Inauguration Day: launching the blueprint for transition in Pittsburgh

Introduction to our blog, from Helen Gerhardt and Weenta Girmay

On December 30th, 2013, Mayor-elect Bill Peduto had to use some muscle to lift a thick binder above his head – 1100 pages thick. A month earlier, he had invited almost 1100 volunteers to join eight Transition Teams to consider the current state of Pittsburgh and to work together to recommend needed changes. Those volunteers had divided themselves into 47 subcommittees and diligently composed reports and proposals that addressed a vast array of past concerns and new hopes.

Mr. Peduto hefted all that weighty thought with both hands and declared those volunteer recommendations to be his “blueprint” for change in Pittsburgh.

“When I saw the names of the people that were a part of this, they come from every walk of life in this city…We are the administrative branch. We make sure stuff gets done,” Peduto said. “Your job is to make sure the people have a voice.”

How can we be sure that the work of the Transition Teams will truly represent the people of Pittsburgh? Where can we Pittsburghers hear each other’s voices directly?

Our answer: public transit. People from all walks of life share space, news, personal stories, concerns, and reflections on the buses and at their bus stops.  Public transit connects every neighborhood of Pittsburgh. We will travel across our city by bus to ask Pittsburghers how the Transition Team recommendations reflect and address the needs of their diverse communities. We will follow the Mayor and his staff as they work with community members to address those needs in the following areas laid out by the Peduto Administration.

Starting on the Inauguration Day of Mayor Bill Peduto, this blog will map the progress of that Transition blueprint as it moves into action.

Our project will rely principally on responding to your stories, your concerns, your ideas. What concerns do you think the new Mayor and his team should prioritize? What concerns  do you think were left out of the Transition Team reports? What recommendations would you add? Whose voices should also be included in the public planning process?

The stories we present will reflect the divides and the connections between Pittsburgh neighborhoods and their diverse populations. They will demonstrate the spans between planning and action, policy and practice, means and ends, as this new Transition history unfolds in real time. Because buses are bridges – if we choose to speak and to listen to our neighbors.

If you would like to contribute, please browse our Contact page to directly speak with us about sharing your stories and reflections.

Weenta Girmay and Helen Gerhardt

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About helengerhardt1

Helen Gerhardt: Pittsburgher, writer, member of the Commission on Human Relations: nothing written at this blog reflects the views or positions of the Commission.

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