Bill Peduto

Sen Teplitz: Get Out and Stay Out of Act 47

Apr 14, 2014

Act 47 was introduced by the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1987 as a means of helping financially distressed cities recover and avoid bankruptcy. 27 years later, several municipalities that were placed under Act 47 oversight have never rebounded.

State Senator Rob Teplitz (D – Dauphin) hopes stronger legislation would help these municipalities have their distressed status removed, while at the same time preventing other municipalities from entering Act 47.

A small army of Larimer residents and city officials went on the offensive Thursday in an effort to convince the federal government that Pittsburgh is worthy of a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“I want to win this,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who met with a small group of HUD officials early Thursday before turning the effort over to his representatives. 

“It would not only bring $30 million into Pittsburgh but (the redevelopment of Larimer) would become a national model of sustainable housing development,” Peduto said.

The City of Pittsburgh has landed a highly regarded candidate to head the Department of City Planning.

Ron Gastil formerly served as planning director for Seattle and director of the Manhattan office for the New York City Department of City Planning. He said he is excited about the new administration.

“One that has a combination of real commitment to neighborhoods, and a big picture vision,” Gastil said. “It is also a city that is excited and believes that you can plan your built environment and plan your communities, and address questions of sustainability and equity.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As warmer weather approaches, city crews are ready to start paving some of the most problematic streets in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto said following one of the worst winters in the last 20 years, roads have been left battered. But standing alongside the pothole-ridden Brookline Boulevard, he said road conditions can also be blamed on years of city budgets under-funding infrastructure.

Do Peduto's Appointments Reflect Diversity of the City?

Mar 20, 2014
Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto appointed 45 people to serve on 11 boards, authorities, and commissions in the City of Pittsburgh Monday. The appointments are said to represent the most diverse class in the history of the city.

Pittsburgh City Paper Editor Chris Potter says many of the new appointees are notable for the experience they bring to the city’s leadership.

He’s looked at previous mayors like Bob O’Connor, who also boasted a diverse administration, and says Mayor Peduto is matching up well.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is appealing an arbitration panel's decision that its police officers can live outside the city.

The appeal to Allegheny County Court puts on hold last week's ruling that would let officers live within 25 miles of the City-County Building. The ruling means officers could live throughout the county and in parts of six neighboring counties.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

With the thanks of Pittsburgh’s mayor, Gov. Tom Corbett Thursday announced that the city would remain under the controls of Act 47. 

Pittsburgh entered into distressed-city status 10 years ago, and the Ravenstahl administration had argued in 2012 that enough progress had been made to release the city from its bonds.

“While Pittsburgh continues to take considerable steps in its efforts in stabilizing the city’s financial position, many conditions that originally led to the distressed determination have not been alleviated,” Corbett said.

Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

From potholes, to public transit, to bike lanes, the possibilities of transportation reforms in Pittsburgh are endless.

As part of a monthly conversation with Essential Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto explained his vision for better transportation and who he's working with to make those plans possible.

Mayor Bill Peduto said in a press conference Tuesday that he is beginning talks with UPMC and SEIU, in attempt to resolve the ongoing labor dispute at the non-profit healthcare organization.  

Peduto said he will begin by meeting with both sides individually to see where they are at, before bringing all parties to the table.

“Right now, this is the most pressing issue that I have, because it affects not only our economy, but our peace,” Peduto said. “It hits on all the different things we talk about when we build a next Pittsburgh.”

Update 12:07 p.m.

Hundreds of protesters organized by the Service Employees International Union have left the area outside the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's offices downtown, after Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement asking them to "disband" and "return home."

Peduto's statement indicates he's cutting short a Washington, D.C. trip to return to Pittsburgh Tuesday and hopes to "resolve these conflicts."

State Auditor General Eugene Depasquale joined Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Wednesday to announce recommended reforms addressing the $6.7 billion of underfunded municipal pension liabilities in Pennsylvania.

According to Depasquale, 47 percent of municipalities in Pennsylvania are considered distressed when it comes to their ability to fund employee pensions. As a solution to this statewide concern, Depasquale issued 13 recommendations for state legislators to enact.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto said he is not rushing to fill two of the most high profile vacant positions in the city: public safety director and police chief.

In a Monday interview with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer, Peduto said it is more important to find the right person for those positions than it is to get them filled right away.

Youth Employment Focus of Pittsburgh Task Force

Feb 24, 2014

A 12-member task force has been assembled by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto with a goal of expanding job opportunities for the city’s high schoolers.

Specifically, the group has been tasked with overhauling the Summer Youth Employment Program.  Last year the program employed more than 300 residents between the ages of 14 and 21.

Stefani Pashman, chief executive officer of the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, is among the members.  She said although the program is strong, it has plenty of room for growth.

Mayor Bill Peduto has appointed a 21-member task force which will take a look at public education in Pittsburgh.

The group includes elected officials, education leaders and others.

“We’re bringing together everybody,” said Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty, “unions, foundations, city council people, school board members and probably the coolest thing, three high school students who are going to be full voting members in this task force’s recommendations.”

Flickr user Brandy/dieselbug2007

Thanks to the break in wintry weather this week, Pittsburgh Public Works crews will conduct another pothole blitz.

Thirty crews will be out each day filling some of the city’s worst craters.

“Negley Run will be closed on Monday,” said Mayor Bill Peduto. “It’s past the point of being able to be patched. It’s going to be milled down to the concrete and will remain that way throughout the rest of the winter. We’re also looking at a couple of other areas that have been hit hard like Brookline Boulevard and Second Avenue.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

In recent weeks, two ride-sharing services have launched in Pittsburgh – Lyft and Uber.

