Friday, September 2, 2016

Pittsburgh, Beechview, Greensburg and Atlas!

I was in Pittsburgh during the time the outer winds from Hermine hit out Island as well as the tornado touchdown.  I hope and pray everyone is ok and received no damage though I understand otherwise.

In an effort to assess the extent of the damage yesterday (September 2) in The Landings caused by a tornado, the National Weather Service (NWS) is coordinating an aerial assessment team to fly over the community. This flyover could happen as early as today (Saturday.) 
The NWS hopes to be able to determine the path of the tornado and assess its strength.
In the meantime, The Landings Association will conduct drone flights throughout the community today to gather storm damage information. 
Our Public Works crews are actively engaged in clean-up, focused primarily on the most hard hit areas of Marshwood. There are crews also working in all areas of the community. Residents are encouraged to be mindful of crews working as clean-up resumes this morning (September 3). Please be patient as you move about the island, and if at all possible, avoid areas where you see excessive debris and downed limbs/trees. The crews require room to work and unnecessary traffic hinders progress and creates safety concerns. 
The Landings Association team appreciates your patience and understanding as we embark on day two of cleanup after Hermine.
Tim Cook
Security Director
The Landings Association, Inc.
Based on the new release of Hillary's e mails by The FBI, we learn our potential next president cannot remember anything so I have my former conclusions reinforced and have come to several new ones (See d, e and f below:) You decide.

a) We know Hillary is a liar.

b) We know Hillary has a record of non-achievements.

c) We know Hillary used her public office to dig for contributions to their foundation.

d) We did not know one of her loyal Foundation Aides destroyed evidence by smashing her old phones and their whereabouts would "frequently" become unknown and her e mails were erased "just after" it was exposed she was using a secret server.

e) We did not understand why the FBI failed to dig down in their investigation of Hillary.  The reasons are un-explainable other than the FBI must have been told let Hillary off the hook because of orders from above?  Also why did the FBI release this information late on a Friday before a holiday? This further degrades the FBI in my eyes.

f) We now know she could not "recall" being trained on how to handle classified material even though she signed a form acknowledging she received the training.  Hillary cannot remember s----! but she knows why she wants to be president.
The rest of this memo is devoted to my recent trip to Pittsburgh. Why I went, what I saw and what I conclude as a result of my trip.

I will also touch on a discussion I had with my son, the eternal optimist, (takes after his mother) about his thoughts regarding the future of cities, his generation etc.

The reason I am devoting a memo to my Pittsburgh trip goes beyond talking about what my son and his associates are doing.  It also, in my opinion, tells the story of America's renaissance of its cities. One of the tragedies of this county, unlike in Europe, has been the decline of its core cities. For a variety of reasons America's cities are coming back and Pittsburgh is a prime example.
But before I do, it is my understanding that Colin Kaepernick is married to a Muslim and perhaps he is being indoctrinated into their world of hatred.

Better be on The FBI's Watch List! (See 1 below.)
I was told by a long time friend and fellow memo reader Snopes reports the staff listing of Michele Obama is not as different as previous First Ladies..

This is what I learned:

"...White House staffing is fluid, with people and positions coming and going, but according to Anita McBride, Laura Bush's former Chief of Staff, Mrs. Bush had between 24 and 26 staffers working for her by the end of her husband's second term in office. It's therefore fair to say that the size of Michelle Obama's staff is not "unprecedented," but rather on a par with her immediate predecessor's.
Moreover, according to the Associated Press, several other First Ladies had larger numbers of personnel working for them than Michelle Obama did:
A look at some first ladies and their staff sizes:
Laura Bush: Between 24 and 26 by end of President George W. Bush's term in 2009, according to Anita McBride, Mrs. Bush's chief of staff.

Lady Bird Johnson, whose signature issue was beautifying roadways, had a staff of 30, saidStacy A. Cordery, a history professor at Montmouth [sic] College in Illinois who studies first ladies.
 Betty Ford had almost the same number.

Jacqueline Kennedy, who made renovating the White House her cause, had about 40 people on staff, Cordery said. 
"---But there’s a little more to the story that the media and the NFL will avoid at all costs, because it explains the real reason Mr.Kaepernick has suddenly come out with the idea of inflicting his agenda publicly on the fans. And the media and the NFL have no intention of it coming out if they can help it.

As the French wisely say, Cherchez la femme, look for the woman.

nessa 2

In this case, the woman is hip-hop radio personality DJ Nessa Diab.She's a Berkeley grad, a very dogmatic outspoken Black Lives Matter advocate and a Muslim. She and Colin Kaepernick are engaged, and Kaepernick converted to Islam during the off season. 

