Anti-violence group aims to improve lives
A new commission charged with seeking ways to prevent violence hopes to do that by fundamentally improving people's lives.
“We're not just talking about reducing homicides,” said Dr. Ronald E. Voorhees, the acting director of the Allegheny County Health Department and co-chair of the commission. “We're talking about what are the things we can do to change the fabric of the communities in Allegheny County so that violence doesn't occur.”
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald formed the 23-member Public Health Commission on Preventing Violence and Promoting Community Health on Thursday to address violence as a public health issue. The commission will submit a report in a year.
“The proof will be in the results,” said Jim Roddey, a former county executive. “If they can come up with something that we are not doing now or something that we aren't doing enough, then it would be worthwhile.
“Otherwise, it's just another study.”
Commission members acknowledged concern during their first meeting on Thursday about talking for a year, writing a study and then setting it on a shelf, said the Rev. Earlene Coleman, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in McKeesport and the commission's other co-chair.
“It has to have legs. It has to be able to walk,” Coleman said.
The commission is the latest from Fitzgerald. In February, a dozen “vision teams” released a 710-page report packed with proposals to improve county government. County officials have implemented some, such as allowing gas drilling at the airport and forming a facilities management department, said Amie Downs, a county spokeswoman. Fitzgerald sent other proposals to the county manager and department heads, who have six months to respond.
Roddey thought it was a good idea for Fitzgerald to study violence as a health issue, not just as a gun issue. A year, however, sounds too long, said Roddey, who suggested six months. Anything longer and the sense of urgency fades, he said. The commission, which includes heads of community organizations, mental health professionals, lawmakers, a police chief, a high school principal and county employees, also must narrow its focus, he said.
“When you just say, ‘Let's talk about mental health,' it's like saying, ‘Let's talk about world peace,' ” Roddey said.
The group will start to narrow its focus at its next meeting in June, Coleman said. T. Rashad Byrdsong, president and CEO of Community Empowerment Association, said he will bring issues of education, poverty, job training and the distribution of county money to grass-roots organizations to the commission's attention.
Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Roman Catholic Church in midst of culture clash over gays
- 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh
- East Liberty man arrested in connection with Larimer shooting
- Author of Americans with Disabilities Act celebrates its effects in Carnegie
- Snake bites on the rise in Western Pa.
- Pittsburgh police motorcycle officer seriously injured in crash
- Western Pa. prosecutors zero in on human trafficking; legislation pending
- Peduto pushes for affordable housing in East Liberty redevelopment
- Newsmaker: Mark Rubenstein
- Derry boy recovering at home after high-profile intestinal transplant
- 2 men wounded in Hill District drive-by shooting