Natalia Rudiak

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Mayor Peduto recently announced his support for Natalia Rudiak's call for a Will of Council in regards to an international trade deal that might go straight to Congress without input from state and city representatives. Rudiak, along with other local and national legislators, worries that "fast-tracking" the trade agreement with Asian nations will give multinational corporations new, sweeping offshore profits and limit sovereign governments from regulating environmental quality, land use, food safety and telecommunications. Rudiak joins us to explain her reservations about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Asked to discuss critics' concerns regarding the trade deal, Rudiak explains that one of the biggest fears is loss of employment:

"We're talking about hundreds of thousands of jobs being potentially lost. That's what we saw from NAFTA, that's what we saw from CAFTA, that's what we saw from the U.S./Korea trade deal. ... What's scary about this is that we're talking about 21 countries that represent 40% of the country's GDP, so it's sort of like NAFTA on steroids." -- Natalia Rudiak

Also in the program, 1960s pop star and native Pittsburgher Lou Christie looks back on his musical career as he his honored by the Pittsburgh Rock 'n Roll Legends Award, and travel contributor Elaine Labalme warns us to not wait and to start planning for the beach.

Essential Pittsburgh: A Conversation with Governor Wolf

Mar 16, 2015
Tom Wolf / Flickr

Now that Pennsylvania is transitioning to a full Medicaid expansion, what happens if the Supreme Court decides to unravel Obamacare? And will Gov. Tom Wolf’s death penalty moratorium survive a lawsuit filed by the Philadelphia DA? Hear the answers to those questions in his first Essential Pittsburgh interview since the election.

Regarding his plan for using the sales tax to help the Commonwealth's budget deficit, Wolf explains:

"We simply can't keep doing what we're doing -- that is, consume public goods but not pay for them, and we've been doing that for years and years. It's a bipartisan thing, but we need to finally address that, and be honest about the deficits, and I want to do that. - Gov. Wolf

Also in the program, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak discusses ongoing efforts by UMPC workers to unionize, Evelyn Roche tells the story of Guinness beer, WESA contributor Margaret J. Krauss gives some history of LGBT culture in Pittsburgh, and business contributor Rebecca Harris talks women in the workplace.

pittsburghpa.gov

With two weeks to go before the deadline to file nominating petitions, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak has officially announced her candidacy for City Controller. 

Morgue File

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has approved a six-week parental leave benefit for Allegheny County employees. The policy is modeled after Pittsburgh’s.

“We really like the policy as we look into it for our employees, we just really think paid leave policies really have benefits for children and families and we want to certainly be a family-friendly community,” said Fitzgerald.

Flickr user Brice Hutchinson

In the past, Pittsburgh residents have had a voice in the capital budgeting process, through a series of public hearings usually held in October and November.

The problem with that model, according to Budget Director Sam Ashbaugh, is that the budget is already drafted and has been presented to City Council and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority by that point.

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is taking big steps toward financial transparency.

Officials Wednesday unveiled Fiscal Focus Pittsburgh, a web project that tracks the city’s revenues and expenditures over the last three years, including the 2015 estimated budget.

The United States is one of two countries worldwide that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave to new mothers according to Vicki Shabo, Vice President of the National Partnership for Women & Families. This statistic is from the International Labor Organization who surveyed 185 countries.

That’s why Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak has introduced legislation calling for at least six weeks of full-paid family leave for City of Pittsburgh employees.

The legislation applies to parents of any gender as well as those who choose to adopt or foster children.

Legislation that would give city of Pittsburgh employees six weeks of full paid family leave was submitted in City Council Tuesday.

It would amend the current rules that allow leave, but must be unpaid if all vacation and sick time has been used. The current policy adheres to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak submitted the bill and said it applies to everyone, “regardless of their marital status, or their gender and it also allows employees who have children, who are adopting children, or who are fostering children to take advantage of this.”

This is the third in a three-part series looking ahead to the 2015 priorities with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here and part two here.

If legislation up for debate Wednesday goes through, you could see parking meter prices in Pittsburgh fluctuate depending on the time of day.

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak has introduced a bill that would allow for dynamic prices for parking meters in certain neighborhoods starting in 2015.

“It adjusts the price of parking meters based on parking supply and demand,” Rudiak said. “So it will actually change the price based on how close one is parked say to the main street business district or how far.”

To spur small business growth, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced Tuesday that his proposed 2015 budget will include a sharp increase in spending for storefront and streetface renovation, as well as business district support grants.

Renovation funds are proposed to jump from $75,000 to $360,000. Storefront renovation funds are matching grants of up to $5,000 used by businesses to improve aesthetics, while the streetface program provides businesses with $35,000 in forgivable loans in an attempt to revitalize struggling business districts.

Councilwomen Call for Study of Childcare Centers

Nov 18, 2014

The first initiative of the newly-formed Women’s Caucus of Pittsburgh City Council is a broad examination of childcare centers in the city.

