Monday, November 08, 2004

Take this message to Harrisburg

This letter has been passed to my city councilmember, Gene Ricciardi, in advance of their trip to Harrisburg.

November 8, 2004

Leaders of the PA House & Senate
Elected Leaders of the City of Pittsburgh

Dear Neighbors and Friends of Pittsburgh,

We need the state's assistance to allow the Pittsburgh region to form its own public, governmental entity, called the Pittsburgh Park District.

Illinois has Park Districts. Pittsburgh needs to have the same. The formation of a Park District should be debated and confirmed by the voters in a spring, 2005 referendum. An introduction of park district concepts are in a position paper at http://DSL.CLOH.Org/v1/


An oversight plan for the city calls for $0 in funding for Pittsburgh's Citiparks for 2006.

We've already told our children that they can't play ball in their Recreation Centers nor swim in the swim pools. Those closings happened in August 2003. The Mayor's 2004 budget was to keep the facilities closed.

In 2002 the Mayor told the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network that he would prohibit the opening of computer labs in some Rec Centers. Labs were promised without charges to the city with donated equipment, services and net fees as per the cable franchise agreement -- all rejected.

Serious conditions swirl in the city with teens: drugs, shootings, and with few places to seek shelter for sport, coaching, friendship, and structured activities. Meanwhile, the Mayor proves again that he won't play well with others. The kids, yet alone the volunteers, coaches, and parents, need relief.

When the Pittsburgh Park District is formed, recreational matters can be solved in open, democratic ways with elected trustees, sunshine laws, and accountability. Then real community can flourish, outside of the grasp of potholes, pension funds, and games of "political chicken with our kids" instigated by city hall. The Park District solution makes for self-reliance, stewardship and bucks against the mayor who has trashed the kids' opportunities and facilities.

Thanks for your consideration and urgent follow-up on this matter as our kids can't wait.

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