Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Election in D7: Policy, Politics and Biases

Beyond My Ken

By Bram Reichbaum

The two leading candidates in the Special Election for City Council District 7, Deb Gross and Tony Ceoffe,  are politically similar within the broad spectrum.

They both believe strongly in civil rights and social equality, on the duty to invest in public transportation and education, on the need to inject tax fairness into our "Eds and Meds" economy and in the advisability of public funding for the arts. One is the Democratic nominee, the other retains significant support in the Party, and both have been local Democratic committee members.

Where the candidates differ distinctly on policy is the direction they would take the City -- and who they would take with them.

Gross supports remaining with Act 47 for now, has not called for a larger police force, and is allied with a future mayor and a County Executive who aim to cooperate on the shared provision of services.

Ceoffe favors withdrawing from state oversight as well as a call for the hiring of 130 new officers, and has been pointedly critical of the prospect of "mergers" with the County.

The Comet has already addressed the imperative for continued financial discipline favoring our pension crisis using Act 47. It should be obvious that the hiring, training, care, feeding, maintenance and supervision of a police officer is one of the most expensive long-term investments a City can make (besides which, now seems like a time in the Police Bureau to focus on leadership, vision and strategies). And there are so many broke units of government in our region destined to continue performing similar services, that any way in which the City and County can begin collaborating just to show it's okay is at the very least highly interesting.

In light of that, formally withdrawing from Financial Distress status, an eagerness to hire more "boots on the ground" in the neighborhoods, and alarm over City-County collaboration sounds less like a strategy for long-term civic stability than like a formula for giving away ice-cream cones: to the public-sector managers and workers most desirous of greater resources and control and disproportionately active in politics, and to fearful residents unaware of the extent of the City's continued financial straights and suspicious of outsiders.

That analysis confirmed my bias going into this race: that Deb Gross has long supported Bill Peduto, Patrick Dowd, and the "progressive" movement in local politics which takes as its mission curtailing patronage and transforming government to run more efficiently and responsibly, whereas Tony Ceoffe by in the past supporting Jack Wagner, Luke Ravenstahl and Len Bodack has been more representative of that "old school" more likely to protect the status-quo and make decisions based on political expediency and voters' immediate gratification.

Now is when we have a real duty to examine those biases.



Tony Ceoffe Jr. is experiencing his own special kind of purgatory.

He has published a photo of a Democratic party ward chairman / Citiparks employee allegedly "campaigning for Gross during City hours of operation".

He blasted the participation of "professionals" from Public Safety, Public Works and City Planning in a roundtable organized by Gross on Oct. 21st on the topic of "City Services".

He claims a tweet by the Gross campaign was at first tweeted mysteriously by a certain public official's Twitter account, before it was deleted there... and that nobody said anything.

And, of course, he argued unsuccessfully in Court that he was narrowly cheated out of the Democratic nomination, and besides which that various Committee members were threatened or promised things from Democratic leaders in exchange for supporting Gross.

Tony tells the Comet he sees a lot of bias in how his own accusations are being treated by various media -- or rather, ignored by it -- given the electricity such accusations have garnered in the past.

The Comet thinks it entirely likely Tony has a point here. Not that long ago, the Democratic party's machinery and Bill Peduto's own "progressive" coalition were at odds in most local elections. Once Peduto won the Party's mayoral nod in May, the two mega-factions must have had to begin planning a Shotgun Royal Wedding.

City politics has been unscrupulous in the past, old habits die hard, and this Special Election to fill a vacancy forced the newlyweds to begin working together without an adjustment period. If Ceoffe feels like his candidacy is being ill-treated by a powerful new coalition, an entrenched establishment and 3rd-party media observers all at once, that is probably is because it is.

Other sources of bias impact the race.
Rocky IV - Training Styles

The Comet perceives four models on how to get into politics:

  1. Be born into it. Learn by watching your family work.
  2. Work to become a politician's right hand, and wait your turn.
  3. Get active in community groups and "squeaky wheel" organizing, liaising between your neighbors and government.
  4. Develop skills and contacts through your profession and other public-spirited pursuits.

