Statement before the††††††††††††††† Glenn A. Walsh

††††† Council of the†††††††††††††††††††††††††† P.O. Box 1041

City of Pittsburgh:††††††††††††††††† Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

††† Displacement of††††††††† Telephone: 412-561-7876

Historic Carnegie FreeElectronic Mail: < gawalsh@andrewcarnegie.cc >

Library of Allegheny†††† Internet Web Site: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2006 September 19

 

Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. Today, I am speaking as a private citizen, representing no formal organization.

 

Last Thursday, the URA Board approved conveyance of land to Carnegie Library, which will allow the Library to abandon the nationís first publicly-funded Carnegie Library building in the neighborhood where Andrew Carnegie grew-up. Despite the pleas of several citizens to reconsider the proposed action, the URA Board did not even comment on the citizensí complaints. It is obvious that the URA Board members had already made up their minds before the meeting began!

 

It did not seem to matter to the URA Board members that the Carnegie Library decision had been made in a process closed to most citizens of Pittsburgh and the North Side, despite the fact that Carnegie Library is a taxpayer-funded agency and the Allegheny Regional Branch building is a publicly-owned facility.

 

So, a non-elected Board and management of a taxpayer funded agency, Carnegie Library, consulted, and I use the term advisedly, with members of non-elected community organizations, to have a decision approved by a non-elected authority only two weeks after the public announcement of this decision.Is this what has become of democracy in the City of Pittsburgh in the 21st century?

 

And, when I say that Carnegie Library consulted with the community organization members, it seems that they really simply informed these select individuals of a decision Carnegie Library already made.

 

Three years ago, the same thing happened in Hazelwood. In this case there was a neighborhood meeting. However, at the meeting the Library Director at that time went back on a promise he had made to the RAD Board, just weeks earlier, that he would truly consult with the people at the neighborhood meeting before a final decision would be made to abandon the historic Hazelwood Library and Auditorium. At the neighborhood meeting, the Library Director simply stated that the decision to abandon the historic building had already been made.

 

You are the elected representatives of the people of Pittsburgh. Do you support a non-elected Board and management of a taxpayer-funded organization making major decisions, affecting thousands of city residents, with no input from the general public?If each of you continue to just sit there and offer no alternatives to ensure true public input into these decisions, then the people of Pittsburgh must conclude that this is the so-called democracy you support in the City of Pittsburgh.

 

Thank you.

 

gaw