Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud!
CNX Resources Corp. (NYSE: CNX), Bettis Brothers, and The Bus Stops Here Foundation announced a partnership intended to bring greater awareness and access to opportunities in the natural gas industry to disadvantaged urban and rural communities within the Pittsburgh region. Additionally, CNX laid out comprehensive goals related to its supply chain and sourcing efforts in the critical area of local workforce diversity.
"With a 157-year legacy in this region, our responsibility to our local communities is something we never stop thinking about and never stop working on. So, the opportunity to partner with Jerome and John Bettis, and their foundation, to help advance this important topic was a no-brainer for us. Jerome is a Pittsburgh legend, and we share his passion for the wellbeing of the people and communities here in our backyard," said CNX Chief Excellence Officer Yemi Akinkugbe. Mr. Akinkugbe continued, "At CNX, we have a home-grown, diverse team and our desire is to continue to build and expand the local talent pool through tangible 'hire local' and diversity targets and goals that help advance middle-class opportunities for all in our region."
With a growing need for local family-sustaining jobs, CNX announced it will purchase all services and materials from providers that, in aggregate, maintain at least a 90% local resident employee base (southwestern PA, eastern OH and northern WV) and will dedicate 40% of the total CNX small business spend to companies within the tri-state area. CNX also committed to a 6% Diverse Business Enterprise (DBE) spend and 7% DBE representation on the CNX vendor roster in 2021.
"Our hope and expectation is that this partnership will advance the conversation and bear tangible results when it comes to opening doors to opportunities that exist in the natural gas industry to the communities that need these opportunities the most. We're proud to help lead this effort within the region we love," said John Bettis, Chief Operating Officer of Bettis Brothers.
As part of the partnership between CNX and The Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis and CNX President and CEO Nick DeIuliis will soon visit Sto-Rox High School to deliver needed technology solutions and speak with students regarding career opportunities in the natural gas industry. This follows recent CNX-led classroom technology efforts with West Greene School District and other community partners in the region. Additional details regarding the Sto-Rox event and other future events related to the partnership are forthcoming.
CNX President and CEO Nick DeIuliis commented, "To us, the concept of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance means that we, first and foremost, focus local. We want to be that pipeline that connects local, disadvantaged populations within our region to family-sustaining jobs in energy and manufacturing. Our industry builds broad value for the region and underpins the middle class, and this partnership will help sustain and grow those efforts."
To learn more about CNX's unique Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) approach, accomplishments, and goals, please visit: https://responsibility.cnx.com/esg-overview.html
Jerome and John Bettis
A funding partnership with Bakery Square to support affordable housing, workforce development and the history of Larimer has been approved by the East Liberty TRID board.
It includes support for a $1 million Larimer workforce development center, a $1 million commitment to affordable housing on Mayflower Street, and an engineering and architectural pattern book to support the Larimer Master Plan.
The partnership with Bakery Square developers Walnut Capital was approved Thursday by the East Liberty Transit Revitalization Investment District Revitalization Authority (ELTRIDRA) board.
“In 2014 Larimer Consensus Group was given the opportunity to improve two housing projects as the momentum was to build with rehabilitation, and many homeowners were able to rehab their homes,” Donna Jackson of Larimer Consensus Group said. “This partnership with Walnut Capital extended another opportunity for residents to build wealth throughout the community and receive job training to empower them to increase wealth within their families.”
“This is how you help ensure opportunities for all,” Mayor William Peduto said. “I want to thank Larimer Consensus Group, Walnut Capital and ELTRIDRA for their work.”
A $1 million grant from Walnut Capital will fund workforce development initiatives by the Larimer Consensus Group. The service provider will be Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc. (PCSI) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh will provide technical assistance and expertise.
In a partnership between the URA and Walnut Capital $1 million will be committed to support a for-sale affordable housing initiative on currently-vacant land on Mayflower Street near Auburn Street. Affordable, new-construction, single-family homes will be constructed in a partnership with the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation, which will be sold to households at or below 80% Area Median Income.
A $17,500 grant from Walnut Capital will fund the pattern book, which is a guide that reviews architectural patterns that are present within the Larimer neighborhood along with guidelines for building or renovating structures. The pattern book will highlight sustainable practices consistent with the Larimer Vision Plan.
Lamar Consensus Group Board
Rosemary Crawford, an award winning attorney with over 31 years of experience of legal experience announced her candidacy for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas today.
