The Litchfield Consciousness

December 15, 2017

By Carlino Giampolo

The Litchfield Consciousness, one of the most destructive for a residential community hosting a university, should never exist in any city, university, or certainly any urban environment. Tragically, it is deep-rooted in the University of Pittsburgh where it originated and in the city of Pittsburgh which is the university’s host. What follows is a thoughtful examination of that consciousness with all of its resultant chaos, devastation, pain, and suffering brought to the host community.

Edward Litchfield was chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh from 1956 to 1965. He was an outsider to the community, as all of the university’s past chancellors have been, who attempted to dictate how the community should live and even whether the community should exist or not.

During his short tenure, he set in motion a wave of ruination for Oakland’s residential community, which continues to fight to maintain its identity and very existence today. He was dismissed by the university trustees in 1965, in part due to placing the university in financial debt. He passed away two years later, but his consciousness is still very much alive today within the university and throughout the city.

Panther Hollow Project

On June 6, 1963, Litchfield unveiled his plan that was known as the Panther Hollow project. It was described as a 21st Century Research Park that would be one of the “architectural wonders of the world,” and become the “nucleus of the nation’s first 21st century city.” The initial phase was to begin at Fifth Avenue and expand down Neville Street, at a width of up to 900 feet and a length of one mile. The project would have cut through Panther Hollow, eradicating the neighborhood and reducing it to rubble. His plan was to build a 21st century “city within a city” while destroying the existing neighborhood within a neighborhood.

His intention was to then continue the project through the Four Mile Run neighborhood in Greenfield, eradicating it as well, until it reached the banks of the Monongahela River.

The main purpose was to create useable income-producing space for the University of Pittsburgh. The plan stated: “The Panther Hollow project was conceived and developed for a high economic purpose: to lay the foundation for and to help build a new and urgently needed supplemental industrial complex in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region.”

Architect's model of the Panther Hollow project.
Edward Litchfield is in the background overlooking his Panther Hollow project. Under his plan, the Panther Hollow community would have ceased to exist. Nearly 60 homes would have been demolished and over 250 longtime Italian residents displaced.

Panther Hollow Community

The history of Panther Hollow, one of Pittsburgh’s first Italian neighborhoods, is the quintessential story of the immigration experience in America. Early settlers began arriving in the late 1800s, largely from the two small towns of Gamberale and Pizzoferrato – humble peasants in search of honest work and a new life. They were skilled bricklayers, cement finishers, and laborers who built most of the neighborhood. They constructed homes, cemented the sidewalks, and dug out mud two feet deep to build a red brick street for their neighborhood. The women cared for their own families as well as for the welfare of numerous boarders in this new neighborhood. It became a close-knit community in which no one was a stranger and everyone knew their neighbors.

In 1900, over 200 Italians were living in Panther Hollow, and in 1920, at the height of the Italian immigration experience in America, the population grew to approximately 470. When Litchfield decided that Panther Hollow didn’t deserve to exist next to his university, three generations of Italians lived there – the first arrivals who came at the turn of the century, their children, and their grandchildren.

Litchfield was insensitive to that sacred history, and when he announced his grandiose expansion project, the community sprung into action. An organization called Citizens Against the Ravages of Urban Renewal was formed. Eugene “Jeep” DePasquale, whose parents were among the early settlers, travelled to Washington D.C. and spoke before the U.S. Senate on behalf of the organization. Another descendent of the early settlers, Nicholas Diulus, expressed the sentiments of the community when he said that you couldn’t give him enough money to move out of his home and his neighborhood, and that he would fight the project to his last drop of blood.

In 1965, the Panther Hollow project failed.

The Panther Hollow project. (Click on the images to see a large version.)

The Litchfield Consciousness

Since Litchfield’s attempts, history has shown that the Litchfield Consciousness has continuously been deeply engrained within the University of Pittsburgh and the city of Pittsburgh. The university now owns over 100 buildings in the neighborhood, and is currently purchasing new property. Meanwhile, the decline of the longtime residential population is approaching 90% since the university moved from the North Side to Oakland in 1908.

It is important to understand the key components of the oppressive Litchfield Consciousness. The Panther Hollow project illuminates the fact that the keystone of that consciousness is the devaluation of human dignity and the elevation of economic profit as the highest priority. The cornerstone of that consciousness is that of domination, manipulation, and instilling fear.

The Panther Hollow project was an attempt of ethnic cleansing – later extended to residential and elderly cleansing – not cleansing that results in physical death, but rather results in the death of the hopes and dreams of those whom it severely impacts.

The Litchfield Consciousness doesn’t permeate the entire being of a person. It is an insidious consciousness that is compartmentalized and activated in matters pertaining mainly to the expansion plans of the university. It causes a person to lose his or her moral compass. Some individuals who possess the Litchfield Consciousness are considered stalwarts in society, and deserve praise for their many contributions. They can be found attending, preaching, and leading singing in churches, donating to charities, and volunteering to help the needy, among many other wonderful good deeds.

