Mayor designates Chief Cam McLay

Pittsburgh’s next Police Chief will be Cameron McLay of Madison, WI, barring any major negative revelations over the next two weeks.

Mayor Bill Peduto emphasized McLay’s background as a student and teacher of community police-relations, and how he came across as heartfelt. His 35 years experience include 29 at the Madison PD, including SWAT.

Chief McLay will be busy in this City of Champions. Here are some notes on his cork-board:

City leadership has built a less diverse force over the past four years, since the ACLU sued it over a lack of diversity.

Police have now confirmed that in recent years they refused to implement a major crime-stopping strategy, despite its being touted by politicians during election times.

Police are now charging a man they mistook for someone else then shot and paralyzed during a traffic stop; that suspect is now alleging civil rights abuses. Police face yet another lawsuit for having questionably arrested someone outside of a community meeting about police-community relations. Following a violent confrontation at Pridefest, internal City investigators remain silent into their 12th week. The violent arrest by three officers of an innocent and unarmed youth continues to reverberate. And the clash in Ferguson, MO accentuates the frustration of many city-dwellers.

Finally, the Administration is in contract negotiations with the police union, and is struggling with some noticeably stubborn stains of corruption.

Welcome to Pittsburgh, Chief McLay! Or should we say, “Welcome to the jungle”. Don’t worry, we also have walkable neighborhoods and great cultural amenities, i.e. fun and games.

MORE:  P-G, Zullo & Navratil & vice-versa; Trib, Bauder & Harding; C-P Blogh, Rebecca Nutall; WESA, Gavin & Garcia; PghBizTime, Kusic & Gough

Labor Day unity runs deeper than Unions

No more bets! Our Labor Day ’14 edition begins with this story from PGHBIZTIME:

Rivers Casino employees [picketed] in front of the casino’s front entrance [last] Thursday to demand an end to what they refer to as “slashed hours and benefits.”

Workers contend there have been deep reductions in the number of full-time positions in favor of part-time positions that do not qualify for health insurance. (Justine Coyne)

For a working parent or other person, it can be hard or tricky to gain reliable access to preventative, non-emergency and rehabilitative health care — in this economy and in the present health care system.

Unionization is one way workers have acquired such stabilities, affording them the leisure to raise, educate and invest in their children and communities.

But worker solidarity is much more instinctive than that.   Continue reading

Interim Land Bank Board Choosing its Battles

Bits of Wisdom

Bits of Wisdom

Policies and procedures discussed at today’s meeting of the Interim Board of the PGH Land Bank had to do with PRIORITIES FOR THE USE OF REAL PROPERTY.

“Fears regularly expressed are that the land bank would speed up the process of gentrification in their neighborhoods,” explained Board member Dan Woods.

“So the thought is this should stabilize and revitalize these communities, and also ensure that these residents are not displaced as a result of land banking from those communities.”

Woods’ report centered around a strong recommendation that the Pittsburgh Land Bank model its policies and procedures after Continue reading

Land Bank: The Past. It’s Prologue.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Here are minutes from the first seven Pittsburgh Interim Land Bank Board meetings, spanning June and July.

In case you missed it, here is my own story from mid-July.

Below is a tale of the Interim Land Bank Board meeting of August 14.  It began with a fiery little civics lesson, and ended productively.

Another more recent board meeting just ended and a post about it is here.

ON the 14th, Board Chair Jerome Jackson announced that as part of ongoing discussions with foundations Continue reading

The season of “Wait for it, Wait for it…”: A critique sandwich!

Bill Peduto’s techniques for recruiting talent have put a bunch of really able and well-qualified people into important City positions. That is no longer in dispute.

The Mayor is good at sticking to his guns. Some thought his internal and external processes too tardy, slow, cumbersome, silly or prejudicial, but there was never any question of his hastening or curtailing them. Even when perhaps three or four out of his scores and scores of designees for Directorships, Deputy Directorships, staff, as well as Authority or Commission seats caused the slightest commotion, he fought tenaciously in defense of them.

The strategies are paying off. We have seen the cavalry arrive
at the Continue reading

The Strip’s Produce Terminal: Now, isn’t that special!

Strip District, Heinz History Center.

5th Floor, French and Indian War.

A life-size, painted, period-costumed Native American tribal chief greets you upon exiting the elevator, which would be ludicrous in any other context.

Turn left towards an enormous unadorned gathering hall, with a small stage and a massive wall-mounted projection screen bearing the agenda for a meeting to consider who will redevelop a 5-block long, hundred-year old “Produce Terminal”.


The URA was hosting this rodeo, Continue reading