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Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto touts first 100 days in office

Bob Bauder
PTRNightout8040714
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto listens to Beltzhoover residents on Monday, April 7, 2014, in the Warrington Community Center. This was the mayor's Night Out, when he visits neighborhoods with his staff to field residents' concerns.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is looking to spur manufacturing, help poor residents open bank accounts and offer free Internet in the City-County Building, according to a report on his administration’s first 100 days.

Peduto reiterated many of the initiatives he has touted since taking office Jan. 6, but he also offered a glimpse of what he is planning among the 63 accomplishments and ideas listed in the 13-page report.

“While we have accomplished a lot in our first 100 days, we have a long way to go to realize our potential as a city poised for greatness,” Peduto said in a statement.

The mayor was in Ontario, Canada, on Monday and Tuesday attending an international bicycle summit.

Gerald Shuster, professor of political communications at the University of Pittsburgh, said Peduto didn’t “go overboard” in patting himself on the back.

“He may be posturing a little bit, but I think he’s pretty much said what he’s done,” Shuster said.

The report notes that Peduto is seeking a designation as a “manufacturing community.” It could compete with up to 12 cities for $1.3 billion in federal grants aimed at accelerating U.S. manufacturing.

Sustainability Manager Grant Ervin said Pittsburgh has established a partnership with Morgantown, W.Va., Youngstown, Ohio, and universities in all three cities to apply for the designation. The focus is on developing robotics and high-tech industries in the tri-state region, he said.

“It will be a pretty competitive process,” Ervin said. “I hope to hear something by late summer.”

Peduto wants to provide free Wi-Fi Internet access in the City-County Building, Downtown, and in 24 recreation and senior centers. Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty could not provide a cost for the service.

The city also is working with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh to help residents establish accounts at banks. Deb Squires, the Urban League’s acting program manager, said about 14,000 poor families in Pittsburgh do not have bank accounts, according to U.S. Census data.

“Our hope is we can help individuals to stabilize their finances and at some point that could lead to opportunities to buy a house,” Squires said.

The report notes that Peduto promoted government transparency by publicizing his daily schedule. It says he has established city departments to help revitalize neglected neighborhoods and diversified city authorities and commissions by appointing new board members, half of whom are women and 25 percent of whom are minorities.

McNulty said the report was intended for residents and the administration.

“A lot of this stuff people have heard about here and there, but until you put it together you can’t really see the breadth of the work this administration is doing,” McNulty said.

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