On Topic With Bill Peduto

Mayor Peduto Talks Community Policing, Snow Removal and More

Feb 11, 2015
Andrew Bardwell / Flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto makes his monthly appearance on the program. We discuss the new 'Safer Together' initiative that the mayor hopes will increase public safety and improve community-police relations, raising the minimum wage and ways to make downtown more livable.

Mayor Peduto Pledges to Stand Against NRA Lawsuit

Jan 14, 2015
Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

The new year brings new headlines, including a lawsuit filed today by the National Rifle Association against the City of Pittsburgh. 

Sparked by the passing of Act 192, which allows for suits to be brought against municipalities for passing gun ordinances that are more restrictive than state law, the NRA has brought suits against Pittsburgh and other municipalities, including Philadelphia and Lancaster.

Mayor Bill Peduto joined us in Studio A to discuss the suit. He then went on to discuss other issues including recent events surrounding Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar and new Police Chief Cameron McLay.

For more on the announcement of the NRA lawsuit, follow 90.5 WESA's coverage.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

It’s been about 2 months since Mayor Bill Peduto has sat down in studio A for his monthly live interview.

We catch up with him and his take on the recent purchase of the August Wilson Center, what the election of Tom Wolf for governor means for Pittsburgh, his recent budget address and we’ll follow up on last month’s live community and police forum.

Oh, and what's up with this "Jagoff" in the dictionary thing???

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s acting police chief and Mayor Bill Peduto were two panelists in a discussion on police/community relations as part of the Mayor’s Night on Air at the Community Broadcast Center Wednesday evening.

Tensions have been high between police and the black community in Pittsburgh due to issues that have been building up for decades. Now, Peduto said work is underway to change that.

“We have done more than just hiring a police chief; we have created a culture change within Pittsburgh,” Peduto said.

Peduto cited his hiring of Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar and bringing in a new chief from outside the ranks of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. He also said through years of politics in the department, control over the organization and morale has taken a hit. Acting Police Chief Cameron McLay said he has been welcomed by rank-and-file officers, but he knows change won’t occur overnight.

“Culture is a slow thing to change. It takes years and years and years to change culture,” McLay said. “But effective leaders working together can change climate a lot faster, so that’s what we are trying to do here.”

To start to tackle the issue, Peduto said three critical areas within policing need to be reformed. The first is how officers are recruited.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Like any new city mayor, Bill Peduto has a whole lot on his plate, and room for creative decisions. This month we talk with him about some of his most recent plans for the city, from selecting a new police chief, to improving pre-k education and developing bike lanes on some of the city bridges.

Andrew Bardwell / Flickr

When it comes to selecting Pittsburgh’s new chief of police, Mayor Bill Peduto believes: “Haste in this situation would be at the greater loss of true reform.”

Peduto spoke to Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer Wednesday about the process of hiring a new police chief.

Former police chief Nate Harper resigned his position February 2013 while under investigation for creating an unauthorized slush fund, diverting public money and failing to pay income taxes – charges that ultimately led him to a sentence of 18 months in prison.

Assistant Chief Regina McDonald has been serving as interim chief.

However, the application process for a new chief only began a month ago. Peduto said that while Talent City works to find the best candidate in terms of professional qualifications, he is looking to residents to help with the hiring process.

Throughout the summer, the Public Safety councils in Pittsburgh’s six policing zones have been holding forums to hear input from residents about what they want in a chief of police.

Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr

Right now, most Pittsburghers use their car to get around, but that may change in the near future. First of all, the city lacks sufficient parking, especially downtown. But new transportation options backed by the mayor will make it easier to get around “tahn” without owning a car. Mayor Peduto stopped by Essential Pittsburgh to focus on the city’s transportation goals going forward.

The most immediate issue the mayor has been dealing with was the Uber/Lyft dispute. Peduto said he is behind the two ride sharing companies and calls the ongoing dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission "dysfunctional."

Mayor Bill Peduto on Act 47 & Selecting a New Police Chief

Jun 11, 2014
Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

In the past decade, Pittsburgh has accomplished much: East Liberty was revitalized, the river fronts were beautified, and it's received many accolades from the press, including the United States’ most liveable city. Through all of this, however, the city was in a precarious financial position.

For 10 years Pittsburgh has been under Act 47 oversight for distressed municipalities. For all its improvements, the city has yet to implement a comprehensive financial management system to address legacy costs of debt, pensions, post retirement benefits, workers compensation along with a financially viable long-term capital plan.

Mayor Bill Peduto asked Gov. Tom Corbett in January to keep Pittsburgh under Act 47 state oversight for financially distressed municipalities, saying that while city finances have improved, more economic reforms are needed.

Last week the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, one of two oversight boards for Pittsburgh, called for the city to reduce services by 20 percent. Peduto responded to this while explaining how difficult it has been to get the city’s finances in order.

Bill Peduto / Twitter

Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday that FBI Special Agent Stephen A. Bucar will be Pittsburgh's new public safety director.

He said Bucar brings experience with emergency preparedness, counter terrorism, along with local police experience at the state and municipal levels. And while Bucar has personal ties to this region, he comes from outside Pittsburgh city government. 

“What Bucar gives us is an opportunity to start new,” Peduto said. “We have a lot of work to do to clean up city government, and it starts at the top."

Bringing an Outside Approach to City Government and City Development

From Chicago, to Washington D.C., to Ludwigsburg Germany, since Bill Peduto was sworn in as mayor he’s done some pretty extensive traveling in order to gather and share ideas for a new Pittsburgh vision.

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.

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.