Friends of the Zeiss
P.O. Box 1041
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Electronic Mail: < email@example.com >
Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >
2002 November 4
Mr. Chester J. Malesky, Assistant Director
Department of General Services
City of Pittsburgh
526 City-County Building
414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-2458
Re: Pennsylvania Right to Know Law Requests
Dear Mr. Malesky:
Last week, I received a package from you, with several of the items I have requested through the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law. Thank you very much for this information. It is most helpful.
I received a Lease Agreement, dated October 24[ironically, the 63rd anniversary of the dedication of Buhl Planetarium], between the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Children's Museum for the Buhl Planetarium building. We are still reviewing this large document.
We also asked for:
"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."
Instead of Lease Agreements, I received three Memoranda of Understanding, between the City and The Carnegie Science Center, regarding three pieces of historic equipment and artifacts: Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and the Mercator's Projection Map of the World. You explained that there is no present plan to lease the "Rise of Steel Technology" Mural by Nat Youngblood.
The April Request for Proposals[RFP] document[ copy attached], issued by the City of Pittsburgh Department of General Services, clearly stated that the City was seeking proposals for the lease of the equipment and artifacts. The RFP, in several places, emphasized that the artifacts must be available for public display and/or operation.
Further, the RFP stated that "Complete and secured financing arrangements" would have to be completed before full execution of a Lease Agreement between the City and the winning bidder.
Although The Carnegie Science Center does present a detailed project budget[total project cost: $111,020], in their RFP response, I did not receive any evidence of "Complete and secured financing arrangements," as
Mr. Chester J. Malesky 2002 November 4 Page 2 of 3
I also requested in my letter of October 22. Further, in their RFP response, The Carnegie Science Center states, "CSC is prepared to raise funds to cover design and fabrication of display costs, but will require others to meet the costs prior to storage." The wording, "but will require others to meet the costs prior to storage," is vague and not responsive to the RFP.
From the information you have provided to me, it is clear that the financing arrangements, required by the RFP, are neither complete nor secured. I conclude that Lease Agreements, for the three artifacts, may not be legally executed until the "Complete and secured financing arrangements" are complete and secured. Hence, these three artifacts may not be dismantled or removed until such Lease Agreements are implemented.
Please advise me if these conclusions are incorrect.
The Zeiss Projector, Siderostat Telescope, and Mercator's Projection Map are precision instruments and artifacts, with irreplaceable parts. At best, dismantling and storage of these artifacts is the most risky procedure that could occur, no matter how much care is provided during the procedure.
To dismantle these artifacts now, and store them for an indefinite period of time, makes absolutely no sense. The Children's Museum cannot provide any guarantee, whatsoever, to the City, when or if they will receive the required State funding grant, which may allow their proposed expansion project to proceed.
Further, the projected dates in The Carnegie Science Center's RFP response, for reassembly of the artifacts, are meaningless when the Science Center admits that they still need to raise substantial funding to accomplish this. This is particularly important considering that the reassembly of these artifacts cannot proceed until after the complete reconstruction of the Science Center building, which will require raising an estimated $62-90 million.
Premature removal of these artifacts, and alterations of the Buhl Planetarium building, will result in:
1) Historic equipment and artifacts that remain disassembled for an indefinite length of time, or possibly forever, providing no benefit to the residents of the City;
2) A building, which may be unusable for its original purpose, should the Children's Museum make certain building alterations yet is unable to complete the project and terminates the Lease Agreement.
I am renewing two of our requests 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]. When The Carnegie Science Center has made "Complete and secured financing arrangements," please send us the following:
1) A copy of the signed and legally in-force Lease contracts, between the City of Pittsburgh and The Carnegie Science Center, to preserve the three artifacts in question: Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and Mercator's Projection Map of the World.
2) 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.
In the meantime, I would like to, hereby, offer the services of Friends of the Zeiss to assist the City of Pittsburgh in maintaining the historic equipment and artifacts, while they remain in the Buhl Planetarium building. We are willing to work under any conditions or supervision you might require.
Mr. Chester J. Malesky 2002 November 4 Page 3 of 3
We are also willing to work with The Carnegie Science Center, to ensure that these historic pieces of equipment and artifacts do not deteriorate any further from lack of maintenance. Surely, it is in the best interests of The Carnegie Science Center, as they intend to provide these artifacts for public display sometime in the future, to provide for their maintenance while they continue to reside in the Buhl Planetarium building.
We look forward to the opportunity to help maintain the historic equipment and artifacts of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.
Glenn A. Walsh
Attachment: City of Pittsburgh Department of General Services Request for Proposals for Lease of four historic pieces of equipment and artifacts in Buhl Planetarium, April, 2002
Copy: Members of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh
Members of Friends of the Zeiss
News Media in Pittsburgh and Vicinity
Dale A. Perrett, Director, City of Pittsburgh Department of General Services
Jacqueline R. Morrow, Solicitor, City of Pittsburgh
Yvonne S. Schlosberg, Assistant Solicitor, City of Pittsburgh