Thursday, June 09, 2011

P-G: Bids come in high for Mt. Lebanon veterans memorial

Bids for the construction of a veterans memorial in Mt. Lebanon came in substantially higher than expected today.

But the municipality is still committed to building and dedicating the memorial by Memorial Day 2012, said Dan Miller, a Mt. Lebanon commissioner who has been involved in the project.

The estimated cost of building the memorial was about $200,000, and a fund-raising drive over the last year has raised about $197,000, of which $27,000 went to fund-raising and planning costs, said Susan Morgans, the public information officer for Mt. Lebanon.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...if they did sincerely beleive the bids would come in low, then it's high time we made a change in the complexion of the board because that's sheer incompetence."

-James Cannon, Fundraising and Design Committee member for the Mt Lebanon Veterans Memorial project. School Board Candidate. April 20. Blog Lebo

I am not equating the tax-funded High School project with this worthy project that is funded through donations. But the irony here was too great to ignore.

Maybe estimating costs isn't as easy as it seems from the outside. That's why we need to temper our rhetoric. Challenge, question, criticise. But over-heated vitriol serves no purpose.

Rob Gardner

June 09, 2011 1:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...

Question: Is calling something “over-heated vitriol” over-heated vitriol?

June 09, 2011 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, it certainly is NOT "tempering our rhetoric"!
Joe Wertheim

June 09, 2011 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've spent the last 10 months raising money and providing pro bono legal support to my friend Sean Casey and the Miracle League of South Hills in its efforts to construct a baseball field in USC for special needs children. Today, our efforts culminated in an amazing groundbreaking ceremony. During this process, no one picked sides, no one called anyone a name, and no one waivered from the fundamental goal of doing something good and worthwhile for someone else. Very refreshing indeed.

Dave Franklin

June 09, 2011 11:41 PM  
Blogger JE Cannon said...

Mr. Gardner,

Thank you for your input. Unfortunately, it was pointless and I would suggest you go look up the defintion of the word "irony". It doesn't apply.

There are several distinct differences between the disastrous proposed "renovation" and the veterans' memorial. Frankly, I think it's tasteless for you to, contrary to what you write, equate the memorial the school project. And yes, as you point out, the school project, whatever it turns out to be, is funded with public money. The fundraising efforts for the memorial have brought in strictly private dollars to date. The people involved in the fundraising are volunteers, not elected like school board members. And the committee has remained apolitical, unlike the current school board.

Estimating costs IS easy from the outside. I was involved in the initial design committe and am now involved in the fundraising. The estimate for the deisgn we chose was just shy of $200,000. The bids were twice that amount. So guess what we're going to do, Mr. Gardner? We're going to VOLUNTARILY explore some minor aspects of the design and admit that perhaps we, as a committee, were just a bit optimisitic in terms of what we can and can't do with this structure. That is a world apart from the school project where the current board is now FORCED to consider dropping certain aspects of their proposed campus. It's called humility, a trait in low supply amongst our current school board (along with a host of other admirable qualities).

I've been involved with this memorial since Dale Colby asked me to participate, almost three years ago. As such, I'm proud of each and every volunteer, and honored to work side by side so many of our residents.

There's a saying in the military, Mr. Gardner--if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. If you want to discuss tempering rhetoric, perhaps your efforts would be better directed toward other members of our community.

June 13, 2011 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Cannon

Whether you recognize it or not, it's ironic when someone codemns an action (i.e. calls people incompetent) and then engages in the same practice and has the same result. I suppose there are other terms, as well, but ironic works.

I appreciate your efforts on the monument project. My family has donated, and we will donate more if needed. Even if I am part of the problem.

Rob Gardner

June 13, 2011 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am sincerely thankful to you, the other members of the Mt. Lebanon Veterans Memorial Committee, donors, students and all others who contributed in some way to provide for this memorial. It will be an important way to honor those from Mt. Lebanon who have served our country and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

During WWII, my father (from Mt. Washington) enlisted into the U. S. Marine Corps as soon as possible at age 17. My grandfather, a steel worker and grandmother had little means, but they gave their dearest treasure, their son, by authorizing his enlistment. I wish my Dad could be here to have lunch with me and see the memorial when it is completed among other things. My appreciation for his service is one of the many reasons I look forward to this project’s completion.

Certainly, this will work out because of what I learned from one of the committee members last week, but also because those on the committee will continue to pull together and “make it so”. The money raised so far is quite an accomplishment and there is strong support for the memorial among our residents.

James, always remember that so many thank you for your military service and willingness to put your life on the line for the rest of us, not to mention the other efforts you make to serve our community.

For others who may read this, one Thursday evening each month, I visit the women veterans in the H.J. Heinz facility and we have a “chick night”. Of the 280 patients there, 10 are women and this small sampling actually represents all branches of our military. Anyone who would like to support our vets by becoming a visitor can contact me; our hospitalized vets could use some visitors!

-Charlotte Stephenson

June 13, 2011 3:26 PM  
Blogger Matt C. Wilson said...

I'll go out on a limb here a little bit.

Mr. Gardner: point made. Cost estimation is not easy. And I can, to a degree, see where you are going on the irony point.

In some defense of Mr. Cannon and the memorial, however, I think it's important to ask what steps were taken, by the memorial committee or the public, to raise attention to costs. So far as I know there was no evidence suggesting the design was over budget. Nor, to my knowledge, was there anyone challenging the direction of the project or the data used in the decision making.

If there is, or has been, then I hope that the memorial committee duly takes that into consideration.

I believe Mr. Cannon when he says the bids have given the committee a sense of humility. I also believe that he and the committee will do the right thing by the veterans, the donors, and the community in finding a new compromise. Certainly their intentions deserve the utmost admiration and I have faith that they will succeed.

June 13, 2011 8:22 PM  
Anonymous David Brown said...

I have observed the following anti-pattern very frequently on this blog:

Step 1: Someone takes something too far.

Step 2: Someone criticizes said person.

Step 3: Said criticism is cited as an example of going too far in the opposite direction.

It is not. Otherwise, there would never be any proper way to call behavior into question. Step 3 is a favorite arguing tactic of adolescents to try to turn the tables on their parents. Most people grow out of that phase.

However, Step 3 is also common in adults who see everything in black and white. Attempts to recenter or regain balance in life are only seen as extreme by extremists, and that is one way you can identify them.

June 17, 2011 9:26 PM  

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