The two are reportedly planning what Kaepernick calls 'a traditional Muslim wedding.'

Pretty simple...boy meets radical girl, they find they have interests and ideology in common...except,it's haram, forbidden for a Muslima (a Muslim girl) to marry a non-believer. This is not to say that Kaepernick wasn't pretty far along the radical path anyway. 

It's a real love story...not only do they love the same things, but they can hate the same people too. There are certainly a fair amount of patriotic American Muslims, but many Muslims here follow the Qu'ran which says their first loyalty aside from Allah is to the umma, the worldwide Muslim polity. And no one with much common sense would call the folks at Black Lives Matter remotely patriotic. So it all fits together pretty well.

Another part of the back story is that both Kaepernick and Nessa Diab have been agitating the 49er's to trade Kaepernick to New York, where Diab is based. Ideology aside, this might be Kaepernick's way of adding some fuel to the fire.

The 49er's have obviously made a business decision to keep Kaepernick on their roster and, with the collusion of the media,  to keep this part of the story covered up. That's fine, but it is a business decision. And although I have to admit that if I felt that way about America I'd vote with my principles and leave, Colin Kaepernick also certainly has the right not to honor the flag of the country that has treated him so well. 

But football fans can also make a boycotting the 49er's and any subsequent team they might trade Kaepernick to until he's history. 
Now, that's freedom too, isn't it? Based on the 49er's puerile statement, I'm sure they'd agree."
My Visit To Pittsburgh!

I went to Pittsburgh to be with my son and his family as well as to bring myself up to date on the redevelopment work he and his Atlas Development Co. team have and intend to accomplish(ed) by way of transforming Beechview and building student housing in Greensburg, for Seton Hill University.

Beechview is a residential/commercial area that overlooks Pittsburgh and has some of the steepest streets in our nation, even exceeding those in San Francisco. Is has some 3500 residences, a trolley system which takes you to the heart of Pittsburgh in less than 10 minutes so is ideal for those who need city transportation and affordable updated housing. (The trolley system is undergoing a complete re hauling costing $9 million and should be complete by this Monday. Thirty two students from Carnegie Mellon are taking on a voluntary project of beautification along the trolley line this fall as their studio project.)

Daniel and his team have concluded Beechview is ready for development and over the last 18 months he has endeared himself to the residents, the political entities, including the mayor, even one of the U.S Senators, who agree Beechview is ripe for what he has in mind, which is to rebuild Broadway (the main commercial thoroughfare) and to rehabilitate homes that are within approximate walking distance to the trolley that traverse the length of Broadway.

I arrived on Monday via a direct flight that Allegiance Air has begun.  The first thing Daniel wanted to do is to give me a drive around so I could see what is happening in other areas of Pittsburgh.

Except for the weather, Pittsburgh is a great and ideal city.  It has about 300,000 residents, a variety of ethnic neighborhoods and everything imaginable by way of infrastructure, culture and sports facilities. The city was one of the wealthiest in America. America's industrialists, by the name of Carnegie, Mellon, Frick, Bessemer, Hillman, Heinz etc. lived there, and gave back by way of libraries, museums, parks, all kind of other cultural facilities and universities. These families left foundations which finance everything they deemed worthy  to enhance the life of Pittsburgh citizens.

The “Strip District” consists of many blocks of warehouses etc. and is now being converted to contemporary apartments and condominiums, restaurants and a few businesses devoted to specialized manufacturing.  This had been a blighted and unsafe neighborhood and is now in total transition.

Pittsburgh still is the home of some major corporations (Alcoa, U.S. Steel, PNC) but the population of the city has shrunk and now is half what it was at its height.

The city is also home of some of our nation's best schools as follows:

·         University of Pittsburgh (28,328 - 29% out of state)
·         Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (8,648 - 11% out of state)
·         California University of Pennsylvania (7,206 - 7% out of state)
·         University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg (1,808 - 2% out of state)
·         Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus (1,095 - 3% out of state)
·         Penn State University Beaver (851 - 12% out of state)
·         Penn State University New Kensington (819 - 2% out of state)
·         Penn State University Greater Allegheny (750 - 15% out of state)
·         Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Northpointe - Freeport)


