Friday, December 14, 2007

Mayor Ravenstahl vs. Volunteer Historic Hill Citizenry

I missed Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's "Neighborhood Meeting" in the Hill District on Wednesday, December 12, 2007. But I am appalled at what I am seeing and hearing. Your thoughts before I go any further?

Transcript, Part I:

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl: Thank you, I’ll respond to the CBA stuff first.

I support the Hill District Masterplan, that I know that has been discussed, made that commitment sometime ago. I certainly support the resource center. For those of you that are unfamiliar, the city and county agreed to set up a resource center in the Hill District, staff it, to provide opportunities for individuals that come in, uh, to look and, uh, find job opportunities. I support that in the Community Benefits Agreement.

Support the concept of the grocery store in the Hill District

Support in working with, s’cuse me, the YMCA on providing a multipurpose center, uh, in this community. I know we’re talking about the block of Centre Avenue in the Hill District and we’ll do whatever I can to support getting the funding from the state to do that.

Uh, support the SEA and the Penguins, uh, meeting regularly with the community to talk about the construction schedule, the staging, etc., uh, all the opportunities for the, uh, members of the Hill District.

Uh, I do not support cash payments to any organization or individual, uh, in the Hill District. I want to be clear with that. I do not support, for example, Marimba, a cash payment to you to do the Masterplan.

Marimba Milliones [from the background]: I didn’t ask for that, Mayor Ravenstahl…

Mayor: I do support investment in programs and initiatives in, uh, our community and I think there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity, uh, to do that. So, that’s where I stand on the Community Benefits Agreement. In terms of timeframe, uh, I think we can, very realistically, uh, do so, before that, between now and, uh, when it, when the Masterplan goes to the Planning Commission.

I think we’re ready to, uh, put this all in writing. Again, we’re not going to agree on everything but, uh, I can guarantee you that, we’ll, uh, at least have a presentation to you all, uh, before that goes before the Masterplan approval process.

And so, that’s where I’m at on the Community Benefits Agreement and I talked to the County Executive today about that and I think those are great opportunities for the Hill District.

[The Mayor continues for another minute or so, talking about the Pittsburgh Promise and increasing the student population before reopening schools. Then he concludes and the open commenting period begins].

[Ms. Milliones stands and begins asking her question and the exchange between the Mayor and the residents begin, with a distinct discussion on cash v. funding]

We refer you to the dictionary for the denotation and ask you to think about the connotation, especially in a working class, poor, Black neighborhood full of volunteers trying to make their community better:

cash –noun

1. money in the form of coins or banknotes, esp. that issued by a government.

2. money or an equivalent, as a check, paid at the time of making a purchase.

[no one asked him for cash]

funding - noun

1. financial resources provided to make some project possible; "the foundation provided support for the experiment"

2. the act of financing

Thank you, Chris Ivey.


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