Pittsburgh City Council

City Government
11:46 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Acting Public Safety Director Says He Has To Build Trust Between Police, Community

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is one step closer to filling out his administration, as City Council Wednesday held hearings on the mayor’s recent Public Safety and Management & Budget appointments.

For more than two hours, Acting Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar took notes as he was peppered with questions, concerns and suggestions from council members.

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City Government
3:29 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

City Council Preliminarily Approves Adding Gender Identity as a Protected Class

Transgender activists wore shirts reading "Ask me about the T" at this year's Pittsburgh Pride Parade. Council President Bruce said transgender issues are currently "part of a national debate."
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council took preliminary steps Wednesday to add gender identity and expression as an explicitly protected class with regard to housing, employment and public accommodation.

Council President Bruce Kraus sponsored the legislation and said the issue was brought to his attention by Jason Goodman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, or PSEC.

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Government & Politics
5:12 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council Votes to Continue Funding for Crime Reduction Initiative

Pittsburgh City Council has approved a measure for a professional service agreement between Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the city for the continuation of the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime (PIRC).

This comes with a $150,000 price tag, which Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith questioned.

“I don’t mind funding anything if we see results, but I don’t want to fund something if we don’t see results, and I have not seen results from this program,” she said.

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City Government
9:10 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Heth's Run Valley Slated for Major Facelift

The old Heth's Run Bridge was built in 1914. The land beneath the bridge was long used as an industrial dumping site.
Credit Flickr user Todd Shirley

Heth’s Run Valley hasn’t been much of a valley for a while. The area underneath Heth’s Run bridge—a portion of Butler Street between Morningside and Highland Park—had long been a dumping site for industrial waste. City Councilwoman Deb Gross, whose district includes the area, said many of her constituents didn’t even know a bridge was there.

But that area is slated to get a major facelift, which Gross said has been a long time coming.

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City Government
4:07 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

City to Audit Tax Revenue from Pro Sports, Concerts, Conferences

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak says when constituents asked her how much tax revenue is brought in by pro sports and other large events, she didn't have an answer for them.
Credit Flicr user joseph a

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.”

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City Government
4:13 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Policy Change Will Increase City Pool Access for Low-Income Youth

Kids who received free or reduced cost pool passes through youth groups and other organizations were previously unable to access city pools on evenings and weekends.
Credit Photo courtesy Citiparks, City of Pittsburgh

Swimming pools are the quintessential summer hangout for kids, but when Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith found out children were being turned away because they didn’t have the right kind of pool passes, she decided to take action.

City Council Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that will repeal a city policy preventing kids with pool passes received through youth groups and other organizations from using city pools during evenings and weekends.

Kail-Smith said she wasn’t even aware of the policy until some of her constituents complained.

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Government & Politics
5:15 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

City Council Members Tackle City’s Parking Woes

Whether in Lawrenceville, Downtown, the South Side or the Strip District, many Pittsburghers and visitors to the city complain about parking; either the lack of it or the cost of it.

City Councilman Dan Gilman held a post agenda on the issue Tuesday. Pittsburgh Acting Police Chief Regina McDonald said one of the problems is crowded neighborhood streets.

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City Government
3:13 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

From Data Sharing To Street Paving, Council Proposes Amendments To Act 47 Recovery Plan

The city of Pittsburgh is one step closer to approving its third Act 47 Recovery Plan, after City Council on Wednesday presented and gave preliminary approval to 17 amendments.

“They don’t impact anything financial,” said council president Bruce Kraus. “They really are more philosophical in nature, more or less, about how we want to plan the next five years.”

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Education
3:57 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

With 24 Members And 105 Days Left, Public Education Task Force Holds First Meeting

Woolslair Elementary in Bloomfield was slated for closure last fall, but was spared by the new school board in December.
Credit 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.

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City Government
11:28 am
Tue June 17, 2014

What Pittsburghers Need To Know About Act 47

Credit Illustration courtesy of Pittsburgh City Paper

What is Act 47?

Act 47 is a state oversight program for “financially distressed” cities in Pennsylvania. The state tries to help cities turn around their finances and operations. The name comes from the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47 of 1987).

What’s the history of Act 47?

Pittsburgh has been “financially distressed” for 10 years. The plan that the mayor and city council are currently considering will guide the city from 2014 through 2018.
Who prepares the five-year plan on the state's behalf?

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Government & Politics
3:51 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

City Council Hears From Public On Act 47 Amended Plan

Pittsburgh City Council members heard from the public Monday about the third amended recovery plan for the city.

Pittsburgh has been under financial oversight for a decade. The amended plan, aimed at getting the city out of Act 47 status and closer to financial solvency, sets novel goals: to reduce the city’s deficit and debt burden, maintain the fund balance at an appropriate level, increase pension contributions and spend more on capital construction.

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Education
9:14 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Pittsburgh Council Bends Administration's Ear on Public Schools Task Force

A relatively small spending bill came before City Council Wednesday, but instead of focusing solely on the measure at hand, the legislators used the opportunity to bend the Peduto administration’s ear on the state of public education in Pittsburgh.

The bill would authorize the city to spend $20,000 to hire Preston C. Green as a mediator for the Mayor’s Public Schools Task Force. The legislation creating the body, which was passed in October and amended in April, requires a “trained mediator who shall serve as an ex officio member.”

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City Government
1:20 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Peduto: City's Financial Situation Is 'Grim But Solvable'

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto addressed City Council Tuesday morning while his policy manager Matt Barron looks on.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“It’s not going to be easy.”

That was Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s primary message to City Council and the public Tuesday morning, as he shared details of the Steel City’s dire financial situation and challenged his colleagues in city government to help find solutions.

