by BAP Staff Writer Ashley G. Woodson

March 2, 2006 - Tim Stevens, Chairman and founder the B-PEP (The Black Political Empowerment Project) and the Planning Council of B-PEP met with Mayor Bob O'Connor, March 2, 2006 at the Hill House to discuss a number of issues in the African American community. A letter was sent to the Mayor's office, January 27, 2006 concerning these issues. The B-PEP council had a variety of questions for O'Connor to answer such as what stance would he take in leading or being in the forefront of stopping the violence/crime in our neighborhoods? O'Connor replied, "We have alot of work to do. Kids are afraid to go school because of guns. You will see alot more arrest from surburban nights coming into our cities. We are going to partner with everybody by removing abandon cars, homes, etc to make it safe for kids to walk home.

Brother Khalid Raheem asked the Mayor how much money from the city of Pittsburgh is going to go into making our schools safe? "We can change the bus schedule for the kids in Downtown Pittsburgh. The key to solving the crime problem is education", O'Connor replied.

One issue that was not addressed in detail was the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum. B-PEP (The Black Political Empowerment Project) Planning Council sent another letter to the Mayor, February 28, 2006, requesting local political support for the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum and they called called upon the Mayor to take a leadership role in providing that support. John and Tina Brewer has had the facility for over 17 years in good standing, but have not received any support from mainstream funding sources like other facilities in Downtown Pittsburgh, South Side, North Side and in Oakland. There are many obstacles standing in there way and they need support from the Mayor. We will keep you posted on what the Mayor's office does about this problem.