Ever wonder what a Pittsburgh City Council member’s week is really like? Find out, as we (try to!) catch up with Dan Gilman, who is serving his first term for the 8th District of Pittsburgh. Discover what issues matter most to Dan, why he sees Pittsburgh as a national innovation and entrepreneurial hub and why he loves talking with residents.
Monday, October 19:
I always start off my week driving around the district to check up on the ongoing projects in each of my neighborhoods. Today I’ll check on Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority projects at Fair Oaks and Wilkins, a residential property on Ellsworth, a parking issue on Walnut and some traffic issues in North Oakland. My office hears from nearly 1,000 constituents each year, and going out to visit sites and talk with residents is one of my favorite parts of the job. Serving on City Council allows me to address real quality of life issues: safe neighborhoods, clean streets, vibrant communities. Not only do I get to help set City policy, but I get to help make sure potholes are filled and catch basins are cleaned.
After that, I’m off to grab coffee with my old friend Betsy Magley. Betsy and I have known each other since I was an aide to now Mayor Bill Peduto, and Betsy was a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. It’s good to keep in touch with old friends as well as make new relationships.
From there, I’ve got a photo shoot with Jason Sauer at Most Wanted Fine Art.
Tuesday, October 20:
On Tuesday morning, I’m meeting with James O’Connor from the Mission Continues. James has worked with veterans and partners to rehab more than 103 houses in Hazelwood. We’re meeting to see how Council can provide support as they expand into other neighborhoods, and how we can work together on the Homefront Pittsburgh initiative.
After that, I’ll rush off to the weekly Council meeting downtown, where my colleagues will take the final vote on a three-part package of legislation I’ve introduced to reconstitute the city’s long-dormant ethics board, set new campaign contribution limits and increase website transparency.
Following the meeting, I’ll be on WESA’s Essential Pittsburgh to discuss that legislation.
I’m taking my staff out to Point Brugges for our semi-annual touch base lunch. We’ll talk about our plans for the year, upcoming legislation and what we’d like to accomplish in 2016.
Following that, I’m touring the National Robotics Engineering Center at CMU. Pittsburgh has become a national leader in robotics and technology and is constantly being recognized as a nationwide hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. The robotics scene is a huge part of that. It’s critical that the City remain an engaged and active partner in this work.
I will also tour EverPower, a fast-growing developer, owner and operator of utility scale wind projects in the U.S. Wind Power must be part of our alternative energy future. It’s exciting that organizations like EverPower have decided to base here in Pittsburgh and are part of our burgeoning growth.
I’ve got a busy evening, with five events in three hours: fundraisers for David Wecht for Supreme Court and Deb Gross for City Council at Quatrini Rafferty’s law offices and Enrico’s, the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Council, a meeting with 4th Ward residents in North Oakland, and the Baum-Centre Initiative event at First United Methodist Church.
Wednesday, October 21:
Wednesday morning I’ll have coffee with Rabbi Symons at Coffee Tree Roasters in Squirrel Hill. He married my wife and me, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for him. We meet monthly to discuss the intersection of government and social justice; two issues about which I care deeply.
Next, I’m off to the weekly standing committee in Council Chambers, where the real work of Council occurs. Meetings can run anywhere from one to six hours.
Then I’m off to meet old friends Danielle Crumrine and Eric Hulsey at Butcher and the Rye to talk about Pittsburgh’s urban forest—another topic of great importance to me.
This evening is the citywide public safety meeting at The Pittsburgh Project on the North Side, where the public gets to hear from top public safety officials and the Mayor.
Thursday, October 22:
I will start with coffee at The Bagel Factory on Craig with a resident who reached out to talk about Pittsburgh’s transformation. One of the great things about my job is getting to talk to new residents who want to chat about our beloved city.
Solutions for storm water management will be one of the most pressing issues for our region during the next ten years, and green solutions need to be a big part of that. This afternoon, I’ll be helping to cut the ribbon for the Point Park Bioswale with the Garden Club of Allegheny County. Then I’ll run back to the office for my monthly meeting with PWSA to review open constituent concerns. From there I’ll be meeting with community experts and city staff to talk about implementing 32,000 LED street lights.
This evening, I’m attending the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition’s Treasure’s Award Dinner at the Bob O’Connor Golf Course Clubhouse, where we’ll honor retiring school board member Bill Isler, composer David Stock and Mike Chen, founder of Pittsburgh’s Chinese Restaurant Association.
Friday, October 23:
I’m meeting with Allegheny County Council member Tom Baker, who is also the Chief Community Affairs Officer at Big Brothers Big Sisters, and also with folks from Reading is FUNdamental and Tickets for Kids. I believe so strongly in the importance of city involvement in education. To me, education is more than just schools. It is quality pre-natal care, readily available healthy food, mentorships, feeding programs for hungry children, mental health services for children, school and community partnerships, and integrated health and social services resources for our kids.
Saturday, October 24:
It’s Saturday, and hopefully, a little more relaxing than my busy week. Amanda and I recently bought a new home, and still are in the process of getting art up on the walls and buying furniture. I’m also a huge sports fan, and will spend some time on the couch watching college and professional football with Amanda. Our cat Bailey usually watches, too.
In the evening, we will attend Amanda Howard’s fundraiser at the Grant Street Tavern to support cancer research.
Sunday, October 25:
On Sunday, I’ll play some football, another great weekly activity organized by Pittsburgh Sports League, one of the great local nonprofits that engages with and unites young professionals.
We will also get out to a pumpkin patch so we can decorate for fall.