Pittsburgh City Council OKs plan to embarrass slum landlords

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A proposal to shame landlords into fixing up their properties passed city council today with a couple of amendments and harsh criticism from one member.

Council members Bill Peduto and Natalia Rudiak sponsored the legislation, which directs the city to identify the 10 most-dilapidated properties in the city so the Department of Public Works can put up signs calling out the owners.

The sign ordinarily will be put in front of the dilapidated property. However, under an amendment offered by Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, if the owner lives in the city, the sign will go in front of that person's residence instead.

Ms. Rudiak also amended the bill to require a council member's approval before a sign is put up at a property in his or her district.

Councilman Ricky Burgess opposed the bill, predicting it will shame not the landlords but poor tenants who cannot afford to live elsewhere.

"We have a long history in this country of shaming people," Mr. Burgess said. "It never ends well."

Mr. Burgess, who represents low-income neighborhoods in the East End, said he has discussed the bill with his constituents. "They do not want it."

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