Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Councilman Kraus versus the South Side

Love him or hate him, Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus cares about his South Side constituents. Since he was elected, he has made it his crusade to stem the tide of violence, disrespect, and litter in the South Side. Earlier this summer, he organized the "Sociable City Forum" bringing local leaders and bar owners together. Last year, his intern created the following document: "INVITING, SAFE, AND COHESIVE: A PROPOSAL FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE SOUTH SIDE USING RESPONSIBLE HOSPITALITY PRACTICES" This proposal outlines the many ways the South Side could be better handled. But unfortunately funding is an ever-present issue in the city, and none of these recommendations have been implemented.

This past weekend, we had a stark reminder of why it's so important to make changes on the South Side. After getting into a fight with a bouncer, a bar patron opened fire wounding the bouncer and two bystanders. This is unacceptable. Stories like this are why I try to leave the South Side craziness before all hell breaks loose at closing time. Every Friday and Saturday night I've been on the South Side, I've experienced drunken belligerence and fights - though thankfully no gunshots yet. This behavior is unacceptable. Are we going to wait until 4 people get killed?

But our Mayor keeps pushing this off on Councilman Kraus as a minor district problem. Moreover, it seems the Mayor's office is turning a blind eye to Kraus's efforts.

Ms. Doven [Mayoral Spokeswoman] said Mr. Kraus "hasn't brought us anything by way of recommendations, solutions, a white paper" and questioned his willingness to work with the mayor's office. She said previous enforcement blitzes on the South Side yielded only temporary improvements.

Mr Mayor, perhaps if you read your mail, you would have opened your personal invitation to the South Side Sociable City Forum. Or perhaps you could go to Councilman Kraus's web-page on the city website where he outlines the above goals. Or maybe once a week, you could read the newspaper which regularly highlights Kraus's attempts at legislation and change in the South Side. Since being elected, Kraus has managed to get laws passed to increase fines for open alcohol containers and created a fine for public urination.

Perhaps money collected from these fines could be funneled directly back into the South Side police presence? Whatever the case, you can disagree with his tactics, but you can not disagree that Councilman Kraus is willing to work on this vital issue.

1 comment:

samzak said...

I commend Councilman Kraus for his efforts. I wish city council and and the mayor would listen to him. My property is becoming increasingly vandalized. My car has been broken into. My Motorcycle has been knocked over. Passers by go INTO MY alleyway and pee in covered area in front of the door of my home. This neighborhood has become a frat party. South side is not a CAMPUS. This type of behavior belongs in Oakland. I went to a university, i understand this behavior happens. But it should happen on campus, not in the surrounding neighborhoods. How can pittsburgh gain a good name for itself when all of the adults move out of the city. There has been an increase of shootings and violence blocks from my house. And just this weekend a child was killed by a drunk driver. Step outside between the hours of midnight and 3am on a weekend night, and you'll see the drunk drivers speeding down the side streets, no cop to be found. I've called the police many times on my neighbors for their parties, they are outside yelling at 4am, and their guests are using the side of my house as their own personal bathroom, and my flower pot as their garbage can, and the cops come and seemingly do nothing. I can see the underage kids running out their backyard into the surrounding properties, and when I tell the police this is happening, they just nod their head and don't go after them. This behavior won't stop if the kids are not reprimanded. And escaping into my tomato plants, and into neighbor yards is ridiculous! And the law enforcement is just letting it happen.