Pittsburgh City Council Races
Tuesday, May 08, 2001
City CouncilVote for one in your district
TERM: 4 years
SALARY: $50,605DUTIES: Council consists of nine members elected by district by Pittsburgh voters. The legislative power is vested in council. Council members in odd-numbered districts are elected two years after the even-numbered district members are elected.
QUESTION ASKED: What measures would you as a member of City Council take to attract industry and keep people living within city boundaries?
District 2RepublicanNo candidate filed.
AGE: 44; CRAFTON HEIGHTSEDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in economics and English; law degree with honors from University of Pittsburgh; staff member of Law Review.
OCCUPATION: City councilman.
QUALIFICATIONS: Record as city councilman since 1994: best attendance record at council meetings, authored numerous city ordinances that improve quality of life and implemented many neighborhood improvements.
ANSWER: I will continue to work on lowering and ultimately eliminating the business privilege (I twice voted for reductions) and mercantile tax. I will continue efforts to ensure Pittsburgh workers possess the skills and education needed by local industry. I will continue to fight for a better quality of life in Pittsburgh by, among other things, implementing an enforceable noise ordinance and having many choices in housing available for families and seniors.
AGE: 47; WEST ENDEDUCATION: St. James Grade School; Canevin Catholic High School.
OCCUPATION: Chief of staff, state Rep. Thomas C. Petrone.
QUALIFICATIONS: Working as chief of staff for Rep. Petrone and also working as staff to the House Urban Affairs Committee, of which Rep. Petrone is chairman. Working on legislation, touring with hearings with committee and constituent service on a daily basis.
ANSWER: I believe we must rebuild our neighborhoods to attract families to move back into the city. Families have moved away because of high taxes, city school system, urban blight, crime, drugs and job loss. We need to bring the hardworking families back by offering new, affordable housing. When we can concentrate on our neighborhoods by new construction, this will clean up urban blight. New families will then move back into our neighborhoods and the families will then send their children to our city schools. The new school growth will help to possibly lower the city and school taxes. We will then have new life in our neighborhoods.
District 4RepublicanBOB HILLEN
AGE: 43; BEECHVIEWEDUCATION: High school; Painters Local 6, JATC.
OCCUPATION: Painting contractor.
QUALIFICATIONS: Fifteen years' business management experience; organizer of community groups; active throughout the neighborhoods of the council district for the past five years; 19 years of problem-solving experience.
ANSWER: Engage in an extensive marketing campaign that identifies retail business that local consumers would use and manufacturing businesses that Pittsburgh residents can immediately staff, along with a proactive approach to showing the benefits of locating in the city with its beautiful neighborhoods, quality of life and schools. All this can be accomplished without a drain on the taxpayer's dollar.
AGE: 37; OVERBROOKEDUCATION: 1981 graduate of Seton-LaSalle High School; attended classes at Robert Morris College.
OCCUPATION: Member of Pittsburgh City Council, District 4.
QUALIFICATIONS: Twenty years of experience of volunteering in my community; 17 years working for the City of Pittsburgh, 14 in public works, three years as Councilman Michael Diven's chief of staff; 15 years in the Democratic Party as a Democratic committee person.
ANSWER: I will focus on neighborhood schools, lower school taxes and quality of life issues, which are all important to not only keep our residents living here, but will attract new industry and new people within the city.
AGE: 49; BROOKLINEEDUCATION: University of Pittsburgh, M.B.A., bachelor's degrees in mathematics and economics, certificate in accounting.
OCCUPATION: Owner/operator, Pennzoil 10 Minute Oil Change since 1985.
QUALIFICATIONS: Strong educational background; very knowledgeable in operating a business; extensive community and parental involvement; demonstrated leadership and tenacity in resolving seemingly hopeless situations with positive results.
ANSWER: The second part of this question must be answered first. We must stop our school board from chasing families from our city. As a councilman, I want to focus attention on how this board is spending our tax dollars. I want to restructure the entire board and limit its taxing power. To attract industry I would examine what similar cities, who are experiencing resurgences, have done and tailor their success to Pittsburgh.
AMY BARRETT MONTGOMERY
AGE: 32; BROOKLINEEDUCATION: Attended St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Pa., 1987-89. Seton-LaSalle Regional High School 1987.
OCCUPATION: Para-educator. Pittsburgh Public Schools, Special Education Department, Carmalt Elementary.
QUALIFICATIONS: 15 years of community activism. Eight years customer/public service. Union advocate.
ANSWER: The City of Pittsburgh will know growth only by preserving neighborhoods. In my opinion people will live within the city boundaries if they feel safe in their communities and neighborhood schools are on every elected official's agenda. It is important for this city's survival that neighborhood investment include the development of programs for median income residents; incentives for working families to revitalize and remain in city neighborhoods. Downtown development will have to include the opinions and confidence of the existing downtown business owners.
District 6RepublicanNo candidate filed.
DemocraticRICHARD G. PORTIS
AGE: 56; LOWER HILLEDUCATION: Graduate of Gladstone High School; attended Point Park College, University of Pittsburgh.
OCCUPATION: President 21 Century Industries; insurance consultant, marketing consultant; project management.
QUALIFICATIONS: 25 years as nonprofit executive. Public policy consultant.
