“I want Connelly to train our youth so they can test into the unions and go straight to work right there. The lower Hill is an opportunity to drive wealth creation within the Black community.”

There have been positive results on the North Side too, Lavelle said, noting that violent crime has gone down every year in the last four.

“Allegheny Dwelling is much better, and it’s because of cooperative work with new management, adding security cameras, more patrols, and a collaborative effort with the community,” he said. “There is still drug activity there, so we work with the (US Drug Enforcement Agency) on that. It’s catalytic. Yes, there’s more work to be done on safety, but we’re getting there.”

Lavelle said he also has more to do legislatively as well. He is exploring a local hiring requirement for development projects that use city funds similar to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sect. 3.

He also plans a bill to hold banks responsible for the condition of abandoned properties they own. It would compliment the responsible banking legislation (banks holding city funds must invest in poor communities) he passed last year, after Bill Peduto’s version was vetoed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

“Bill didn’t listen when Black leaders and I said it was detrimental to the Black community. He said he had the votes to put it through and did. The mayor listened, though,” said Lavelle. “But he (Peduto) also voted to keep the Civic Arena and before that backed Isle of Capri’s bid to put a casino there over the community.”

Lavelle admitted he supports his mentor, friend and former boss Jake Wheatley over Peduto and Jack Wagner in the mayor’s race, but said he is not actively working for him.

“I’m supportive, but I’m too busy with my own campaign,” he said. “I’m confident I will be reelected. But for that to happen, I need the community’s support. I need their votes.”

The primary election is May 21.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)


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