Hill District Community Issues Open Cease and Desist Letter to Pittsburgh First, Pgh Gaming Task Force and Elected Officials
Cuz if you think you're gonna build on this site
Don't think you won't have a helluva fight
Cuz we don't want no casino on the Hill
Somebody raise your hand
We're gonna keep raising our hands
Hill District community elders, ministers, residents, artists, activists and representatives continue to highlight their collective opposition to the Pittsburgh First / Isle of Capri Casino development proposal and demand that the plan be stopped:
1. Freedom Corner is the location of the "Not Another Inch" standoff with residents 50 years ago, who sought to protect the historic Hill District from further encroachment. Now, in 2006, residents find themselves again circling to protect the community from casino encroachment and contempt-filled actions against its leaders and concerned citizens.
2. On November 18, 2006, the Isle of Capri company law firm sent Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis, a Hill District resident, scholar, artist and activist a letter of legal intimidation, demanding that she "cease and desist" her opposition to the Isle of Capri Category 2 slots license application for the state of Pennsylvania.
3. Community residents and supporters were outraged by the attack, particularly considering the fact that Dr. Ellis' stance represented thousands of Hill residents and supporters throughout the city of Pittsburgh, state of Pennsylvania, nationally and internationally.
4. On December 16, 2006, approximately 100 Hill residents from the lower, middle and upper Hill, as well as supporters from across the city joined hands in prayer and celebration to, once again, express their opposition to and disappointment in the Isle of Capri / Pittsburgh First plan, emphasizing that there is a way to keep the Pens and build a new arena without destroying a neighborhood in the process; and any attempt to move forward with the Isle of Capri plan will be wrought with continued opposition.
Open "Cease and Desist" letter to Pittsburgh First, the Pittsburgh Gaming Task Force and Elected Officials
(State Senator Ferlo, Mayor Ravenstahl, County Councilman Robinson, City Councilwoman Payne, in particular)
Pittsburgh First we hereby demand that you CEASE and DESIST your attempts to place a casino in our historic, residential community without the consent of our residents.
We further demand that you CEASE and DESIST your continued attempts to represent your organization as community-based or representative of the majority of Hill District residents when, in fact, your group's sole purpose is to support the Isles of Capri (IOC) Category 2 slots license application.
And we demand that you CEASE and DESIST your campaign of misinformation that has been waged against the entire city of Pittsburgh, in general, and the Hill District community, in particular, suggesting that the only plan of development for the Lower Hill is being proposed by Pittsburgh First. In fact, another gaming applicant has proposed development on the same site without a casino. In fact, your continuous suggestions and outright statements that the only way to keep the Penguins Franchise is to support Pittsburgh First is exceptionally misleading when, in fact, all of the gaming applicants have pledged substantial funds for a new arena.
Finally, we demand that you CEASE and DESIST all legal and other forms of intimidation against Hill District residents, other Pittsburghers and any and all concerned citizens who have a right to oppose your superfluous plan.
Pittsburgh Gaming Task Force, we hereby demand that you CEASE and DESIST your support of IOC as your favored gaming applicant as they are the only applicant seeking to place a casino in a residential community, not to mention that community's historical significance and importance to the City of Pittsburgh.
We further demand that you CEASE and DESIST your support of IOC as they are the only applicant seeking to place a casino in both a predominantly African-American community and within walking distance of Duquesne University, particularly considering the fact that college students and African-Americans are three and four times more likely, respectively, to become problem gamblers and gambling addicts than the general population.
Lastly, we demand that you CEASE and DESIST your support of IOC and, instead, ask questions about why their application for gaming in the state of Missouri and the Missouri Gaming Control Board's investigative findings remain private and, therefore, unknown.
Elected Officials (State Senator Ferlo, Mayor Ravenstahl, County Councilman Robinson, City Councilwoman Payne) we hereby demand that you immediately CEASE and DESIST your support of the IOC / Pittsburgh First gaming application and instead act to support and protect the interests of your citizen constituents and the historic Hill District.
We further demand that you CEASE and DESIST your support of the IOC / Pittsburgh First organization for the aforementioned reasons expressed in this letter to the Pittsburgh Gaming Task Force.
Lastly we demand that you CEASE and DESIST your support of the IOC / Pittsburgh First gaming application, as their eleventh-hour attempt to address the quality of life issues and social impact on our historic community with the hastily promised formation of the "Hill Entertainment Services District" is representative of their dismissive and disrespectful attitude throughout this entire process and is, in no way adequate, given the fact that no details have been presented and is not included in their application for a license.
We stand together in saying we do not want a casino on the Hill!
Very truly yours,
James Archie - Community Elder, Community Activist
Stephanie Beechaum - longtime Hill resident, Uptown
Derrick Bell, Esquire – Born and raised in Hill District, First African American tenured Harvard Law School Professor, Visiting Professor, University of Pittsburgh Law School
James Boddy, Jr. - longtime Hill resident, Uptown
Annie Carter – Hill District Resident, Community Elder
Edna Council – Hill District Resident, Community Elder, Member, Hill District Consensus Group
Freda Ellis – Lifelong Hill District Resident, Community Elder, sister of the late August Wilson
Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D. (aka Dr. Goddess) – longtime Hill District Resident, Organizer, Raise Your Hand! No Casino on the Hill Campaign, niece of the late August Wilson
Paul Ellis, Jr., Esquire – longtime Hill District Resident, nephew of the late August Wilson
Rev. and Mrs. George – longtime Hill District Community Elders and worshippers, Retired Pastor and First Lady Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church
Rev. Glenn G. Grayson – Pastor Wesley AME Church, Hill District Resident
Tamanika Howze – longtime Hill District Resident, Community Elder and Activist
Winnifred Jackson - longtime Hill resident, Uptown
Ruby Kendricks - longtime Hill resident, Uptown
Bonnie Laing, Ph.D. – Hill District Resident, Community Activist
Justin Laing – Hill District Resident, Community Activist
Robert D. Lavelle - lifelong Hill District Resident, Community Activist
Robert M. Lavelle – longtime Hill District Resident, President Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association, Scout Master Boy Scout Troop 93
Robert R. Lavelle – longtime Hill District Resident, Community Elder, Founder, Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association, Founder, Lavelle Real Estate Co.
Thelma Lovette – longtime Hill District Resident, Community Elder and Activist
Jeanne McNutt – Hill District Business Owner, Uptown
Momar Milliones – lifelong Hill District Resident
Rev. Johnnie Monroe – Pastor, Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church
Veronica Morgan-Lee, Ph.D. – longtime worker in the Hill District, Community Elder, worshipper at St. Benedict the Moor Church
Betty Penny – Hill District Resident, Community Elder and Activist, wife of the late Rob Penny
Sharon Porter – Community Elder, Long time Hill District Resident
Lou Ransom – Hill District Resident
Gerri Ransom – Hill District Resident
Carmen Smith - longtime Hill District Resident, Bentley Dr.
Mark Southers – Lifelong Hill District Resident, Founder & Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater
Rev. Lee Wall – Community Activist, Hill District Resident
Jake Wheatley Jr. - Hill District Resident, State Representative 19th Legislative District
Pamela Whitaker, longtime Hill resident, Uptown
Ruth Whitndr - longtime Hill resident, Uptown
Jasiri X – Hill District Resident, Crawford Square
Mary Young – longtime Hill District Resident