Friday, May 31, 2013

Fwd: Tim Stevens to Speak Live TODAY AT NOON!!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: The Black Political Empowerment Project(B-PEP)

Tim Stevens, Chairman & CEO of The Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) and Co-Convener of Coalition Against Violence (CAV) Will be  guest speaking live on WESA radio 90.5 (formerly WDUQ) "Essential Pittsburgh" show between 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM THIS AFTERNOON to speak about B-PEP's request for a moratorium on the extraordinary level of houses being demolished in the black community.  Members of B-PEP went to City Council on Wednesday, May 29 with letters requesting a special post agenda it was passed unanimously! We encourage you to call during this live broadcasting. 
  • Call 412-246-2002 from 12pm to 1 pm weekdays to participate in the discussion.
  • Dial 412-256-8783 to leave a question or comment before or after the show
  • The "B-PEP Community Moments Radio Show!"


    On WGBN Radio AM 1150, "The Voice of Urban Pittsburgh," With Odell Richardson, Bill Neal and Lois "Toni" McClendon features conversations about issues, concerns and events of interest to the African American community in the Pittsburgh region. The show is broadcast each first and fourth Saturday of every month from 12 noon to 1 pm.

Below are articles from 3-29-2013 Post Gazette and Tribune Review
B-PEP asks Pittsburgh City Council for special meeting on property demolitions
May 29, 2013 11:52 pm

By Ed Blazina / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Councilman Ricky Burgess should understand the conundrum created by vacant lots and buildings: His council district has about 4,000 of them, many of them in Homewood.

What's the best thing to do with empty buildings? Board them up, leaving them available for squatters and vagrants? Tear them down, the solution favored by neighbors? Then what happens with the empty lots?

For more than two years, Mr. Burgess said Wednesday, he has been working behind the scenes to develop a land bank and establish a process for handling the 

. Now, he said, it's time to make that process more public after the Black Political Empowerment Program asked council Wednesday for a moratorium on demolition in poor communities and a special meeting to discuss vacant property.

"I'm going to engage them in this so they are involved in the process," Mr. Burgess said.

Tim Stevens, B-PEP's chairman and CEO, told council he's alarmed by the number of vacant lots in Homewood and other poor neighborhoods, including many streets with more overgrown lots than active residences. Another 329 Homewood properties are on the city's list for demolition this year, he said.

"How can you have a community when you have no neighbors?" asked Mr. Stevens, who said the atmosphere leads to more crime and less diligence by the remaining homeowners to care for their property. "That's not a community."

He called for many of the buildings to be refurbished by workers enrolled in training 

rather than continuing with demolition.

Mr. Burgess said he will meet with community leaders first, then hold a series of special council meetings to discuss how to accumulate land, care for it until it is ready for redevelopment and hire and train neighborhood residents in demolition and construction.

The scope of the problem is the biggest hurdle. Mr. Burgess estimated it could cost as much as $500 million to 

 with every vacant parcel in his district.

Mr. Stevens found at least one sympathetic ear in Councilman Bill Peduto, who last week won the Democratic nomination for mayor. He said he favors a more measured approach, with the city partnering with nonprofit neighborhood groups to refurbish as many buildings as possible.

"We have the ability to demolish houses that need to be demolished, but that's not all of them," he said. "If you took one of those houses and moved it to Squirrel Hill it would sell for $300,000."

Marissa Doyle, a spokeswoman for outgoing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, was noncommittal about a moratorium on demolition.

"Rehabilitation is always preferred, but when certain properties are deemed a safety hazard by public safety officials, demolition is a possible solution," she said. "We are glad that attention is being brought to the hundreds of condemned properties that can be salvaged, and we are open to any suggested solutions that will help transform these blighted houses into homes for residents."

Ed Blazina:
First Published May 29, 2013 11:49 am

Read more:

Residents ask Pittsburgh to halt demolition of vacant homes

This house at 2722 Hazelton Street in Perry Hilltop, shown, Tuesday, is an example of the blight upsetting some residents of the neighborhood.

By Aaron Aupperlee 

Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 11:47 p.m.
Updated 11 hours ago 

Shakeeta Scott walks by a vacant house on Reed Street in the Hill District each morning.

The roof sags. Windows are missing, broken or boarded. Old tires pile up in the driveway. The garage is wide open, filled with garbage and discarded furniture.

"I don't know what's in there or what's going to jump out," said Scott, 37, who lives just up the road.

"Tear that down. Knock that down," chanted William Johnson, 18, who also lives nearby.

The city has marked 2351 Reed St. for demolition, one of hundreds of buildings it expects to tear down this year. But residents on Wednesday urged city council members to temporarily halt demolitions, especially in less affluent East End neighborhoods, where 329 buildings are on a condemnation list.

Council responded on Wednesday by requiring the Bureau of Building Inspection to consider a neighborhood's plan for the building or its historic context before applying to the city planning department for a demolition permit. The city, community organizations and community development corporations may petition the department for a hearing to halt any demolition.