Crawford, a graduate of the Georgetown Law School currently serves as a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Western District of Pennsylvania. As Chapter 7 Trustee, she serves a quasi-judicial role presiding over thousands of complex bankruptcy matters. Her extensive experience in civil litigation, family law, and employment law as well as appellate practice give her the experience and temperament needed to serve on the Court of Common Pleas.
“I am excited about the possibility of bringing my legal experience to the table as a judge. I have worked with people of all walks of life and understand their unique circumstances, stories, and experiences and vow to bring a level of compassion and fairness to the bench. I look forward to earning the support of voters in the coming weeks,” said Crawford. “Growing up as the daughter of a Pullman porter, and a public school teacher, my parents both strong union members instilled in me the value of fairness and impartiality and the consequences of favoritism.”
Rosemary is a certified Arbitrator (Better Business Bureau, FINRA and Courts) and Mediator. She served on the Boards of the Allegheny County Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association, and the Homer S. Brown Association. She has served as a Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice. She also served as an adjunct Professor of Employment Law at the University of Pittsburgh Law School and also taught Criminal Procedure and Business Law at the Community College of Allegheny County. She was selected by The Honorable Donetta Ambrose, then Chief Judge of the Western District of Pennsylvania to serve as a Member of the Federal Rules Advisory Committee for 2000-2001.
Rosemary is committed to socio economic justice, and public service. She has served on the Boards of Neighborhood Legal Services and Pennsylvania Services where she provided free legal services to the indigent. For five years she served as Director of YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Women Legal Resources where she oversaw counseling and pro bono work for women in need. She provided pro bono legal services for almost a decade for those seeking protection from abuse from violent partners.
The primary election will be held Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Currently, there is only 1 black female judge in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. If elected, Crawford will become the first African American female elected to the bench in Allegheny County in this century.
Food insecurity spiked among residents living in two predominantly African American neighborhoods during the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, far outpacing food insecurity observed among the general U.S. population during the same period, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
Following residents of two Pittsburgh low-income African American neighborhoods characterized as food deserts since 2011, the study found that the pandemic increased the number of people facing food insecurity by nearly 80%.
Similar to United States national trends, food insecurity among residents had been improving consistently since 2011. However, the study found that those gains were erased by the pandemic, with the disparities between the predominantly African American residents and U.S. population at the highest levels seen over the past decade.
The findings are published online by the American Journal of Public Health.
“In a short period of time, the coronavirus pandemic has magnified preexisting racial and ethnic disparities in food security,” said Tamara Dubowitz, the study's lead author and a senior policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “While food insecurity is linked to a wide variety of health problems, these disparities reflect larger systemic issues including structural racism.”
The study involved residents of the Hill and Homewood neighborhoods in Pittsburgh that have been the focus of a long-running research project investigating the influence that diet, access to food, and other items have on residents' health and wellbeing.
Both of the neighborhoods are primarily African American and low income. A group of residents of both areas have been surveyed about their access to healthy food on several occasions since 2011.
For the latest study, RAND researchers surveyed a group of 605 residents from the neighborhoods during March, April, and May 2020, asking about how the pandemic was affecting their access to food. Researchers have been following the residents since 2011.
The study found that the number of residents reporting food insecurity increased from 20.7% in 2018 to 36.9% in 2020—a nearly 80 percent rise. Previous research had shown that food insecurity had been falling in the two neighborhoods since 2011.
Among those surveyed, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (52.2%) and food bank use (35.9%) did not change significantly during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This finding suggests that existing safety nets may need more support in order to reach those with emerging needs,” Dubowitz said. “Lack of reported use could be due to difficulties with SNAP enrollment, problems accessing food banks in the early days of the pandemic or feelings of stigma related to participating in such programs.”
Support for the study was provided by the National Cancer Institute and RAND, which uses income from RAND's operations and unrestricted philanthropic gifts to support research.
Other authors of the study are Madhumita Ghosh Dastidar, Wendy M. Troxel, Robin Beckman, Alvin Nugroho, Sameer Siddiqi, Jonathan Cantor, Matthew Baird, Andrea S. Richardson, Gerald P. Hunter, Alexandra Mendoza-Graf, and Rebecca L. Collins.
The RAND Social and Economic Well-Being division seeks to actively improve the health, and social and economic well-being of populations and communities throughout the world.
Source: Rand Corporation
Pennsylvania state Rep. Ed Gainey announced his candidacy for mayor of Pittsburgh.
Gainey will challenge Mayor Bill Peduto and others in this year’s Democratic primary on May 18th.
