We, residents of the historic Hill District, Pittsburghers, students and national and international supporters of preserving the Hill and supporting neighborhood residents, sign this petition to speak for ourselves and express to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that we do not want the Isle of Capri Casino development in the Lower Hill District because it will destroy our community and ask that the PGCB absolutely refuse a casino license to Pittsburgh First / Isle of Capri / Nationwide Reality Investors / Mario Lemieux --- the ONLY one of the three proposals for slots licenses in Pittsburgh to be set alongside an historic, residential community.
Somebody raise your hand
You better raise your hand
We stand and sign united as Hill residents and supporters of Hill residents on this issue because:
The Hill is an internationally famous neighborhood not only for its jazz greats and Negro League Baseball Teams such as the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays but most recently because the late, great playwright, August Wilson set "The Pittsburgh Cycle", nine of his ten plays in the Hill District community in which he was born and raised. All of the people who love the characters in "Jitney", "Fences", "Two Trains Running", "Joe Turner's Come and Gone", "The Piano Lesson", "Seven Guitars", "King Hedley II", "Gem of the Ocean", "Radio Golf" --- even "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" are all familiar with and appreciate the culture of Hill District residents that directly influenced Wilson's characters.
But we are not just characters, we are real people with a real community and real issues to confront, just like the characters do in the plays. So art imitates life imitates art.
We are a proud and hardworking community and, although we do not have billionaires at our backs, a large PR firm or high-powered attorneys, we know we have a voice and can make a difference. We ask that we band together and for your assistance for all of these reasons.
We confronted this issue in the 1960s with the city's plans for "urban redevelopment" and we WON the battle to save the REST of our neighborhood with the slogan --- "Not Another Inch!". Now, in 2006, the proposal for its "development" is even worse. But we have a slogan and a freedom song! --- "Raise Your Hand! No Casino on the Hill!" --- and most importantly, determination to save our community and further empower ourselves.
The proposal for the Isle of Capri Casino development set in the
Lower Hill District will cause much more harm than good to the City of Pittsburgh and the residents of the entire Hill District, in particular.
In order to preserve the Hill District (which is currently experiencing various phases of development), we want to ensure its positive future by preventing a gambling casino to be placed in the neighborhood.
Gambling addiction rates will increase, thereby causing residents to lose their property, homes and efforts at a more quality of life. Crime rates will dramatically increase and such crimes as murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and rape are well known as the types of crimes which permeate casino development in cities, in particular. Further, the increase in domestic violence, child neglect and abuse has also been statistically proven to increase in areas of casino development in cities in particular.
City Councilwoman Tonya Payne does NOT represent our interests in this development, nor does the Rev. James Simms, whose church does not even reside in the Hill District. Neither of these two persons represent the majority of the Hill District residents who do NOT want a casino in our neighborhood.
The majority of the residents of the hard working but lower to mid-income community of the Hill District cannot sustain this onslaught and, therefore, ask for support of other Hill Residents, Pittsburghers and non-Pittsburghers alike to stand (and sign) with us and support our cause.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has a choice to make and we are asking that all concerned citizens seek to influence that choice. We seek to communicate to and persuade the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that it is a poor choice and liability on the city to allow for the Isle of Capri / Pittsburgh First / Nationwide Reality Investors / Mario Lemiuex to have a license to build a casino in the Lower Hill.
The new arena can be built and the Pittsburgh Penguins can stay with Governor Ed Rendell's PLAN B. But leave the Isle of Capri away from our community!
We will resist this development every step of the way because we care about our community and find this entire proposal to be careless, callous and disrespectful to our community.
We stand and sign united as Hill residents and supporters of Hill residents on this issue.