Pittsburgh City Paper - News Uphill Battle
South Side Slopes voters hoping for hill-friendly representation
Libertarian candidate Mark Rauterkus offers a vision of “kids and freedom. I’m the libertarian who really cares about coaching the kids.” The swim coach would like city high school athletes to play in the same leagues suburban kids compete in -- so “city kids will have something to shoot for." To encourage more residents, he favors a four-year "tax holiday" on the city’s deed-transfer tax, and taxing land only, rather than the buildings atop of it. Otherwise, he says, "You’re punished for improving your home." As for gambling, he's wary of the proposals made by would-be developers: Why not put the slots in the convention center? It is a “white elephant operating below capacity," he says.
Points to notice and redress follow:
In fact, the most striking thing about this campaign is how similar the candidates sound. Each is skeptical about using tax subsidies to lure development -- especially a proposed $18 million subsidy for a new PNC Bank office tower. Each wants to shift from big-bang Downtown development toward neighborhood investment. Each emphasizes increasing the police presence.I do not think that the candidates sound similar -- to me. There is a lot of common ground as to being sincere. However, most of what I'm talking about was unlike anything that they were speaking on.
Often, when I speak, there is a lot of head nods and people are in agreement with my perspectives. Some of that is starting to show up in the group conversations too.
I have yet to hear anyone talk about the wasteful spending for the tunnel under the Allegheny River to extend the T to the lower North Side (where the stadiums reside). Nobody yet.
Two others in the back of the pack do talk about the end of TIFs, as well. They have joined me on that.
N.A., the Republican, is talking now about the liquidation of the Parking Authority. He must have read my January 29, 2004, editorial. A letter ran in the P-G and I was interviewed on KQV on this topic. It is nice to have him talk about the Parking Authority now.
Meanwhile, League of Young Voters head Mosley says that of the candidates only Phillips, the student, has been seen on campus regularly.Well, I've never seen K.M., nor any of the other candidates, at a Pgh Public School Board meeting -- NEVER. I've been to Oakland on many instances. And, when I'm on campus, it is often in a capacity that means I should NOT be a candidate. I have a lot of roots in Oakland. My son will be there again for school next year -- at Frick Middle School. Schenley isn't part of K.M.'s range of focus either. I first met K.M. six years ago on a campus, I.U.P. I was there to rally the students for Nader. K.M. was in the audience and we talked at length there. So, he knows I've gone and do go way out of my way to interact with the campus folks and issues.