[HOME]

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
  3. University's Response to Open Letter
  4. Response to University
  5. YouTube Documentary
  6. Preuniversity Settlers
  7. Oakland Bill of Rights
  8. Declaration of Freedom
  9. Problems
  10. Solutions
  11. Actions
  12. UPMC
  13. PITT
    SempleFest
  14. Jul. '09
  15. Aug. '09
  16. Sept. '09
  17. Oct. '09
  18. Origin of SOUL
  19. WPXI - Group talks trash
  20. National Disgrace
  21. Gratitude
  22. Support Letters
  23. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  24. Pittsburgh City Paper
  25. Media - Broken Trust?
  26. Feb. '10
  27. Jun. '10
  28. Done Deal?
  29. Mayor's Reply
  30. Pitt Fireworks
  31. Pitt Fireworks
  32. Pitt Fireworks
  33. Aug. '10
  34. Sep. '10
  35. Letter to Legislators
  36. Letter to Chancellor
  37. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  38. A Call for Compassion
  39. WPXI Coverage
  40. Human Dignity
  41. Letter to the Editor
  42. SempleFest
  43. Request for Apology
  44. The Shame of a University
  45. Firebombs Must End
  46. Call To Action
  47. Fireworks Press Release
  48. Shadow on the Lawn
  49. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
  50. Right-to-Know Law Testimony
  51. University Impact Aid Law
  52. Proposal University Impact Aid Law
  53. Nordenberg Must Resign
  54. Allegheny County Council Testimony
  55. Time for New Leadership Message
  56. Time for New Leadership Testimony
  57. Class-Action Lawsuit?
  58. Nordenberg Must Resign Paid Message
  59. Time for A New Beginning
  60. Letter to the Editor
  61. Letter to the Editor
  62. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  63. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
  64. A New Paradigm
  65. In Memoriam: Robert "Bob" Casciato
  66. Symbol of Domination
  67. Revised University Impact Aid Proposal
  68. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  69. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  70. Community Objectives
  71. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  72. City Planning Commission Testimonies
  73. Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  74. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  75. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  76. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  77. End The Shame
  78. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  79. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  80. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  81. Decimation of an Urban Community
 
Enough Is Enough! Trashed street photo.

[HOME]

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
  3. University's Response to Open Letter
  4. Response to University
  5. YouTube Documentary
  6. Preuniversity Settlers
  7. Oakland Bill of Rights
  8. Declaration of Freedom
  9. Problems
  10. Solutions
  11. Actions
  12. UPMC
  13. PITT
    SempleFest
  14. Jul. '09
  15. Aug. '09
  16. Sept. '09
  17. Oct. '09
  18. Origin of SOUL
  19. WPXI - Group talks trash
  20. National Disgrace
  21. Gratitude
  22. Support Letters
  23. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  24. Pittsburgh City Paper
  25. Media - Broken Trust?
  26. Feb. '10
  27. Jun. '10
  28. Done Deal?
  29. Mayor's Reply
  30. Pitt Fireworks
  31. Pitt Fireworks
  32. Pitt Fireworks
  33. Aug. '10
  34. Sep. '10
  35. Letter to Legislators
  36. Letter to Chancellor
  37. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  38. A Call for Compassion
  39. WPXI Coverage
  40. Human Dignity
  41. Letter to the Editor
  42. SempleFest
  43. Request for Apology
  44. The Shame of a University
  45. Firebombs Must End
  46. Call To Action
  47. Fireworks Press Release
  48. Shadow on the Lawn
  49. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
  50. Right-to-Know Law Testimony
  51. University Impact Aid Law
  52. Proposal University Impact Aid Law
  53. Nordenberg Must Resign
  54. Allegheny County Council Testimony
  55. Time for New Leadership Message
  56. Time for New Leadership Testimony
  57. Class-Action Lawsuit?
  58. Nordenberg Must Resign Paid Message
  59. Time for A New Beginning
  60. Letter to the Editor
  61. Letter to the Editor
  62. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  63. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
  64. A New Paradigm
  65. In Memoriam: Robert "Bob" Casciato
  66. Symbol of Domination
  67. Revised University Impact Aid Proposal
  68. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  69. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  70. Community Objectives
  71. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  72. City Planning Commission Testimonies
  73. Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  74. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  75. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  76. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  77. End The Shame
  78. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  79. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  80. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  81. Decimation of an Urban Community

