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Reader's Viewpoint: Article on Church's Demolition Was a 'Scam'

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
April 02, 2019
Posted in: Commentary-Editorial, Letters to the Editor

Reader Glen Jackson of McKeesport took issue with the March 21 article, "Wrestling Program Plans to Grow; Abandoned Church to Be Demolished," about plans to demolish the former St. Stephen's Roman Catholic Church on Beacon Street.

In comments Jackson posted on Facebook and then emailed to Tube City Almanac, Jackson wrote:

"Is this [article] funded by [McKeesport Mayor Michael] Cherepko? It’s a scam article.

"Part of the deal of [Jim Miller of PWX] buying the lot so cheap was the fact of the church inclusion!

"There was never any mention of it being torn down in his contract (please prove me wrong!). It is privately owned by him and it should not be paid to be demolished by anyone else but him. Using public money to increase his wealth with fake facts!

"If kids want to wrestle the church doesn’t get in the way ... it’s just an indulgent blog piece fishing to get sympathy.

"Using city money to demolish a structure on an income-producing lot is outrageous waste of public funds."

Editor's Response:

Glen Jackson is wrong on several points. Normally, I wouldn't respond, but he made his comments public on Facebook in an forum where I am not allowed to post.

I take great offense at him accusing me of writing a "scam article" or being "paid" by the mayor, or anyone else, or of writing "fake facts."

Jackson is misquoting what Jim Miller said. In our article, Miller was quoted as saying he:

... purchased the entire site in 2011, originally under the condition that the church be demolished first. The church "was part of a big package that I didn’t want," he said. "I tried to get it torn down before I bought it."

Miller did not say it was going to be torn down before he bought it. He said he wanted it torn down before he bought it.

The city is applying for a grant from the Allegheny County Community Infrastructure & Tourism Fund. Council voted on that application at the March 6 public meeting. I correctly reported that.

It should be noted that Jackson has saved two old churches --- one in McKeesport, another on Pittsburgh's North Side.

If Jackson is unhappy that Miller is tearing down the church on Beacon Street, that's one thing. If he thinks it's not an appropriate use for county money, that's also an argument he could make.

But attacking me for accurately reporting what happened, and what people said, is not useful.

I asked Jackson if he wanted to write a letter to the editor on the topic, and he replied:

"Dude, I couldn’t give a sh-t. Do what you want. I know how the city works and you are no different.

"Good luck with your career."

I appreciate his kind wishes.

Tube City Community Media is committed to printing viewpoints from residents of the McKeesport area and surrounding municipalities. Commentaries are accepted at the discretion of the editor and may be edited for content or length.

To submit a commentary for consideration, please write to P.O. Box 94, McKeesport 15134, or email tubecitytiger -at - gmail -dot- com. Include contact information and your real name. A pen name may be substituted with approval of the editor.

Originally published April 02, 2019.

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