Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Pensblog Burning

The first thing you must know is The Pensblog is a non-political website. We all have our beliefs but they will never be printed.
With that said, it is December 5th and we are 15 days away from the biggest day in Penguins history. And even though we hold no power, or persuading charm, we will not go down without a fight. People will have their beliefs, which is fine. But if you are going to stand against something (in this case the idea of Isle of Capri), make sure you have decent arguments.

First up in the moron convention is:

Jake Wheatley: State Rep for the Hill District
Hill District: Italian for 7th Circle of Hell

Hey it's me Jake Wheatley.

Here are Mr. Wheatley's views on the Casino situation.. straight from his website.
Some of his arguments:
  • The Penguins and their gambling partner, Isle of Capri, haven't been willing to work with the community.
  • He said they chose developer Nationwide Realty for community development work around a new arena and appointed members of their nonprofit development group, Pittsburgh First, without community input.
  • He said residents and neighbors like Duquesne University have "compelling arguments why they don't want to see the casino [in the Hill District]."
  • His mantra: "We will fight tooth and nail to make sure no gambling facility comes into my neighborhood," he said.

The following is the exact letter sent to Mr. Wheatley from the Pensblog Staff:

Dear Mr. Wheatley,

I hope this letter finds you and finds you well. I just wanted to ask you a few questions about your relentless attack on the Isle of Capri's plan to build a new arena near the lower Hill District. I can totally appreciate your passionate pleas; I respect a man who his not afraid to stick up for his cause. But unfortunately Mr. Wheatley, respect isn't something that I believe you deserve. You stand on your podiums and behind your microphones chanting about how you do not want a casino in your near your neighborhoods. Interesting, isn't it? You have said many times Pittsburgh doesn't do enough for the "hill", right? And you say this casino will bring crime, right? And it will further destroy your neighborhood? But it's okay if it's in the North Side or the South Side. The crime and overall degradation of society...it can happen everywhere but the Hill District? Mr. Wheatley, how big do you think Pittsburgh is? Do you know? How far is the Hill from the Southside? or the Northside? Is it that far where people won't be able to go? Do you think before you talk? For all the energy you have put into lobbying against the Isle of Capri casino, how come you haven't put the same energy into actually helping the Hill District? Or are people supposed to get shot everyday? Is that how it works?
Your statement in October of this year:

"People on the Hill don’t want the casino, especially not without significant concessions to the community that are currently lacking. The Isle of Capri proposal is the only one of the three in a residential area."

Oh, what tangled webs we weave, Mr. Wheatley.
Isle of Capri is also the only one promising to help the area. And how residential is the area? Could you please present some facts? Anything that doesn't come across as just whining?

And I know what you thinking. Wow big deal. The only reason this letter is here is because the Penguins ties to it. And you know what? Your damn right it is.
Your arguments are meaningless and ill-fated, and remember.....even if the Casino isn't in the Hill, it's going to be somewhere around Pittsburgh. You'd think if it were in your backyard you could work with them to better the situation. But instead you will just see it off. Because sadly, Mr. Wheatley, you care only about yourself, and you have to be right.

The time is near...so when are you actually going to make a decent argument without trying to suck up to voters?

The Pensblog Staff

P.S. I hope the intern you probably hired to read your email enjoys this letter, because he/she will be seeing it twice a day everyday until December 20th unless you take time out of your make-believe schedule to respond to us. The email is thepensblog@yahoo.com


Want to cause a nice little fuss?
Copy and paste our letter, go to the website below...and e-mail this letter to him.
We've already done it three times.



rank said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adam said...

Rank, you automated comment machine, you.


wes said...

Whoa, guys... easy on the slams. I am all for what you are trying to accomplish with the letter, but I think you are going about it all wrong. Why doesn't anyone bring up the fact that the Hill District is the 'armpit' of Pittsburgh? To steal a line from Bret Hart when he visited the Igloo, "If you were to give the United States an enema, you'd stick the hole right here (in the Hill District)." He doesn't want them to come in and beautify his neighborhood because then they will kick the element out. He would rather inconvience a hard working man as opposed to drug dealers, dropouts and the like. I know my commentary may be harsh and should be taken with a grain (or two) of salt... but for the most part, it is the truth. There is a reason why you roll your windows up and lock your doors when driving to and from the Igloo....

loralei said...

Good letter guys! I have a couple suggestions that i'm gonna throw out there for you. I just want to participate, so bear w/ me.