Each of these are legitimate paths into public office. City Government can boast representatives from all four. Each tend to entail certain advantages as well as certain disadvantages at the polls and in office. Deb Gross comes from Source 4 and perhaps a bit of a Source 2; Tony Ceoffe comes from Source 3 as well as Source 1.

One uncomfortable truth is, if you hail from a challenging socioeconomic status or class, Source 3 is likely the most accessible pathway to you. But its advantage is, those stemming from Source 3 will be able to make a strong case that community group work is the best qualification for public office because they roll up their sleeves, are visible and know what's really going on.

Yet one thing candidates from each "Source" are equally capable of is acquiescing to short-sighted or self-satisfying pressures, even the arbitrarily political ones. Pittsburgh needs to elect candidates with the right instincts, no matter where they hail from -- who act in fidelity to all the facts of what's "really going on".

Tony Ceoffe Jr. tells the Comet that he has identified the funding to hire 50 additional police officers, and that "obviously the long-term funding issue is something that would have to be worked through with the community at the [Council] table" for the remaining 70 he now seeks. He has signed on with Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith's legislation that attempts to "trigger" a hiring process when the count dips below 900. He also maintains that although crime statistics have risen of late only in line with the seasonal norm, it's the intensity of incidents that seems to have increased and what is causing residents' concern.

Ceoffe clarifies that he would "never sign on" to something like sharing city RAD parks services or management with the County unless the hydraulic fracturing issue was disposed of at the Council table (a legal mechanism by which a services agreement makes City fracking more likely than otherwise is unclear) as well as the critical issue of "what happens to those jobs" (sources close to Peduto say any excess staff would be transferred to other overworked functions, rather than laid off.)

patrickdowd.org
Finally, during an interview with GLTV, Ceoffe claimed he had high regard for Patrick Dowd as a "great" prior Councilman who was visible in the community, who is doing an honorable thing now by making a transition into education advocacy, and whom he will miss... but at the same time that he ran against Dowd in 2011 because he felt Dowd would not stick with the the job and always had his eye on something else. When the Comet asked Ceoffe to clarify this seeming contradiction, Ceoffe responded by confirming he "was not surprised" Dowd left office early, and reaffirmed that was the very reason why he ran for office in 2011.

Dowd narrowly won office in his own right in 2007 by unseating then-Councilman Leonard Bodack with a fiery campaign targeting "Patronage" and championing "Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability." Today, Ceoffe's campaign war chest, less than a third as flush as that of Deb Gross, boasts a $500 check from Friends of Leonard Bodack, for whom Ceoffe had worked as a youth. We couldn't get Tony to open up too broadly on that race and dynamic, but he says Lenny donated to him this year because he "knows that I do good work out in our neighborhoods."

I feel like I've examined my biases as thoroughly as I can. Although Pittsburgh's "Old School" candidates are getting a lot smarter, more passionate and more progressive than in the past -- which is phenomenal news for the City -- there is still a "School Whose Thinking Is Old" with regards to a visceral resistance to internal transformation, efficiency and collaboration with others. Natural skepticism of transformative designs is a healthy commodity, but Pittsburgh already has it in abundance. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and you've run field tests on it to mitigate against duck bias, then it is probably destined to be a force for unnecessary friction, obstruction, and retrograde spin. At least until a little more restorative time is spent in the political wilderness.

Meanwhile, Deb Gross comes with excellent recommendations and varied experiences, demonstrates both intelligence and a fidelity to sound policy, and for a long time in local politics has been on the righteous side of history. She seems to me like the safer bet. What are you going to do?

49 comments:

  1. Didn't Ceoffe come to his Source 3 qualification--- by which I presume you mean his Lawrenceville United work?---by virtue of a Source 1? That is, isn't that his daddy's organization?

    so far i've seen little reason to believe Ceoffe isn't another Ravenstahl, and I'm staying way the hell away.

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    1. So Ceoffe's years of advocacy work can be attributed to the fact that his dad was the director of ONE of the organizations he has worked with? You folks are really reaching now. I haven't heard about one thing Debbie has done in ANY neighborhood that didn't come along with a pay check. It's a new day, give the guy a chance. I've met him several times over the years and believe me, he's no Luke Ravenstahl and for anyone to compare the two simply because his dad was active in the community group world before him is laughable at best.

