Deb Gross

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

As the lights went down in the O’Hara Township council room, Peoples Gas CEO Morgan O’Brien began narrating a short video he’d brought to chambers.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The specter of rising housing costs in the neighborhood of Hazelwood is prompting Pittsburgh City Council to consider reserving some publicly owned property for use as affordable housing.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday passed a controversial bill outlawing the use of certain tools for training or controlling wild animals.

The ordinance specifically bans the use of “bullhook, electric prod, shocking device, hacksaw, ankus, ankusha, elephant goad, elephant hook, baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork, whip, stick, muzzle or instrument capable of inflicting pain, intimidating or threatening pain.”

More than an hour of public comment preceded the vote.

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After nearly four years of work, the Pittsburgh Land Bank remains a divisive issue.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Taxes are likely to increase for Pittsburgh homebuyers so the city can pay for rental assistance, affordable housing construction and the rehabilitation of existing homes in the city.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A new measure from state Rep. Dom Costa of Pittsburgh would add extra state control over the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The struggling PWSA has dealt with many financial challenges over the years, and Costa says there should be an oversight committee in place to approve budgets. He's proposing a system similar to Act 47, which has overseen the city's finances for 14 years.

Skitterphoto / Pixabay

A new policy to help low-income residents pay their water bills during the winter months is in the works, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board members said Thursday. 

The PWSA's recently formed affordability committee will help develop the fair payment policy.

The board considered a complete moratorium last month on water shutoffs between December and March for low-income residents who can't pay their bills but also rely on radiators heat their homes.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board of directors on Friday approved a cooperation agreement with the City of Pittsburgh to enter into a contract for consulting on the potential restructuring of the authority.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Residents asked questions about the effects of lead poisoning, the cost of lead line replacement and the responsibilities of local landlords at a panel discussion about water issues Tuesday night.

Katie Meyer / WITF

Pennsylvania gets a failing grade for its efforts to protect children from high levels of lead in the water at their schools, according to a report released two weeks ago from Public Interest Research Groups, a national federation of left-leaning, independent nonprofits.

It advises—among other things—that schools install water filters as soon as possible while working on longer-term solutions.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Deb Gross is leading a fundraising effort to buy lead-filtering water pitchers for families with young children.

She said the city could provide a countertop pitcher to each of Pittsburgh's estimated 25,000 households with a child under age 6 for less than $1 million. She said she hopes private foundations and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will be able to allocate funding within a month.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

This is the second in a three-part web series looking ahead to 2017 with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here.

Council members Deb Gross, Corey O’Connor and Daniel Lavelle represent three very different districts, but the issue of equitable development looms large for each of them. 

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Local elected officials gathered in Bloomfield on Monday to celebrate the opening of the Penn Mathilda Apartments, a new affordable housing development meant to keep low-income residents in the East End, especially as gentrification pushes up rent payments.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Two proposed trust funds would allow real estate developers to pay the city of Pittsburgh to build green spaces and stormwater management infrastructure if they’re not able to include those elements on the sites of new projects in Downtown or North Shore.

Pittsburgh City Council approved the creation of an Open Space Trust Fund and a Stormwater Management Trust Fund in two unanimous preliminary votes Wednesday.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

This is the first in a three-part web series looking ahead to 2016 with members of Pittsburgh City Council.

As Pittsburgh continues receiving glowing attention from the national press, there’s no denying that the pace of development in the Steel City is quickening.

Paul Chamberlain / Flickr

Pittsburgh's Department of City Planning has proposed the use of a zoning tool called an Interim Planning Overlay District, or IPOD, to harness greater public participation in determining the future use of its riverfronts.

Shores wrapping from Hazelwood to the Strip District, across the North Shore and along the South Side have transformed in recent years from industrial hubs to places to live, work, shop and play.

cgkinla / Flickr

It’s become something of a routine in Pittsburgh City Council’s weekly committee meetings: when legislation to create a registry of rental properties in the city comes up for discussion, Public Safety Chair Councilman Daniel Lavelle asks that the bill be held for another week — or two, or three.

A May 2015 investigation into why the bill wasn’t moving forward in council garnered few solid answers, but it now appears that Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration is prepared to revive the long-dormant proposal.

In anticipation of a wet weather plan from ALCOSAN, Pittsburgh City Council members Corey O’Connor and Deb Gross have introduced legislation aimed at helping some of the city’s most vulnerable areas develop green infrastructure.

