From The Pitt News, March 13, 2006District 3 Special Election Guide By Pitt News Staff
published: Mon, 13 March, 2006
Neal Andrus (R)
Neal Andrus wants to shake things up for Pittsburgh.
"I'd like to be a voice for change on City Council," said Andrus, who is currently running on the Republican ticket for Tuesday's election.
Andrus has made a goal of "restoring fiscal sanity to city government," something that he believes should be voters' top priority when they head to the polls.
Hoping that District 3 residents will cast their votes "with an idea in their heads that they're tired of the same old thing and that they want something new," Andrus has promised to seek creative ideas in tackling the city's financial woes.
A 30-year-old who obtained degrees in political science and economics from Pitt in December 2004, Andrus has lived in the district for eight years. He said he does not seek to become a politician.
"I don't think anyone down there has any idea what needs to be done," he said of the current council.
He wants to bring up new ideas and "do something different." Shunning the idea that City Council's mission should include creating new jobs or "bribing" companies to come to Pittsburgh, Andrus believes in drawing commercial industry by working with the county and state governments to create a more attractive business environment.
He also suggested seeking unconventional moneymakers, like New York City's $166-million deal with Snapple to make the company the official city vendor of iced tea, water and chocolate milk.
-Senior Staff Writer J. Elizabeth Strohm
Bruce Krane (I)
Bruce Krane's slogan is "Building a better Pittsburgh," and he wants students involved in the process.
"I want to engage them and work with them," he said.
Krane, an independent candidate, said his administration would recognize the need for a student liaison. He said that if elected, he would hire a student to work with him part-time.
"I think we need the refreshing creativity of university students to pose some alternative ideas and hopefully solutions," he said. "Because we aren't seeing a lot of that on Grant Street right now."
Krane, who has lived in Pittsburgh for 16 years and currently resides in the South Side, is the vice president for the South Side Community Council.
"I would describe myself as a community advocate," he said.
Krane volunteers with Pittsburgh's Community Access Television Channel, where he hosts and produces programs. He credited the station with helping him make the decision to run in the special election because of his experience interviewing office holders on his programs.
Krane said he is in favor of term limits and referendums, or "putting issues on the ballot." He said he could use the pulpit and media exposure of being a councilman to go directly to the people through this process.
But according to Krane, there is no key issue that will determine which candidate people vote for.
"There's no 900-pound gorilla," he said. "It's going to be who can get their supporters out to vote."
-Staff Writer Angela Hayes
Jason Phillips (G)
Jason Phillips wants to bring a student voice to City Council.
"For the last 16 years, we've basically had zero representatives on City Council," Phillips said, adding that this election marks a "very opportune time" for students to claim their voice.
Phillips declined to single out a specific goal for his time on council, explaining that he hopes to tackle many issues. He mentioned that the city is in financial "dire straits," and that he hopes to improve Pittsburgh's transportation system, nightlife and other things that matter to students.
"This is a time when we need to elect people with college educations, people with government experience," Phillips said, noting that he is such a person.
Phillips, a 24-year-old Pitt student who plans to complete his studies of political science next year, said he has worked in the lieutenant governor's office and served as a consultant on a number of candidates' campaigns within Pennsylvania. A resident of the South Side Flats and graduate of Pittsburgh's Art Institute, he has lived in District 3 for more than two years.
"I'm the only candidate who, if elected, could walk right into the office and not need to take time to learn the ropes," Phillips said.
Emphasizing the importance of students' votes, Phillips said it is "immature" of students to not bother to show up on election day.
-Senior Staff Writer J. Elizabeth Strohm
Matthew Bartus (I)
Perhaps the city needs a new coat of paint.
Matthew Bartus, a painter for Pittsburgh's General Services department, is a candidate for the vacant District 3 seat that will be filled in Tuesday's special election. He could not be reached for comment.
He said to the Pittsburgh City Paper that he has a chance to beat Democratic candidate Jeff Koch because there are so many other candidates running in the election.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Bartus plans on relocating the South Side police station to the Neville Ice Arena. The current location is 1725 Mary St., near 18th Street.
He also said to the Post-Gazette that he wants to reduce the size of city council from nine members to five and have non-profit organizations give more to the city.
The University counts itself among Pittsburgh's non-profit organizations.