Here is a statement from Ed Gainey on launching his campaign:
“I’m running for Mayor because I know that the working people of Pittsburgh need opportunities for good union jobs with a living wage and benefits, affordable housing, genuine public safety, and a city where we can all belong and contribute. We can uplift the City of Pittsburgh for everyone if we start with those who have been left behind.
“I understand that city government has the power to change lives, uplift communities, and fix what’s broken in our city. Our city is divided, but when we all lay our heads down at night, I believe we all share the same vision for our families, our children, and our neighborhoods. To fulfill our vision for a better tomorrow, Pittsburgh deserves a mayor who will fight with all they’ve got to see the vision through. I’m ready for that fight, and as the next Mayor of the city of Pittsburgh, I’ll be a Mayor for all of us.”
Last week, Mayor Peduto announced that he is running for his third term. So far, retired police officer Tony Moreno of Brighton Heights and community activist Will Parker of the North Side, the nephew of Willie Stargell, have also said they are running.
There are no term limits for the mayor of Pittsburgh. The city’s longest-serving mayor was David Leo Lawrence, who was elected four times as mayor, although he resigned in 1959 during his fourth term to become the state’s governor.
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives vote on H.Res. 24 to impeach President Donald J. Trump:
“This impeachment vote was bipartisan because it wasn’t about politics. This is about public safety. There is no doubt that President Trump committed the conduct in the article of impeachment. Even though there is only one week left in his term, impeachment is necessary because Donald Trump is a clear and ongoing threat to our communities, to our military, and to our government.
“There are heavily armed groups all over the country who look to Trump for direction and carry his flag, and they continue to plot because he continues to lie about the election. We all saw how quickly he can incite them to commit serious violence, even against a hard target like the Capitol. That could happen again at any second over the next week.
“Trump could start pardoning the people who invaded the Capitol or do any number of dangerous things to try and distract from the attack. If that happens, the Senate must be ready to remove him from office immediately, at a moment’s notice. Our vote today ensures that they have the power to do exactly that.”
Jan. 12, 2021 - State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, has been sworn in for another two-year term in the House and has also been named as the Democratic chairman of the House Professional Licensure Committee. He previously served two terms as Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee.
“I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on several issues – among the most urgent is securing much-needed relief for residents and minority-owned businesses who continue to be adversely impacted by the ongoing pandemic,” said Wheatley. “I’ve seen firsthand how the pandemic has led to extreme stress and anxiety, especially for people who want to work and have either struggled, due to no fault of their own, to get or renew the proper licensing for their respective occupations. I see this committee being among the most vital in directly impacting our workforce. A strong workforce is going to be the foundation toward our state’s recovery, and we need to do all we can to make the licensing process for employees and businesses as smooth and efficient as possible to keep Pennsylvanians working.”
Wheatley added that, based on a recent national study, 41% of Black-owned businesses, 32% of Latino-owned businesses and 26% of Asian-owned businesses shut down between February and April 2020, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses during that same time period.
Wheatley was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2002, taking office at the start of the 2003-04 legislative session.
Washington, D.C.– (Jan. 7th) Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement:
“Yesterday, domestic terrorists, inspired, encouraged and emboldened by President Donald Trump, attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in furtherance of an attempted coup.
While shocking, yesterday’s events were entirely foreseeable. They were the direct result of President Trump’s lies about the integrity of our most recent election, and his frequent incitements to violence. For weeks, the President has lied about his decisive defeat, promoting wild conspiracy theories about unsubstantiated fraud and encouraging this insurrection. But he didn’t do it alone. President Trump was aided and abetted every step of the way by a multitude of Republicans in both the House and Senate who, after four years of enabling his authoritarian tendencies, yesterday sought to invalidate the will of the very people they serve. These members of Congress, along with President Trump, are responsible for this direct assault on our democracy and on our Nation’s Capitol Building. Their collective actions and words put lives at risk, and struck at the heart of our most fundamental democratic principles.
President Trump is a threat to our domestic and national security. It is self-evident that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. I call on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and begin the process of removing the powers of the presidency from Donald Trump. This is the quickest way to protect our domestic and national security.”
Mayor William Peduto, City Councilman Daniel Lavelle and The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) — the commercial redeveloper of the $1 billion Lower Hill mixed-use district — announces a series of local partnerships with Hill District residents to bolster project management, design expertise and community reinvestment. BPG and local partners the Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed plans to break ground on the 26-story FNB Financial Center in early 2021.