The Litchfield Consciousness, although abhorrent and destructive, was fully accepted and embraced by the University of Pittsburgh. Edward Litchfield was given the high honor of having buildings named after him. The three tallest and largest dormitories of the university bear his name – Litchfield Towers.

The Consciousness Spreads

South Bouquet Street – In 1958, during Litchfield’s reign, the university purchased the iconic Forbes Field for a little over $3 million with the stipulation that the Pirates would play there until Three Rivers Stadium opened. An article in the University Times quoted a university director of public relations referring to that purchase: “. . . the plan was to eliminate the Oakland community in all directions surrounding the site of Forbes Field.”

The article went on to say: “In 1967, to expedite Pitt’s expansion, the General State Assembly (GSA) stepped in and, invoking eminent domain condemned all the buildings in the two-block area south of Forbes Avenue between Oakland Avenue and South Bouquet Street, and sent eviction notices to tenants and business owners there, many of whom were long-term occupants. The GSA also declared that only academic buildings could be developed in the two-block area, a position that became important later.” The two-block area referenced above was located across the street from Forbes Field.

In 1971, the university demolished Forbes Field. Prior to the university’s invoking eminent domain and demolishing Forbes Field, over 200 longtime residents and only about a dozen students were living on South Bouquet Street. Today, only two longtime residents and about 800 students live there. Eminent domain is meant to be exercised for the public good, not for the selfish interests of a university. The invoking of eminent domain was a catastrophic social injustice. The residential cleansing of South Bouquet Street, including many of the elderly whose families had called it home for generations, is almost complete.

That street is one example of the domination and manipulation inherent in the Litchfield Consciousness. University administrators knowingly used manipulative lies to the community by saying that constructing two Bouquet Garden dormitory buildings in that eminent domain area would remove students from the residential neighborhood. They used the same lies to justify the construction of dormitory buildings in other parts of Oakland, while at the same time increasing their student enrollment to nearly 30,000 students.

Forbes Avenue – The Litchfield Consciousness permeates this street. University administrators are fully aware that the community cannot attract young families or grow a neighborhood when its business district is destroyed by the presence of student dormitories and other university–related buildings. During the current administration, massive dormitories have been – and continue to be – under construction on Forbes Avenue. In addition, the university announced that it is spending $1.9 million to purchase the Allegheny County Health Department Medical Building next to the future student housing site. This purchase is a part of their plan to turn that street into an alleged innovation center. The Litchfield Consciousness continues, with Litchfield’s original words “research park” simply being replaced by “innovation center”.

University of Pittsburgh Faculty – The university faculty is an example of the Litchfield Consciousness that not only dominates and manipulates but also instills fear in others. A culture of fear fills the university. Faculty members are too fearful to say what they honestly feel in matters pertaining to university expansion. When Litchfield announced his Panther Hollow project, not a single faculty voice publicly opposed the plan. Today, none of the 5,000 faculty members has publicly spoken out in opposition to the university’s uncontrolled growth that is decimating the residential community of Oakland. It is phenomenal that 5,000 intelligent faculty members all apparently think alike on matters pertaining to the university’s uncontrolled expansion.

The Mayor – In 2015, the city announced a plan, reminiscent of the Litchfield Consciousness, to build a roadway through the neighborhoods of Panther Hollow and Four Mile Run in order to connect the old Almono site in Hazelwood to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. It would have eventually accomplished what Litchfield had initially wanted to do: eradicate these two neighborhoods. The Litchfield Consciousness attracts the like-minded. The disgraced former leader of Uber was in consultation with the mayor to use the roadway for that company’s autonomous vehicles. The mayor often speaks of his Italian roots and his grandfather’s immigration experience, as well as his desire to protect Pittsburgh neighborhoods. However, the roadway initiative he advocates is a continuation of the Litchfield Consciousness in which glory, greed, and economic profit take precedence over human dignity.

City Council – Pittsburgh City Council members have passed hundreds of bills in the last ten years, but never even attempted to introduce a bill to end the uncontrolled growth of the University of Pittsburgh. The city council is an example of this basic truth: Individuals who choose to dominate, manipulate, or instill fear need victims. The Litchfield Consciousness cannot exist unless there are those who are willing to fall victim to that consciousness. The massive excavation taking place now on Forbes Avenue by a developer from Dallas, Texas to build more students housing is another example of the council’s role as victims. The developer mentioned in a public meeting that he could not do the same project in California because the state laws prevent him from doing so. The Litchfield Consciousness thrives when there are willing victims and good people who choose to do nothing.

