Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wall Street West-Kanjorski Brainchild Died And Slips Into Obscurity

There was much excitement when Paul Kanjorski announced he was going to "potentially" bring 1,000 jobs to our area via bombing reclaimed mine- scared land. Instead of mines scarring the land it would now be almost 500 detonations per year. People quickly realized that it is election time and just like the FBI playbook cited by Hans Gruber in the movie "Diehard" Mitchell and Kanjorski were up to their same old "Let's Save The Gipper" tactics.

Yesterday, David Pierce over at the Pocono Record, reported on the death of one of Kanjorski's former "Let's Save The Gipper" tactics, Wall Street West. In this press release from Kanjorski's office in 2006 he promotes a talk he had about Wall Street West at a National Conference on Business Continuity.

Scranton, Pa. - Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) today presented the Wall Street West initiative to 1,500 attendees at the national Business Continuity Conference of the Securities Industry Association in Manhattan. Wall Street West is a concept that grew out of the realization that major financial services firms need secondary facilities in the wake of a catastrophe like September 11.

The Penn Regional Business Center, a division of LTS Builders in Monroe County, recently announced plans to create a financial district in northeastern Pennsylvania that would be fully compliant with federal recommendations for business continuity, and is set to break ground in June 2007.

"Wall Street West is a concept that we have been working on diligently since September 11. Northeastern Pennsylvania is suitably located for backup facilities because it is less than 125 miles from Manhattan, and is located in a different watershed and separate electrical grid. I am pleased that so many local and state officials, as well as community and business leaders in our region, have realized the benefits of Wall Street West. Our area is fortunate to have businessmen like Larry Simon, who took the seed of our vision and planted it with his investment in the Poconos," Congressman Kanjorski said.

Congressman Kanjorski earlier this month met with Simon, elected officials and financial services industry representatives to discuss the establishment of reliable backup facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Simon, chairman of the board and CEO of PRBC, hosted a reception at the SIA conference.

But the press release gets better.

In August 2003, Congressman Kanjorski addressed the SIA Business Continuity Task Force, and several firms expressed interest in Wall Street West. Governor Ed Rendell successfully applied for a $15 million Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant for training and education from the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, Gov. Rendell recently pledged $30 million to Penn Regional Business Center for low-interest grants and loans.

Taxpayers threw $45 million at this project and it ended up dying a slow death. And that is not the end of the story.

Look at this article that appeared in the Pocono Record back in 2006 by Micahel Sadowski. Again the headlines are from the "Let's Save The Gipper" playbook. $125M PROJECT BRINGING 1,300 HIGH-END JOBS WITH AVERAGE SALARY OF $50,000- 'Wall Street West' in the works

A shovel hasn't even touched dirt yet for construction of the first building, but developer Larry T. Simon already envisions a second building — or more.

That's how confident he is that his pet project, the $125 million, 300,000-square-foot Penn Regional Business Center, will be a success, establishing back-up data centers for financial companies based in New York City.

The numbers being cited for this undertaking — the first "Wall Street West"-designed building in the region — are staggering. At least 1,300 high-end jobs would be created, with an average salary around $50,000, according to those supporting the project. Proponents also say the project, which will be built on 14.6 acres of land, could lead to more than $400 million a year in local revenue.

The state could benefit to the tune of $3.5 to $4 million in income taxes per year, which is part of the reason it has committed about $30 million in grants to the project's construction.

Click on the link in that article to read about the infamous fiber optic network from Manhattan to the Poconos that never saw the light of day. The article is from June 8, 2007.

POCONO MANOR — The key element of the Wall Street West project is in place.

State and federal officials announced that Level 3 Communications of Bloomfield, Colo., will be constructing the $24-million fiber-optic network allowing the Wall Street West idea to become a reality.

Construction will begin on the 600-mile fiber-optic line within the next 12 months and be completed 12 months later, according to Jeffrey Allen, vice president of management for Level 3 Communications.

There are more links in this article.

Related Stories

East Stroudsburg group wins Wall Street West grant

With fiber-optic network coming, local developer can begin building

Scranton lands first Wall Street West jobs

Business center planned for Independence Road

Wall St. West developer gives pitch to NYC firms

'Wall Street West' in the works

Two Poconos projects promise jobs

Back to the Pierce's article on the closing of Wall Street West.

In its closing press release, WSW officials pointed to an organization formed in 2009 — the Pennsylvania-based National Center for Organizational Continuity — as a natural successor to Wall Street West for regional job-skills training and development.

"The National Center for Organizational Continuity is an interdisciplinary training and research collaborative," states the NCOC website. "It is dedicated to ensuring the nation's workforce obtains and maintains the high demand skills required to ensure both public and private sector resiliency in the event of a disruption of any scale or type."

The sole phone number listed on the Organizational Continuity website this week was disconnected. E-mails to a web address listed on the site went unanswered.

About all those promised jobs..well...let's quote Martin Luther King "I had a dream" then I woke up to reality. A politician like Paul Kanjorski will say anything and do anything to keep getting elected including blowing tens of millions of our hard earned dollars on Tomfoolery. To jerk around with the emotions of the unemployed or those aspiring to stay in our area borders on villain type behavior like Hans Gruber.



Anonymous said...

So you would rather have Lou Barletta's record of 15% unemployment and his pipe dreams of toxic fill for mines with his friends making all the money. At least Kanjorski is trying. You never know when things might change. I would still rather have Kanjorski and try something new.

McGruff said...

The unemployment figure for Hazleton is a false number. Hazleton never lost jobs to come to a 15% unemployment figure. The industrial parks are all located outside the city boundaries. My previous post on the subject

Toxic fill for mines- prove it. The last substance proposed is already being used in sheetrock that ends up in our homes. Should we all move out? The mine reclammation project is needed to stop the toxic acid mine drainage already occuring but it seems the opponents never mention that.