"We're not saying, 'Don't tear down houses that need to be torn down,'" said Tim Stevens, chairman of the Black Political Empowerment Project. "We think there should be some kind of balance between demolition and rehabbing."

Stevens said the city could use the money it spends to tear down houses to pay for workers to rebuild them. He and others asked council to consider a plan championed by Councilman Bill Peduto during his mayoral campaign to use abandoned buildings as on-job training centers, where city residents could find work, learn building trades and rehabilitate older buildings.

The city spent more than $3.3 million last year tearing down homes and plans to spend $3 million this year.

"To keep things from being demolished, someone has to take responsibility for it," said Paul Loy, the city's demolition manager. "Unfortunately, that rarely happens."

Councilman Daniel Lavelle said it does happen. He can point to rehabbed and reinhabited houses in his district to prove it. Lavelle's district, which includes the Hill District and several North Side neighborhoods, pursues an "anti-demolition" policy, asking the city to spare houses neighborhoods think they can rehabilitate.

Demolishing homes can divide a neighborhood, pitting those who live near the dilapidated buildings against community organizations that want to save them, said Councilman Ricky Burgess, whose district includes Homewood and thousands of vacant properties.

"I think the community groups and the citizens need to be on the same page," Burgess said.

Council intends to conduct a public hearing later on the issue.

Staff writer Bob Bauder contributed to this story. Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or

Read more: 
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

The Black Political Empowerment Project(B-PEP) | C/O The Hill House Center | 1835 Centre Avenue | Pittsburgh | PA | 15219

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fwd: NEWS RELEASE: County Councilman Matt Drozd changed his party affiliation and outlines some serious concerns about extremely misleading and negative campaigning

Matt Drozd is fighting back after being a target of serious mud slinging in a primary for retaining his seat in Allegheny County Council. 

If nothing else, this proves that there are different wings of the R party too. Well, to be sure, his tenure as an R is ended.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Matthew Drozd <>
Date: Fri, May 24, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Subject: NEWS RELEASE: County Councilman Matt Drozd changed his party affiliation and outlines some serious concerns about extremely misleading and negative campaigning

At a news conference today, County Councilman Matt Drozd announced that he has switched his party affiliation to Independent and called upon the Chairman of the Allegheny County Republican Party to resign his chairmanship, and asked the voters to reject three Republican legislators when they are next up for re-election. He also urged his constituents not to vote for his opponent in the Primary, Mr. Baker, who perpetrated false statements that are absolutely not true. Mr. Roddy and the three legislators (see attached endorsement letter which bear the names of Mr. Roddy, Mr. Vulakovich, Mr. Mustio, and Mr. English) continued to support and then endorse Mr. Baker after he made these false accusations.  By not speaking up against such false accusations after the brochures were mailed and continuing to endorse the councilman's opponent, they must also accept the responsibility for condoning his actions….especially as they know all too well that local elected officials did not vote on Obamacare.  These false accusations misled many voters into casting their votes for Mr. Baker.  

The Councilman asked "How can we trust candidates for office and elected officials who convey and endorse untruthful information when either holding an office or running for an office. It is our responsibility to elect and re-elect people who tell us the truth and hold integrity above all else. Those that do not subscribe to a high standard of integrity should not receive or deserve our vote of confidence and should either resign or be voted out of office."

Several times the County Councilman's opponent mailed false brochures (see attached) that claimed Mr. Drozd voted yes to Obamacare when the truth was the County Councilman actually joined other county council members in a bipartisan manner to support a motion to restore monies to disabled and adult Pennsylvanians. In essence, the Councilman simply backed bipartisan legislation that opposed an initiative to end adultBasic.  A letter from County Council President Charles Martoni (also attached) which proves that County Councilman Matt Drozd never voted yes to…..or ever endorsed Obamacare . The truth is that the action of county council was actually in response to the state raiding monies set aside in the cigarette tax pool of money and diverting it to their budget.

The Councilman is letting this be known and changing his Party affiliation not because of the results of his election, but because he is taking a stance on behalf of his constituents who were misled when they cast their votes…….and please note that the Councilman has always put his constituents before party politics.

For further information or to speak with Matt Drozd, you can contact him at 412-364-1600  In the meantime, please pass this on to others so that the electorate are better informed to not vote for these individuals ever again



Friday, May 24, 2013

Pool permit request for Greenway

Mark Rauterkus
Head Swim Coach, PPS Obama Academy
Executive Head Coach, SDA's Swim & Waterpolo Camp

108 South 12th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203


May 20, 2013

Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools

Dear Doctor Lane,

This attached swim pool permit request is important to me. I would like your help in getting it approved. There should be no cost / charges from PPS.

In 2010, Summer Dreamers was at Peabody, and we used the pool in the mornings for a training group. The same case applies in 2013. We want to have practices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 am to 11:30 at PCA / Greenway. Custodians are on duty.