Allegheny County Executive Director – At the forefront of the new grandiose plan to make Pittsburgh the innovation center of the world is the executive director of Allegheny County. He is the main supporter for the Allegheny Council approving the University of Pittsburgh’s purchase of the above mentioned medical building on Forbes Avenue. He is also a fervent supporter of the roadway initiative, despite the fact that his mother-in-law was born and raised in Panther Hollow. Sensitivity and empathy to the wants and needs of a community, especially the elderly, are not a priority of the Litchfield Consciousness.

Pittsburgh Foundations – The old Almono site in Hazelwood is owned by three of Pittsburgh’s largest foundations – Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. These foundations are also at the forefront of the roadway initiative through Panther Hollow and Four Mile Run. These leaders’ actions are an example of how the Litchfield Consciousness is compartmentalized. These foundations give millions and millions of dollars to worthy organizations, ensuring their leaders are esteemed in the city. Recently, the Heinz Endowments announced a major donation for a Mister Rogers Neighborhood project. Mister Rogers Neighborhood is as sacred to its followers as Panther Hollow and Four Mile Run are to their longtime residents.

The Media – One of the most formidable protectors of our basic rights is the media: men and women entrusted with accounting for the integrity and identity of our residential communities. Tragically, the media has never conducted an ongoing, in-depth investigation of the University of Pittsburgh which is systematically destroying the residential community of Oakland. Their inaction is another example of how the Litchfield Consciousness can instill fear in others. It is safer for them not to rock the boat and possibly jeopardize the revenue they receive from the university and its supporters, not to jeopardize their relationship with university administrators who are a source of information, or not to potentially uncover wrongdoing which could tarnish the image of the university and the city. It is safer to remain silent and sit by idly as a residential community – which they had been entrusted to serve – vanishes before their very eyes.

Oakland Organizations – University administrators can provide a long list of all they do for Oakland organizations and the community. However, it is astounding that none of them, or very few if any, of their 5,000 faculty members live in Oakland. All of these individuals could live nearby and walk to work, but choose not to live in a neighborhood that they have helped to create. The university’s generosity is very much akin to a dominating husband who showers his wife with gifts in order to maintain control over her. The wife may even deny the abuse, or even defend the husband, when others bring the abuse to light. The deep fear instilled by the Litchfield Consciousness can lead Oakland organizations to mask, deny, or ignore any wrongdoing.

Litchfield Consciousness Begins to Erode

In 2015, when the city announced plans for its roadway initiative, one of the foundation owners of the old Almono site was the McCune Foundation. They have since sold their interest to the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The leaders decided not to continue involvement in an initiative that would severely impact two neighborhoods. Kevin Acklin, the mayor’s chief of staff and a strong advocate of the roadway initiative, announced his resignation effective in January 2018. He was born and raised in South Oakland and attended a high school with many young men of Panther Hollow. Subra Suresh was president of Carnegie Mellon University in 2015 and another strong advocate of the roadway initiative. CMU is deeply infected with the Litchfield Consciousness and their administrators have laid a path of destruction in North Oakland. Suresh resigned in 2017 and doing so became the shortest tenure of any president of that university. He moved to Singapore with his wife. Karina Ricks was hired as the director of the newly formed city Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. On October 6, 2017, she took a public action that was unheard of: she made a decision that went against the plans of the universities, city, foundations, and their supporters. She chose not to apply for a federal grant for monies that could be used for the roadway initiative.

When individuals take actions to prioritize human dignity, and do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, they gain self-respect and earn the respect of everyone who shares those beliefs. Thus, the Litchfield Consciousness begins to erode.

Choice

Communities get destroyed when good people choose to do nothing.

The Litchfield Consciousness is an outdated consciousness that will have no place in a world becoming new. Not simply an improvement of the same old world, but the beginnings of a New World. Choice is seminal to that change.

The Litchfield Consciousness has always been a conscious choice. Therefore, it will also be a conscious choice of good people to end this destructive consciousness. Choice alongside beliefs are the most powerful raw materials for creating this new world.

What will you choose to do to end the Litchfield Consciousness?

Visit: www.PantherHollow.us | www.OaklandDignity.com

Supporting the Mon-Oakland Connector through Panther Hollow?

The following was sent on December 11, 2019 to Council President Bruce Kraus
and members of the Pittsburgh City Council, among others.
(The Mon-Oakland Connector was previously called the Oakland Transit Connector.)

President Bruce Kraus
Pittsburgh City Council

Councilman Kraus

You have “sat on the fence” and “weighed both sides” for the past four and a half years concerning whether or not you support the Mon-Oakland Connector through Panther Hollow.

You are fully aware of the vast amounts of information on the websites www.SavePantherHollow.com and www.OaklandDignity.com, and the numerous communications from those individuals and organizations who are in solidarity with us in standing firm against any roadway through our neighborhood. You are also aware of the ample information provided by the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Hazelwood Green foundation owners, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, and their supporters who want a roadway through our neighborhood.

