Pittsburgh City Council
Regarding Proposed Lease and
Sale of Carnegie Library Branches
2002 December 10
Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh. I reside at 633 Royce Avenue in Mount Lebanon. Today I speak solely as an individual, representing no formal organization.
On November 25, as usual, I was in the City Council Chamber listening to presentation of papers, including introduction of Bill 1141, which referred to the proposed lease of library buildings to The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This bill did catch my attention.
As some of you know, I served five years on the Board of Trustees of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, and I am the webmaster of an Internet web site on the History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries. Hence, I fully intended to attend the Standing Committees meeting, on December 4, to hear more details about the lease agreements.
On November 25, I had no concern about the sale or conveyance of public property, because the presentation only mentioned the proposed lease agreements. And, the actual bill document included nothing about the sale or conveyance of public property.
I was shocked to read, in the November 30 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that the proposed lease agreements may include provisions for the sale and conveyance of public property to Carnegie Library. Nothing in the presentation, or the bill document, suggested anything to do with the sale or conveyance of public property. It was already too late to file a petition for a public hearing. However, the news article suggested that a public hearing might be held anyway.
I was shocked again, on December 4, when the bill was amended to include provisions for the sale of public property to Carnegie Library, Bill 1141 was affirmatively recommended by a 6-2 vote, and there was no mention of a public hearing!
On Friday, we submitted petition forms to the City Clerk requesting a public hearing in City Council regarding the proposed sale of City property to Carnegie Library; yesterday, we submitted additional signatures regarding this petition. I, respectfully, ask this Council to delay the final vote on Bill 1141 until a public hearing can be held on the specifics of the bill. The final vote on Bill 1141 should be delayed for the following reasons:
1) The November 25 presentation of Bill 1141, and the bill document, was completely misleading!
2) The amendment to Bill 1141, approved on December 4, substantively changes Bill 1141 from a lease bill to a bill, which both leases and conveys public property. In essence, Bill 1141 is new legislation.
3) Our petitions were submitted to the City Clerk within three days, as required in the City Charter, of the introduction of the December 4 amendment, which converts Bill 1141 into new legislation.
Bill 1141 is controversial !
Basically, the issue is this: Will this City Council permit the people of Pittsburgh to have the time to learn the details of the proposal, so they can make an educated judgment on the merits of arguments presented by those in favor of Bill 1141 and those opposed to Bill 1141. Thus far, the people of Pittsburgh have not had the time or opportunity to evaluate the many arguments, so they can make educated comments before this Council.
Web Site: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >