Letters To The Editor: Sept 19 - 26 | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Letters To The Editor: Sept 19 - 26 

Civics 101

Re "School of Hard Knocks" [Sept. 5]: As another longtime resident of Oakland, I wish I could reach back in time to bring Greg and Cassi Schaffer-McNalley to an Oakland Community Council meeting. At nearly every OCC meeting, we have representatives from Pitt or the city who are able to work with community members to help solve problems before they come to a head. At the very least, the meetings let you know you live in a community where neighbors care about one another and will come out to support each other.

Alas, until one of the bright young minds the Schaffer-McNalleys are battling makes an extraordinary scientific discovery, our feet are firmly rooted in the present. And in the present, we need to be reminding each other that Oakland is for everyone. If police are treating calls in Oakland differently because, "It's where the students are, what do you expect?" then that is a real cause for concern and a call to action. We need to expect all members of the community, students and residents alike, to respect each other.

I invite Dr. Humphrey to observe some of her students late on a Saturday night in our neighborhood and decide if the Student Code of Conduct is as rigorously followed as the university would like to believe.

We had a series of building-code-enforcement blitzes aimed at improving the quality of housing in Oakland — perhaps what would help now is a university-led blitz focused on conduct. Rather than the police only asking rowdy partygoers to disperse or to go inside, first ask for their ID and then cite them for their violation. Showing there is action behind the rhetoric would demonstrate a true commitment to the neighborhood we share.

OCC meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Peoples Oakland, 3433 Bates St.

--Jeff Maurin, Oakland

(The writer is president of the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation.)

For the record

In your recent cover story "Changing Tunes," on Lawrenceville's Blackberry Studio [Sept. 5], Aaron Jentzen interviewed one of our studio neighbors on the block, Chasm, who was quoted as saying the Blackberry hip-hop producers Tremaine Thompson and DJ Detonate tell him what he can and can't write about in his music. Jentzen goes on to mention that there is tension in the situation and that a disconnect exists between the studio and the neighborhood. The only disconnect here is that Jentzen neglected to interview DJ Detonate and Thompson and chose to write the story only having part of the facts. The accusation that they would try to exercise control on anyone else's music is offensive.

What Jentzen would have been told, had he asked, is that they give critiques on the structure of songwriting to turn freestyle verse into finished songs, but only to polish the artist's original product. We hope that next time the writer will take the time to get all sides to a story, instead of marring an overall positive article with conjecture.

-- Tremaine Thompson and Nate DeLong

Blackberry Studios

Story strikes a false note

Kudos to Aaron Jentzen on his revelatory article on the new music studio located on one of the many gritty, mean streets of Lawrenceville. As a nine-year resident of Lawrenceville, I have apparently been seeing my neighborhood with proverbial rose-colored glasses that have effectively shielded me from the grim, urban-jungle landscape that encompasses the Ninth Ward (and the 10th Ward is even BADDER!). The sooner gentrification finishes its inevitable creeping course, the sooner we can all put away our security cameras and sleep soundly at night. Meanwhile, the next time I saunter over to Stinky's Tavern for a fish sandwich, I'll be packin' heat!

It's so hard to be a saint in the city.

-- Alan Zavacky



Due to an editing error, the Sept. 12 Revelations column ["Split Decision"] misstated elements of the controversy over the team representing the Hill District in negotiations about a new hockey arena. As published, the story asserted that "[c]ommunity members nominated a seven-member negotiating team" who were excluded from the slate of candidates submitted for a community vote. In fact, numerous negotiators were proposed, seven of which were not put on the community ballot.


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