·         Carnegie Mellon University (11,443 - 83% out of state)
·         Duquesne University (10,270 - 26% out of state)
·         Robert Morris University (4,783 - 22% out of state)
·         Point Park University (4,086 - 32% out of state)
·         Art Institute of Pittsburgh (2,765 - 50% out of state)
·         Carlow University (2,540 - 5% out of state)
·         Chatham University (2,219 - 28% out of state)
·         Seton Hill University (2,145 - 25% out of state)
·         St. Vincent College (1,984 - 23% out of state)
·         Geneva College (1,580 - 34% out of state)
·         Washington and Jefferson College (1,514 - 31% out of state)
·         Westminster College (1,469 - 19% out of state)
·         La Roche College (1,356 - 11% out of state)
·         Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (Greensburg)
·         Waynesburg University (Southpointe Center)

Pittsburgh went through its down turn some 25 years ago, cleaned up its three rivers that converge and a renaissance continues to this day as the powers that run the city want to retain the graduates of their universities etc. Google has a facility there that was intended to comprise 50 or so employees.  It is over 600 and growing.  Pittsburgh has a very progressive mayor and a new police chief (more about him later.) Their mayor decided Pittsburgh will become the first driver-less city and, while there, I observed several autonomous UBER cars with antennae and paraphernalia driving around town.  The mayor concluded it was the correct transportation solution because the cost of bringing better public transportation was too costly.

Several other general comments:

The city’s Asian and Indian populations seem to have taken over certain neighborhoods  because CMU and The Univ. of Pittsburgh, which are downtown, are awash in students from these regions. Also, UPMC has attracted medical students and doctors from all over. Pittsburgh is becoming a foodie town and you can get any type of excellent food at reasonable/competitive prices in the various neighborhoods that have undergone or/are undergoing rehabilitation. 

Tuesday, we met with a friend of Daniel who wishes to sell his business and was referred to Daniel by their mutual friend.  The potential client was all Pittsburgh - up front, great sense of  Italian humor ,hard worker who was now ready to retire.

Pittsburgh is blue collar, has a large cadre of skilled workers and everyone identifies with their  many local professional sports teams from the professional class to the man in the street. You must own and wear some team identification outer ware or people will stare and know you are from another planet.

From that meeting we went to meet with Marty Ashby and an associate at The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild. This organization is funded by various foundations and its purpose is training those to engage in and learn various trade skills. It so happens, Pittsburgh has been a haven for the greats/ the giants of Jazz. (See below.)

Fate brings Jazz to Pittsburgh
Jazz was introduced to Pittsburgh in the early 20th Century.  In the period from the 1920s to the early 1940s several musicians who greatly influenced jazz history emerged from Pittsburgh.

Jazz originated around 1895 in New Orleans.  It blended  Ragtime, Blues, marching band music and improvisation.  Jazz was first played by African-American and Creole musicians.  Cornet player Buddy Bolden is sited as one of the first Jazz musicians. He was followed by the "Hot Jazz" wave of musicians like Joe "King" Oliver, Kid Ory, and Jelly Roll Morton, and Louis Armstrong.  

Jazz was introduced to Pittsburgh by pianist Fate Marable who brought it upriver on the riverboats from New Orleans with the first African American jazz band to travel North.  The 18 year old Louis Armstrong was a member of Marable's band.  Fate and his family settled in Pittsburgh and Fate played piano in the clubs of the Hill District.  Fate is credited in the book "Jazz on the River" as being the founding father of the Pittsburgh school of Jazz piano.   

Singer and pianist Lois Deppe established the first African American swing band in Pittsburgh around 1917.  His pianist Earl Hines originated the trumpet style of piano while playing river boat cruises and dance halls in Pittsburgh.  Earl Hines founded his own band and hired Pittsburgh singer Billy Eckstine who became the leader of the first big Bop band and the first African American singing idol.  Trumpeter Roy Eldridge who began his career in the late 1920s became the most influential trumpeter of the swing era.  Babe Russin who also began his career in the late 1920's with Red Nichols band, played tenor sax with Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, and many other stars. Babe is the most recorded sax player in history.

Kenny Clark, having defined the standard for modern jazz drumming, became one the most influential drummers in music history.  He invented a new style of drumming and is one of the founded of Be-Bop. 

Two pianists / composer- arrangers made their mark on jazz history.  Billy Strayhorn writing for Duke Ellington wrote the theme song of the big band era the "Take the A Train" and many other of the Duke's classic songs.  Mary Lou Williams performed with Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy and wrote arrangements for a half-dozen other swing bands including Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Gus Arnheim, Glen Gray, Tommy Dorsey and more. 