You have comprehended, interpreted, discerned, assessed, inferred, and placed an appreciation and valuation on your understanding of this information. Our community is now asking that you move forward without any doubts by giving us your position of whether or not you support the Mon-Oakland Connector through Panther Hollow.

Your decision can be facilitated and simplified by taking one of these two positions: Do you support the protection and preservation of historic Panther Hollow, as well as honor both the dignity of the residents and the legacy of their ancestors? Or do you advocate for the decimation of historic Panther Hollow by supporting the roadway with the resultant massive expansion by Pitt, CMU, and developers, among others?

We await your honest response.

Thank you
Carlino Giampolo

The Lack of Integrity Continues…

There has been no response to the following two emails. Both men have chosen not to be transparent.

August 6, 2019
President Farnam Jahanian
Carnegie Mellon University

Please read my email below to Adjunct Instructor Ray Gastil, former City Director of Planning. He has once again chosen silence. This email attests to the fact that we follow through on our word.

We are requesting your assistance to kindly ask Mr. Gastil to respond to a simple question that our communities deserve to have answered. We are making this appeal to your integrity and character. At the end of your tenure, when you look back upon the decisions you made as president, this may be one of your defining moments.

You cannot escape your responsibility for this roadway plan that would eventually destroy the neighborhoods of Panther Hollow and The Run. This plan is reminiscent of the destructive 1963 plans of then University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Edward Litchfield who sought to destroy our two neighborhoods with a futuristic 21st Century Research Park. Our communities prevailed, yet Pitt went on to achieve 10th in the nation in accumulating research funds even without these plans. In like manner, there are other ways to achieve your goals at Hazelwood Green without this destructive roadway through our two neighborhoods.

Our communities will continue to be seekers of truth to protect and preserve our heritage. You could take the path of Mr. Gastil and remain silent. If so, our communities will definitely take future actions on this matter that will be determined by the course of events.

However, I trust your grace and dignity will lead you to realize that choosing silence, or participating in actions that will destroy our two communities, is not the right path in life.

I look forward to your response to the appeal of our communities.

Carlino Giampolo


July 31, 2019
Ray Gastil
Adjunct Instructor – Staff Appointment

Mr. Gastil

You have been involved with the Mon-Oakland Connector (previously called Oakland Transit Connector) since its very inception. As Director of City Planning, you wrote a letter of support for its implementation to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.

In the past, our community had asked you questions about your involvement, and you had chosen silence. That silence must end.

At the first community meeting for this project, you gave a presentation and mentioned that the roadway from Almono (now called Hazelwood Green), through The Run and Panther Hollow, to Pitt and CMU, would traverse through the back end of the University of Pittsburgh’s parking lot in Panther Hollow. The entire meeting was videotaped.

Our community needs the following question answered truthfully:

Who at the University of Pittsburgh, or at the City of Pittsburgh, told you that the roadway could traverse through the back end of the University of Pittsburgh’s parking lot in Panther Hollow?

Our community deserves an answer and will not accept silence. The question should be easy to answer. If you choose silence by August 5, then we will ask CMU President Farnam Jahanian for assistance to have the question answered.

Carlino Giampolo

Protecting and Preserving Our Two Neighborhoods

Protecting and Preserving Our Two Neighborhoods – July 21, 2019

By Carlino Giampolo
Panther Hollow

2nd Annual March from Panther Hollow to The Run

I want to thank the residents of Panther Hollow and The Run and our supporters here today, for having the courage and confidence to publicly demonstrate your desire to protect and preserve our two neighborhoods from those who seek to destroy them with an ill-conceived roadway plan. We will continue to take the high road by putting our values, ideals, and principles into action, and knowing that the means to an end is more important than the end itself.

These actions will continue to be taken with wisdom. There are those who believe a person is wise based on one’s I.Q., the number of letters after one’s name, one’s accumulation of wealth, or the position one holds in the workplace. This is the general consensus of society. However, there is another characterization that says wisdom is:

1) Moving beyond logic and reason without abandoning them.

2) Being a bit irrational without losing sight of the rational.

3) Looking at where you are going more than where you are coming from or where you have been.

4) Looking to where something can lead you more than what it can get you.

5) Looking to see what you can learn more than what you can reaffirm.

6) Seeing the symbols and metaphors, and looking in and beyond them to find the value that lies in their meaning and significance.

7) Seeing the bigger picture without losing sight of the current picture.

That last tenet reminds us that the bigger picture of our problem is that of the uncontrolled expansion of the University of Pittsburgh that is threatening our two communities. Most of us know the story of Pitt’s past chancellor, Edward Litchfield, who sought to destroy our neighborhoods in 1963 with his ill-conceived 21st Century Research Park. Our parents’ generation succeeded in defeating Litchfield. This story is on the website: www.SavePantherHollow.com.

