Monday, May 08, 2006

Reading Valerie McDonald Roberts

On her campaign website Valerie McDonald Roberts has some notes on her activities on the Pittsburgh City Council. It is labeled Feb. 1995 - July 2005, but actually only goes 2001, 32 pages in all. When I heard her speak she talked about working with the Pittsburgh police on police reform. You can see that thread in her city council work. Another thread I saw was the importance of helping and understanding and paying attention to the impoverished and disinfranchised. A third is on community / job / school / training partnerships. One might expect that to fade over time but in the five years worth of notes on her site it did not. I have pulled out a few quotes that I think are illustrative of her better work. You should take the time to read through all of it yourself, especially before the primary.

On the Three Rivers Stadium:

"I'm having a real hard time with this. When I see neighborhoods falling apart, youth hanging out on the streets, we're talking about picking them up, locking them up, throwing away the key, and we can't give a lousy stinkin' $1 million to a neighborhood for a youth organization for some kind of recreational center? These kids have been crying for a youth recreational center for years and we're putting $27 million into the Stadium -- they can't even get to the Stadium?" (3/08/95)

On a Police Sensitivity Bill:

"We need to open up to a concept citizen police academy to train the residents. We talk about community oriented policing, it works both ways. The police officers need to be trained to work better with the community, to have the right attitude and the community needs to understand and have more respect for what a police officer has to do and why they act the way they do and they may have to be tough." (11/01/95)

On recycling:

"I think that the problem that you're going to find in the public housing is just plain apathy. The don't care because they're living hand to mouth and day to day. A lot of them don't see a future. They don't feel that they are empowered whatsoever. When you feel that way, you're not going to say, let me just put the cans out in the blue bags. It doesn't work that way. They have other concerns that are overwhelming them." (05/15/96)

On historic preservation:

"I don't know what the debate was in terms of balancing against the whole historic designation process and the work therein butI think there can be some happy medium but if there is a decision that has to be made I am going to be siding with the owner of the property. I take more stock in a human being than a building." (6/19/96)

On job training partnerships:

"I've often asked employers, particular high tech employers, when they say we don't have anyone, what are you all doing to encourage, not even just to encourage, but insist that these new employees have more contact with our universities. We have a whole bunch of college and universities that are pumping out a lot of skills and a lot of talent, academically and otherwise, and they're going out of the City. I would like to see a lot of these young people, these young adults stay in the City and become a viable workforce. What type of communication or what type of recruiting is being done in the University?" (03/12/97)

As I said, these are just a few examples. Some of the other good ones, especially later on, were just too long to retype. Read for yourself.

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