Pianist Dodo Mararoso toured with the big bands in the early 1940s and became a pioneering Bebop master in late 1940’s   He touried and recording with the elite bands of Johnny Davis. Gene Krupa, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet, and Artie Shaw. is recordings with Charlie Parker: “Charlie Parker Septet" (1946) and “Charlie Parker's New Stars” (1947) are considered by some critics as among the greatest jazz records ever made.  Dodo’s piano is heard on the all time classic tunes’ Ornithology” and “Night in Tunisia”.

Maxine Sullivan was one of the most influential singers of jazz and popular music in the 20th century. Maxine originated an innovative graceful soft swing style with precise diction and timing that influenced generations of female jazz singers including Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee.
Fate Marable's Band

Jazz on the River - William Howland Kenney

The WPA History of the Negro in Pittsburgh - Editted by Laurence Glascow

A New History of Jazz - Alyn Shipton

Marty is a dear friend of Savannah's incomparable, Rob Gibson, and was very excited to learn about Atlas' plan to open a jazz venue.  We met in the Manchester Craftsman Guild’s Conference Room and were surrounded by pictures of the former Pittsburgh Jazz greats. Marty began to tell Daniel what MCG could do by way of providing jazz decor, acoustic technology and booking local participants. Apparently there are 26 Jazz current 'greats' who still remain and perform in Pittsburgh. The proposed Jazz Venue will be in a building that will house a restaurant and hostel. (Why a hostel?  Apparently there are a large number of Europeans who visit Pittsburgh, attend concerts, sports events and enjoy these type of facilities because they are cheap, allow them to hook up with other Europeans etc,) The restaurant, I believe, will serve barbecue.

What Atlas and its in house architect and partner, Ben, designed and proposes is a wrap around segment attached to an existing structure. The jazz venue will be in the basement.

We then proceeded to Beechview where we met with the construction group that Atlas hired to rehabilitate four houses it purchased that are test cases.  We met at the local coffee shop.  Houses can be purchased from $40 to $80,000 and are Archie Bunker type  and after rehabilitation can hopefully be sold for $120,000.  These homes run from two to three bedrooms, one or two baths, have a small yard and a solid foundations. If these first four can be rehabbed and sold within the range Daniel and his group expect, then they have identified some 500 homes that fall within their scope.  Daniel is in the progress of arranging capital to supplement that which Atlas already has raised. 

From a commercial standpoint, various city authorities have allowed Atlas to purchase 5 commercial buildings, redevelopment plans have been approved and they are ready to start. Atlas already rehabbed one building and turned it into an apartment which is currently fully occupied.  Unit rental is some $850/month, twice what the neighborhood had previously seen. 

Plans for the commercial buildings include office space for a variety of tenants, the unique jazz club I mentioned above,  an equally unique hostel (also mentioned above) , various restaurants etc. The local Beechview Carnegie library just underwent a $3 1/2 million total rehab.

After our meeting with the contractor group and a delicious cheese sandwich, we drove all around Beechview.  I cannot begin to explain how steep it is and we wound up in the evening at the local high school to meet and hear from Pittsburgh's new police chief. The purpose of the meeting was to hear from the locals and for key officers to bring them up to date on what to expect by way of enforcement, safety etc.  The meeting was informative, the new chief is experienced and very articulate and the attendance, I felt,  was sparse (about 50 parents etc.)  Pittsburgh has 6 police zones, is a fairly safe city but has the usual problems of drugs and random shootings. The meeting lasted about 2 hours and dinner was provided but we stopped at a Thai restaurant and brought dinner home.

Wednesday, before we drove to Greensburg, we had breakfast with a tenant of Daniel, who is a black American and is making an effort to assist black citizens with mental issues and or problems that are solvable with some assistance.  Daniel wanted to meet because this fine young man is also the new director of a foundation established by a black Steeler football player who is now a free agent. 

There are vast sums of funding available for various types of subsidized housing.  Atlas plans to purchase and retain, for rental, 300 homes and place 50 of them in a subsidized program and is seeking an on site organization that would assist these tenant occupiers in a variety of ways and educate them to embrace good habits etc. This community organizer was impressed with Daniel's concept and arranged a dinner for them with his football foundation sponsor the following (Thursday) evening.

On Wednesday, we drove some 35 miles to Greensburg, which is a very unique town and county seat of Westmoreland County. Unique because wealthy Pittsburghian's find this area refreshing and close  enough to frequent  in the summer.  Greensburg is the home of The Westmoreland Museum of American Art which  is the depository of some of Mellon's American Art, has one of the most beautiful Court Houses in the nation, has several universities and the regional medical hospital and a beautiful rehabilitated theater that hosts first class performers and Broadway road shows etc.. 

