Wilkinsburg residents opposing annexation nearly outnumbered pro-annexation supporters as they rallied at the City-County Building on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.
Reports from the ground indicated that aside from county executive Fitzgerald and his staff plus reporters from several local media outlets, there were just two more pro-annexation people present than there were counter-annexation people. Counter-annexation people present reported that most of those holding pro-annexation signs were associated with the Wilkinsburg CDC, the organization financially and organizationally supporting the annexation effort.
The pro-annexation people clearly flexed their significant financial backing with single-design, commercially-printed signs begging to “let the democratic process continue” when there was clearly no way that wasn’t going to happen already. Counter-annexation people, including Wilkinsburg council member Denise Edwards, held a variety of signs saying, “Keep Wilkinsburg Wilkinsburg,” “Say NO to annexation,” “WCDC doesn’t rep us,” and more.
Coverage from around the Pittsburgh news world touched on the rally in the same article as covering the petitions’ court approval, which WF covered:
- Judge approves Wilkinsburg annexation petition, Post-Gazette, Jan. 5, 2022
- Pittsburgh City Council must vote whether Wilkinsburg annexation will appear on borough’s ballot, TribLive, Jan. 5, 2022
- Wilkinsburg annexation question officially heads to Pittsburgh City Council, Public Source, Jan. 5, 2022
- In a contentious rally, regional leaders advocate for Wilkinsburg-Pittsburgh merger, Pittsburgh City Paper, Jan. 5, 2022
- Court approves Wilkinsburg annexation petition, sending the matter to Pittsburgh City Council, WESA, Jan. 5, 2022
WESA reporter Kiley Koscinski snapped some pictures of the event.
One note about the news media coverage is that while P-G, TribLive, City Paper, and WESA all acknowledged the presence of counter-annexation people and ran their concerns, Public Source failed to do so.
WF believes that it’s vital to share information openly. It’s crucial to paint an accurate picture of these events so that the public can understand who is pushing this annexation and realize that it’s not a grassroots movement that accurately represents the sentiments of the majority of residents of Wilkinsburg. It’s a small, well-funded non-profit, that Wilkinsburg no longer wants anything to do with because of its failures to communicate and act in the interests of the borough it was chartered and claims in its tax filings that it wants to revitalize. It’s pushed several residents from areas of the borough that have higher property assessments than the others.