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    2. Tony takes a lot of credit that he really has nothing to do with when referring to Lawrenceville groups. I am a member of all of them, and only joined United once the Ceoffes were out of the picture. He volunteers but he hasn't created a lot of the strategies plans and policies that have been being carried out these last 4 years - THANK GOD or else I would have moved. Deb also hasn't really done much, but at least she's only taking credit for things she has actually done (regardless of whether or not they were meaningful).

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    3. You joined United after the Ceoffe's were out of the picture? I'm fairly certain that Tony has been an LU board member for the last several years and was the Vice President of the organization until taking a "leave of absence" in July to run for office.

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    4. Joined once Sr. was out of the office, and once it was clear there was a Board in place that he didn't self-select. So I joined once there wasn't a Ceoffe paying himself as part of the organization, and other members on their board that I know and trust holding the younger Ceoffe on board accountable. I joined once it was clear that the organization became more open to ideas and other groups that I belong to within the community All things I didn't feel were happening when there was a Ceoffe running the daily show, and don't feel young Ceoffe is open to.

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    5. Have you given younger Ceoffe a chance or just immediately jumped to the conclusion that he's a mirrored image of senior? I also belong to most of the community groups in LV and have seen Tony on several occasions encourage increased dialogue between our many groups and has worked on oretty much every initiative we've rolled out since I moved here three years ago (before that I lived briefly in Morningside) I never worked with the elder Ceoffe so I don't want to comment just based off of rumors but to me it seems the younger is very open to working with everyone in the neighborhood and through mutual friends have learned that he often works with those that have opposed his dad in other political situations. I have to admit that based off some things I heard, I was reluctant about Ceoffe Jr but after speaking with him about my concerns I was pleasantly surprised. I'd suggest reaching out to him, I'm confident that you may be surprised as well.

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  2. Ceoffe is incredibly desperate to get the position. As history has shown, he will do just about anything, including moronic court battles, to force his way into a city council position. Anyone who is that obsessed with getting that job, will never get my vote. He wants the title, but not the workload that comes with it.

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    1. So we should vote someone in that DOESN'T want the job? Determination, hard work and persistence are all of a sudden bad qualities! I guess being entitled and condescending are positive traits now!!

      I would say having 2 illegal votes (1 by Debbie) thrown out that the lawsuit would have merit!

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    2. Jordan, have you done any research beyond what you've been told by Tonys opposition? I only ask because you just said exactly what I was told on two occasions by Gross volunteers at my front door. Luckily I do a little more digging than just what I'm told and have had the opporunity to work on a few projects with Tony here in Larryville. When it comes to work ethic and commitment you needn't worry if Tony is elected. That guy has worked more hours in his neighborhood this year than some councilmembers have in a four year term.

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    3. I've heard numerous reports from residents of Lawrenceville that Tony works very hard indeed - and not just in terms of muscle, but in terms of taking on important concerns that others may not have addressed in their neighborhoods. (ie slum landlords). I have strong concerns about the positions Ceoffe has taken on Act 47 and the networks of informal influence that Ravenstahl and Co. have exerted in the past, but his work ethic doesn't seem to be all that assailable.

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  3. Is it a coincidence that all of the negative comments (including Bram) toward Ceoffe have a love for Peduto?

    I guess New Pittsburgh just means a bunch of Peduto's Buddies...........

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    1. I haven't posted negative comments, these are facts and my fact-based policy preferences. I've always found it annoying how some infantilize their opposition talking about "love", "buddies", "BFF's"... Hey I heard that Tony Ceoffe Jr. is in love with District Magistrate Tony Ceoffe!

      I AGREE WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE SENSE. You want to discredit that? Show where we're not making any sense.

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  4. So I'd have to agree w Bram here, it's his blog, his opinion and I don't see any scathing accusations. I'm still torn and not sure which way I'm voting on Tuesday. We continue to talk about old school dynasties vs. progressive new leadership. What makes Gross anymore progressive than Ceoffe? She worked for Dowd and Peduto? She also worked for Arlen Spector at a time when he was nowhere comparable to a progressive. Just look at his approval ratings from minority and equality groups when Gross was on his payroll. My understanding is that her husband worked for Spector as a director in one of his offices. Just because you have different last names doesn't mean you can't be your own dynasty, it just makes it harder to find a paper trail. Similar to your comment above though, if we're going to judge candidates based off of past affiliations, let call a spade a spade and if Ceoffe looses points for worked as a "youth" for Len Bodack, what's Gross get for putting her supposed progressive views aside for financial gain by working with Spector?

