HILL DISTRICT MINISTERS, DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT DEMAND ALL PROFITS FROM NEW ARENA
PITTSBURGH -- A group of Hill District ministers says it is does not want to divide the community, but seeks instead a "holistic approach" that ensures all profits and benefits from the development of a new arena go "straight into our pockets."
The nine ministers, led by the Rev. Johnnie Monroe, pastor of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church of the Holy Profiteer, met for 90 minutes yesterday with Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, representatives of the Penguins, and other local officials to discuss their demands. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl did not attend the meeting, citing the need to fit in a second round of golf before meeting with reporters to lie about the city's pension fund liabilities.
"Our meeting this morning was not to ask for our fair share," the Rev.Monroe said, "because we know we don't have a legitimate claim. We just came here hoping to guilt and shout and bully our way into the money, and so far, it seems to be working. Praise Jesus."
The ministers' meeting came even as another prominent community leader, Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty, held a press conference to announce his own set of demands for the city, the county, and the Penguins. Noting that his campus overlooks the new arena site, that his students buy "a hell of a lot" of Student Rush tickets, and that his priests are much harder to please than "those whiners up on the Hill," Dougherty declared that Duquesne would eventually prevail in the battle to "fill up the collection plates" and "shake down those idiot politicians."
When asked to comment more specifically on the ministers' demands, a visibly angry Dougherty shouted, "You tell Johnnie Monroe that our chapel is a hell of a lot closer to that arena than his church is!"
Mr. Onorato described yesterday's developments as positive, saying that he and Mayor Ravenstahl are "seeking to build a consensus for a comprehensive plan" for responding to all unreasonable demands, and that both men are willing to give away as much of the arena money as possible "if it'll just shut people up."
Asked later in the day to comment on the arena demands, Mr. Ravenstahl replied, "What arena?"