Letter to Chancellor
Patrick Gallagher

December 2, 2014

Chancellor Patrick D. Gallagher
107 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Dear Chancellor Gallagher:

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the letter you wrote to me on October 15, 2014, which is the only communication that I have received from a Pitt chancellor in the past 17 years. It also may be historic in that it could be the first time a Pitt chancellor has written directly to an Oakland resident concerning problems in the community. When we met at the Oakland Forever program on October 10, you said that you never received my letters of September 2 and September 22 that I hand-delivered to your office, but that if I had delivered them, I deserved a response. After delivering those letters to your office once again on October 14, you fulfilled your promise. That level of integrity has earned my deepest respect.

You suggested in your correspondence that a meeting with administrators be held to discuss the information in my letters. On October 28 I met with Chief of Staff Reynolds Clark, Vice Chancellor Paul Supowitz, and Assistant Vice Chancellor John Wilds. They most likely have given you a report, but I would like to briefly discuss that meeting and subsequent events.

I began the meeting by distributing to each of them a list of eight Community Objectives, with a copy to be given to you. After reading the objectives, Mr. Supowitz stated that there was nothing new in these objectives. This led me to believe that his subsequent remarks implying the University was not going to change its position concerning the objectives were fully formed beforehand. I did not comment on his remarks, and merely corrected him regarding a letter to the editor he wrote in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review which asserted that I relocated to Hawaii a number of years ago and have not been a participant in the Oakland experience. I informed Mr. Supowitz that for the past seven years I had returned to Pittsburgh every other month to serve as a caregiver for my mother. She passed away in March.

Mr. Wilds and Mr. Clark agreed with Mr. Supowitz’s comments concerning the objectives. In one of the objectives, I asked for the equivalent of $50 of each student’s tuition fee to be given by the University to the community. At the meeting I asked Mr. Wilds for the current figure of direct funds given to the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation by the University. Regrettably, the figure he gave is still equivalent to less than one dollar of each student’s tuition fee, the same amount as when our grassroots movement began seven years ago.

As an aside, it is incredible that you did not receive my correspondence of September 4 and September 22, due to Mr. Clark’s interception of the letters. When someone intentionally intercepts your mail or selectively gives you information, it creates a negative environment that takes away your power and ability to make decisions. I asked Mr. Clark if Chancellor Mark Nordenberg received my communications during his time at the University. Mr. Clark answered vaguely that he believed so, but didn’t know if the Chancellor received all of them.

Mr. Clark said he spoke to you before the October 28 meeting concerning his contention that there may not be much public support for our grassroots movement. In the meeting he requested that I provide proof of the arbitrary and absurd figure of 30,000 supporters. This did not come as a complete surprise, as several years ago when he dismissed as meaningless and irrelevant the support of 96 individuals, including Senators Jay Costa, Wayne Fontana and Jim Ferlo for our SOUL initiative, an anti-litter program, I realized that no number of supporters would be sufficient for him.

He did say something very surprising. I asked him if he would want a university to impact the community where he lives the way that the University of Pittsburgh has impacted Oakland. He answered “yes,” which is an answer that no other University administrator or member of the Board of Trustees has done.

Mr. Clark continued by making a startling remark. He said some people have told him that “Oakland would be another Hazelwood if it were not for the University of Pittsburgh.” You will have to ask him if that is also his belief.

He then made a very disturbing statement wherein he asserted the University of Pittsburgh does not have to maintain the grassy area adjacent to its parking lot in our Panther Hollow neighborhood. I was shocked that he would intentionally make such a threatening remark, given the risks of breaking an agreement that has been in existence for over three decades, the risks of a lawsuit from the residents, and the full history of the many agreements between the community and University concerning this area. Without the residents support for that parking lot in our neighborhood, the city of Pittsburgh would never had granted approval for the construction of Mervis Hall at its present location which, as you know, has housed the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business since 1983.

Before the meeting ended I mentioned that the residents of Panther Hollow were creating a neighborhood welcome sign and asked if the University would be interested in funding that initiative. They agreed to do so. Three days later, I provided each administrator by email a mockup of the sign and the invoice from the sign company. The sign company requested one-half payment ($1,642.98) before work began, which would be used for permit fees and materials, and the balance due at the time of completion. The response from Mr. Wilds was that payment would not be made until the job was completed. My reply to him on November 7 was that this is simply not acceptable. It is rude to the owner of the sign company, and it is unreasonable considering the University’s available resources. I replied that I would discuss the matter further if the University would change its approach. There has been no response from any of the administrators. Our community will seek support from others for this initiative.

