To: Councilman Bruce A. Kraus,
Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC) Executive Director Wanda Wilson,
Rhetorical question: Should there be a criminal investigation into the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow?
Duquesne Light is rapidly moving forward with the construction of this massive project on Schenley Park property, without any in-depth, comprehensive environmental and health studies, as to how the project will impact residents of our small community, especially the elderly. Both of you have a fiduciary duty to our community, yet you seem to be relying blindly only on the word of this company’s engineers that there are no problems.
According to Duquesne Light, the project is under the full jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission. Is this true? A commission hearing was held that gave Duquesne Light permission to move forward with this project. However, neither myself nor any other resident of our neighborhood that I am aware of received notice of this crucial hearing. If either of you attended, you did not let our community know what concerns, if any, you raised on our behalf. Neither of you provided our community with minutes of the hearing. Please do so.
A meeting for this neighborhood-changing project was held Monday, January 6. I received notice by an OPDC email on Friday, January 3. If a workweek can be considered as Monday through Friday, then I and others received notice of this important meeting only one day before. Also, three meetings about this project were held in late October/early November. I do not have records of notices for those meetings. Please have your offices provide me with records of those email notices. In addition, where are all of the minutes for these three meetings, not just those of November 7 that were contained in the January 3 email?
Duquesne Light representatives mentioned in the November 7 minutes that this project is necessary because institutions are planning major new developments, and they are preparing for this growth. If you read closely between the lines, and beyond the lines, of these minutes, you will come to understand that this project is an indictment of OPDC, the Pittsburgh City Council, Mayor William Peduto, the Pittsburgh Planning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, as well as the office of District Attorney Stephen Zappala and the media of Pittsburgh.
Duquesne Light executives know full well, beyond any doubt, that none of the above have the courage to protect and preserve our community, by the fact that the above are not even attempting to stop the uncontrolled expansion of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and their supporters. Although they will not say it explicitly and publicly, they know the above are puppets of university administrators and their supporters. Therefore, Duquesne Light executives are moving forward quickly and confidently with their plans, feeding the cancerous expansion in Oakland.
Both of you have allowed, and are continuing to allow, the further destruction of Oakland by showing zero support for a moratorium on construction in Oakland, or for a comprehensive, in-depth Neighborhood Impact Study as to how Pitt’s Institutional Master Plan will affect not only Panther Hollow, but all of greater Oakland now and for generations to come.
This massive, disruptive substation is basically only for satisfying the needs and wants of the universities and their supporters, not for satisfying the needs and wants of our residential community.
Perhaps the rhetorical question at the beginning of this letter should be made declaratory: There should be a criminal investigation into the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow.
January 8, 2020
Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation
in Panther Hollow – Follow Up
To: Councilman Bruce A. Kraus,
Oakland Planning and Development Director Wanda Wilson
This letter is a follow-up of the one sent to both of you on January 8, 2020, the contents of which are on the website www.OaklandDignity.com Link 100, and on the front page of www.SavePantherHollow.com. A companion website on the historical significance of our neighborhood is at www.PantherHollow.us.
Is it true, as Duquesne Light Company (DLC) executives have asserted, that the residents of Panther Hollow, the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC), and the city of Pittsburgh, cannot stop the construction of the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation because the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has already granted the company permission to build the substation? Are all of us rendered virtually meaningless because the DLC has autonomous authority to proceed with this project?
The burden of an investigation about this project should not be placed upon the residents of our community. What actions have either of you taken to protect the health and rights of the residents of Panther Hollow?
Has the city’s legal department obtained all of the records of the meetings for this project attended by the past administrators of Duquesne Light President Richard Riazzi, the current administrators of President Steven Malnight, and the administrators of Pitt and CMU?
What no one in our community knows yet is if the uncontrolled expansions of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and their supporters have already outstripped the electrical infrastructure in Oakland. Is this project also necessary for the present electrical needs of these universities and their supporters, and not just for their future electrical needs as DLC administrators have stated?