Additionally, BPG announced the opening of a new Pittsburgh office at the JLL Center at Tower Two-Sixty on Forbes Avenue, partnering with JLL, its commercial broker for the Lower Hill redevelopment.
The Lower Hill development team has been expanded to include four Hill District residents, intended to catalyze BPG’s neighborhood revitalization program in alignment with the Community Collaboration and Implementation Plan (CCIP) that was established in 2014 to guide equitable development on the Lower Hill:
Bomani Howze – Vice President for The Buccini/Pollin Group. Hill District-based developer Bomani Howze has joined BPG as a Vice President with development management responsibilities in the Pittsburgh region, where BPG also owns the People’s Center office complex on the North Shore. Mr. Howze’s areas of focus will be to finalize planning approvals, further define commercial programming and expand the firm’s community engagement platform. Mr. Howze noted: “BPG has been a trailblazer in delivering projects of significant complexity and impact in Baltimore, Washington, Wilmington and other cities with neighborhoods pursuing equitable development similar to Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District. I’m incredibly excited to join forces with BPG, the Penguins and our ex tensive, public-private partner network to bring long-promised opportunities to the Hill and to realize the possibilities of reinvestment in my community.” BPG’s Managing Partner Chris Buccini said: “We are delighted to solidify our presence in Pittsburgh by partnering with local developer and community builder Bomani Howze, establishing our development office above Market Square, and expanding our local team. Together, we will work to realize the tremendous potential for this special location.”
Dorin Dickerson – Director of Project Development for Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins have hired Dorin Dickerson, currently the Community Outreach Manager for Mascaro Construction Company, to serve as Director of Project Development for the Penguins on the Lower Hill development. Mr. Dickerson will coordinate closely with Mr. Howze and focus his efforts on project management, workforce development and community engagement.
E. Holdings – M/WBE Consultant. Pittsburgh-based E. Holdings, led by Hill District resident Irv Williams, has been engaged as the M/WBE consultant for the Lower Hill development. In that capacity, E. Holdings will focus on solidifying bridges between the development team and the minority and women-owned business community to enhance the inclusion of local, disadvantaged contractors and service providers in this transformational project.
Dr. Kimberly Ellis – Legacy Consultant. Hill District historian and designer Dr. Kimberly Ellis has been engaged as the legacy consultant for the Lower Hill development. As she has in the adjacent I-579 CAP Park development project which is currently under construction, Dr. Ellis will channel historical context and diverse stakeholder perspectives to ensure that the development provides an inclusive, welcoming public open space – one that restores visual, recreational, commercial and pedestrian connections between the Hill District and the downtown along Wylie Avenue.
Lakeisha Byrd – Design Consultant. Hill District resident and architectural design consultant Lakeisha Byrd has been selected to guide elements of the architectural work on the Lower Hill development. Ms. Byrd will work closely with Gensler, the architect of record for the development, and their landscape architect to enhance the physical and cultural connection between the development and the Hill District neighborhood.
Monaloh Basin Engineers – Site Survey Consultant. Woman-owned, Pittsburgh-based engineering firm Monaloh Basin Engineers will provide a team to conduct a survey of the Lower Hill site’s first commercial phase. The resulting topographical analysis, boundary surveys and subdivision plans will support the broader design initiative of the planned commercial projects and public open space.
AWK Consulting Engineers – Geotechnical Consultant. Turtle Creek–based AWK Consulting Engineers, a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), will perform on-site geotechnical evaluations and design services for the site, documenting foundation requirements for the initial phases of commercial development.
These initial contracting commitments have been released just as the project enters the pre-development home stretch in anticipation of a Q2 2021 groundbreaking. The project’s designer and builder will further enhance this local team as the effort continues to move forward.
"What sets the 28-acre project apart from others is that it will be led by and engages with local Black artists, companies and leaders,” Mayor Peduto said. “By working hand in hand with both community stakeholders and private developers, we are investing in a future that is directly built by its residents. I am proud of the work of our partners and collaborators on this critical work, and especially want to thank URA Executive Director Greg Flisram and Deputy Executive Director Diamonte Walker."
“It cannot be understated how critical these hires are. I have continually stated that this development should be to the explicit economic and social benefit of the African-American and Hill District community. Hiring four African-American firms that both live and are headquartered in the Hill District are monumental steps towards achieving both objectives,” Councilman Lavelle said. “What’s more, the complete set of firms hired will go a tremendous way in ensuring this is an equitable development centered with the concerns and needs of the residents of the Hill District not just in mind, but also in practice. Lastly, I thank the Mayor and development team for recognizing the importance of equitable development and advancing these partnerships.”