However, that destructive consciousness still exists today at the university. Our generation is now willing to take on the mantle of being free from that destructive consciousness which threatens our two neighborhoods, as well as being free to create a new consciousness at the university that respects our dignity and the right to determine how we are going to live. In the near future, when there is a call to action to support these freedoms, I trust each of you will respond in a positive way.

Oftentimes when individuals dream impossible dreams, think out of the box, or attempt to embark on a journey against insurmountable odds, they are characterized as crazy or “not all there”. There are some who think all of us are crazy or “not all there” for even attempting to triumph over the two largest universities in our city, the three largest foundations, the city government with its vast resources, as well as all the friends and supporters of these entities. So, in the words of the country and western song: We’re all here cause we’re not all there.

We are going to continue to be wise and crazy, and to move forward to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.

As we did one year ago, we are once again taking a stand to let city, university, and foundation leaders, as well as their supporters who want a roadway through our two neighborhoods, know that they will never take away our dignity, diminish our intensity, shackle our freedom, or break our spirit. They will never silence the voice of our soul.

We will triumph. There will be no roadway through Panther Hollow and The Run.

City Council Public Comments

I have spoken before this council on numerous occasions to express the Panther Hollow community’s adamant opposition to the proposed roadway from Hazelwood Green, through our neighborhood, and to Pitt and CMU. Our will to protect and preserve our unique heritage as one of Pittsburgh’s first Italian neighborhoods is unbreakable.

Unfortunately, our Italian mayor and this council will be setting aside nearly $20 million in this budget and future budgets for this roadway. Those monies should be reallocated to the districts of Councilmen Burgess and Lavelle, or any district where the basic human needs for housing are not being met.

The mayor and city council are perceived as puppets of Pitt and CMU. These economic giants are worshipped as gods because they control the purse strings of the city. However, their uncontrolled growth has decimated the business and residential districts of Oakland.

Although that is a tragedy, it is not perceived as such because 1) the tragedy has occurred slowly over a long period of time rather than a single moment in time; and 2) the tragedy has resulted not in any physical loss, but the etheric death of hopes and dreams. When will council epiphanize that enough is enough of this uncontrolled growth?

That decimation is shameful. When you meet with Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, the president of CMU, and their administrators, ask them if they feel any sense of shame for what their universities have done to Oakland. They will tell you no. Dominators pass their shame onto their victims. What are each of you and the mayor going to do with this shame? You can’t pass it on to the longtime residents of Oakland, because we don’t want it. End the shame by giving it back to the universities. In so doing you will take back your own power, and be the leaders the citizens of Pittsburgh elected you to be.

There are two pathways toward change: tragedy and human dignity. The pathway of tragedy is well worn out, the human dignity pathway not so much. To get on this pathway will require from each of you a new system of beliefs and attitudes, thoughts and feelings, and choices and decisions. It requires new desires, expectations, and imagination.

Now is the time for each of you to pause and reflect on why you became leaders. What were your ideals, principles, and integrity, and how far have you deviated from them? What wrongdoings by yourself and others, both inside government and those who interact with government, are you aware of, but have masked, denied, or ignored? End that shame also.

A new year gives hope for a new beginning, not just better than the past, but a genuine new beginning. Make the resolution to have spirituality, whatever you perceive it to be, as the essence of your every word and deed.

Carlino Giampolo

Belief Precedes Experience

City Council Public Comments
December 12, 2018

On August 24 and October 3, I came here and expressed the sentiment: Peduto must resign. Let’s end the crookery at city hall. Those public comments are on the website OaklandDignity.com, Link 82 and SavepantherHollow.com. I echo that same sentiment today.

Belief precedes experience. The mayor holds on to the faulty, destructive beliefthat a roadway from Hazelwood Green to Pitt and CMU is needed to develop that site. He initiated; city council shamefully approved$1.3 million for engineering design work; and the budget presented today will set aside $10.5 million for its construction. It is not hyperbole to say the roadway would destroythe Four Mile Run and Panther Hollow neighborhoods.

Our communities thank Bob Bauder of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewfor his November 27 article that shined a light into the opaqueness of city government. In that article, the mayor alluded to the fact that Pitt and CMU have little room to grow in Oakland. That’s a savvy, political way of saying these universities have already legally raped the land of Oaklandfor their self-interests. They have taken ownership of over 110 buildings and properties in our small community, but their insatiable greed continues.

The mayor went on to say that the roadway’s impact would be “minimal”. He is ignorant of the history of Oakland and is deceiving the people of Pittsburgh. When Pitt left the North side to come to Oakland in 1908, my grandparents’ generation also thought the impact would also be minimal, never imagining the massive destructionthe university would inflict on their community. Oakland has lost more than 80% of its residential population since my grandparents’ and parents’ generations.