If cleaning needs to occur, do that on Mondays, Wednesdays or Saturdays.

We wish to start on July 1, 2013.

We wish to end at the end of August.

I will also send this request to Athletics, the Obama Athletic Director, the Obama Principal, the PCA Principal and the Gifted Office.

Myself and our people have all the necessary paperwork, clearances, and certifications. Plus, we have an extra measure of insurance as well so there is no reason to deny this vital request. I had written to you about this in past weeks and have heard nothing. I have also made the request to our new AD at Obama Academy as well.

It would be way better to practice at Obama Academy, but, there are some building things happening there and permits are not available to us there this summer, so I understand. Being that we are already using the pool in the afternoons at PCA, it makes sense to go there. Plus, Obama is a city-wide magnet so we have and continue to attract west end kids as well.

Thanks for your reply.

Mark Rauterkus

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fwd: Please fill out this survey on the Pittsburgh Public Schools District work

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Willson, Albert Edward IV" <>
Date: May 22, 2013 3:59 PM
Subject: Please fill out this survey on the Pittsburgh Public Schools District work
To: "Willson, Albert Edward IV" <>



Pittsburgh Public Schools has an urgency to think differently about how it delivers a 21st Century education to all students – especially during a time when revenues are flat and expenditures are increasing. The District faces the challenge of closing a $50MM budget shortfall while ensuring that the structures are in place to support its vision that 80% of Pittsburgh Public Schools students earn a post-secondary degree or workforce certification. In January 2013, the District embarked on a large scale visioning process called Envisioning Education Excellence: A Plan for All of Pittsburgh's Students to address the current state challenges and future goals of the District. Continued engagement of students, teachers, principals, funders, and the broader community is critical to the success of this project.


In an effort to incorporate the community's feedback on Pittsburgh Public Schools into the Envisioning work, we'd like for you to take this short survey. It should take ~10 minutes to complete and your responses will remain anonymous. Your input will be used internally to assist in future decision making and evaluate proposed actions for the District.


You can find the link to the survey here: Pittsburgh Public Schools Online Survey. It will be open until Friday, May 31st.


Please forward this message along to your networks so that others can take the survey. If you want to learn more about the work we are doing, please visit our website: Envisioning Educational Excellence. You may also feel free to email with any questions.


Kind regards,

The Pittsburgh Public Schools "Envisioning Excellence" Team



Eddie Willson Director of Operations, Student Support Services

pittsburgh public schools

341 S. Bellefield Ave. Pittsburgh, pa 15213   Rm. 428

412-622-3985 (W)  | 412-818-8659 (C)  |




Monday, May 20, 2013

Fwd: Will You Be Voting for the Most Bike Friendly Candidate?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "BikePGH" <>
Date: May 20, 2013 2:43 PM
Subject: Will You Be Voting for the Most Bike Friendly Candidate?
To: <>

"All the bike/ped news, events, and action alerts fit to email"
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Learn Where the Candidates Stand On Our Issues Before You Vote


Biking and walking are political issues.

When you choose to get around by foot or by bike, you are addressing critically important issues: personal health, air quality, oil dependence, economics, infrastructure, and safety.

Making the choice easy and safe for people to use a bicycle or to walk for basic transportation is often up to our elected officials and their commitment to dedicate the financial resources needed to make our streets safe for everyone whether they are 8 years old or 80. This is why, since 2007, we have been conducting a Q&A for our prospective leaders during their election campaigns. 

Before heading to the polls, please take a moment and learn what each candidate will do to make Pittsburgh better for biking and walking.

Thank you for participating in the We Walk. We Bike. We Vote. campaign. Because of you our issues were front and center this election.


Scott Bricker
BikePGH Executive Director

Click on the Candidate's name below to find out where they stand on biking and walking.

2013 Mayoral Candidates
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If you are not sure which Council District you are in, click here for the City of Pittsburgh's interactive map.

Council District 2
  • Theresa Kail-Smith – Did not respond
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Fwd: Join Us for Our Summer Social on Friday, May 31

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "The Sprout Fund" <>
Date: May 20, 2013 12:02 PM
Subject: Join Us for Our Summer Social on Friday, May 31
To: <>

If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.

Share This:
Summer Social - May 31

Sprout is "So Ready for Summer" and especially our annual Summer Social! Please join us at this free Open House on Friday, May 31 from 5:30 - 9:30pm.

Get creative with craft projects, screen printing, and a beach scope station, plus music by DJ duo Tracksploitation and surf-rock from the Vertigo-Go.

Enjoy complimentary refreshments and check out some of the projects recently funded by Seed Awards and Social Innovation eXchange:

Thanks to all of the Sprout Donors for their support! Please join them and help support projects enhancing our community with your gift to Sprout today.

For more information on our Summer Social, please visit

5423 Penn Avenue | Pittsburgh, PA 15206-3423 US

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