Councilwomen Deb Gross, Darlene Harris, Theresa Kail-Smith and Natalia Rudiak will introduce legislation that they say will improve childcare facilities and the quality of care in Pittsburgh.

The legislation calls for a comprehensive study of childcare providers, which will be used by city government to enhance the care and make necessary changes.

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak is asking Mayor Bill Peduto to look into the sale of an apartment complex. She said how the sale happened could lead to a loss of tax revenue to the city.  

The Cork Factory Lofts in the Strip District were recently sold to GMH Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. But instead of buying the converted lofts outright, GMH purchased the two companies that previously owned the converted lofts and associated properties. The sale included three buildings.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

According to a 2014 report from the Children’s Defense Fund, American children and teens are four times more likely to be killed by gun violence than Canadian kids, 13 times more likely than French kids, and more than 64 times more likely to be killed by guns as children in the UK and Germany.

Barnaby Wasson / Flickr

As Pennsylvania continues a campaign to ensure access to PRE-K programs for all children, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, a representative from Mayor Bill Peduto’s office, Pittsburgh Public Schools, and a group from the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) traveled to New York City to see how that city is implementing universal Pre-K.

Rudiak said one thing is clear: It takes multiple players working together to pull it off.

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Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams are huge drivers of the local economy, but City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said in Wednesday’s committee meeting that she’s currently unable to quantify that contribution.

“As we were talking about Act 47, I was talking with constituents and they would constantly ask me ‘How much money do we get out of the stadiums?’” Rudiak said. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t answer that question.”

Flickr user joseph a

Pittsburgh’s City Task Force on Public Education is set to hold their first meeting Tuesday evening, a little more than three months before they are expected to present their recommendations to Mayor Bill Peduto.

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.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council has proclaimed Tuesday, April 29, 2014 to be “WYEP 40th Anniversary Day” in the city of Pittsburgh.

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak and Council President Bruce Kraus jointly sponsored the resolution.

“Growing up here and growing up in a working class neighborhood … before the days of the Internet … part of the way I would find out about innovative music and bands and different cultural experiences was through WYEP,” Rudiak said.

Less than a week after Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s Open Data initiative officially become law, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak has introduced legislation to work with a California-based company to put all of the city’s budget data online.

A bill introduced Tuesday in City Council would allow the Director of Finance and the Director of the Department of Innovation and Performance to contract with Silicon Valley software company OpenGov.

Councilman Ricky Burgess has spent the last few months hammering away at his fellow legislators with regard to the Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Program.

Pittsburghers might get the opportunity to know a lot more about city government.

City Council heard testimony Thursday on Natalia Rudiak’s legislation to establish an open data ordinance for the city of Pittsburgh.

The ordinance would make information available online to the public -- ranging from city services to infrastructure.

Matt Barron, Mayor Bill Peduto’s Policy Manager, said staff members in city government don’t currently have access to a lot of data, and it makes their jobs difficult.

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.

Pittsburgh City Council chambers overflowed with elected officials, city employees, community leaders, friends and family as the newly elected and re-elected members of the 138th City Council were sworn in.

Natalia Rudiak, Theresa Kail-Smith and Daniel Lavelle all won re-election in their districts in November, while Bill Peduto’s former chief of staff, Dan Gilman, took over the new Mayor’s seat on Council.

Representatives of more than a dozen local food banks and other public service organizations made their annual plea to Pittsburgh City Council for Community Development Block Grant funding on Tuesday.

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank asked for $200,000, which is consistent with what they received in years past.

Pittsburgh Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak said in a news conference Tuesday that workers at UPMC are fighting the same fight many of their grandparents and great-grandparents fought many years ago.

“We should take a page from history," she said. "We shouldn’t have to wait for decades and fight those same battles over and over. We need to stand up now, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Rudiak was joined by City Council President Darlene Harris and Councilman Bruce Kraus as she condemned the latest labor violations that the National Labor Relations Board claims UPMC has committed.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds of protestors sat down in the middle of Fifth Avenue in Oakland outside of UPMC Presbyterian Saturday, singing “Amazing Grace” and calling on the healthcare giant to make some major changes.

Christoria Hughes, 56, works in the dining hall at Presbyterian for $12/hour, and said the rally wasn’t just about the employees of UPMC.

Pittsburgh City Council gave final approval for a $230 million redevelopment project in Larimer, which focuses primarily on East Liberty Boulevard and Larimer Avenue. District 4 Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak cast the lone "no" vote.

Rudiak, who represents Carrick, Bon Air, Brookline, Beechview and Overbrook, said she had reservations about the process, partly because she’s only known about the project for 3 weeks. 

Cars are buzzing by faster than the posted speed limit.

Groups of children are dodging cars trying to make it to the other side of the street.

All of this going on over the shoulder of Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.

The councilwoman, joined by representatives from Bike Pittsburgh and community residents, stressed the need for an upgraded traffic safety system Wednesday outside of the Carrick Regency High Rise along Brownsville Road.