Friends of the Zeiss

P.O. Box 1041

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < friendsofthezeiss@planetarium.cc >

Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >

2002 October 22

Ms. Jacqueline R. Morrow, City Solicitor

City of Pittsburgh

Department of Law

345 City-County Building

414 Grant Street

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-2453

Re: Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law Requests

Dear Ms. Morrow:

On July 1, we sent Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law Requests to Mr. Dale A. Perrett, Director of the City of Pittsburgh Department of General Services. We expressed an interest in lease contracts and RFP responses, regarding the leasing of the building and artifacts of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

In a July 23 reply authored by Assistant City Solicitor Yvonne S. Schlosberg, our request was denied. She explained that, according to your department's current interpretation of the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law, a response to our request is not mandatory unless lease contracts had been executed. According to Ms. Schlosberg, at that time, lease contracts had not been executed. Both July 1 and July 23 letters are attached for your information.

Ms. Schlosberg also stated, in her letter: "However, we will ensure that the Department of General Services does forward you a copy of any executed contracts as well as the competing RFPs submitted at the time any contracts are executed."

As the Pittsburgh Children's Museum delayed, indefinitely, the scheduled June groundbreaking for the proposed Pittsburgh Children's Museum and Center, it was our impression that the execution of any contracts for the Buhl Planetarium would be delayed, as well. And, we received no information from the Department of General Services to contradict this impression.

Last evening at the annual public hearing before the Board of Directors of the Allegheny Regional Asset District, I learned that a lease contract for the Buhl Planetarium building has been executed! This fact was included in the testimony of Anne Lewis, President of the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.

I still have yet to learn whether a lease contract, for the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts, has been executed.

What happened? Ms. Schlosberg promised that we would receive the requested information "at the time any contracts are executed." More importantly, our Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law Request was received and acknowledged. Yet, as of today, our request has not been fulfilled, despite clear evidence that at least one lease contract has been executed.

 

Ms. Jacqueline R. Morrow 2002 October 22 Page 2 of 3

 

With this letter, I hereby renew our request for the following information, under the terms of the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law [Act of June 21, 1957, P.L. 390, No. 212, 60 P.S. 66.1 et seq., as amended]:


1) A copy of the RFP Response(s) of the organization(s) which received bid award(s) to preserve the four artifacts in question: Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, Mercator's Projection Map of the World, "Rise of Steel Technology" Mural by Nat Youngblood.

2) A copy of the award letter(s) to the organization(s) which received bid award(s) to preserve the four artifacts in question: Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, Mercator's Projection Map of the World, "Rise of Steel Technology" Mural by Nat Youngblood.

3) A copy of the signed and legally in-force lease contract(s) between the City of Pittsburgh and the organization(s) which received bid award(s) to preserve the four artifacts in question: Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, Mercator's Projection Map of the World, "Rise of Steel Technology" Mural by Nat Youngblood. If a lease contract has not yet been signed, we ask to see any draft lease contract that is available; please state when you would expect a lease contract(s), for each of the artifacts, to be signed and legally in-force.

4) A copy of the signed and legally in-force lease contract(s) between the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, for The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science building and land.

From news accounts, it is our understanding that The Carnegie Science Center was awarded the bids, from the Department of General Services Request-for-Proposals[RFP] of April 2002, for the preservation of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and Mercator's Projection Map of the World.

The Department of General Services RFP document states, in part:

"Funding Sources: Bidder must submit with proposal, a detailed description of funding sources available and secured, in order to accomplish the objective as set forth in this proposal by the City of Pittsburgh for the display and/or operation of each piece of equipment as specified herein. Complete and secured financing arrangements must be completed within thirty (30) days of notification of award."

Please note that the entire RFP document can be found on the Internet at the following URL:

< http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/friendsofthezeiss/RFP-documents.html#RFP >

For your information, the complete RFP response, from Friends of the Zeiss, can be found on the Internet at URL:

< http://buhlplanetarium4.tripod.com/friendsofthezeiss/RFP-Title_Page.htm >

So, under the terms of the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law [Act of June 21, 1957, P.L. 390, No. 212, 60 P.S. 66.1 et seq., as amended], we also request detailed information on the complete and secured financing arrangements as required in the RFP, of The Carnegie Science Center, for the proper dismantling, transport, storage, and reconstruction of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and Mercator's Projection Map of the World. Of course, since such arrangements were not required to be completed, until 30 days after notification of award, this detailed information would not have been included in The Carnegie Science Center's RFP response.

 

Ms. Jacqueline R. Morrow 2002 October 22 Page 3 of 3

 

It is our understanding that Friends of the Zeiss was the lone bidder for The Rise of Steel Technology Mural by Nat Youngblood; yet, we still were not awarded the bid to preserve this artifact. What is the current status of this artifact? Will it remain on location or placed in storage? If this artifact is placed in storage, will it be under the stewardship of the City of Pittsburgh or the Pittsburgh Children's Museum?

Finally, I must ask about the status of the Buhl Planetarium building. The original expansion plan, of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, cannot be pursued at this time, due to a lack of State funding. The original expansion plan included several irrevocable changes to be made to the building. Does the agreement between the City and the Children's Museum protect the Buhl Planetarium building from such irrevocable changes, until such time as the Pittsburgh Children's Museum can complete its original expansion plans?

It is my understanding that the Pittsburgh Children's Museum is now preparing the Buhl Planetarium building for some type of temporary occupancy status. Hence, it is critical that we receive the information requested in this letter immediately. I will look forward to your prompt response to our Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law requests.

Sincerely yours,

 

 

Glenn A. Walsh

Project Director

< gawalsh@planetarium.cc >

gaw

Attachments: 2

Copy: Members of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh

Members of Friends of the Zeiss

News Media in Pittsburgh and Vicinity