I would point out that, if anything, adding a casino would clean up the neighborhood. Why? Simple, tourism. You know how many people are going to want to flock to that thing? That area is going to be cleaned up by the city/state by default. Property values are going up. Crack whores are going to be pushed further up Centre Ave. and the opportunity to lure more development into the city with that casino sitting up on the hill will be significant.

Mr. Wheatley is pushing plan B cause thats what the Governor wants. Its all politics. Techinically its a win-win for him. He pushes plan B, he makes the PA Demis happy. If Isle of Capri gets it, his district would get cleaned up anyway and he would get a ton of money. He cant lose on this one. Politically, its a smart move for him. (& the only compelling argument that Duq. has is that they are not in on it, they just want the money so they can waste more of my tuition planting shrubbery and making that campus smell like poo in the spring time)

Pittsburgh isnt much of a tourist destination. But they are going to get an influx of people, not just from the tri-state area but all those people that come into town to see all of our sports teams (college included). Have you ever seen the blocks of people in the stands at Pens games from Detroit & Toronto alone? You'll get even more people for Steeler games, Pitt games etc. That is tax dollars my friend, and alot of people who are going to go straight from the game up the hill to their hotel/casino. There is your cornerstone for revitilizing downtown.

There, I've said my little piece. LOL A little fluff never hurt anyone. This is what law school has taught me.

scott said...

I like you kids, but sometimes you need to show a little more maturity.

This is a horrifying letter.

Criticisms of public officials are looked upon in a much more favorable light if they are sincere and respectful, rather than snide and juvenile.

Do you really think that blackmail is going to work with a state representative? "Give us the response we want, or we'll overload your inbox!!"

(If he does have an email-reading intern, be assured that person is going to make damn sure your letter never gets into Mr. Wheatley's hands.)

I've sent off a snide email or two in my day, and I was always mortified when the person responded in a cordial manner and I realized I was way too harsh.

The first rule of the internet - never say things to someone online that wouldn't say to their face. Would you really be that rude to his face?

You could've made the same arguments in a much less confrontational way and been much more effective. I think things like this are hurting, not helping, our cause.

Anonymous said...

i think the point overall is, the penguins need isle of capri just like they need crosby and malkin to stay healthy.

Seth said...

I'm torn.. I agree with the letter but scott also makes a good point. That's all from me

Washington85 said...

best letter I have ever read in my life. I just sent it myself to him and plan to do it again because he will end up reading it hiself by the 20th

Doug said...

Great letter!

Duquesne's opposistion is not that it would bring gambling too close to campus. Dr. Dougherty & Co. know that we would just as easily walk to Station Square. The issue is that perhaps someone high up within the Duquesne community has some solid tie-ins to Harrah's. That is what worries me when Duquesne doesn't support what could be the best recruiting tool the school could ever hope for.

Besides, gambling is all over the Bible, and as we know Catholics love two things...Bingo and Monte Carlo nights.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Scott. I applaud your effort and the sentiment behind the letter. But the poor grammar and tactless approach simply come off as childish.

I'd clean up the grammar and excise the personal attacks. Maybe try to start a dialog, rather than just be an annoyance to him or his email reader.

In short, good initiative, bad judgement.

Brett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brett said...

this a-hole wheatley reminds me of mark henry from the nation of domination.... http://www.angelfire.com/fl/WWFsd/markhenry.html

ex-pat Pittsburgh girl said...

The group you should be writing is the Gaming Control Board. They're the ones that will make the descision. It should be a rational, well-thought out letter that points out the positive of the Isle of Capri plan without trashing the other proposals -- compare the high points, distinguish why it stands above the other proposals.

I believe Duquesne objections, while using the NIMBY side as a their main argument, are not because someone tied to the school has connections to the Forest City/Harrah's proposal, but rather more related to Duquesne's expansion along the Forbes-Fifth area. The school has been quietly buying up properties along the campus boundaries. If I recall correctly, they are in development on some student residences along Forbes across from the parking garage. If Isle of Capri wins the license, the development that comes from that will definitely be in competition with Duquesne's long-term plans. That is a more likely reason to oppose Isle of Capri's.

Prior to my ex-pat days, my job involved dealing with the legislature and state agencies on a daily basis, and I'm still in close contact with a lot of friends in Harrisburg. The murmurs coming out of Harrisburg do not look good for the Isle of Capri, despite pretty much everyone and their uncle agreeing that that is the best proposal. What I get is "It's a great plan, the best of the three, but..." In politics, it really is more who you know. It definitely is not fair, but then again, neither is life.

If it is any consolation, though, I have heard that there are a lot of people who are working really hard to change the "but" to an "and". Plus, none of the proposals for Philly are purported have the required votes yet, so maybe that is karma coming to kick some folks in the butts.

