Friday, July 24, 2009

"We're Here to Ask the Mayor to Change His Development Policies" ***** (5 Updates)

I couldn't help but notice that six religious leaders getting arrested for civil disobedience didn't merit the slightest whisper of news coverage in today's America, at least not on days when quarterbacks are responding to sexual assault allegations.

So how about 150?

About 150 people chanted, sang and yelled beginning about 8:30 a.m. in the fifth-floor lobby of the City-County Building, Downtown.

"We're here to ask the mayor to change his development policies," said Sam Williamson, a representative of the Service Employees International Union. "The purpose of development is to help people, not corporations." (Trib, Adam Brandolph)

Are "development policies" an issue that the local media is adequately equipped or inclined to explore? I know where my money will be.

"There was a lot of screaming and yelling today..."

*-UPDATE: My bad, the Trib alone did run something:

"I have no idea what they want with the exception of a color piece of paper they gave us months ago asking us to insulate the windows in their homes," Kass said. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)

Kass used the very same line at a fateful Stadium Authority meeting almost a year ago. If part of the problem is that he "has no idea what they want", he could always meet with them, which is something he has religiously refused to do for well over a year.

Of course, I have some sympathy for the man. It's not a corporate chair's job to lead negotiations, maintain civil harmony and ensure that development improves city neighborhoods. That is a mayor's job. Not the state legislature's job, but a mayor's job.

**-UPDATE: F. Dok Harris issues a statement supporting the protest and asserting that in his mayoral administration "it will be a priority to guarantee good jobs in all publicly-funded developments" (LINK)

***-UPDATE: Mayo tweets, read from bottom to top:

I'm guessing we'll get a comment today at about 4:45. (**WRONG: We got lengthy comments at about 2:20) Am hoping somebody photographed the chained-in mayor's office. (**YES: Several.)

****-UPDATE: In the Mayor's absence, mayoral chief of staff and URA chairman Yarone Zober answered media querries in response to these developments in the Mayor's Conference Room. Video is up here.

Also, while this was occurring, over a hundred protesters packed the fifth floor at 2:00 PM for Round 2 of Demanding to See The Mayor. Reportedly at some point Council President Doug Shields swung open the doors to City Council chambers with the announcement, "Your government is ready to listen." Thereafter began an impromptu unofficial hearing participated in by Shields, Bruce Kraus, Darlene Harris, and Bill Peduto chief of staff Daniel Gillman, in addition to representatives of the coalition.

COVERAGE: WPXI, WTAE, KDKA, Post-Gazette, Tribune-Review, City Paper web-only, 2PJ's

*****-UPDATE: Okay-quality VIDEO of the councillor's Wildcat Hearing is up here. You've got to admit, Gillman kind of stole the show with his brief remarks.


  1. these protests will do nothing.

  2. "Am hoping somebody photographed the chained-in mayor's office."

    Once again, the MSM dances as the blogger calls the tune.

  3. Glad Potter got a good photo. I had been grabbing screens shots. More photos from WPXI and KDKA here.

  4. Shields did what an experiened leader does. He opened the door to the Council chamber and, along with harris and Kraus, listened.

    The amatures in the mayor's office chained the door.

  5. Zober's rambling reveals the preference they have for the monied interests.

    Ravenstahl and the big boys who supply his talking points. New buildings and "taxes." No mention of any social agenda nor do they care if the jobs they think they are creating come with low pay and no benefits (health care or pension). The service workers get jobs but are expected to get health care via another state subsidy to the developer (on top of the ones they already get)CHIP for thier children and adult basic for themselves. You can wait up to 2 yers to get the insurance.

    These workers are also eligible for further subsidies for thier workforce by way of food stamps, WIC, energy assistance and the like.

    Ravenstahl's level of subsidies to the monied interests is more than generous. Yet, when it comes to working people, he displays little concern.

    What do you expect from some kid that never had to experience what many of us have - struggling to pay the household bills on next to nothing.

  6. BBI should have cited the Mayor's staff for violating the fire codes. The panic bar shown indicates the door is part of the buildings egress path and should not be locked from the inside with chains. This is a classic no-no for code officials.

  7. Maybe that would happen but BBI was given authority over the Fire codes which is why it isn't enforced.