Monday, May 20, 2013

Pittsburgh's next mayor; Bill Peduto vs Jack Wagner

Tomorrow, Pittsburgh will vote on a new choice for Mayor given the current mayor's decision to resign and not run for a second term.  Among the group of Democrats running for the vacancy are Mr. William Peduto, a member of City Council representing Squirrel Hill and other parts of the east end, and Jack Wagner, who announced his campaign shortly after Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced his decision to not pursue another term.

Bob O'Connor, who was elected as Mayor in November, 2005, succumbed to Cancer just over six months into his term.  Much of the development that took place between 2006 and 2012 was spearheaded by Mr. O'Connor.  I recall one press article regarding the on-going attempts to revitalize Downtown's Fifth-and-Forbes corridor; Mr. O'Connor wanted the proposals to have a "wow!" factor.  Projects that started under his administration included Piatt Place, which was a reconfiguration of the abandoned Macy's Department Store at Fifth Ave. and Wood St., and Three PNC Place.  These projects, however, did not come to fruition until some time during Luke Ravenstahl's administration, which took over after O'Connor's passing.

O'Connor was, in my opinion, a rather passionate political leader who seemed in touch with the citizens.  In his earlier days of his short time in office, he did go out and visit a variety of neighborhoods and listened to input of what they would like to see from the Mayor.  However, he was not my prime choice for the position.  My prime choice then was the same choice for the current election.

Bill Peduto had been serving as a councilman for several years and always had the best interests for both city and citizens at heart.  Some of his ideas included many urban renewal projects and consolidating part of Allegheny County with the city of Pittsburgh to reduce the fragmentation among local governments.  Even though he did not win the Mayoral election, he remained very active on City Council and was a driving force in the redevelopment of East Liberty.  Many of his ideas were outside-the-box; not typical for Pittsburgh, and it is that kind of thinking that will springboard the city and region into the future.

Mr. Wagner, on the other hand, seems more comparable to the city's current Mayor.  Mr. Ravenstahl, in spite of his young age, actually has firmer ties to older-school politics; those who labor under the delusion that Pittsburgh is stuck in the past.  They try to employ some of the older policies that really do not apply to the city moving forward.  Ravenstahl and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (ACCD) and at times the Urban Redevelopment Authority seemed to be at constant odds.  The ACCD had a few visions that Ravenstahl emphatically objected to.  To be honest, I'm not even sure what Mr. Ravenstahl's vision was exactly.  Is it any wonder why the County Executive, Rick Fitzgerald, is often on the same wavelength as Mr. Peduto?  Again, in a nutshell, Peduto is the best choice for Pittsburgh moving forward...

(Disclaimer: I am not at all affiliated with Mr. Peduto or his campaign in any way.  I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and have a strong interest in its future.  This is entirely my opinion even though I no longer reside within the region.)