Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is PANDA?


he Pittsburgh Area New Direction Alternative is a public policy platform designed to be used in the 1999 municipal elections and now in the 2003 elections is proposing three amendments to the Pittsburgh City Charter.  PANDA was originally intended to encourage good people to get involved, either by running for public office or assisting others who do.  PANDA is now working with its advocacy of the Charter amendments to expand democratic participation outside of electoral politics and will be assisting this effort in a number of ways.

2) Why use the panda as a theme and mascot for the Pittsburgh area?


esides being cute, cuddly looking, and easily marketable, and besides being a convenient, memorable acronym, the panda is probably the most endangered large mammal species in the world today.  The panda's extinction is threatened by a continuing loss of its natural habitat — the result of human land consumption devouring its native environs. As its habitat dwindles, there are fewer and fewer pandas.

Here, too, in southwestern Pennsylvania, our traditional communities are being threatened with their own extinction by continuing land consumption, primarily for real estate speculation.  Occurring amid a long decline in the region's population, this rampant, subsidized real estate speculation has drained our towns of people and investment while overloading their surrounds with suburban sprawl.  So, as we are taxed to subsidize speculator's huge profits from more land consumption, and as we spread out more inefficiently over a wider and wider area, we end up pushing both our quality of life and our population further and further down.  It's become a regular game of investment musical chairs where businesses and people shift places while each year there are fewer left.  The resulting decline of our communities is in effect the destruction of our human habitat, and this is arguably the main reason businesses and residents are leaving.

You might say southwestern PA and the panda share a strong common interest — our survival as viable populations.

NOTE:  The young panda cub in the logo covers approximately the 9 county region of southwestern Pennsylvania (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties).

3) What is the #1 threat to the region?


t's NOT been the possible loss of sports teams that have been here throughout the region's decline.

It's NOT been the small size of the former David Lawrence Convention Center.

It's NOT been our traffic congestion (lowest in the nation among metro areas of comparable Size).

It's NOT been a lack of entertainment and recreation.

It's NOT the possible loss of either USAir or the heavily subsidized MagLev project.

It is the subsidized real estate speculation which uses our tax dollars to encourage the rampant suburban sprawl that undermines our existing traditional communities, draining them of people and investment as people spread themselves out among new real estate speculation housing projects built upon present and former farmland.  At the same time, the outer communities are crowded with new residents who bring a greater demand for services than the revenue they add — thus taxes must be raised while the lifestyle of the existing residents is lost with the transformation of their community.

4) What do I have to gain by supporting PANDA ?


better, healthier community and a stronger positive future for the region.