, Kegley helped save hundreds of lives and made life better for thousands of families. A modest, dedicated social worker, he was a true community leader9 one who gave, not one who took.

Are Lancaster Newspapers Using
Pete Shaub to Undermine
Dick Shellenberger and Molly Henderson?

To the apparent delight of the newspapers, Commissioner Pete Shaub last week publicly called for a "citizens' advisory council" to oversee the hiring of key county posts, made speculative comments regarding county job turnover, and conjectured on the abrupt departure of county administrator Don Elliot, and the retirement of Youth Services head Jill McVey.

Shaub also floated the suggestion that he will resign his seat before his term ends.

Because of Shaub's past antics, Republican Shellenberger and Democrat Henderson found it necessary to join together to replace Shaub with Shellenberger as chairman. Is Shaub trying to get some licks in before an early departure while currying favor with the monopoly press?

County Treasurer Expresses Concerns
About Convention Center
Taxpayer Risk

   "[Convention Center Authority executive director] Mr. Hixson appearing before the commissioners at a public meeting called the convention center a 'loss leader.' The Authority's financial advisor, also appearing before the county commissioners, said 'The convention center will never make money.'

"I believe the operating loss will be between 1-2 million dollars a year, and the PKF report is considerably north of that, and is in the 3-5 million dollar range.

"So what is the risk to the county? The risk is 1.2 million dollars on the debt service and whatever the operating loss is every year for 40 years."

- - Craig Ebersole, Lancaster County Treasurer, interviewed by LancasterFirst.Org


Q: Convention Center:
"Done Deal"?

A: NO!

The August 11, 2006, Intelligencer Journal headline ("Center fund gap closed") was a transparent propaganda attempt to give cover to the awarding of construction contracts, despite the established fact that the funds were not secured.

It should be noted that the contracts provide for cancellation if funds are not raised.

Harrisburg: $67,600
Lancaster: $166,700
Private Investment vs. Taxpayer Subsidies

The Harrisburg Patriot News reported that a hotel developer using private money will build a 14-story, 148-room, full-service hotel for $10 million in downtown Harrisburg.

According to convention center sponsors in Lancaster, they intend to build a 300-room hotel for $50 million.

Let's see: Hotel rooms in Harrisburg built with private money cost $67,600 each. Hotel rooms in Lancaster built with our taxpayers' money cost $166,700 each. What is wrong with this picture?

What You Can Do...

Make your views known to:
Governor Edward G. Rendell,
(717) 787-2500 E-mail the Governor here;
State Senator Gibson Armstrong, (717) 787-6535;
Mike Sturla, State Representative, (717) 295-3157;
and J. Richard Gray, Mayor, City of Lancaster,
(717) 291-4701.

And consider exclusively using and as your local news and information sources.

Sponsors May Reap Millions
Delaying Project Cancellation

     By postponing cancellation of the Convention Center / Hotel project, Penn Square Partners and convention center consultants may reap millions of dollars as the project staggers to its undignified demise.

High Real Estate is averaging over $50,000 a month in fees, and the law firm of Stevens & Lee (a High company registered lobbyist) has averaged more than $75,000 in monthly fees since the inception of the project in 1999.

     Public relations firm Kelly Michener has averaged about $20,000 per month for several years, apparently in large part to help promote the project to taxpayers.

     To date, the Convention Center Authority has paid out almost $19 million.

     Meanwhile, taxpayers continue to absorb the cost of interior demolition of the historic Watt & Shand building. The demolition - a highly questionable gutting of an irreplaceable landmark - only adds to the value of Penn Square Partners' right of first refusal on the property. If others don't bid on the property, which is likely given the Partners' "right of refusal," the Partners can re-purchase for $2.5 million what it sold to the city for $7.25 million, after having originally purchased the property for $1.25 million in 1999.

A deal doesn't get any sweeter than that.

Say What?

"We felt from the beginning this was not an impartial study and we are going forward with the project."

- - Convention Center Authority executive director David Hixson, reacting to the PKF Consultants' findings that the Convention Center project would have annual debt of between three and five million dollars.

"Leap Before You Look!"