Letter to Mayor William Peduto
April 22, 2021
Label, Then Love or Hate the Label
– A Tragic Practice
The following paragraphs are numbered for ease in your response..
1) To label, then love or hate the label, is a tragic practice that creates tremendous pain and suffering for people of color, the LGBTQ community, and newly arrived immigrants, to name a few.
2) This labeling practice also severely impacts entire neighborhoods. Oakland, which was once one of the most eclectic, thriving residential neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, has been decimated, mainly by the uncontrolled, greedy expansion of the University of Pittsburgh.
3) You are guilty of employing the horrific, deadly practice of labeling whenever issues arise involving the University of Pittsburgh.
4) In your 19-year career as a councilman and mayor, you never attempted to pass a law to protect Oakland from the destructive expansion of the University of Pittsburgh. If a project was labeled a University of Pittsburgh project, then it always had your overwhelming support.
5) Oakland is losing its identity as a residential neighborhood. The business district that once supported thousands of residents, from infants to the very elderly, is disappearing, and is now referred to as Pittsburgh’s Innovation District. That’s a shame that you and many others bear.
6) You devoutly worship the University of Pittsburgh because it is considered the economic engine of the city, and it has made you the victim and puppet of the university administrators. It is obvious that they dominate, manipulate, and instill fear in you.
7) The tragic practice of labeling to support the University of Pittsburgh to the detriment of the Oakland community extends to the Pittsburgh City Council. No member of this council has attempted to pass a law to protect Oakland residents from the university’s uncontrolled, greedy expansion. These members also bear the shame of the decimation of our neighborhood. They, too, are victims and puppets of the university administrators.
8) You and the city council members have employed the shameful labeling practice in numerous issues, and you have aligned yourselves with the University of Pittsburgh to the detriment of our residential community. These issues are on the websites and and will not be delineated here. You and city council members can mask, deny or ignore your shame, but that will never end the shame.
9) The 5,000 faculty members of the University of Pittsburgh also employ the deadly practice of labeling. They speak out against injustices but only when they are made outside of their host community of Oakland, and they offer no support to stop the destruction of our own neighborhood. They also are victims and puppets of the university administrators; they are locked in fear and cannot speak up in support of our community.
10) The University of Pittsburgh’s massive Institutional Master Plan is now in the process of getting approved by the Planning Commission, Pittsburgh City Council, and yourself. Once again, the labeling process is taking center stage. Anyone who understands the crookery at city hall knows that approval of this plan that would destroy our community is a DONE DEAL.
11) Labeling must be replaced with UNDERSTANDING. That concept requires a comprehensive gathering of information, interpretation, discernment, assessment, inference, appreciation and valuation.
12) To create UNDERSTANDING, we have asked for an in-depth IMPACT STUDY on how this plan will affect our community. You and your city council members continue labeling and have refused to provide us with that study. University of Pittsburgh administrators, whose primary mission is to educate, have also refused to provide the study in fear of the truth that it may reveal.
13) We asked for an IMPACT STUDY as comprehensive and in-depth as the 75-page Brookings Institution study that was funded by the Heinz Endowments and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. That study regrettably and shamefully concluded that Oakland needs an Innovation District.
14) The Brookings Institution shamed itself by acting like a hired gun for the Heinz Endowments and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. Our community sent numerous letters to the Brookings Institution president, and the individuals who wrote the study, asking why the voices of Oakland residents were ignored in the study. In response, they all chose silence.
15) You and city council members might continue the pitiful labeling practice and deny our community this important IMPACT STUDY because the University of Pittsburgh doesn’t want it. However, you all may then face civil and/or criminal liability for not seeking the full truth about the University of Pittsburgh’s Institutional Master Plan.
16) Another entity employing the tragic labeling practice to support the University of Pittsburgh are the owners of Hazelwood Green, who are proposing a roadway, from their site, through Four Mile Run and Panther Hollow, and to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. These leaders have become enmeshed in Pittsburgh politics and, as such, have tarnished the esteemed names of Heinz, Mellon and Benedum.
17) Pittsburgh media personnel also employ the practice of labeling. An in-depth, ongoing investigation of the University of Pittsburgh has never been conducted in its112-year history in our neighborhood. They are acting more as silent watchers than as watchdogs for our community.
18) Pittsburgh media personnel, and far too many others, prostrate themselves in front of the University of Pittsburgh as the economic god of the Pittsburgh economy, and thus diminish their own dignity.
19) Six months ago, a Pittsburgh newspaper hired a reporter who won two Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting. We sent that reporter a 5-page letter with suggestions for an honest investigation of the University of Pittsburgh. Last week, their first investigative story was about a man in Ukraine who stole money from a bank, and invested in steel mills throughout our country!
20) Goodness and truth will prevail. End the deadly practice of labeling, and restore your personal dignity and power.
Note: Mayor William Peduto chose silence.