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P4 Protestors Call On City Officials To Release Pittsburgh's HQ2 Bid

Kathleen J. Davis
90.5 WESA
Crystal Jennings of Pittsburghers for Public Transit speaks at a rally in front of the David Lawrence Convention Center on Thursday, April 26, 2018.

A few dozen protestors gathered Thursday outside the annual P4 Conference at the David Lawrence Convention Center, where city officials and local leaders were discussing how Pittsburgh can grow and be equitable simultaneously.

The protestors called on Mayor Bill Peduto to release the details of the city's bid to be home to Amazon's second headquarters, or HQ2. Peduto has said repeatedly that the bid will remain private, in part, becausethe City signed non-disclosure agreements with private developers.

Laura Wiens of Pittsburghers for Public Transit said it's ironic that the bid remains private during the P4 Conference, where one of the main focuses is "people."

"I think its worth pointing out the hypocrisy of having a set of development principles that talk about equity and transparency and public process, and when it would be most consequential to be applying those principles to a bid that will transform development in Pittsburgh for generations, they're not using them," Wiens said.

In January, Pennsylvania's Office of Open Records ordered Pittsburgh to release the HQ2 bid. The bid applicants are challenging that ruling in court.

Jules Lobel, a University of Pittsburgh law professor, said the bid is a public record and therefore should be available.

"It's something that was developed by the city in conjunction with others, but it involves public matter," Lobel said. "So it should be transparent and should be open under the public records law."

The vast majority of Pittsburghers do not know what they city's HQ2 bid entails, including members of City Council. If Amazon chooses to move to the city, Council would need to approve any tax incentives that have been offered.

Amazon has said it will bring 50,000 jobs and a $6 billion investment to the location of its next headquarters.