Priority list for Mayor-elect Bill Peduto

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ULISH CARTER

Before I get into the list, let me discuss the recent decision by the Office of Municipal Investigations or Internal Affairs office of the Pittsburgh Police to rule against the officer who created a confrontation by coming back to a scene where he heard two Black men complain about his driving.

The officer arrested a school teacher and handcuffed a Courier photographer because the two men apparently expressed their displeasure at almost being run down by the officer.

Instead of just going on about his business, he stopped the car, turned around and confronted the two men. This led to the arrest and almost a confrontation between the people coming out of a CEA meeting where the two Black men were in attendance, and the numerous policemen who had been called to the scene.

Even the commander of Zone 5, which covers Homewood, said it was a bad move on the part of the officer. Yet for some reason the FOP is supporting him.

We all can be wrong. The officer was wrong. He should have left it alone.

But some police officers, and I say some, and I think they are in the minority, believe that because they have a badge, a stick, and a gun they can do whatever they like, and treat people any kind of way. Especially Blacks and Black males in particular.

My compliments go out to the group of officers who looked into this incident and officially said that the officer was wrong. I think this will go a long way in helping community and police relations. An official body of the police department admitted that an officer was wrong. This sends a message to other officers, that people, no matter what their race or income are to be treated with respect. And you will get a whole lot more cooperation from the community when you treat them with respect.

Since I’m talking about Bad Cops, Good Cops, I would like to compliment Officer Brenda Tate, for her work in keeping men from hanging on the streets and corners around where the new SHOP ‘n SAVE is, and other parts of the lower Hill. These are probably the same brothers who hung out on the corner of Centre and Kirkpatrick before the new Library was built.  Now they’ve moved down the block.

I’ve always wondered why Black males like to hang on the street through cold or hot weather. You see more brothers on the corners than in all the churches, or any community meeting.

Some even threatened to complain to the NAACP because they felt their rights were being violated. You know, their right to just hang on the streets doing nothing. I guess they haven’t gotten around to it yet. They are too busy hangin.’

We have a new mayor in Bill Peduto, so I’m very interested in what his priorities are for his four-year term, and will anything change for the masses of Blacks in Pittsburgh?

Depending on who you talk to, conditions of Blacks in Pittsburgh are bad to the worst in the country. Yes I agree that conditions are bad, but the worst in the country? Are you kidding? Have you seen East St. Louis, or parts of Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, or just about any other major city in this country? Pittsburgh is not that bad.

What we as Black people need to do is take a good hard look at the conditions of Blacks now, and come up with our own priorities, look at what we can do to improve these conditions ourselves, not the mayor.

My list would be:

Employment. Whatever the Black unemployment rate is on Jan. 1, 2014, we make a commitment to cut it in half.  As well as moving more Blacks into the mid to top pay scale jobs.

Education. We make a commitment to double the number of Black students qualifying for the Pittsburgh Promise program, we cut the Black dropout rate in half, we raise the percentage of Black teachers at least 20 percent, and we raise the GPA to be competitive with other school systems throughout the country.  And we make sure more Blacks are prepared for and accepted into the various colleges and universities throughout western Pennsylvania.

Housing: Change emphasis from tearing houses down, to renovating houses, while building new houses on vacant lots, while sponsoring a massive city wide campaign to get more young people to purchase homes in the city, by offering various incentives.

Small Businesses: Once housing is developed, and there are more working people in the community then it becomes more conducive to small businesses because now you have people with money. The Hill District is doing a great job, as is the lower North Side, and East Liberty is making a comeback. The Hill is making a comeback with the SHOP ‘n SAVE plaza as well as all the new housing development throughout the lower and central parts of the community.  The lower North Side is loaded with businesses that weren’t there years ago: Giant Eagle, a large Rite Aid pharmacy, Kuhns’ grocery, a Dry Cleaner, Family Dollar, and various other businesses including several restaurants including a McDonalds’, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and Subway.

Under the new mayor how many Blacks will be in a position of power as cabinet members and heads of departments?
I’m sure everyone has their own list, but if these are taken care of the rest will take care of itself.

No matter what, the new mayor must be held accountable. He should be graded by his accomplishments. He can’t be held accountable for the current conditions, but he can be held accountable for improving these conditions. We must hold him accountable for where we are one year from now, two years, three years, and four years from now. I don’t think Mr. Peduto would expect or accept anything less.

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