Both offer paid rides available through a smart phone app. Shortly after their launch, the Pittsburgh Transportation Group, which owns Yellow Cab, asked Mayor Bill Peduto to pass an ordinance cracking down on such services. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission made a similar request of Peduto.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale was in Pittsburgh with Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday to announce an upcoming audit of Pittsburgh Public Schools.

DePasquale said the audit is part of a larger statewide effort based on a new three-tiered system that ranks schools based on financial risk.

“We are starting our first wave of high risk audits, and Pittsburgh is our first high risk audit for the Western part of the state,” DePasquale said. “That’s not just because of the size of the city, but simply the financial challenges that the city school district is facing.”

Mayor Bill Peduto’s plan to incentivize some city employees to voluntarily leave their positions is at last moving forward in City Council.

“This has been a really great collaborative effort between council and the administration,” said Council Budget Director Bill Urbanic. “We were allowed to work very closely together to come up with the proper changes and clarify exact what the intent was.”

With the support of Mayor Bill Peduto, City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak has introduced legislation to establish a comprehensive open data ordinance for the city of Pittsburgh.

If the bill passes, Pittsburgh would join New York City, San Francisco and more than a dozen other cities that have embraced public data sharing.

Rudiak said in a news conference Tuesday that the ordinance would go above and beyond the current Right to Know law, which requires that government agencies provide information to the public upon request.

Why Mayor Peduto Wants Act 47 to Stay, for Now

Jan 10, 2014
Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In 2003, the city of Pittsburgh was operating under a debt burden of more than 20% of its operating budget. Pools and recreation centers had to close and hundreds of city employees, including police officers were laid off.

Pittsburgh was declared financially distressed and placed under Act 47 oversight.

As the local economy has stabilized, former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, along with Act 47 coordinators have said the city is ready to be released. But Pittsburgh's new Mayor Bill Peduto is asking Governor Corbett to keep the city under Act 47 oversight to allow his administration to work on a final recovery plan.

Pretty soon there will be more police officers, firefighters, paramedics and building inspectors on the ground in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced this week he has authorized one class of police officers to begin training in March followed by another class in the fall, with the possibility of a third, one class of firefighters to begin as soon as possible and the hiring of more paramedics.

Updated 3:53pm 1/8/2014

The City of Pittsburgh has been under Act 47 state oversight since 2003. Back then, Pittsburgh was operating with a debt burden of more than 20% of its operating budget, pools and recreation centers had to close and hundreds of city employees, including police officers, were laid off. In late 2007, former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl along with Act 47 coordinators said the city was ready to be released. Even at that time, then Councilman Bill Peduto said the city wasn’t ready.

During former mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s term, he created ArtPGH, which is part of a 25-year comprehensive plan for the city of Pittsburgh.

ArtPGH encourages public art in the city and involves artists in designing public space.

It seems as if Bill Peduto has some artistic shoes to fill, but the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) thinks he is already making great strides.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

It’s official – Pittsburgh has a new mayor.

Bill Peduto took the oath of office during a ceremony at Heinz Hall Monday. The city’s 60th mayor vowed to help build the next Pittsburgh.

“Pittsburgh has grown and changed and grown again from the day a small campfire burned at the confluence of our three rivers and heralded the new boundaries of the American nation,” Peduto said in his inaugural speech. “But we did not only inherit this city from our forbearers, we are also borrowing it from our children.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Bill Peduto takes the oath of office Monday afternoon in Heinz Hall as Pittsburgh's 60th mayor. The ceremony had been planned for outside City Hall but was moved because of concern over frigid temperatures. 

The inauguration is a ticketed event and only a very limited number of seats will be available to the general public. 

Peduto Gets 'Roadmap to Build the Next Pittsburgh'

Dec 31, 2013

Bill Peduto will be inaugurated Monday as Pittsburgh’s 60th mayor, and he takes office with a 5-inch thick binder with 1,100 pages of recommendations from citizens on how to improve the city.

Some 1,200 residents comprising 47 subcommittees delivered their reports and recommendations Monday evening to the mayor-elect and his management team.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Kevin Acklin, chairman of the transition committee and the incoming chief of staff for Peduto. According to Acklin the subcommittees began work Nov. 30 and made about 50 separate recommendations.

Bill Peduto’s 12-year tenure as a Pittsburgh City Councilman comes to a close this week. As he transitions into his role as the city’s 59th Mayor, he said he’s most proud of his role in bringing the city back from the brink of financial ruin.

Pittsburgh entered Act 47 oversight less than two years after Peduto took over his District 8 council seat.

In 2005 and again in 2009, the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think tank, put together a list of recommendations for Pittsburgh’s new Mayor. With Mayor-Elect Bill Peduto set to take the reins in 2014, those recommendations have been updated and re-released.

Wikimedia Commons

The iconic Wholey’s smiling fish sign has looked down over the Strip District for nearly 25 years, but it will soon need to find a new home.

The building which housed Wholey’s Wholesale until 2007 will soon be redeveloped, which means the sign needs to come down.

Jim Wholey, president of Wholey’s, said he wants the public’s help in determining where the smiling fish’s new home should be.

“That’s part of Pittsburgh, that’s part of the fabric,” Wholey said. “We owe it to Pittsburgh to let them decide where that sign’s gonna go.”

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh region was impacted by many major news stories during 2013. From a breakthrough in the stalemate over funding for transportation infrastructure, to a police scandal and the election of a new mayor.

WESA’s Senior News Editor Mark Nootbaar gives some perspective on the year’s top stories.

At the state level, privatization of government functions were a theme for the Corbett Administration.

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