ANSWER: As a member of council I would become an advocate of seeking more business and industry to locate in or near our neighborhoods. I would also establish linkages with former Pittsburghers who have achieved in other cities and states to form partnerships in the city. I would also recruit former residents to return back home by having a program to match their skills with existing industries. The city must market itself in a holistic perspective that sells all of its neighborhoods and events.
AGE: 58; HILL DISTRICTEDUCATION: McAllister Academy of Business (incomplete).
OCCUPATION: City councilman.
ANSWER: Reduce business privilege tax, utilize loans and grants, implement community oriented policing. Make the school district a technological model for the nation, increasing academic performance. Facilitate local corporations' recruitment at local universities early in their school career.
JAMES A. WILLIAMS
AGE: 56; MANCHESTEREDUCATION: G.E.D.; six months Community College of Allegheny County.
OCCUPATION: Self-employed auto detail shop owner.
QUALIFICATIONS: Community involved, idealist, concerned parent (3 kids, 8 grandchildren/7 girls, 1 boy); U.S. Army training/Vietnam combat veteran/honorable discharge/man with vision.
ANSWER: Work hard through new ideas to change the tax base and make it more attractive to new business and those businesses that want to locate here. Work on race and public safety issues. As a black man let those persons who think Pittsburgh is a racist town know that we have great people in this town, God-fearing people. Sure we might have a few bad apples, but the good outweighs the bad. I want to make Pittsburgh number one.
District 8RepublicanJOSEPH WEINROTH
AGE: 42; SQUIRREL HILLEDUCATION: Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh 1976; University of Pittsburgh B.A. economics and political science Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa 1980, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D. 1983.
OCCUPATION: Attorney at law.
QUALIFICATIONS: Lifelong resident of Squirrel Hill; attorney since 1983 with real estate concentration; father; first-time candidate.
ANSWER: 1. Reduce the tax burdens on individuals and homeowners. 2. Work with and support the school board in order to create the finest public school system in the region. 3. Build, revitalize and maintain safe and vibrant neighborhoods. 4. Greater cooperation and coordination of efforts with local and regional leaders and economic development organizations. 5. A bipartisan City Council will enable us to successfully attract additional funds from the state. 6. Promote Pittsburgh nationally and internationally.
DemocraticEDWARD J. D'ALESSANDRO
AGE: 50; SHADYSIDE/BLOOMFIELDEDUCATION: St. Canice; Community College of Allegheny County; Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science.
OCCUPATION: Executive director, Shadyside Arts Festival. Businessman.
QUALIFICATIONS: Highly knowledgeable and experienced in business development, community leadership, citizen participation processes. Technologically savvy, family-oriented, 30 years of experience with city operations. Ability to analyze policy options, develop policy and evaluate outcomes. Lifelong Pittsburgher. Excellent interpersonal skills.
ANSWER: I would work to make Pittsburgh a more attractive place for families. At the neighborhood level, I would promote a higher quality of city services, safe and active playgrounds, more tree plantings, housing restoration, clean and repaired street surfaces. I would insist on citizen participation in city development planning efforts. By investing thoughtfully in our families and our workforce, Pittsburgh can be marketed as an extraordinary place to raise a family and to start and grow a business.
SARA A. WYMARD
AGE: 56; SQUIRREL HILLEDUCATION: Peabody High School; Carnegie Mellon University, B.A., M.A.
OCCUPATION: Teacher, Allderdice High School, 1965-79; development director, UPMC Cardiovascular Institute.
QUALIFICATIONS: 30 years' experience in government and politics. Relationships with city leaders in both public and private sectors. Lifelong resident of community. Educated, experienced, articulate, motivated, dedicated to improving our city.
ANSWER: Our major priority is not only to attract new industry and people, but to stop the continuing exodus from Pittsburgh. Recent census data confirms this problem. I would bring together industry and neighborhood representatives to develop a marketable plan for creating an industry-friendly climate that supports the quality of life issues and services paramount to retaining population, improving neighborhoods, and attracting new business. These are skills that I utilize daily in my current position.
JANE ANN MILLER
AGE: 50; FRIENDSHIPEDUCATION: Bachelor's Degree -- Psychology, Speech & Special Education.
OCCUPATION: Community relations/government relations for Mercy Behavioral Health.
QUALIFICATIONS: 10 years as community activist and work experience as problem-solver and advocate for community-based provider.
ANSWER: Pittsburgh's citizens must no longer view themselves as members of a backward-sliding city. We must strategically market our assets: our universities, our neighborhoods, our arts, and our natural beauty. In order to attract industry and other business to Pittsburgh, a central office is needed so prospective businesses can learn what one needs to conduct business successfully in Pittsburgh. We must nurture our neighborhoods by providing money to improve our neighborhood commercial districts.
AGE: 36; POINT BREEZEEDUCATION: Penn State University, political science.
OCCUPATION: Chief of staff, City Councilman Dan Cohen.
QUALIFICATIONS: I am presently serving my seventh year as chief of staff to Councilman Cohen. I have worked extensively to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and build a vibrant, lively and sustaining city. This experience has proven invaluable.
ANSWER: To have a growing city and preserve the character of our neighborhoods requires experience, innovation and vision. Bold steps are needed to modernize local government. We must utilize available technology to provide our residents with better, more efficient service. We cannot operate government based upon demographics and practices of 30 years ago. Government must change to meet the needs of people and our services, from development incentives to parks to tax policy, should be reflective of these changing needs.