The business district has been virtually destroyedand replaced with student housing, dormitories, and university-owned buildings. Today, there are no supermarkets, movie theatres, bowling alleys, hardware stores, shoe stores and shoe repair shops, high fashion men and women’s clothing stores, dry cleaners, alteration shops, bakeries, novelties and gift stores, and children’s toys and clothes stores. That destruction by Oakland’s universities is animmensetragedy that killed the hopes and dreams of a wonderful community.

The city of Pittsburgh offered Amazon more financial incentives than any other American city in its attempt to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters, yet Jeff Bezos did not choose Pittsburgh. Was he aware of the crookery at city hall, and did not want to partner with a city government that destroys neighborhoods for economic gain?Was the forged document in the mayor’s application just one of many other illegalities in the application process?

We suggest city and university staff to report any known wrongdoing to U.S. Attorney Scott Brady at (412) 644-3500. Crookery has no placein our city government and universities.

Carlino Giampolo

Pittsburgh Communities Need Federal Prosecutors to Oversee City Hall

City Council Public Comments
October 3, 2018

“Peduto must resign. Let’s end the crookery at city hall.” On August 24, I spoke before this council and ended my comments with these words. I echo these same words today.

In those comments, I talked about the shameful deception of the mayor and his administrators who, in July 2015, secretly filed for a $3 million dollar grant to build a roadway from the old Almono site in Hazelwood, through The Run and Panther Hollow, and to Pitt and CMU. We asked the Allegheny County District Attorney to investigate this sordid affair, but he did not respond to our requests. Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

This past April, the city repeated that shameful, opaque deception when they applied for federal funds through the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission’s Smart Program. In July, the city’s application was approved for $1,000,000. Again, our communities had no knowledge or word from our council members that this application was being made.Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

A syndicate in the city of Pittsburgh controls city hall. That syndicate is known as the University of Pittsburgh. For 16 years, as a councilman and mayor, Peduto has been a puppet of this syndicate. This was clearly evident 10 years ago when he chaired the hearings for Pitt’s master plan. The first two hearings lasted less than 20 minutes, and he never asked the Pitt administrators a single question of how that plan would further decimate Oakland.Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

However, the mayor is not the only puppet of this syndicate. The university also controls this council, which has never written a law to curb their uncontrolled growth. In matters pertaining to the university, this council thinks what the university wants it to think, and acts how the university wants it to act. Even though the city has lost 120,000 residents in the past several decades, this council attempts to justify their inaction by saying that the university is the economic engine of the city. Tragically, that engine is toxic and lethal for the university’s host community. Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

Until the strings of these puppets are cut and the domination by the syndicate has ended, Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

Those listening to these comments can visit the websites OaklandDignity.com and SavePantherHollow.com. If there are any attorneys whose ethical, moral, and spiritual values guide them on a journey to end social injustice, then contact myself or someone you may know in Panther Hollow or The Run to offer your support. In the end, truth and justice will prevail.

Carlino Giampolo

Peduto Must Resign

Pittsburgh City Council
Public Comments
August 24, 2018

End the Crookery at City Hall

On July 31, 2015, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) filed an application with the State Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $3 million grant to build a roadway from the old Almono site in Hazelwood, through The Run and Panther Hollow, and to Pitt and CMU. The mayor kept this plan a secret from our two communities, clearly violating the state Sunshine Law.

Councilmen Kraus and O’Connor, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and our communities eventually received copies of the application. We were all deceived. Compared to the application on file at the DCED in Harrisburg, our copies were missing documents.

Among the missing pages was a letter from the mayor, asserting that the city “will be committing $400,000 in the 2017 budget for the construction of this project.”

Another missing page was from the URA Chair Kevin Acklin stating, “The URA will be committing $400,000 from our major projects budget to be used for the construction of this project.”

There were also discrepancies. The application asserted that the project would be a partnership between four entities, including with the University of Pittsburgh, but Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said he had no knowledge of the application. Who is telling the truth?

The application asserted that the land for this project is owned by the City of Pittsburgh. However, at the first community meeting, four months after the application was filed, Director of City Planning Ray Gastil stated that the roadway would traverse railroad property and a parking lot owned by Pitt in Panther Hollow. It is unscrupulous and unconscionable that the mayor and Pitt would use that lot, which exists because of a 1982 agreement with our community, for this roadway that would destroy our neighborhood.

Also, in the application and without any community input, Ray Gastil wrote a letter to the DCED on behalf of the Department of City Planning, supporting the roadway project.

Twice, we asked District Attorney Stephen Zappala to investigate this issue. He has chosen silence.

In his 16 years as a councilman and mayor, William Peduto has been a puppet of the University of Pittsburgh and always supported its uncontrolled growth that has severely devastated Oakland’s residential and business districts.

The assertions made in this deceptive application clearly indicate that the mayor believes our community’s voices are irrelevant and powerless. Nothing could be further from the truth. He continues to impose his will upon our community by attempting to build this roadway. Peduto must resign. Let’s end the crookery at city hall.