Keep the faith, Pens fans. If there was anything I truly learned working in that arena for nearly ten years is that things can and sometimes do change on a dime. So while things might not look great right now, there's still about a week or so to make sure Chairman Tad Decker knows your feelings on this. Rational, well-thought out letters, though, are more likely to wind up in each board members' folder that emotionally driven vitrol. (I am not implying that the Wheatly letter was the latter with this comment.)

Baker said...

I agree with Scott. Sending an e-mail to a state representative filled with bad grammar and personal attacks really isn't getting you anywhere. While your intentions are good and in the interest of the team and the city, filling one man's inbox with this poorly worded e-mail really won't be doing much in the grand scheme of things. However, filling actual mailboxes and the e-mail inboxes of other people who have a say in this matter, such as the Gaming Control Board, with a letter similar to this one but with the signatures of hundreds or even thousands of Penguins fans and others from around the city might actually be able to show these people how important this team is to all of us.

Adam said...

all noted and accounted for, guys.

The comments are split half and half, and everyone is correct.

If anything, this shows that The Pensblog is a hockey blog and not a political blog.

The main thing is that if we pissed some of you guys off, it will make us work harder to get you back into digging us again.

We came up with this idea on a whim, and probably rushed it.

We're jobbers.
What can we say?

oh, and the Pens better win against Florida.
I might be late for the game for reading all these comments and posting one myself...
not looking for accolades, but it shows how much we care about everyone that reads our blog and every tiny bit of feedback everyone has.


Dennis said...

I wish I had something to add but I find it almost impossible to get into these things (politics) and even though this strongly influences the Pens I don't understand most of the legal mumbo-jumbo.

Derek said...

Everyone thank you for the comments, negative and positive.. everyone has made some really good points. And we will use all to better the blog..

Bret..great look on the Marc Henry thing.. I will be using that very soon..

go pens

Anonymous said...

I thought this blog was somehow sharp and together. But this is why I left Pittsburgh. Have you nothing in your life besides your team? Really. You embarass me with your letter. Why the hell would someone representing the Hill District fight for the Penguins? That's not his constituency, not at all.
I can't believe that you're all for bringing in gambling and forcing taxpayers to build an arena for a private corporation. Sports are over. That was the 20th century.

Adam said...


the illuminati run pittsburgh now, too

Andrew said...

This letter is a mistake. I have found your blog to be interesting in both your analyses of the games and your reaction to breaking news, but it is difficult to imagine any reasonable person taking this letter seriously.

I will not go into the details of the letter, as I think some of the commenters have adequately described why your letter will not produce the effect you desire, but I will say that your genuine concern is obvious and understandable. Channel that into your blog, which I think is deservedly garnering interest.

We all have opinions on the arena issue and we all have thoughts on whom to blame, but sometimes fans want to escape that reality and focus on the team itself. Stick with what you do best: providing a fan's perspective of the Pens' season. That's why I visit Pensblog.

tony said...

Bad, bad, bad letter. It will never be taken seriously and makes the case of the Pens fan seem like that of a ranting lunatic. And one more thing...the author has to at least sign their name, not hide behind "Pensblog Staff".

Stick to game coverage, which you excel at, and away from letters to politicians and interviews that end with a question like "do you like us".

Derek said...

Tony & Andrew,

I totally Understand your disdian for the letter, But Tony I do not think we hide behind anything, In fact when you have to send the letter you have to write your info in.. and I gave my name, address, and everything you could imagine... but honestly we apperciate the feeback more than you know.

Thanks again!

Joshua said...

Ohhh kayyy

Some points:
I've been part of Pittsburgh first since day one. I've followed every detail, emailed several politicans and had conversations with them regarding the topic.
This is pure political BULL

The citizens are constantly getting the run-around. The "fix is in" as Tom Murphy said.

Remember Forest City? Who is the main opponent to Isle of Capri? They gave rendell campaign contributions like grandmas give kisses. And who was Rendell's right hand man? BOB O'CONNOR. And who is working for O'Connor? ONORATO.