Under a consent decree, the city, Allegheny County and the federal Environmental Protection Agency must develop a plan to keep raw sewage from overflowing and spilling into area rivers during wet weather. Some areas are harder hit than others, including part of Gross’s district.

Joining us in studio are Pittsburgh City Council members Deb Gross and Corey O’Connor. They are co-sponsoring a green infrastructure legislative package. If adapted the legislation would establish special green zones in key areas of the city. We’ll discover how they’ll work and the impact they could have on Pittsburgh.

O'Connor explains their efforts for more sustainable development:

"We want to enforce more green infrastructure so that when we get more water run off we can hold that water. We don’t need pipes as much as we needed 10 and 15 years ago. We’re starting to think more sustainable development." -Corey O'Connor  

Also in the program, we'll celebrate the 100th year of operations at Pyrex's Charleroi plant, and Nick Drombosky addresses the mechanic's responsibility in making commuting by bike accessible to everyone.

Pittsburgh’s city code requires that sidewalks are made out of concrete, but Councilwoman Deborah Gross is questioning whether that’s the best option.

During a post-agenda meeting Thursday, Gross heard from various organizations saying there are better alternatives to concrete, which often times is lifted or cracked from trees and their roots.

Gross said solving this problem could help with Pittsburgh’s issues managing water, which includes flooding and water pollution.

This is the third in a three-part series looking ahead to the 2015 priorities with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here and part two here.

A potential revenue stream for the city of Pittsburgh could become tied up in litigation if City Council does not act quickly.

Council on Monday discussed a bill to approve the installation of distributed antenna systems, or DAS, in 19 light poles across the city.

According to Mike Salem, an engineering technician in the Department of Public Works, the antennae are meant to improve cell service in “dead spots,” areas where reception is bad or calls are dropped regularly.

Councilwomen Call for Study of Childcare Centers

Nov 18, 2014

The first initiative of the newly-formed Women’s Caucus of Pittsburgh City Council is a broad examination of childcare centers in the city.

Councilwomen Deb Gross, Darlene Harris, Theresa Kail-Smith and Natalia Rudiak will introduce legislation that they say will improve childcare facilities and the quality of care in Pittsburgh.

The legislation calls for a comprehensive study of childcare providers, which will be used by city government to enhance the care and make necessary changes.

In the state of Pennsylvania, it’s technically legal for employers to refuse pregnant workers accommodations like a place to sit, access to water and more frequent breaks.

State lawmakers in March attempted to change that by introducing a bill to require such accommodations, but that bill has languished in the Senate Labor and Industry committee ever since.

Now, city of Pittsburgh lawmakers are moving to codify such protections for pregnant city workers.

Flickr user MichaelGoodin

After three months of community meetings, disagreements, and compromises, Pittsburgh City Council passed Councilwoman Deb Gross’s land bank legislation Monday morning.

Councilmen Ricky Burgess and Daniel Lavelle have had the greatest concerns about the land bank proposal, but both voted in favor of the legislation.

Peter Pawlowski / Flickr

Earlier this year District 7 Councilor Deb Gross introduced legislation to develop a Land Bank in Pittsburgh. The system would operate as a repository for properties that often have little prospect of redevelopment.

District 5 Councilor Corey O' Connor is a supporter of the concept. He and Councilor Gross say the idea is to create a system to get abandoned properties publicly inventoried and marketed for re-use by neighbors, community groups, developers or realtors.

Around 200 people spoke at last week’s public hearing on Councilwoman Deb Gross’s land bank legislation, according to Gross’s chief of staff Nathaniel Hansen.

At least one of those people, Josh Caldwell of the Pittsburgh Real Estate Investors Association, has gone public with his proposal for fighting urban blight.

Pittsburgh City Council had their first opportunity to discuss Deb Gross’s proposed land bank legislation as a group on Wednesday. The bill was first introduced on Jan. 14.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Deb Gross’s controversial bill to designate the Strip District’s Fruit Auction & Sales Building as a historic structure was voted down in a committee meeting today.

Ahead of the vote, Gross made her case for the building one final time.

“It really makes the Strip District, the Strip District. It’s a defining location,” said Gross. “If you’re talking about where to meet, where to park, where to go. When you picture the Strip District in your mind, you see this building in your mind’s eye.”

Pittsburgh’s newest City Council representative, Deb Gross, won out against four other candidates in a special election, after District 7 representative Patrick Dowd vacated his seat in July.

Gross took her seat at the beginning of December, one of the busiest times of the year for the council.

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