The address coincides with Tuesday night’s public hearing on the city’s financially distressed status, an event organized by Act 47 coordinators.

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Government & Politics
3:02 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Pittsburgh Controller Releases City Council Audit

Some Pittsburgh City Council members are shelling out funds on advertisements and “self-promotion” instead of community needs, according to an audit released today by Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb.

The audit, which covers 2011 through 2013, recommends that council members develop policies regulating the use of discretionary funds, or “walking around money.” As part of the city’s 2014 budget ($480.9 million), each council member gets $8,000 in annual unrestricted funds.

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Pittsburgh City Council
4:59 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council Honors WYEP For Its 40th Anniversary

Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed Tuesday, April 29, 2014 to be "WYEP 40th Anniversary Day."
Credit 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.

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City Government
2:34 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

What Can You Do With $1.8 Million? Repave 11 Miles of Pittsburgh Streets

Public Works Director Mike Gable says 550 of the city's 1042 miles of roadway need attention. This spring and summer, they'll tackle 40 miles.
Credit Flickr user artnoose

With $1.8 million, you could buy half a million Big Macs, 3,500 iPad Airs or four Lamborghinis.

Or you could use it to repave an additional 11 miles of city streets in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto’s Chief Operations Officer, Guy Costa, said the city scrutinized the 2014 capital budget to find an additional $1,781,298.58 that can be used for street resurfacing.

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Health
2:51 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Pittsburgh City Council Says Ban On Blood Donations From Gay Men Is Discriminatory

Dan Burda (center) smiles after receiving the Will of Council resolution. Also pictured are Councilman Dan Gilman (left) and Dan Burda's mother, Lorraine Burda (right).
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgher Dan Burda’s partner of eight years, Rohn, passed away from a heart attack this year. Like many families of the recently deceased, Burda and his loved ones wanted to donate Rohn’s skin, tissue and organs to someone who needed them.

But they were not allowed to do that because of a long-standing FDA ban on such donations from any man who has had sex with a man.

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City Government
8:08 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Burgess Introduces Priority Communities Initiative for Redevelopment of Troubled Neighborhoods

Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess has introduced four pieces of legislation that he said will help spur development in some of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods.

One piece of legislation would create the Pittsburgh Priority Communities Commission, a body that would be tasked with creating comprehensive redevelopment plans for six to eight neighborhoods that show the most potential for an economic resurgence.

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Transportation
8:42 am
Sun February 23, 2014

City Looks to East Liberty Model for Transit-Oriented Development in Homewood

The Target Store was the anchor of East Liberty's TRID plan, though the store went in well before the TRID was officially created in late 2013.
Credit flickr user BeyondDC

Homewood, once the home of Andrew Carnegie and George Westinghouse, has had more than its share of economic troubles in recent decades.

According to data available from PGHSNAP, Homewood had a population of nearly 31,000 people in 1940. By 2010, that number had decreased 79 percent to 6,442. In 2009, the median income was just under $20,000, and in 2010, 46 percent of residents were living under the poverty level.

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Government & Politics
12:29 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

County Councilman Asks For $15 Million For August Wilson Center

Allegheny County Councilman Bill Robinson (D-Hill District) is asking for $10 million to $15 million in capital funds from the city and county to bail out the financially strapped August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

About $7 million would be used to pay off the center’s unpaid bills, including its mortgage, and keep the facility, which is facing liquidation. The legislation was introduced in County Council by Robinson who did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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Millennials in Pittsburgh
8:45 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Councilman Dan Gilman on Being a Millennial in Pittsburgh

Dan Gilman
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Councilman Dan Gilman is no stranger to Pittsburgh City Council.

From his college days as an intern, to his 10-year stint as chief of staff for now-Mayor Bill Peduto, Gilman is familiar with the city’s political atmosphere.

Now serving the residents of District 8, he is one of the council's youngest members.

Dan Gilman on Pittsburgh's Millennial Generation:

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Government & Politics
3:17 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

City to Implement Nighttime Transportation Solutions Along Carson Street

City Council President Bruce Kraus has been working to find ways to mitigate the negative effects of a bustling nightlife economy on the South Side and other neighborhoods.
Credit Flickr user michaelgoodin

According to City Council President Bruce Kraus, between 15,000 and 20,000 people stream out of South Side bars, venues and pubs around 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night.

That creates public safety problems and significant transportation issues, Kraus said, which is why for the last two years he’s been working with the Responsible Hospitality Institute, or RHI, to find ways to manage the nightlife economy in the city.

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Gun Violence
4:18 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

City Council Declares Tuesday Feb. 18th Marcus White Day

State Rep. Ed Gainey remembers Marcus L. White in Pittsburgh City Council chambers Tuesday.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Marcus L. White, Jr. would have turned two years old on Wednesday.

But when he was just 15 months old, he was killed when someone fired shots into a family picnic on East Hills Drive.

In his honor, City Council declared Tuesday, February 18, 2014 to be “Marcus Lamont White, Jr. Day” in the city of Pittsburgh.

Around three dozen of Marcus’s family, friends, and supporters crowded into Pittsburgh City Council chambers for the proclamation on Tuesday.

Among the speakers was Andre Scott, the cousin of Marcus’s mother, Jameela Tyler.

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Government & Politics
3:50 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Councilwoman Wants Swift Repurposing of Vacant School Buildings in the West End

Finding new uses for vacant school buildings can be difficult.

According to a study released by the Pew Charitable Trusts last year, empty school buildings can cost millions of dollars to maintain and are often sold below market value. The study also found that buildings are easier to repurpose if they have not been vacant for long.

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City Government
7:26 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Mayor, Council Renew City's Commitment to Summer Youth Employment Program

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

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