Carlino Giampolo

Protecting and Preserving Our Two Neighborhoods

On July 29, 2018, residents and supporters of Panther Hollow and The Run held a protest rally at the monument site in Panther Hollow, and then proceeded to walk to The Run. The purpose of the protest was to send an unequivocal signal to city, university, and foundation leaders that this proposed roadway, from the old Almono site in Hazelwood (now called Hazelwood Green) to Oakland, is neither wanted nor needed by our two communities. Speeches were given in Panther Hollow and The Run. The following is one of those speeches.

July 29, 2018

By Carlino Giampolo
Panther Hollow

I would like to thank the residents of Panther Hollow and The Run, as well as all of our supporters, for being here today for this historic gathering. We unite as one to urge city administrators, foundation leaders, and university leaders to end the plan to build a roadway through our two neighborhoods.

Panther Hollow, one of the first Italian neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh, is a cultural treasure. This historic neighborhood should be protected and preserved, not threatened with an ill-conceived roadway. The Italian history of Panther Hollow is the quintessential story of the immigration experience in America that dates back to the 1880s when immigrants, mainly from the two towns of Gamberale and Pizzoferrato in the region of Abruzzi, settled here.

That first generation of humble, honest, hard-working immigrants came in search of a new life and brought with them their Italian traditions. In 1900, over 200 Italians lived on this street, and by 1920, that number grew to 470. Many of the early immigrants built their own homes and created a self-contained community with six stores, two banks, a travel company, cows and a milk company, vegetable gardens, and wine vineyards. Families looked out for one another and it was a place where everybody knew each other’s name. A detailed history of our neighborhood is on the website: www.PantherHollow.us

This is not the first time that Panther Hollow has been threatened with an ill-conceived development plan. In 1963, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Edward Litchfield proposed a 21stCentury Research Park that would have begun at 5thAvenue and Neville Street, and continue through Panther Hollow and The Run until it reached the banks of the Monongahela River. In Panther Hollow, 60 homes would have been destroyed and over 250 Italians displaced. In addition, Central Catholic High School would have been destroyed, depriving any future students of graduating from there. The second generation of Italians, that of my parents, prevailed and Litchfield was defeated.

It is now up to us, the succeeding generations of our ancestors, whether you live here or not, to protect and preserve our historic neighborhood.

To those who propose this roadway, I have already provided numerous solutions that would not impact our two neighborhoods. Four roadways already in existence can be used instead: Second Avenue to Brady Street, Second Avenue to Bates Street, Greenfield Avenue to the Greenfield Bridge onto the Boulevard of the Allies, and Greenfield Avenue to Swinburne Street. In each of those alternatives, the travel time from Saline Street and Greenfield Avenue until you are in Oakland is, well, less than 10 minutes. This destructive roadway plan, which would save only a few minutes in drive time, is convenient for the universities and foundations, but devastating for our two historic communities. I have also suggested simply to employ express buses from the old Almono site to Oakland. These are just two of 12 suggestions that are on the website www.SavePantherHollow.com.

I had also asked 10 of the top city, university, and foundation leaders who support the roadway, to please provide to us in detail all of the benefits to the Panther Hollow community, especially to the elderly residents who have lived here their entire lives, and who wish to live the remainder of their lives here in dignity and peace.Those leaders failed to provide any benefits. They all chose silence.

We all know who benefits the most:

They are the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. These are institutions of higher education. Should they not also have leaders of higher intelligence who can creatively figure out how to help the Hazelwood community without destroying Panther Hollow and The Run?

The roadway also benefits the foundations who own the old Almono site in Hazelwood. These foundations spent nearly $10 million dollars on the purchase of that property as well as for studies to support the proposed roadway. Would that money not have been better used to help the disenfranchised in our city?

The roadway also benefits our Italian mayor’s political ambitions. Should he not be using his energies to protect and preserve our historic Italian neighborhood, and to support efforts to enhance the neighborhood by building an Italian Cultural Center here? Should Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, whose mother-in-law was born and raised here, not do the same?

This neighborhood is sacred to us. We deeply honor and highly respect the legacy of our ancestors who came before us and sacrificed to make Panther Hollow a special place. They may very well be looking down on us, saying: keep on, keeping on, for your cause is just.

We will. We will stand tall, stand proud, stand out. We will triumph. There will be no roadway through Panther Hollow and The Run.

Basta is Basta

Panther Hollow & Th Run United As One

Break the Silence

Stephen Zappala, Jr.
Allegheny County District Attorney
436 Grant Street #303
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

July 11, 2018

RE: Oakland Transit Connector

Dear Mr. Zappala:

I am writing to you once again concerning the proposed Oakland Transit Connector project. On December 14, 2015, I hand-delivered a letter to your office, along with supporting materials, stating that this project warrants an investigation by your office.

