Sunday, May 01, 2005

Editorial: Fontana for Senate / The County Council member is the better fit

Better fit -- as in fitness -- was an interesting choice of words for the headline. As we campaign, I feel that I am the candidate who is most concerned with fitness, wellness, kids, and better quality of life.
Editorial: Fontana for Senate / The County Council member is the better fit There's also a third candidate, a Libertarian, Mark Rauterkus, 46, of the South Side.

Other mentions from the PG editorial include:
Mr. Rauterkus, 45, a swim coach from the South Side, ran unsuccessfully in the 2001 Republican primary for mayor and offers some different perspectives, but he can't match the experience in public office of his opponents and the knowledge that it brings.
...
In this case, picking between two dedicated public officials, and one quixotic candidate, almost demands a judgment on which party will best serve the district.

See the comments for the full story.

A few other parting thoughts: This is a time when the city and suburbs need to focus on the survival of Pittsburgh. But, it is the D party that has done so much damage to Pittsburgh, especially the city proper, so that the survival is so critical.

Furthermore, the Fontana plan for Pittsburgh's survival is best presented to the voters when it hidden from everyone's sight. Fontana isn't talking about lowering the deed transfer tax, making assessment buffering a state-wide option, merging Citiparks and County Parks & Rec with a NEW Pittsburgh Park District, nor does he want to liquidate the Parking Authority so as to lower the parking tax to 15%. I do.

Schools, wellness, democracy, transportation plans and economic development efforts that make sense are needed and absent from Fontana's agenda.

What isn't absent in Fontana's agenda is atrocious. This is from Fontana's lastest direct mailer. Fontana wants to punish companies who (sic) break their word and ship jobs overseas.

Suburban voters will get to choose among three candidates, all from the city. The two others are career politicians with the experience of city-styled operations. That is a liability if you ask me. Their experience is with making TIFs, for begging for handouts, for doing wasteful capital projects. I've been injecting different ideas and making efforts to turn away from envy and greed and lead to self-reliance for a number of years. Some people in the city have different views and different values from the present leadership in the city. The opposition within the city is alive and should be supported with votes.

I will win a number of votes in the city. But this campaing's success relies upon the suburban voters to choose to go away from the machine-styled policians of the city's horrid past. Not only is there is a chance to break from the blue-state vs. red-state mentality, but there is a choice and chance to break from the same-old-same-old mentality that has driven Pittsburgh to the brink.

The PG has been a long-time supporter of "machine politicans." The endorsement was given because it rewarded experience. However the experience is troublesome.

I think that this PG editorial is something that can help me in the suburban reaches of the 42nd.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Opinion

Editorial: Fontana for Senate / The County Council member is the better fit

Sunday, May 01, 2005
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

May 17 is primary election day, and the race in the 42nd state Senate District may seem like just another preliminary bout. But this is a special election to fill the seat left vacant after Sen. Jack Wagner was elected to be auditor general.

Vying for the job are two well-known candidates, state Rep. Michael Diven and Allegheny County Councilman Wayne Fontana, both of whom rose to prominence in the Democratic Party and don't differ much on the issues. There's also a third candidate, a Libertarian, Mark Rauterkus, 46, of the South Side.

If anyone still confuses Mr. Diven, 35, of Brookline, with being a Democrat, it's because he so recently was. Just last year he wrote in a letter to the editor that "I am a passionate believer in the Democratic Party's values." But after years of feuding with the House Democratic leadership and now the opening of the Senate seat, he switched parties and is now the Republican nominee.

The 42nd District, where voter registration still favors Democrats by a large margin, covers much of Pittsburgh (including Oakland, Downtown, the Strip District, North Side, South Side, plus southern and western neighborhoods) and a large swath of suburbs: Baldwin Township, Kennedy, Neville, Robinson, Scott, Stowe, Bellevue, Brentwood, Carnegie, Castle Shannon, Coraopolis, Crafton, Dormont, Green Tree, Heidelberg, Ingram, McKees Rocks, Pennsbury Village, Rosslyn Farms and Thornburg.

Mr. Rauterkus, 45, a swim coach from the South Side, ran unsuccessfully in the 2001 Republican primary for mayor and offers some different perspectives, but he can't match the experience in public office of his opponents and the knowledge that it brings.

Mr. Fontana, 55, of Brookline, has been the representative of District 12 on County Council and has been active on the property assessment issue -- a subject on which his work in the real estate business has helped. The Post-Gazette has sometimes differed with Mr. Fontana -- mostly recently on his slowness in resigning his seat once he declared he was a Senate candidate -- but we have never doubted his commitment and hard work.

Mr. Fontana would like to eliminate property taxes, although he doesn't have the precise formula to do it. Likewise, Mr. Diven would like to replace the current system. Both speak in general terms of the need to support mass transit. Perhaps the greatest difference is that Mr. Diven has a utopian plan -- read unrealistic -- to consolidate city, county and school district officials in one building and convert the present buildings in which they are housed, including the City-County Building, into residential use.

In this case, picking between two dedicated public officials, and one quixotic candidate, almost demands a judgment on which party will best serve the district.

Mr. Diven argues that he has joined the party that controls both houses of the Legislature and he will bring the clout that goes with it. But that's a double-edged sword: Legislative Republicans, on matters like mass transit and support for the city of Pittsburgh, have often been unhelpful. Unless he wants to get in a new feud with leadership, Mr. Diven could find himself voting against his own values.

If Mr. Diven loses this race, he can keep serving his Pittsburgh-based House district. But Wayne Fontana seems the better fit for the Senate job at a time when the city and the suburbs need to focus on the survival of Pittsburgh -- and he has our endorsement.

Leland Santini said...

Wishing you all the best!