The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 30, 1986 · Page 9
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 9

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 30, 1986
Page 9
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r - " . VI,.,?.. The PittsburghPress Section B Tuesday, September 30, 1986 Private jail in Armstrong County up Jor sale By Joe Sterling The Pittsburgh Press The owners of a controversial private, prison in Armstrong County want to sell the jail. "We want to unload the thing," said Philip Tack, co-owner of the 268 Center, eight miles northwest of Kittanning. "We're going to try to get out from under it." Tack said the owners are negotiating a sale to a private, non-profit group that offers drug- and alcohol-rehabilitation services. He wouldn't name the group, which he said is affiliated with a religious organization. The center intends to drop its adversary lawsuit filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in April against the state, Gov. Dick Thorn- burgh, Attorney General LeRoy S. Zimmerman and Donald P. Minahan, chief deputy attorney general in the western region, Tack said. The center also is considering dropping its Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed in March. Tack said the petition was a maneuver to thwart court orders restricting prisoners from being housed at the center. Opened last September, the center, a former Church of God of Prophecy summer camp, had housed non-violent minimum-security prisoners from Allegheny, Westmoreland and Tioga counties, Tack said. But since efforts began to develop the prison in 1983, the facility's existence has been opposed by residents in the area of Sugarcreek. In January, a citizen's group sued the center and Allegheny County, which provided the bulk of the 268 prisoners. The number of prisoners from Allegheny County then declined and the prison closed until March, when the center signed a contract with Washington, D.C., to house S5 of its prisoners. But the prisoners were ejected after Zimmerman obtained a Commonwealth Court order. A few days after the prisoners left the jail, the state legislature approved a bill calling for a moratorium on the development of private prisons until June 30, 1987, while regulations for private jails are considered by a legislative task force. An amendment to the bill stipulates that during the moratorium, the 268 Center can accept only persons convicted of summary offenses and drunken driving and can't house federal or out-of-state prisoners. The 268 Center Inc., which filed the bankruptcy petition after the Commonwealth Court order was issued, later filed the adversary suit in bankruptcy court, saying the moratorium is unconstitutional. Tack said the center, closed since March, has become too expensive to run and that the adversary lawsuit would have been too expensive to pursue. He also said the center couldn't attract enough people convicted of summary offenses or drunken driving. "And as far as Harrisburg is concerned, I don't see where a change is in order. We were too early or too late. The time has come and gone." James Baker, spokesman for Citizens for Community Awareness, an anti-private prison group in Sugarcreek, said, "If they sold the place, it would make us happy. But that dosen't solve the issue of private prisons. We don't think it's right to turn that part of the government over to the private sector." Robert Hawk, 268 Center attorney, said the center could have helped lighten the loads of many crowded county prisons. "I'm somewhat puzzled to the intensity of the opposition. I'm puzzled as to how the state can neglect a problem area and then stop someone from dealing with it," Hawk said. Tack said he has invested $1 million and wants to sell it for $250,000. The other owners are Tack's father, Kenneth, and his brother, Kenneth Jr. Substitutes kept from Bethel school; 2 pickets arrested By Ken Guggenheim and Rich Gigler The Pittsburgh Press Substitutes hired in the midst of a strike by Bethel Park teachers were prevented from entering the high school by crowds of picketing strikers this morning. Two teachers were charged, one with simple assault and the other with obstructing traffic, during the scuffle that turned back the substitutes. School administrators continued to teach senior classes of 100 or more students classes in which, the striking teachers claim, students are learning "virtually nothing." State mediator James Rush, meanwhile, said he has called for negotiations to resume tomorrow at 2 p.m. the first talks in a week. The strike began Aug. 28. "We were not able to get them in, so we sent them back home," said Assistant Superintendent Peter Zonca of the substitutes. The bus was turned back "because no one wants this to turn into a confrontational issue," said Alice Sheets, school board president. Striking teachers, Edward C. Carney, 43, and William Fitzgibbons were charged by police after the confrontation. Carney of Birch Avenue, Mt. Lebanon, was arraigned on two counts of simple assault before District Jus tice William Martin after a scuffle with Bethel police officer David Deremer. Martin said the charges mean that Carney allegedly "struck or attempted to strike" Deremer. Bethel Park Lt. Ed Felicetti said Carney "took a swing," at Deremer, but did not hit him. Carney, 43, was arrested at his Mt. Lebanon home after the classes started and the picketing ended, a move which caused his wife to think the charges against him were "an afterthought. Otherwise, why didn't they arrest him right on the spot?" Felicetti said police arrested