Has the city’s legal department uncovered any actions or omissions by DLC that violated any laws concerning this project? If so, are there any actions or omissions by DLC that warrant the involvement of District Attorney Stephen Zappala?
Has OPDC contacted Representative Dan Frankel, or any other state representatives or senators, for assistance in protecting the health and rights of our community? Has OPDC taken any actions at all to protect the health and rights of our community?
We are all aware that this project is basically for the benefit of Pitt, CMU, and the developers and others who support these universities. This project is not for the benefit and needs of the residents of Oakland. For the past decades, the host community of Oakland has been decimated enough for the benefit of these universities and their supporters. There has never been an in-depth investigation of these universities and their supporters concerning their uncontrolled expansions, and the resultant destructive impacts upon Oakland. This has been an ongoing tragedy!
Our actions in the past 12 years have never been due to any hatred for the universities or their supporters. Rather, our actions have been done to protect and preserve our neighborhood now, and for future generations, as well as to honor the legacy of those who came before us to make Oakland one of the most eclectic residential neighborhoods in all of Pittsburgh.
DLC has already assembled heavy construction equipment on their property. Both of you have a fiduciary duty to our community to provide us the full truth of how this project will impact our lives, as well as a duty to disclose fully how this project was initiated and processed. Actions to stop this project until the full truth of this project is revealed is urgently needed NOW. Anything less would be a breach of these duties.
January 26, 2020
Note: There has been no response to the above two letters concerning the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow.
The following letter was sent to Councilman Bruce Kraus on March 5, 2020.
Councilman Bruce Kraus,
The City of Champions is quickly earning the moniker as the City of Corruption.
On January 8, 2020, I wrote you a letter concerning our community’s serious concerns pertaining to the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow. I asked if it was true that this project was under the full jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, and requested you provide our community with minutes of the commission hearing that gave Duquesne Light permission to build this substation. As you know, our community received no notice from you or anyone else, including Duquesne Light administrators, that this hearing was going to occur. You response to my letter was silence.
Only two days after my letter, as you and other members of city council had chosen silence in response to our community, city council initiated action for the following resolution:
“Resolution authorizing the Mayor and the Directors of the Department of Public Works and the Department of Finance, on behalf of the City, to enter into an Agreement with Duquesne Light Company to provide 1) a Permanent Construction Easement for the improvement of the Riazzi Power Substation in the Central Oakland neighborhood, and 2) a License to maintain a swath of land at the base of the hill to improve long-term storm-water control of the City property (Schenley Park) which also affects the Substation.”
Here is a link to the resolution which has additional information:https://pittsburgh.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4302732&GUID=44995438-01A9-4FD8-8D8C-77602B9B2E50&Options=ID|Text|&Search=duquesne+light
On January 26, 2020, I wrote you another letter about this issue asking what actions you have taken to protect the health and rights of the residents of Panther Hollow. Once again, your response was silence. Both letters are on www.OaklandDignity.com Link 100.
My letters were also sent to each member of the Pittsburgh City Council.
On February 13, the resolution was finalized with the signature of Mayor William Peduto. This entire devious process took place without any notice to our community.
While we trusted that you would fulfill your fiduciary duty to protect our community’s health and rights, you were holding private discussions with representatives of Duquesne Light, and likely with administrators of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, who desperately need the substation to further their development and destruction of our business and residential neighborhoods.
Pittsburgh City Council members have aligned with the numerous other hypocrites in the political, profit, and not-for-profit arenas who don’t live in Oakland, don’t want to live in Oakland, and who definitely don’t want Pitt and CMU in their own neighborhoods. None of them want their own neighborhoods decimated like these universities have done to Oakland. These hypocrites are willing to sabotage their dignity, integrity, and legacy to support the universities’ uncontrolled expansion that is bringing further pain and suffering to the residents of Oakland.
Our community will continue its “Lights Out” movement to protect our community from the unwanted and unnecessary Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow.
On February 24, 2020, we wrote a letter to District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., requesting that his office conduct an investigation into the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow. By copy of this letter, we are making that request once again.
March 5, 2020
Note: Councilman Bruce Kraus did not respond.