For 19 of the past 20 years, the City of Pittsburgh has had a mayor that was born and raised on Pittsburgh’s Northside, but that looks to change in the coming election.

Tom Murphy and our current Mayor Luke Ravenstahl both called a Northside neighborhood home at one point in their lives, but Ravenstahl’s announcement last month that he wouldn’t seek reelection and City Council President Darlene Harris’ late-March withdrawal from the race will change that high Northside percentage of recent years.

The four candidates entering the democratic primary are Councilman Bill Peduto of Point Breeze, former state Auditor General Jack Wagner of Beechview, state Rep. Jake Wheatley of the Hill District and A.J. Richardson of Sheraden.

So to better acquaint readers with the candidates, the Northside Chronicle talked to several about our Northside neighborhoods, projects initiatives and the future each candidate sees for the city.

 

Bill Peduto

Peduto5_1Current job: City Councilman from District 8

Neighborhood: Point Breeze

Where you’ll find him in the Northside: Legends of the North Shore, Monterey Pub, Mattress factory and the Allegheny Observatory

What do you think is the most important project in the Northside right now?

There are a couple. Obviously the Garden Theater district is long overdue, and it needs to be an anchor for Federal North…I like the approach of bringing in local businesses instead of big box retail stores.

How would you divide resources between different neighborhoods?

There has to be priorities for each neighborhood based on community feedback. I would work with communities to establish priorities regarding what can realistically be done with what resources are there.

I think one of the things I bring that no other candidate has is extensive experience in neighborhood revitalization… I’ve worked with over $4 billion in community development money, and I know how to bring communities and developers together.


As Mayor, what initiatives would you push that would most directly affect city residents?

I basically believe in sweating the small stuff. I believe in Mayor Giuliani’s broken window theory. If you let a broken window go, there will be garbage. You’ve got to fix the broken window.

I think we’ve been lax about going after absentee land lords and building code violations.

 

Jack Wagner

wagnerJob: Former Pennsylvania Auditor General

Neighborhood: Point Breeze

Where you’ll find him in the Northside:Montery Pub, Banjo Night and Riverview Park trails

What do you think is the most important project in the Northside right now?

I think it’s a continuation on improving the quality of life on the Northside that really matters and making sure that city government is working every way it can in business districts like East Ohio Street and in individual neighborhoods like Troy Hill.  You can’t pick one over the other. You look at the North Shore and all it represents of what can happen as far as bringing in jobs and people.

How would you divide resources between different neighborhoods?

I think it’s vitally important that every neighborhood has opportunities to get the resources they need, and we need more resources.

I think one of the strengths I bring to the table is my ability to communicate well with Harrisburg and bring some of those funds to the city.
As Mayor, what initiatives would you push that would most directly affect city residents?

Public safety is high priority because it’s people’s minds, and that means supporting Zone 1 and city firefighters.

I would also look at quality of life issues by making sure that absentee landlords are taking care of their properties, and that means having close working relationships with neighborhood groups, business districts and community development corporations.

I also think the mayor needs to be a strong supporter of public education, because education is critically important to addressing social problems.

 

Jake Wheatley

jakewheatleyCurrent job: State Representative

Neighborhood: The Hill District

Where you’ll find him in the Northside: Running throuh the Central Northside, Young Brothers Bar and Carmi Family Restaurant

What do you think is the most important project in the Northside right now?

They’re all very important… The East Ohio Street corridor I think is something that we need to focus on.  We’ve always tried to support our neighborhood gateways.Residential housing projects in Manchester, Brightwood and the Mexican War Streets are also going to play a key role. All of these things are important and vital, and it’s important that they all link together.

 

How would you divide resources between different neighborhoods?

You need to look at the different neighborhoods and identify projects that will be catalytic and lead to real change in neighborhoods. We don’t have an endless supply of tax dollars, but we will look at what neighborhoods individually.

We will do our best to make sure we have a fair and transparent system that isn’t based on who you know, but on what value is in your project and how it can help or save a neighborhood.


As Mayor, what initiatives would you push that would most directly affect city residents?

You need to look at the different neighborhoods and identify projects that will be catalytic and lead to real change in neighborhoods. We don’t have an endless supply of tax dollars, but we will look at what neighborhoods individually.

We will do our best to make sure we have a fair and transparent system that isn’t based on who you know, but on what value is in your project and how it can help or save a neighborhood.