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Rallies And Forums Make For Political Week In Pennsylvania

John Minchillo
Eight Democratic presidential candidates are expected to speak at an education forum in Pittsburgh Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019.


On today's program:  Presidential hopefuls come to Pittsburgh to talk about education equity; ALCOSAN's green infrastructure might not be green enough; and the families of fallen officers lean on each other years after their loved ones are gone.  

Voters get a 2020 glimpse as presidential candidates converge on PA
(00:00 — 13:06) 

President Donald Trump and several Democratic presidential candidates are coming through the Keystone State this week. 

Tuesday — the same day that Democrats presented two articles of impeachment against Trump — Vice President Mike Pence campaigned at a VFW hall in Beaver County touting the administration’s record on military and veterans’ issues. Pence then joined Trump for an evening rally in Hershey, Pa.

“I would expect a reprise of their strategy in 2016.  They’re going to go to places like Johnstown and Erie and places that are big cities in their rural counties, but obviously not the Pittsburghs and Philadelphias,” said 90.5 WESA’s Chris Potter.

This Saturday, eight Democratic presidential candidates are coming to Pittsburgh for a forum at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on equity in education. Diversity among school staff and teacher pay are two issues to expect discussion about according to 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Schneider

“Discipline is a huge issue when it comes to equity. The school-to-prison pipeline is this term that refers to the disproportionate amount of black and brown students who are suspended from school.  That’s something the teachers’ unions really care a lot about,” she said.

Schneider said voters will be interested to hear how much these candidates know about education “because they set the tone at the federal level, especially for funding, but a lot of it is local.”  

How committed is ALCOSAN to green infrastructure?
(14:07 — 18:07) 

Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) plans to spend $2 billion by 2036 on new infrastructure and upgrades for existing water treatment plants as part of a deal with the Environmental Protection Agency

About $100 million of ALCOSAN's budget has been set aside as part of a plan to invest in green infrastructure, like plants and landscaping that captures rainwater. But some critics, including the Sierra Club and Pittsburgh United, say that the plan relies too heavily on traditional gray infrastructure, like pipes and pumps. The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple spoke with Public Source’s Oliver Morrison about ALCOSAN’s forthcoming plans and the challenges of implementing green infrastructure in Pittsburgh. 

Families of officers killen on duty are part of a tight-knit community
(18:11 — 22:45) 

Penn Hills Police Officer Michael Crawshaw was fatally shot in the line of duty ten years ago after he was ambushed in his patrol car. Memorial services were held over the weekend to mark the anniversary of Crawshaw’s death. 

His mother, Linda Crawshaw, said that ten years later, the continued support of the community means a lot. “I think it’s just very, very heartwarming that after ten years, people still come out to remember Mike at these memorials,” she said. “It’s a testament to the person—the special person—that Mike was.” 

She said she's sought support from the tight knit community of families of fallen police officers.  

90.5 WESA's Julia Zenkevich contributed to this report.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

*Producer's note: Due to WESA's committment to carrying the impeachment proceedings, this edition of The Confluence did not broadcast in its entirety.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
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