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Bill Peduto comes to campus

In a visit to campus on Tuesday, Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto claimed that no other city could offer quite the same experience as Pittsburgh. But many changes are in order, he admitted, if Pittsburgh is to become a leading regional city.

During his discussion, Peduto pointed out that Pittsburgh has great universities, great parks, a low cost of living, and great health care, but it is lacking in firm political leadership. ?It?s not 1950 anymore,? he said. According to Peduto, the city is at a critical stage in deciding whether or not to consolidate its government. ?We can create new industries here, which will create new opportunities for people to stay here," he said.

In Pittsburgh, Peduto pointed out that continued development is needed in Downtown. This does not mean demolishing present architecture, however.

?There?s a lot of beauty that needs to be protected,? noted Peduto, specifically referring to architecture that cannot be found in more modern settings. Instead, the real construction that needs to take place is the connection of the various parts of Pittsburgh. Peduto believes that Pittsburgh needs public access that connects the entertainment, retail, housing and strip districts together into a quadrangle. Loops are one possible solution, with public access trolleys.

As an example of Peduto?s deep-rooted interest in improving Pittsburgh, he formed a committee in 2004 to investigate ways of improving the access Pittsburgh had to what he calls ITC, or information and technologies. The group noted three main areas for improvement: telephony, Internet and television. In particular, the group suggested such measures as decreasing provider cost and increasing consumer awareness of providers in order to increase competition.

Peduto is also involved in the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance (GPAC), which raises money for both local and national art movements.

The connection between students and politics was also touched upon in Peduto?s discussion. He stated that the way to get students involved was not through television ads, but rather peer-to-peer relations. Social relations are key, and the reality is that students can make difference. "If students got involved in that election," Peduto suggested, "and found a student that they could support, it would swing that election.?

"Bill Peduto responded to the students' concerns with genuine interest and candor," said Maxwell Egan, a senior economics major. "It's a shame that more people did not come to the event, because Peduto helps make decisions that affect the residents of Pittsburgh all the time, and even impacts students who are here for only four years."