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.