Gang Warfare (June 13, 1996)
Staff writer Rich Lord took a look at the city’s gangs in a piece entitled “Ganganomics 101.” Lord spoke to several gang members about life in a gang, and the money that flows from it. Two members, for example, said they made about $50 a day at their regular jobs as cooks Downtown. On the street selling drugs, they’d make $50 per customer. They also talked about the ease of selling crack cocaine. “It’s exciting. It’s fun. It spoils you,” said one of the members. “You’re in power, you know what I mean. You could have a crackhead do anything for you. Anything.”
Jury Verdict (June 13, 1997)
Rich Lord took on the racial diversity, or lack thereof, of Pittsburgh’s juries. Defense attorney Wendy Williams told Lord that “I tried cases for two years before I ever had a black on the jury.” One jury she remembers had only one African American in the entire jury pool … and he was deaf. In U.S. District Court, Lord found that the juries were made up of a lot of individuals from a mostly rural 13-county area, in which 76 percent of potential jurors are white. Wrote Lord: “If the words ‘jury of his peers’ are to have any real meaning, no effort to be inclusive should be spared.”
Father’s Day (June 16, 2004)
Staff writer Brentin Mock delved into the stereotype that most unmarried, African-American fathers are “deadbeat dads.” Wrote Mock: “While some struggle to break away from the stereotypes, others are challenging the negative and inaccurate portrayals head-on through activism and leadership.”
Offline Posts (June 14, 2006)
In 1998, Pittsburgh City Council enacted legislation that prohibited placing posters and fliers on poles, walls, anything in the public right-of-way (read: sidewalks and streets). Violations carried a penalty of $300 per poster. The legislation was enacted because some councilors thought posters were a hazard to passing motorists and because they “spoil the natural beauty that is an invaluable asset treasured by residents, commuters and visitors.” And while officials said they had been enforcing the law since it was enacted, activist groups and others said the new fines were unprecedented. Writer Marty Levine explained: “City inspectors have clamped down on everyone from concert promoters to literary-event organizers, even the owner of a lost dog, threatening them with fines for tacking up advertising.” Antiwar protester Ceci Wheeler was even taken to court for putting up fliers advertising an antiwar march and was looking at $4,500 in fines. The charges were dismissed.
Naked Streets (June 14, 2007)
Artist Carolina Loyola-Garcia told City Paper that her video installation, on display at Two PPG Place, was censored by the building’s owner, Grubb & Ellis. The internationally known artist was displaying her work as part of the Three Rivers Arts Fest. When she went to check on her work one day, she found that the monitor showing a nude woman walking through a park and then bathing herself in milk and honey had been covered in black cardboard. The building’s management said the display wasn’t appropriate for the location, in a window facing the sidewalk. “It’s annoying that someone can decide for others what is proper and moral,” Loyola-Garcia said. “There is a long tradition of nudity in art, but there is a fear of sexuality in society today. It is a huge lack of understanding.” The exhibit was moved to an indoor space.
Strip Rules (June 16, 2011)
Writer Lauren Daley examined one Pittsburgh City Councilor’s attempt to more tightly regulate the city’s strip clubs. The effort began after council dropped the ball and failed to schedule a public hearing to decide whether a men’s club should be allowed a zoning variance to operate on West Carson Street. When no hearing occurred, that allowed the variance to pass due to inaction. The next step would force the club to operate under stricter rules. Among the changes: no lap dances; dancers would have to stay five feet away from patrons; and employees, including dancers, would be subject to mandatory background checks. Dancers would have to be licensed and fingerprinted, and provide information about “any tattoos on [any] anatomical area that normally would be visible when the applicant is on the premises of the [club].” About the tattoo-registration component, First Amendment lawyer Larry Walters told CP: “Having someone register their tattoos is pretty out there.”