Pittsburgh City Council

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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City in Transition
2:18 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

City Council Grills New Peduto Appointees for Legal and Tech Teams

Debra Lam (L) is Peduto's choice for Chief Innovation & Performance Officer, while Lourdes Sanchez Ridges (R) is his choice for City Solicitor.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto’s nominees to head the city’s legal and tech teams came before City Council Wednesday.

The mayor has tapped Lourdes Sanchez Ridge to be the next city solicitor, while Debra Lam is his choice for the newly created chief innovation and performance officer position. As part of that position, Lam would also be in charge of City Information Services, but she said it’s not primarily a technology position.

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City Government
5:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Concerns About Land Bank Legislation Aired in City Council

Pittsburgh City Council had their first opportunity to discuss Deb Gross’s proposed land bank legislation as a group on Wednesday. The bill was first introduced on Jan. 14.

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City Government
4:33 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

In a Preliminary Vote, City Council Denies Historic Status to Produce Terminal

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Deb Gross’s controversial bill to designate the Strip District’s Fruit Auction & Sales Building as a historic structure was voted down in a committee meeting today.

Ahead of the vote, Gross made her case for the building one final time.

“It really makes the Strip District, the Strip District. It’s a defining location,” said Gross. “If you’re talking about where to meet, where to park, where to go. When you picture the Strip District in your mind, you see this building in your mind’s eye.”

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City In Transition
2:00 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Peduto's Early Retirement Plan for City Employees No Longer Tied to Pensions

Mayor Bill Peduto’s early retirement plan for city employees was once again brought before City Council on Wednesday, but with one major change.

“This program has nothing to do with pensions,” Peduto’s Chief of Staff, Kevin Acklin, told the legislative body. “It’s a separate benefit that we would propose to make available to these employees if they so elect, or if their service is terminated.”

The change comes after rumblings that tying early retirement to pensions might not be allowed under Act 47 oversight or by the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System. 

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City Government
12:38 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

With Peduto's Support, Rudiak Introduces Open Data Bill in Council

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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:52 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Pittsburgh's New City Council President Focused on Open Communication

New Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Bruce Kraus was sworn in as the new President of the Pittsburgh City Council on Monday. Although Kraus has often been allied with former council member and now Mayor Bill Peduto, he vows to be an independent voice in city government.

Moving forward, he says he's especially interested in bringing more collegiality to a somewhat factioned city council.

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City Government
4:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Bruce Kraus Elected President of Pittsburgh City Council

Council President Bruce Kraus addresses the crowd in Council chambers.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Bruce Kraus said he couldn’t get the old song “It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring)” out of his head this morning, as he prepared for the vote that would confirm him as president of the 138th Pittsburgh City Council on Monday.

“It may be the coldest day that the city has seen in the last 10 to 20 years, but in our hearts it is spring, because we are experiencing a true and genuine rebirth,” Kraus said.

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City Government
3:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

City Council to Hold Meeting on Illegal Dirt Bike and ATV Riding

It is illegal in the state of Pennsylvania to ride dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, on city streets.

But Carrick resident Donna Williams said that hasn’t stopped a group of teenagers from tearing down Kirk Avenue on their dirt bikes and ATVs.

Williams said the young men also have made a habit of riding their vehicles in Birmingham Cemetery.

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City Government
3:30 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Gilman Says He Won't be a 'Rubber Stamp' for Former Boss Peduto

As Bill Peduto is sworn in as mayor of Pittsburgh, his former chief of staff will move into his old City Council seat.

Dan Gilman won the District 8 seat in a landslide victory in November, clinching 89 percent of the vote.

District 8 includes Shadyside, Squirrel Hill North and North Oakland. Gilman, who worked with Peduto for eight years, says the relative safety and economic stability in his district will free him up to focus on other parts of the city.

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City in Transition
3:30 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Who Will Be The Next Council President?

The first order of business after City Council swears in its newly elected members Jan. 6 is to choose a new president who will run the council for the next two years. The semi-annual election is always fraught with back room deals and unlikely alliances.

“That vote won’t be decided until five minutes before that meeting,” said Jim Motznik, former Pittsburgh City Councilman (2001-2010) and current District Municipal Court Justice.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Councilwoman Deb Gross Hopes to Manage Growth in East End

Pittsburgh’s newest City Council representative, Deb Gross, won out against four other candidates in a special election, after District 7 representative Patrick Dowd vacated his seat in July.

