Saturday, July 18, 2009

Call for Action for Northside & PIIN

PIIN = Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network.
PIIN members, supporters & friends:

Please Join PIIN on Thursday July 23, 2009, at 5:30 pm to help us fill Calvary Methodist Church on the Northside as we stand with Northside United and other supporters to demand a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) from Continental Development. Our message flows from the Holy Ground Campaign. The city and state are giving millions in land and money to millionaires on the Northshore while our young people are dying in Northside neighborhoods.

PIIN believes that anytime major development takes place in a community, the community should have a voice and benefit from the development. Mayor Ravenstahl has said that the Hill was an exception and there will be no more CBAs in Pittsburgh. We need to win a CBA on the Northside to set/confirm the precedent now so that when development is proposed for other neighborhoods CBAs are the norm not the exception.

Please announce this in your congregations over the weekend and ask friends, family and members of your congregation to come support the justice we are fighting for on the North Side!

Action is being taken to fight for this CBA. Now it's PIIN's turn to weigh in and act on what we believe is fair and just!

The July 23rd Event:

PIIN with Northside United will take the lead on a July 23rd Thursday evening rally at 5:30 pm at Calvary. We are asking your congregation to come out in support of the Northside which deserve some benefit from the development happening in their neighborhood. After a brief program at the church we will we will go by bus or on foot down to the hotel site just a few blocks away to symbolically claim the site as Northside.

Background and Issue

Northside United with the support of Pittsburgh United (PIIN, SEIU, Workers United, Sierra Club, League of young Voters, ACORN, NAACP, One Hill and Northside Common Ministries) has been working for more than a year to get a community benefit agreement from the Rooneys and Continental, their developers of a hotel and amphitheater near the stadiums. Continental developed and manages the Waterfront which brings no benefit to the Homestead community and is a huge collection of low paying jobs. The Rooneys and Continental received the Northside land for 1/10 of its value ($8/square foot) and then got $2.5 million from the state for the project.

Blocks away from this multi-million dollar give-away is the rest of the Northside community which puts up with the negative consequences of the ‘North shore’ development and has been consistently told by Mayor Ravenstahl that there will be no community benefit agreement for the Northside. The city conveniently changed the name of the area closest to the rivers and downtown to the ‘Northshore’, but it has always been part of Manchester and Allegheny (Northside Neighborhoods). Continental and the Rooneys have also consistently refused to even meet with the community.

The remaining leverage the community has is to too put enough pressure on the mayor and city council that they will step in and force an agreement. The community is asking for first access to the jobs at the hotel and amphitheater, that they be family sustaining jobs and for reinvestment in the rest of the community which will suffer the additional traffic, parking problems, pollution, noise and other consequences of this development and the Casino.

Banners and fliers all focus on ‘taking back the Northshore -— reclaiming it as Northside’. Northside United has asked for a meeting with the Mayor and the City Council has already scheduled a public hearing for Monday, July 27th. Northside United members blocked the doors of the DelMonte building on the Northshore which is managed by Continental. Four people sat in front of the doors and got arrested.

Please join us and help create the pressure needed to get this agreement!

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