Tuesday, November 13, 2007

South Side Slopes Neighborhood Assn has a meeting

I have a few items for the SSSNA meeting slated for tonight at 7 pm. This email was sent to Bev, the newsletter coordinator.

I will not be able to attend tonight's SSSNA meeting. However, I'd love for you to interject these three ponits:

1. I'm attending a rally and School Board meeting about Schenley High School and "High School Reform." Schenley HS accomidates HALF of the students at Phillips Elem. This is a neighborhood issue. Sadly, the Superintendent want to close tSchenley and move the esteemed I.B. (International Baccalaureate) program, foolishly, to Reisenstein (near Wiklinsburg).

I'm telling the board about old, yet valid, promises or a re-done Vo Tech option for high school kids in Pittsburgh. It is no wonder that Pgh has five high schools called "drop-out factories" -- as 400-plus students used to thrive at South Vo Tech.

For many reasons, we need to get the SSSNA into the battle on schools. I'd love to see a letter from the Assn Board to the PPS Board and Administration saying that political pressure will come to bear upon those who further cripple family life in the city and hurt our children. Furthermore, Schenley needs to remain open as getting to Reisenstein is NOT a valid option for our kids in grades 6 to 12.

Can the group dedicate 30-minutes to a forum on this topic and allow me to speak at next months meeting?

2. The still closed indoor ice rink has seen the hoped for RFP process get squashed by in-action from the administration without the promised meetings nor community involvement. Director Ashley's statements at the September SSSNA meeting of 'crap' proposals via the RFP in May 2007 was itself "crap." I saw the plans and posted images of them on the intnet. Did you know that one plan would have built a second ice rink and parking garage on the site.

The city didn't do anything, which is par for the course. They didn't notify parents nor community for months when high levels of lead where found in the ground in a Highland Park playground either. Doing nothing when it comes to the kids is all too frequent a response from them.

Furthermore, the SS Park and ice rink has always been a top five issue, but never made it into the top three with the SSSNA. I feel that the political will to do little has a good reason why nothing gets done.

Most of all, I would like to see the SSSNA send a letter to the SSLDC asking them to back off and opt out of efforts to advocate and control the site, plans and engagement with that project. The SSLDC has nothing to do with kids. It will be on their back burner too. They've failed us for years as well.

3. A city council, controller's race and mayor's race happened on Nov. 6, 2007. The SSSNA did NOT hold a candidate forum for these GENERAL ELECTION votes. I attended the event in the spring -- but was NOT permitted to speak. Shame on that. Plus, the September meeting had Luke Ravenstahl there with the Chief of Police and others in the administration acting as political pawns and front people. The board needs to look at what happened, what didn't happen, make amends and resolve to insure that those types of folly are never repeated.

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