Carney at his home later to avoid inciting the picketers during the confrontation. Jerry Petrarca, president of the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers, said that the union would post Carney's bond of $5,000. Fitzgibbons, of 240 Orchard Ave., Mt. Lebanon, whose age was not immediately available, was cited on a charge of obstructing traffic. He and a group of about 40 to 50 teachers blocked the entrance from a police car leading a bus carrying substitute teachers. Bethel Park school directors voted last night to hire the eight substitutes to teach classes for seniors while rejecting an offer by the teachers' union to end its strike and let a fact-finder decide the next contract. A board spokesman said that use of the fact-finder would be binding arbitration and would violate state law. l lf A .Jsr imp. John SaleThe Pittsburgh Press Police look on as teachers ask a parent to honor their picket line at Bethel Park High School Zonca, Superintendent Robert B. MacNaughton and other school officials were unavailable for comment about what action the district might take in terms of substitutes in the future. All the administrators were busy teaching classes. Mrs. Sheets, however, said the district will try to bring the substi tutes back to the high school tomorrow. Striking teachers vowed to return in force to the high school's five, entrances at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow. About 150 striking teachers were assembled this morning at all five entrances to the multi-building high school and athletic fields, waiting for the substitutes to arrive. At about 6:45 a.m., the striking teachers got word that the district intended to shuttle eight substitutes from the South Hills Village Shopping Center, nearby. Strikers, jammed six in a car, sped to the shopping mall. A few minutes later, MacNaughton called Bethel police to report that the strikers were attempting to prevent the substitutes from entering a small school van. Paul Mazerov, a member of the negotiating committee for the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers, was at the main school entrance with 50 Please see Bethel, B4 Council district elections vote near Press Harrisburg Bureau HARRISBURG - The majority leader of the state Senate was expected to try for a vote today on a bill that would allow district elections for Pittsburgh City Council. Stephen MacNett, chief aide to Senate Majority Leader John Stauffer, R-Chester, said yesterday that Stauffer wants to bring the bill up for a vote before the Senate adjourns for a six-week recess tomorrow. "Earlier, the senator was saying no, it would have to wait until we came back in November," MacNett said. "But we looked at what there was left to do, and he saw there was a very good possibility that we could fit it in during Tuesday's session". The bill would allow a referendum in which voters would decide whether they want to elect City Council members at large, by district or a combination of the two. If the bill is approved, it will have to be returned to the House for concurrence on expected Senate amendments. The House passed a' version of the bill in June. The bill then would go to Gov. Dick Thornburgh. Even if the bill is enacted, the referendum would not appear on a ballot until sometime next year. The deadline for filing petitions to qualify a referendum on the November ballot was Aug. 5. The measure passed the House last spring with no dissent, but was held up in the Senate by lawmakers as diverse as Republican Tim Shaffer of Butler County, and Democrat Eugene Scanlon of North Side. Shaffer has indicated he will oppose the bill, describing a situation where "whoever loses an election wants to change the districts." He said he believes district elections would "lead to increased parochialism" because council members would represent parts of a city instead of the entire city. Black leaders and some Republicans in Pittsburgh are pushing for such a bill because City Council, whose members now are elected at large, contains no blacks and no Republicans. State advocate urges Duquesne Light rate reduction By Gary A. Warner The Pittsburgh Press HARRISBURG - State Consumer Advocate David Barasch has called on the Public Utility Commission to lower rather than raise Duquesne Light Co.'s rates. Barasch, in written testimony filed with the PUC yesterday, said the panel should reject Duquesne Light's proposal to raise rates by $47.5 million. Duquesne Light had requested the hike as the first of five annual increases it wants totaling $187 million to pay for its share of construction costs of the Perry 1 nuclear plant in Ohio. The company owns just under 14 percent of the plant. Barasch said Duquesne Light customers are being asked to pay for cost overruns on a plant they don't really need. "Our expert witnesses contend that Perry 1 cost approximately $1.15 billion more than it should have cost and that Duquesne's share of these excess imprudent costs should not be charged to rate payers," Barasch said. Instead of a rate hike, Barasch said, the PUC should lower Duquesne Light's current rates by as much as $59.2 million, because the company will pay less under proposed federal tax laws awaiting President Rea gan's signature. Barasch said plants already in operation can provide the energy Duquesne Light customers need and that the Perry 1 plant is so costly to operate that it would be uneconomical to use for at least seven years. Duquesne Light spokeswoman Susan Breon said the company was disappointed by Barasch's statements, which she called "typical and Please see