As Pittsburgh city council passes circus animal training regulations, Shriners send in the clowns

As Pittsburgh city council passes circus animal training regulations, Shriners send in the clowns

Lions and tigers and bears were on Pittsburgh city council’s agenda Tuesday when it approved a ban on the use of bullhooks and other instruments to train wild or exotic animals in the city.

The resolution, sponsored by City Council President Bruce Kraus (District 3), passed 6-3, with dissenting votes from Councilwomen Darlene Harris (District 1), Theresa Kail-Smith (District 2) and Deb Gross (District 7).

For Kraus, the passage marked the end of a year and a half long push to pass the ban, which he saw as a moral issue.

“There’s a clear shift in the conversation in how we abuse animals in forms of entertainment,” Kraus said of the bill, looking at similar to bans at other levels of local governance, from city to county to state.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh City Council finalizes realty transfer tax increase to fund affordable housing

Pittsburgh City Council finalizes realty transfer tax increase to fund affordable housing

Nearly a year to the day Pittsburgh City Council first authorized an affordable housing trust fund, it has finally been funded.

In a mid-day vote, City Council approved a staggered raise of the realty transfer tax, a one time fee paid by home buyers, by a 7-2 vote.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: Pittsburgh
Dan Gilman named new chief of staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto

Dan Gilman named new chief of staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman is Mayor Bill Peduto’s new chief of staff. 
 
Peduto made the announcement in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon. Gilman will finish out his term as District 8 representative, which includes Shady Side, Point Breeze and North Squirrel Hill among others, before taking over the position on January 3, 2018. 
 
“It’s an incredible honor to be asked to serve in this role to the mayor of your city,” Gilman said after a city council meeting Tuesday. 
Tuesday, December 19, 2017/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: Pittsburgh
In light of lead, Pittsburgh activists push for state suit against Veolia

In light of lead, Pittsburgh activists push for state suit against Veolia

As a grinch named “Veolia” tossed presents labeled “clean water” about the Allegheny County Courthouse’s courtyard Monday, Pittsburgh activists made their case for a new investigation into the French corporation blamed for many of the city’s water woes. 
 
Aly Shaw, an organizer with the Our Water Campaign, said at a holiday-themed press conference, complete with Dr. Suess’s green Christmas anti-hero and caroling, that the campaign had filed a formal complaint against Veolia with the Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala’s office a few months ago.  
 
“They are taking it seriously and we think there is something there,” Shaw said of the complaint. She added that Our Water met with an investigator from Zappala’s office last week. 

Monday, December 18, 2017/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: Pittsburgh
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PWSA approves $44 million in pipe replacements to meet consent decree, looks back on hectic year

PWSA approves $44 million in pipe replacements to meet consent decree, looks back on hectic year

After a year of responding to boil advisories, bursting pipes and high lead levels, with infrastructure spending, raised rates, and state oversight, Tassi Bisers, of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, wants the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to leave 2017 proud of their work.

“I want you to start tooting your own horn about your own courage,” Bisers said to the chuckling PWSA board at their final meeting of the year Friday morning.

The meeting capped a busy year for the authority as it addressed numerous systemic issues, most branching from a lack of past capital investment. The authority also created programs to stop water shutoffs for low income customers and a payment assistance program for those struggling to pay their water bill.

Friday, December 15, 2017/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: Pittsburgh
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