Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus is, once again, asking Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the chief of police to address violence on the South Side. This comes after four people were shot over Thanksgiving weekend in bar-related incidents.
"If four people being shot in one night is not enough, then I ask the mayor and this administration to please give me the number of people being shot which will bring us to an appropriate level that we will begin to deal with this problem," said Kraus.
One year ago, after a bar shooting outside the now-defunct Town Tavern, Kraus had a meeting with Chief of Police Nate Harper and requested a follow-up meeting with the chief, the mayor, and the Director of Public Safety, Michael Huss. That meeting never happened.
At a City Council meeting this week, Kraus requested a letter be sent from the clerk's office to the mayor, the chief of police, and the public safety director asking when a follow-up meeting with them and every bar owner in zip codes 15203 and 15204 could take place.
Kraus said that this request comes at a time when concern over violence on the South Side is growing.
"My phone calls this weekend did not just come from residents who were concerned about their property values, their children, their lives, but from bar owners demanding that something be done to protect their business investments," he said.
Kraus' Responsible Hospitality Initiative would organize a "front-end proactive plan to manage the situation." But that initiative has sat unimplemented for more than a year. That could change with the budget, which includes an $80 million bond issuance. Council members have already called the bond into question, though, so Kraus is taking steps to ensure that his initiative gets funded.
"That budget needs to be amended. That that is part of our public safety operating budget, period," he said, "and I will make that amendment."