Pittsburgh City Council

Essential Pittsburgh
9:05 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

The Results Are In: Analysis of the Pittsburgh Primary Races

Signs outside a polling place in the neighborhood of Beechview
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The polls opened at 7am Tuesday for the Pittsburgh Democratic Primary election.  Turnout at most voting places was light, despite a hotly contested mayoral race and contested city council positions.

At the end of the night, City Councilman Bill Peduto accepted the democratic nomination for Mayor, incumbent City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak kept her place in Pittsburgh's southern neighborhoods, Daniel Lavelle kept his city council seat in district 6, and Bill Peduto's former council seat went to his former Chief of Staff, Dan Gilman.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:23 am
Mon May 20, 2013

City Council News With Noah

WESA reporter covers Pittsburgh City Council and County Council
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

Legislation to change the powers of the Citizen Police Review Board is up for a final vote on Thursday.  Currently, the CPRB reviews new police policies after they are implemented, but the new legislation would alter this system resulting in the board reviewing  policies before they take effect. Sponsoring Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, who originally wanted to publish an abridged version of the police rule book until it was found to be against state law, says he's hoping to use the CPRB as the "eyes and ears" of the public regarding police policies.

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Property Taxes
9:46 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Pittsburgh Councilman Proposes Property Tax Relief Program for 2015

A map of the concentrations of roughly 20,000 homeowners who would be eligible for a 2015 property tax relief program. Red and yellow areas are the least dense. Blue areas are the most dense.
Credit Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council will consider new legislation from Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess that would lay the groundwork for a 2015 property tax relief program for city residents who've both owned their homes for more than ten years and paid higher tax bills following the 2012 property reassessment.

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Organized Labor
5:07 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Food Workers at Rivers Casino Garner Pittsburgh Council Support for Union

The month-old unionization effort of food service employees at the Rivers Casino was boosted with a bit of political clout on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution in support of the proposed union, which could band together some 800 workers at the North Shore gambling house.

The union would include waiters, banquet servers, floor workers and others spread out across the casino's five internal restaurants. The labor group Unite Here! would administer the union. A spokesman said the group has no experience organizing casino dealers or security guards.

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Public Safety
2:21 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Overhauls Police Training for Domestic Violence Response

Pittsburgh City Council has given unanimous passage to a set of bills that will revamp the way city police officers are trained to respond to domestic violence incidents.

All nine City Council members agreed to adopt the Maryland Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program, a step-by-step questionnaire process used by responding officers to determine the victim's risk of physical abuse. The officer would then be required to call the hotline for the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and ask the victim to speak with the operator.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:55 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Pittsburgh City Council This Week

Noah Brode is the City Council reporter for 90.5 WESA
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

    

Last week, Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval to Councilman Ricky Burgess's bills to reform the police bureau's domestic violence response policies.  One bill pays for training under the "Maryland Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program," and the second bill changes the city code to reflect the new policies. A final vote comes Tuesday.

When receiving a 911 call regarding domestic violence, responders must ask the callers a series of questions to determine the risk of imminent harm to the victim. Afterward, the officers must offer to call a women's shelter to help the victim.

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Public Safety
4:26 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Despite Opposition, Pittsburgh Council Passes Homewood Gunshot Detection System

Though called a "reactionary solution" and a "distraction" by its detractors, legislation to install a $1.15 million gunshot detection system in the violent neighborhood of Homewood passed Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday.

Each of the three bills passed 7-2, with Councilman Patrick Dowd and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak the only members to vote against them.

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Public Safety
7:42 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Pittsburgh Police Ready to Welcome 4 New Dogs

A police dog on duty during the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit of 2009.
Credit Nigel Parry/Flickr

Although $7,000 may sound expensive for a German Shepherd puppy, it's not too bad of a price if you ask Pittsburgh Police Sergeant Chris Micknowski.

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Public Safety
3:42 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Approves Gunshot Detection System for Homewood

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to three bills that would pay $1.15 million to set up and operate a system to detect any gunfire in Homewood and report it to police.

The two companies that would be hired to install the pilot program told council that the technology provides a wealth of data to police and aids in capturing and prosecuting criminals, all using a tandem of rooftop microphones and streetlight-mounted cameras.

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Government & Politics
12:08 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

City Council Update with WESA’s Noah Brode

Noah Brode is WESA's City Council Reporter
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  Happening now in the city council, a “Responsible Hospitality Initiative” spearheaded by Councilman Bruce Kraus would see off-duty police officers patrolling the South Side bar corridor on weekend nights. Also, a mayoral endorsement for State Rep. Jake Wheatley from the newly-founded Pittsburgh Black Political Convention. WESA’s Noah Brode brings us up to speed on these issues as well as possible changes to valet parking in the city.

Police
4:30 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Pittsburgh Police Hope to Digitize Daily Activity Reports

A bill making its way through Pittsburgh City Council would allow the Bureau of Police to build a software system for filing digital versions of daily activity reports.

Each officer currently writes his or her daily reports by hand, which costs time and makes research difficult, according to John Warren, executive assistant to acting Pittsburgh police chief Regina McDonald.

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Pittsburgh City Council
1:33 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Approves Elimination of Mayoral Petty Cash Fund

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to give preliminary approval to a bill that would terminate a $10,000 "imprest fund" used by the mayor at his own discretion primarily for travel expenses.

Though he didn't suggest that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has improperly used the 18-year-old fund, sponsoring Councilman Corey O'Connor said he thinks the mayor should go through the same process of reimbursement for travel expenses that's followed by all city employees.

