All the Pittsburgh news you missed this week (April 19-26) | Pittsburgh City Paper

All the Pittsburgh news you missed this week (April 19-26)

click to enlarge All the Pittsburgh news you missed this week (April 19-26)
CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig
Rich Fitzgerald

POLITICS: Fitz endorses

A term-limited Rich Fitzgerald has lent his support to two political hopefuls he says would continue his legacy after he leaves office in December.

The outgoing county executive stood alongside Joanna Doven and Michael Lamb during separate press conferences in the last several days where he officially endorsed their campaigns.

Doven, a one-time press secretary for former mayor Luke Ravenstahl, announced her bid for Bethany Hallam’s at-large county council seat earlier this year. Critics quickly seized on older Twitter statements where Doven endorsed Republican Senator Ted Cruz and appeared to make transphobic remarks. Hallam, meanwhile, has made a sworn enemy of Fitzgerald since arriving in office in 2020 amid a progressive insurgency.

Lamb, a fixture in local politics, has led the Pittsburgh Controller’s office since 2008. Along with Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein, another Fitzgerald foe, Lamb is seen as an establishment favorite to succeed Fitzgerald.

SOCIAL JUSTICE: Womens’ prison report

Pennsylvania-based organizations focused on ending mass incarceration last week released what they're calling the first-ever report documenting the experiences of people serving life without parole in Pennsylvania's two women's prisons.

The report, called "From Victim to Victor: an Inquiry into Death by Incarceration, Gender, and Resistance in Pennsylvania," was compiled by the Abolitionist Law Center, Let's Get Free Women and Trans Prisoner Defense Committee, and the Human Rights Coalition, and aggregates the experiences of 73 women and trans-masculine people sentenced to die in prison.

The overwhelming majority of those surveyed had survived physical and/or sexual abuse prior to their incarceration and were committed to their own rehabilitation, despite the prison system denying them opportunities to improve their lives.

UNION: Policing the pickets

Striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week claimed city police showed aggression on the picket lines as their walk-out reached the 6-month mark last week.

“About 25 @PghPolice came down to break the @PittsburghPG strike picket line tonight outside the company's distribution center at 1600 W Carson St. One officer batoned a woman to the ground as the truck drove thru,” the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh wrote in an April 24 Twitter statement.

The Post-Gazette meanwhile gave a statement to WPXI claiming strikers were attempting to block distribution drivers from leaving the company’s South Side facility.

The police issued a statement saying the department is reviewing its video footage before taking any additional steps.

Workers at the Post-Gazette have been on strike since last fall, when the company reduced its health benefits package for multiple labor units. Negotiations have so far yielded little. In January, the National Labor Relations Board ruled against the company in unfair labor claims filed before the strike.

click to enlarge All the Pittsburgh news you missed this week (April 19-26)
Map: Courtesy of Breath Project
Black Carbon Nitrogen Dioxide in Allegheny County

ENVIRONMENT: Air quality improves

The Pittsburgh region scored a best-ever “C” grade on the American Lung Association’s 2023 State of the Air report, bouncing back from an “F” issued this time last year.

The improved grade reflects a big reduction in ozone smog measured in Pittsburgh and 11 surrounding counties, according to a press release from the ALA. At the same time, the report notes Pittsburgh is still among the worst cities in the country for short and year-round particle pollution.

“As we can see from this year’s report data, there is much work to be done in the Pittsburgh metro area to improve our air quality,” said Kevin Stewart, director of Environmental Health for the Lung Association. “Even one poor air quality day is one too many for our residents at highest risk, such as children, older adults, pregnant women and those living with chronic disease. That’s why we are calling on lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels to take action to ensure that everyone has clean air to breathe.”

SOCIAL JUSTICE: Protestors invoke chants and fire outside Pitt's anti-trans "debate"

Ephemeral art made at Chalk Fest
25 images

Ephemeral art made at Chalk Fest

By Pam Smith