Duquesne. B5 Lawmaker seeking revamp of Alcosan Press Harrisburg Bureau HARRISBURG - Complaining of foul smells emanating from a sanitary facility in his district, a North Side state lawmaker has introduced legislation to shift responsibility for the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority to the mayor and county commissioners. Under a bill introduced today by Rep. Thomas Murphy, D-North Side, a new sanitary authority board would be created. It would consist of five members: two to be appointed by the mayor, two by county commissioners and one chosen by the mayor and the commissioners jointly. Murphy said he intentionally left out appointments by the city council, which he said had not been responsive to complaints about air pollution from sanitary facilities. "I hope to completely change the board of ALCOSAN," Murphy said. "What this bill does is shift the responsibility for appointment of the board from city council to the county board of commissioners." The bill also would require that one of the mayor's appointees be a resident of the city ward where the main sanitary facility is situated. "I believe this bill will make ALCOSAN more accountable," Murphy said. "More accountable to the county, to the mayor and to the people in my legislative district who suffer from the smells from Alcosan." With less than a dozen legislative days left in the 1985-86 session, Murphy gave the bill only "slim" chances of becoming law but said he would come back with the same bill next January, if necessary Art, legal circles here stirred by pending obscenity case . i ii i a. ; ft " 1 J...ll M Avnlnininn i By Dennis D. Roddy The Pittsburgh Press Adam Eisenstat wants to be as understandable as the jumble of newsprint, photographs and snippets of headlines pasted to his bedroom wall. "I'm always being called crazy. That's a compliment to me," he said. "I want to be disturbed. I want to look disturbed." As disturbers of the peace go, the 23-year Eisenstat, of 216 Linden Ave., Point Breeze, has capped off a busy season. In April, his punk rock band, Bad Martyrs, was banned from Oakland's Electric Banana, a club known for encouraging the unconventional. In August, Eisenstat was arrested on obscenity charges after handing a photocopied collage to a 17-year-old University of Pittsburgh student. The student glanced at the juxtaposition of Idi Amin, Jesus Christ and a sexually explicit photo, and summoned police. "She didn't look like the kind of person who would arrest me," Eisenstat said, explaining he had never handed out photocopies of his work to strangers before the day of his arrest. Following his arraignment in court Friday, Eisenstat threatens to perform an act titled "Let Freedom Ring" on the steps of the county courthouse. Eisenstat won't describe the piece other than to say it includes song, dance and costume and "will vividly and dramatically summarize my feelings about my arrest, America, free speech and anything else you care to read into it." "Maybe he'll cut off his ear or something. Who knows what's next?" growled Electric Banana owner John Zarra, still furious after throwing Eisenstat's band out of his club after a performance that included pornographic films, sex toys and a 250-pound belly dancer. Although admitting his collages are "very disreputable, unsanctioned kinds of stuff," Eisenstat said his arrest raises questions about free speech for artists. The obscenity charges against Eisenstat, say some observers familiar with both art and the law, present several dilemmas. "To me, the unusual angle is that there's a so-called victim here," said Pittsburgh attorney Paul Boas, who has defended obscenity cases after raids on adult bookstores and movie houses where people paid to see what the law found obscene. "Here the interesting angle is that somebody says, 'He gave it to me and I'm offended by it,'" said Boas. Attorney Ira Lefton, who heads the Allegheny County Bar Association's Art and the Law committee, sees a problem with what limits shnnlrl be nlaced on the title "artist." "I assume you have to start by asking if you declare yourself an artist, is that enough to make you one?" said Lefton. "I don't think anyone who scrawls obscenities on a wall is, for that purpose alone, entitled to the protections we offer those who are creating artistic works. But the definition's always changing." John Caldwell, curator of contemporary art at The Carnegie Museum of Art, has no doubt that Eisenstat's collages constitute art, but he said their creator "is a better writer than he is artist." Nonetheless, Caldwell said he is alarmed by the obscenity charges against Eisenstat and worries about what they might mean to other artists who take their works to the streets of Pittsburgh. Caldwell cited an "obvious political content" of the offending Eisenstat collage. "He believes that pornography is related in tprrnrism " Caldwell said. exDlainine the juxtaposition of Amin, Ghadafy and the sexually explicit photo. "If it were designed to do anything, it's designed to offend and not to seduce." Eisenstat said that is precisely his belief. "I didn't know you could have someone arrested because they offended you on the street. There's no way I'm trying to appeal to prurient interest," he said. The relationship between pornography and terrorism, as Eisenstat sees it, is the implicitly violent nature of both. "When I see a headline that says 'Bomb kills 14,' I don't say 'wow, that's terrible,' " said Eisenstat. "I say 'God, that's exciting.' " Phil Musick ... is on vacation.

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