The Comet submitted several questions, one of which related to the following:
Here is the complete text of Mayor Ravenstahl's statement on the Mega Nonprofit's agreement to pay the City an unspecified amount of money over the next three years -- less than in previous years, and far less than what the ICA boards recommend.
The nonprofit community is a key partner in the City's success. I am pleased with the actions taken by the Pittsburgh Service Fund and am thankful for their willingness to support the residents of the City of Pittsburgh.
Local Democrats like Jim Ferlo and Doug Shields, to say nothing of long-suffering Tony Pokora, are advocating for amendments to the state non-profit law to provide a little equity. To date, the Mayor's vaunted "discussions" have gotten us nowhere -- and this pitiful non-statement in reaction to UPMC and the rest proves it.
The nonprofits go on to say they will be monitoring the City of Pittsburgh closely, making sure it adheres strictly to the budgetary pain and sacrifice mandated by the ICA Board.
That is, except for the ICA's recommendation for those nonprofits?
Are you looking out for us, Luke Ravenstahl?
TOMORROW: Four dueling community meetings on community benefits agreements and / or public safety.
The first one to have been widely publicized was the Kimberly Ellis AKA Dr. Goddess meeting, the "critical analysis of the community benefits movement" set up by the Africana Studies department at the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Ellis repeatedly attempted to get reps from Pittsburgh United to join on the panel; two spots were available to them. However, it seems the message never got through in quite the right channels.
Pittsburgh United is also hosting its own exploratory discussion of community benefits agreements, somewhere on the North Side, at the same time. The timing of the two events, we are told by Pittsburgh United, was totally unrelated.
Reports have surfaced that Councilwoman Tonya Payne is also holding her own big discussion of community benefits tomorrow night, also by coincidence (it is a busy week). Since Tonya Payne and Pittsburgh United are allied together in the One Hill CBA coalition, this is surprising.
Dr. Kimberly Ellis tells us that she, the Rev. Johnny Monroe, and Marimba Milliones were all recently expelled from the One Hill CBA coalition.
Another great fat data point on this wheel can be found here:
Vocal casino opponents accused of shilling for union (Justin Vellucci, TRIB)
"That's the only thing that was articulated to us, as what they knew they wanted to do," said Joseph R. Lawrence, president of the Leadership Conference. "If it weren't for the need for the union portion of the deal, there really wouldn't be any issues here."
"One of the ways to make sure that casino jobs are decent jobs is to have Mr. Barden say, 'If people want to have a union, it's their choice and I won't interfere,' " said Tom Hoffman, Pittsburgh United's executive director and a former Service Employees International Union employee. "There's no other way to guarantee the jobs will be good jobs."
That is fair to say, Tom. Yet what we don't understand is, once the casino is operating and a workforce is established, it has a normal right to organize. Why not just arrange for open union elections at that point? You should be organizing in advance of that happy occasion.
Why must unionization under SEIU and UNITE-HERE be "baked in" to the development process?
Why shouldn't these communities use what little bargaining power they have entirely for a favorable master plan, economic development funds, and other community initiatives?
Oh yeah, we said four meetings tomorrow. The City of Pittsburgh and its Police Department are putting on its own meeting on public safety, and presumably civic engagement.
This is wonderful, and anybody who accuses them of scheduling against these other meetings is being ridiculous.
However, we expect that over the coming weeks and months, Mayor Ravenstahl gets active in sitting down with these warring parties on the North Side and in the Hill District, and getting them to agree on a few things. These developments are too big and important to "let the chips fall where they may."
It is a leader's job to harness resident's concerns in an effective but realistic way. Not to sit idly by and shrug.
Who are you looking out for, Luke Ravenstahl?