Bill Peduto

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As school budgets continue to shrink or remain flat, many teachers are left short of needed equipment, or have classroom wish lists that don’t fall into budgeting priorities.

Enter the website DonorsChoose.org.

Through Donors Choose, teachers submit requests and then anyone can donate to whichever project they chose – hence the name.

On Thursday, Google announced it was fully funding the requests of 79 Pittsburgh-area teachers.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Like any new city mayor, Bill Peduto has a whole lot on his plate, and room for creative decisions. This month we talk with him about some of his most recent plans for the city, from selecting a new police chief, to improving pre-k education and developing bike lanes on some of the city bridges.

The Pittsburgh Penguins say they should be able to begin developing the 28 acres that once held the Civic Arena in the next six to nine months thanks to a deal that city leaders believe will positively impact the entire Hill District and Uptown.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Imagine for a moment that the Steelers had lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. As difficult as that would have been for die-hard fans, most would have accepted the outcome without questioning the integrity of the game.

That was the analogy Rev. Jesse Jackson used during a news conference with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald Monday morning.

Sophie Masloff, who rose from a tax clerk to become Pittsburgh's first female mayor, died Sunday. She was 96.

She died at an area nursing home, said Joseph Mistick, Masloff's longtime friend and former top aide.

Masloff took office in May 1988 after the death of Richard S. Caliguiri, and she served until January 1994.

She good-naturedly described herself as an "old Jewish grandmother" and promised when she took office to be at work by 8 a.m. every day except Tuesdays when, she said, "I get my hair done."

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Up to $20 million is up for grabs for Pennsylvania, under a new grant competition announced in Pittsburgh. The funds are to be used for expanding access to early-childhood learning programs.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto took part in a tour of the “Hug Me Tight Childlife Center” in the Hill District – along with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. While in Pittsburgh, Duncan announced that applications for grants are now being accepted.

Matt Niemi / Flickr

Pittsburgh Police negotiations are underway, and Mayor Bill Peduto said he’s willing to bargain as long as he sees reform.

In March, a labor arbitrator ruled that Pittsburgh Police are not required to live within the city. Instead, they are permitted to live within a 25 mile radius of the City County Building. But soon after, Peduto appealed the decision.

Peduto said Wednesday he would be willing to bargain if he could see three improvements to the police system in Pittsburgh.

He said he wants to reform how officers are recruited and wants a police force that reflects the city, with more diversity. He also wants to see a change in how police are promoted, saying that it should be based on merit instead of a test.

The third in a series of roundtable discussions with Mayor Bill Peduto focused on better fostering business startups and helping incubators and co-working spaces thrive. With several universities and young companies, Peduto says it’s critical to ensure young graduates stay in the Steel City.

He said these businesses will want to locate within city limits, and in clusters.

Between this weekend’s fatal shooting in the Strip District and the body of a deceased man found in Northview Heights on Sunday, Pittsburgh has now seen 44 homicides in 2014.

Shawn Garvin said there’s a misconception that people must be either pro-environment or pro-economical development. 

He is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator for the Mid-Atlantic region and believes that they are not mutually exclusive and can, in fact, go hand-in-hand.

That’s why Mayor Bill Peduto hosted a roundtable discussion Thursday centered around how the city can support the growing “clean technology” movement.

Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday attended the first of two meetings with rank-and-file police officers to find out what they’re looking for in a police chief.

Peduto said he was pleasantly surprised that the comments he heard from officers “were very much in line” with what he’s heard from the public and with his own ideas about what kind of police chief Pittsburgh needs.

The mayor said one of the officers’ primary concerns is fairness.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday took a tour 200 Ross St., which houses, among other offices, the Bureau of Building Inspection and Department of City Planning.

BBI Chief Maura Kennedy said they were showing off the long-awaited implementation of a decades-old technology: as of this month, every employee in the building finally has Internet access.

“Previously the building was not wired for the Internet, in large part,” Kennedy said. “So now people are actually using the laptops we purchased several years ago to do real-time data entry.”

The aura of tension around Pennsylvania’s largest employer is slowly dissipating, as the city of Pittsburgh announced Friday that it is dropping its lawsuit against UPMC.

From pension plans to Act 47 and dog parks to bike lanes – many Pittsburghers have questions about the future of the city and Mayor Bill Peduto and his staff hope to have the answers.

That’s why he is taking to popular social media forum Reddit Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for the city’s first “Mayor’s Night On(line).”

Peduto has used Reddit in the past to connect to the community – especially while campaigning – but this is the first time he’s done so as mayor, and this time he’s doing it differently.

Pittsburgh was awarded $200,000 to insure children in the city through Healthy Together.

The money was granted from the National League of Cities and was given to eight cities that showed a quality and feasible business plan to increase access to healthcare. Cities could receive up to $260,000 for their efforts.  

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto lifted his cell phone up, showing the Lyft and Uber apps on his screen.

“I don’t drive them, but I use them,” Peduto said. “I’ve used them both in the city of Pittsburgh and also in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. It’s very easy to use.”

Andrew Bardwell / Flickr

When it comes to selecting Pittsburgh’s new chief of police, Mayor Bill Peduto believes: “Haste in this situation would be at the greater loss of true reform.”

Peduto spoke to Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer Wednesday about the process of hiring a new police chief.

Former police chief Nate Harper resigned his position February 2013 while under investigation for creating an unauthorized slush fund, diverting public money and failing to pay income taxes – charges that ultimately led him to a sentence of 18 months in prison.

