I had every intention of responding to an invitation from Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess to appear before Pittsburgh City Council on Feb. 6, 2014 to speak on the potential devastating effects of “Land Confiscation Legislation”, which had been falsely labeled as land banking legislation. However because of illness in my family I was unable to appear, but if I had, the following is what I would have said in my allotted three minutes.
My name is Louis “Hop” Kendrick and I reside in East Liberty.
To you the members of Pittsburgh City Council the one commonality we have is extension. My father was a veteran of World War I, my oldest brother was a veteran of World War II, and I am a veteran of the Korean Conflict. All three of us were honorably discharged, an extension of military service.
You the members of this Pittsburgh City Council are the extension of a Democratic Party that has controlled Pittsburgh for over 75 years. Under your political domination there have been an unbelievable number of changes, and overwhelmingly they have not all been positive. You echo that tired old phrase that Pittsburgh is someplace special, but many of my associates refer to Pittsburgh as UP SOUTH.
My family resided in the Hill District [property owner l during Renaissance 1 and Renaissance 2 and we watched the tearing down of houses, homes, a way of life.
Fulton Street and Wylie Avenue were known world wide as the block that never sleeps. A vast number of persons concurred that destruction of the Hill was in the residents’ best interest, but we found out much too late that was an absolute lie.
Those empty lots were vacant for 33 years, the residents moved east to Homewood, East Liberty, Wilkinsburg and Penn Township.
Under your political party’s leadership these neighborhoods began to deteriorate. They were destroyed physically and physiologically and now our problems were compounded by drug trafficking.
The powers to be could care less; after all it was the monkeys’ problem.
I worked narcotics and saw the prevailing attitudes from the inside. There came a time that developers began to build Crawford Square and we had to resort to civil unrest to be afforded opportunities to work.
Under your ongoing political domination there were two stadiums being built on North Side and the current legislator Rep. William “Bill” Robinson bought it to the general public’s attention that less than 2 percent of the contracts were awarded to Black persons.
It is the year 2014 and you ask the public to trust you with land legislation. I THINK NOT. My three minutes are up, thank you Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess.
Please remember that Kingsley Association needs your financial assistance.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)