PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Chanting, “Whose city? Our city,” a couple dozen protesters showed up on Thursday on the river trail along the Allegheny River adjacent to the Convention Center to protest something called the P-4, holding a conference at the Convention Center, sponsored by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and the Heinz Endowments.
“We do agree with the four standards of the P-4. P-4 stands for people, planet, place and performance,” said Crystal Jennings.
The P-4 is meant to promote urban growth that is innovative, inclusive, and sustainable. But protesters say Pittsburgh’s secret bid for the Amazon headquarters violates P-4 principles.
“This bid is also led in part by the mayor, by the Heinz Endowments, by the county executive, by the Allegheny Conference,” said Laura Wiens.
“Our city needs to act in the interests of its residents and also have the public be involved in the decision-making around what kind of development do they want to see in their communities.”
The demonstrators say that the city has left residents out of the Amazon discussions, and that if Amazon comes to Pittsburgh it will continue the displacement of residents in neighborhoods like East Liberty and Hazelwood.
“The prospects of Amazon coming will further accelerate the crisis, particularly for black people and low income people who live in our city,” noted Carl Redmond.
“When Bill Peduto ran for mayor, he promised us, quote, the most open, transparent city government you will ever see. Where is that promise now?” asked Prof. Jules Lobel, a Pitt law professor.
And residents worry that Amazon’s presence will drive up the cost of everything especially housing.
A spokesperson for the Heinz Endowments says they are not directly involved in Pittsburgh’s Amazon bid.
But the principles of P-4 support the right of protesters to make their voices heard, as P-4 is designed to make Pittsburgh a place that is welcoming to everyone.
Earlier Thursday, it was announced that Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration was going to court to block requests for records of financial incentives Pennsylvania offered Amazon.
An administration lawyer this week asked Commonwealth Court to reverse an Office of Open Records decision deeming the records to be public and ordering their release.
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were among 20 finalists for a facility that the online retailer promises will bring 50,000 new jobs and construction spending topping $5 billion. Rob Wonderling, president of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, last year told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Pennsylvania planned to offer Amazon more than $1 billion in tax incentives.
City and state officials have otherwise refused to disclose details.
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