I have known Sen. Jim Ferlo for quite a long time. He is one of the most progressive voices in the political and social arena. The founders of the August Wilson Center launched a community-wide discussion on where to locate the August Wilson Center. There were focus groups and meetings among pastors, community leaders, artists and donors. The final decision was one that was supported by most of the people who participated in the discussions. Once the decision was made, most people accepted the near-consensus of the Downtown location. Even those who disagreed accepted the decision because they respected the process.
Sen. Ferlo never accepted the decision of the founders and the majority of the African-American community. He continued to be a constant, negative voice, as he does to this very day. The senator is quoted in the Post-Gazette (“State Senator: August Wilson Center A ‘Bottomless Pit’” June 12) as saying the August Wilson Center funding could better be spent elsewhere. The senator holds important political offices in Pennsylvania politics and on the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and he continues to be an important voice in Pittsburgh’s progressive communities. But the location of the AWC is settled. It’s done. It’s Downtown. And disparaging comments are not going to change its location.
The African-American community would benefit much more if the senator would shift his considerable weight to support of the important mission of the August Wilson Center.