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Council President Theresa Kail-Smith wants more oversight of Stop the Violence funds

Lucy Perkins
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence: 

Incoming Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis says he wants to address gun violence, mental health in his new position
(0:00 - 14:42)

Austin Davis’s political career has been one of history-making: he was the first Black representative to serve the state's 35th legislative district, which includes McKeesport, and on Jan. 17, he will become Pennsylvania’s highest ranking Black elected official ever as Lieutenant Governor.

“I've often said throughout the course of this campaign that I believe the people closest to the pain should be closest to the power, and that's exactly what they're going to get when Pennsylvania has me serving as our next lieutenant governor,” says Davis.

Davis says one issue he’s passionate about addressing is gun violence throughout the state; it’s the issue that first brought him to politics.

“The reality is there is not a quick, easy answer. It is going to take a holistic approach,” says Davis. “Making sure, from a government perspective, we're funding resources for folks to get the help they need from a mental health perspective. It's making sure that people have access to jobs, quality schools.”

Davis will be inaugurated Tuesday.

Pittsburgh City Council President Theresa Kail-Smith is proposing legislation to better assess the outcomes of ‘Stop the Violence’ funds
(14:48 - 22:30)

Late last year, the city awarded nearly a million dollars to 30 Pittsburgh organizations in Stop the Violence Grants.

Organizations including East End Cooperative Ministry and Homewood Children’s Village received the funds.

Last week, City Council President Theresa Kail-Smith introduced a proposal to add oversight to how these dollars are spent, and the outcomes.

“Because one of the things I heard from a lot of the groups and… a lot of the residents are, that a lot of people get funding, but not everybody is delivering results,” says Kail-Smith. “But we also know there's a lot of groups that are doing amazing things in the city, and we couldn't have done a lot of the things that we have been doing without them. So we want to make sure we're funding those appropriate groups.”

Kail-Smith says the city controller does audit trust funds in the city, but she says the office does not have enough staff to sufficiently assess all of them.

Kail-Smith hopes the proposal will come up for a vote in two weeks.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.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. 

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