Gross took her seat at the beginning of December, one of the busiest times of the year for the council.

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City Government
4:49 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Vote on Historic Designation of Produce Terminal Delayed Again

A vote on whether the Strip District’s Fruit Auction and Sales Building should be designated as a historic structure will be delayed another week.

Council’s newest member, Deb Gross, represents the Strip District, and is in favor of preserving the building to the fullest extent possible.

“Having said the word 'preserve,' everyone  understands that some modifications are going to be needed to that property in order for it to achieve a positive function in the Strip District and a positive function in the business mix,” Gross said.

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City Government
1:16 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

With Council Approval, Red Light Cameras Are Coming to Pittsburgh

Pittsburghers who have a habit of cutting it close when driving through yellow lights may want to make some adjustments.

City Council passed a bill Tuesday to install automated red light enforcement systems, also known as “red light cameras,” at the city’s most dangerous intersections.

Councilman and Mayor-elect Bill Peduto said he was supportive of the legislation, and that he had introduced a similar bill several years ago.

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Community
4:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Demonstrators To Call On Peduto, City Council To Keep Pittsburgh A 'Human Rights City'

Eight state and local organizations are coming together to put the issue of human rights on the minds of Pittsburghers.

Demonstrators are expected to gather outside downtown’s City-County Building Tuesday on International Human Rights Day to call on City Council and Mayor-elect Bill Peduto to ensure Pittsburgh’s future as the 5th “Human Rights City” in the U.S.

In April 2011, City Council issued a proclamation declaring Pittsburgh to be a” Human Rights City”—meaning its citizens strive toward bettering the city’s living conditions.

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City Government
7:58 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Does City's Tech Team Have the Resources to Implement Peduto's Data-Driven Approach?

Mayor-elect Bill Peduto and his team have repeatedly said they want to implement a data-driven approach to governance, but in Tuesday’s budget hearing, questions arose as to whether City Information Systems, or CIS, has the resources to provide the kind of data the future mayor will need.

CIS is responsible for a wide variety of tasks, including, but not limited to, network administration, website development and maintenance, software development, voice and data communications and operating the 311 response center.

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City Government
7:47 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Urban Redevelopment Authority Facing Massive Cuts in 2014

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority is facing massive cuts under Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s proposed 2014 budget.

At a City Council budget hearing on Tuesday, Robert Rubenstein, acting executive director of the URA, said he was disappointed with the proposed budget’s $2.2 million cut to the authority’s budget.

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City in Transition
3:23 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Pittsburgh City Council Delays Early Retirement Vote

At the request of the Peduto transition team, the Pittsburgh City Council opted Tuesday to wait at least another week before voting on an early retirement offer. Debate last week indicated that the vote would have been close and that there were still several unresolved issues.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:40 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Jockeying Begins For the Role of City Council President

Current City Council President, Darlene Harris
Credit pittsburghpa.gov

As Bill Peduto gets set to take over the mayor's office, in Pittsburgh City Council the jockeying to overtake Darlene Harris as president has begun.

Pittsburgh City Paper editor Chris Potter says in his opinion, the three likely candidates would be Harris, Ricky Burgess and Bruce Kraus.

While both Burgess and Kraus bring more diversity to a position that has been predominantly heterosexual and white, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Nafari Vanaski says the focus should be on their credentials, not just the fact that they represent minority groups.

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City Government
3:33 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Budget Director: City Needs $20 Million in Additional Revenue

City Council Monday held a hearing with Budget Director Bill Urbanic. The takeway: The city is doing OK, but it could do better. Urbanic said the city’s margin between revenues and expenditures is “razor thin.”

“We’ve addressed many of the underlying problems in the last few years, with the help of Act 47 oversight,” Urbanic said. “The 2014 budget shows we’re staying balanced, as usual, but revenue is still going to be an issue, now and into the near future. We need at least $20 million annually.”

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City Government
12:40 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Peduto's Early Retirement Plan for City Employees Moves Forward

Mayor-elect Bill Peduto saw his plan to offer early retirement to some city employees move forward in City Council Monday.

The plan would allow 136 city employees, whose age plus years of employment equals 70 years, to begin collection their pensions early. Currently that number has to equal 80. The employees must also be at least 50 years old and have no less than 8 years of service to the city.

Peduto says this is all part of his vision for a major shakeup at City Hall.

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