When I took office in January of 2008, I promised you I would listen to your concerns and work to reform city government. These two priorities have guided my efforts this year. To keep you informed, my staff and I have prepared this annual report, which is only a snapshot of our year, but helps offer insights into the work we do to serve you.
Back in May 2008 I launched Council to Go (CtG) with the idea of meeting regularly and one-on-one with constituents in their neighborhood. This roaming office enables me to listen to your concerns and hear your great ideas. I have also been able to take the information gathered at these sessions directly to the Council. CtG enabled us to increase our constituent services by 22% and has been a great way to stay connected with residents. Enclosed in this report you will find times and locations for the CtG session nearest you as well as some photos and statistics.
One theme that I hear often is the need for change in government. This year, as an independent voice on Council, I have taken stands on important issues that have not always been popular, but have been necessary for change. In recent weeks, I have challenged the oversight body for attempting to take power away from city elected officials. I also pressed the administration for greater accountability regarding the use of $45 million of the City’s surplus. Earlier in the year, I led the effort to block a backroom deal for the city’s largest
LED sign, and I didn’t use taxpayer dollars in the effort.
City-County consolidation was a hot topic last year. In these pages you’ll learn about an initiative I spearheaded to convene the first-ever meeting of the City of Pittsburgh and its neighboring municipalities. Leaders from these 36 communities gathered and talked about our common challenges and the need to work together. This is a common sense approach to the region’s fragmentation and one I hope will improve the quality of life for all.
In this report you’ll read about my work on a bold set of initiatives designed to improve infrastructure and education for cyclists, pedestrians as well as motorists. Our goal is make Pittsburgh safer for all users of our roadways.
In 2009, the City will amend its five-year financial recovery plan, but it must also step up its commitment to making Pittsburgh a more attractive place to live, work and raise a family. These are not mutually exclusive options, but they will require bold leadership and strategic use of our limited resources. The City of Pittsburgh needs clear vision and decisive leadership which, I believe, is best founded in solid connection with the people one serves. I will continue to reach out to you directly, but please take a moment to stop by the Council to
Go session nearest you and share your vision and ideas for Pittsburgh’s future.