Last week’s Pittsburgh news, today #30: raises for me, but not for thee

For people who may not read the news everyday but would still like to know what's going on.

16th Street Bridge. Photo by Brian Conway.

Fitz vetoes pay raise: Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald vetoed a bill that would eventually raise the minimum wage for county employees to $20/ hr., saying it violated the home rule charter and usurped executive authority. Charlie Wolfson for PublicSource. RELATED: Compare this veto to Pittsburgh Independent’s 2022 exclusive about massive pay raises to Fitz’s inner circle.

Pride turns 50: The city “exploded in color” during the 2023 Pittsburgh Pride March, which featured thousands of people carrying pride flags and holding signs of support for members of the trans community. Steve Mellon for Pittsburgh Union Progress. 

Diocese cancels LGBTQ mass: The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh canceled a solidarity mass scheduled at Duquesne University for Pride month. Bishop David Zubik canceled the service after receiving hundreds of critical messages and threats, despite the diocese holding a similar mass for LGBTQ+ Catholics last year. Jillian Forstadt for WESA. 

Residents demand Shell accountability: Environmental activists and residents in Beaver County have called upon local officials to take a “more active” role in monitoring and regulating the Shell plastics plant following repeated pollution violations. Since 2022, the facility, which transforms petrochemicals into pellets for plastic products, has repeatedly exceeded emissions limitations set by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Jamie Wiggan for Pittsburgh City Paper.

Quest for climate justice: The energy-producing regions of Western Pennsylvania and Appalachia share a similar “political history” to the Gulf Coast (known to some as “cancer alley” due to prevalence of plastic-producing “cracker plants”) and the two regions’ quests for climate and environmental justice are much more similar than might appear. Lylla Younes for Grist. 

Spin death raises questions: After a North Side man died using a Spin scooter, the company charged his account $40 for not reporting the accident. Now, with questions surrounding safety as well as the system’s reporting system for accidents, the state legislature may intervene. Ann Belser for NEXTpittsburgh.  RELATED: Spin offered “top riders” free trips in exchange for letters of support to city council, reports Margarett Krauss for WESA.

White House Newsguild shoutout: Several striking newsrooms, including striking workers in Pittsburgh, received a “presidential shoutout” from the White House Thursday after the Oval Office was criticized for digitally “crossing the picket line” when they publicized a news story from a striking newsroom. Bob Batz Jr. for PUP reports. RELATED: Striking workers continue to negotiate with Post-Gazette management, Batz reports.

Pittsburgh’s Juneteenth controversy: During a press conference held at Point State Park, Pittsburgh’s Juneteenth celebration organizer B. Marshall said that racism is to blame for the new rules and regulations implemented by the city for the event, scheduled to take place Friday through Sunday, June 16-19. Bill O’Driscoll for WESA.

Downtown shelter plans leak: Legal advocates have become concerned following a drafted policy created by the City of Pittsburgh centered around the closing of the Smithfield Street homeless shelter in Downtown. The shelter, set to close on June 21, will leave more than 100 people seeking alternate housing arrangements. Eric Jankiewicz for PublicSource.

Pols support clean vehicles: Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, State Sen. Lindsey Williams and several other Western Pennsylvania officials backed a proposed federal vehicle standard announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would aim to “accelerate the ongoing transition to a clean-vehicle future and tackle the climate crisis.” Julia Felton for TribLive

$150 million for BRT: Buses will eventually travel between Oakland, Uptown and Downtown every 3-5 minutes after the Federal Transit Administration approved funding for the new “university line.” The funding will also support  “bike lanes on Forbes, 15 electric buses to reduce air pollution and substantial street improvements in the city’s Uptown neighborhood.” Ed Blazina for PUP.

Pittsburgh pizza hits LA:. Los Angeles pizzeria “Gorilla Pies” serves authentic “Pittsburgh-style” pizza, and there’s even an off-menu option with french fries on top. How authentic is it? “You need a napkin to dab the grease off the top before you eat it,” says one of the owners, Ben Osher. David Rullo for Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. 

Stan Savran dead at 76. Longtime sportscaster and “godfather” of Pittsburgh sports, Stan Savran, has passed away from lung cancer. Kevin Gorman for TribLive.

Pittsburgh Media Partnership interns Caitlyn Scott and Madison Stokes contributed to this roundup.

Note: In solidarity with striking Newspaper Guild workers, the Pittsburgh Independent will not share news from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Follow striking workers’ news coverage at the Pittsburgh Union Progress.

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He is a 2x 2023 Western PA Press Club Golden Quill award winner, in feature and business reporting. And a 3x finalist in the investigative reporting category.

He is a 2018 first prize winner in environmental reporting from the Keystone Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for reporting on lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water.

In 2022 and 2021, he was awarded a grant from The Gumshoe Group to support his investigative reporting.