Clean Water is a Fundamental Human Right
Everyone has the right to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) faces critical challenges: aging infrastructure suffers from a lack of investment, dangerous lead service lines must be replaced throughout the city; stormwater and sewage overflows are polluting our rivers and flooding basements when it rains.
Pittsburgh is facing a burgeoning water crisis, and there is no one more qualified than Erika to make sure that every Pittsburgher has access to safe, clean, affordable water. Before serving as District 8 Chief of Staff, where she works regularly on water issues in the district and throughout the city, Erika spent a decade fighting for clean water as an environmental advocate. She has a vision and a plan to work with PWSA to survey and identify lead lines all over the city, ensure that our water utility remains publicly controlled and accountable to rate-payers, double down on green-first solutions like stormwater utility fees that will help pay for lead line replacement, and address our sewage overflow.
Sustainable and Equitable Growth
There’s no doubt the city is changing, and in many neighborhoods, growing. While we need this growth to replace an aging workforce and to provide a tax base for infrastructure needs, it must not come at the expense of long-term or low-income residents. Safe, affordable housing is not a luxury. No one should have to choose between paying rent and feeding their family. Erika will work to implement incentives for affordable units in new housing developments, especially in the neighborhoods with the strongest housing markets; assistance for home repairs, rental rehabilitation, rental assistance, and closing costs; and will push for dense, mixed-income development closest to transit centers and business districts. She will place the highest priority on ensuring that community voices play a central role in making decisions about new development.
Everyone should feel safe traveling our streets. Whether you’re 9 or 90 years old, riding a bike, walking, driving or taking the bus, you should feel comfortable and safe traveling from home to school and from work to your local restaurant. Erika will work to expand transit options so more people feel inspired to take the bus, ride a bike, walk or take rideshare to where they need to go. She will work with City Planning to improve our city’s zoning to allow for denser development near commercial areas and transit lines, and will partner with Allegheny County Port Authority on its Transit Oriented Development efforts to improve accessibility and quality of life.
Our neighbors deserve to feel safe in their neighborhoods. We will continue to invest in public safety and to work collaboratively with individuals, neighbors, community organizations, and public safety professionals to keep our streets safe.
The success of our schools and the success of Pittsburgh go hand in hand. Investing in good schools is an investment in our neighborhoods, our communities, and our future. Excellent schools not only provide opportunities for students to excel, they also keep neighborhoods vibrant, attract and retain families in the city, and increase property values. City Council members must be able to work collaboratively with the Pittsburgh Public School Board, and Erika has a proven track record of doing just that. As Chief of Staff, Erika:
- Organizes regular meetings with the principals of all the schools in District 8 to hear about their needs, share ideas, and provide resources from the City.
- Assists with the expansion of the Backpack Initiative beyond Linden School, to ensure that kids who need it are going home with a backpack full of food on the weekend.
Erika will fight for passage and funding of quality, affordable, inclusive, universal pre-k which will help level the playing field for all students. It’s critical that as a city we begin to address the ways in which poverty and racism have led to an unacceptable opportunity gap for too many Pittsburgh children. Erika will be a strong advocate for high quality, inclusive, and equitable schools for our community.
Erika knows that the fundamentals of running a city involve paying attention to every detail, and offering excellent service to residents. Whether you’re applying for a parking permit or requesting pothole be filled, reserving a baseball field or needing a sign installed, Erika’s four years of assisting residents as chief of staff for District 8 will allow her to hit the ground running. Erika knows that being a councilwoman isn’t just about the big votes. It’s about securing funding for brick and mortar in our community. Whether it is renovating Wightman Park, improving our ballfields at Mellon Park, or helping our neighborhood organizations succeed, Erika knows how to get things done, and is ready to hit the ground running on day one.