The Westmoreland Museum underwent a $28 million expansion two years ago and currently displays 594 works or 16 percent of its 3,331 collection.  It is a gem of a museum and I brought regards from Bill Eiland, Director of GMOA.  However, both the director and senior curator were out of the museum. Last year the museum was visited by over 19,000, and throughout the week they have a variety of programs including jazz nights etc,

Atlas built their first facility, an off campus student housing apartment, at the request of Seton Hill University,.   Atlas owns another lot that will allow them to build a three story apartment complex that will include 14, 2 bedroom units for students because Seton projects a need of 210 beds over the next two years.  An Atlas' partner, Deana,  is currently in charge of Atlas' Greensburg development activity and provides excellent in house financial assistance.

From there we went to visit "Barb" the city manager. She discussed the needs of the city to bring more people permanently back to town, ie. a hotel and a grocery store. She emphasized they have an adequate police force and the city is safe, has decent schools and cultural facilities and programs.

Greensburg has little manufacturing and  Barb described Greensburg as a hole in a suburban donut yet, it has so much to offer. Were it not for a major county hospital and medical offices, that serve the health needs of the county , it would be another American Town with a boarded up downtown core.

On our drive around's, I engaged Daniel about his view of what he believes is taking place in America vis a vis cities, transportation, his age group.  Daniel believes America made a mistake, which he understands why, developing and creating suburbs that bled our cities. Some of it was a function of post war demand, some of it was white flight after desegregation, some of it related to our love of cars and some of it was a desire for a change in environment.  In his view, that experiment is now ending and a return to city life is becoming the in thing.  Driver-less cars are going to bring down costs of a variety of necessities from food to transportation because labor costs will be substantially reduced. He cites, as an example,  a delivery truck without a driver, cars that no longer clog streets and highways and eventually reduced accidents and thus, insurance rates and medical costs.  All of these events favor cities with developed but unused infrastructure.

His age group wants to locate closer to work, want more time for family life and opportunities to take their kids to zoos, museums etc. ( On Thursday we took Stella to The Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  Even I was fascinated with the exhibits and the Hillman mineral collection was outstanding as was the way they were displayed. Crime in  some cities remains a current deterrent but eventually dedicated  resources will overwhelm the perpetrators.)

We drove back and then had another meeting at the Beechview coffee shop for an hour and a half with a Passive House Building consultant. Atlas wants to take advantage of available green opportunities because of the excellent universities that abound in Pittsburgh and are doing work in this area. Furthermore, there is a variety of funding available for those who incorporate green technology and the low cost of utilities can be a selling point for a buyer.  Daniel envisions utility costs, in Atlas' rehabbed houses, could run less than $40/month.

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant that evening in  one of a group owned by a local proprietor who is making a fortune. It is in the Shady Side neighborhood which, interestingly, houses a  massive vacant Armory Building for which the U.S. Government is seeking a tenant and neighborhood NIMBY's are opposed.  The structure is massive and Atlas came up with a proposal but opposition was overwhelming.

Thursday began with a visit to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh which owns some of the Beechview commercial properties, agreed to sell them to Atlas and will help finance the purchase and their re-development. Normally Daniel conferences with them once a week but wanted me to meet them and listen to the interchange. Once again. I must repeat. everyone I met had nothing but praise for what Atlas is attempting to do and are very on board in assisting their efforts in the hope Atlas will accomplish its goals. 

Daniel explained the risks a developer undertakes and their capital exposure and what kind of prospective returns can accrue if all works well.  Daniel and his partners are engaged in comparing the merits of reselling homes versus ownership and renting. They plan to own the commercial properties for the time being.

From there, we went to meet Art Lubetzl.  Art is the iconic dean of Pittsburgh architecture.  He has MS but sill teaches at CMU. Ben currently works with Art.  Daniel is involved in a long shot proposition to build two hotels connected to two of Pittsburgh great Art Museums and Art and his small firm are excited about doing the design work.  This is a separate project that Daniel came upon as a result of an introduction Bill Eiland made for him. Art is to Daniel what Charlie Bourland is to me - a dear friend and my most severe critic.  Art has an acerbic wit, as does Charlie,, is a pioneer in his field and he truly loves working with Daniel. Ben acknowledges you have to have thick skin to work with Art but acknowledges he is a great teacher.