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  5. I love this piece. It boils down the general situation in Pittsburgh--Old School Vs. "Progressive". However, the article mentions, "Natural skepticism of transformative designs is a healthy commodity, but Pittsburgh already has it in abundance." Therefore with a "Progressive" at the helm, I personally see it as in our best interest to keep that part of our 'old-school, skeptical population, of which there is an abundance', properly represented, this being a Representative Democracy. As soon as one side, no matter what side, starts making all the decisions for everyone, bad things happen, and REAL obstruction grows.
    However, we're all talking heads on the internet speculating with what little information we actually have, so, full disclosure--this is just my personal opinion on how we should move forward. I ain't hatin'.
    As for the Police issue, I was fortunate enough to speak personally with Chief of Police, Regina McDonald last night about Act 47 and the hiring freeze. She actually looked a little confused when I asked her, and cheerfully replied that "40 new officers will begin training in the early Spring..." and claimed she was content with the number of officers, although she'd always could use more, and then she cut me off really quickly for the next question.
    However, after the Big Chief left for the Bloomfield Halloween parade, the Assistant Chief, Maurita Bryant, further explained the problem. Sure, 40 new officers are being hired, or will be if they don't wash out of the Academy, but the Force retired over 25 officers last year, and several more have left the Department for other jobs, illness, etc.
    Basically, Bryant explained, the way they hire is to wait to have enough candidates to fill up an Academy class, and they train and hire all of the graduates at once. But, like any other job, people don't all quit/retire/die at the same time. This leaves huge gaps in police coverage, and when the police aren't there, the Crime element gets more entrenched, making the future officers jobs more difficult.
    Basically, I think Tony better represents the type of people in District 7, or more honestly, MY SIDE of District 7. I grew up in Sheridan, I have somewhat of a Pittsburgh accent. I feel much more comfortable at a place like Hambones or Lot 17, than Park Bruges or Tambellini's. Part of it simply does come down to my 'gut' opinion thinking that Deb Gross is too snobby to represent a guy like me. All that "Art and Culture" stuff simply turns me off, but that's just me, and folks who like it, God love ya, but all kinds of folks like all kinds of things, and when it comes to government, I just want everybody to get a voice, even if I disagree with it.

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    1. Only on the topic of what we are calling "healthy skepticism's" prospects as they stand now in City Hall -- Harris. Lavelle. Burgess. Kail-Smith. There's no emergency need to deal the skeptics of progressivism, urbanism, or some cultural, uh, SIDE (by the way, I love Hambones, way better than the kind of douchy Industry Public) another card. Sorry the drunk bus aka UV transit loop wasn't real enough for 'ya, Darren.

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  6. The Drunk Bus IS pretty hardcore...but would Deb ever be willing to actually ride it? I've said it before, my "Fantasy Local Government Roster" has Deb taking over as Public Art Director at City Planning, because she knows Art in Pittsburgh, she knows the people who can get the Private funds together to make it happen, and she's got better tastes that Morton Brown and his "pop-up", store-front installations. I don't know any more than what I've read about and the brief conversations I've had with her. She's educated and resourceful and passionate, but Tony is just a better fit for Pittsburgh right now, as I see it.

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    1. "Would Deb ever be willing to actually ride it?"

      Have you met her? C'mon. We're talking about someone who preferred the Voodoo Lounge in the Strip to our plain old vanilla Hambones. That joint was like the bar in From Dusk Till Dawn.

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    2. Gotta say, Darren, yeah, some of these arguments are all about style, not substance, and we have some pretty substantial problems to be working on together right now. How can we possibly really figure out who's most qualified/willing to address those concerns if we're arguing about which hang-out joint we think that Deb would prefer?