I also made known to them that our community has initiated a Joncaire Street Beautification project with support from the city of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Oakland Planning and Development Corporation. They agreed to provide some University funding, but mentioned no specific amount. Mr. Clark said that Joncaire Street is heavily traveled and it would be good publicity for the University to be involved. That is not the kind of motivation our community needs for anyone to become involved in this worthwhile project. This attitude of self-interest is not exalted giving and can only lead to further problems.

Although the University of Pittsburgh has well over 10,000 administrators, faculty and staff, I have come to realize that basically it is the three men with whom I met who dictate to our community how we are to live. I do not believe they should be in positions of power that can impact the lives of thousands of people in our community. This letter in no way intends to impugn on the character of these three men, but I would prefer to meet with others at the University in discussing the progress of the Joncaire Street Beautification project and other issues.

In the meantime, the University can do its part for this beautification project by repairing the broken sidewalks and curbs fronting its property on Joncaire Street which extends from South Bouquet Street down to the third telephone pole along the hillside. The University should also remove the dead trees and weeds up to its property line, and not 30 feet short of it, as is currently being done now. The maintenance workers for the University are excellent workers and well respected by our community, but they can only do what they are ordered to do, and that is why this entire property is not maintained.

Also, last year I requested the University use its sidewalk snow removal equipment to remove the snow from beyond its property line down to the bottom of Joncaire Street which would take only a few more minutes by the maintenance worker. It would have offered greater assistance to the city and created a much safer environment for the hundreds of students, faculty and staff who park at the bottom of the street and use this sidewalk to walk up to the University. Mr. Supowitz told the reporter of The Pitt News, which did a story about this issue, that he thought it was a good idea. However, he changed his mind and the University continues to stop its snow removal at its property line.

The University can also begin to provide funding for this beautification initiative. Mr. Clark mentioned that the University can provide funds to the city of Pittsburgh to repair the curbing fronting the city’s property and it should do so. The University can also provide funds to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation Green Team. The beautification of Bates Street in Oakland was kick-started by one person who travelled on this street and donated $50,000. How much is the University willing to contribute for the beautification of Joncaire Street which is heavily used by University personnel?

In addition to the above, instead of threatening to take away maintenance services from the Panther Hollow community, the University can begin to remove dead trees and weeds within its own property. The University maintenance workers in our neighborhood are hard working and conscientious, but again, they can only do what they are told.

The community of Oakland has been struggling with the University of Pittsburgh for well over a half-century, beginning with the expansion days of Chancellor Edward H. Litchfield and his successor Chancellor Wesley V. Posvar. The University has received world-wide acclaim for its achievements in education and research but at what price to the community? South Bouquet Street, which had over 200 longtime residents and twelve students during the service of these two Chancellors, today has three longtime residents and over 700 students. Chancellor Mark Nordenberg expanded the ownership of University buildings in our community to approximately 100, raised $2 billion dollars for University capital improvements, and increased tuition for some students by over $14,000. Our grassroots movement began in 2007 by simply asking the University’s support for an anti-litter program, a sum that is equivalent to four dollars of a student’s tuition fee. Mr. Clark at that time refused funding because he said the legislature was cutting back its support to the University, and Mr. Wilds’ response was that we should start a Neighborhood Improvement District. When you understand the full history of Oakland, is that benevolent considering the magnitude of the University’s impact upon our community?

I am optimistic about the future. There is a new paradigm emerging for the community of Oakland. Although other longtime residents and myself were not allowed to publicly speak last year at the open forums pertaining to the search for a new chancellor, I believe you are a part of that new paradigm. You are the right person at the right time in our community’s history. The qualities that you have already exemplified are ones that I feel confident your new administrators will share. You have already shown that you are sensitive to the welfare of our community.

Mayor William Peduto is also an integral part of the new paradigm, and he too has shown great compassion and caring for our community. There are voices emerging in Oakland organizations and in the media that are becoming a part of this new beginning for the community of Oakland.

I am always willing to meet or talk with you about issues concerning this exceptional community.

Sincerely,

Carlino Giampolo
December 2, 2014

Cc: Reynolds Clark, Paul Supowitz, John Wilds, among others.

 

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