From there Ben, Daniel and I walked up the street and went to an Indian Restaurant for a buffet lunch.

I went back to Daniel's house to pick up Stella from school so we could take her to The Carnegie Museum of Natural History with Tamara. Daniel and Ben went to Beechview, after lunch, to meet with the 32 Penn State students, their professor and various city officials and interested Beechview residents to discuss the greening of Broadway etc. After this meeting Daniel met us at The Museum , joined us while we had dinner until he went to his own dinner meeting with his tenant friend and the former Steeler football player.

Our dinner was at a unique pizza restaurant that was located in a new shopping center that was located in an old industrial neighborhood that had undergone a complete remake. It now has hundreds of apartments, condominiums, shopping and offices devoted to start up companies.

When Daniel returned, he spoke glowingly of his meeting with the former Steeler.  He said he was articulate, had a Harvard MBA after graduating in four years from Ohio State. He gave Daniel insights into his thoughts about what it meant to play in The NFL.  He said the owners are totally disengaged in terms of their players.  They do little to help these 'beefy people' how to invest, how to live within their means, how to become good citizens and mature in keeping with their new found wealth.  He said he had to learn all these skills on his own because he was motivated not to waste his opportunity.  His foundation is his way of giving back and he will soon be getting married. He said there are hundreds of young men ready and willing to take his position ( he is a free agent now and is not sure he wants to physically punish himself any more.)

He compared the NFL to slavery. The players were slaves to the team owners and though they were paid well to be physically abused it stopped there.

Friday,  I purposely left early so Daniel would have a free day to get back to Atlas demands.


What Daniel and his partners are undertaking has risks but also has legitimate opportunities to build wealth. The uncertainties can outweigh the advantages but entrepreneurship is just that. Daniel has assembled a good team and Beechview, to my mind, offers a rational opportunity to bring change to a neighborhood in dire need of refurbishing.

Pittsburgh is the right city.  Think about this. It has some of the most magnificent churches I have ever seen. The Carnegie and Andy Warhol Museums are world class. The town has an aviary that is run by the Smithsonian, I believe, and is amazing. Education anchors a significant leg of its economic and cultural stool. Pittsburghan's retain their Midwestern sense of balance and possess skills and talents that are truly amazing.  The Mayor has goals so  the city hopefully will retain their graduates who will bring their skills and the cost of living is substantially lower than New York and California.

Pittsburgh is attracting Hollywood productions because of the diversified talent that resides in the city and lower movie making costs. Technology is finally discovering Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh has the various foundations and family wealth funds that are willing and ready to engage as angels.

What is happening in Pittsburgh, from everything I can tell, is also happening in Austin Texas, St. Louis and Louisville,. and other older cities that are finally awakening from their decades of torpor and decline.

Daniel believes America will regain its status as a premier manufacturer because technology, driver less transportation will bring down human costs.  He does not understand why we make it so difficult for foreigners who graduate from our first class universities to stay here and devote their talents to growing our economy vs. returning to their native countries. They pay full tuition, acquire skills and then leave when they could make such productive citizens. He makes a sound argument.

Over the next few months Daniel is devoting his time to raising capital in order to carry out Atlas' commitments and to take advantage of opportunities that he and his group believe are there to be seized.

What I also learned is there is an enormous amount of money available to developers engaged in specific social projects. This money comes from private foundations, the federal government and states for a variety of social welfare purposes.  Atlas has hired a very experienced grant writer who is assisting in applying for such  funding based on some of Atlas' social objectives. Daniel has also contacted a whole host of politicians who are able to assist Atlas in obtaining funding opportunities and who are in concert with their social goals.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this but the money is there for the asking and will fund worthy needs but it smacks of what I find distasteful and wrong when it comes to the federal government re-laundering tax dollars back through states, establishing a multitude of overlapping programs and agencies simply to employ a lot of busy body bureaucrats who are performing acts that do benfit certan classes.  Throughout our tour of Pittsburgh, as well as Greensburg, I notice store fronts and agencies all devoted to the aged, welfare recipients and social needs activities.  

Yes, America is an aging country because people are living longer due to medical progress but in the end where does all of this "progress" lead, how can it be sustained and at what cost?  Each supposedly worthy solution seems to create a new set of issues and problems .

These are photos that should help explain my above memo.

 Atlas Development Community Master Plan

A photo Essay of Beechview

333 West Otterman- Atlas Development Co.’s Greensburg Project

Jazz Club/Hostel Development  Italian Restaurant/Apt Development & Office Building Development


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