Bartus, 50, currently lives in Carrick, a neighborhood south of Downtown that is near the neighborhoods of Brookline and Mt. Oliver.
-Assistant News Editor Andy Medici
Mark Rauterkus (L)
Mark Rauterkus grew up in Penn Hills, moved out of state for a few years, and then moved back to Pittsburgh in 1990.
The South Side resident said that part of his motivation for running for council is that the city is in a big crisis, and he believes children have been ignored.
Rauterkus, who has two children, said that if elected to council, he would like to chair the Committee on Youth Policy and the Citiparks Committee.
One of the things that Rauterkus would like to accomplish is to restart the Pittsburgh Marathon.
He would also like to integrate additional programs into the city's neighborhood parks.
"There's a lot to be done there," Rauterkus said.
Rauterkus is a swim coach for the Carlynton Swim Club.
He said he would like to acquire funding to open more of the city's pools, which have been closed at times because of budget cuts.
Rauterkus added that he is dedicated to his campaign "for the long haul."
If he does not win this election, he plans to build a network of volunteers and issues.
"Whoever does win might only be there for a year and half," Rauterkus said. "They're going to have me to contend with next week."
-Senior Staff Writer Laura Jerpi
Jeffrey Koch (D)
Jeffrey Koch wants to clean up Oakland.
Koch - the Democratic candidate for City Council representing District 3, which includes Oakland - said that if elected, he would work with the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation to pick up trash in South Oakland.
One program he supports, called Adopt-a-Block, involves approximately 50 students cleaning up around South Oakland to make the area more appealing.
Koch also hopes the college vote will make a difference.
"I hope the students show," he said. "They could make a big difference in this election."
He said he would not implement immediate changes or policies but would welcome the chance to sit down with students and talk about issues concerning Oakland and Pitt.
Koch is a landscaping contractor and Department of Public Works employee. He has lived in Arlington, a section of District 3, his entire life. His parents also lived in District 3 their entire lives.
He is endorsed by Mayor Bob O'Connor, the Pittsburgh Firefighters Union and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.
-Staff Writer Jared Trent Stonesifer
Bruce Kraus (I)
Bruce Kraus wants to make Pittsburgh neighborhoods safe, clean and green.
The South Side resident is the chair of Pittsburgh's Graffiti Task Force, which "[assists] city officials and neighborhood groups in their efforts to combat graffiti vandalism," according to http://Bruce4council.com.
Kraus, 51, could not be reached for comment, but his Web site outlines three main tactics for bettering the city: outreach, education and enforcement.
According to Kraus's Web site, he will "work toward curtailing the criminal nuisance activities that his constituents do not want," while maintaining "the green setting" they do want.
Kraus also outlines several plans for paying for his initiatives, which include "an expansion of the tax base with increase property values" and "attention from the state and the county for special grants for beautification."
In response to a questionnaire from the League of Young Voters, Kraus wrote that he wants students to be "engaged in the process of stewarding [their] futures."
"I will advocate for your 'place at the table,'" Kraus said in the questionnaire, "to ensure that you are provided with all the opportunities to work on the solutions to the problems you are facing with regards to job creation, education, creative housing, transportation, recreation, and an active social network including nightlife and the arts."
-News Editor Adam Felming
Michael Waligorski (I)
Independent candidate Michael Waligorski must be a busy man, because he's hard to find.
Waligorski "runs a painting business, sells real estate and has been a perennial candidate," according to a March 6 editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
He's known - among local journalists, at least - for being difficult to contact, despite his frequent campaigns in local politics.
"Waligorski, a frequent candidate for public office, did not return phone calls," reported the Pittsburgh City Paper on March 2.
The 56-year-old handyman, Army Reservist and South Side Flats resident is running on what he calls the Disclosure Party ticket and "wants to see more openness in government," according to the Post-Gazette.
Waligorski's phone number is unlisted, and he did not return phone calls when The Pitt News obtained his number from City Paper.
A Jan. 31 Post-Gazette article noted, "Independent candidate Michael Waligorski of the Flats could not be reached for comment."
Waligorski did not respond to a Sierra Club questionnaire regarding Tuesday's election and environmental issues, reported local activist organization Progress Pittsburgh on Feb. 23.
-Editor in Chief Jessica Lear