Rich joined PublicSource in 2020. He reported for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2005 through early 2020, leading projects on child poverty, the opioid epidemic, communities with concentrations of people accessing mental health services, and the federal use of confidential informants. He has covered the federal court and city government beats, and was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting, for reporting on the Tree of Life massacre. Rich has also worked for the Pittsburgh City Paper and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He wrote a 2004 book about the subprime mortgage industry, called "American Nightmare: Predatory Lending and the Foreclosure of the American Dream." His first journalistic foray was a column on the challenge of finding vegetarian food in Pittsburgh restaurants, published in 1994. Rich graduated from George Washington University, and he and his family can often be found on Western Pennsylvania bike trails.
Tarentum, Oakdale and Glassport are among the Allegheny County towns that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016. With all eyes on the battleground state of Pennsylvania, families are divided, and there's anxiety in the Main Street air.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and his hand-picked task force released 16 recommendations for reforming policing on Monday, as the mayor pledged to consider them all and to start implementing data-related measures promptly. The report of Peduto’s Pittsburgh Community Task Force on Police Reform
comes nearly five months after the death of George Floyd, under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, set off a summer of protests and reignited concern with police use of force, especially against Black people. 10 big problems with policing, and approaches to addressing themThe mayor called the 47-page report “a baseline” for improving policing in the city. “We’re at a very historic moment in this country,” Peduto said at a press conference in the City-County Building. “And there has never been a time like this, since the late 1960s, in order to address systemic racism, and in all the different areas that we can see it, whether it’s through education, or access to healthcare, or housing, or whether it is in police brutality.”
The report’s recommendations:
Gather and analyze more data on routine policing actions, to better understand “disparate outcomes” in which race seems to be a factor in law enforcement.
From the surging center of the Strip District to the crumbling flank of Downtown’s Firstside Historic District, it’s 2.1 miles by car. But those places seemed like different cities this week. In the Strip on Monday, Mayor Bill Peduto joined developer Jack Benoff in a sunny parking lot next to an active construction site for the groundbreaking of the Forte Condos project. Though nary a brick has been laid, half of the planned 50 market-rate homes are already sold, Peduto said. “Even during COVID, we’re staying busy.
Develop PGH Bulletins will update you on the Pittsburgh region's economy, including close coverage of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, City Planning Commission and other important agencies. Please bookmark, check back frequently, sign up for the Develop PGH newsletter and email email@example.com with questions, tips or story ideas. 9/29/20: Planners delay Uptown rehab project, citing Hill group’s concerns
A proposal to convert an abandoned industrial laundry facility in Uptown into technology space failed to win the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission’s approval, after the Hill Community Development Corporation [CDC] said that the developers did not detail plans to use minority- and women-owned businesses. The commission said that developer Westrise Capital can come back before it Oct. 13, and encouraged negotiation between that firm and the Hill CDC.
PublicSource reviewed the cases because federal court is typically the referee of last resort in disputes between citizens and police. Officials sometimes portray the court as a backstop against other systems’ shortcomings. Scholars of law enforcement, though, view federal court as an uneven playing field on which results have little to do with the severity of a constitutional violation or the injuries caused.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ development team for the former Civic Arena site has “pulled themselves out” of a neighborhood review process and is chasing state dollars in a way that could “cannibalize” funds needed by other potential projects, Hill District leaders said at a virtual community meeting held late last week.
As incidents both local and national continue to raise questions about policing and mental health, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services [DHS] has quietly convened a panel that appears to be reviewing the public safety and social services response to behavioral health crises. The 28-member Allegheny County Crisis Response Stakeholder Group held its first full meeting, virtually, on Friday. The meeting included remarks by DHS staff including Director Marc Cherna, plus county Emergency Services Chief Matt Brown, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, and representatives of The Pittsburgh Foundation* and the Council of State Governments Justice Center. Its formation does not appear to have been heralded by any public announcement. It comes as the city sees near-daily protests demanding changes in policing, sometimes including calls to “defund” police, which some describe as the shift of law enforcement resources to human services or community building.
Update (9/4/20): Allegheny County President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark issued an order instructing district judges on the handling of eviction filings in the wake of an order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If a landlord attempts to file an eviction against a tenant who has declared that he or she falls under the income limits and income loss guidelines in the CDC order, the judge may hold an initial status conference to “give the parties an opportunity to also consider available rental assistance,” according to Clark’s order. Other than that, the judge is instructed to stay the case until the expiration of the CDC order, set for Dec. 31. In such cases, judges are not to issue writs or orders of possession — which tell the tenant to get out or be removed by a sheriff — until after the CDC order expires.
Develop PGH Bulletins will update you on the Pittsburgh region's economy, including close coverage of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, City Planning Commission and other important agencies. Please bookmark, check back frequently, sign up for the Develop PGH newsletter and email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, tips or story ideas. 8/31/20: Allegheny County judge adds flexibility to some evictions
With a state moratorium on most new eviction filings set to expire after today, and Gov. Tom Wolf saying he won't extend it without legislation, an Allegheny County judge has issued an order meant to give courts more flexible timelines in such cases. When an eviction is based solely on the tenant's failure to pay rent, according to the order, district judges can add an additional seven days to the statutory time frames that normally require an initial hearing within seven to 10 days, according to President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark's order. If the tenant provides an affidavit or testimony that he or she has applied to a rent relief program like the ones offered by the county or by the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, and if the tenant and the landlord agree to work together on the application, the hearing can be postponed for the duration of that process.