Letter to Mayor William Peduto
July 7, 2021
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is neither the headline of a media investigation nor the title of a book. It is a simple statement of the truth resulting from deliberate, shameful actions taken by University of Pittsburgh administrators in their host community.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland by university administrators has not happened in a vacuum. That incalculable tragedy had the support of numerous external enablers.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is enabled by yourself, City Council, Allegheny County, and State leaders, who have the power to create laws to protect our community but choose to do nothing.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is enabled by thousands of university faculty members who teach classes, collect their paychecks, return to their houses outside of Oakland, and choose silence.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is enabled by the journalists whose voices are silenced by the domination of the University of Pittsburgh administrators, and whose investigations of the university are non-existent.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is enabled, most unfortunately, by our community’s Registered Community Organization which refers to the university as “partners”.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is unprecedented. All major universities do tremendous good for their city and community by using their vast educational and research resources to create jobs and economic benefits for all. However, not all universities choose to decimate the business and residential districts of their host communities to achieve that good.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is very evident in the Forbes and Fifth Avenue business district that oncebountifully served the needs of all residents of my generation, from the very young to the very elderly. The business district has since been stripped bare by university administrators of any semblance of what it used to be for the residential community. Today, out of the multitude of businesses, only a single flower shop remains.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is very evident in the residential neighborhood where streets like South Bouquet, Boundary, and Dawson have lost over 90% of their long-time residents.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland continues in the residential neighborhood with the University of Pittsburgh’s recent land grab of houses on Bates Street, thus preventing that property from ever being developed as affordable condominium housing to reestablish a residential community. The houses will soon be demolished. Afterwards, university administrators will arrogantly and flippantly invite everyone to “….visit, use and enjoy this new green space.”
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland will be on display July 14 as the university presents its massive Institutional Master Plan to City Council. All members of the council are certainly ignorant of the full impact that the plan will have on our community. However, no member has demanded an independent and honest impact study to assess the truth of what that plan will due to the community.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is only one reason why you became the first incumbent Pittsburgh mayor in 80 years to lose a primary election. You turned your back on the residential community, aligned yourself with the university, and, in the process, diminished your dignity.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland is part of an old consciousness of domination, manipulation, and the instilling of fear. It exists at the University of Pittsburgh because of individuals like yourself who have given their power to university administrators, thus becoming enablers.
The Legal Rape of The Land of Oakland will crumble and end. What choices will you and others make to accelerate that ending?