      As contrast, I understand bringing up concerns with Deb touting the drunk bus as a real campaign point. I'd like to hear more from her about the larger transit picture and her potential roles in bringing local stakeholders out from behind their silos. That loop-bus was a useful local fix for a particular local transit problem that I appreciate, but that doesn't address the roles that Council members might play in addressing larger, systemic, multimodal transportation planning and funding problems across highly interdependent municipalities - as Dowd attempted to do with his transit intiatives at CONNECT.

      If we end up facing major transit cuts next year, we will run into major gridlock indeed if we just think localized band-aids, with City Council members lobbying just for the best interests of their particular districts. Council will need to work with the Bill, County Executive, community groups, transit planners, transit operators, riders, developers, small business owners and all those other municipal leaders to do some very nitty-gritty problem solving indeed.

      I do think that Deb's experience in working with all sorts of non-profits, CDCs, developers, start-up businesses, etc. across the city might be really useful in some of those larger conversations, but I haven't yet heard her address some of the harder choices and tensions that would need to be considered in a world of scarce resources, big needs, and interdependent communities and developers that often act like they are islands. If anyone has, please do share.

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    3. Fair enough. I concede that I don't know the woman personally. Point, Reichbaum.

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    4. Helen, I understand you calling our the Style v substance particulars, but I was alluding to something a bit bigger, in that this is a special election for a stunted term. Whoever makes it into the seat is going to have to run again right away. People get exhausted watching the 'sausage making', and that is how voter apathy takes hold, and you really lose the interests of the People.
      I don't see Ceoffe wanting to support those deep cuts to Transit; maybe you know something I don't. However, there are issues on the State level, pertaining to Act 47 and other connecting legislation, that make it so whomever we elect, they might not have a choice in the matter. The Conservative voices embedded in the Counties and Regions of this Commonwealth are gaining more authority on what happens in our City Limits.
      We need to ask who will be more assertive on raising funds from Companies that do business here, own property here (we all know who I mean), and the million people who live in Allegheny or outlying counties, who benefit from Pittsburgh's Cultural and Commercial resources, but pay their taxes to the place they sleep at night.
      Ultimately the success of this city isn't dependent on who wins what seat, but that we all stay involved and aware, and keep talking this out, rather than those out there who would prefer to shout the loudest.

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    5. You write:

      We need to ask who will be more assertive on raising funds from Companies that do business here, own property here (we all know who I mean), and the million people who live in Allegheny or outlying counties, who benefit from Pittsburgh's Cultural and Commercial resources, but pay their taxes to the place they sleep at night.

      Amen to that, Uncle Darren!

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    6. On "assertive" ... I wish it were a matter of conviction or forthrightness, Darren and Helen. Cultivating funding streams for transit or anything else from companies or major nonprofits will take a lot of negotiation and long-term strategy among those interests including higher levels of government. One thing that will NOT help is if we engender an environment around us where good people are asking, "What is the moral or practical imperative that [X] should chip into City or County governance, if their local officials are just going to shed their voluntary constraints, turn around and spend it on loose votes?"

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  7. http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2013/10/31/Ceoffe-for-District-7/stories/201310310165

    NUFF SAID!

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  8. I met Deb Gross' campaign manager last night. What's her story?

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    1. Love deb but that manger is so rude.

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    2. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/nikkillia-lu/22/2a9/.

      I have had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting Ms. Lui as well. I'd agree with the previous comment characterizing her as rude. I thought maybe she was new and unseasoned but after her name came up here, I took a look-see at her LinkedIn profile. She is sure "linked in" alright, prior to this job, she worked for both Peduto and Gilman in the past. MORE OF THE SAME! This is the same type of thing I have been talking about for years happening in the mayors office, look where that has gotten us. It will be interesting to see where she lands after November 5th. As a constituent in District 7, I just pray it's nowhere close to my neighborhood.

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    3. You thought she was rude? I had the opposite experience. I think your comment is as asinine as it is well researched (congratulations on your LinkedIn use). For a person to say, regardless of political sides, that they wouldn't want a locally educated, highly motivated, and intelligent woman working in her district is, truly, selfish and shortsighted. Get a life.

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    4. I don't think theres anything wrong with her having worked for Peduto and Gilman earlier. Only seems natural for them to hire supporters on as campaign workers. Like I said I like Deb and will be voting for her. I just thought the manager was rude.