“I want to thank the Penguins and BPG for their commitment to the Lower Hill, as this development will have an immediate and positive economic impact on the Hill District neighborhood and create thousands of jobs to help with our recovery out of the pandemic,” said State Rep. Jake Wheatley.
In recent weeks, the largest mixed-use, multi-tenant office project in the City of Pittsburgh completed its financing commitments to advance toward construction, with an infusion of equity from minority-owned Clay Cove Capital, LLC. BPG received preliminary project approvals from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh as well as the Sports and Exhibition Authority in May 2020.
BPG’s Vice President of Development Boris Kaplan observed: “We are complementing the strong team we already have in place with professionals of high caliber, inspiration and in-market credibility. The Lower Hill is going to be a destination comparable to the very best mixed-use projects across the country and we are adding crucial horsepower and diversity of skillsets to the team at a pivotal juncture in the project’s development.”
For information on workforce and MWBE contracting opportunities:
Rendering of the I-579 CAP Park, Lower Hill Open Space and FNB Financial Center.
Mayor William Peduto released the following statement regarding the final report by the Community Taskforce for Police Reform, which he named in June:
“This amazing work by the Taskforce is more than I ever could have hoped for, and I am humbled and thankful by their exhaustive work on the critical need to reimagine police work in Pittsburgh. As the report notes the work by a diverse group of civic leaders — from corporate, religious and philanthropic entities; unions; health care and community-based service organizations; grassroots activism; and the law — brings the breadth of knowledge and experience that was necessary to take this very complicated and important subject to task.
Their independently produced recommendations are noted in the report under the focus areas of Eliminating Racial Disparities; Officer Wellness; Reimagining Policing; Recruitment, Training, Education and Hiring; Relations with Pittsburgh’s Fraternal Order of Police; Transparency and Accountability; Use of Force Changes Needed to Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Policy; and Use of Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, “Flash-Bang” Devices and Other Less Lethal Methods of Crowd Control.
These recommendations will be our guiding influence as we make changes to police policy and budgeting to restructure police operations to make them more community-driven, safe and supportive for all residents, especially our Black neighbors. With these recommendations we will make real changes to policing, backed up by data and research, to ensure equity, accountability and transparency for all.
I must also thank Pittsburgh City Council for its initial changes to police methods already put into City law this year.
This report is only the latest step toward reform, following work we have already done and assistance we need from state and federal legislators. In June I created the Office of Community Health and Safety to redirect city resources to better meet community needs by housing social services, public health and social work experts who can assist first responders. I also called on Harrisburg to promote several police accountability and transparency reforms, and to make it easier for municipalities to immediately release body-worn camera footage.
I have joined efforts led by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to engage with other city leaders nationwide as we together seek the best practices for reimagine how policing is performed across America, in many ways through the types of changes recommended in the Community Taskforce report.
In sum, the Taskforce report is a model not only for Pittsburgh but the nation, and is a springboard for actions we must continue to take to protect Black lives.”
Source: City of Pittsburgh
October 9, 2020 After much deliberation, Mayor William Peduto today announced his agreement with the City Art Commission finding that the Christopher Columbus statue in Schenley Park be removed, and directed that the statue be displayed in a private location still to be determined.
The Commission unanimously voted September 23 to remove the statue. After reading Commission testimony and talking to passionate advocates on both sides of the issue, the Mayor made the difficult decision that removing the statue is justified, and that it can be better displayed in a private location that places Columbus, his memory and his history in different context.
The Mayor issued a letter to the Art Commission today that reviews the celebration of Columbus by Italian-Americans who were subject to discrimination after emigrating to the United States, and the subsequent reckoning with the explorer’s support of slavery and genocide. The letter says in part:
“All four of my grandparents were Italian and personally experienced discrimination, yet learned to love their new country. I am tremendously proud to be part of the Italian-American community in Pittsburgh, just as I am proud to be Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh and to represent all people of our city.
After much thought and prayer I believe it is now time for us to return the Columbus statue to the Italian-American community that brought it into existence. They can preserve it in a manner than celebrates Italian-American culture, while acknowledging the wreckage that slavery and racism has done to America.”
The letter asks the Art Commission to make a final vote on the disposition of the statue.
No decisions have yet been made on when the statue will be removed, or the private location where it will be stored and displayed. City crews may cover the statue until it can be removed.
A copy of the Mayor’s letter is available here.
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