If you really want to get a feel for how much politians give a damn, look up the 'DVE interviews


general said...

ok... first of all i just want to say thank you to pensblog for having a little bit of common sense and taking offense to this Rep's position. Im of course a pens fan, and a junior at duquesne, that same 'community' mentioned by Wheatly. I cant fathom how he thinks the isle of capri proposal will have a negative affect on duquesne or the hill district. Duquesne is probably one of the largest employers of hill district residents in the area, and does mr. wheatly not realize that a casino would provide tons of jobs. Better yet, does he realize that the mellon arena currently provides many jobs, and if the harrah's proposal was put into place (station square casino with no promise to build an arena), then there would actually be a loss of jobs.
Once again, the democrats of this city/state are trying to make pittsburgh a better city for all....sike. i think emailing this guy is a great idea, pensblog deserves a pat on the back.

p.s. on a more serious note, recchi on the power play was a good idea for a little, now its just not effective. put him back upfront, and let scuderi's new found cannon blast from the point

Derek said...

Just wanted to let everyone know that Jake Wheatley had actually wrote us back.. we will post it sometime tomorrow..

and back to hockey.. crucial lose tonight.

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous writer who left Pittsburgh: Obviously, your attacking of the fans of Pittsburgh sports teams shows that you yourself are not a fan. A fan doesnt need to be a "hardcore" fan, they just have to have a love for the game. Pittsburgh and Western PA is an area that has always been known as blue collar, the people here are hard working and more often than not put their families among everything else. For many, the only way to relax is to watch a Steeler game on a Sunday afternoon or catch a Pens game at a local bar after work. Also, the Isle of Capri Plan would not cost the tax-payers a cent. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/schedule/s_438103.html

There are ethical issues involved, however that is between the people and their beliefs.

The letter was unprofessional, but these guys were acting out of their hearts, and probally rushed the letter thinking about the possibility that the pens might leave Pittsburgh. You dont have to be a pens fan to understand the loyalty that fans give to their teams. For many of us, the Penguins leaving Pittsburgh would be like the Steelers going elsewhere. I bleed black and gold but i felt remorse for the Cleaveland fans when the Browns moved to Baltimore.

Adam, Derek and the rest of you Pensblog Guys, I appreciate your action. Im sure that the next time you write a letter to a politician that it will be cleaner, but you guys have done more than most of us have with that letter. Ill sit down and have a drink with you guys any day of the week.

Joshua said...

Does anyone know if they're having another rally before the 20th?
Ive been out of the loop for the last month since ive been in indiana pa going to IUP

Anonymous said...

"To the Anonymous writer who left Pittsburgh: Obviously, your attacking of the fans of Pittsburgh sports teams shows that you yourself are not a fan. A fan doesnt need to be a "hardcore" fan, they just have to have a love for the game."

I do love the game. The fact is that I love hockey more than I love the Penguins. They were always my team, before the Steelers, the Pirates...even the Condors.
And please give the false mythology of the "working class town" a rest! The "workin' man" identifies with the Penguins? With Mario Lemieux? Jaromir Jagr? Sidney Crosby? These aren't working-class heroes, exactly. The only Pen who could possibly claim that phony title would have been Ulf Samuelsson, and he was *gulp* European!
If you think allowing gambling in the city to finance a team isn't going to "cost" the taxpayer anything, you're either naive or... worse.

Anonymous said...

ok, say i am "naive or worse" explain to me how a private company buiding an arena would hurt the taxpayers...explain to me how bringing jobs into a rough part of Pittsburgh would be a bad thing...Also, I never said that a single player was a "working class hero" And I still believe that the remnants of the Steel working class are here in Pittsburgh. If you want to insult my intelegence than I am not stooping to your level...'gulp'

Tee said...

ulfie is the only working class hero we ever had? come on man... try the Alex Stojanovs, the Dennis Bonvies, hell I'm dating myself here, but the freakin' Jay Caufields... I grew up on the pens, I vividly remember watching the 91-92 finals as a puny little runt of an 8 year old, then proceeding to play 4 hours of basement roller hockey with my cousins until I was too tired to move. I watched the team last year because no matter how bad they were they would dress Eric Cairns and Andre Roy just to get the point across that you weren't going to touch our stars or our big dumb working class goons would come after you (albeit to get their ass kicked in most cases save for the Cairns/Doull destruction and the Roy/Downey fight that Roy realistically lost despite overhand clubbing Downey to the ice) I love the guys like Colby who aren't afraid to go into the corner after a puck and if you're going to ask, he's going to go. I watch the pens to see the Max Talbots and Chris Thorburns who have plenty of skill and can score and stickhandle but instead choose to be complete players who will either beat your goalie or beat someone down. That is why I love the pens.. we've rarely put togther a team that will get physically beaten on, you might outskill and outclass us but you won't outwill us, and to me thats the definition of blue collar working class hockey.