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    5. I have known Nikki for quite some time and she is anything but rude. Working for Dan Gilman (and by proxy Bill Peduto) she was the most pleasant and hardworking field director that I have ever met (and it showed on election night in May.) I suspect that any rudeness that she might be accused of is misunderstood. I also suspect that it has at a source frustration with the way that certain "Democrats" are conducting themselves in this election and propaganda. All of this talk of the party machine and back-room dealing in a derisive manner is at best naive and at worst hypocritical. Bill is leading an insurgency of progressivism against the establishment. In order to achieve his goal of seeing a progressive Pittsburgh, some feathers were ruffled in the name of a better future for our city. No doubt it is the"Democrats" who've had their feathers ruffled who are squawking the most. In short, Nikki has done an outstanding job dealing with the conduct of Mr. Ceoffe and his establishment supporters who have gotten their feelings hurt by not getting a seat at Bill's table. However, to attack her because of Mr. Ceoffe's feelings falls far below any standards for civility that we should have as a party or as Pittsburghers. A new, brighter tomorrow is coming for Pittsburgh, despite the establishment's best wishes, let's try not to slander a young woman because we don't like it.

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    6. I'm the anon who first asked "what's the story" with Liu. In my first and only interaction with her, we started chatting in a friendly manner, then another young campaign staffer walked up she turned her attention to him. I asked who he was and introduced myself, but from there on I was a non-entity to Ms. Bubbly. I wasn't offended though. I just think she's still pretty green and unpolished, and is perhaps overwhelmed by her current duties.

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    7. So, you're saying she's unfit to do her job because she didn't pay attention to you when a staffer came up to her for something related to her job? Interesting logic...

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  9. I enjoyed this piece, Bram. And I'm a Ceoffe supporter. While I think you came to the wrong conclusion, I appreciated seeing your reasoning, and your honesty in recognizing that there are probably shades of the old patronage system at work in Gross' nomination, just with a different set of people handing out the favors.

    I know a lot of commenters here give you grief for being biased, and I also think you are (just like everybody), but at least you're honest about your biases and do your best to lay them on the table.

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  10. Thanks, Jerry. Nice to read you here again.

    I think one of the central dramas of the coming years will be how the new city administration holds up to those idealistic principles its leader espoused, while at the same time managing to execute those missions he delineated in a pretty cutthroat environment. Should be heady stuff.

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  11. Uh-oh. For a candidate (Deb Gross) who touts experience in fundraising and arts initiatives, this doesn't look very good for her: https://m.facebook.com/?_rdr#!/home.php?soft=side-area&__user=4804891

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  12. Bram, I have been and "anon" critic in the past, but kudos on this post. Very well done and thoughtful. I disagree with your final conclusion, but is ok. When there is an honest assessment of facts and strategy people can "agree to disagree." It is strange though, because I generally agree with all the fiscal policies of the new guard and hence probably with Gross. The new guard is much more fiscally conservative than even Ravenstahl, which is a good thing for the City and County. I do fear though the efforts that are being launched to crush everyone is not in the new guard. That is very dangerous. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Plus, I think the facts on the ground require anyone in City government to be fiscally conservative. You can't spend money you don't have. I am rather ambivalent about this race, but would probably prefer to see the local kid is working harder than anyone and very few high donor dollars beat the new machine candidate. Maybe its just me, but I think the City needs that more than anything right now.

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    1. Thank you. Gotta be careful when using the word "conservative" to describe various Pittsburghers' approaches to its pension crisis. A true conservative might say, "Pensions, pfft, let's get rid of those, the future ones AND the existing ones, can't afford them" and/or come to think of it "Let's use the budget shortfalls to privatize whatever we can." We're talking about actually PAYING our bills, ahem, debt ceiling. Also it's that I don't want to give "conservatism" default credit for being "fiscally responsible" -- they just employ more barbaric approaches than liberals on how to make figures balance.

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    2. Bram can we get a response to Anon 743 am??

      I now agree she shouldnt be overseeing our budget.

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    3. Anon @ 7:43 AM. You can, if you'd like to make it easier for people to look at your links, follow these instructions to post the link properly.

