South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

Mount concerned about loss of police


November 20, 2007

Some Mount Washington residents are concerned that police response time to emergencies in the neighborhood may double after more than 50 police officers are reassigned in January from the Zone 3 police station to one in the west end, Zone 6.

"Our response time is bad anyhow," said Frank Valenta, board president, Mount Washington Community Development Corporation, at the organization's community forum on Nov. 15.

"It's going to be a nightmare," MWCDC member Gloria Ostermeyer said.

She brought up the issue and urged residents to contact the mayor's 311 Response Line and Councilman Dan Deasey's office to register concern about the change.

Police Commander Larry Ross said at a recent Zone 3 public safety council meeting that he hoped the Zone 3 force would be supplemented by new officers graduating from the Police Academy.

Mr. Valenta praised local block watch efforts.

Chairing his first forum meeting since winning election as president on Oct. 18, Mr. Valenta gave compliments to several attendees, including the newly elected board members.

In other MWCDC business, member Tom McCue announced a meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at the community club house, Chatham Village, to discuss replacing the barriers along McArdle Roadway. He said the meeting is open to the entire Mount Washington community.

At a recent meeting the MWCDC board agreed to support the efforts of the ad hoc committee, comprised of several Chatham Village residents, that is studying the issue.

Also, MWCDC members hope to meet with the mayor regarding their concerns about two matters: losing the more than 50 police officers and losing part of the view along Grandview Avenue because of a policy prohibiting the topping of trees.

"I like green and I like trees as much as anybody but not when they're taking away one of the most important things we have, the view," Mr. Valenta said.

In response to questions, Mr. Valenta said that "finding a new executive director is at the top of our agenda."

Director Ethan Raup and assistant director Andi Sharp left the organization recently. Mr. Raup took another job and Ms. Sharp left because she said she disagreed with "the new direction of the leadership." Mr. Valenta said Ms. Sharp now had another job.

"We have some serious problems. Some people left suddenly, shockingly," Mr. he said. "It's nothing to get alarmed about. We have expertise on the board."

Treasurer Paul Renne, members of the organization and the board and remaining staff members are doing extra work on behalf of the organization.

"We're working very hard," board member Tom Brady said. "Volunteers are helping. We're not sinking. We're still above water."

The Dec. 20th meeting has been cancelled due to the holidays.


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