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Essential Pittsburgh
12:09 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

City Council News with Noah Brode

Noah Brode is WESA's Pittsburgh City Council Reporter
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  We check in with WESA reporter Noah Brode for a look at Pittsburgh City Council. This week the council will be taking a final vote on legislation that would launch an audit of the healthcare eligibility of city employees' and retirees' dependents. Also a preliminary vote on a bill that would eliminate the "mayoral imprest fund." A bank account that can hold up to $10,000 at a time for the mayor's as-needed travel expenses. New funding for the Urban Redevelopment Authority is being allocated. And several bills to change Bureau of Police policies are still in the works.

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Immigration
4:33 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Urges Congressional Action on Immigration Reform

Pittsburgh City Council voted Wednesday to issue a resolution that urges Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package.

Authored by Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, the Will of Council document demands an easier process for foreigners to become U.S. citizens.

"There is no reasonable system for people to become citizens of this country," Rudiak said. "That's why we have 11 million people living in the shadows. If we actually had a reasonable pathway to citizenship, people would be doing that."

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Pittsburgh City Council
11:30 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Bill Would Repeal Mayor's Special Expense Fund

Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O'Connor introduced a bill Tuesday to repeal a 1995 law that set up a special "imprest fund" from which the mayor could withdraw up to $10,000 at a time for travel expenses.

O'Connor said he is not suggesting that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl or any other city leader used the fund illegitimately. Rather, he said his legislation simply requires the mayor to file for travel expenses via the same process used by all other city employees.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:44 am
Mon April 8, 2013

City Council Update with Noah Brode

City and County Council reporter Noah Brode
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  Happy Monday! 90.5 WESA reporter, Noah Brode gives us our weekly update on Pittsburgh City Council.  More in the ongoing discussions of police fees for secondary detail work, funding for new police vehicles, and healthcare eligibility for dependents of city employees have all been major topics of discussion.  Noah also gives us reaction to County Council's decision last week to allow only lawyers to represent citizens in property reassessment appeals cases.

Pittsburgh
7:27 am
Sun April 7, 2013

Pittsburgh Council to Consider Increase to Liquor License Transfer Fee

Citing the high number of establishments that subvert the city's higher liquor license fees by simply transferring licenses in from other municipalities, Pittsburgh City Council members said they're crafting legislation to substantially increase the city's license transfer fee.

At its Wednesday meeting, Council ordered a post agenda meeting to discuss the issue with experts. If passed, such legislation might either stem Pittsburgh's rising number of liquor licenses by discouraging transfers or serve to help fill the city's coffers.

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Pittsburgh City Council
3:30 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Approves $7.2M for New Vehicles, Police Cars

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approved a $7.2 million bill to purchase new police vehicles and other additions to the city fleet, setting up the legislation for a final vote next week.

For the Bureau of Police, the list includes 31 new patrol cars, 12 new police motorcycles, nine unmarked cars and four K-9 vehicles.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:59 am
Mon April 1, 2013

City Council News with Noah Brode

Noah Brode is the Pittsburgh City Council reporter for 90.5 WESA
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  90.5 WESA City Council reporter, Noah Brode talks about some interesting bills regarding police that will be up for discussion this Wednesday. A continuation of the discussion of bank accounts for secondary officer detail, policies for off duty officers and restarting discussion of a new domestic violence policy for Pittsburgh police. 

Biking
10:08 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Plans for Bike Share Program Advance in Pittsburgh Council

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to legislation that sets up an account for a bike-share program in the city slated for 2014, although no city funds would be used for the $3 million initiative.

The committee vote Wednesday advanced two bills regarding "Pittsburgh Bike Share" to a full Council vote on Tuesday, where final approval is expected.

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Development
1:14 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Bill Would Promote 'Camouflaged' Cell Phone Towers in Pittsburgh

Some examples of cell phone towers hidden within other structures.
Credit Pittsburgh City Council District 7

The Pittsburgh Planning Commission is reviewing legislation that would create incentives for communications companies to conceal cell phone towers and antennas within regular urban structures.

A Pittsburgh resident originally proposed the idea to District 7 Councilman Patrick Dowd, who introduced the measure to Council on Tuesday.

District 7 communications manager Nathaniel Hanson said the legislation would encourage companies to hide their new antennas within the most workaday buildings and objects.

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Essential Pittsburgh
11:03 am
Mon March 25, 2013

City Council Update with Noah Brode

Noah Brode is City Council reporter for 90.5 WESA
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode gives us a weekly update on funding approval for Pittsburgh's Bike Share program. And we'll discuss plans for the first steps in the redevelopment of the Civic Arena.

Property Taxes
3:48 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

State-Level Bills Would Prevent Local Challenges to Nonprofit Tax Exemptions

Two bills up for full votes in the state legislature would prevent municipalities from challenging the tax-exempt statuses of nonprofit organizations by transferring that power to the General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution condemning Senate Bill 4 and its counterpart, House Bill 724. The former is up for a Senate vote on Wednesday.

Because the bill would change the state constitution, it would need to pass in two consecutive legislative sessions and be approved by a voter referendum.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:35 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Pittsburgh City Council News with Noah

WESA City Council Reporter Noah Brode gives us an update on council legislation.
Credit 90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

  90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode gives us a weekly look at Pittsburgh City Council. We talk about how council members hope to clean up police accounts and improve police staffing and promotions.

City Finances
12:16 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Questions City's Cash Management

As the FBI continues its investigation of the Pittsburgh Police Bureau's handling of finances, the City Council is exploring whether there should be an overhaul of cash management policies citywide.

The FBI is looking into the depositing of checks meant for the police bureau into an unauthorized account at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union.  Federal agents took records from the credit union and police finance and special events offices.

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