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    4. Anon 9:47 & 7:43 - An arts organization running a budget deficit in the low tens of thousands isn't particularly unusual or untoward (although that point is being stretched to the extreme elsewhere in the City where the amounts total, say, $7 million and more). The rest strikes me as fairly non-scintillating. We could take a shot at Ceoffe for having found a harmless Ron Paulian candidate to make his negative attacks for him, but that wouldn't be very generous.

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    5. I would be surprised if a fiercely independent-minded James Wudarczyk first consulted with any other candidate before outing his findings. Besides, if he were motivated to help Ceoffe's case, don't you think he would have exited the race instead of potentially pull votes from the Larryville/Bloomfield area?

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    6. James Wudarczyk would be a truly independent voice on council. I believe that he found the information because he is an excellent researcher and believes that people have a right to be informed before going to vote. I think he fights his own battles and both him and Ceoffe are going to pull major support away from Gross in Lawrenceville and Bloomfield. After reading his latest press release, I believe he is right when he says that "Pittsburgh cannot afford Deb Gross."

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    7. Hey other Anon, that is how liberals respond to facts - not with other facts but with character assassination. Don't like Jim W's facts? then rather than respond just take shots at Ceoffe and Jim. These are very real and important facts that need addressed. I think the main point of them is that Gross is just a figure head who has never really accomplished anything tangible. The things she touts as accomplishments are far from it. They were fiscal losers and one time shots that never materialized into anything. Is that what we want on council? Do we want a figure head or someone who tackles issues and works hard? The choice is clear for me.

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  13. Here is the new and improved link to
    Jim Wudarczyk's press release
    outlining how Debbie Gross has tricked us all into believing she's a successful fundraiser...which is pretty much the only attribute she herself and those voting for her have consistently touted as evidence of her experience and qualifications for the job of city council, which she is seeking just "to get out of the house." Yeah, that's a work ethic I like to see in a councilperson [/sarcasm].

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    1. Is that somebody trying a Stephen Cobert kind of thing?

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  14. People really need to know the truth about Gross. I would love to personally thank Candidate Wudarczyk for publishing his findings. His press release should be a wake-up call to every one of the people who are going to vote for Gross on the 5th. Those people should consider choosing one of the gentlemen running because at least they campaign for themselves and don't have "hiccups" in their budgets.

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    1. So are you one person agreeing with yourself or what?

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  15. Coffee has already shown his immaturity and lack of fiscal discipline by calling blindly for increasing dramatically the ranks of police. Even beyond the question of where both the short and long term dollars needed for this are coming is the basic question of why the need for increasing the ranks?

    Crime is down in the City and calls for service have stabilized. The real questions that Ceoffe (and all other serious candidates) should be asking are 1) are we using our police appropriately and 2) what can we do to more smartly use them.

    The easy answer is always hire more.

    What about moving officers out of admin positions, reducing the number of detectives, increasing the number of two person patrol cars (thus greatly reduce the number of calls a single person car has to react to as either a first as second responder), reducing the number of officers that work full time with other agencies saving those agencies resources and draining the resources of Pittsburgh.

    Current police leadership seems to have forgotten that the police are here to serve and protect which means that the police zones should be getting the focus of all resources to include human --- not administrative positions nor detective positions.

    So, before Ceoffe blindly spends more money that the City does not have, why not completely study the issues involved with management of police assets and come up with ideas that put everything to best use.

    Not saying any of the other candidates can do any better; but, he is the only one advocating for such a simplistic solution as just give us more cops.

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    1. Ceoffe never committed to adding those officers, he said that based off of conversations w leadership, it appears those are the numbers they would like to see. Also I attended both debates in Highland Park and Tony said exactly what you've posted, we need to move officers out of admin positions and get them back on the streets. He's also addressed the need for strategic public safety plans to ensure that we are using what we have to ensure the biggest impact and keep our neighborhoods safe. In fact Tony is the only candidate that has offered ANY solution about public safety and it certainly wasnt "just give us more cops".

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    2. Hold the phone, again. I hate this Only Candidate Claim.....

      Libertarian, Dave Powell has offered public safety solutions as he raised concerns with G20 acts of Police against citizens with new weapons of war being unleashed. Plus, the war on drugs and asset forfeits are central themes with Libertarians. Dave has talked about privacy too, a public safety matter as well.

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