Anonymous said...

look guys...this is how i feel, and how i think the majority of pens fans feel. i dont care who gets the slots , or how it's paid for (taxes paid for the other two sports buildings in the city, i may as well put money towards something i enjoy). i just want to watch the penguins in pittsburgh...i want to take my sons and daughters to pens games. i want hockey in this city. so, forget the political mumbo jumbo and agree on something for once. you will always have dirty politicians, you will always have taxes, and i just want to be sure that pittsburgh will always have hockey.

lets all just agree on that


-chris (sorry for poor spelling, this computers keys are sticking)

Anonymous said...


Adam said...

Pensblog Staff:

Thank you for your recent letter expressing your opinion regarding my lack of support for the Pittsburgh First, Isle of Capri plan for the Lower Hill District. Unfortunately, the statements you have made in your letter are ill-informed and, therefore, compromise your argument.

I think it's important for you to understand some clear facts about myself, my position on the Pittsburgh First, Isle of Capri Plan, support for Pittsburgh Penguins and the process of the Category 2 slots license for the city of Pittsburgh:

1. The Isle of Capri Casino is not the only option for the Penguins to be able to stay in Pittsburgh. Governor Rendell, Mayor Ravenstahl and Chief Executive Dan Onorato have made their positions exceptionally clear about the purpose of Plan B (to build a new arena and be able to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh) and I echo the spirit and practicality of that plan.

2. I believe the Penguins should stay in Pittsburgh and I believe that Plan B is the best option to keep the Penguins and prevent the negative social and economic impact and destruction of the Hill District. New owner, Jim Balsillie, has even made it clear that his commitment is to the city of Pittsburgh, to keep the Pens in town.

3. The Isle of Capri Casino is not the only gaming applicant that seeks to develop the Hill District. Both Harrah's, Forest City and Don Barden, PITG Gaming have, as a part of their plan, efforts to either preserve historic buildings via the Pittsburgh Historic Landmark Foundation including those in the Hill District (Harrah's, Forest City), or to commit $350 million to develop the Lower Hill (Don Barden / PITG Gaming). Either of these two plans would allow for the building of the new arena (with Plan B), allow for the Penguins to stay (with Plan B) and to redevelop or otherwise prevent the destruction of an historic neighborhood. I believe you should be supporting either of these two plans and not the Isle of Capri, Pittsburgh First.

4. The Hill District is a residential community. Indeed, the neighborhood is primarily residential.

5. The Isle of Capri / Pittsburgh First is the only gaming applicant in the city of Pittsburgh set to place the gambling facility within a residential community.

6. The site for Harrah's / Forest City's gaming facility is set in Station Square, a commercial district and the site for Don Barden / PITG Gaming's gaming facility is set on the North Shore, a commercial district.

I appreciate your concern for the violence in the Hill District, as I appreciate anyone's concern for the violence throughout the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, our entire state of Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. Certainly, a casino within the city is cause for concern but there are places in which the proximity of a gambling facility would cause even greater harm than not. Understand, then, that the presence of a casino in the Hill District will only further increase crime, poverty, addiction and despair for a low-to-mid income neighborhood that does not have the resources to combat these ills in an adequate manner. This is especially the case while Hill residents are also trying to finish neighborhood redevelopment.

Hill residents deserve the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness just like any other citizen in our city. The placement of the casino within the neighborhood will undermine their great efforts to continue to build a safe community for children to go to school, pedestrians to walk the streets and consumers to do some shopping for some of the most basic needs like food and clothing, among other things. Based on the concerns you have stated in your letter, you should join me in protecting the citizens of the Hill District from being disproportionately affected and exploited by the Pittsburgh First / Isle of Capri Plan, while also doing your part to help build a new arena and keep the Penguins in the city --- with Plan B.

Thank you for your concern,

Jake Wheatley, Jr.

19th Legislative District

Joshua said...

Campaign Contributions for all.
I hate politics.
Let me tell you, the hill district is making GREAT progress in areas like "crime, poverty, addiction and despair". If anything the arena would be a good thing along with the casino to provide JOBS. Im a democrat myself but these officials here are killing me.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I want IOC to get the license.

But I just thought of something, wouldn't putting a casino in a "less than desireable" neighborhood just fill the casino with undesireables and thus make it less attractive to out of towners thinking of coming to our city to spend their money?

Joshua said...

i think 95% of the people on this blog want IOC. They have plans to redevelop the Hill District. It has been mentioned 100's of times. This is the breaking point for Pittsburgh. Do we sit back and let politicians do the whole thing? Or do we grow a pair and get out there and be heard?

Washington85 said...

adam, I got the same exact letter word for word which means that they send the same letter out to everyone, I am laughing at it


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