You have chosen not to respond. However, it is now time to break the silence. The tragedy of this ill‑conceived project continues today, as evidenced by this letter to you. Your silence is a mystery, and from mysteries come numerous possible solutions. Here are a few questions we have for you:

1) Did you read my letter with the supporting documents and decide not to do an investigation? If so, why not? Were you contacted by any City and County political officials, leaders of the foundations that own the old Almono site, or any University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University leaders about this possible investigation? If so, what were you told?

2) If your office did an investigation, who conducted the investigation and how extensive was it?

3) As you know, on July 31, 2015, the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) then Acting Executive Director Robert Rubinstein submitted an application in secret for a $3 million Multimodal Transportation Fund grant to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). Was DCED and CFA deceived about the funds available for the project, and was there an overvaluation of a security amount to obtain the grant?

4) Mayor William Peduto stated in a letter to the DCED that the City of Pittsburgh will be committing $400,000 in the 2017 budget for the construction of this project. Did the mayor overvalue a security to obtain the grant?

5) The application was submitted by the URA on July 31, 2015, but was not ratified by the board until August 13, 2015. Board Chair Kevin Acklin wrote a letter to DCED stating that the URA will be committing $400,000 to be used in the construction of this project. Did the board chair also overvalue a security to obtain the grant? As you know, he was also the mayor’s chief of staff and has since resigned to work for a public utility company.

6) The application stated that the project will be a public-private partnership between the city of Pittsburgh, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. However, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher stated that he had no involvement in this project. University of Pittsburgh Attorney Paul Supowitz stated that the university was not involved in any discussions about the roadway project, and that they first learned about the proposed roadway in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article. Were university officials and city officials questioned by your office about this discrepancy? Who is telling the truth: University of Pittsburgh officials, or those who prepared and submitted the grant?

7) Former CMU president Subra Suresh resigned in 2017, making his tenure the shortest in the school’s history. For some, this created another cloud of mystery. Was he questioned extensively by your office about this project? Did he eventually become aware of the injustice this project would cause to the communities impacted, or by the morally corrupt manner in which it was proceeding? Did he decide not to become further involved, thus creating tensions with others at CMU who do support the project?

8) The McCune Foundation was one of the four original foundation owners of the old Almono site. The leaders made the decision to sell their interest to the Richard King Mellon Foundation, thus creating another mystery. Were the leaders of the McCune Foundation investigated by your office as well as the leaders of the other foundation owners – Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation? What were the results of the investigation, if any?

9) It was discovered that the land for this roadway project proposed in the grant is owned by a railway company, the city of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh. The assertion in the application which stated the land for this project is owned solely by the city of Pittsburgh is not true and was deceptive to the CFA. Did your office investigate this untruth?

10) There were two versions of the application: one given to our community with pages missing, and one that was more complete and given to the DCED and CFA. Did your office investigate this discrepancy?

11) What was the involvement of Uber? Were there secret deals made between Uber and the city, foundations, and university officials?

12) The grant application stated there would be $200,000 of federal funds for the project, but there is no documentation of federal approval. Did you investigate this, or is this the domain of federal investigators?

We as a community are suspending judgment, for we want to hear from you directly. Both the #MeToo movement and this project bring to light once again that shame that is masked, denied, numbed, or ignored continues to grow. Similar to this project, the Duquesne Light Company recently purchased a parking lot in our community for $5.45 million in secret, without informing city council representatives, Oakland organizations, or our community.

In 1963, when former University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Edward Litchfield wanted to destroy Panther Hollow to build his futuristic 21stCentury Research Park, he also wanted to demolish your alma mater Central Catholic High School. Litchfield failed and the residents of Panther Hollow prevailed, allowing you and over 10,000 other graduates since to create memories and forge a solid moral foundation there.

Silence is compliance. Stand tall. Stand proud. Stand out. We trust you will respond this time, from your deepest inner integrity about everything you know. In the end, we believe goodness and truth will prevail.

Thank you,

Carlino Giampolo

The December 14, 2015 letter is on the website:  www.SavePantherHollow.com

June 2018 Update

Parking Lot Sale

A private parking lot in Panther Hollow was purchased by Duquesne Light Company for $5.45 million dollars. This secretive sale was documented on May 31, 2018.

Prior to the sale, Duquesne Light Company President and CEO Richard Riazzi and his administrators chose not to inform the community, City Council President Bruce Kraus who represents the community, or Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, the largest community organization, of this purchase or their future plans for the site.

This shameful, secretive action is reminiscent of a similar action taken on July 31, 2015 by the mayor, his chief of staff, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, among others. At that time, an application was filed with the State Department of Community and Economic Development for a $3 million Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant to build a roadway through the Panther Hollow and Four Mile Run neighborhoods. It was the actions taken primarily by residents of these two communities that resulted in the application being denied. (See this site for further details.)

Carlino Giampolo