All the Pittsburgh News You Missed This Week (Jan. 18-25) | Pittsburgh City Paper

All the Pittsburgh News You Missed This Week (Jan. 18-25)

NEWS: Proposed enforcement of youth curfew sparks public criticism

Pittsburgh City Council President Theresa Kail-Smith introduced a resolution Jan. 18 directing council to convene a committee to review Pittsburgh’s existing youth curfew law.

The law requires that the police pick up unaccompanied minors found in public places or private businesses after the designated curfew time and take them to a city-operated curfew center where they will receive counseling and be held until a parent or guardian picks them up.

City controller candidate and former city youth services manager Tracy Royston told Pittsburgh City Paper the last city-run curfew center was “a logistical and financial nightmare,” arguing such centers are not an effective use of resources.

Racial justice advocates told City Paper that a police-enforced curfew would likely be harmful to local youth and communities of color.

Any practice "that increases contact with the police" is dangerous for young people, especially young Black people, according to Muhammad Ali Nasir, who coordinates advocacy, policy, and civic engagement for nonprofit advocacy group 1Hood Media.

Kail-Smith told WESA she’d rather see the city’s social workers and outreach staff enforce the curfew.

click to enlarge All the Pittsburgh News You Missed This Week (Jan. 18-25)
Allegheny County Chief Public Defender Matt Dugan

POLITICS: District Attorney challenger Matt Dugan calls for collaborative, preventative approach to public safety

Allegheny County’s Chief Public Defender Matt Dugan last week announced his intention to challenge District Attorney Stephen Zappala in the Democratic primary this spring.

In particular, Dugan says he wants to focus the county’s resources on “competently prosecuting violent crime,” and he plans to do so, in part, by implementing “true diversion” programs that redirect those with low-level, nonviolent charges away from the criminal legal system.

Although Zappala has touted the establishment of specialty courts for cases involving drugs, mental health, and veterans as successful diversion efforts, Dugan says these do not amount to “true diversion.”

“There's an opportunity to get in front of this, to be more proactive, to focus more on prevention than to be reactive and focus on punishment.”

NEWS: Report argues Pittsburgh is a UPMC company town

A new report by the American Economic Liberties Project considers the negative impacts of UPMC’s dominance over the region’s healthcare economy.

“Like the steel corporations of the last century, UPMC has used its power to depress wages, degrade working conditions, extract money from the public, and, ultimately, create a crisis for the communities in which it operates and in which we live,” write State Rep. Sara Innamorato (D-Lawrenceville) and U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-Swissvale) in their introduction to the report.

The report calls for state and local leaders to strengthen and enforce antitrust laws meant to encourage economic competition and to investigate and reform UPMC’s tax-exempt status, among other recommendations.