Category: Metro Written by Rebecca Nuttall - Courier Staff Writer
REV. RICKY BURGESS
On April 30 Pittsburgh City Council voted to install surveillance cameras and gun shot detectors in Homewood, a neighborhood that has seen a rash of homicides over the years. The legislation, proposed by District 9 Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, passed by a vote of seven to two.
“We know these cameras will save lives. In the community, I represent there is a fear of cooperating with police,” Burgess said, prior to Tuesday’s vote. “The violence has gotten to such a point that something needs to be done. We know in light of the recent Boston incident how important surveillance technology is.”
The legislation calls for the installation of an estimated 60 high-definition pan-tilt-zoom cameras and 54 gunshot detectors. The high-tech system, which will cost approximately $1.5 million, will be installed in a 3-square-mile area in and around Homewood.
Debate against the legislation focused on the extension of a four year contract with Avrio RMS and ShotSpotter to install the new system. Critics on council said they believed the contract for the new technology should go through a competitive bidding process.
“What you had was opposition from the (Councilman) Bill Peduto’s forces on council to stop this process because the cameras are going into predominantly African-American communities,” Burgess said prior to the vote. “Twice before this contract was extended to put cameras Downtown and in the Mexican War Streets. There was no conversation then. Now there’s all of a sudden a need to rebid the agreement. What they’re saying is this is too much money to put in these communities.”
Despite Burgess’ accusations against Peduto who is running for mayor in the upcoming primary, the District 8 Councilman voted in favor of Burgess’ legislation.
Council representatives Natalia Rudiak, and Patrick Dowd, whose district includes the Zone 5 police station, which oversees Homewood and has the highest rates of homicide and aggravated assault so far this year, voted against the legislation. They said the city should invest in other safety measures such as increasing the number of officers in crime-ridden neighborhoods.
“Everyone deserves to live in a safe community, but I believe what has been proposed today will not make our streets safer,” said Rudiak, who represents District 4 and is running for reelection.
District 2 Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who chairs the Committee on Public Safety Services and voted in favor of the legislation, said this technology has been requested by the city’s police commanders and could be implemented citywide. She said the Public Safety Committee is also looking at increasing the number of officers in underserved neighborhoods.
The new technology has been installed in 85 cities and three countries around the world. According to Burgess, reports indicate there is a 40 percent reduction in gunshots fired in the areas where these systems are installed.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 09:20
Category: Metro Written by Rebecca Nuttall - Courier Staff Writer
DIFFERENT IS NOT DEFICIENT—Jeremiah Wright uses humor to tackle a controversial subject. (Photos by J.L. Martello)
It seems as though everyday another prominent figure is coming out of the closet or speaking up to support the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered community. However, while many Americans are just beginning to change their minds on homosexuality, others have had the courage to voice their support for decades.
President Barack Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright’s views on homosexuality were forever changed when an 8-year-old girl came to him several years ago and told him she felt like a boy. Over the years, as the girl grew up and began to identify as a lesbian, Wright stood by her when her own mother would not.
“Different does not mean deficient,” Wright said during a lecture at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture when he visited Pittsburgh April 25. “Even though Jesus said that, we keep looking at and labeling those who are different as deficient.”
As a religious leader, Wright’s position on homosexuality is rare.
He said attempts to bring other religious leaders around to his position have been met with such vehement resistance that at a conference, one man was so overcome with anger at the notion, Wright believed he might turn violent.
Wright’s lecture was the first in the 2013 Bayard Rustin Lecture series, dedicated to the memory of Rustin, an openly gay, influential civil rights leader who organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963 and the New York City School Boycott.
Despite Rustin’s influence in the civil rights movement, some in the Black community ostracized him because of his sexuality. For this reason, Wright said other civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King are credited for the March on Washington, while Rustin was relegated to the shadows.
“Why can’t I let it go? Because Rustin organized (A. Phillip) Randolph’s March on Washington for Jobs and Justice,” Wright said. “I don’t care what they told you; Martin Luther King Jr. did not organize that march.”
Wright used the lecture as an opportunity to highlight other homosexual “African-American heroes” including Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. He also expelled other historical inaccuracies dating back to President Abraham Lincoln.
“Historical lies have to be corrected,” Wright said. “The truth must be told not only about the March (on Washington), but also the civil rights movement. There was misogyny and sexism in the civil rights movement.”
In order to illustrate his position on homosexuality, Wright began his lecture by pointing out the differences between European Americans and African-Americans. With humor and song, Wright explained inherent differences ranging from learning styles to linguistics to demonstrate how African-Americans like homosexuals are put down because of their differences.
“We operate under the false assumption that if you’re different from us, you’re deficient,” Wright said. “Because ain’t nobody right, but us.”
Speaking frankly, Wright said he believes the reason some men in the Black church community have a problem with homosexuality is because they themselves are gay and living on the “down low.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 09:18
Category: Metro Written by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer
Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto said he deserves your vote in the upcoming mayoral primary because he is dedicated solely to a vision of a revitalized city that works for all its residents.
“I have no real social life, I’m not married, and I have no family other than my mom. I still play a little hockey and I travel a lot, but most days you’ll find me meeting with people in a church basement or talking with a community organization in some part of the city,” he told the New Pittsburgh Courier editorial board. “For 20 years I’ve had my hands on building out the East End and I want to do the same for the whole city, but it has to be driven by the communities, not by what developers or Downtown wants.”
To assist in that, Peduto said he would create an entrepreneurial department inside the Urban Redevelopment Authority to support small business creation. He also envisions a campus in Homewood, centered on the former Holy Rosary School and the Carnegie Library that would take advantage of the potential pool of currently unemployed talent and agencies like the Community Empowerment Association that could teach them the roofing, plumbing, plastering trades needed to restore the neighborhood’s housing stock.
Last Updated on Sunday, 05 May 2013 17:43
Category: Metro Written by Courier Newsroom
College Success 101 Conference
MAY 2—The Pittsburgh College Success Collaborative will host the College Success 101 Conference from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The one-day conference is designed to aid in preparing high school sophomores and juniors in Pittsburgh Public Schools and the surrounding area for the college admission process. For more information, call 412-715-6243 or visit www.collegesuccess101.org.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 09:50
Category: Metro Written by Associated Press
STEUBENVILLE BIG RED (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
by Andrew Wesh Huggins
AP Legal Affairs Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police officers and investigators on Thursday were searching the high school attended by two football players who raped a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 18:42
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