Assistant Chief Regina McDonald has been serving as interim chief.

However, the application process for a new chief only began a month ago. Peduto said that while Talent City works to find the best candidate in terms of professional qualifications, he is looking to residents to help with the hiring process.

Throughout the summer, the Public Safety councils in Pittsburgh’s six policing zones have been holding forums to hear input from residents about what they want in a chief of police.

Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr

Right now, most Pittsburghers use their car to get around, but that may change in the near future. First of all, the city lacks sufficient parking, especially downtown. But new transportation options backed by the mayor will make it easier to get around “tahn” without owning a car. Mayor Peduto stopped by Essential Pittsburgh to focus on the city’s transportation goals going forward.

The most immediate issue the mayor has been dealing with was the Uber/Lyft dispute. Peduto said he is behind the two ride sharing companies and calls the ongoing dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission "dysfunctional."

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

After years of competing, Larimer has finally won a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to move forward with redevelopment plans.

The announcement was made Monday by Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner and Assistant HUD Secretary Carol Galante at the Kingsley Center.

“This is really big,” U.S. Representative Michael Doyle (D - PA - 14) said. “We were up against 43 other communities all across the United States of America, this was a serious competition.”

Though he’s in Denmark for the week, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has issued an executive order which is meant to help city finance managers better keep track of where and how money is being spent.

“Effective immediately, and until further notice, all explanatory departmental expenditures, those are expenditures under $2,000, other than those that are done pursuant to an approved contract, must be pre-approved by OMB,” said Kevin Acklin, the mayor’s chief of staff.

A Pittsburgh police officer has been put on desk duty after video surfaced showing him punching a woman at the city's gay pride parade and festival.

Mayor Bill Peduto said Monday the officer will remain on restricted duty for a month during an internal investigation.

The officer, Souroth Chatterji, says he was trying to break up a fight when he grabbed the woman by the head and punched her in the side so he could handcuff and arrest her. He accuses her of fighting with him and kicking him in the groin.

Mayor Bill Peduto on Act 47 & Selecting a New Police Chief

Jun 11, 2014
Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

In the past decade, Pittsburgh has accomplished much: East Liberty was revitalized, the river fronts were beautified, and it's received many accolades from the press, including the United States’ most liveable city. Through all of this, however, the city was in a precarious financial position.

For 10 years Pittsburgh has been under Act 47 oversight for distressed municipalities. For all its improvements, the city has yet to implement a comprehensive financial management system to address legacy costs of debt, pensions, post retirement benefits, workers compensation along with a financially viable long-term capital plan.

Mayor Bill Peduto asked Gov. Tom Corbett in January to keep Pittsburgh under Act 47 state oversight for financially distressed municipalities, saying that while city finances have improved, more economic reforms are needed.

Last week the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, one of two oversight boards for Pittsburgh, called for the city to reduce services by 20 percent. Peduto responded to this while explaining how difficult it has been to get the city’s finances in order.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s new acting public safety director started work this week with former Public Safety Director Michael Huss staying on for the transition. Stephan Bucar was most recently a supervisory special agent section chief in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, he will now head the city’s Department of Public Safety.

President Barack Obama wants some advice from Pittsburgh’s “maker” community.

That’s why Mayor Bill Peduto hosted a roundtable Monday afternoon to discuss the achievements and future of the city's “Maker Movement,” which refers to using tools such as 3D printers and computer-aided designs to build everything from circuitry to jewelry.

Days after the Act 47 Recovery Coordinators submitted their 166-page plan to the city for review, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, or ICA, put in their two cents.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Like many older industrial cities, the Pittsburgh region has its share of blight. According to the most recent data from the 2010 census, there are more than 50,000 vacant houses in Allegheny County.

For more than a century, federal, state and city governments have tried to address the issue. Today, a new generation of tools is being used in attempts to clean up blighted neighborhoods.

If a city were a human body, then blight is a disease, according to Aggie Brose, deputy director of the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday the creation of Welcoming Pittsburgh, an initiative aimed at attracting and retaining immigrants in order to advance the city.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people flocked to the city from all over the world to work in the steel mills and factories. The Pittsburgh of today was built by the immigrants of the past. One century later, Pittsburgh has lost much of its population and the city is feeling the effects.

The answer to rebuilding Pittsburgh, according to Peduto, is to kickstart immigration—again.

Irina Zhorov / 90.5 WESA

Two more historic buildings in Pittsburgh’s downtown are set to be restored to their original grandeur.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced the restoration of the so-called Skinny Building and the Roberts Jewelers building, both on Wood Street and Forbes Avenue.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Thursday unveiled the city’s new volunteer litter cleanup program “Beautify Our ‘Burgh.”

According to Peduto, the program is completely volunteer run and allows residents and local government to work together to clean up the streets.

“It’s about doing the small things neighborhood-by-neighborhood, block-by-block, street-by-street and then working from that as a building block to make this city beautiful,” he said.

The city of Pittsburgh entered into a partnership Thursday with the social networking site Nextdoor, which allows users to connect with others in their city or neighborhood through private websites.

The site has been in the Pittsburgh area for more than two years and is represented in 67 neighborhoods, according to Sarah Leary, co-founder of the San Francisco-based company.

With the partnership, city officials will now have the ability to use the site to relay information to the entire city or specific neighborhoods, Leary said.

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